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February 26, 2008

Much Ado About Obama

Let's be serious -- who really cares about this photo?

080226_obama_dressed[1].jpg

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe accused the Clinton campaign Monday of "shameful offensive fear-mongering" by circulating a photo as an attempted smear.

Plouffe was reacting to a banner headline on the Drudge Report saying that aides to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) had e-mailed a photo calling attention to the African roots of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

"The photo, taken in 2006, shows the Democrat front-runner dressed as a Somali Elder, during his visit to Wajir, a rural area in northeastern Kenya," the Drudge Report said. The photo created huge buzz in political circles and immediately became known as "the 'dressed' photo," reflecting the Drudge terminology.

Plouffe said in a statement: “On the very day that Senator Clinton is giving a speech about restoring respect for America in the world, her campaign has engaged in the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we’ve seen from either party in this election. This is part of a disturbing pattern that led her county chairs to resign in Iowa, her campaign chairman to resign in New Hampshire, and it’s exactly the kind of divisive politics that turns away Americans of all parties and diminishes respect for America in the world," said Plouffe.

Clearly, the photo does not show that Obama is a Muslim. It falls into a long line of photos of American political figures putting on goofy-looking native gear for a photo-op or as part of some event as a show of respect. That he may look a bit silly is not in and of itself a problem -- at least he isn't riding in a tank like Mike Dukakis or wearing the "bunny suit" at NASA like John Kerry.

I guess I really don't see it as proving anything.

But unlike the Clinton spokesperson in the article, i do see a problem with those connected to the campaign circulating the photo. After all, it is an attempt to play into the old false rumor about Obama being a Muslim -- and that is a bigoted attack.





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A Story That Lacks A Context

Once again, we get more of the "why doesn't Clarence ask questions" stories that pop up a couple of times a year in the media. This one notes it has been about two years sine the last time he asked a question during oral arguments.

Two years and 144 cases have passed since Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas last spoke up at oral arguments. It is a period of unbroken silence that contrasts with the rest of the court's unceasing inquiries.

Hardly a case goes by, including two appeals that were argued Monday, without eight justices peppering lawyers with questions. Oral arguments offer justices the chance to resolve nagging doubts about a case, probe its weaknesses or make a point to their colleagues.

Left, right and center, the justices ask and they ask and they ask. Sometimes they debate each other, leaving the lawyer at the podium helpless to jump in. "I think you're handling these questions very well," Chief Justice John Roberts quipped to a lawyer recently in the midst of one such exchange.

Leaning back in his leather chair, often looking up at the ceiling, Thomas takes it all in, but he never joins in.

Monday was no different. Thomas said nothing.

Of course, Thomas is in great company with his style. For most of the Court's history, oral arguments did not involve questioning the advocates during oral arguments. John Marshall, generally considered to be the greatest member of the US Supreme Court, generally didn't ask questions from the bench, nor did Joseph Story and the other giants of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. That changed with the coming of the Roosevelt justices in the 1930s, as FDR made a practice of picking law professors who took their classroom methodology into the courtroom.

Is there anything wrong with asking no questions during oral arguments? Certainly not -- indeed, I'd argue that there is something better about trying to give the lawyers for the parties a respectful hearing. We might be better served by having more of the members of the High Court follow his example





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Senator Threatens Jail For Ministers

Now as I've said in the past, I have very little use for most of the high profile televangelists. I disagree with the theology put forth by most of them, which I believe borders on heretical. And yet I'm even more opposed by this effort by Senator Charles Grassley to dig around into the budgetary practices of their "ministries" in a public fashion -- and even more so by the threat to jail them if they do not cooperate with his kangaroo court.

"I've sent them some letters because I want some information. If they want to cooperate that's good, I expect they will. If they don't, they'll be the first people since a fellow named Abramoff, and he's in a jail cell."

So let's make this really clear -- Grassley is explicitly threatening to see ministers jailed for refusing to share the inner workings of their ministries with the US government. What's more, he is planning on holding hearings on their budgetary priorities, placing a US Senate committee in the position of passing judgment over whether or not their spending is in keeping with the beliefs and purposes of the ministry. That sounds pretty invasive of an area that is covered by the First Amendment to me.

Funny, isn't it, that the Left isn't at all interested in invoking the doctrine of the separation of church and state to condemn this witch hunt? And interesting, isn't it, that this liberal senator is only targeting ministries that are generally seen as conservative theologically and (because of that stance) politically?

I wonder -- when will Senator Grassley conduct the public investigation of the terrorist ties of Islamic non-profits, including mosques that preach extreme theology that is supportive of jihadi terror? Want to bet that the answer is NEVER -- because unlike the Christians he seeks to persecute now, Grassley knows that disgruntled Muslims may attempt to kill him.

This does, however, raise an interesting questions as to the constitutionality of requiring that churches and other religious groups apply to the government for tax-exempt status and the government's role in regulating them. There is a legitimate argument that religious groups, by their nature, should be exempt from taxes under the First Amendment. After all, as stated in the decision of the Supreme Court in McCulloch v. Maryland, "the power to tax is the power to destroy." It is undeniable that the First Amendment implicitly denies the government the power to destroy a religious organization, just as it explicitly denies the government the power to establish one. Senator Grassley's statement serves as a pointed reminder of why the free exercise and establishment clauses exist.





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An Unwelcome Birthday Gift

Turning 45 is traumatic.

Turning 45 while visiting a seriously ill family member is even more traumatic.

Traveling home by plane under such circumstances with a muscle spasm that won't quit in your lower back is even worse.

But the worst thing about the day was discovering that my favorite blog read of the day, Captain's Quarters, is going into permanent hiatus as Ed Morrissey goes to work for Michelle Malkin at her Hot Air blog.

I'm sure that I'll get plenty of wonderful posts from Ed at the new digs, but I'll miss CQ. Good luck to all involved.





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February 25, 2008

Normal Blogging Will Resume Shortly

A family issue has taken me out of town for a few days. That has been the reason for the limited blogging. We are back, the situation is under control and in God's hands. Normal blogging will resume in the next day or two -- and will include at least one post about our dealings with TSA screeners in a major metropolitan airport.





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Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Make Washington's Birthday a National Holiday Again by Right Wing Nut House, and The Dungeon of Fallujah by Michael J. Totten.  Here are the full results of the vote:

VotesCouncil link
2  1/3Make Washington's Birthday a National Holiday Again
Right Wing Nut House
1  2/3Iraqi Political Progress Leaves Few Places For The Left To Move The Target
Wolf Howling
1  1/3Muslims and the Right Not To Be Offended
Joshuapundit
1Anti-Terror Fantasies
Soccer Dad
2/3On The Mountaintop With Obama
Cheat Seeking Missiles
2/3WWRD?
Rhymes With Right
2/3Re-Wiring the Problem
Done With Mirrors
1/3When a Man Stops Believing in God...
Big Lizards
1/3Le Figaro on the Upcoming American Presidential Election
The Glittering Eye

VotesNon-council link
3  2/3The Dungeon of Fallujah
Michael J. Totten
1  1/3How Rachel Corrie Really Died (Hint: Not Protecting a House)
Israel Matzav
1Feels Like the First Time
Captain's Quarters
1U.S. Rewarding Palestinian Terrorism
The Terror Finance Blog
1Dear Paperlicious -- Stamping and Politics
Paperlicious
2/3Obama Imitates Olmert
Commentary Magazine
2/3Politics, Policy and the Internet
EU Referendum
1/3Executed for the Crime of Being Different
TFS Magnum
1/3Moscow and la Hudson
Oliver Kamm

Congratulations to all whose posts were considered, and to the winners this week. Keep up the great work!





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February 24, 2008

A REALLY Stupid Headline

If a conservative blogger had written something like this, there would be an uproar of cataclysmic proportions among the deranged denizens of the Left-osphere.

Ted Kennedy tells Texans to treat Obama as they did JFK

Utterly stupid, to the point of betraying an appalling lack of historical knowledge, journalistic competence, or both.

Where did this atrocious headline appear? On the Washington, DC bureau blog of the Houston Chronicle!

The headline was changed -- but would that have satisfied the lefties if the blog had belonged to Michelle Malkin, Ed Morrissey, or even me?

H/T Kevin Whited, Lone Star Times





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February 23, 2008

A Letter To Our Fellow Republicans

Many of my fellow Republicans have received this letter or will be receiving it in the days to come. I thought I would share it with you.

Dear Fellow Republican:

It is never an easy decision to reject an incumbent and support a challenger in the primary. There are loyalties and friendships that develop over the course of years, and the benefits to the district that come from seniority. And yet in this particular race, we have reached the conclusion that the people of District 129 would be better served if the Republican nominee were the challenger, Jon Keeney, rather than the incumbent.

Here’s why we have reached this conclusion.

1. Jon Keeney has a clear vision for District 129 and the state of Texas. In the last sessions of the legislature, the incumbent has fallen short in meeting basic Republican principles like controlling public spending, cutting taxes, and promoting economic development in the district and the state as a whole. Jon Keeney recognizes the necessity of controlling property taxes so that Texans can afford to keep their homes and of encouraging business growth.

2. Jon Keeney recognizes the need for leaders to have high ethical standards. The incumbent has shamed District 129 with his unethical use of campaign funds. He has been fined for failing to fully disclose these expenditures as required by law and for using those funds for personal purposes. Rick Casey of the Houston Chronicle (March 1, 2007) noted that the incumbent has sought reimbursement from both his campaign and the state for gas mileage expenses. This raises serious questions about double dipping, which would be a crime under state law--questions to which John Davis has not provided an adequate answer. Honesty and integrity are values that Jon Keeney will uphold as our state representative, as he seeks to restore trust in government leaders.

3. Jon Keeney supports American security and sovereignty. When there were opportunities to gain more control of illegal immigration, the incumbent voted against HB 13 which funded training to properly apprehend illegal immigrants for all local law enforcement agencies. The incumbent has supported the Trans-Texas Corridor, giving control of our state’s highways to a foreign country for decades come. Jon Keeney believes in secure borders, the enforcement of immigrations laws, and Texans controlling the transportation infrastructure of Texas.

4. Jon Keeney will be a citizen representative, not a career politician. Jon Keeney is seeking to serve the people of District 129, not his own personal interests.

The incumbent has not been an effective representative in Austin, and has not adhered to Republican principles. Jon Keeney will change that, so that the people of District 129 can be proud of our representative in Austin. That is why I urge you to join me in supporting Jon Keeney for State Representative, to guarantee that we see conservative change in the legislature.


Greg Aydt, Precinct 333 Chair

Laurence W. Tobin, Precinct 90 Chair

Joseph Spence, Precinct 732 Chair

Pat Monks, Precinct 718 Chair

Dennis Hayes, Precinct 378 Chair

Barbara Brehmer, Precinct 782 Chair

There is a problem in District 129. That problem is John Davis. We can solve that problem by making Jon Keeney the GOP nominee for State Representative in District 129. Early voting is underway, and the primary is in 10 days. Get out and vote for Jon Keeney.





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Not An Issue

This looks bad on its face -- but isn't upon closer examination.

Charles Bacarisse, a candidate for the top Harris County government job, offered to use his contacts as district clerk to promote a process-serving company in return for a private consulting fee, according to the company's owner.

Bacarisse would not comment about the allegation Friday, but a spokesman denied any wrongdoing saying the company owner has misinterpreted the meeting she had with Bacarisse on Nov. 30, 2006, at a Starbucks.

The Chronicle reported this month that while serving as the elected district clerk, a job that pays $135,000 a year plus a car allowance, Republican Bacarisse ran a private consulting business that netted him $78,000 a year. Bacarisse said his private clients, a building management company and a process-serving and courier company, had no direct dealings with the county and hired him as a business strategist.

But Angela Clark of Houston, owner of Court Record Research Inc. and a former fundraiser for Bacarisse's district clerk campaigns, said Bacarisse offered in 2006 to use his government connections to help her process-serving operation — the type of private/public arrangement that Bacarisse has said he has never offered.

Could be ugly for a candidate (who I've endorsed) running on a platform of ethics reform.

Except that it appears to be missing any evidence of a quid pro quo that would make this a problem.

Clark said she was afraid to reject Bacarisse's consulting offer because that might lead to the loss of her free work space and afraid to accept because she viewed such an arrangement as a conflict of interest.

So she did nothing -- and neither lost her free work space nor clients.

Makes it seem much more likely that Bacarisse is correct -- Clark misunderstood the conversation and what he was suggesting.

I wonder if the reason for this story is that Ed Emmett is behind in the polls, and the Chronicle would much rather see "good ol' boy politics-as-usual" prevail over the grassroots movement within the GOP to clean up Harris County government that is backing Charles Bacarisse.





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Rick Casey Calls For Letting Corrupt Pols Skate

Well, the Houston Chronicle's Rick Casey just surrendered part of his reputation as a crusader against public corruption.

There's something to be said for an investigation. Rosenthal was, after all, the man who was in charge of prosecuting crime in Harris County. It would be unseemly for strong evidence that he committed a crime — even a misdemeanor — to go unpursued.

It would also be unseemly to seek much punishment beyond what he has already suffered, the loss of his prestigious position and the public humiliation he has suffered.

Rosenthal would hardly be the first elected official to receive a deal that amounted to resignation and, sometimes, a modest fine.

Yes, Casey backs this position up with examples -- examples that only prove how wrong he is.

These plea deals didn't do a damn thing to stem public corruption. If anything, they make it easier for public officials to break the law. After all, there appears to be no penalty for criminal activity when what you get is a plea deal in public corruption cases. If anything, the policy needs to be NO PLEA DEALS FOR CORRUPT POLS.

If illegal activity by public officials is to be discouraged, then it must be fully prosecuted and punished. And I take this stand in the case of a member of my own party to make it clear that my calls for clean government are based upon principle, not politics.

Chuck Rosenthal needs to go to jail, go directly jail, not passing "GO" and not collecting his government pension.

After all, if three hots and a cot were appropriate for the criminals he spent years prosecuting, it is good enough for our corrupt former DA.





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February 22, 2008

Super-Diversity At The Harris County DA?

I think we are seeing the redefinition of diversity here.

Although Chuck Rosenthal is gone, allegations of racism in the Harris County District Attorney's Office on his watch have those in charge of hiring about 50 new prosecutors in the next two years paying closer attention to diversity.

"I think we're below where I would like to see us as far as African-Americans and Hispanics — I would like to see more," said Marie Munier, a 29-year veteran of the DA's office who has headed up recruiting for the past two years. "With all the stuff in the media lately, it's been like someone dumped a bucket of cold water on my head and made me say, 'We do need to look at this.' "

Rosenthal was attacked after office e-mails were made public that contained racist jokes and images, along with sexually explicit images.

Several groups, including county Republican Party officials and black community groups, called for Rosenthal's resignation. He stepped down Friday, saying his judgment had been clouded by prescription drugs. Rosenthal's departure won't slow hiring, Munier said.

Munier, who is white, said she is working more with the three black attorneys on the 12-person hiring committee to address problems she had not considered.

"They pointed out some things that I hadn't thought about before, on how we're interviewing and about what strikes us as a good candidate," she said.

Munier also is adding three new seats on the committee, to include more diversity and youth. Munier said the committee will see several black and Hispanic candidates out of the 15 people they plan to interview this week. She also is focusing more closely on retaining black prosecutors, who account for 15 of the 262 positions — or about

5 percent of the staff. Eighteen prosecutors are Hispanic.

Now that is all well and good, and I certainly have no objection to hiring the best prosecutors out there, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or other irrelevant criteria. But what I want is the best.

Still, I wonder if discrimination has really been a problem. Look at the Chronicle's own numbers -- a graphic available on the website, but lacking in the newspaper.

racialgrafic0220[1].jpg

See, the number of minority attorneys in the Harris County DA's office is roughly equal to the percentages of minority lawyers in Texas. Now I've not been able to track down the figures for Houston, but since recruitment covers a wider area than just Harris County, the Texas numbers are a good measure to use for the pool of available lawyers.

Now that leads me to ask a question. Does this emphasis on increasing diversity in the office mean that we are not interested not in proportional representation of minorities, but in SUPER-proportional representation of those minorities? Will the policy of the office be to pass over well-qualified white lawyers in the interest of achieving this super-diversity? And how does this fit with civil rights law?





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February 21, 2008

Shootdown Successful!

Go Navy!

A missile interceptor launched from a Navy warship has struck a dying American spy satellite orbiting 130 miles over the Pacific Ocean, the Pentagon announced late Wednesday.

Officials cautioned that while early information indicated that the interceptor’s “kill vehicle” had hit the satellite, it would be 24 hours before it could be determined whether the fuel tank with 1,000 pounds of toxic hydrazine had been destroyed as planned.

Even so, one official who received a late-night briefing on the mission expressed confidence that the impact had been so powerful that the fuel tank probably had been ruptured.

Completing a mission in which an interceptor designed for missile defense was used for the first time to attack a satellite, the Lake Erie, an Aegis-class cruiser, fired a single missile just before 10:30 p.m. Eastern time, and the missile hit the satellite as it traveled at more than 17,000 miles per hour, the Pentagon said in its official announcement.

“A network of land-, air-, sea- and spaced-based sensors confirms that the U.S. military intercepted a nonfunctioning National Reconnaissance Office satellite which was in its final orbits before entering the Earth’s atmosphere,” the statement said.

Hitting that target was a significant accomplishment, and it is highly likely that they hit the fuel tank on the first try. If not, there are additional opportunities to take an additional shot at the satellite before it reenters the atmosphere. And while the odds of the craft striking a person were always quite small, the elimination of the hydrazine has been the major issue.

Oh, and for those who wondered why the Navy was concerned about undertaking the mission under less than perfect conditions, let me offer you the best non-conspiratorial answer -- when you have several days to complete a mission, multiple windows for doing so, and the option of waiting until the most favorable conditions prevail, you take that option. It isn't like there was only one chance to hit that satellite. So don't go arguing, as I've seen a number of liberals do, that concerns about the weather means that the Aegis system is unreliable. Rather, it is a sign of prudent judgment in a situation where timing was critical but time was not.





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Noose Prof A Plagiarist

And given the lack of any information about what actually happened in that celebrated case, I can't help but wonder if these two incidents are related.

A Columbia University professor who was the apparent target of a hate crime last October, when a noose was left on her office door, has been sanctioned for plagiarism, university officials confirmed today. The plagiarism investigation of the professor, Madonna G. Constantine of Teachers College, was reported today by The Columbia Spectator. This afternoon, she called the investigation “biased and flawed” and accused the university of a “witch hunt.”

The university would not specify how Professor Constantine, a psychologist, is being punished.

So she is clearly dishonest here -- and her statement plays upon the noose incident to cast herself as a victim.

In a statement sent by email this afternoon to Teachers College students and faculty members, Dr. Constantine called the investigation “biased and flawed,” saying that it, coupled with “other incidents that have happened to me at Teachers College in recent months, point to a conspiracy and witch-hunt by certain current and former members of the Teachers College community.”

“I am left to wonder whether a white faculty member would have been treated in such a publicly disrespectful and disparaging manner,” she wrote. “As one of only two tenured Black women full professors at Teachers College, it pains me to conclude that I have been specifically and systematically targeted.”

Interesting, isn't it, that she became the target of such a convenient incident right in the middle of an investigation that was going bad for her? Interesting, isn't it, that it allows her to turn a simple investigation of academic dishonesty into a racial cause celebre? It is enough to make me ask if she hung the noose herself -- after all, there have been a number of high profile noose incidents where the "victim" is the perp trying to distract from something else.

H/T Malkin





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Clinton Cash Cows Set Up 527

I guess that these special groups aren't so bad when they let Lady Macbeth Senator Hillary Clinton get a cash infusion and enable attacks on Obama that her campaign couldn't make.

Looking to boost Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's sagging fortunes, a group of Democratic political strategists has assembled an organization that will raise money from wealthy donors and run ads promoting her views in Texas and Ohio.

Called the American Leadership Project, the organization has been formed as a so-called 527 committee, which can raise unlimited amounts of money from some of Clinton's most deep-pocketed benefactors.

The group is targeting Texas and Ohio, the battleground states that hold primaries on March 4 and are considered Clinton's last best chance to keep her campaign alive against a surging Barack Obama. By law, the group cannot coordinate its activities with Clinton.

"We want to shine a light on issues that matter most to the nation's middle class — health care, freezing foreclosures, those sorts of things," Roger Salazar, the president of the new group, said in an interview. "Obviously Senator Clinton is a recognized champion on these issues."

Expect the high tech of Barack Obama to begin at the hands of these Clinton surrogates from California. Expect Hillary to say not a word against those who are running these ads. After all, bad things just coincidentally happen to those who get in the way of the Clintons -- but it isn't their fault.





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An Ethics Flap That Isn't

To borrow from the Bard -- much ado about nothing.

Early in Senator John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.

A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.

When news organizations reported that Mr. McCain had written letters to government regulators on behalf of the lobbyist’s client, the former campaign associates said, some aides feared for a time that attention would fall on her involvement.

Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship. But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity.

Interestingly enough, the story goes on like this for a couple of pages, but every single anecdote lacks one thing -- an actual act of wrong-doing on John McCain's part. The biggest question that arises anywhere in the article relates to one plane trip, and a dispute between different lawyers over whether and hoe it should have been reported on ethics forms. Pretty small potatoes, when you consider all the ink spilled on this story.

And there is, of course, the sexist double standard at work in this article, too. If the lobbyist friend had been male, would the NY Times have felt it necessary to invoke the issue of an extra-marital sexual affair when there was no evidence of one presented anywhere in the article? Doesn't hinting that female lobbyists give sexual favors to advance the interests of their clients while not making the same sort of claims about male lobbyists constitute an egregious attack upon the equality of women?

The biggest bit of evidence that there is nothing substantive to this story was published four weeks ago -- the endorsement of John McCain by the New York Times. This story has clearly been in the works for some time (indeed, dating back to at least December), and if there had been evidence of substantive wrong-doing by the Arizona Senator the endorsement would not have happened.

The Washington Post gives an interesting statistic at the end of its article that would appear damning to anyone who was too lazy to do the math.

Iseman and her firm, which includes high-profile Republicans and Democrats, have also represented a number of other companies that have had issues before McCain and the commerce committee, including Univision, a Spanish-language television network. Iseman clients have given nearly $85,000 to McCain campaigns since 2000, according to records at the Federal Election Commission.

Let's see -- depending upon how you count that, we would be talking about seven or eight calendar years worth of donations. Assuming that this sloppily constructed sentence means that the Post is only counting donations from the years 2001 through 2007 (it is a bit early to know about 2008 donations) we are talking about an average of $12,000 in donations a year from all clients of Vicki Iseman. That is peanuts when one considers her client list, constituting very small donations from the companies she represents. If anything, it would tend to show that everything is on the up and up in terms of the campaign finance end of things, and that John McCain hasn't been bought and paid for by Iseman's clients.

Now some may want to make an issue of the complaints by John McCain to NY Times editor Bill Keller and this statement attacking the paper.

U.S. Senator John McCain's presidential campaign today issued the following statement by Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker:

"It is a shame that the New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit and run smear campaign. John McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists, and he will not allow a smear campaign to distract from the issues at stake in this election.

"Americans are sick and tired of this kind of gutter politics, and there is nothing in this story to suggest that John McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career."

However, I ask those who argue (as one local blogger did) that McCain's objections to the story are proof of its truth a simple question -- if defending yourself from an accusation that you believe to be untrue and unfair constitutes proof of guilt, would you really consider silence in the face of such charges to be evidence of innocence? Or do you really care about the accuracy of the charges at all?

More At Captains Quarters, Michelle Malkin, Hot Air, Don Surber





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February 20, 2008

Primary Endorsements

As early voting soars here in Texas, I figure it is time for me to make public my endorsements on various races in Harris County.


PRESIDENT

Mitt Romney

Yes, I know that I’ve been talking for a while about the importance of supporting John McCain in November – but the primary is in March. Stopping McCain isn’t an option, but expressing a conservative vision is. I’m therefore going to cast my vote for the candidate I supported through this nominating process, as my way of supporting a conservative future for the GOP. I urge my fellow Republicans to do the same.


US SENATE

John Cornyn

John Cornyn is a competent Senator with conservative principles and rising star of the GOP. His opponent is running on a platform of secession and independence for Texas.


CONGRESS – CD22


Shelly Sekula Gibbs

Tom DeLay screwed the voters of CD22 in 2006 when he withdrew from the race for Congress after winning the primary. I quickly got behind Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula Gibbs as she sought DeLay’s spot on the ballot. After a federal court ruled that DeLay’s spot could not be filled under Texas election law, she was the endorsed candidate for both the special election to fill out the remaining weeks of DeLay’s term AND as a write-in candidate for the general election. She won the special election handily, and made a strong showing against a Democrat whose name was actually on the ballot. She spent her short time in Congress highlighting conservative principles and issues in a series of speeches and press releases.

Fast-forward to 2008. Ten candidates seek the Republican nomination to take on Nick Lampson. Four are irrelevant no-names. Two, former Judge Jim Squier and former Pasadena Mayor John Manlove gave up secure posts for longshot congressional bids that have simply not ignited much passion. That leaves four serious candidates, who I will talk about in a moment. Ultimately, there will be a run-off in this race – with 10 candidates in the race it is extremely unlikely that any candidate can break 50%. It is a safe bet that the two candidates in the run-off are on the list below.

1) Pete Olson, a former staffer for Phil Gramm and John Cornyn comes highly recommended by Washington insiders and heavily funded by Washington insiders and lobbyists. While he does have roots in the district, he has been away for many years and did not even have a Texas drivers license a year ago. He’s conservative, but is he just as much a carpetbagger as Nick Lampson?

2) Robert Talton has a great record in the Texas Legislature, but is often perceived as extreme and volatile in his temperament. He was the favorite of most precinct chairman to take Tom DeLay’s place on the ballot during the 2006 fiasco – but he wouldn’t give up his safe legislative seat to make a write-in run. He wouldn’t put it on the line for us two years ago to help us keep CD22 Republican – why should we support him now?

3) Dean Hrbacek is a former mayor of Sugar Land, and compiled a great record in that position. He was strangely absent from the 2006 scramble for the seat, which is too bad – he would have made a great candidate and drawn many votes from the western half of the district. His experience and character would serve him well were he to be elected – but I think he missed his best chance in 2006.

4) Shelley Sekula Gibbs, as recounted above, hit the ground running in 2006 and hasn’t stopped running since. After her brief time in Washington was over, she began an immediate effort to take the seat she held for those few weeks after winning the special election. She has clearly and consistently enunciated a conservative platform during that time. She has high name identification and has raised significant funds for the race. I believe her to be the best choice for us in 2008.

I therefore urge my fellow Republicans to once again cast their ballot for Shelley Sekula Gibbs.


HARRIS COUNTY JUDGE

Charles Bacarisse

Ed Emmett became Harris County judge through a corrupt bargain between former County Judge Robert Eckels and the rest of the Commissioners Court. Rather than selecting a replacement who had the faith of the voters, they chose an Eckels crony who had not stood for office in two decades. This did not inspire confidence in the people of Harris County – and Ed Emmett has done nothing to earn that confidence since then. Charles Bacarisse has a solid record of accomplishment in his years as District Clerk, and has put forth solid conservative plans for dealing with ethics in county government and unpaid bills from both legal and illegal aliens treated by the Harris County Hospital District at taxpayer expense. He is not merely the best choice – he is the only choice.


HARRIS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY

Jim Leitner

I won’t recount the recent scandal that led to Chuck Rosenthal’s decision not to seek reelection as DA and his eventual resignation. Suffice it to say that I’m pleased he is gone. Of the four candidates to succeed him in that office, three are clearly qualified and two have experience as prosecutors. In an ordinary year I’d be inclined to support Kelly Siegler, the best prosecutor on a staff of highly regarded prosecutors. However, Siegler’s husband is intimately connected with the scandal that brought down Rosenthal, and so I don’t believe she will be able to escape that shadow. Jim Leitner, on the other hand, is a defense attorney with who was also 1st Assistant DA in the office some years ago. He is highly regarded by the Harris County Bar, and has laid out a plan for restoring public confidence in the DAs office. I believe he is our best choice.


TEXAS HOUSE DISTRICT 129

Jon Keeney

There is a serious problem in District 129, and it is the incumbent Republican, John Davis. I’ve already made it clear that I believe he needs to be removed from office due to his ineffectiveness, unresponsiveness, and ethical lapses. Fortunately, retired businessman Jon Keeney has stepped forward to offer us a choice in the primary. He is running on a platform that supports high ethical standards and economic development in the region. Keeney is not only the best choice, he is the only choice.


JUSTICE OF THE PEACE, PRECINCT 8, PLACE 1

Holly Williamson

We have the good fortune of having three excellent candidates in this race. Indeed, I struggled with this one before deciding on Holly Williamson. Of the three candidates, Williamson strikes me as the one who is best suited to the position. Long active in the community in the Clear Lake area, Holly is a respected attorney with strong support form the grassroots Republican activists in the area.

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Doesn’t This Raise Campaign Finance Questions?

How does campaign finance law apply here.

The founders of Ben & Jerry's endorsed Barack Obama on Monday, and lent his Vermont campaign two "ObamaMobiles" that will tour the state and give away scoops of "Cherries for Change" ice cream.

I’m curious – does this constitute a personal donation from Ben and Jerry? What is the value of that donation? If they market this “Cherries for Change” Ice cream, will any reference to Obama be counted as a donation? Is Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream a partnership or a corporation – and if so, how do the rules on corporate donations come into play here? All in all, this hearkens back to my earlier post on campaign contributions.

H/T The Campaign Spot.

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Big Night For Obama, McCain

Two wins each, thank you very much. Whither Hillary?

Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) swept to victories in Wisconsin and Hawaii yesterday, bringing to 10 the number of consecutive contests he has won over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and raising the stakes for crucial votes in Ohio and Texas next month.

On the Republican side, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) easily beat former governor Mike Huckabee (Ark.) in Wisconsin and the Washington State caucuses, two wins that further cement his status as the race's front-runner.

The big difference is this -- with the nomination more or less secure, John McCain can work on defining himself relative to the two Democrats. On the other hand, the two Democrats, especially Hillary Clinton, will find it necessary to focus on securing the support of their own party base as they attempt to win the nomination. COnventional wisdom says this favors McCain -- but we shall see. After all, a string of victories for Obama (he is now up to 10 straight) could boost Obama's image as a strong candidate even higher.





|| Greg, 05:15 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

No New Fall TV Seasons?

If this catches on, the practice of introducing new shows in the fall will go the way of the dodo bird and the passenger pigeon.

NBC Universal took a big step toward undoing one of the television industry’s oldest traditions by announcing Tuesday that it would move to a year-round schedule of staggered program introductions. The move is intended to appeal to advertisers, who crave fresh content to keep viewers tuned in.

And if it succeeds — and leads other broadcast networks to shift from their focus on a mass introduction of new shows — it could alter an American cultural cycle that extends all the way back to the days of radio, when families gathered around the Philco every September, as the school year began, to sample the new entertainment choices.

NBC plans to announce a 52-week schedule in April, a month before ABC and CBS will unveil their fall lineups at splashy presentations known as upfronts. The decision means that NBC will be committing to a new lineup of shows earlier than any of its competitors, while also inviting advertisers to build marketing plans around specific shows and perhaps to integrate brands and products into the plots of the shows themselves.

We've been seeing a move this direction for some time. For example, the show 24 has always debuted in the winter (well, prior to this strike-plagued year). And there have been a number of limited run series that are shown during the summer. But as a rule, the fall has been the time to roll out the new product line, just like the auto industry. But there really isn't any solid business reason for doing so, especially as some shows die an ugly death at mid-season, or even earlier, and need replacements. This will also do away with the rerun desert that is the summer months -- we will always have something new on network TV.





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Atlantis Coming Home

Another successful mission for NASA.

The Atlantis astronauts on Tuesday prepared to return to Earth ahead of an attempt by the Navy to destroy a falling spy satellite. Forecasters predicted sunny skies over the ship's primary landing site in Florida.

The seven shuttle fliers, who were completing a 13-day mission to the international space station, plan to touch down today at NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 8:07 a.m. CST, with a backup landing opportunity at 9:42 a.m. CST.

Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., where the outlook included a chance for rain and high runway crosswinds, was also prepared for landing opportunities at 11:12 a.m. and 12:47 p.m. CST.

"I'm real optimistic, looking at the weather briefs, that things will play out really well for the Kennedy Space Center — to land there on the first try," flight director Bryan Lunney, who will orchestrate the shuttle's return from Mission Control, said Tuesday.

Congratulations on a job well done -- to both the astronauts and all the NASA employees who have made the mission a success. Most folks don't think about the long shifts and strange hours you have to keep while these birds are flying, but those of us who live around you do.





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Will Chelsea Get A Real Job?

And quit exploiting the real people of America?

After all, she works managing hedge funds -- and those are bad people, according to Hillary Clinton.

ABC News' Jennifer Parker and Eloise Harper Report: Sen. Hillary Clinton took a swipe at her daughter's profession today at an economic roundtable discussion at a restaurant in Parma, Ohio, suggesting wealthy investment bankers and hedge fund managers on Wall Street aren't doing real 'work.'

The former first lady's daughter, Chelsea Clinton, works for New York-based hedge fund Avenue Capital Group. She previously worked in New York for McKinsey & Company, her first job after graduating with her master's degree from Oxford University.

"We also have to reward work more," Clinton told a small group of Ohio residents today. "and by that, I mean, I have people in New York working on Wall Street as investment managers, as hedge fund executives. Under the tax code, they can pay a lower percentage of their income in taxes on $50 million dollars, than a teacher, or a nurse, or a truck driver in Parma pays on $50,000. That's very discouraging to people."

You just feel like, 'wait a minute. I'm working as hard as I can.' All those people you see in your law office. They're working as hard as they can and they feel like they're just getting further and further behind," Clinton said.

It's not the first time Clinton has taken a swipe against her daughter's profession. Campaigning in Wisconsin yesterday, Clinton railed against hedge funds as Chelsea sat off to the side.

"I saw a sign over here - someone has a t-shirt on, tax hedge fund dealers," Clinton said Monday, "well in this economy we are going to have a fair tax system again. A Wall Street investment manager, a hedge fund dealer, should not pay a lower percentage of taxes on his 50 million dollars worth of income.”

Gee -- David Shuster was suspended from MSNBC for criticizing the Clinton campaign's use of Chelsea Clinton as a surrogate. Now that Hillary is attacking her daughter's profession -- and, by implication, her daughter -- will there be some sort of penalty for the attack on Chelsea? Or does the Clinton campaign hold out a double standard on attacks on Chelse?

And by the way -- will Hillary insist that her daughter get a real job?

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|| Greg, 04:51 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Plumbing Courses

Now I’m something of a contrarian in the field of education today. I firmly believe that we send too many kids on to college, and that we really need to be encouraging some students to consider a trade which suits their aptitude and interests and which will equip them for success in their lives. I’m not talking digging ditches – I mean skilled trades like plumbing, where there is good money to be made.

Well, over the last 3 years, Avand.co.uk has been helping folks find just such vocational training in the field of plumbing with their excellent Plumbing Courses . They act as a clearinghouse for plumbing courses. Now I’ll be really honest with you – I think plumbing is a spectacular field for someone to get into if they are skilled with their hands and technically minded. I think of the last guy I had in here to do plumbing work for me at my home – it was almost like watching a surgeon at work as he swiftly dealt with the technical aspects of the job in a way that I would have never considered. And I know he gets paid well, probably comparable to me if not better. So this is certainly a field that you might want to check into.





|| Greg, 04:49 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Passion? Try Pride

Mike Huckabee says that his reason for not withdrawing from the race for the GOP nomination is passion.

Mike Huckabee said Tuesday passion for his beliefs — not his ego — was the reason he remains in the Republican presidential race despite near-impossible odds.

Rival John McCain collected another primary win in Wisconsin and moved closer to the 1,191 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Huckabee hasn't won a contest since Feb. 9.

"It's not about ego," Huckabee told reporters at a Little Rock hotel. The former Arkansas governor said he still wanted to deliver his message about issues important to him, such as opposition to abortion and a revised U.S. tax policy.

Sorry, Mike, I disagree. The issue is one of ego -- of the sort of pride that goeth before the fall. You are unable to win, and have never really been a serious candidate. Indeed, then electoral math shows that you cannot win this race. And yet still you run, pretending that you have something of significance to offer the GOP at this moment rather than working towards healing and reconciliation between conservatives and the presumptive nominee, John McCain.

Get out, Mike -- get out now.





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February 19, 2008

Castro Resigns

After half a century, the dictator Fidel Castro will be stepping down from his position as the chief oppressor of the Cuban people.

An ailing Fidel Castro resigned as Cuba's president Tuesday after nearly a half-century in power, saying he will not accept a new term when the new parliament meets Sunday.

"I will not aspire to nor accept _ I repeat, I will not aspire to nor accept _ the post of President of the Council of State and Commander in Chief," read a letter signed by Castro published early Tuesday in the online edition of the Communist Party daily Granma.

The announcement effectively ends the rule of the 81-year-old Castro after almost 50 years, positioning his 76-year-old brother Raul for permanent succession to the presidency. Fidel Castro temporarily ceded his powers to his brother on July 31, 2006, when he announced that he had undergone intestinal surgery.

Since then, the elder Castro has not been seen in public, appearing only sporadically in official photographs and videotapes and publishing dense essays about mostly international themes as his younger brother has consolidated his rule.

Unfortunately, there is nothing in this development that tends towards freedom for the Cuban people. The Communists still control the island, the people are still not free, and it is presumed that Fidel's brother will be his hand-picked successor.

Interestingly enough, there was no public appearance by the ailing dictator. It is sufficient to make one question whether he is being kept on ice somewhere, pending the selection of Raul Castro as the new Cuban leader and his consolidation of power.

But until the people of Cuba are truly free, it really doesn't matter if Fidel Castro has received his infernal reward in the bowels of Hell or not. This does, however, seem to be one step closer to that glorious day of freedom.

More at Malkin, Neocon News, A Newt One, Ed Driscoll, American Mind, Matt Sanchez, TNOYF, Babalu Blog





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Tightening Up The Standards For Sainthood

I'll agree that it is important that anyone publicly endorsed as a saint by the Catholic Church ought to have a true reputation for holiness and that alleged miracles need to be thoroughly investigated -- but I've got concerns about this development.

The Vatican is making it tougher to become a saint.

New procedures were announced Monday calling for more "rigor" and "sobriety" by bishops when deciding to begin the process of beatification and in determining the required miracles.

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, head of the Vatican's sainthood office, recently suggested that the Vatican was overwhelmed by causes following the pontificate of the late Pope John Paul II, who elevated more people to sainthood than all his predecessors combined.

Saraiva Martins said there are more than 2,200 beatification and sainthood causes pending.

The cardinal, speaking at a news conference Monday, stressed the need for a "true reputation for holiness" among candidates before a process begins.

He said "rigorous historical research is obviously intrinsic" to the investigation.

The troubling aspect of this case is that it almost seems to be a slap at Pope John Paul the Great, the predecessor of the current pontiff. He canonized and beatified more people than any prior pope -- partially out of a philosophy that the Church can and should recognize the sanctity of Christians in all parts of the world and all walks of life. I'm concerned that this change may challenge that view.

And I remain disturbed that the institutionalized process leaves out an older practice of the Church -- canonization via the acclamation of the people. Just as St. Thomas a Becket was recognized as a saint a mere three years after his martyrdom because the faithful of England had nearly universally proclaimed him as such, there needs to be a similar process today. Do the faithful (and the rest of humanity, for that matter) really need the curial bureaucracy to complete the paperwork to tell them what they already know in the cases of John Paul the Great and Mother Teresa?





|| Greg, 05:17 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Obama Plagiarism Silliness

I'm certainly not an Obama supporter -- anyone who has spent any time reading here knows that. But I do have to defend him against the silly plagiarism charge leveled by the Clinton campaign (and some of my fellow conservatives).

Howard Wolfson, the Clinton campaign's communications director, today accused Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) of committing “plagiarism” in a speech in Milwaukee on Saturday night.

Wolfson made the explosive charge in an interview with Politico after suggesting as much in a conference call with reporters.

On the call, Wolfson said: “Sen. Obama is running on the strength of his rhetoric and the strength of his promises and, as we have seen in the last couple of days, he’s breaking his promises and his rhetoric isn’t his own.”

"When an author plagiarizes from another author there is damage done to two different parties. One is to the person he plagiarized from. The other is to the reader," said Wolfson.

Now I'll be honest -- the idea is similar. And both Patrick and Obama admit that they had discussed the idea that underlies their respective statements. But the idea expressed is hardly original with Deval Patrick -- the notion that words are powerful things in and of themselves, and that they have the capacity to move entire societies and change the world.

When did I first encounter that idea? In Mr. O'Keefe's ninth grade English class. I heard it again in any number of classes -- speech, English, history, and political science -- during the rest of my academic career. I've said something similar to my students in my own classes

And let's look at what both men did -- they strung together some of the most electrifying words of American history and noted that they were "just words". It isn't an original idea. And while the phrasing is nearly identical, which initially raised some questions in my mind, there is really nothing distinctive what was said. Heck, it wasn't even a particularly profound idea -- I'd almost call it a platitude.

And one further point -- our politicians today rarely speak an unscripted word. Even the ad libs are planned in advance, as I would suggest this one was. Few and far between are the Daniel Websters and Henry Clays who produce all their own material -- most political speechifying is the result of the work of hired guns and advisers. Barack Obama took an idea proffered by one of them and ran with it. Hardly indicative of a character flaw. How many of her words on the campaign trail actually originated from the pen of Hillary Clinton, and how many came from those of her staff and supporters?

In my opinion Barack Obama is an empty suit -- but this particular issue doesn't prove it.

And it looks like at least one Clintonoid agrees with me.





|| Greg, 04:40 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 18, 2008

Get Well, Nancy

Nancy Reagan had a bad fall over the weekend, and is hospitalized.

Nancy Reagan was hospitalized on Sunday after falling in her home, a spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman, Joanne Drake, said Mrs. Reagan, 87, was taken to St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica for examination and would stay in the hospital overnight. Doctors said she did not break a hip as had been initially feared.

Ms. Drake said Mrs. Reagan was staying in the room where former President Ronald Reagan stayed after breaking his hip in their home, in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, in 2001.

It appears that this is just a minor incident, with no long term consequences. Still, I'd like to ask folks to take a moment and offer up a prayer or a positive thought for this dear lady, who spent years devoted to the greatest president of my lifetime.





|| Greg, 05:18 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

GOP Veepstakes

With John McCain the presumptive nominee at this point, the talk has turned to the selection of a Republican running mate. This is important for a lot of reasons, of course, but three in particular stand out.

1) John McCain has issues with the conservative base of the GOP, and he needs to woo them.

2) John McCain will be 72 years old when elected in November, and though his health is good his age makes it important that he have a qualified successor.

3) John McCain may very well be a one-term president due to his age, and his vice president is likely the presumptive front-runner in 2008.

So who are some possibilities? Well, other than a decision to reach out to a former rival like Mitt Romney (a good choice in light of point 1) or Rudy Giuliani (a bad choice for the same reason), one of the names I have heard on virtually every list is Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Even through the McCain campaign’s darkest days in 2007, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty remained a steadfast ally to the Arizona senator in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

As a result, with John McCain as the clear GOP front-runner and insider talk turning to speculation about his possible running mate, party insiders are now buzzing about the 47-year-old, second-term governor’s vice presidential prospects.

Why Pawlenty?

“First of all, his age is attractive,” Weber says, hinting at the nearly quarter-century difference between his fellow Minnesotan and the 71-year-old McCain. “Second, he’s from outside Washington. Third, he represents a battleground part of the country. And he has a nice balance of, on one hand being totally acceptable to the conservative wing of the party, especially to social conservatives, but at the same time sharing a couple of key maverick strains of thought with McCain.”

And let's be honest -- Pawlenty has a great following within the conservative blogosphere, which has been none-to-pleased with the rise of McCain. One of his big backers is none other than Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters. Ditto Hugh Hewitt, who it appears has spoken highly of the governor for years. That can't hurt a young governor with a proven record of success. Expect to here more speculation about Pawlenty in coming weeks.





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Obama Seeks Edwards Endorsement

In my eyes the question is not if the junior Senator from Illinois will get it, but when.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) paid a secret visit to his former rival, John Edwards, in quest of his endorsement on Sunday.

The meeting in Chapel Hill, N.C., where Edwards lives, is the latest effort by Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) to win "the Edwards primary" — the heatedly sought endorsement of the third-place finisher in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Clinton also pulled off a secret meeting to the Edwards mansion earlier this month. Speeches by both candidates have been including frequent references to Edwards' message about ending poverty.

In a delegate race that's essentially tied, with Obama in a slight lead, the Edwards nod could be very valuable.

Obama's campaign said in a statement: "Sen. Obama visited this morning with John and Elizabeth Edwards at their home in Chapel Hill to discuss the state of the campaign and the pressing issues facing American families."

What I find amusing is the need for this to be a secret meeting at all. Everybody knows that both Obama and Clinton want -- need, actually -- Edwards' endorsement right now to make clinching the nomination quickly a real possibility. If Edwards withholds that endorsement, the Democrats will be facing a race that runs through May or June -- if not the convention itself due to the superdelegates.

Pictures and video can be found here.





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Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Mandate Me, Baby by Right Wing Nut House, and Are We At War? And What Is the Political Consequence of That For Conservatives In This Election? by BeldarBlog.  Here is a link to the full results of the vote:

VotesCouncil link
3  1/3Mandate Me, Baby
Right Wing Nut House
2  1/3Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and McCain Derangement Syndrome
Wolf Howling
2Of Israel, the Palestinians and the United States
Soccer Dad
1  2/3America In a Six-Word Slogan
Cheat Seeking Missiles
1Philip's Complaint, or Liberal Political Thinking in a Nutshell
Bookworm Room
2/3Complex
Done With Mirrors
2/3None Dare Call It Murder
Joshuapundit
2/3The Balance
The Glittering Eye
2/3How the Democrats Will Attack McCain... and Fail Miserably
Big Lizards

VotesNon-council link
3  1/3Are We At War? And What Is the Political Consequence of That For Conservatives In This Election?
BeldarBlog
2  2/3The Final Mission, Part II
Michael J. Totten
2  1/3Obama's Politics of Collective Redemption
American Thinker
1Seven Reasons To Support The GOP's Nominee
Hugh Hewitt
2/3Tim Rutten Lies About Cheney's CPAC Speech
Patterico's Pontifications
2/3The White House Wants a $1.4 Billion Stimulus/National Security Package... for Mexico
Michelle Malkin
2/3The Red King and Equality Before the Law
Brits at their Best
1/3Obama, Exxon Mobil, Economics and Populism
The QandO Blog
1/3The Obama Che Flag Flap
Ace of Spades HQ

Congratulations to the winners, and good job to all those who entered. I was really impressed with the quality of this week's nominees. Can't wait to see what comes our way with the next set of entries.





|| Greg, 01:31 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 17, 2008

How About A Trade

Seems like the government of Mahmoud the Mad is demanding censorship of anti-Islamic speech here in the West.

The Iranian government has called on the Dutch government to stop the screening of a film in the Netherlands blaspheming holy Quran.

The film, by the Dutch member of parliament Geert Wilders, is regarded by the Muslims as blasphemous.

The Iranian justice minister, Gholam Hussein Elham, wrote to his Dutch counterpart, Ernst Hirsch Ballin, calling for a ban.

Gholamhossein Elham said freedom of speech should not be used as a cover for attacking moral and religious values.

Well, then, Minister Gholam Hussein Elham, I can only presume that you will ban this film and punish those who made or funded it.

A new movie in Iran depicts the life of Jesus from an Islamic perspective. "The Messiah," which some consider as Iran's answer to Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ," won an award at Rome's Religion Today Film Festival, for generating interfaith dialogue. The movie will be adapted into a television series, shown on Iranian TV later this year.

Of course, the film itself is an act of blasphemy from the Christian perspective -- it denies Jesus was the Son of God, denies the Crucifixion, and denies the Resurrection, and relegates the Messiah to the mere status of "the last Jewish prophet" rather than rightly honoring him as the Savior of all humanity. And given that this satanic, blasphemous work was funded by the Iranian government and is to be shown on Iranian state television, I'd have to argue that what we have got here is a massive display of hypocritical chutzpah by the Iranians.

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Dead-On Political Humor!

I am not into rubber stamping, but my wife is. She passed on this little bit of political humor from one of her favorite stamping sites.

Dear Paperlicious,

I live in South Gambusta and am unfamiliar with the US system of politics.  Do politicians stamp?

Signed,
Want to Know As Much As You Do

Dear WTKAMAYD:

Hey there other side of the world person!!  Welcome to my explanation of politics USA and its relationship to stamping.

First, here is a brief summary of the Presidential race.  The President runs the country.  Kind of like the Shelli Gardner of the USA. Not quite as influential, but pretty important.  Up until this year, the President has always been a POWG  (pretty old white guy).  This year, he may be John McCain (POWG), but may be a YAAG (young African American guy) -- Barack Obama, or a MAWW (middle age white woman).  Our heads are spinning at the thought!!!

Right now the Repubicans are about to select McCain to be their nominee for President but half the Repulicans hate McCain so we have no idea what's up with that.  The Democrats are in a knock down drag out fight between Obama and Clinton, so we have no clue where that is going.

Basically, we have no clue.

UNTIL TODAY!!!! 

I was lucky enough to interview each of them.

You'll have to click the link to read the actual interviews, which to my way of thinking seem to have captured the personalities of each of the three major candidates. If you have ever been dragged to a craft store by your wife visited a craft store with your significant other, this one will bring a smile to your face.

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|| Greg, 11:09 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Absurdity Of Historical Preservation

When I was a little kid, I liked the Carpenters. Indeed, I even owned their Now and Then album (on vinyl!), which featured their home on the cover. The group is a bit of nostalgia for me.

But their home is NOT a significant historical structure -- no matter what some fans think.

Owners of The Carpenters' former home aren't feeling on top of the world about the legions of fans who keep stopping by to pay tribute.

The five-bedroom tract house, where siblings Karen and Richard Carpenter lived and penned some of their greatest hits, was featured on the cover of their 1973 hit album "Now & Then." It was also where an anorexic Karen Carpenter collapsed in 1983 before dying.

Owners Manuel and Blanca Melendez Parra have apparently grown weary of the parade of fans paying homage.

The couple have submitted plans to officials in Downey, a city about 15 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, to raze the 39-year-old main house, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. The Parras have already torn down an adjoining house and have begun construction on a larger home.

The proposal to level the rest of the residence has angered fans.

"This house is our version of Graceland," said Carpenters aficionado Jon Konjoyan. "When they photographed the 'Now & Then' cover here in 1973, the house was instantly immortalized."

The 57-year-old musician and promoter is heading a campaign to save the original home from the wrecker's ball. Some fans have proposed that Downey officials declare the house a historic landmark.

Good grief! The Carpenters, while good, must be retrospectively viewed as nothing more than the purveyors of cloyingly sweet pop music. They certainly have not left a legacy significant enough to necessitate the preservation of this home -- and in the process strip the owners of their property rights without compensation.

Jon Konjoyan wants the home preserved -- either through government action, purchase of the home, or requiring it to be moved.

I want Jon Konjoyan to mind his own business and quit trying to interfere with the property rights of the Parra family, who bought the home when nobody considered it significant enough to purchase.





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An Interesting Conclusion

I wonder how this slipped by the editorial staff of the Washington post. After all, the conclusion is quite supportive of the war in Iraq and projects victory.

In Iraq, as we have seen with the anti-al-Qaeda, Sunni Arab "Awakenings," Sunni extremism is now in retreat. More important, the gruesome anti-Shiite tactics of extremist groups, combined with the much-quoted statements made by former Sunni insurgents about the positive actions of the United States in Iraq, have caused a great deal of intellectual turbulence in the Arab world.

It's way too soon to call Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda spiritual outcasts among Arab Muslims, but they have in fact sustained enormous damage throughout the region because of Iraq. The lack of holy-warrior manpower coming from the Muslim Brotherhood is surely, in part, a reflection of this discomfort with al-Qaeda's violence, the complexity of Iraqi politics and America's not entirely negative role inside the country. If bin Ladenism is now on the decline -- and it may well be among Arabs -- then Iraq has played an essential part in battering the movement's spiritual appeal.

Iraq could still fall apart (and if an American president starts withdrawing troops haphazardly, it probably will). The country's descent into chaos and renewed sectarian strife would likely reenergize Islamic extremism. But it is certainly not too soon to suggest that Iraq could well become America's decisive victory over Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda and all those Muslims who believe that God has sanctified violence against the United States.

Yeah, I did bold that parenthetical comment -- because it goes to the very heart of the 2008 presidential election. We have one candidate still in the running for the White House who says he is prepared to do what it takes to ensure victory over the terrorists. and stability in Iraq. You have two others who are promising immediate withdrawal of American troops if they are elected. The choice is therefore clear -- a policy that will be a setback to the Islamists, or one that will bring about their resurgence. There is no question which outcome is better for the United States.





|| Greg, 08:49 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Scandal That Isn't

For all that the New York Times wants to make this into a scandal, their own reporting of the story proves why it is not.

A technical glitch gave the F.B.I. access to the e-mail messages from an entire computer network — perhaps hundreds of accounts or more — instead of simply the lone e-mail address that was approved by a secret intelligence court as part of a national security investigation, according to an internal report of the 2006 episode.

F.B.I. officials blamed an “apparent miscommunication” with the unnamed Internet provider, which mistakenly turned over all the e-mail from a small e-mail domain for which it served as host. The records were ultimately destroyed, officials said.

Bureau officials noticed a “surge” in the e-mail activity they were monitoring and realized that the provider had mistakenly set its filtering equipment to trap far more data than a judge had actually authorized.

The episode is an unusual example of what has become a regular if little-noticed occurrence, as American officials have expanded their technological tools: government officials, or the private companies they rely on for surveillance operations, sometimes foul up their instructions about what they can and cannot collect.

So what we have here is not overreaching by government. What we actually have is human error. And let me be quite blunt -- as long as we have human beings involved in the process of collecting intelligence, there will continue to be human error. If the New York Times wants to make a scandal out of these occurrences it can try to do so -- but I think it will look pretty silly doing so when its own reporting indicates that these are not terribly common and not intentional misdeeds.





|| Greg, 08:31 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 16, 2008

Rosenthal Resigns

I've started this post about three times since yesterday afternoon.

I've dumped everything I've written each time -- mainly because I've been unable to prevent myself from veering off into a profane rant against Chuck Roesnthal.

After all, as I have indicated earlier, I believe he should have left office weeks ago.

Instead he hung on and damaged the DAs office here in Harris County in ways which could and should have been avoided.

Besieged by an e-mail scandal and perjury accusations, Texas’s most powerful prosecutor resigned on Friday, saying that a combination of prescription drugs had “caused some impairment in my judgment.”

The resignation of the prosecutor, District Attorney Charles A. Rosenthal Jr. of Harris County, the state’s busiest criminal jurisdiction, ended removal proceedings by the Texas attorney general.

It was a relief to fellow Republican leaders who last month quashed Mr. Rosenthal’s bid for a third term.

The office of Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican who will appoint a successor, said it had not been formally notified by Mr. Rosenthal and had no immediate response.

Asked by e-mail for comment, Mr. Rosenthal, 62, sent a terse answer: “Yeah. Right!”

The resignation, announced in a one-page statement, followed by hours the filing of a state suit seeking Mr. Rosenthal’s removal “for intoxication, incompetence or official misconduct.”

Frankly, that is a pretty good summary, and decent reporting for the New York Times. And for what it is worth, I think that Rosenthal's response to the Times is indicative of the attitude he has shown throughout the recent scandal -- that he was a law unto himself and needn't answer to anyone.

The resignation press release itself is rather interesting.

As the Houston Chronicle points out, only ten days before he had been denying medication issues.

>As recently as 10 days ago, Rosenthal publicly denied having any problems with medication to deal with pain.

At a Feb. 5 meeting with about 20 of his upper echelon administrators, Rosenthal addressed "rumors that he was addicted to painkillers" that he had heard was going around, said Julian Ramirez, a division chief.

Rosenthal said he didn't even take painkillers, Ramirez said.

So if it isn't an issue op painkillers, what medications have been rendering Rosenthal unfit for office? Has he, as accused in a lawsuit filed by Democrat activist and C.O. Bradford surrogate Lloyd Kelley (his former law partner), been self-medicating with alcohol in the office?

Now some speculate the resignation -- and the reason for casting it in terms of involuntary intoxication due to prescription medications -- has less to do with the medical issues and more to do with legal ones surrounding possible perjury charges.

Rosenthal might have admitted pharmacological drugs impaired his judgment so he can raise involuntary intoxication as a possible defense if he is charged with perjury, Kelley said.

Involuntary intoxication — such as unawareness that a combination of drugs could have a certain effect — is a fact issue that can be considered by a jury in a perjury case, said attorney Pat McCann, president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association.

"It is a circumstance that could make it difficult to prove you intended to lie," McCann said.

And once again, we find Dr. Sam Siegler, husband of ace prosecutor and DA candidate Kelly Siegler, right in the middle of the entire mess. The information that comes out over the next few days could be critical in determining how badly damaged Kelly Siegler's candidacy is by this continually unfolding scandal. However, it confirms in my mind the correctness of my decision, communicated to Kelly Siegler in person at the GOP Executive Committee meeting on February 11, to endorse Jim Leitner for the DA nomination because he is not married to one of the principals in the unfolding scandal. She may be the single best courtroom advocate that the Harris County DA has had in recent years, but until the dust settles in this case I believe someone from outside the office and not closely related to a major figure in the case is a better option, even if her conduct has been undeniably above reproach.

And i agree with the Houston Chronicle on this point about the temporary replacement for Rosenthal.

Gov. Rick Perry now will have to appoint an interim replacement. The Chronicle urges Perry, a Republican, to pass over any of the four Republicans and the lone Democrat now seeking election to the office. Appointing a political candidate to fill Rosenthal's unexpired term would give that person an unfair advantage in the voting to permanently replace the outgoing district attorney. That would interfere with the voting public's right to choose the office's next leader.

The person who steps in to replace Rosenthal in the months before the November general election should be independent of politics, have a reputation for integrity and judgment that is beyond reproach, and have no desire to be elected to the office.

The ideal candidate, who would serve until an elected successor takes office Jan. 1, would be a person from outside the District Attorney's Office who has previous prosecutorial experience, perhaps in the federal system. Experience on the defense side of the bar would be an additional plus, because it would offer the balanced perspective that many have complained is lacking in the office.

The governor cannot be seen as taking sides between the GOP candidates two weeks before the primary, or between general election candidates. I tend to agree with the proposed qualifications as well, though I can think of candidates without all those qualifications who would help restore public confidence in the prosecutor's office again. Among these would be former DA Johnny Holmes, who built the office into one of the finest District Attorney offices in the nation during his tenure.

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|| Greg, 02:18 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Obama In A Bind Of His Own Making

Obama insisted that other candidates adhere to campaign spending limits -- but he has been raising cash like they don't apply. Seems a wee bit hypocritical to me. And he is getting hammered for it.

Hammering Senator Barack Obama for a fourth straight day, Senator John McCain said here on Friday that he expects Senator Obama to abide by his pledge use public financing for his general election if Mr. McCain does so as well.

“It was very clear to me that Senator Obama had agreed to having public financing of the general election campaign if I did the same thing,” he said after a town hall meeting here. “I made the commitment to the American people that if I was the nominee of my party, I would go the route of public financing. I expect Senator Obama to keep his word to the American people as well.”

Asked if he would use public financing even if Mr. Obama did not, he said: “If Senator Obama goes back on his commitment to the American people, then obviously we have to rethink our position. Our whole agreement was we would take public financing if he made that commitment as well. And he signed a piece of paper, I’m told, that made that commitment.”

Mr. Obama did not rule out the possibility of accepting public financing, but declared on Friday, “I’m not the nominee yet.”

“If I am the nominee, I will make sure our people talk to John McCain’s people to find out if we are willing to abide by the same rules and regulations with respect to the general election going forward,” Mr. Obama told reporters at a news conference in Milwaukee. “It would be presumptuous of me to start saying now that I am locking into something when I don’t even know if the other side will agree to it.”

Actually, at this point Senator Obama DOES know who the GOP niminee will be, and he has agreed to abide by the spending limits, so his refusal to commit is disingenuous.

Especially since his campaign is claiming that Barack Obama has never ACTUALLY committed to public financing.

“Obama is not the nominee, but this is a question we will address when he is," campaign spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement Thursday. Burton rejected the idea that Obama was trying to have it both ways on the issue.

The context here is important. Obama made his original comments when his campaign was just getting started and his fundraising ability was largely unknown. Obama has since emerged as a record-setting fundraiser who likely would eclipse the $85 million public financing limit.

In other words, that commitment was back when he didn't know if he could raise much more then the spending limit -- but now that he sees he can, he doesn't consider what he said to be binding. Seems like the "candidate of change" is really the "candidate of change his mind".

And the Washington Post offers this observation.

But this kind of backtracking and parsing isn't what the millions of voters who have been inspired by Mr. Obama are looking for. It's not befitting Mr. Obama's well-earned image as a champion of reform. Instead of waffling, Mr. Obama should be pushing Ms. Clinton to go beyond her spokesman's statements that she would "definitely consider" forgoing public financing.

Why not let the candidates raise as much cash as they can and save the taxpayers' money? Because it's better for voters if candidates spend more time talking to them and less time cozying up to donors. It's better for democracy if candidates are less indebted to big bundlers who have raked in six- or seven-figure amounts for their campaigns. Mr. McCain seems to understand this. What about the Democrats?

Now I personally disagree with the whole premise of Political Speech And participation Limitation Laws like those supported by the liberal media, John McCain, and, supposedly, the Democrats. I believe it is better for the American people and the American political system if individuals (not corporations or unions, but individuals) are permitted to freely speak and donate money to campaigns without limits. I believe that it is better if candidates and campaigns and political parties are not muzzled by spending limits. And I believe that this piece in today's Washington Post makes a compelling case that such laws are inimical to the First Amendment. But if Barack Obama is going to argue that clean politics require the suppression of political speech and participation, he ought to bind himself to that regime right now.

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|| Greg, 12:13 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Checking Arrestees For Violations Of The Law

I fail to see how anyone can object to this program.

PHOENIX — The police in this city at the center of the immigration debate will soon ask all people arrested whether they are in the United States legally and will in certain cases report the information to the federal authorities, Mayor Phil Gordon announced on Friday.

People stopped for civil traffic violations like speeding will not be questioned, nor will crime victims or witnesses.

All those arrested on criminal charges like drunken driving and murder will be asked by officers whether they are in the United States legally.

The police may decide to recommend checking by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The change includes having the police notify the immigration agency about people who are detained but not arrested who officers have “reasonable basis” to believe are illegal immigrants.

This seems like a commonsense solution to me. In asking the question of those reasonably believed to be involved in criminal activity, the police will be targeting folks based upon conduct and not ethnicity. Furthermore, those involved in criminal activity are, the last time I checked, considered undesirable by the overwhelming majority of Americans, except for the open borders extremists among us.





|| Greg, 11:31 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Just A Reminder About C.O. Bradford

For those on the Left who want to argue that C.O. Bradford, former Houston police chief and Democrat candidate for Harris County DA, should become our chief prosecutor in the county, let's take a look back at one of the two best-know scandals of his tenure. You know, the one that resulted in HUNDREDS of unjustified arrests of innocent individuals in the space of an hour and which will likely cost the city MILLIONS in damages by the time the lawsuits are through.

A federal judge has declined another city request to end the 10 lawsuits filed by people arrested in a 2002 Kmart street racing raid.

It's the second time U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas has ruled that the lawsuits can go forward.

In a decision this week, Atlas wrote that the more than 100 plaintiffs could sue about whether the Houston Police Department had a "custom of mass detention without individualized reasonable suspicion."

* * *

In 2005, the judge ruled that the police plan that led to the mass arrests was unconstitutional. In a scathing opinion, she called HPD tactics to detain and arrest people who were not observed violating the law "an unjustified, almost totalitarian, regime of suspicionless stops."

Civil rights lawsuits were filed after almost 300 people were arrested in August 2002 during a surprise raid on the Kmart parking lot in the 8400 block of Westheimer. The HPD operation was an attempt to combat street racing.

All of the cases name former HPD Chief Clarence C.O. Bradford, who is running as a Democrat for Harris County district attorney, and allege he knew about the plan. The lawsuits also accused police of brandishing firearms and being verbally abusive during the incident.

What a timely article!

It serves as a reminder that C.O. Bradford had no respect for civil liberties as police chief.

Add to that the fact that he, not the Harris County DA, was responsible for the crime lab debacle, and it becomes clear that he isn't competent to run a hot dog cart, much less the Harris County DAs office.





|| Greg, 10:04 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Another McCain Endorsement

We in the GOP have only one living ex-President, having lost two in the last four years. On Monday, George H. W. Bush will endorse John McCain for the presidency.

Former president George H.W. Bush will endorse Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in Houston on Monday during a media availability at 9:30 a.m. Texas time, Republican sources say.

President Bush will be in Africa at the time. He told “Fox News Sunday” last weekend that he would help make the case for McCain’s conservative credentials as soon as there was an official nominee.

The endorsement by the former president does two things that are crucial to McCain as he tries to capitalize on the potential advantages of being the nominee when Democrats are still fighting it out:

— It begins to make former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee look like he’s not being a team player, raising expectations that he should drop out or run a quieter campaign.

— It also undercuts Republicans who are reluctant to fully support McCain because of his past differences with the party’s right wing.

This endorsement is important in that it serves as the second leg of the Bush trifecta of endorsements. Jeb Bush has already endorsed McCain, and President George W. Bush will give his endorsement after McCain numerically secures the nomination.

But here in Harris County, Texas, it is likely that this endorsement will carry some weight. After all, the former president lives here among us in Houston, where he and Barbara are respected and beloved members of the community. That might be enough to carry Harris County (and with it all of Texas) for McCain on march 4.





|| Greg, 09:52 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 15, 2008

Obama Talks Out Of Both Sides Of Mouth On Guns

Obama is talking Second Amendment.

At first he sounds really good.

Obama said he spoke to Northern Illinois University's president Friday morning by phone and offered whatever help his Senate office could provide in the investigation and improving campus security. The Democratic presidential candidate spoke about the Illinois shooting to reporters while campaigning in neighboring Wisconsin.

The senator, a former constitutional law instructor, said some scholars argue the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees gun ownerships only to militias, but he believes it grants individual gun rights.

"I think there is an individual right to bear arms, but it's subject to commonsense regulation" like background checks, he said during a news conference.

Like I said, pretty good – and I think most of us are open to some discussion about what constitutes a “commonsense regulation”.

Unfortunately, Obama then turns around and proves that he is really just another gun-grabber.

At his news conference, he voiced support for the District of Columbia's ban on handguns, which is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court next month.

“The notion that somehow local jurisdictions can't initiate gun safety laws to deal with gang bangers and random shootings on the street isn't born out by our Constitution,” Obama said.

The problem is that the DC law in question sweepingly bans an entire class of guns and limits the rest in such a manner as to render them inoperative. Indeed, under that law the act of meaningfully bearing arms within the District of Columbia is a criminal offense when that “individual right to bear arms” is exercised by an average citizen.

Obama, then, is trying to have it both ways. While he pays lip service to the Second Amendment, he actually is willing to see it eviscerated through legislation that restricts the individual right to keep and bear arms. To argue for something like the DC law is like arguing that the expansive right to freedom of religion guaranteed in the First Amendment is subject to “commonsense regulation” so that it includes only the right to be a member of a government-approved and licensed church.

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|| Greg, 05:40 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Harvard Capping Black Admissions?

Well, that is certainly one way to interpret this statement.

In an effort to persuade the academic community that Harvard’s financial muscle should not be feared, Harvard will make the point that at best it will enroll 200 black freshmen each year. Thus, it will be argued that its new financial aid plan will have a negligible effect on enrollments of blacks at America’s leading state universities.

Now why should it be that Harvard will only enroll 200 black freshmen each year? What happens if more than 200 qualified black applicants apply? Will they be rejected on the theory that more than that number of blacks will unbalance the “diversity” that Harvard seeks? And why this notion that X number of black students somehow belong to public universities?

But more to the point, what is wrong with the possibility that the new Harvard financial aid plan, likely to be adopted by many other top-tier private institutions of higher learning, will siphon away many of the best and brightest students OF EVERY RACE AND ETHNICITY (but especially minority students) into these elite schools? After all, doesn’t making attendance at such elite institutions more affordable go a long way to matching students with the institutions where they best fit academically?

H/T Discriminations





|| Greg, 05:38 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Candidate Tax Returns -- Don't Ask, Don't Tell

I’ve always been troubled by the notion that a president or potential president is expected to release his or her tax returns and lots of other personal financial data to the public. For that matter, I’m troubled by the amount of information made available to the public through ethics disclosure forms. That’s why I’m in complete disagreement with this NY Times editorial.

As the presidential campaign narrows and its costs skyrocket, detailed disclosure of financial resources becomes ever more important. Of the leading contenders, so far, only Senator Barack Obama has released his full income-tax returns — a level of disclosure once routine for candidates after the political corruption of Watergate.

Release of the tax returns should not be made conditional on winning the nomination, as Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has made it. Both Senator John McCain, the Republican front-runner, and she owe it to their parties and to voters to promptly make available their Internal Revenue Service filings, and to respond to any questions about them. It is true that as senators, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. McCain are required to file financial disclosure forms. But those forms present only general parameters of family financial resources, not the detail available on tax returns.

I fundamentally disagree. John McCain and Hillary Clinton don’t owe ANYONE the information available on their income tax returns. Indeed, it would be healthy for America for them to flat-out REFUSE to release their tax information even after they are nominated. And while I have questions about the business dealings of Bill Clinton, I respect his privacy enough to recognize that the American people are not entitled to the details of his speaking fees and other financial dealings just because his wife is running for the office he once held. For that matter, we don’t need to know the detailed medical information related to post-cardiac care for Mr. Clinton following his heart problems or any medical conditions for which the younger McCain children may be receiving treatment – information that might well be a part of the two families’ tax returns.

Speaking personally, I’m often curious about the business dealings of certain commentators, certain reporters and members of certain editorial boards. Their slant on the news is of great public import – and yet we never get a glimpse into the nitty-gritty details of, for example, the finances of Keith Olbermann. What about the public’s right to know?

When down to it, this isn’t a matter of the public’s right to know. Rather, it is a matter of the right to privacy of American citizens – which, let us recall, is the highest title that will ever be held by either of these two senators or their fellow candidate, Senator Obama.





|| Greg, 05:37 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

WWRD?

What would Reagan do?

Michael Reagan tells us how his father would respond to the McCain nomination.

In 1976 the Ford vs. Reagan campaign for the Republican presidential nomination got so heated it looked as if my father and Jerry Ford would never again talk to one another. When it was over and Ford had won, what did Ronald Reagan do? He simply went all-out to help Ford win his re-election, as did I and as did my sister Maureen. My dad simply followed his rule of backing the Republican candidate no matter who he was. Assuming that John McCain will be the Republican nominee, you can bet my father would be itching to get out on the campaign trail working to elect him even if he disagreed with him on a number of issues.

In other words, those of you claiming to be Reagan conservatives who persist in stating that you will not vote for John McCain for president are posers and imposters. You appropriate the good name of the father of modern conservatism and the architect of nearly three decades of GOP dominance of the executive branch in order to justify political behavior diametrically opposed to that he engaged in himself.

What’s more, what was the outcome when a group of conservatives failed to heed his example in 1976 and chose to sit out the election or vote third party?

Unlike my father, a lot of conservatives stayed home in 1976, and we got four years of Jimmy Carter, whose main legacy was to drive the Shah of Iran from power and create the Islamic Republic of Iran with a bunch of wild-eyed mullahs running the show. He also gave us 20 percent inflation and long, long lines at the gas pumps. And don’t forget 440 days of Americans held hostage by the mullahs. By staying home those conservatives made possible the future election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. We are still suffering from the legacy of James Earl Carter, thanks to the conservatives who refused to follow Ronald Reagan’s example and instead sulked at home while the nation was being handed over to the worst president in American history. We were still in the middle of the Cold War in those days, and by staying home conservatives risked losing that war by allowing an incompetent leader to become commander in chief.

We stand at a crossroads this election. We can choose to back a leader willing to pursue a policy of victory over Islamism, or we can allow the election of a president dedicated to a policy of weakness and surrender. We can capitalize on the advances of conservative principle over the last three decades, or we can squander them by refusing to back a candidate who isn’t pure enough. We can aid the election of a moderately conservative president, or ensure the election of an unabashedly liberal one.

The real question, though, is not “What would Reagan do?” That is in the past, and we know what he did when confronted with precisely this situation.

My friends, the real question is “What will we do?”

As for me, I choose to follow in the footsteps of Reagan – and urge you to do the same.

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|| Greg, 05:36 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Romney Endorses McCain

Mitt Romney does the honorable thing in the name of party unity and the good of the country.

One of the bitterest feuds of the 2008 presidential race ended Thursday when Mitt Romney threw his support — and vowed to try to throw his delegates — behind his former archrival for the Republican nomination, Senator John McCain of Arizona.

The formal backing of Mr. Romney was the latest coup, though an expected one, for Mr. McCain as he seeks to unite a fractured Republican Party behind his candidacy. And while the fate of Mr. Romney’s delegates will be determined by rules that vary from state to state, his request that they vote for Mr. McCain at the convention is expected to push Mr. McCain closer to the 1,191 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination.

“I am honored today to give my full support to Senator McCain’s candidacy for the presidency of the United States,” Mr. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, said at a hastily arranged news conference with Mr. McCain in Boston. “I am officially endorsing his candidacy. And today I am asking my delegates to vote for Senator McCain at the convention.”

Mr. Romney decided to make the endorsement on Thursday morning during a meeting with his advisers. Mr. McCain, who was already on a New England swing through Rhode Island and Vermont, quickly added a stop in Boston to collect it.

These two went against each other tooth and nail. John McCain won. Mitt Romney recognized -- quite appropriately -- that there is more that unites us with McCain and his supporters then divides us from them, and that the best way to advance our goals is to work with McCain to reach a conservative result. It isn't an abrogation of principle -- it is an accommodation with reality.

Do I minimize my differences with John McCain? No, I don't -- and I stand by every criticism of him that I have offered during th course of the campaign for the GOP nomination this year. That said, I know he is a lot better than either of the options that the Democrats will offer the American people, and so I choose the good of America over ideological purity.

More At Michelle Malkin, including some deluded sounding Huckabee comments.





|| Greg, 05:35 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

NIU Shooting

We don't know why this happened yet -- but it has to be described as tragic.

A former graduate student armed with two handguns and a shotgun opened fire Thursday in a large lecture hall on the campus of Northern Illinois University, killing five students and wounding 16 others before killing himself, authorities said.

University President John G. Peters said six students — four women, the shooter and another man — were killed in what he described as a “very brief, rapid-fire assault.” Sixteen other students were injured by gunfire or flying glass, authorities said.

All of the victims were students, including the shooter and the instructor, a graduate teaching assistant, who survived, Peters said. At least two of the wounded were hospitalized in critical condition.

There is a lot more to be learned here, but we don't have the details. Was there a specific target? Why this class in this room?

This event again raises the question of gun-free zones and their danger to students -- but now is not the time to discuss it at length. Instead, it is time to pray for those killed and wounded, and for all their loved ones.

For me this strikes close to home. Having grown up in Illinois, I visited the NIU campus a number of times and had many friends who went to school there. I interviewed at schools in the area some years ago, and could have been teaching just down the road from the campus had I gotten one of the jobs -- and former students could have been among those in the classroom if that had been the case. It does give one pause.





|| Greg, 05:21 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

US To Shoot Down Satellite

It is 5000 pounds of out of control space junk with half ton of poisonous fuel aboard. It is going to crash to earth sometime in the next month or so. The solution? Try to shoot it down so as to minimize damage.

President Bush has ordered the Pentagon to use a Navy missile to attempt to destroy a broken U.S. spy satellite — and thereby minimize the risk to humans from its toxic fuel — by intercepting it just before it re-enters the atmosphere, officials said Thursday.

The effort — the first of its kind — will be undertaken because of the potential that people in the area where the satellite would otherwise crash could be harmed, the officials said.

Deputy National Security Adviser James Jeffrey, briefing reporters at the Pentagon, did not say when the attempted intercept would be conducted, but the satellite is expected to hit Earth during the first week of March.

Yes, there are concerns about classified technology and injuries to people on the ground, but the big concern is the hydrazine fuel. We down here in Texas learned about that when Columbia broke up over the state just minutes from landing. Folks were urged not to touch the wreckage because of the toxic nature of the fuel -- and friends of min from NASA told me privately that the description is NOT an exaggeration. Indeed, the best outcome is to puncture the fuel tank of the satellite in order to dissipate the contents before it can enter the atmosphere.

satelliteshootdown.gif

UPDATE: The NY Times offers up an editorial about the shoot-down (siding with Russia and China against the US, naturally), and an article about the impact of the plan on missile defense systems (slanted, of course, to fit the paper's editorial policy). Interesting pieces, but not for those looking for an unbiased look at the plan.





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Indiana Jones Trailer

Here it is -- the trailer for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Indy looks older, and he has a young stud to be his protege. Could this signal a new way to revive the franchise? And correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't that look like the warehouse where they stored the Ark of the Covenant? My only question is this -- why does it look like the US military is the bad guy in this one?





|| Greg, 04:53 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Denver Broncos

Anyone who read this blog during the past football seasn knows that I am a big fan of NFL football. And while my team of choice today is the Houston Texans, I follow several other teams as well – among those being the Denver Broncos. Of course, the most exciting player in Denver Broncos team history has to have been John Elway. Year in and year out, it was guaranteed that Elway would be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Over at 20Yardline.com, you can learn all about the Broncos – or any other NFL team you are interested in. I know I’ll be adding the site to my list of favorites for the fall.





|| Greg, 04:45 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Small Solar System Spotted

But we won't be visiting any time soon -- it is 5000 light years away.

Astronomers said Wednesday that they had found a miniature version of our own solar system 5,000 light-years across the galaxy — the first planetary system that really looks like our own, with outer giant planets and room for smaller inner planets.

“It looks like a scale model of our solar system,” said Scott Gaudi, an assistant professor of astronomy at Ohio State University. Dr. Gaudi led an international team of 69 professional and amateur astronomers who announced the discovery in a news conference with reporters.

Their results are being published Friday in the journal Science. The discovery, they said, means that our solar system may be more typical of planetary systems across the universe than had been thought.

In the newly discovered system, a planet about two-thirds of the mass of Jupiter and another about 90 percent of the mass of Saturn are orbiting a reddish star at about half the distances that Jupiter and Saturn circle our own Sun. The star is about half the mass of the Sun.

Neither of the two giant planets is a likely abode for life as we know it. But, Dr. Gaudi said, warm rocky planets — suitable for life — could exist undetected in the inner parts of the system.

What is truly fascinating with this one is not just that they found this solar system, but how. It involves application of some of Einstein's principles to determine whether a star has planets -- and is explained better in the article than I could possibly do. Suffice it to say it involves the bending of light from one star around another star -- something that almost sounds like science fiction, but clearly is not.





|| Greg, 04:43 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 14, 2008

Star Wars Animated Film Coming

Sounds good to me.

The "Star Wars" universe, already substantially rendered by computer generated imagery, is giving in all the way to animation.

"Star Wars: The Clone Wars," an animated film, will open in theaters Aug. 15 and be followed by a TV series of the same name, to air on the Cartoon Network and TNT this fall.

"I felt there were a lot more 'Star Wars' stories left to tell," said "Star Wars" creator George Lucas in a statement. "I was eager to start telling some of them through animation and, at the same time, push the animation forward."

Add to that the upcoming live-action spin-off series, and I think there is still some life left in the franchise.

However, there is one aspect of the Star Wars universe that this leaves unexplored – one that really ought to be done.

As most fans (especially of my generation) know, at one time Lucas' conception of Star Wars involved a "trilogy of trilogies". We now have the classic Star Wars trilogy (episodes 4-6) and the more recent trilogy (episodes 1-3), showing us the descent of the Republic into Empire and the overthrow of that Empire. Why not give us that additional trilogy – what were originally to be episodes 7-9 – as animated films. This would complete the original George Lucas vision without the difficulties of writing, directing, and producing three more live-action films.





|| Greg, 05:35 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Pimp My Dead Soldier – Support The Islamists Edition

Not content to disgrace and exploit her heroic son in the US, Cindy Sheehan has now gone abroad to lend support to the ideological/theological confreres of those who killed him.

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan joined a protest Wednesday seeking the support of Egypt's first lady in ending a military trial of members of the country's largest Islamic organization.

Under the watchful eyes of dozens of black-clad and helmeted anti-riot police, some 50 heavily veiled wives and children of 40 senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood detained for the past year, gathered in front of the headquarters of first lady Suzanne Mubarak's National Council Women carrying banners calling for their release.

* * *

"As a mother of a son who was killed in the war, I presented a letter to Ms. Suzanne Mubarak to realize how those women and children are suffering."

Yeah, my heart bleeds for the children of terrorists and terrorist supporters.

Not.

And when you consider the history of the Muslim Brotherhood and the ideology it supports, for Cindy Sheehan to be campaigning in favor of them while invoking her son's sacrifice is the moral equivalent of her fornicating with a dog on her son's grave.

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|| Greg, 05:34 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Plan I Could Support

Once we get rid of the current crop of border jumpers and figure out how to avoid turning this into an anchor baby creation program, this proposal might not be too bad.

Mexican president Felipe Calderon called for a return to the bracero programme of the 1950s as a way to address issues of immigration and illegal workers between the US and Mexico. Calderon made the statements in an address to the California legislature, where he said that immigration "carries off the best among us" and vowed to create economic conditions that would allow Mexicans to find well-paid work at home.

"While my government is committed to protecting the rights of all Mexicans, including those living beyond our borders, we are taking great efforts to ensure that in the future no Mexican needs to leave our country to find job opportunities elsewhere," he said.

Calderon reminded legislators that Mexico is the top destination for California exports, and he recalled the bracero programme from the 1940s-60s as a system that met both countries' needs.

"We need to make migration legal, safe and organized," said Calderon, who met with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

And I think Calderon hit on one point – Mexico needs to clean up its act politically and economically so that border jumping ends. After all, the current immigration situation is indicative of the reality that, at this point in time, MEXICO SUCKS! I know that is a harsh statement to make, but the reality is that the country is currently a kleptocracy in which the common people are oppressed by corrupt government officials on the one hand and criminal gangs on the other -- to the degree that the two are not one and the same.

And let me say it again – I am not opposed to Mexicans coming to work, or even live permanently, in the United States. I object to their doing those things in violation of our nation's laws and sovereignty.





|| Greg, 05:32 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

What About "Dignity And Respect" For Workers?

Barack Obama wants to ensure that retirees who make more than I do a year pay no taxes.

"We'll also eliminate income taxes for any retiree making less than $50,000 per year, because our seniors are struggling enough with rising costs, and should be able to retire in dignity and respect."

I'm curious -- as a public school teacher who makes less that $50K a year, will I be given the opportunity to work with dignity and respect? After all, I struggle with rising prices, too!

Somehow I doubt it. After all, the junior Senator from Illinois wants to ensure that my Bush-sponsored tax cut is eliminated, effectively giving me a tax increase.

So much for respect and dignity for workers – you know, the very folks the Democrats CLAIM to represent.

H/T The Campaign Spot

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|| Greg, 05:30 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Larry Craig Admonished

Now if he would just have the decency to get out of the Senate immediately.

Oh, wait -- if he had any decency he wouldn't have been trying to pick up guys in bathroom stalls.

So I don't expect this aciton by the Ethics Committee to have much effect.

Senator Larry E. Craig was admonished by his colleagues on Wednesday for conduct that reflected poorly on the Senate as the result of his arrest and guilty plea last summer in an undercover sex sting in a men’s bathroom at the Minneapolis airport.

The reprimand handed down by the Senate Ethics Committee said that Mr. Craig’s conduct in the bathroom was improper and that his actions after his arrest appeared to be an effort to evade the legal consequences in violation of the code of ethics for government service.

Committee members also raised questions about Mr. Craig’s conversion of over $200,000 in campaign money to pay legal fees, noting that he had not cleared that action as required with the committee. The panel said it would consider further use of campaign money without approval as showing a continuing disregard for ethics rules.

Unfortunately, the committee didn't recommend more serious sanctions, especially in light of the financial misconduct that was cited. That's too bad, because it signals that there is a serious flaw in the ethics process.

The GOP has called upon Larry Craig to get ut of the Senate. I wonder why the Ethics Committee failed to take steps towards making that a reality. Could it be fear by top Democrats -- including San Francisco's own Barbara Boxer, who chairs the committee -- that taking that drastic step could be seen negatively by the gay community?





|| Greg, 05:28 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Iraqi Parliament Passes Reconciliation Package

Change is coming in Iraq, bit by bit, as the Sunni, Shi'a and Kurds work to forge a stronger, freer Iraq.

Iraq’s parliamentary leaders on Wednesday pushed through three far-reaching measures that had been delayed for weeks by bitter political maneuvering that became so acrimonious that some lawmakers threatened to try to dissolve the legislative body.

More than any previous legislation, the new initiatives have the potential to spur reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites and set the country on the road to a more representative government, starting with new provincial elections.

The voting itself was a significant step forward for the Parliament, where even basic quorums have been rare. In a classic legislative compromise, the three measures, each of which was a burning issue for at least one faction, were packaged together for a single vote to encourage agreement across sectarian lines.

“Today we have a wedding party for the Iraqi Parliament,” said Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, the speaker, who is a Sunni. “We have proved that Iraqis are one bloc and Parliament is able to find solutions that represent all Iraqis.”

Yes, there is still more work to do, but this is one more key step along the way.

And for those who claim that this is all taking too long, I offer the reminder that it took several years to get the Articles of Confederation approved after they were written -- and several more years to produce a truly functional government under the Constitution. Indeed, it was 13 years from the signing f the Declaration of Independence to the inauguration of George Washington. In other words, creating workable political institutions takes time.





|| Greg, 05:19 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Clinton Using Rudy's Playbook?

That's what it looks like, with the campaign's firewall (Ohio and Texas) not coming until March 4.

It’s a high-risk play for the once undisputed Democratic front-runner. It also may be the only maneuver she has left after rival Barack Obama managed to effectively counter her planned Super Tuesday knock-out punch.

Since then, he’s seized momentum by racking up eight wins on friendly turf, including three more Tuesday in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

“How do you survive all of the Obama money, momentum and media between now and March 4 when it looks like you are going to lose everything in between, including the Democrats Abroad vote?” asked unaligned Democratic strategist Mary Anne Marsh.

And there is a particularly dangerous aspect to this strategy -- she has to dismiss Obama voters as somehow unimportant and unrepresentative of America.

But her strategy is fraught with risks, not the least of which is dismissing the relevance of thousands of pro-Obama Democratic voters in small caucus states and in the seemingly hostile terrain of traditional Republican strongholds.

“It’s not a factor,” was how Clinton dismissed Obama victories in Maine, Nebraska, Louisiana, Virgin Islands and Washington state in an interview with WJLA and Politico on Monday.

“We had a great night on Super Tuesday. We’re winning the states that we have to win. The big states that are really going to determine whether the Democrats win,” she said during the televised discussion.

So got that folks -- if you live in a state won by Barack Obama, you really aren't all that important to Hillary. I'm sure that will leave you motivated to get out and vote for her in November, right?

Yeah, Hillary Clinton is starting to look and sound a lot like Rudy Giuliani -- without the charm.





|| Greg, 05:02 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Weird Fantasy Life

I was expecting a paleontology article when I clicked on the link to this NY Times blog. And while there was certainly a fair amount of science included in the piece, I also got this unusual reflection on the mating habits of the T. Rex.

I want to take a journey 68 million years back in time to see a Tyrannosaurus rex couple mating. What was it like? Did they trumpet and bellow and stamp their feet? Did they thrash their enormous tails? Did he bite her neck in rapture and exude a musky scent? Somehow, I imagine that when two T. rex got it on, the earth shook for miles around.

And if I could only take this journey, I could answer a question that sometimes bothers me. Did T. rex have a penis? Did he even, as lizards do, have two?

Uhhhhhhh. . . YEAH.

I'm pretty sure that the above will be the single most unusual thing i will read today.

And require years of therapy to expunge it from my brain.





|| Greg, 04:53 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 13, 2008

A Little Racism And Anti-Semitism -- Brought To You By The Democrats

Somehow the national media has avoided this story about blatant bigotry at work in the Democrat Party in Tennessee. I wonder why the only major media source covering this is a blog for the Washington Post?

cohenflier[1].jpg

Yeah, that's right -- the Klan with a Tan is back at work. Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN9) is too white and too Jewish to be allowed to represent a district in Memphis that is predominantly black and Christian -- and securely Democrat.

If you thought race was an uncomfortable issue in the Democratic presidential primary, wait 'til you get a load of what's going on in the Democratic primary in the Memphis area's 9th District of Tennessee, where a shockingly worded flier paints Jewish Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) as a Jesus hater.

"Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen and the JEWS HATE Jesus," blares the flier, which Cohen himself received in the mail -- inducing gasps -- last week.

Circulated by an African-American minister from Murfreesboro Tenn., which isn't even in Cohen's district, the literature encourages other black leaders in Memphis to "see to it that one and ONLY one black Christian faces this opponent of Christ and Christianity in the 2008 election."

Congressman Cohen's (black) opponent, Nikki Tinker, cannot even stir herself to condemn this vile garbage. She is clearly unfit for ANY office -- and any black minister in the vicinity who does not loudly condemn this sort of garbage is unfit for his or her pulpit.

Oh, wait -- the black ministers of the area already started a race-baiting pogrom against Cohen several months ago. I guess that you don't have to be a Christian to pastor a black church in Memphis -- for in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, or any other racial distinction.

But if this is the game the game that these folks want to play in 2008, maybe Hillary Clinton can adopt the the following slogan for her future campaign ads:

Barack Obama: Too Black For America

Somehow I think that we would not see anything approaching the level of silence that we have gotten in the case of these race and religion based attacks on Cohen.

Speaking for myself, I condemn the attack on Cohen, the ministers making it, and the Democrat Party for not speaking out against it.

I further invite anyone offended by such racism to join the party of inclusion and equality -- the Republican Party.

And to quote the always spot-on Ed Morrissey:

We've listened to insults from Democrats for years for far less than this.

After all, this is real bigotry, not the ersatz kind the Democrats accuse the Republican Party of supporting.

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|| Greg, 07:42 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Hurrah For The Danes!

Their media will not be intimidated by the threats of Muslims.

Denmark’s three main newspapers will take the provocative step today of reprinting a cartoon showing the Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb instead of a turban after the arrest yesterday of three suspected Islamic terrorists for plotting to murder the artist.

The cartoon by Kurt Westergaard was one of 12 depicting the prophet which triggered riots around the world leading to dozens of deaths when they first appeared in 2005. The violent backlash demonstrated starkly the incendiary interface between Islam and the boundaries of freedom of expression in Europe.

Mr Westergaard, who has spent three months moving between secret addresses while security services tracked the alleged plotters, was back at work yesterday to draw a self-portrait for today’s editions. It shows him still clutching his pen and a Danish flag, but he is obscured by a dark and bloody cloud featuring Arabic script which declares: “Glorious Koran.”

>westergaardjp[1].jpg
H/T Gates of Vienna

At least Westgaard is willing to say exactly where the threat to his life is coming from -- the very heart of Islam itself, not some theological outliers. After all, even mainstream Muslims have demanded that human rights take a back seat to Islam's parochial prohibitions on depicting their false prophet.

Bravo to the editors who have decided that such threats and intimidation cannot stand.

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|| Greg, 05:35 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Hillary Problem

Gee, Maureen, we on the Right have only been saying this for the last few YEARS!

As a possible first Madame President, Hillary is a flawed science experiment because you can’t take Bill out of the equation. Her story is wrapped up in her marriage, and her marriage is wrapped up in a series of unappetizing compromises, arrangements and dependencies.

Instead of carving out a separate identity for herself, she has become more entwined with Bill. She is running bolstered by his record and his muscle. She touts her experience as first lady, even though her judgment during those years on issue after issue was poor. She says she’s learned from her mistakes, but that’s not a compelling pitch.

Hillary Clinton is, arguably, an impressive woman. She is, arguably, intelligent and competent. But the reality is that we cannot separate her from Bill Clinton in the popular mind. She not only made it to the top by marrying well and promoting her husband's career until it gave her a springboard into the national limelight, she did so in a way that excused his every flaw and put personality above principle. Indeed, much of her campaign is based upon her husband's presidency, not any compelling aspect of her own life, experience, or qualifications.

The day is coming -- and will hopefully come soon -- when we elect a woman to the White House. But when that day comes, we need to be electing her -- or rejecting her, for that matter -- on her own merits. That will never happen with Hillary, which is part of why we are seeing such weakness in her candidacy. I just wish the feet of clay had not been exposed until after she had secured the nomination.





|| Greg, 05:11 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

McCain & Obama Sweep Chesapeake

John McCain now needs only about 300 delegates to win the GOP nomination outright. Barack Obama has surged into the lead in the Democrat delegate count. And all this with just three primaries on a single day.

Senator Barack Obama rolled to victory by large margins in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia on Tuesday, extending his winning streak over Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to eight Democratic nominating contests.

The outcome provided him his first chance to assert that the Democratic race, which had seemed to be heading into a protracted standoff, is beginning to break in his direction. And it left Mrs. Clinton facing weeks in which she has few opportunities for the kind of victory that would alter the race in her favor after a string of defeats notable not just for their number but also their magnitude.

* * *

In Tuesday’s contests, Mr. Obama showed impressive strength among not only the groups that have backed him in earlier contests — blacks, younger voters, the affluent and self-described independents — but also among older voters, women and lower-income people, the core of Mrs. Clinton’s support up to now, according to exit polls. Mr. Obama also won majorities of white men and Hispanic voters in Virginia, though not in Maryland.

With almost all precincts reporting, Mr. Obama won 75 percent of the vote in the District of Columbia and 64 percent in Virginia. He had 60 percent of the vote in Maryland with results from 67 percent of the precincts.

On the Republican side, Senator John McCain won in Virginia over Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, virtually eliminating any threat that Mr. Huckabee might have posed to Mr. McCain’s status as his party’s all but certain nominee.

Mr. Huckabee got a boost from conservative and evangelical Christian voters in the state, but not enough to overcome support among moderates and nonevangelical Christians for Mr. McCain, who won 50 percent of the vote. Mr. McCain also prevailed in the District of Columbia, with 68 percent of the vote, and in Maryland, where he had 55 percent of the vote with 67 percent of the precincts reporting.

My fellow Republicans, it is time to accept the reality that this race is over on our side. Barring a miracle -- like winning every remaining state with 75% of the vote -- Mike Huckabee is effectively out of the race for the nomination EXCEPT as a way of expressing your discontent with McCain, something I feel is better done by casting your vote for the candidate of your choice (in my case Mitt Romney) than for the last challenger standing. But regardless of this race, remember it is still important for you to vote in the primary because of all the down-ballot races, whether we are talking about Congress, the state legislature, or local races.

On the Democrat side, I see a stark choice. The Democrats have to decide between a moderately qualified candidate with high negatives and an ill-defined novice whose appeal is more charismatic than anything else. A vote either way sows dissension, due to the skill with which each side has played interest group politics and divided the voting blocs within their party. Ultimately, I urge Democrats to remember that the important thing is not which first comes first, but rather which candidate will be a more effective president. I don't pretend to offer advice as to which one that is, simply ask that you pick wisely for the good of the nation.





|| Greg, 04:54 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 12, 2008

Election Problems In Fort Bend County?

So it would appear, according to Fort Bend Now.

Fort Bend County Elections Administrator J.R. Perez is concerned that the county won’t be able to handle an anticipated high voter turnout at the March 4 primary elections, and he’s taking that concern to county Commissioners Court today.

Florida experienced a 45% voter turnout – three times the normal turnout – and California also saw numbers approaching triple its normal voter turnout, Perez said.

“If we have even two times the normal turnout, it would be 35% to 40%” of the voters turning out in Fort Bend County, Perez said Tuesday morning. “We don’t have the equipment to handle a 40% turnout. No matter what I do, I don’t have enough equipment.”

Excuse me? You don’t have the machines to handle a 40% turnout? What were you planning to do in November, during the general election?

And then there is this asinine statement.

Perez said he has been calculating the anticipated amount of time it will take people in various Fort Bend County precincts to vote in the March election, giving the anticipated high turnout, and the number of available election workers and voting machines.

In numerous cases, he found it would require 14 hours or more in order for everyone to cast their ballots.

Unfortunately, poll locations are only open for 12 hours.

Not exactly true.

While polling places in Texas are open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM on Election Day, state law requires that every voter in line at 7:00 PM be permitted to vote before the polls are closed. And while this might cause the precinct conventions to start late in many precincts, that inconvenience is a small price to pay to ensure that every voter does get to vote.

But if Fort Bend County Elections Administrator J.R. Perez doesn’t realize that the polls must remain open – after not ensuring that the county had sufficient voting machines – then perhaps he needs to be replaced.





|| Greg, 03:52 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

More Mo-Toons Trouble

A Muslim conspiracy to murder one of the cartoonists has been disrupted – and ineffectively dealt with by the Danish authorities.

Early Tuesday morning, Danish police arrested several people with a Muslim background suspected of conspiring to kill Kurt Westergaard, a Danish cartoonist with Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten.

Two of those arrested are Tunisian citizens, one a Danish citizen, according to the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, which has followed the group for months. The 40-year old Danish citizen is of Moroccan origin. He has been charged with attempted violation of section 114 of the Danish anti-terrorism act. After being interrogated, he will probably be discharged, according to the security and intelligence service.

Pursuant to the regulations of the Danish aliens’ act, the two Moroccan citizens are held in custody in preparation for expulsion from Denmark.

Excues me? They are just going to let them go? What about firm retribution and imprisonment for their terroristic plot?

And even more galling is the reaction of a leading Danish Muslim.

Kasem Ahmad, a spokesman for the Copenhagen-based Islamic Faith Community, a network of Muslim groups that spearheaded protests against the cartoons in Denmark, said he hoped Tuesday's arrests would not rekindle the uproar.

"We urge Muslims to take it calmly," he told the TV2 News network.

Muslims ought to take it calmly? Why? Because the Danish authorities were so disrespectful of a group of Muslims out to bring a little sharia justice to Kurt Westergaard? If anything, this follower of the religion of jihad ought to be begging the Danish people to show restraint in the face of one more unacceptable provocation by followers of a religion that claims the right to do violence to those who dare to use their human rights.





|| Greg, 03:51 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Is The Bush Administration With The Terrorists?

They certainly are if this proposal goes through.

The State Department is considering supporting the Palestinian Authority in its quest to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in judgments won by American victims of Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel, according to Palestinian officials and defense lawyers involved in the cases.

U.S. officials insist that no decision has been made regarding the complex litigation, which could force the Bush administration to choose between supporting compensation for victims of terrorism and bolstering the Palestinian government as the United States presses for a breakthrough in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Testimony in Israeli courts has connected senior Palestinian leaders -- such as the late Yasser Arafat -- to specific terrorist attacks involved in the lawsuits. But Palestinian officials have argued that it makes no sense for the United States to be providing millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority while U.S. courts are threatening to bankrupt it.

1) It already makes no sense to provide even one thin dime to the Terrorstinian Anarchy.

2) Refusing to allow American citizens to be made whole following terrorist attacks is, in my opinion, nothing short of complicity in those attacks.


3) Exactly whose interests does the State Department represent?

If the Bush Administration intervenes here on the side of the Terrorstinians, I’ll support impeachment.





|| Greg, 03:47 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

End Women’s Suffrage?

After reading this article, I’m not sure that the Nineteenth Amendment was such a great idea.

You can see it in their flushed-face smiles and hear it in their screams. They say the phenomenon is difficult to describe, but once they experience it they tell their friends, sisters, mothers and daughters, and they come back for more if they can.

"He's very charismatic. It was a 'you-had-to-be-there' kind of experience," said Lolita Breckenridge, 37, after hearing Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama address a packed rally at the University of Maryland on Monday.

A dedicated supporter, she brought two of her friends to hear the Illinois senator deliver one of his much-talked-about speeches.

"Not too much of the speech was new to me," she admitted. "But hearing him live..." she trailed off, shaking her head and grinning.

When Obama addressed the crowd of 16 000 on the eve of primaries which he is tipped to win in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC, he carried himself with his habitual worldly confidence, interspersed talk of foreign policy with recollections of his childhood and even poked political fun at his Republican adversaries.

He did not flinch when women screamed as he was in mid-sentence, and even broke off once to answer a female's cry of "I love you Obama!" with a reassuring: "I love you back."

Oh.

Come.

On.

And if anything, the stories in this article get even more saccharine sweet. But what the article fails to deal with, but Hillary Clinton points out in this article, is that Obama is lacking in any specifics.

But then again if all you are into is sex appeal and vague promises of “change” by a candidate who you want to “Barack My World” I guess that substantive policy proposals aren’t all that important.





|| Greg, 03:45 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Will Texas And Ohio Save Or Doom Hillary?

She's likely going to get dumped on today in the Chesapeake Primaries in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. That means she needs some big wins -- and Ohio and Texas seem to fit the bill.

Mrs. Clinton held a buck-up-the-troops conference call on Monday with donors, superdelegates and other supporters; several said afterward that she had sounded tired and a little down, but determined about Ohio and Texas.

They also said that they had not been especially soothed, and that they believed she might be on a losing streak that could jeopardize her competitiveness in those states.

“She has to win both Ohio and Texas comfortably, or she’s out,” said one superdelegate who has endorsed Mrs. Clinton, and who spoke on condition of anonymity to share a candid assessment. “The campaign is starting to come to terms with that.” Campaign advisers, also speaking privately in order to speak plainly, confirmed this view.

This means, of course, that we folks here in Texas should expect the former First Lady to be in the state a great deal over the next three weeks. That also means that we will see a lot of her husband in town as well. Quick! Lock up the women!

But seriously, folks, this is a race that was supposed to be all locked up by now, according to the conventional wisdom. That it isn't is a sign of big trouble for the Clinton campaign, which is taking body blow after body blow with defeats in the primaries. And with polling numbers favoring Obama in the general election, there is a serious question about who the Democrats will nominate.





|| Greg, 05:31 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Arizona Sees Fruits Of Laws Targeting Illegals

Pass a law to make it exonomically difficult for those in this country illegally to stay in your state, and many of them leave.

And where are they going? In many cases, back home.

Property managers report that families have uprooted overnight, with little or no notice. Carlos Flores Vizcarra, the Mexican consul general in Phoenix, said while he could not tie the phenomenon to a single factor, the consulate had experienced an “unusual” five-fold increase in parents applying for Mexican birth certificates for their children and other documents that often are a prelude to moving.

Hasta la vista, baby! Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Lawbreakers are not welcome here.

But if you go get in line with the honest people seeking legal admittance to this country, you'll be welcomed back with open arms.





|| Greg, 05:10 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

US Seeks Death For 9/11 Figures

And it is a pity that we can execute them only once, rather than 2,998 times.

The Pentagon has charged six detainees at Guantanamo Bay with murder and war crimes in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks. Officials said Monday they'll seek the death penalty in what would be the first capital trials under the terrorism-era military tribunal system.

"These charges allege a long term, highly sophisticated, organized plan by al-Qaida to attack the United States of America," Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann, the legal adviser to the tribunal system, told reporters. He said a total of 169 charges were sworn against suspects "alleged to be responsible for the planning and execution of the attacks" in 2001 that killed nearly 3,000 people.

Hartmann said the six include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the attacks in which hijackers flew planes into buildings in New York and Washington. Another hijacked plane crashed in the fields of western Pennsylvania.

The case here is likely to be air-tight, given the time it took to build it and the efforts made to create a tribunal system that is the equivalent to what our troops receive under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. And any sentence less than death will certainly appear inadequate due to the crimes committed against this nation by these terrorist bastards.

Now the timing of this will make for some interesting politics. These guys are quite clearly guilty -- but no doubt some diseased segments of the body politic are going to want them let off due to issues related to Gitmo and waterboarding. That response of the presidential candidates will show who is serious about national security against terrorism and who is not.





|| Greg, 05:00 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 11, 2008

Obama/Guevara 2008?

Look what showed up in the Houston headquarters of the Barack Obama campaign!

obama-houston[1].jpg

Democrat Presidential candidate Barack Obama already has an issue with wearing American Flag lapel pins, and even with putting his hand over his heart when the American National Anthem is playing. It will be interesting to see how he'll react (if at all) to the flag hanging in one of his new campaign offices in Houston, Texas.

Yep, that's right -- that is the national flag of Cuba hanging on the wall with none other than Che Guevara superimposed on it.

I somehow doubt that will go over well here in Houston. I hope our Cuban-American County Treasurer Orlando Sanchez makes a big issue out of this one. After all, is a candidate promoting communism -- and a murderous beast like Che -- out of his campaign office really fit to be President of the United States?

UPDATE: Captain Ed has some pointed comments on this situation -- and is involved in a war of words with John Cole of Balloon Juice over it. Cole wants to paint it as a protest against America's Cuba policy -- but is that really what this is?

Besides, Cole and his commenters, as well as the DUmmies (according to Flopping Aces, who waded into the feever swamp), are arguing that it isn't a big deal since the office is currently staffed only with volunteers -- that it would only be significant if there were actual paid staff working there. I'm curious -- would they take the same position if there were Swastika flag with the face of Hitler in a John McCain office? How about something more innocuous -- a Confederate flag with a portrait of Robert E. Lee? Am I alone in believing that there would be a sh!t storm over either of those displays, and that the Left would insist that it didn't matter if the workers were volunteers or not?

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|| Greg, 04:46 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Back To The Future For UK Athletes

In a shameful repetition of 1936 in Berlin, British athletes will be expected to remain silent about the evil of the host country at this summer’s Olympics – not only in Beijing, but between the time of their selection and their return to the UK.

British Olympic chiefs are to force athletes to sign a contract promising not to speak out about China's appalling human rights record – or face being banned from travelling to Beijing.

The move – which raises the spectre of the order given to the England football team to give a Nazi salute in Berlin in 1938 – immediately provoked a storm of protest.

The controversial clause has been inserted into athletes' contracts for the first time and forbids them from making any political comment about countries staging the Olympic Games.

It is contained in a 32-page document that will be presented to all those who reach the qualifying standard and are chosen for the team.

From the moment they sign up, the competitors – likely to include the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips and world record holder Paula Radcliffe – will be effectively gagged from commenting on China's politics, human rights abuses or illegal occupation of Tibet.

But then again, this should be no shock. The current head of the British Olympic Association, Lord Colin Moynihan, violated the 1980 boycott of the Moscow Olympics to suck up to the Reds in Moscow. Of course he will act in a manner supportive of Communist dictatorship and oppression again in 2008 when given the chance.

No telling if British Olympians will be required to offer a salute to the dictators in Beijing like their predecessors were seven decades ago.

naziMOS0902_468x196[1].jpg

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Outside the Beltway, Is It Just Me?, third world county, Allie is Wired, DragonLady's World, Right Truth, The World According to Carl, the so called me, Pirate's Cove, Leaning Straight Up, A Newt One, CORSARI D'ITALIA, and Conservative Cat, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





|| Greg, 04:33 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

More Assassination Talk

Who cares what a dumb boxer with a history of racist talk has to say about Barack Obama?

World champion boxer Bernard Hopkins, who will fight the undefeated Briton Joe Calzaghe in April, believes black Democratic contender Barak Obama would be assassinated "within months" if he became US president in November.

Hopkins, the world light-heavyweight boxing champion, told The Independent on Sunday: "I don't think America is ready for an African-American in the White House. If he gets the nomination they won't let him become president, but if they do, it will be for a short time, maybe less than a month or two. His life would be in jeopardy.

"People may say it is time for change but when it comes down to it, I don't think America is ready for that type of heat."

Hopkins, 43, arguably the most politically controversial figure in US sport since Muhammad Ali, has been accused of being racially motivated for saying he would "never lose to a white boy". He refused to retract the comment when he came face to face this week with Calzaghe, the undefeated world super-middleweight champion, in London.

I’ll put my money on the Brit, Calzaghe.

Not because he is white, but because Hopkins is a racist who believes that his political views are particularly significant. The reality is that Obama is popular among most Americans, and even those of us on the GOP side respect him and generally like him. But I do not see the level of racial animosity – other than that stoked by the Clintons for their own political ambitions – that Hopkins is claiming exists here.

I’m wondering – will Hillary denounce this supporter and his hateful words?





|| Greg, 04:31 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Tom Lantos – RIP

I don’t have to agree with you to respect you.

We don’t have to come from the same political party.

You just have to be a decent person.

The US House of Representatives lost one of those today.

Rep. Tom Lantos of California, the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress, has died. He was 80.

Spokeswoman Lynne Weil said Lantos died early Monday at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center in suburban Maryland. He was surrounded by his wife, Annette, two daughters, and many of his 18 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Annette Lantos said in a statement that her husband's life was "defined by courage, optimism, and unwavering dedication to his principles and to his family."
Lantos, a Democrat who chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee, disclosed last month that he had been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. He said at the time that he would serve out his 14th term but would not seek re-election in his Northern California district, which takes in the southwest portion of San Francisco and suburbs to the south including Lantos' home of San Mateo.
White House press secretary Dana Perino announced the news of Lantos' death to reporters at a morning briefing.

And I never doubted that this amazing man truly loved this country – or that he was an example of just how great this country is.

Lantos, who referred to himself as "an American by choice," was born to Jewish parents in Budapest, Hungary, and was 16 when Adolf Hitler occupied Hungary in 1944. He survived by escaping twice from a forced labor camp and coming under the protection of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who used his official status and visa-issuing powers to save thousands of Hungarian Jews. Lantos' mother and much of his family perished in the Holocaust.
* * *

"It is only in the United States that a penniless survivor of the Holocaust and a fighter in the anti-Nazi underground could have received an education, raised a family and had the privilege of serving the last three decades of his life as a member of Congress," Lantos said upon announcing his retirement last month. "I will never be able to express fully my profoundly felt gratitude to this great country."

“An American by choice.” What a marvelous phrase. Indeed, what a tribute to the country he loved. And what a beautiful tribute to this country, where he truly lived out the American dream.

But that was not the only turn of phrase that will stick in my mind. When confronting internet executives who had turned over information about dissidents to the Red Chinese dictators, Lantos was forthright.

"Morally, you are pygmies," he berated top executives of Yahoo Inc. at a hearing he called in November 2007 as they defended their company's involvement in the jailing of a Chinese journalist.

I wish I had said that, for it expresses my sentiments better than I did at the time.

And then there is this profoundly moving happening in his life, something I had not known but which is in many ways proof of the old saying that love overcomes time and place and events.

In 1950 he married Annette, his childhood sweetheart, with whom he'd managed to reunite after the war.

How do you manage to find the ones you love after a profoundly evil happening like the Holocaust? That they managed to do so is a tribute to the love they had for each other – a love that endured for some six decades. My deepest condolences to Annette Lantos and her family.





|| Greg, 04:29 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Krugman Demands "Quit Picking On Hillary!"

If you can't stand the heat, have your shills in the media demand that your opponents turn down the oven.

The bitterness of the fight for the Democratic nomination is, on the face of it, bizarre. Both candidates still standing are smart and appealing. Both have progressive agendas (although I believe that Hillary Clinton is more serious about achieving universal health care, and that Barack Obama has staked out positions that will undermine his own efforts). Both have broad support among the party’s grass roots and are favorably viewed by Democratic voters.

Supporters of each candidate should have no trouble rallying behind the other if he or she gets the nod.

Why, then, is there so much venom out there?

I won’t try for fake evenhandedness here: most of the venom I see is coming from supporters of Mr. Obama, who want their hero or nobody. I’m not the first to point out that the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality. We’ve already had that from the Bush administration — remember Operation Flight Suit? We really don’t want to go there again.

Of course, the problem is that the "Clinton rules" were developed during a time when we had an administration in office that was dishonest to its root. If the Clinton's claimed it was raining, you still needed to look outside just to make sure. The ease with which the Clintons lied and attempted to reinvent themselves was striking -- and the damage that they did to this country was horrific.

I don't want to see Barack Obama elected president. i think he is wrong for America. But I do believe that he has a moral compass -- something that is sorely lacking on both sides of the Clinton marriage. And if noting that fact makes either me or th supporters of Barack Obama "unfair" to Hillary Clinton, then the problem is with the media lap dogs who view the Clintons as American royalty to whom there should be incredible deference.

After all, Mr. Krugman, the Clintons earnd the contempt in which they are held by much of the American public.





|| Greg, 05:34 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Al-Qaeda Calls Surge A Success For US, Pelosi Calls It A Failure

I guess it all comes down to how you view the goals.

If it was defeating the enemies of the US, it is a success.

On the other hands, it is an unmitigated disaster if the goal is providing the Democrats with an issue to beat the Republicans with.

Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, a U.S. military spokesman, said the documents released Sunday offered proof that al-Qaida in Iraq had been severely disrupted by the so-called awakening movement and changing U.S. tactics, but he stressed the terror network was by no means defeated.

The military said the two documents were discovered last year by American troops in November as the Sunni movement that began in Anbar province was spreading to Baghdad and surrounding areas.

One was a 39-page memo written by a mid- to high-level al-Qaida official with knowledge of the group's operations in Iraq's western Anbar province; the other a 16-page diary written by another group leader north of Baghdad.

The documents tell "narrow but compelling stories of the challenges al-Qaida in Iraq is facing," Smith told reporters in Baghdad. "This does not signal the end of al-Qaida in Iraq, but it is a contemporary account of the challenges posed to terrorists from the people of Iraq."

He said the documents are believed to be authentic because they contain details that only al-Qaida in Iraq leaders could know about battlefield movements and tactics. The U.S. military gave reporters partially redacted copies of the full diary but only four pages of the Anbar document, citing security reasons.

In the Anbar document, the author acknowledges a growing weariness among Sunni citizens of militants' presence and the U.S.-led crackdowns against them. He also expresses frustration with foreign fighters too eager to participate in suicide missions rather than continuing to fight.

"The Islamic State of Iraq is faced with an extraordinary crisis, especially in al-Anbar," the author wrote, referring to an umbrella group of insurgents led by al-Qaida.

Smith also quoted the document as lamenting the loss of "cities and afterward, villages," adding "we find ourselves in a wasteland desert."

It said U.S.-led forces had learned from their mistakes and improved security had made it harder to transport weapons and suicide belts and forced foreign fighters to go underground because of their distinctive dialects.

The military said the memo was believed to have been written last summer and was intended for the author's superiors.

The diary, seized by U.S. troops south of Balad, was written in autumn 2007 by Abu Tariq, who refers to himself as sector leader for al-Qaida in Iraq. Tariq wrote that he was once in charge of 600 fighters, but only 20 were left "after the tribes changed course" — a reference to how many Sunni tribesmen have switched sides to fight alongside the Americans, Smith said.

So with such words coming from al-Qaeda leaders, you would think that leading Democrats would admit that the Surge accomplished major goals, especially since there is progress on every single one of the political goals as well, even if that concession were good for the Republicans. After all, US military success is good for America, and patriots put America first.

Which is why Nancy Pelosi desperately tried to present the Surge as a failure.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said twice Sunday that Iraq “is a failure,” adding that President Bush’s troop surge has “not produced the desired effect.”

“The purpose of the surge was to create a secure time for the government of Iraq to make the political change to bring reconciliation to Iraq,” Pelosi said on CNN’s “Late Edition.” “They have not done that.”

The speaker hastened to add: “The troops have succeeded, God bless them.”

Pelosi’s harsh verdict is a reminder of the dilemma for Democrats as they head into this fall’s presidential and congressional elections:

They need to make the case that the country needs to depart from the direction set by Bush. Yet they don’t want to look like naysayers at a time when Iraq has become more stable, albeit still violent.

And those who argue that it is the GOP unfairly trying to paint the Democrats as defeatists, please consider that we are not providing Pelosi and other Democrats with their talking point.





|| Greg, 05:08 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Obama-Rama Weekend!

Barack Obama goes four for four this weekend in the Democrat nominating contests.

Senator Barack Obama defeated Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Maine caucuses on Sunday, giving him his fourth victory this weekend as he headed into three more state contests on Tuesday.

With 90 percent of Maine’s precincts reporting, Mr. Obama received 58.7 percent of the vote, compared with 40.7 percent for Mrs. Clinton.

Voter turnout in parts of Maine was reported to be strong on Sunday afternoon, despite a snowstorm. The Portland Press Herald reported on its Web site that there were long lines at the caucus in Portland, while a large crowd in Cape Elizabeth delayed the start of the caucus there by more than an hour.

Mr. Obama’s victory in Maine follows those in Washington, Louisiana and Nebraska on Saturday. Combined with his advantage in fund-raising, these victories should give him momentum going the primaries on Tuesday in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

And this should be an interesting race, filled as it is with establishment Democrats AND a major city which is overwhelmingly African-American. The Clinton campaign had expected to be done with the nomination fight by now, but that is not anywhere close -- or anywhere near certain to happen at all.

So what is the solution? A Clinton campaign shake-up!

Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton replaced campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle with longtime aide Maggie Williams on Sunday, a staff shake-up coming just hours after presidential rival Barack Obama’s Saturday sweep of three contests.

Campaign aides said Solis Doyle made the decision to leave on her own and was not urged to do so by the former first lady or any other senior member of the team. But it comes as Clinton struggles to catch Obama in fundraising and momentum and faces the prospect of losing every voting contest yet to come in February. On Sunday, Obama also won the caucus count in Maine.

Solis Doyle announced the shift in an e-mail to the staff on Sunday.

And how many of us believe that Solis Doyle REALTY made the decision to quite without being pushed by Hillary and her other close advisers? Not many, I'm sure. But will this change really help the campaign at all? And will dumping a Hispanic woman for a black woman really be of any benefit for a campaign that is strong among Hispanics and weak among African-Americans? Frankly, there is an air of desperation hanging about the Clinton campaign.





|| Greg, 04:52 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 10, 2008

Disunited Dems

When you play the race card for political advantage, it is only appropriate that it come back to bite you in the ass.

The question now is how much more racial friction the Clinton campaign will gin up if its Hispanic support starts to erode in Texas, whose March 4 vote it sees as its latest firewall. Clearly it will stop at little. That’s why you now hear Clinton operatives talk ever more brazenly about trying to reverse party rulings so that they can hijack 366 ghost delegates from Florida and the other rogue primary, Michigan, where Mr. Obama wasn’t even on the ballot. So much for Mrs. Clinton’s assurance on New Hampshire Public Radio last fall that it didn’t matter if she alone kept her name on the Michigan ballot because the vote “is not going to count for anything.”

Last month, two eminent African-American historians who have served in government, Mary Frances Berry (in the Carter and Clinton years) and Roger Wilkins (in the Johnson administration), wrote Howard Dean, the Democrats’ chairman, to warn him of the perils of that credentials fight. Last week, Mr. Dean became sufficiently alarmed to propose brokering an “arrangement” if a clear-cut victory by one candidate hasn’t rendered the issue moot by the spring. But does anyone seriously believe that Howard Dean can deter a Clinton combine so ruthless that it risked shredding three decades of mutual affection with black America to win a primary?

A race-tinged brawl at the convention, some nine weeks before Election Day, will not be a Hallmark moment. As Mr. Wilkins reiterated to me last week, it will be a flashback to the Democratic civil war of 1968, a suicide for the party no matter which victor ends up holding the rancid spoils.

But let's face it -- the Democrats have lived by sowing racial division for the entire life of their party. They have made a fine art of it in the last few decades, convincing groups with diametrically opposed interests that they are all on the same side. Now the ethnic chickens come home to roost -- and may bring about a major realignment of American political life before our eyes at this year's Democrat convention.





|| Greg, 06:09 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

MSNBC Double Standard Alert

My buddy Hube over at Colossus of Rhodey notes this double-standard from MSNBC.

As Mike Matthews reported when it happened (as did many other places, but I like to highlight the local blogs that nail it quickly!), MSNBC's David Shuster was suspended indefinitely for saying that Chelsea Clinton was being "pimped out in some weird sort of way" regarding her supposed contacting of "super delegates" on behalf of her mom's campaign. There's news that he actually was close to being fired on the spot for the comment. I think Shuster's comments probably were inappropriate, but that even a suspension is just plain ridiculous. The term "pimped" doesn't exclusively mean what it used to.

But consider: If Shuster can get suspended for that comment, and possibly even fired, what about Keith Olbermann? Olbermann has also apologized for Shuster, by the way ("David has been suspended and remains only for me to apologize without limit to President Clinton and to Ms. Clinton on behalf of MSNBC. We are literally, dreadfully sorry." "Literally, dreadfully sorry"?? Please, someone clean up my vomit! -- Hube); however, he used the very same term regarding President Bush and General David Petraeus back on Sept. 20!

Don't hold your breath. But like Shuster, I don't think Olbermann should even be suspended for his comments, but it surely demonstrates the clear double-standard: Against Republicans and conservatives, feel free to use whatever language you want.

Now we can debate about the issue of whether or not the use of the word "pimping" is appropriate in either case -- but I'm hard pressed to see how it is acceptable to use the term about a career military officer providing truthful information to Congress about a successful military policy while unacceptable to use it about a child acting as surrogate for a candidate, especially when that candidate for years has insisted that the child is not a part of their political life and is off-limits for any comments, much less criticism. After all, remember the outrage over this little SNL gem.



And even after Chelsea became an adult, the Clintons demanded that she be treated as apolitical. Now that Mrs. Clinton is making use of this "apolitical asset, is it not legitimate fodder for comment?

But when you suspend one "professional journalist" over the use of the term while promoting another as your network's biggest draw when he has used the same word (and worse) is rank hypocrisy.

But then again, this incident also illustrates Hillary Clinton's unfitness for office. Her little snit over David Shuster's words tells me that she is going to demand to control press coverage of her and her administration, and punish journalists who speak of her and her administration in ways she dislikes. Heck, that is a bigger threat to a free press than anything done by the Bush Administration, which didn't even prosecute journalist who violated federal law by disclosing classified national security information during time of war!





|| Greg, 03:48 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are A Short Hitch by Done With Mirrors, and Changing the Organizational Culture (Updated) by Small Wars Journal.  Here is a link to the full results of the vote:

VotesCouncil link
3A Short Hitch
Done With Mirrors
2The Most Ridiculous Story of 2008? Part 2
Cheat Seeking Missiles
1  2/3I'd Have To Ask??
The Colossus of Rhodey
1Good Immigrant, Bad Immigrant
Bookworm Room
2/3Obama Disparages the Military & Gets a Pass On Iraq From Fox News
Wolf Howling
2/3The Anti-McCain Republicans
The Glittering Eye
2/3Why Should We Care Whether Hillary or McCain Wins?
Big Lizards
2/3Cutting Off Berkeley
Rhymes With Right
2/3Campaign Consultant Kang Speaks
Soccer Dad

VotesNon-council link
3Changing the Organizational Culture (Updated)
Small Wars Journal
1  2/3"Mass Producers of Distortion"
EU Referendum
1The Coming Meltdown for the Democrats
Captain's Quarters
1The Terribly Mixed Record of Alan Greenspan
The Provocateur
1Our Policy In Iraq
Oliver Kamm
1Pandora's Box
Global Guerrillas
2/3GOP 2008: The Jackpot from the Trifecta of Stupid [Karl]
Protein Wisdom
2/3The Wing Has Lost Its Nuts (And Bolts), Indeed
Washington Hotlist
1/3The Power of Myths
Houston's Clear Thinkers
1/3No Fat People Allowed: Only the Slim Will Be Allowed To Dine In Public!
Junkfood Science
1/3Intransigent Huck Voters
Hugh Hewitt

COngratulations to the winners, and thank you to all participants in the vote.





|| Greg, 04:47 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 09, 2008

Mitt Romney -- The Future Of The Conservative Movement

I'm glad to see this move by leading conservatives.

Some 50 stalwarts of the political right privately met with Mitt Romney minutes after he dropped out of the Republican nominating race to discuss the former Massachusetts governor becoming the face of conservatism, as Ronald Reagan became en route to his 1980 election win.

Participants said the group was not organizing against the presidential bid of Sen. John McCain, the party"s presumptive nominee, but only seeking to revive core values such as lower taxes, limited government and free speech.

"The purpose of the meeting was for him to announce his willingness to fight shoulder to shoulder with true conservatives from here on out," said political strategist Paul Erickson, who worked for Mr. Romney"s campaign. "He did just that."

In 1964, Ronald Reagan became the face and voice of the conservative movement in America with "the speech". His years as governor and work for conservative values eventually led him to the White House and immortality as one of America's greatest presidents.

Mitt Romney has the potential to take up the leadership mantle laid down by the Gipper as he faded into the twilight of Alzheimer's Disease. If he accepts this challenge, I predict that he will be our president one day -- perhaps in as few as four years.





|| Greg, 05:15 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Eurotrash Liberal Predicts Obama Assassination

"They" will assassinate him if he is elected.

If Barack Obama becomes the next US president he will surely be assassinated, British Nobel literature laureate Doris Lessing predicted in a newspaper interview published here on Saturday.

Obama, who is vying to become the first black president in US history, would certainly not last long, a black man in the position of president. They would murder him," Lessing, 88, told the Dagens Nyheter daily.

No words on who the mysterious "they" would be.

However "they" will do it and quickly -- but would be mollified if Hillary Clinton were to become president instead.

Clearly the senile dementia has set in.





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Fellow MuNuvian Wins CPAC Blogger Award

Good on you, Ace! I'm honored to share a server with CPACs blogger of the year.

And I'd like to say that I agree with another fellow MuNuvian, Little Miss Attila, on this key point.

Speaking of which, why is Ace getting the award, rather than me? There is such prejudice against blogs that do not actually get read.

I feel exactly the same way, you little hottie.

And to Andrew Sullivan, I offer the suggestion that the petulant whining of a gay diva like you about this award and Power Line's book of the year award to Norman Podhoretz (and accompanying contribution to a worthwhile charity like Soldiers' Angels, not a small fortune to the winner) are really unbecomeing, and show how you really have much more in common with the Fringe left like Kos, DU, and HuffPo than with anything in the mainstream of contemporary conservatism.





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Constitutionally Correct Or Judicial Activism?

For a century, the use of the electric chair for executions has been accepted in this country. Yesterday a court in Nebraska ruled differently, saying its use constituted torture and violated the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Is it a proper decision rooted in the Constitution, or judicial activism?

The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled Friday that electrocution is cruel and unusual punishment, outlawing the electric chair in the only state that still used it as its sole means of execution.

The state's death penalty remains on the books, but the court said the Legislature must approve another method to use it. The evidence shows that electrocution inflicts "intense pain and agonizing suffering," the court said.

"Condemned prisoners must not be tortured to death, regardless of their crimes," Judge William Connolly wrote in the 6-1 opinion.

"Contrary to the State's argument, there is abundant evidence that prisoners sometimes will retain enough brain functioning to consciously suffer the torture high voltage electric current inflicts on a human body," Connolly wrote.

Ordinaily, I'd argue that this is a bit of judicial activism. However, is it possible that increases in our knowledge about the human body and the effects of electrocution have led us to the point where we now know that what once seemed to be a humane form of execution is in fact excessively cruel and amounts to torture? I'm willing to reserve judgment there, given that the opinion goes to great lengths to examine the scientific evidence on the matter. i do, however, struggle with whether it is the proper role of the courts to make that decision.

There is, of course, a simple, effective, and quick method of execution out there that I believe would meet any and all objections under the Eighth Amendment.

guillotine[1].jpg

Properly modified, equipped with an ultra-sharp surgical steel blade and a hydraulic system designed to instantaneously separate head from body (and body from soul), it should meet any Constitutional objection to the method of execution.

There is a question as to whether or not this decision will make it into the Federal courts, because of the grounds on which the decision was made. The Nebraska Supreme Court didn't actually SAY the decision was based upon the US Constitution, but rather upon virtually identical language in the state constitution -- but then cited nothing except precedents interpreting th US Constitution. That might make taking this case into the federal courts a bit more tricky due to federalism issues.





|| Greg, 07:55 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Problem Of Double Standards In Political Speech/Contribution Limitation Laws

I recently got into a bit of a debate with a Democrat over the issue of political participation limitation legislation like McCain-Feingold. Having been accused of “confusing money with speech” and “supporting the buying of elections”, I noted one of the fundamental inequities of the current law – namely that while cash and “in kind” donations are strictly limited on the assumption that a successful candidate will “owe something” to a campaign contributor who “expects something” once the recipient is in office.

However, let’s think about that for a minute. Setting aside the fact that support for such legislation betrays the low ethical standards of the proponents of such legislation, who recognize that their own willingness to be bought and sold for a few dollars cash. Let’s instead consider that such legislation does not take into account that volunteering for a campaign also constitutes the contribution of a thing of value (namely, the volunteer’s time and labor). After all, if the expertise of such an individual may be quite valuable – for example, a CPA who serves as an unpaid campaign treasurer. Why shouldn’t such an individual’s participation be capped at the number of hours that would bring their contribution to the contribution limit when valued at their standard hourly rate? After all, haven’t they effectively given the maximum contribution – and more – via their donated time and work? Can’t it be equally presumed that they “expect something” from a candidate who now “owes them” for this contributed time, work, and expertise? And what of paid campaign staffers, such as those from the Clinton campaign, who decide to forgo salaries in the interest of preserving campaign cash for their candidates. Aren't those contributions, in some cases exceeding the $2300 limit when combined wih cash contributions tehy may already have made?

What about speeches, endorsements, or commercial appearances by celebrities?
Don’t they have a high value, every bit as insidiously corrupting as a check? For example, how much does a speech by Oprah Winfrey cost? I don’t know, but I’d imagine that it would easily exceed $25,000 – if it doesn’t exceed $50,000? Shouldn’t Barack Obama and his campaign be required to count her appearances and speeches at events as in-kind contributions, given that Oprah’s product is Oprah? Moreover, if counted as such, wouldn’t that violate federal contribution limits in presidential races? What does Obama “owe” Oprah, and what is the something that she expects from him in return for her services, which are easily valued at well over ten times the legal contribution limit?

One would object, quite rightly, that subjecting Obama and Oprah to criminal or civil penalties for her political activity on his behalf would be fundamentally contrary to the First Amendment, as it would severely curtail her ability to exercise her rights under the First Amendment, despite the high cash value of this “in-kind” contribution. After all, her contribution is quintessentially American in nature.

But the reality is that the value being protected by the First Amendment goes beyond freedom of speech, press, and association -- it is the free and unfettered ability of individuals to participate in the political process, including by banding together to engage in speech on behalf of candidates. For some of us the most effective way is to give our time. For others it is the donation of needed materials. For still others it is their words. No form of contribution should be either privileged or limited, though reasonable requirements on disclosure and reporting are arguably acceptable. Let’s make all Americans and their respective forms of contribution equal again by removing all artificial government imposed limits on such all-American activity.

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February 08, 2008

WWI Blogging

I don't watch network news -- ever. however, I was hoping to see how NBC dealt with MSNBC's David Shuster and the sh!t-storm over his "pimping out Chelsea" comment. The didn't. But I did end up seeing one of the most fascinating stories about blogging ever -- a voice from the distant past, digitalized for our edification and education.

This is part of a convergence of events around WWI that has taken place in my life over the last few weeks.

Right before Christmas, one of the men from our church gave me a copy of his father's WWI memoir, Argonne Days in World War I. I find it humbling to read the words of an actual doughboy, who constructed this memoir from notes kept in a book of scripture given him and his fellow soldiers by the YMCA.

As i'm working my way through the book, I am also preparing to teach about "The Great War" in the next couple weeks, so I am re-immersing myself in the ins-and-outs of the conflict.

And now I this fascinating website, composed of slowly unfolding letters of a British Tommy, William Henry Bonser Lamin, better known as Harry to his family and his mates. It makes for fascinating reading, nine decades after they were first written.





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Mitt Romney – Patriot

I didn't get a chance to read over Mitt Romney's speech yesterday. Now that I have, I'd argue that this is the real money passage, the one that reveals the principles that led Romney to withdraw from the race for the nomination.

If this were only about me, I'd go on. But it's never been only about me.

I entered this race — I entered this race because I love America. And because I love America, in this time of war, I feel I have to now stand aside for our party and for our country.

I will continue to stand for conservative principles. I'll fight alongside you for all the things we believe in. And one of the things we believe in is that we cannot allow the next president of the United States to retreat in the face of evil extremism.

It is the common task of each generation and the burden of liberty to preserve this country, expand its freedoms and renew its spirit, so that its noble past is prologue to its glorious future.

To this task, accepting this burden, we're all dedicated. And I firmly believe, by the providence of the Almighty, that we will succeed beyond our fondest hope.

America must always remain, as it has always been, the hope of the Earth.

A presidential race should never be about what the electorate can do for the candidate – it should be, to paraphrase a president from Massachusetts, about what that candidate can do for the country as president. Mitt Romney recognized that and stood aside for that reason. He has not abandoned the principles upon which he campaigned, but he instead recognizes that the best way to see them carried to fruition is to allow an opponent to carry the banner of the GOP. That is a true rejection of the "Politics of I" in favor of the "Politics of We".

I respected Mitt Romney when I endorsed him a year ago. I supported him over the last year, even when other candidates appealed to me more on some issues, because I believed Mitt Romney to be the candidate most suited to implement a vision parallel to mine and that of my party for the good of the country. And I admire Mitt Romney even more today, having seen him withdraw from the race rather than fight to the bitter end and harm the prospect of seeing victory abroad and constitutionally limited government at home.

And for the record, I will be voting for Mitt Romney in the Texas GOP Primary on March 4 -- because it is important to make clear that while I will support McCain in the general election, he is not my choice as the nominee.





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Stay Out Of Mexico!

Not only are Mexicans crossing our border illegally, but now some of their kidnapping gangs are targeting Americans for kidnapping when they cross the border.

Organized, well-financed and violent Mexican kidnapping cells are targeting a growing number of U.S. citizens visiting communities popular with San Diegans and other California residents.

Last year, at least 26 San Diego County residents were kidnapped and held for ransom in Tijuana, Rosarito Beach or Ensenada, local FBI agents overseeing the cases said yesterday. In 2006, at least 11 county residents had been kidnapped in the three communities.

“Some of the 26 were recovered, some were hurt and some were killed,” said agent Alex Horan, who directs the FBI's violent-crime squad in San Diego.

“It's not a pleasant experience. Victims have reported beatings, torture and there have been rapes. . . . Handcuffs and hoods over the head are common,” he said.

Now that is 26 from the San Diego area -- that we know about. There may be more, and certainly are more in other areas along the border. How much longer until these gangs start operating on the US side of the border, bringing one more Mexican social problem into the United States.





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Kirkwood Massacre

Stories like this just boggle the mind.

A gunman with a history of acrimony against civic leaders stormed City Hall during a council meeting Thursday night, killing two police officers and three city officials before law enforcers fatally shot him, authorities said. The mayor was critically injured in the rampage.

The victims at the meeting in suburban St. Louis were killed after the gunman rushed the council chambers and began firing as he yelled "Shoot the mayor!" according to St. Louis County Police spokeswoman Tracy Panus. Two people were wounded before Kirkwood police fatally shot him, she said.

Panus said the names of the victims would not be released until a news conference Friday morning. But the wounded included Mayor Mike Swoboda, who was in critical condition late Thursday in the intensive-care unit of St. John's Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur, hospital spokesman Bill McShane said, declining to discuss the nature of the injuries. McShane said another victim, Suburban Journals newspaper reporter Todd Smith, was in satisfactory condition.

The gunman killed one officer outside City Hall, then walked into the chambers and shot another before continuing to fire, Panus said.

I used to live not far from Kirkwood. It is a nice town filled with decent people. In the coming days we will find out why this incident happened. But in the mean time, let's just mourn for the loss of dedicated public servants who were murdered as tehy worked for the people of Kirkwood.





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John McCain Makes His Case

In his CPAC speech, John McCain laid out the reasons why conservative principles are better served by supporting him than by allowing either of the Democrat contenders.

For those who argue he is not conservative enough, the stark differences McCain laid out and the pledges he made should be sufficient to lead you to support his candidacy if you love this country.

Often elections in this country are fought within the margins of small differences. This one will not be. We are arguing about hugely consequential things. Whomever the Democrats nominate, they would govern this country in a way that will, in my opinion, take this country backward to the days when government felt empowered to take from us our freedom to decide for ourselves the course and quality of our lives; to substitute the muddled judgment of large and expanding federal bureaucracies for the common sense and values of the American people; to the timidity and wishful thinking of a time when we averted our eyes from terrible threats to our security that were so plainly gathering strength abroad. It is shameful and dangerous that Senate Democrats are blocking an extension of surveillance powers that enable our intelligence and law enforcement to defend our country against radical Islamic extremists. This election is going to be about big things, not small things. And I intend to fight as hard as I can to ensure that our principles prevail over theirs.

Senator Clinton and Senator Obama want to increase the size of the federal government.

I intend to reduce it. I will not sign a bill with earmarks in it, any earmarks in it. I will fight for the line item veto, and I will not permit any expansion whatsoever of the entitlement programs that are bankrupting us. On the contrary, I intend to reform those programs so that government is no longer in that habit of making promises to Americans it does not have the means to keep.

Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will raise your taxes.

I intend to cut them. I will start by making the Bush tax cuts permanent. I will cut corporate tax rates from 35 to 25% to keep industries and jobs in this country. I will end the Alternate Minimum Tax. And I won't let a Democratic Congress raise your taxes and choke the growth of our economy.

They will offer a big government solution to health care insurance coverage.

I intend to address the problem with free market solutions and with respect for the freedom of individuals to make important choices for themselves.

They will appoint to the federal bench judges who are intent on achieving political changes that the American people cannot be convinced to accept through the election of their representatives.

I intend to nominate judges who have proven themselves worthy of our trust that they take as their sole responsibility the enforcement of laws made by the people's elected representatives, judges of the character and quality of Justices Roberts and Alito, judges who can be relied upon to respect the values of the people whose rights, laws and property they are sworn to defend.

Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will withdraw our forces from Iraq based on an arbitrary timetable designed for the sake of political expediency, and which recklessly ignores the profound human calamity and dire threats to our security that would ensue.

I intend to win the war, and trust in the proven judgment of our commanders there and the courage and selflessness of the Americans they have the honor to command. I share the grief over the terrible losses we have suffered in its prosecution. There is no other candidate for this office who appreciates more than I do just how awful war is. But I know that the costs in lives and treasure we would incur should we fail in Iraq will be far greater than the heartbreaking losses we have suffered to date. And I will not allow that to happen.

They won't recognize and seriously address the threat posed by an Iran with nuclear ambitions to our ally, Israel, and the region.

I intend to make unmistakably clear to Iran we will not permit a government that espouses the destruction of the State of Israel as its fondest wish and pledges undying enmity to the United States to possess the weapons to advance their malevolent ambitions.

Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will concede to our critics that our own actions to defend against its threats are responsible for fomenting the terrible evil of radical Islamic extremism, and their resolve to combat it will be as flawed as their judgment.

I intend to defeat that threat by staying on offense and by marshaling every relevant agency of our government, and our allies, in the urgent necessity of defending the values, virtues and security of free people against those who despise all that is good about us.

These are but a few of the differences that will define this election. They are very significant differences, and I promise you, I intend to contest these issues on conservative grounds and fight as hard as I can to defend the principles and positions we share, and to keep this country safe, proud, prosperous and free.

Now it is up to McCain to continue to reach out to the conservative base and to make it clear that we are valued and will be heard in his administration, even if our position does not always prevail.

And let's be clear about something. I have my issues with John McCain. If he is elected president, I'll fight him when he's wrong, just as I did President Bush. But it is clear that John McCain is substantially less wrong than either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, and so I must be prepared to cast my vote that direction in November.





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From The Mouths Of Babes

Just one of those reminders about how far we have gone in accommodating illegal aliens in this country – at the expense of every American citizen, including those of Hispanic descent.

As I’ve mentioned, over half of my students are Hispanic of one variety or another. As a result, I have Hispanic students who are in the country illegally, legal resident aliens, naturalized citizens, and US citizens by birth – even some who are third and fourth generation or more. And it is those latter students, American by birth, who have gotten the not so subtle signal that they really don’t count when it comes to programs for Hispanic students.

Yesterday my 10th grade students got their score sheets from the PSAT test they took this fall. The next administration of the test will be this coming fall, and could qualify them as National Merit Semi-Finalists, and also for the National Hispanic Recognition Program run by the College Board.

One of my students did exceptionally well on the PSAT, showing the potential to qualify for one or both of these programs if she continues to work hard and makes sure she participates in the test preparation programs that we offer at our school. This young lady is a very special girl – intelligent, poised, athletic, and well-spoken, as well as very motivated. In other words, she is everything that I or any other teacher could ask for. I took her aside for a moment to offer some praise and to urge her to take advantage of the programs our school offers to prepare students for the PSAT, SAT, and ACT tests. In the course of this, I mentioned the NHRP.

The response I got to the latter suggestion shocked me.

“Oh, no, mister, they won’t take me. I’ve got papers.”

I really didn’t think I heard her correctly, so I asked her to repeat herself.

“I was born here, so they won’t take me.”

Now I was able to fix her misconception by showing her the qualifications for the program on my computer, and assured her that US-born students of Latin American heritage qualified for the program.

But in the back of my mind I was really disturbed, and became even more disturbed as I realized that this perceptive young lady had picked up on an essential truth about our schizophrenic policy regarding illegal aliens.

We throw benefits at illegal aliens, especially illegal alien students. We make special exceptions for them and run special programs for them in our schools. Most people take those programs for granted, and to raise a question about their legitimacy is to risk being labeled a racist.

But this girl, an American of Hispanic ancestry, was not so politically correct as to avoid the truth. She implicitly named the problem – too often the benefits of special problems accrue not to those who follow our laws, but instead to the lawbreakers. And that, my friends, is simply wrong. It is time that we put American citizens and legal aliens first.

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February 07, 2008

Mitt Out -- Senate Run In Future?

And my heart gets officially broken in 2008.

The presidential race Mitt Romney planned for years crashed to a halt Thursday, stopped in its tracks by the surprisingly durable John McCain campaign and by Romney's failure to quell concerns about his shifts on key issues, his political persona and his Mormon religion.

Making the dramatic announcement at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference at a Washington hotel, Romney clearly hoped to preserve the goodwill of his party for another possible bid in 2012. He intends to run again in four years, according to a senior member of his inner circle.

"He should be president. 2012," the confidant e-mailed after talking to Romney.

Asked if Romney will run again, another close adviser said, "He’ll consider it. He's keeping his options open."

Romney never quite got the traction that many of us on the conservative side of things expected, especially as John McCain surged and a segment of the religious conservatives rejected him based upon faith alone. And yes, there were those who objected to his changed positions on a number of issues, despite the fact that even Ronald Reagan evolved over the years into the essence of what it means to be a conservative.

One possibility
was suggested by a columnist from Boston -- challenge John Kerry for his Senate seat this fall.

Here’s a not-wholly whimsical idea for a battered Mitt Romney: Bow out of the presidential race and gear up for a run against John Kerry for the Senate this fall.

That would give Romney an honorable exit, help the national Republican Party unify behind John McCain earlier and allow the state GOP to field an A-list candidate who could keep Kerry pinned down in Massachusetts. And if Romney got really lucky he could even win the seat.

The filing date for the Senate is May 6. That’s plenty of time for Romney to switch and mount a campaign that could keep him alive for a second shot at the presidency in the future, instead of remaining a punching bag in the current race.

Yeah, I know this column was something of a jab at Mitt, but the key detail is this.

A stunning 56 percent of voters statewide said it was time “to give someone else a chance” in the Senate, with only 37 percent saying Kerry should run again, in a Suffolk University poll last April. That included independents who, by 62 percent to 31 percent, said it was time for Kerry to go.

In other words, John Kerry can be beat. And by 2012, mitt Romney could have established a conservative record that proves he is the conservative he has claimed to be this year. It really sounds like a great idea to me.





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Best Ad Spoof Ever!

Because, of course, Ron Paul and his followers certainly seem bat-sh!t crazy.

Chupacabra -- I love it!

Ron Paul -- Unfit For Any Office





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Texas Legislature Must Change Law To Overturn Ruling

I've never liked the notion of allowing prison sentences to run concurrently rather than consecutively, but I understand it as a practical matter designed to avoid prison crowding due to multiple convictions. However, I don't have the same view on fines. Criminals should pay every penny of them.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals disagreed in a new ruling.

Criminals in Texas will get a break on their fines under a Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruling that courts must assess fines concurrently, rather than adding them together.

Wednesday's 5-4 ruling changes the 35-year-old practice under which Texas courts issued separate fines for separate criminal counts, with each to be paid consecutively.

Defendants will now pay the largest fine assessed by the court, and then every other fine is considered paid in full. The new practice brings fines in line with the way many prison terms are served — at the same time rather than consecutively.

The basic holding of the ruling is that the statute, drafted and adopted by Democrats back during their thirteen decade strangle-hold on political power here in Texas, requires that all aspects of sentences following multiple count trials be concurrent, not just prison terms. And as the law is written, I'd have to argue that they are correct.

The solution? New legislation, because it is not the place of the courts to repair or renovate shoddy statutory language. After all, there is no good public policy purpose in giving folks a break on their fines.

Here's hoping that Texas legislators make fixing the ill-considered statute early in the 2009 session.





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Momentum Favors Obama?

Well, let's set aside the delegate totals, where Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are running neck and neck. There really is more to make folks question whether the winds of change are really blowing.

First, there is the money issue.

Our colleague Patrick Healy tells us that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, facing big primaries against her rival Senator Barack Obama in places like Ohio and Texas, is weighing whether to lend her campaign money.

And in a quick update, her campaign has just confirmed that she’d already lent her coffers $5 million of her own money in late January.

Compare this to the success being had by Obama in the money department.

Barack Obama’s campaign is on track to raise another $30 million in February, sources close to the Illinois senator say, while Hillary Rodham Clinton’s spokesman revealed Wednesday that she had loaned her campaign $5 million.

Insiders in both campaigns say the growing financial disparity virtually ensures that Obama will be able to significantly outspend Clinton in the critical primaries to come.

Money means something -- and for all the arguments that it signals corruption, what it usually signals is popular support, especially when it is coming from so many donors new to political giving.

How significant is the difference? Hillary's staff is giving up their paychecks. That is never a good sign from where I sit -- it means that money has become tight enough that the message is in danger of not getting out at all -- and that the campaign cannot be sustained long term.

So what this means is that going into a number of states where Barack Obama may have an advantage, Hillary Clinton is lacking the cash to effectively spread her message and turn some of the swing voters her way. And with Obama surging everywhere and showing great momentum by virtually every indicator, Hillary needs to score some quick victories in the next week to avoid becoming the underdog for the first time in a campaign that could run all the way to the convention, despite the best efforts of Howard Dean to avoid that possibility.





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February 06, 2008

Seven Reasons To Back Any GOP Presidential Nominee

Hugh Hewitt says it all right here.

There are seven reasons for anyone to support the eventual nominee no matter who it is: The war and six Supreme Court justices over the age of 68.

Surrender to terror and an imperial liberal judiciary. Neither is acceptable. A Republican in the White House – any Republican – makes those twin evils less likely than any Democrat there.





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Obama Ahead?

If this bears out, we have an even bigger muddle on the Democrat site of the aisle than any of us expected.

In a surprise twist after a chaotic Super Tuesday, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) passed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in network tallies of the number of delegates the candidates racked up last night.

The Obama camp now projects topping Clinton by 13 delegates, 847 to 834.

NBC News, which is projecting delegates based on the Democratic Party's complex formula, figures Obama will wind up with 840 to 849 delegates, versus 829 to 838 for Clinton.

Clinton was portrayed in many news accounts as the night’s big winner, but Obama’s campaign says he wound up with a higher total where it really counts — the delegates who will choose the party’s nominee at this summer’s Democratic convention.

With the delegate count still under way, NBC News said Obama appears to have won around 840 delegates in yesterday’s contests, while Clinton earned about 830 — “give or take a few,” Tim Russert, the network’s Washington bureau chief, said on the “Today” show.

So who won Super Tuesday for the Democrats? And why did the media present the outcome as a Clinton victory?

And most importantly, with a gap of only a couple of dozen delegates after prior victories and superdelegate commitments, are we really any closer to a nominee for the Democrats?





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Oh Come On!

Stupidity really does know no bounds -- and this election day mess in Illinois leaves me speechless.

Election officials reported few problems with primary voting in Illinois on Tuesday despite a snafu involving invisible ink.

An election judge gave voters styluses used for touch screen voting instead of ink pens in one precinct, said Jim Allen, a spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections.

Voters complained that they were unable to make a mark after the judge told them that the pens used invisible ink.

About 20 voters got the “invisible ink” pens that didn’t cast any votes. Officials contacted five of the 20 people and were waiting to hear back from the others, Allen said.

I am an election judge. And while the only pens we need down here in my county are for signing the registration books and recording the voters, I hope that my clerks and I would be smart enough not to give out "invisible ink pens" to voters.

What were these people thinking!





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Sad To See

I'll admit it -- back in college, I got hooked on a particular soap opera with a group of friend. You would find a group of about 30 of us getting our daily fix of General Hospital each afternoon -- something particularly amusing because i was at an all male college (the folks buying ads for "feminine protection" and feminine hygiene" products certainly didn't get their money's worth with us).

And so I was sad to catch this story while searching for Super Tuesday news.

Actress Shell Kepler, who for years played the gossipy nurse Amy Vining on the TV soap opera "General Hospital," has died. She was 49.

Kepler died Friday at Oregon Health & Science University hospital, which did not give the cause of death.

Kepler's busybody character on "General Hospital" was a fan favorite and enjoyed a long run, 1979-2002.

In addition to her run on "General Hospital," she was also in a 1982 Joan Collins film, "Homework," and a couple of episodes of the situation comedy "Three's Company."

On the side, she was a businesswoman, marketing clothing on the former Home Shopping Club. She said in a 1994 Associated Press interview that her "Lacy Afternoon" collection had sales topping $20 million that year alone.

Yeah, the show was a guilty pleasure from my youth -- and this death is one more sign of my youth passing by.

My condolences to her family and friends.





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Track Down These Terrorists

And let there be no doubt -- the so-called "animal rights activists" who destroy labs, commit assault against researchers and engage in arson are nothing but terrorists.

Authorities are investigating a fire caused by a device left Tuesday at a house owned by a UCLA professor who conducts animal research -- the second time the house has been targeted in less than four months.

The device was placed Monday morning on the front porch of a Westside house owned by Edythe London, FBI officials in Los Angeles said.

London, a professor of psychiatry and bio-behavioral sciences and of molecular and medical pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, uses lab monkeys in her research on nicotine addiction.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller confirmed that officials with the Joint Terrorism Task Force were investigating the incident.

"It was ignited and caused damage to the property," Eimiller said. "No one was home at the time and nobody was hurt."

this is the third attack on London's home in the past year. We are clearly talking about an orchestrated campaign designed to curtail the advancement of human knowledge and improvement of human lives by neo-Luddites intent upon taking us back to the seventh century. In that they are no different that al-Qaeda terrorists.

H/T Michelle Malkin





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Big Night For McCain -- Long Road Ahead For Hillary And Obama

Super Tuesday has come and gone.

Looks like on the GOP side there is likely to be a McCain in my future, whether I want one or not.

Sen. John McCain surged closer toward the Republican nomination yesterday by capturing the biggest Super Tuesday states, including California, but failed to knock out his rivals, who deprived him of victories across GOP strongholds in the South and West.

As millions of Republicans went to the polls in 21 states, the senator from Arizona racked up hundreds of delegates on the strength of winner-take-all primaries in the Northeast and elsewhere. But his inability to win in more than half of the states voting yesterday complicated his hopes of rallying the party behind his candidacy.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee scored a surprising sweep of his native South, while former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney picked up a number of states in the West but fell short in critical battlegrounds that would have established him as McCain's primary challenger. Huckabee and Romney vowed last night to stay in the race as it moves to Virginia, Maryland and the District on Tuesday.

What is interesting is the regional division of votes -- McCain generally taking the two coasts, Huckabee the South, and Romney much of the heartland. But given the winner-take-all nature of some of the primaries, McCain has surged ahead to the point that he is approaching 50% of the delegates needed to win the nomination outright. Romney and Huckabee are splitting the rest of the vote, with Religious conservatives favoring the Arkansas governor and the rest favoring the former Massachusetts governor. The irreconcilable diistance between those two candidates means that neither is likely to defer to the other, pretty much assuring a McCain nomination at some point down the road -- though likely not until after the Texas primary in four weeks.

And while the McCain victories clarified much, the results on the Democrat side simply muddy the waters.

Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama carved up the nation in the 22-state nominating contest on Tuesday, leaving the Democratic presidential nomination more elusive than ever. Mrs. Clinton won California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and her home state, New York, while Mr. Obama took Connecticut, Georgia, Minnesota and his base in Illinois.

It may come down to how uncommitted delegates and super-delegates break, and may involve some horse-trading to get one of these candidates over the top. And given the way that many Washington insiders are breaking for Obama, that could swing the nomination his way -- though many state party leaders are supporting Hillary.





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Lawyer Wants Taxes Declared Unconstitutional

Come on -- the alleged constitutional infirmity of the Texas "pole tax" is really inherent in the definition of most form of taxation. I don't know how any judge could take the claim made at all seriously.

A new $5-per-patron fee the state is charging strip clubs is really a tax and should be declared unconstitutional, a lawyer for the clubs argued in court Tuesday.

"They are simply taking money from my clients and funding other purposes," said Stewart Whitehead.

The Legislature enacted the fee, effective Jan. 1, and dedicated the first $25 million to sexual assault prevention and additional revenue to low-income health care. Clubs will have to send their first quarterly check to the state in April.

The Texas Entertainment Association and the owner of an Amarillo strip club are challenging the fee. Although a trial is scheduled for March 3, the clubs asked state District Judge Margaret Cooper to declare the fee unconstitutional.

Cooper said she will issue a ruling in advance of the trial.

Whitehead, said a fee must be related to regulation, and the state is not using the fee to "abate an alleged nuisance" or benefit the industry.

Now let's consider this. Under such a legal theory, a sales tax could only be used to deal directly with commerce related issues, and income tax (unconstitutional in Texas) could only be used o deal with employment and work issues, and a tax on entertainment (such as a strip club) could only be used to fund entertainment related issues. There would be no way to fund schools or parks, and all highways would ahve to be tollways. (actually, we're headed that way if we aren't careful).

I'm curious -- how would this idiot fund the Department of Defense?

Granted, I'm not a fan of the "pole tax" (and no, I don't go to strip clubs), but I am even less of a fan of inane legal arguments.





|| Greg, 04:45 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 05, 2008

Wikipedia Stands Up To Muslims

They have refused to kow-tow to those Muslims who demand that the most stringent interpretation of Islamic law regarding depictions of Muhammad be followed.

An article about the Prophet Muhammad in the English-language Wikipedia has become the subject of an online protest in the last few weeks because of its representations of Muhammad, taken from medieval manuscripts. In addition to numerous e-mail messages sent to Wikipedia.org, an online petition cites a prohibition in Islam on images of people.

The petition has more than 80,000 “signatures,” though many who submitted them to ThePetitionSite.com, remained anonymous.

“We have been noticing a lot more similar sounding, similar looking e-mails beginning mid-January,” said Jay Walsh, a spokesman for the Wikimedia Foundation in San Francisco, which administers the various online encyclopedias in more than 250 languages.

A Frequently Asked Questions page explains the site’s polite but firm refusal to remove the images: “Since Wikipedia is an encyclopedia with the goal of representing all topics from a neutral point of view, Wikipedia is not censored for the benefit of any particular group.”

The notes left on the petition site come from all over the world. “It’s totally unacceptable to print the Prophet’s picture,” Saadia Bukhari from Pakistan wrote in a message. “It shows insensitivity towards Muslim feelings and should be removed immediately.”

First let me offer a couple words back to Saadia Bukhari and other Muslims demanding that non-Muslims follow their rules -- لدغة لي.

Second, to I offer offer possible a compromise – instead of using a picture of a veiled Muhammad from a Muslim source, they should use an unveiled picture of Muhammad from other Islamic sources. But if that is unacceptable to those insisting upon dhimmitude by Wikipedia and the rest of us, II hereby grant permission for Wikipedia to freely make use of this picture I photoshopped last year.

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|| Greg, 07:41 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Streisand Supports Dirty Government

Because, of course, having Democrats in office is much more important than having lawmakers who aren’t lawbreakers.

For lawmakers faced with mounting legal bills, it’s good to have friends in high places with deep pockets.

Members of the leadership on both sides of the aisle cut checks to legally embattled House colleagues, and even Barbra Streisand contributed $1,000 to Rep. Jim McDermott’s (D-Wash.) legal expense fund.

* * *

So far, McDermott is the only member enlisting real star power. McDermott reported his $1,000 donation from Streisand to his legal defense fund during the last quarter of 2007, when he amassed a total of $65,304. Rep. John Larson’s (D-Conn.) leadership PAC donated $2,500, while the lion’s share of his contributions came from constituents.

McDermott ramped up his funding after a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia made it more likely that he would have to pay a $60,000 fine and $880,000 in attorneys’ fees in a nearly decade-long battle with Boehner. At issue is an illegally taped phone call between Boehner and former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) that McDermott leaked to the media. During the same time period, McDermott had $89,920 in expenses for a variety of fundraising costs as well as $64,169 in legal fees to the Jones Day law firm.

McDermott engaged in behavior that would be illegal if your or I did it. The courts agree that his conduct was illegal. And yet he still sits in Congress, and is still raking in donations from celebrities and fellow members of Congress. Disgusting.





|| Greg, 07:36 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bobby Knight Retires

On Saturday, Bobby Knight's Texas Tech Red Raiders won, giving the coach his 902nd coaching victory.

On Monday, Bobby Knight abruptly resigned from his position as head coach, leaving his son, Pat Knight, as head coach.

And shock waves roll through the sporting world.

Bob Knight, known as much for his fiery temper as his basketball brilliance, resigned Monday at Texas Tech, handing the team over to his son.

It was a stunning midseason move by the winningest men’s coach in major college basketball, who gave no hint a change was coming. Pat Knight, a Red Raiders assistant, was appointed his father’s successor in 2005.

“There’s a transition that’s going to take place here from me to Pat and I’ve dwelt on this all year long ... how it would be best for him and for the team and for what we can do in the long run to make this the best thing for Texas Tech,” Knight told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, which first reported the resignation.

The 67-year-old Knight informed Texas Tech athletic director Gerald Myers of his decision in a meeting around noon Monday, Texas Tech chancellor Kent Hance told The Associated Press. Knight then called Hance and told him.

“He’s ready,” Pat Knight said during his weekly radio show. “He’s tired.”

Hance said: “I think Bob is through with coaching. I think he got to the point where it wasn’t fun for him.

“He thought about it Sunday all day and talked to his wife and decided ’This is something I want to do.”’

Knight told the news paper he informed the team before practice Monday.

What can I say -- he reached that milestone of being the winningest coach in college basketball history. He was ready to go, and had the transition team in place to make it happen smoothly. And rather than have the rest of the season, or all of next season, be "The Bobby Knight Farewell Tour", he walked away so that his players would be the focus, not their coach. There is something to be respected in that decision, as hard as it is for fans to accept.

Here's wishing Pat Knight and the young men of the Texas Tech Red Raiders basketball team the best of luck as they play out the season -- and hopefully have success in post-season play.





|| Greg, 05:29 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Tsunamai Tuesday

The wave will be crashing down tonight as the votes come in. Who will be washed away, and who will be the survivors?

The New York Times has some great observations (they do, from time to time, engage in some good analysis when they aren't trying to disguise it as objective news). I think this bit is dead on.

The States

For Republicans, two states could end up determining whether the race goes on from here: California and Massachusetts, and this has nothing to do with delegates. Mitt Romney headed out to California on a last-minute trip on Monday, drawn by polls suggesting the race was narrowing, despite Mr. McCain’s collection of high-profile endorsements like Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. If Mr. Romney pulls out a win in the nation’s largest state, no matter what happens anyplace else, he is unlikely to leave the stage soon.

By contrast, Mr. McCain — in a poke-in-the-eye moment — campaigned in Massachusetts, Mr. Romney’s home state. Should Mr. McCain win in Massachusetts and hold on to California, that would probably be the lights-out moment at the Romney headquarters. No wonder that Mr. McCain sneaked a last-minute trip to California onto his schedule for Tuesday morning.

For Democrats, watch California, Massachusetts, New York, Missouri, Arizona and New Mexico. If Mr. Obama wins California, that is a real momentum blocker for Mrs. Clinton: There are few states in the country that are more identified with the Clinton presidency than this one. But Mr. Obama has suffered one of those external political problems that often madden campaigns: a last-minute California poll that showed him closing in on Mrs. Clinton — in the process, raising expectations that he will win. No wonder Mr. Obama’s advisers are suddenly talking about the big surge of early voting in California before Mr. Obama began to break through there.

If Mr. Obama wins Massachusetts, that will be testimony to the power of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and a real sting for Mrs. Clinton, who once thought she had a comfortable lead there. If Mr. Obama comes close in New York, or in neighboring New Jersey, watch for a tough round of questions about Mrs. Clinton’s electability.

Finally, think of Missouri, Arizona and New Mexico as the swing states in this contest: Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton are pretty evenly matched there. Missouri is a swing state in the general election, and might be one in this one as well.

I'll take it a step further -- for the GOP candidates, it all comes down to California. McCain and Romney are going to split the rest of the states, and McCain is even likely to come out of them with more delegates. but a victory in California, where McCain was so strong as recently as a week ago, will say something loud and clear about the ability of John McCain to unite the party and of the depth of opposition to him among the base. I don;t know that a California victory will be a harbinger of Romney's nomination, though -- I think it might signal the likelihood of a brokered convention this summer, with some other candidate emerging as the consensus figure around which Republicans can unite. But if McCain takes California, both Romney and Huckabee can fold up their campaigns and wait for a call from John McCain about the vice presidential nomination -- a call that I don't believe either will get, either due to personal animus (Romney) or unfitness for the post (Huckabee). And a decisive victory may allow John McCain the time to reach out to the "irreconcilable" wing of the GOP and do some reconciling -- because as hard as his candidacy is for some of us to stomach, the thought of John McCain in the Oval Officeought to cause us less heartburn than the idea of either President Hillary Clinton or President Barack Obama.

On the Democrat side, I think that a strong showing by Obama will mean an incredibly bitter and divisive fight all the way to the convention. That is how I'm hoping to see it play out, because it can only help the GOP.





|| Greg, 05:11 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

License Plate Vote

OK, Texans, one of these designs is going to be decorating your car for the next several years. Now is your chance to have your say!

The four new options are:

• New Texas: This red, white and blue design features a composite of Texas urban skylines at the bottom, and the word "Texas" in black at the top. Sharp-eyed Houston Chronicle readers pointed out that the online image of this plate omitted the Houston skyline. TxDOT officials quickly posted a corrected version, with Houston's skyline intact by late afternoon. Perkes explained the agency accidentally posted an earlier version of the plate design before the Houston skyline was added.

• Traditional Texas. This plate features blue highlights and a stark, white background with a gold Lone Star at the bottom and a bold, red "TEXAS" at the top.

• Lone Star Texas. A white Lone Star stands out in the top, left-hand corner of the plate against a large Texas sky along the top of the plate. A low-lying mountain range is pictured across the bottom of the plate.

• Natural Texas. The plate is covered with a picture of wildflowers.

Also an option is a slightly modified version of the current Texas plate, with the space shuttle, cowboy, and oil rig, which they have nsmed "My Texas".

Personally, I like Lone Star Texas, but could also be happy with Traditional Texas or the current plate. I just don't like either the New Texas or Natural Texas plate.

So, be sure to vote -- and feel free to leave a comment saying how you voted.

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|| Greg, 04:47 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Why Hamas Had To Open The Gaza Border

Guess where this terrorist pig came from.

A Palestinian suicide bomber who may have sneaked into Israel from the Egyptian Sinai blew himself up at a shopping center in this southern desert town on Monday, killing an Israeli woman and wounding 11 other Israelis, emergency services officials said.

A second attacker with him failed to detonate his explosives belt and was shot dead by a police officer at the scene.

The bombing broke a year of relative calm in Israel, and was the first in Dimona. The country’s last suicide attack came in late January 2007, when three Israelis were killed in the southern city of Eilat.

In Gaza, Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, a militia loosely affiliated with the mainstream Fatah movement of President Mahmoud Abbas, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it had been carried out in conjunction with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a previously unknown group calling itself the National Resistance Companies.

The militant groups identified the two attackers as Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip, which is currently controlled by the militant Islamic group Hamas.

In other words, they knocked down the border wall into Egypt so that they could get their terrorists out, not for any humanitarian reason. They sent murderers to target civilians. Is it any wonder that the Israelis want the borders closed and the Egyptians don't want to take responsibility for Gaza? They know that nothing good comes from Gaza, only more terrorism.

And why send two homicide bombers on this mission? So that the second bomber could take out the first responders when the rescue workers and emergency personnel arrived. That indicates an intentional and fundamental disregard for international law and basic notions of human decency.

And for those who argue that "humanitarian aid" should be allowed into Gaza, I say "Bullshit!" As long as the Palestinians in Gaza allow the terrorist groups free rein, I don't view any of them as human beings worthy of charity -- or even a charitable thought.





|| Greg, 04:39 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watchers Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Energy Independence -- What It Am And What It Ain't by Joshuapundit, and The Conclusion We Dare Not Face by Dr. Sanity.  Here is the link to the full results of the vote):

VotesCouncil link
2  2/3Energy Independence -- What It Am And What It Ain't
Joshuapundit
1  1/3About Those "Lies"
The Colossus of Rhodey
1  1/3The Media, Richard Scaife, and the Never Ending Soros Connection
Bookworm Room
1  1/3How to Lie About Lying
Big Lizards
1Complicit
Soccer Dad
1Orwell's Britain Is Halal Toast
Wolf Howling
2/3A Shot in the Dark
Done With Mirrors
2/3Quote of the Day: Prez Bill Edition
Cheat Seeking Missiles
1/3State of the Union, 2008
The Glittering Eye

VotesNon-council link
2  1/3The Conclusion We Dare Not Face
Dr. Sanity
1  1/3A Moral Core for U.S. Foreign Policy
Hoover Institution
1  1/3Be a Victim! Or Else!
Classical Values
1  1/3The Muslims of Europe Charter
Gates of Vienna
1On Term Limits and Government Power
Somewhere On A1A...
1John McCain's Open-Borders Outreach Director: The Next DHS Secretary?; Update: A "Non-Paid Volunteer"
Michelle Malkin
1Treaties and Executive Agreements
Outside the Beltway
1The Audacity of Questioning Obama's Commitment to Israel
American Thinker
1Capitalism Doesn't Work, Mr. Gates?
Rasmussen Reports
2/3A List of Regional Pizza Styles
Slice





|| Greg, 04:19 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 04, 2008

Fact Or Fiction

As a history teacher, I sometimes get the questions “how do we really know this happened?” and “how do we know this person existed?”

Things have gone the next step in Great Britain, where the public now is not sure whether folks like Winston Churchill and Gandhi existed – but are reasonably confident that Sherlock Holmes was a real person.

Britons are losing their grip on reality, according to a poll out Monday which showed that nearly a quarter think Winston Churchill was a myth while the majority reckon Sherlock Holmes was real.

The survey found that 47 percent thought the 12th century English king Richard the Lionheart was a myth.

And 23 percent thought World War II prime minister Churchill was made up. The same percentage thought Crimean War nurse Florence Nightingale did not actually exist.

Three percent thought Charles Dickens, one of Britain's most famous writers, is a work of fiction himself.

Indian political leader Mahatma Gandhi and Battle of Waterloo victor the Duke of Wellington also appeared in the top 10 of people thought to be myths.

Meanwhile, 58 percent thought Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional detective Holmes actually existed; 33 percent thought the same of W. E. Johns' fictional pilot and adventurer Biggles.

The scary thing is that there are adults alive today who actually saw Churchill in person, and we have an ample video and photographic record of his actions. But I would guess that we have reached the point where the line between fact and fiction has blurred so completely – consider the ability to use computers to manufacture documents and photos – that people just are not sure any more what is real.





|| Greg, 06:23 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Left To Die

If an abortion in the UK doesn’t produce a dead baby, the living baby is ignored until it dies.

Botched abortions mean that scores of babies are being born alive and left to die, an official report has revealed.

A total of 66 infants survived NHS termination attempts in one year alone, it emerged.

Rather than dying at birth as was intended, they were able to breathe unaided. About half were alive for an hour, while one survived ten hours.

I guess the thought is that a woman is entitled to a dead baby, no matter what it takes. In this country, we have laws requiring medical care for such newborns – but they are not often enforced.

I guess that we have become so accustomed to the notion of “choice” that we do not, as a society, give any value to the lives that someone else has chosen to end.





|| Greg, 06:18 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Super Ads?

OK -- I blogged about the Super Bowl last night and celebrated the Giant upset.

But what about the OTHER story -- the Super Bowl ads?

Many commercials that appeared during Super Bowl XLII took a satiric tack, spoofing movies, television shows, video clips, celebrity misbehavior and more. A typical though entertaining cast of characters — animals, babies, pop stars — all made their appearances, lending a lighthearted spirit to the annual festivities.

For the most part, it worked. The tone was a welcome contrast to the angry, off-putting tenor of too many spots in last year’s Super Bowl, which were filled with crude and cartoonish violence. Although some sponsors decided to play it straight — with decidedly mixed results — the pervasive atmosphere was one of good-natured humor, of a type that seemed to elevate the night’s proceedings.

There were some top notch ads., such as this one.

One spot-on satire Sunday came from the Audi division of Volkswagen of America, which drolly spoofed “The Godfather,” complete with a cast member, Alex Rocco, from the original. The spot, by Venables Bell & Partners, replaced the horse’s head in the mogul’s bed with — gasp! — a grille severed from the front end of a Brand X luxury sports car.

I really enjoyed that one, though my wife was a little less enthralled by it. Perhaps it is just the difference between men and women when it comes to "The Godfather".

But we both agreed on this ad, which elicited jokes between us all night AND set the standard for comparisons for the rest of the game.

Anheuser-Busch parodied another 1970s film, “Rocky,” with a Clydesdale as Sylvester Stallone and a Dalmatian in the Burgess Meredith role. The spot, among the best of the night, was created by DDB Worldwide, part of the Omnicom Group.

Set aside the fact that any commercial involving the Clydesdales will be an automatic favorite -- this one was clever and well-done. And on a night when much of America was rooting for the underdog, how on earth could this one miss with viewers, including those of us who do not drink?

But the one that stole our hearts as the game approached it end was from the NFL itself, and elicited few comments in the press.

Yeah, maybe it is the fact that we are there in section 541 every game, cheering for both Chester Pitts and Ephraim Salaam, and that Pitts is a particular fan favorite at Reliant Stadium. Or maybe it is that we Texans fans, buoyed by an 8-8 season, are dreaming that next year we will actually see these guys on the field as the Houston Texans play in their first Super Bowl. Then again, maybe it was just fun to see Chester Pitts playing the oboe(!) on national television.

Overall, I wasn't impressed with this year's crop of ads -- but I am thankful for these.





|| Greg, 05:17 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Accidental Deaths Of 9 Iraqis Illustrate Differences

Details are sketchy in this incident -- but it illustrates teh difference between the US and the terrorists quite nicely.

The U.S. military said Monday that it accidentally killed nine Iraqi civilians during an operation targeting al-Qaida in Iraq south of Baghdad.

The civilians were killed Saturday near Iskandariyah, 30 miles south of the Iraqi capital, U.S. Navy Lt. Patrick Evans told The Associated Press. Three more civilians were wounded and taken to U.S. military hospitals nearby, he said.

The incident and the events surrounding it are under investigation, Evans said.

The killings occurred as U.S. forces pursued suspected al-Qaida in Iraq militants in the area. Shortly after the incident, American officers met with a Muslim sheik representing citizens in the area, he said.

"We offer our condolences to the families of those who were killed in this incident, and we mourn the loss of innocent civilian life," Evans said in a statement e-mailed to the AP.

Saturday's strike was the deadliest known case of mistaken identity in recent months.

Let's look at those differences.

1) Civilian casualties caused by the US are accidental; those caused by the terrorists are intentional.

2) The US apologizes for such casualties; the terrorists proclaim them as a sign of their success.

3) The US treats the wounded; the terrorists leave them to die as a part of their terror campaign.

4) The US investigates such casualties with an eye towards avoiding them; the terrorists seek to maximize them.

It will, of course, be important to discover exactly what happened and how this tragedy occurred. And it will be educational to see how the "moral equivalence" crowd responds.





|| Greg, 04:51 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Hillary To Force Insurance on Americans

And pay for it with tax increases on every taxpayer -- and on some who currently pay no taxes.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton inched closer Sunday to explaining how she would enforce her proposal that everyone have health insurance, but declined to specify — as she has throughout the campaign — how she would penalize those who refuse.

Mrs. Clinton, who did not answer Senator Barack Obama’s question on the topic in a debate last Thursday, was pressed repeatedly to do so Sunday by George Stephanopoulos on the ABC program “This Week.” When Mr. Stephanopoulos asked a third time whether she would garnish people’s wages, Mrs. Clinton responded, “George, we will have an enforcement mechanism, whether it’s that or it’s some other mechanism through the tax system or automatic enrollments.”

She then added that the focus on enforcement clouded a more important point, that her proposal to cover the uninsured was superior to Mr. Obama’s because she would mandate coverage for all, while he would require it only for children.

But let's ignore the anti-freedom, and potentially anti-poor, approach of fining folks who cannot afford Clinton's plan -- she is also proposing a huge tax increase to fund this program.

Mrs. Clinton argues that she can make premiums affordable for low-income workers by spending $110 billion on subsidies and cost-saving devices. Like Mr. Obama, she would pay for her plan primarily by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest Americans. She would not allow exemptions from the insurance mandate, as Massachusetts does for those who cannot afford even subsidized premiums.

That's right -- your tax bill will increase to pay for HillaryCare II. and since the Bush tax cuts took some low-income Americans completely off the income tax rolls, that means that there are Americans currently exempt from the income tax who will suddenly be required to pay, in addition to needing to scrape together the cash to pay for their health insurance.

Sounds to me like Hillary's health care "plan", details of which she refuses to disclose to the American public before the election, is bad medicine for America.





|| Greg, 04:42 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 03, 2008

Giants Victorious!

New York Giants: 17 New England Patriots: 14

elimanning.jpg

My wife and I are big fans of the Manning brothers. Las year we saw Peyton Manning get the Super Bowl ring that their father Archie never did. Tonight we saw younger brother Eli Manning do the same. If ever there was a question about whether Eli Manning was a great quarterback in his own right, he settled that with an MVP performance tonight.

And in doing so, Eli Manning and the New York Giants pulled off what has to be the greatest upset in Super Bowl history, if not in the entire history of the NFL. They stopped the Patriots from achieving a perfect season in a year marred by a cheating scandal that has called into question their early victories, and even their previous Super Bowl victories.

davidtyree.jpg

And what a game it was.

The Giants had the perfect answer for the suddenly imperfect Patriots: a big, bad defense and an improbable comeback led by their own Mr. Cool quarterback, Eli Manning.

In one of football's biggest shockers, New York shattered New England's unbeaten season as Manning hit Plaxico Burress on a 13-yard fade with 35 seconds left in the Super Bowl. Sunday's 17-14 win was the Giants' 11th straight on the road, and the first time the Patriots tasted defeat in more than a year.

It was the most bitter of losses, too, because New England (18-1) was one play from winning, but its defense couldn't stop a 12-play, 83-yard drive that featured a spectacular leaping catch by David Tyree, who scored New York's first touchdown.

Tom Brady, the league's Most Valuable Player and winner of his first three Super Bowls, was battered all game. He was sacked five times, hurried a dozen more, and at one point wound up on his knees, his hands on his hips following one of many poor throws.

Hardly a familiar position for the record-setting quarterback. And a totally strange outcome for a team that seemed destined for historic glory.

Oddly, it was a loss to the Patriots that sparked New York's stunning run to its third Super Bowl and sixth NFL title. New England won 38-35 in Week 17 as the Patriots became the first team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins to go spotless through the regular season. But by playing hard in a meaningless game for them, the Giants gained something of a swagger.

Their growing confidence carried them through playoff victories at Tampa, Dallas and Green Bay, and then past the mightiest opponent of all.

And i can't help but comment upon the behavior of Bill Belichick in leaving the field before the final snap and in not offering his congratulations to the Giants in his post-game interview. Quality and class clearly won tonight.





|| Greg, 09:35 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Muslim Medics: My Religion Trumps Your Health

I'm on record as supporting wide latitude for religious believers seeking exemptions from rules so as not to violate their right to freely exercise their religion.

But when you are talking about seeking an exception that endangers the health of patients because your religious beliefs go against basic hygiene rules, I have no sympathy for you.

Muslim medical students are refusing to obey hygiene rules brought in to stop the spread of deadly superbugs, because they say it is against their religion.

Women training in several hospitals in England have raised objections to removing their arm coverings in theatre and to rolling up their sleeves when washing their hands, because it is regarded as immodest in Islam.

Universities and NHS trusts fear many more will refuse to co-operate with new Department of Health guidance, introduced this month, which stipulates that all doctors must be "bare below the elbow".

The measure is deemed necessary to stop the spread of infections such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile, which have killed hundreds.

Minutes of a clinical academics' meeting at Liverpool University revealed that female Muslim students at Alder Hey children's hospital had objected to rolling up their sleeves to wear gowns.

Similar concerns have been raised at Leicester University. Minutes from a medical school committee said that "a number of Muslim females had difficulty in complying with the procedures to roll up sleeves to the elbow for appropriate handwashing".

Sheffield University also reported a case of a Muslim medic who refused to "scrub" as this left her forearms exposed.

Documents from Birmingham University reveal that some students would prefer to quit the course rather than expose their arms, and warn that it could leave trusts open to legal action.

It is very simple -- if the burqa babes want to follow sharia law, they can. However, they can't be doctors if they do. After all, you do not have the right to infect a patient with a life-threatening disease in the name of your religious faith.

After all, this isn't a medical professional refusing to participate in abortions or refusing to dispense birth control or abortifacient drugs. This is someone who insists that they can't follow basic medical protocol to provide even a minimum amount of protection to patients.





|| Greg, 10:52 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Time To Pass Them Here

Stricter laws in Oklahoma and Arizona regarding border jumping immigration criminals are pushing such folks into Texas, where such laws have not been passed.

We need to make passing such laws a priority.

Illegal immigrants are flowing into Texas across its long borders. But they aren't just swimming across the Rio Grande from Mexico or making dangerous treks through the rugged desert.

Instead, a new rush of illegal immigrants are driving down Interstate 35 from Oklahoma or heading east to Texas from Arizona to flee tough new anti-illegal immigrant laws in those and other states.

Though few numbers are available because illegal residents are difficult to track, community activists say immigrants have arrived in Houston and Dallas in recent months, and they expect hundreds more families to relocate to the Bayou City soon.

''They're really tightening the screws," said Mario Ortiz, an undocumented Mexican worker who came to Houston after leaving Phoenix last year. ''There have been a lot coming — it could be 100 a day."

The growing exodus is the result of dozens of new state and local laws aimed at curbing illegal immigration. The two toughest measures are in Oklahoma and Arizona.

The Oklahoma statute, which took effect in November, makes it a crime to transport, harbor or hire illegal immigrants. Effective Jan. 1, the Arizona law suspends the business license of employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers. On a second offense, the license is revoked.

Texas has a choice. We can welcome lawbreakers and assume the extra tax burden that they impose on every citizen and legal immigrant in the state. Or we can impose similar laws here, encouraging many of these invaders to self-deport. Texas can be a part of the firewall against those who break our nation's laws, or we can be their preferred point of entry and place of residence. I know which position most Texans take, and demand that our legislators follow the will of the people during the next legislative session.





|| Greg, 10:39 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Observation That Applies To The Presidential Race

The author is talking about the situation in Detroit, where Mayor Kwame Fitzpatrick has been disclosed to have carried on a sexual affair with a subordinate that also included up to 300 sexual text messages A DAY. His wife is standing by her philandering husband, and author Geveryl Robinson is disturbed by that decision.

And you can't tell me that the observation does not also apply to one of the candidates in the presidential race.

So let me get this straight. Her husband lied to her, lied to the city, lied under oath, sent some other broad 300 love/sex text messages A DAY and she pledged her undying love for him?

I just don't get it.

Why is it that so many high-profile women stay with men who constantly cheat on them? Why do so many relatively intelligent women choose to stay with philandering losers whose idea of monogamy is having one mistress at a time? If you ask me, Mrs. Kirkpatrick needs to do two things: pimp slap her husband, and then call a divorce lawyer.

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that read, "Vote for Monica Lewinsky's Ex-Boyfriend's Wife for President in 2008." Can you believe that? It's sad, but the reality is when ladies, especially high profile ladies, stay with their trampy husbands it sends a message that quite frankly I don't appreciate.

I don't view a woman who consistently puts up with her husband's infidelities as a "strong woman." It's quite the contrary. Only a woman with low self-esteem would subject herself to constant humiliation and disrespect by the man who vowed to "forsake all others."

I understand that we should forgive, but forgiveness does not always mean reconciliation. If someone is truly sorry for his or her behavior then the behavior will cease. However, if a person continues to repeat the behavior that he or she has apologized for, then that person is NOT REMORSEFUL.

That bumper sticker Robinson mentions really does illustrate teh point. Hillary Clinton, who spent years defending the indefensible when her husband engaged in serial infidelity and lied about it to the American people and under oath to a court, is not a strong woman. Indeed, she is a weak, pathetic soul who merits our pity, not our admiration or respect -- and certainly not our votes. Just as the infidelity of Rudy Giuliani removed him from consideration for the presidency for many of us, so too should the co-dependent enabling behavior of Mrs. Clinton be viewed as a disqualifying factor when she clearly intends to involve the philandering scumbag in her administration.





|| Greg, 10:31 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Searching For Missing Heroes

It is a number that I had never really considered before -- there are some 88,000 missing American servicemen from the wars of the twentieth century, 79,000 of them from WWII.

Of those, the remains of some 35,000 are classified as "recoverable" by the military, generally meaning that they were not lost at sea.

More than six decades after the end of World War II, the families of men like Joe Huba are making a new push to find and bring home the remains of their missing and dead. After years when survivors accepted the solace of mass memorials and unknown-soldier graves, a younger generation is seeking something much more personal.

The relatives are spurred by strides in DNA matching, satellite mapping and Internet archives, and by a new advocacy group impatient with the pace of the military unit that tracks down remains.

“We owe these men for giving their lives — we can’t just leave them in jungles, on mountainsides,” said Lisa Phillips, 45, president of the group, World War II Families for the Return of the Missing, which was formed in 2006 to compete with organizations pressing for recoveries from the conflicts in Vietnam and Korea. “There’s that saying, ‘No one left behind,’ and we’ve left a generation behind.”

The search has its pitfalls, Ms. Phillips admits. Discoveries about how a loved one died can prove more disturbing than ignorance. International swindles and treasure hunters complicate the sheer challenge of identifying remains after so many years.

And some relatives have come up empty-handed after expensive private searches, like a Minnesota man who has spent thousands of dollars on underwater dives off Yap Island in the South Pacific without finding his uncle’s sunken B-24.

The sad reality is that many of these heroes will never make it home. But the desire to keep looking -- to find that loved one for the surviving family members -- is strong. And even if remains are truly unrecoverable, we do have an obligation to try to honor them as fully as they honored our nation by giving their lives for us.





|| Greg, 10:19 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Earl Butz Dies

And my first reaction was "Didn't he die years ago?"

I guess not.

Former Agriculture Secretary Earl L. Butz, who was forced from office in 1976 after making a racial joke and was once a dean at Purdue University, died Saturday. He was 98.

Mr. Butz had been in poor health recently and died during a family visit at his son’s home in Washington, said Randy Woodson, dean of the College of Agriculture at Purdue.

Mr. Butz, a farm economist and free-market advocate, had a relaxed and earthy style that won him acclaim as an after-dinner speaker but caused problems in his public life. Controversy began swirling around him after President Nixon appointed him secretary of agriculture in 1971. He figured in public disputes on issues like foreign grain sales and high meat prices.

Mr. Butz was forced to resign in October 1976 after telling a joke that was derogatory to blacks. The slur was overheard by John W. Dean III, the White House counsel to Nixon who was jailed in the Watergate scandal, and Mr. Dean’s report on it was published in Rolling Stone magazine.

Two years earlier, Mr. Butz apologized to the Vatican after criticizing the Roman Catholic Church’s stand on birth control by using a mock Italian accent while referring to the pope.

“Let’s be honest, I’m controversial,” he said at the time. “I don’t hesitate to speak my mind.”

Oddly enough, the responses to the to the two incidents shows the relative level of acceptance of different forms of bigotry in America. The relatively mild racial joke was, and remains, grounds for ending the career of anyone in political life. On the other hand, the same sort of joke and/or statement regarding Catholic moral teachings are now considered to be mainstream, and I've heard the same sentiment that Butz expressed come out of the mouth of left-wing political with no consequence. In other words, anti-black racism has been marginalized, while anti-Catholicism (along with a number of other forms of religious bigotry expressed towards those with traditional religious beliefs) has become an accepted part of political dialogue in this country.





|| Greg, 10:07 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 02, 2008

Thieving Bitches!

Do you know these two low-rent, white trash criminals? They stole from a Girl Scout selling her cookies. How low can you get?

bitches.jpg

What scum they are!

The State Attorney's Office will decide whether to charge two teens who admit they robbed a 9-year-old Girl Scout selling cookies outside of a Boynton Beach supermarket.

"I thought that it was a really mean thing to do, and I was sad after," Girl Scout Gracie Smith told WPBF News 25.

Authorities said that a 17-year-old girl in a hot-pink sweatshirt approached Smith outside of a Winn-Dixie supermarket at Hypoluxo and Jog roads in Boynton Beach Wednesday evening and asked the girl what her favorite cookies were. Police told WPBF that, while Smith was telling the teen about her favorite Cinna-Spins, the teen snatched an envelope containing about $167 off of Smith's table, hopped into another teen's car and drove away.

You know, that would be offensive enough, but it actually gets worse.

Smith's mother, Charlene Rubenstrunk, told WPBF that the girls returned to the store Thursday to taunt her daughter.

"They are within 10 feet of the same kid they just robbed last night and there is nothing anybody can do about it. I find that offensive," Rubenstrunk said.

The girls, whose names are not being released because they are minors, told WPBF that they were not remorseful for the crime, and that they did it because they "needed money."

"We went through all that effort to get it, we got all these charges and we had to give the money back. I'm kind of pissed," one of the girls told WPBF.

The other girl told WPBF that she was upset because police found them.

"I'm not sorry, I'm just pissed that I got caught," the girl said.

Seems to me that this pair needs to be charged and sentenced as adults, with a little time in jail. After all, the sentence would be nothing more than career skills training for these two girls, who no doubt have many years of prostitution and drug dealing arrests ahead of them, before they get sentence to life in prison for allowing their latest crack-dealing boyfriends sexually abuse and murder their children.

In the mean time, I hope someone exposes the names of these two thieving bitches so that the world can hold them up to the ridicule they deserve.

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|| Greg, 11:23 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Britney Not Competent To Run Own Affairs

You mean it took a judge to figure this out?

The father of Britney Spears was named her temporary conservator Friday, putting him in control of her welfare a day after she was whisked to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

While James Spears was named conservator of the troubled pop star herself, he and an attorney, Andrew Wallete, were name conservators of her estate. The singer's mother, Lynne Spears, also showed up for the unannounced hearing in Superior Court.

The court also issued a restraining order against Britney Spears' sometimes manager and friend, Sam Lutfi, and gave permission to change the locks on her estate and remove anyone who is there.

A court creates conservatorships when a person cannot care for themselves or handle their affairs. Commissioner Reva Goetz said Spears would be under conservatorship until Feb. 4, at which time another hearing will be held.

I'm not gloating. Really, I'm not.

It is just that this sad young woman has made such a spectacle of herself in recent weeks, including an armed standoff with the cops, that this outcome is long overdue.

She needs significantly more help than she is going to get in three days.

And frankly, i am saddened by the whole situation -- and the fact it has taken so long to help this girl.





|| Greg, 09:49 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Cutting Off Berkeley

Bravo to Senator DeMint for seeking to eliminate all earmarks for Berkeley, California after the passage of a series of seditious acts attacking the United States Marine Corps and treasonously interfering with recruitment during time of war.

U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., says the City of Berkeley, Calif., no longer deserves federal money.

DeMint was angered after learning that the Berkeley City Council voted this week to tell the U.S. Marine Corps to remove its recruiting station from the city's downtown.

"This is a slap in the face to all brave service men and women and their families," DeMint said in a prepared statement. "The First Amendment gives the City of Berkeley the right to be idiotic, but from now on they should do it with their own money."

"If the city can’t show respect for the Marines that have fought, bled and died for their freedom, Berkeley should not be receiving special taxpayer-funded handouts," he added.

What sort of savings tot he taxpayers are we talking about following the elimination of subsidies for these unAmerican al-Qaeda supporters?

DeMint said he will draft legislation to rescind any earmarks dedicated for the City of Berkeley in the recently passed appropriations bill — which his office tallied to value about $2.1 million. He said that any money taken back would be transferred to the Marines.

DeMint's office provided a preliminary list of items that would be subject to his proposal:

— $975,000 for the University of California at Berkeley, for the Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service, which may include establishing an endowment, and for cataloguing the papers of Congressman Robert Matsui.

— $750,000 for the Berkeley/Albana ferry service.

— $243,000 for the Chez Panisse Foundation, for a school lunch initiative to integrate lessons about wellness, sustainability and nutrition into the academic curriculum.

— $94,000 for a Berkeley public safety interoperability program.

— $87,000 for the Berkeley Unified School District, nutrition education program.

Personally, I want to see something more.

I want to see legislation forbidding the expenditure of any federal funds for any purpose other than military recruitment, military training, military retirement pay and VA benefits in Berkeley. That means no welfare benefits and no social security checks, as well as no financial aid for students at UC-Berkeley. Let the city replace such funding out of its own budget.

And why do we need to cut Berkeley off completely? Because they are aiding and abetting in the disruption of a US government office and helping to interfere with military recruitment.

As the right-wing blogosphere railed and a U.S. senator vowed financial retaliation against the Berkeley City Council for its effort to boot the Marine Corps out of town, three war protesters ratcheted up pressure from the left by chaining themselves Friday to the front door of the downtown Marine recruiting office.

The demonstrators snapped their locks shut at 7 a.m. and spent the next 7 1/2 hours blocking the door, waving and chanting as hundreds of cars driving by honked in support. Finally, at 2:30 p.m., police snipped the chains and arrested them.

Two of the three were cited for blocking a business and released, and the third was booked into jail on an unrelated traffic warrant, police said.

Excuse me, but the police should have snapped those chains and hauled them away in 7 1/2 minutes, not 7 1/2 hours.

For that matter, I think we now need to bring the FBI into this mix, and see about federal charges because of this.

Heated words were exchanged whenever people tried to enter or leave the office, but the protest was peaceful.

"You guys are just cannon fodder!" the chained protesters shouted at three teenage boys who walked past the office and said they wanted to go inside. "They want to train you to kill babies!"

The teenagers turned around and left.

At one point, UC Berkeley student Kyrolos El Giheny walked up to the front door and tried to go inside to talk to Lund about a possible Marine career. He was unable to get past the chained protesters.

"They told me, 'No business as usual today,' " El Giheny said. "It's kind of nutty. It's really an infringement on my rights."

Not only that, it is a violation of federal law. We need immediate arrests and prosecutions -- not just of those who actively interfere with the operation of this recruiting office, but also of the city officials who are aiding and abetting their crime.

And while you are at it, feel free to contact Osama's allies and express your discontent. And since Berkeley is home of the 1960s Free Speech Movement, I won't even suggest that you be respectful and avoid profanity.

Contact info:

Mayor - Tom Bates
2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
Email: mayor@ci.berkeley.ca.us
TEL: (510) 981-7100 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (510) 981-7100      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
FAX: (510) 981-7199
TDD: (510) 981-6903
Office Hours: Mon-Fri 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

====================
CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
====================
Linda Maio
Phone: (510) 981-7110
FAX: (510) 981-7111
Email: lmaio@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Darryl Moore
Phone: (510) 981-7120
Email: dmoore@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Maxwell Anderson
Phone: (510) 981-7130
Email: manderson@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Dona Spring
Phone: (510) 981-7140
Email: spring@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Laurie Capitelli
Phone: (510) 981-7150
Email: lcapitelli@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Betty Olds
Phone: (510) 981-7160
Email: olds@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Kriss Worthington
Phone: (510) 981-7170
Email: kworthington@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Gordon Wozniak [NOTE: Wozniak voted AGAINST the offensive resolutions]
Phone: (510) 981-7180
Email: GWozniak@ci.berkeley.ca.us

City Auditor
Ann Marie
TEL: (510) 981-6750, TDD: (510) 981-6903
Email: auditor@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Complete coverage from Michelle Malkin.


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|| Greg, 09:41 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

More On Duval County Election Fraud Indictments

Don Surber, who usually is quite critical of the press in such cases, says he thinks the AP deserves a pass on the failure of the AP to include party identification in its story about vote-fraud indictments in Duval County, Texas because the Texas Attorney General's office didn't include party identification in the press release. I suppose one could make that argument -- but does that therefore imply that the AP is nothing more than a press release re-write service rather than an actual journalistic entity? And what of the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News -- and every other news Texas organization -- failing to take the time to add the information about party identification, and you see that there is clearly something wrong with the coverage of the story.

Especially since there appear to be other shenanigans going on in Duval County involving the Democrats, and have been for years. Democrat money-man Mauricio Celis who is charged with falsely claiming to be a lawyer and impersonating a law enforcement officer (and also under investigation for money-laundering involving Mexican drug cartels), had an actual badge issued by the Duval County sheriff that he used to help perpetrate that fraud.

For that matter, Democrat election fraud in Duval County has a long tradition. One of the most celebrated incidents of election fraud in Texas history (indeed, in all of US history) involves the final 202 votes of the 1948 senatorial primary, curiously cast in alphabetical order and signed with the same pen in the same handwriting, that gave Lyndon Johnson the nomination and hence the general election victory.

I know that las example is six decades ago, but it serves to illustrate that such fraud by Democrats in that county is a long-standing and well-documented tradition. As such, the party affiliation of those facing charges of election fraud is highly relevant and should be included by Texas media outlets, if not national ones.





|| Greg, 08:43 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 01, 2008

Name That Party -- Texas Edition

Vote fraud indictments in Duval County.

Four Duval County residents were charged Thursday with illegally handling ballot applications and mail-in ballots that belonged to other voters during the 2006 primary election.

The four San Diego residents indicted Thursday by a Brooks County grand jury were: Lydia Molina, 70; Maria "Kena" Soriano, 71; Elva Lazo, 62; and Maria Trigo, 55.

* * *

The defendants are accused of delivering mail-in ballot applications to Duval County residents who were ineligible to vote by mail, according to the news release. Only those who are disabled, 65 or older, or expect to be out of the county during an election are eligible to vote by mail.

The news release says that once the ballots were sent to the residents and completed, the defendants allegedly retrieved them and mailed them to the registrar to be counted without identifying themselves on the carrier envelope.

Texas law requires that those who provide assistance identify themselves on carrier envelopes used to transmit mail-in ballots.

One little detail is missing, though -- the party affiliation, which is especially significant given the fact that this was fraud in a primary election.

Fortunately, the folks at NewsBusters ferreted out the answer in a two year old news story.

All who voted in Duval County are registered Democrats.

Why am I not surprised -- by the party affiliation of the fraudsters, or by the media's refusal to disclose that information.





|| Greg, 08:49 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Murdering Terrorist Bastards Hit New Low

Remote control detonation of mentally retarded women in the midst of pet markets – how much lower can these sub-human Islamists sink?

Two women thought to suffer from Down's syndrome may have been unwilling suicide bombers in twin blasts that killed up to 73 people at pet markets in Baghdad today.

The first bomber instantly killed 45 people at a packed pet market in Baghdad in the deadliest attack in the Iraqi capital in six months.

A separate attack shortly after killed 20 people and wounded scores at a bird market in southern Baghdad.

The death toll from the two bombings increased throughout the day to at least 73.

The chief Iraqi military spokesman in Baghdad, Brigadier General Qassim al-Moussawi, claimed the female bombers apparently had Down's syndrome and the explosives were detonated by remote control, indicating the women may not have been willing attackers, according to his office.

Bolstering that claim, local police said the woman in the first attack sold cream in the morning at the market and was known to locals as "the crazy lady".

What needs to happen here is massive retaliation – including execution of any member of a terrorist group. No forgiveness, no mercy – these individuals have shown they merit none. Send the Marines to hunt them down like the dogs they are.

And perhaps we can also get the Berkeley City Council to grant Code Pink a free parking space in downtown Baghdad, and direct the city attorney to write a letter to al-Qaeda telling them that they are “uninvited and unwelcome intruders” – you know, since Berkeley and Code Pink are on the same side as al-Qaeda in the struggle against Islamist Terrorism, their words might carry more weight with the terrorists.

More from Malkin





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McCain Reaches Right?

Maybe -- or maybe not.

"True Conservative," going up on national cable and in some markets, aims to address McCain's problems with his own party and make the Gipper connection.

"A proud social conservative," notes the spot.

Am I the only one who think he begs the question of how conservative is McCain really is on those social issues?

After all, he just failed to name a single one of them in this ad.

But still, I won't go this far.

In the latest sign that a conservative backlash is starting to build against John McCain, conservative commentator Ann Coulter said Thursday she is prepared to vote for Hillary Clinton over the Arizona senator in a general election match up.

Speaking on Fox's "Hannity and Colmes," Coulter took aim at the GOP frontrunner, and suggested he was little more than a Republican in name only.

"If you are looking at substance rather than if there is an R or a D after his name, manifestly, if he's our candidate, than Hillary is going to be our girl, because she's more conservative than he is," Coulter said. "I think she would be stronger on the war on terrorism."

Coulter took aim at McCain's positions — particularly his fervent anti-torture stance — and said he and Clinton differ little on the issues. Coulter also said she is prepared to campaign on Clinton's behalf should McCain win the party's nomination.

"John McCain is not only bad for Republicanism, which he definitely is — he is bad for the country," she said.

I'll take McCain on a lot of issues over Hillary or Obama, because he is manifestly more conservative than either. Liberal and conservative groups agree on that in their ratings of the three. And on a number of key issues where he disagrees with my principles, he is still no worse that either of his Democrat rivals -- and is better on many others. And while I would much prefer Mitt Romney, I simply cannot imagine standing by and delivering the presidency into the hands of either Billary II or the wet-behind-the-ears Obama.

I hope Coulter and those like her come to their senses before they do great harm to this country.





|| Greg, 06:14 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Food Fascists Anti-Freedom Legislation In Mississippi

Frankly, I want to know who these three knuckle-dragging food fascists think they are.

FEBRUARY 1--Mississippi legislators this week introduced a bill that would make it illegal for state-licensed restaurants to serve obese patrons. Bill No. 282, a copy of which you'll find below, is the brainchild of three members of the state's House of Representatives, Republicans W. T. Mayhall, Jr. and John Read, and Democrat Bobby Shows. The bill, which is likely dead on arrival, proposes that the state's Department of Health establish weight criteria after consultation with Mississippi's Council on Obesity. It does not detail what penalties an eatery would face if its grub was served to someone with an excessive body mass index.

I guess that Mayhall, Read, and Shows don’t believe that Mississippi has any real problems in need of legislative action, and are therefore looking to intrude into areas where the state has no business. As such, it is time for them to submit their resignations, or for the voters to remove their sorry carcasses from office.





|| Greg, 06:00 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Giants And The Hero

One more reason I'm pulling for the New York Giants this Sunday.

To date, the United States has 3,940 confirmed deaths in Iraq. Back in May, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Greg Gadson, a battalion leader, very nearly found himself on that list. An IED (improvised explosive device) thoroughly shattered his body. Only 70 pints of blood, the exceptional field work of men in his 1st Infantry Division and the skill of doctors saved his life.

His legs weren't so fortunate.

The New York Giants, however, consider themselves blessed to have made this double-amputee's acquaintance. They credit Gadson, who played football at Army with New York wide receivers coach Mike Sullivan, with helping to salvage their season and making it something approaching superb. His stirring pregame speeches and his living example of courage and perseverance have inspired them all the way to Super Bowl XLII.

These men got the opportunity to meet Lt. Col. Gadson in September, when they played the Redskins in Washington, with a record of 0-2. And it was then that something very special happened.

The Giants' defense had allowed a total of 80 points in their two previous losses, to Dallas and Green Bay, and they were trailing the Redskins 17-3 at halftime. But the Giants scored three unanswered touchdowns in the second half, the last one a 33-yard pass from Eli Manning to Plaxico Burress with 5:22 left.

Burress did not spike the ball. Instead, he sprinted to the Giants' sideline and dropped it into the lap of Gadson, who was sitting in a wheelchair.

"That's when," Gadson said, "I became one of the Giants."

And for the NFC championship game in Green Bay, gadson was an honorary team captain. And Gadson again received a little bit of NFL history.

The wind chill was below zero, but Gadson didn't want to watch the game from the warm suite the Giants had arranged for him.

"He wanted to be right out there on the front lines, so to speak," Sullivan said. "You'd see players would go up to him and he'd look them right in the eye, and you could tell they were feeding off his courage and his inspiration."

The game was in overtime when Webster intercepted Brett Favre's pass at the Packers' 34-yard line. That ball too was deposited in the hands of Gadson.

"I felt like he deserved the ball," Webster said, "because he's a big motivating factor for me, personally, and for the team."

Four plays later, Lawrence Tynes kicked the winning field goal and, improbably, the Giants were on their way to Phoenix. Yes, of course, Gadson will be there. He has become part of the team. Burress, who also comes from the Tidewater region of Virginia, calls him regularly and exchanges text messages with him.

Lt. Col. Greg Gadson has become the inspiration and good luck charm for this team. The Giants haven't lost a game he has attended, and he will be at the Super Bowl with the New York Giants on Sunday. And it is my fervent hope that we see him, when it is all over, holding the football from the game-winning score -- and the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

After all, Gadson is a true champion, and one of our nation's heroes.





|| Greg, 05:19 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Raising Money -- Can He Raise Votes?

That is, of course, the question that has to be asked as Barack Obama has an incredible fundraising success.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama raised $32 million in the single month of January, a whopping figure that has permitted the campaign to boost staff and extend advertising to states beyond the sweeping Feb. 5 contests, aides said Thursday.

The amount was the most raised in one month by a presidential candidate who still faced a primary challenge.

Obama is now advertising in 20 of the 22 states in play for next week's Super Tuesday and plans to begin advertising in seven more states that hold primaries or caucuses later in February. Rival Hillary Rodham Clinton is advertising in 12 Super Tuesday states, including her home state of New York.

With John Edwards out of the race, Clinton and Obama are in a fierce race for delegates to secure the nomination. Feb. 5 offers the biggest single opportunity for delegates, but it is impossible for either one to seal the nomination on that day.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said the campaign attracted 170,000 new donors for a total of 650,000 donors overall. The $32 million raised in one month matches the campaign's best three-month fundraising period in 2007, when the campaign raised $30 million in primary money and $2 million for the general. The money raised in January was all for the primaries.

But donations don't equal electoral success. If it did, Ron Paul would be the GOP nominee presumptive instead of a crank with a handful obnoxious supporters and a strong challenger for his congressional seat. And the polls keep showing Hillary Clinton ahead, with Edwards supporters breaking her way. Obama might be energizing new people, much as Howard Dean did, but that doesn't automatically translate into wooing the long-time party faithful.





|| Greg, 04:50 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Happiness Is A Dead Terrorist

So we should all be happy about this today -- although I suspect some on the Left aren't.

A senior al-Qaeda commander was killed this week in Pakistan, according to Western officials and an Islamic radical Web site, marking a rare success in the flagging U.S. and Pakistani campaign to hunt down members of the network.

Abu Laith al-Libi, the nom de guerre of a Libyan fighter who had served alongside al-Qaeda and the Taliban since the late 1980s, had become an influential field commander in recent years, overseeing many operations against U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, officials said. The U.S. military blamed him for organizing a suicide attack that killed 23 people outside Bagram air base during a visit by Vice President Cheney in February last year.

The Western officials declined to give details of how Libi died. But there is evidence he was targeted in a missile strike that killed 12 people early Tuesday in a remote village in northwestern Pakistan.

Yeah, that's right. This is the guy who tried to get to Dick Cheney last year. Folks at Kos, DU, HuffPo and other "progressive" sites were upset that the assassination attempt was thwarted. So ask your favorite liberal how they feel about this success in the Crusade Against Islamist Terrorism, mentioning the attempt to kill the Vice president. You'll quickly find out if that if they are with us or with the terrorists.





|| Greg, 04:41 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||
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About Me

NAME: Greg
AGE: 50-ish
SEX: Male
MARITAL STATUS: Married
OCCUPATION: Social Studies Teacher
LOCATION: Seabrook, TX
DISCLAIMER: All posts reflect my views alone, and not the view of my wife, my dogs, my employer, or anyone else. All comments reflect the view of the commenter, and permitting a comment to remain on this site in no way indicates my support for the ideas expressed in the comment.

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Recent Entries

Much Ado About Obama
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