He says he won't make them.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Monday he will never question others' patriotism during the race and blames his own "carelessness" for some criticism of him so far. Obama sought to reassure voters about his commitment to the country, choosing the aptly named town of Independence as his backdrop.
Then what was this comment?
"You know, the truth is that right after 9/11, I had a [flag] pin," Obama said. "Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq War, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest.
It doesn't take much reading between the lines to see the attack on the patriotism of a whole lot of people -- after all, you are indicating that you are a true patriot, and that those who wear a flag pin are phony patriots.
I guess this means you've made another flip-flop, Senator. Do you think you could make up your mind?
Once upon a time, military tribunals were considered acceptable for some crimes.
On this day in 1865, a military tribunal convicted seven men and a woman involved in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Four of the eight were later hanged by the U.S. Army at the Washington Navy Yard.
On the other hand, today they are not considered to be good enough for jihadis captured in the field while violating the Geneva Convention's rules for combatants.
And remember -- these folks were all US citizens apprehended, held, tried and executed withing the continental United States.
Thanks for the reminder, Michael -- and I loved your book.
A Harris County grand jury has declined to indict Joe Horn for killing two guys robbing a neighbor's house.
A Harris County grand jury decided today that Joe Horn should not be charged with a crime for shooting two suspected burglars he confronted outside his neighbor's home in Pasadena last fall.
The decision to clear Horn of wrongdoing came two weeks after the grand jury began considering evidence in the case, including Horn's testimony last week.
Horn, a 62-year-old retiree, became the focus of an intense public debate after the Nov. 14 shootings. Many supporters praised him as a hero for using deadly force to protect property, while others dismissed him as a killer who should have heeded a 911 operator's instructions to stay in his house and wait for police.
One of the key details in the case?
Pasadena police Capt. A.H. "Bud" Corbett said a few weeks after the shooting that a plainclothes detective had parked in front of Horn's house in response to the 911 call. He said the detective saw the men between Horn's house and his neighbor's before they crossed into Horn's front yard.
It appeared that neither Horn nor the men knew a police officer was present, Corbett said.
"It was over within seconds. The detective never had time to say anything before the shots were fired," Corbett said. "At first, the officer was assessing the situation. Then he was worried Horn might mistake him for the 'wheel man' (getaway driver). He ducked at one point."
When Horn confronted the suspects in his yard, he raised his shotgun to his shoulder, Corbett said. However the men ignored his order to freeze.
Corbett said one man ran toward Horn, but had angled away from him toward the street when he was shot in the back just before reaching the curb.
"The detective confirmed that this suspect was actually closer to Horn after he initiated his run than at the time when first confronted," said Corbett. "Horn said he felt in jeopardy."
What really needs to be looked into here is why the cop sat in front of the house watching rather than confronting the robbers. The city council in Pasadena may need to investigate that -- and do a thorough housecleaning.
My hope is that the next move is a lawsuit against the families of Diego Ortiz and Hernando Riascos Torres, seeking recovery of all legal fees that have been incurred by Mr. Horn -- and restitution for the good ammunition that Joe Horn had to use on these thieving illegal aliens who died as a result of their own felonious conduct.
Great commentary on this decision here.
Conservatives nationwide have been counting on Louisiana's Bobby Jindal to get this one right. Today he decided to keep the campaign promise and veto the legislative pay raise.
Gov. Bobby Jindal announced today that he has vetoed the legislative pay raise.
After days of saying he would not reject the unpopular measure, Jindal said this morning that he had changed his mind.
"I thank the people for their voice and their attention," Jindal said of the public outcry against the raise. "I am going to need your help to move this state forward. ... The voters have demanded change. . . . I made a mistake by staying out if it" originally.
Jindal said that legislators "are going to be angry I broke my word to them" by promising to stay out of the pay raise issue. "Let them direct their anger to me and not the people of this state," Jindal said.
It isn't always the right thing to follow the majority voice of the people -- but this time it certainly is. The more I found out about this bill, the more I personally recognized it was not just a bad idea to break that campaign promise, but that the increase was bad public policy. After all, this is a part-time legislature with benefits and a per diem that made their total compensation package quite generous to begin with -- a $21,000 increase in their base pay (something like 123%) was clearly inappropriate.
H/T Hot Air
I happen to agree with Congressman Ted Poe about the recent immigration raids here in Houston and around the country.
"Once again the federal government has it backwards," said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, a former state judge and prosecutor. "It is a waste of time if we don't go after the business owners who are knowingly hiring illegals.
"If we eliminate the illegal job opportunities, we can start to eliminate the problem."
Unfortunately, only 75 owners and mangers were arrested in conjunction with these raids -- and prosecutions are much more difficult to undertake than they are for the illegal workers.
Seems to me that this is one more reason to require electronic verification of employability -- so that we can begin prosecuting the major players who take jobs from Americans to give them to illegal aliens.
Well, that seems to be the current thinking within the McCain camp.
McCain sources tell Politico that they believe Romney could raise $50 million in 60 days.
Surprising many Republican insiders, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is at the top of the vice presidential prospect list for John McCain. But lack of personal chemistry could derail the pick.
“Romney as favorite” is the hot buzz in Republican circles, and top party advisers said the case is compelling.
Campaign insiders say McCain plans to name his running mate very shortly after Barack Obama does, as part of what one campaign planner called a “bounce-mitigation strategy.”
A major factor in this is the ability of Romney to raise money. He's got a base that hasn't been tapped yet by McCain, and it is very possible that Romeny is the only guy who can get at it.
Unfortunately, there is still bad blood between McCain and Romney dating back to the primary season. That could yet derail this pick.
In the end, I agree with Hugh Hewitt, who was also a Romney supporter during the primary.
No matter who the selection turns out to be, I'd prefer a nominee announcement sooner rather than as part of a "mitigation bounce" strategy as outlined by Mike. Every day as the veep allows the nominee to make four or five appearances on the trail, generating enthusiasm and contributions, especially if the nominee is throwing hard punches at Obama. 30 or 60 days of extra effort is too much of an advantage to keep on the shelf pending an Obama selection.
We need a pick sooner rather than later -- and not simply a reactive choice following Obama's selection.
Well, the New York Times is at it again, demanding that punishment for felony convictions be reduced. In this case, the editors are griping about the fact that the state of Florida requires that a felon's entire sentence -- incarceration, parole, probation, and restitution -- be completed before their voting rights are restored.
In most states, inmates win back their voting rights as soon as they are released from prison or when they complete parole or probation. One big reason that does not happen in Florida is that state law requires felons to first make restitution to their victims. And until their voting rights are restored, former prisoners are barred from scores of state-regulated occupations for which the restoration of voting rights is listed as a condition of employment.
Quite apart from the fact that it is undemocratic to bar people from the voting booth because they owe money, the system is transparently counterproductive since it prevents people from landing the jobs they will need to make restitution. Denying ex-offenders a chance to make an honest living is a sure way to drive them back to jail.
The system also requires extensive and unnecessary background checks before voting rights can be restored for some applicants, making it hard to reduce the backlog. Florida could clear up that backlog in a hurry, treat all ex-offenders fairly and enhance democracy by automatically restoring voting rights to inmates who have completed their sentences.
That last line is the real kicker -- that is precisely what the law requires -- that the full sentence, including restitution to the victims, be completed before voting rights are restored. But therein lies the problem -- the editors of the New York Times don't recognize the restorative justice portion of the sentence to be a part of the sentence.
But I'll tell you what. I'm willing to go along with the New York Times on this one -- provided they are also willing to support the restoration of Second Amendment rights at the same time. After all, it seems highly improper to deny these folks the right and the means to defend themselves with a gun if we entrust them with the ballot -- which I fully believe to be much more powerful force than any pistol.
Well, it certainly looks that way.
While Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has vowed to make pay equity for women a top priority if elected president, an analysis of his Senate staff shows that women are outnumbered and out-paid by men.
That is in contrast to Republican presidential candidate John McCain's Senate office, where women, for the most part, out-rank and are paid more than men.
What do the numbers show?
On average, women working in Obama's Senate office were paid at least $6,000 below the average man working for the Illinois senator. That's according to data calculated from the Report of the Secretary of the Senate, which covered the six-month period ending Sept. 30, 2007. Of the five people in Obama's Senate office who were paid $100,000 or more on an annual basis, only one -- Obama's administrative manager -- was a woman.
The average pay for the 33 men on Obama's staff (who earned more than $23,000, the lowest annual salary paid for non-intern employees) was $59,207. The average pay for the 31 women on Obama's staff who earned more than $23,000 per year was $48,729.91. (The average pay for all 36 male employees on Obama's staff was $55,962; and the average pay for all 31 female employees was $48,729. The report indicated that Obama had only one paid intern during the period, who was a male.)
McCain, an Arizona senator, employed a total of 69 people during the reporting period ending in the fall of 2007, but 23 of them were interns. Of his non-intern employees, 30 were women and 16 were men. After excluding interns, the average pay for the 30 women on McCain's staff was $59,104.51. The 16 non-intern males in McCain's office, by comparison, were paid an average of $56,628.83.
Now am I accusing Senator Obama of invidious sex discrimination against women in his office? No, I'm not. But I cannot help but notice that when it comes right down to it, Senator John McCain offers more opportunities for women, promotes them to higher level positions, and pays them better. Seems to me that he puts into practice hat liberal Democrats often preach but fail to implement.
Over at Hot Air it is pointed out that Obama has 18 more staffers than McCain, with nearly $1 million dollars in extra payroll expenses -- despite the fact that he chairs no committees and has no significant legislative accomplishments during his half a term in the Senate, while a senior senator like McCain gets by on a smaller staff and a smaller budget. I wonder why?
While celebrating Obama's lack of experience.
SCHIEFFER: Well, you went so far as to say that you thought John McCain was, quote, and these are your words, "untested and untried." And I must say, I had to read that twice, because you're talking about somebody who was a prisoner of war, he was a squadron commander of the largest squadron in the Navy, he's been on the Senate Armed Services Committee for lo these many years. How can you say that John McCain is untested and untried, General?
Gen. CLARK: Because in the matters of national security policy making, it's a matter of understanding risk, it's a matter of gauging your opponents and it's a matter of being held accountable. John McCain's never done any of that in his official positions. I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands of millions of others in the armed forces as a prisoner of war. He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee and he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn't held executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded wasn't a wartime squadron. He hasn't been there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn't seen what it's like when diplomats come in and say, `I don't know whether we're going to be able to get this point through or not. Do you want to take the risk? What about your reputation? How do we handle it publicly?'
So never mind three decades of military service, nor a quarter century of experience in Congress. because John McCain has never ordered anyone into combat, he is really unqualified to be president.
Oh, and Clark's candidate, Hopey McChangerson, who not only has two decades less congressional experience than John McCain, no military experience, and no executive experience at all?
Gen. CLARK: But Barack is not--he is not running on the fact that he has made these national security pronouncements, he's running on his other strengths. He's running on the strengths of character, on the strengths of his communication skills, on the strengths of his judgment, and those are qualities that we seek in our national leadership.
Oh, I see, he lacks the credentials to be president, but he has "other strengths". He's a pretty boy who gives a good speech and shows such good judgment that he hangs out with domestic terrorists, anti-American polemicists, and corrupt businessmen. That might qualify him for office in the Illinois legislature -- maybe even to be mayor of Chicago -- but certainly not President of the United States!
Oh, and exactly how respectful is Wesley Clark of John McCain's military service? I think this line sums it up nicely, when taken in conjunction with Clark's denigration of McCain's time as a squadron commander.
Gen. CLARK: Well, I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.
Yep -- highly respectful words there, Wesley. That shows quite well how much you honor that time as a POW.
Seems to me that what you really deserve is something like this.
I personally like the response by the McCain campaign.
Brian Rogers, of the McCain campaign, was quick to hit back in a release: "If Barack Obama's campaign wants to question John McCain's military service, that's their right. But let's please drop the pretense that Barack Obama stands for a new type of politics. The reality is, he's proving to be a typical politician who is willing to say anything to get elected, including allowing his campaign surrogates to demean and attack John McCain's military service record."
Interesting, isn't it, that Barack Obama is neither man enough to make such an attack himself, nor decent enough to denounce this sort of attack himself. I guess this lets him have both sides of the issue -- sort of like on guns, religion, campaign finance, FISA, and most every other issue.
Blogs for Victory sums this one up quite well.
CLOSING QUESTION: Will Barack Obama add Wesley Clark to the list of those thrown under the bus, or will this attack move him to the head of the VP list?
UPDATE: Over at Q and O, McQ asks the following question about the relative qualifications of the two remaining presidential candidates.
But here's a question: if the willingness to fight for your country, put your life on the line and suffer the brutality McCain suffered as a POW doesn't make the cut as far as qualifications go, how far below that does a "community organizer" show up on the list of non-qualifications?
UPDATE 2: Looks like that weasel John Aravosis has decided to renew his campaign of attacking John McCain's military service with a post entitled "Honestly, besides being tortured, what did McCain do to excel in the military?"
I wonder if he would consider it fair game to ask the question "Honestly, besides picking up a live hand grenade while waiting for a beer, what did Max Cleland do to excel in the military?" After all, he was one of the folks who argued that it was illegitimate to even question Cleland's record on defense issues in 2002 -- how dare he actually denigrate McCain's service.
And I wish to associate myself with this post written by Robbie at Urban Grounds about Aravosis and his disgusting post.
UPDATE 3: Newsbusters points out that this isn't the first time Clark has made this sort of comment while acting as an Obama surrogate.
Greetings to visitors from Right Wing News.
UPDATE 4: Blackfive reminds us that Wesley Clark's judgment was so bad that he was fired from his job as Supreme Commander of NATO because he personally almost provoked a war with Russia -- something that every other American commander managed to avoid for 40 years. Speaks to the judgment issue for me -- both Clark's and Obama's.
But at least Wesley Clark got to exchange hats with war criminal Ratko Mladic!
And GayPatriotWest points out that even Andrew Sullivan is condemning Clark -- though he doesn't see the very real difference between this and the questions raised by some of John Kerry's fellow Swift boat vets in 2004.
UPDATE 6: Confederate Yankee actually finds an honest Obama supporter (and campaign cash bundler) who comes right out and says what Barack and his surrogates really mean when they talk about McCain's military service -- Code Pink founder Medea Benjamin.
"I wouldn't characterize anybody who fought in Vietnam as a war hero."
Or at least not anyone who fought on the American side -- and we know her position on today's soldiers as well, given her providing material assistance to the enemy during time of war.
Newsbusters notices the media's refusal to give the attacks on McCain's service the coverage they deserve.
OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Outside the Beltway, The Virtuous Republic, Perri Nelson's Website, Rosemary's Thoughts, Right Truth, Shadowscope, Stuck On Stupid, , The Amboy Times, Beagle Scout - Support the No More Excuses Energy Act, Democrat=Socialist, third world county, DragonLady's World, Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Dumb Ox Daily News, , Right Voices, Stageleft, The Random Yak, Adam's Blog, Cao's Blog, Phastidio.net, Conservative Cat, Allie is Wired, Nuke Gingrich, Faultline USA, McCain Blogs, Walls of the City, The World According to Carl, Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker, Nuke's News, CORSARI D'ITALIA, and Gone Hollywood, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.
There are various forms of workplace related injuries and illnesses that afflict workers each year. One that is often not considered is hearing loss. If one believes that a hearing loss is due to conditions in the workplace, then it is very important that the affected person consult with an experienced hearing loss attorney.
This is especially true because hearing loss is rarely a temporary phenomenon. Not only is it a major inconvenience and disruption of a variety of everyday activities, it can also be a serious financial burden to treat that hearing loss. Just consider the cost of hearing aids, testing and doctor visits – those add up really quickly. And they are not one-time costs – they will be repeated by the individual for the rest of their lives. Not only that, but a hearing loss can change person’s ability to be employed in their chosen field of work. Quite bluntly, there are many jobs that cannot be safely performed by a person who has difficulty hearing.
If you suspect a work-related hearing loss, consulting an experienced hearing loss lawyer is the best way to proceed. That lawyer will help you evaluate whether the workplace was the cause for the hearing loss and if it is reasonable to pursue that hearing loss claim in court or through the workman’s compensation process.
The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are South Africa's Neville Chamberlain by The Razor, and Why You Should Apologize -- Ineffectively and Dishonestly -- For What You Didn't Do by Classical Values. Here's where you can check out the full results of the vote:
|2 2/3||South Africa's Neville Chamberlain|
|2||The Whole Shebaa-ng|
|1 2/3||More Quincy|
Done With Mirrors
|1 1/3||Dick Morris Gets One Right|
Hillbilly White Trash
|2/3||My ANWR Photo Gallery|
Cheat Seeking Missiles
|1/3||Left Continues Denigration of McCain's Military Service, POW Heroism|
Rhymes With Right
|1/3||Gay Pride Week|
|1/3||And on the Seventh Day, He Rested|
|2||Why You Should Apologize -- Ineffectively and Dishonestly -- For What You Didn't Do|
|1 2/3||The Unconscious Roots of Media Bias|
|1 1/3||Big Gains in Iraq?|
|1 1/3||Obama's Lack of Ordinary Modesty|
|1||An Almost Unfathomable Ignorance of History|
Brits At Their Best
Stop the ACLU
|1||Is There A Pattern Here? If So, Is There A Name For It?|
|1/3||"Declaring Independence from a 'Broken System' By Breaking a Promise..." [UPDATED]|
Shira bat Sarah
Why no banner headline, and no stop-the-hate marches led by folks like Al Sharpton?
Oh, I see -- the victims were Jews, and the perpetrators were black. The story doesn't fit the template -- but it would have been national news if the kids had been black, Muslim, or Hispanic and the perpetrators had been white.
But since it wasn't, no harm, no foul in the eyes of the civil rights establishment and the liberal media.
Fortunately, hate-crime charges are pending against the perps. How long until Sharpton and company are out protesting against that decision?
H/T Atlas Shrugs
Certainly not when you give an article a headline like this one:
A Win by McCain Could Push a Split Court to Right
But then again, the article isn't any more balanced.
A victory by the presumptive Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, would probably mean preserving the uneasy but roughly balanced status quo, since the justices who are considered most likely to retire are liberal. A win for his Republican counterpart, John McCain, could mean a fundamental shift to a consistently conservative majority ready to take on past court rulings on abortion rights, affirmative action and other issues important to the right.
Notice -- a victory for McCain pushes the Court to the right -- but a victory for Obama "would probably mean preserving the. . . balanced status quo."
Yeah. Right. Sure.
While I'll concede the two most likely retirements are liberals Stevens and Ginsburg, does anyone really believe that Obama would appoint a successor in the mold of Scalia or Thomas if one of those two were to unexpectedly die? No, we'd get another doctrinaire liberal on the court, pushing it firmly to the Left -- even as the majority of the American people find the Court to be in balance too liberal.
This looks like a big-time "gotcha" story.
When you're poor, it can be hard to pay the bills. When you're rich, it's hard to keep track of all the bills that need paying. It's a lesson Cindy McCain learned the hard way when NEWSWEEK raised questions about an overdue property-tax bill on a La Jolla, Calif., property owned by a trust that she oversees. Mrs. McCain is a beer heiress with an estimated $100 million fortune and, along with her husband, she owns at least seven properties, including condos in California and Arizona.
The only problem is that the actual story, as revealed in the second paragraph of the story, is a little different. It seems that there is a reason that the tax bills have not been paid by the bank that manages the trust on Cindy McCain's behalf.
San Diego County officials, it turns out, have been sending out tax notices on the La Jolla property, an oceanfront condo, for four years without receiving a response. County records show the bills, which were mailed to a Phoenix address associated with Mrs. McCain's trust, were returned by the post office. According to a McCain campaign aide, who requested anonymity when discussing a private matter, an elderly aunt of Mrs. McCain's lives in the condo, and the bank that manages the trust has not been receiving tax bills on the property. Shortly after NEWSWEEK inquired about the matter, the McCain aide e-mailed a receipt dated Friday, June 27, confirming payment by the trust to San Diego County in the amount of $6,744.42. County officials say the trust still owes an additional $1,742 for this year, an amount that is overdue and will go into default July 1. Told of the outstanding $1,742, the aide said: "The trust has paid all bills shown owing as of today and will pay all other bills due."
Gee -- that does rather make a great deal of difference, doesn't it? The US Postal Service has been returning the bills to San Diego County, which has not made any particular effort to get in contact with the bank or Mrs. McCain about the matter. And unlike a little blurb at HuffPo implies (even cutting that detail out of their Newsweek excerpt along with the bit about the bills being returned by the post office), this isn't some sybaritic retreat for the super-wealthy -- it is the residence of an elderly family member of Mrs. McCain's. Yeah, that's right -- Cindy McCain is making sure that her aunt has a roof over her head and is well cared for.
What happened when the matter was brought to Cindy McCain's attention? The bills she was given were paid -- though there still seems to be an outstanding balance that will no doubt be taken care of on Monday, probably relating to this year's bill and some penalties on the back taxes, I would suspect.
So while this is a nice attempt to create a scandal, it really isn't one. But I'm sure that the feral pigs at Kos and DU, as well as the rest of the fever swamp that is the Leftosphere, will try to gin up a controversy over it anyway.
I knew that there were a lot of unstable folks attracted to the Obmessiah's campaign, but this one is weird no matter how you slice it.
Emily Nordling has never met a Muslim, at least not to her knowledge. But this spring, Ms. Nordling, a 19-year-old student from Fort Thomas, Ky., gave herself a new middle name on Facebook.com, mimicking her boyfriend and shocking her father.
“Emily Hussein Nordling,” her entry now reads.
With her decision, she joined a growing band of supporters of Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, who are expressing solidarity with him by informally adopting his middle name.
The result is a group of unlikely-sounding Husseins: Jewish and Catholic, Hispanic and Asian and Italian-American, from Jaime Hussein Alvarez of Washington, D.C., to Kelly Hussein Crowley of Norman, Okla., to Sarah Beth Hussein Frumkin of Chicago.
Jeff Strabone of Brooklyn now signs credit card receipts with his newly assumed middle name, while Dan O’Maley of Washington, D.C., jiggered his e-mail account so his name would appear as “D. Hussein O’Maley.” Alex Enderle made the switch online along with several other Obama volunteers from Columbus, Ohio, and now friends greet him that way in person, too.
I'm sorry, people -- this is cult-like behavior. What next? Tattooing the name across your forehead? You sound like a bunch of followers of the Manson family or some fringe religious group that begs for money on the street corner and survives by dumpster diving.
However, Sweetness and Light reports that this might not be much of a phenomenon at all -- and that based upon a quick search of Google, the buzz is more about the New York Times writing about the phenomenon rather than any grassroots movement to do this.
This hasn't gotten any MSM play -- and I've not seen it among my fellow conservatives. But the Obama "No Dissent Express" bus to Hell has driven over a number of PUMA bloggers this week -- as a number of them were mysteriously shut down/blocked by Blogger as "spam blogs" after multiple reports by other users.
This is Thursday.
I have just been informed that three anti-obama blogs have been locked up by Blogger.
I myself have had posting locked up since June 3. I am lucky though, I can post but I have to use word verification until blogger "reviews" my blog. It seems that blogger has to check to see if I am not a spam blog or "bot".
I suspect that the vicious Barack Obama campaign is behind all of this. They want to turn America into a Marxist state. These people are nothing short of evil bastards. It is my guess they have reported our blogs en masse as "bots" or "spam blogs". My God, may this evil bastard and his vicious campaign sycophants never ever be in charge of this country!
Followed by more nefarious action on Friday.
My own blogger "unblock request" was completed for the third time again this morning. It was completed the first time on June 3 and the "verification" that it was listed mysteriously disappeared on June 17. I filled it out again on June 17. The "verification" for that request was gone this morning. So I have submitted the "request" again. I would say it's pretty safe to assume that Blogger isn't going to do this "review" and, if I dont' check to see if the "verification" is there every single day, it can disappear arbitrarily. I think it's pretty safe to say that Blogger is never going to "review" my blog and that in a few weeks this "verification" will also "disappear" and I will have to resubmit the request again. Since I can honestly say that the word verification I have to go through to write a post is horrendous and the worst I have ever seen. Sometimes I have to try a half dozen times. I no longer have "autosave," so everytime I want to save my work, I have to verify and then "save as draft". Then I have to reopen the post and go through the same process to save or publish. Blogger just isn't worth it. I am lucky next to the people below though, who have been COMPLETELY blocked from posting. Frankly I am tired of being toyed with by Obama people and Blogger. Therefore I will stay with blogger till the "four days" is up for the other bloggers who have been completely blocked and then I am permamently moving.
Now one PUMA blog shut down would be nothing. Even two or three would not draw attention. But six in one night? Seems mighty suspicious -- especially since there seems to be some buzz among Obama bloggers that there has been an organized effort to get this done. And given that the liberal wing of the Democrats has always been pro-censorship -- consider their efforts to reimpose the so-called "Fairness Doctrine" in an effort to make sure that conservative talk radio is severely curtailed.
Why raise this issue now? Because I can imagine a similar effort against pro-McCain blogs come September and October. These people have no scruples against silencing members of their own party -- why would they respect the free speech rights of members of the GOP?
Just a little FYI on who has been hit.
A list of Anti-Obama blogs locked up as spam in the past 36 hours
Old location: http://bluelyon.blogspot.com/
New Location: http://bluelyon.wordpress.com/
Old Location: http://nobamablog.blogspot.com/
New location: http://nobamablog.wordpress.com/
http://politicallizard.blogspot.com/ (no alternate blog listed as yet)
Old Location: http://hillaryorbust.blogspot.com/
This blogger has moved to her own domain at Hillary Or Bust.com
The Hillary or Bust site also lists the following additional blogs have been unfairly locked:
Old Site: http://reflections-in-tyme.blogspot.com/
Old Site: http://mccaindemocrats.blogspot.com/
Old Site: http://politicallizard.blogspot.com/
New Site: http://thelizardannex.blogspot.com/
Old Site: http://comealongway.blogspot.com/
New Site: http://comealongway.wordpress.com/
It isn't quite the sort of departure that Andrew Carnegie did when he quit running his steel company to become a philanthropist, but Bill Gates is doing something similar at Microsoft.
On his final full day at Microsoft Corp., Bill Gates went on stage to reminisce with his longtime friend Steve Ballmer, and neither man could hold back tears as Ballmer handed Gates a large scrapbook as a farewell present.
Gates, who is stepping back to focus on his philanthropy, sat with CEO Ballmer in a Microsoft conference room and meandered through moments in Microsoft's history. They stopped to get in a few good digs at IBM Corp., whose first personal computers were loaded with Microsoft's DOS operating system before IBM adopted its own operating software and their relations strained.
Frankly, I see this as a good thing. After all, as long as Bill gates remains the driving force at Microsoft, there is really only a single ultimate source of the vision for the company. On the other hand, this change could spur more and better ideas from the company that now dominates the software world.
And let us have no doubt about the importance of Bill gates.
I'm sitting at a computer using a Microsoft operating system, a Microsoft office suite, and at least one peripheral that is a Microsoft product. There is literally nothing I do on this computer that does not intimately involve Microsoft products -- and that is true of most computers in the country. Not bad for a college drop-out.
Words I thought I would never type on this blog.
"He's saying he's not going to reach out, that Obama has to come to him. One person told me that Bill said Obama would have to quote kiss my ass close quote, if he wants his support.
Let me say for the record -- if he wants my support, Barack Obama can kiss my ass, too. And even then, he won't get it.
But I love the reaction of come of the anonymous sources in this article.
"You can't talk like that about Obama - he's the nominee of your party, not some house boy you can order around.
Why the hell can't he talk like that about Obama? You friggin' Democrats have spoken far worse about the President of the United States for 7 1/2 years -- if you can do that, why can't Bill Clinton speak in such a manner about the unqualified flip-flopper your party is about to nominate, especially if he does not actually support the man's candidacy?
Frankly, I find this to be a bit misleading.
Barack Obama has won over more than half of Hillary Rodham Clinton's former supporters, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo! News poll that finds party loyalty trumping hard feelings less than three weeks after their bruising Democratic presidential contest ended.
Like that is a surprise? No one doubted that Barack Obama would eventually get over half the supporters of Hillary Clinton. After all, a lot of them are like my favorite Democrat -- they think that Obama is under-qualified and something of a phony, but they could no more vote for the Republican nominee than they could disown their own grandmothers. That has never been at issue.
The problem for Obama was always that some 20-25% of Clinton supporters indicated that they could not support him. That loss -- about 10-15% of the Democrat base -- would be critical in November. Being at 50%, then, really doesn't matter. He needs to be at 90-95%.
And he isn't. According to the survey, 23% of Clinton supporters favor John McCain, and 16% are undecided. Good God Almighty! He has lost (at least for now) 4 out of 10 Clinton supporters -- which if the election were held today would quite possibly mean that 15% of Democrats would be voting for John McCain.
And those Clinton supporters are not enthusiastic about him, nor do they find him qualified for the office. Indeed, only 25% of Clinton supporters view Obama as experienced enough to be president, which drops to 5% among that 40% of Clinton voters not supporting him.
What does this mean? Obama isn't the lock some people think he is -- and he might be forced to pick Hillary Clinton as his running mate to secure the Democrat base.
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McCain, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, edged out Obama on national security issues. When asked who “would best protect the U.S. against terrorism,” 53% of respondents chose McCain to just 33% for Obama. And nearly half, 48% to Obama’s 38%, trusted McCain to handle the war in Iraq, though 57% said they believed the U.S. was wrong to invade Iraq and 56% said they would like to see the troops brought home within the next two years.
Only 1/3 of Americans believe Barack Obama is the best candidate to protect America against the threat of the jihadi horde, while over half believe the best choice is John McCain. Americans even think that McCain is the better choice to handle the war. And since national security is Job 1 for a president, that bodes well for John McCain.
Maybe that explains why most national polls show McCain within 5 points of Barack Obama -- and why the electoral college totals are stacking up so very close as well for McCain when one looks at the state-by-state numbers.
Rick Noriega claims that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war and that it is therefore too dangerous to have American troops there. But now he argues that it is stable enough that we should depend on it as a major source of oil -- suggesting that we should convert the war in Iraq into the very sort of "War for Oil" that his lefty KOSsack supporters have been condemning.
Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Rick Noriega said Tuesday that America should not try "to drill our way out of this problem" of soaring gasoline prices but instead rely on Iraqi oil and alternative energy sources.
* * *
In a speech before taking questions, Noriega asked, "Why should we tap into what finite resources we have left versus using the enormous reserves we're sitting on in Iraq?"
Needless to say, Noriega has taken shots from Senator John Cornyn and others for his asinine proposal to make America more dependent on foreign oil -- and in particular foreign oil from an area that Noriega believes is completely out of control.
To which Noriega's press spokesperson offered this priceless response.
"This is a five second soundbite, not a serious proposal."
Translation -- Rick Noriega doesn't have proposal for energy independence. And this is the guy who thinks he ought to be a US Senator? You've got to be kidding me!
OPEN TRACKBACKING AT
Looks to me like politics influenced the actions of the prosecutors in the Tony Rezko trial.
After all, they had evidence of much closer linkages between Rezko and Barack Obama -- and approval from the judge to use it.
And then they didn't.
Newly unsealed documents show that prosecutors sought to call witnesses to testify about Rezko's ties to Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.
The Illinois senator was the recipient of "straw" campaign contributions made by others on behalf of Rezko -- money that Obama has since given to charities.
The documents indicate that prosecutors considered offering witnesses to explore why Rezko used others to contribute to Obama and also to Blagojevich, and U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve ruled that they could. But they did not end up offering any such testimony during the trial.
"Witnesses will testify that Rezko was a long-standing supporter and fund-raiser of Barack Obama," prosecutors wrote.
Later, St. Eve ruled that Obama references would be allowed into the trial, but prosecutors apparently opted not to invoke Obama's name.
Seems to me that the feds had evidence of serious wrong-doing on the part of a major Obama supporter and Obama's campaign -- and yet it was not invoked at the trial. Could it be because of Democrat attempts to argue that any charges against Democrat politicians are evidence of the politicization of the Justice Department? Or were there threats of retribution against the lawyers involved in the case should the Democrats win this fall.
There ought to be an investigation of this stuff -- but since Obama is a Democrat and the Democrats control congress, there won't be. Expect massive file shredding to be ordered at the Justice Department and the office of the US Attorney in Chicago on January 20, 2009 if Barack Obama wins the presidency. After all, it wouldn't do to leave around evidence that could trigger another investigation like that against Bill Clinton, would it.
One of the most anticipated Supreme Court decisions of the year is in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller. This decision involves the critical question of whether or not the Second Amendment confers an individual right to keep and bear arms.
In a ruling handed down only moments ago, the justices affirmed the decision of a lower court holding that the Second Amendment does confer an individual right to keep and bar arms, striking down a Washington, DC law that virtually forbade the legal ownership of firearms -- and which required that those which were permitted be stored disassembled.
The decision, which was 5-4, was written by Justice Scalia. The usual liberal foursome (Stevens, Souter, Ginsberg, Breyer) dissented against the clear language of the Constitution -- and actually argue that there is no Constitutional right to possess (much less use) a weapon to defend oneself.
Some interesting notes:
1. How Appealing notes that Scalia cites no fewer than THREE law review articles written by noted legal blogger Professor Eugene Volokh. Congratulations, sir! Lot's of great analysis from Volokh and his co-bloggers at his blawg, too.
2. AP notes that the decision goes even further in protecting Second Amendment rights than proposed by the Bush Administration.
3. This quote from the majority is troubling:
On the question of the Second Amendment’s application to the States: “23 With respect to Cruikshank’s continuing validity on incorporation, a question not presented by this case, we note that Cruikshank also said that the First Amendment did not apply against the States and did not engage in the sort of Fourteenth Amendment inquiry required by our later cases. Our later decisions in Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252, 265 (1886) and Miller v. Texas, 153 U. S. 535, 538 (1894), reaffirmed that the Second Amendment applies only to the Federal Government.”
4. Hube notes that at least one news source declared this to be "a narrow, 5-4 ruling". Oddly enough, "narrow" was not used by the same paper to describe yesterday's 5-4 ruling in favor of child rapists.
6. John McCain notes that Barack Obama refused to sign on to a bipartisan amicus brief supporting the Second Amendment. That makes Obama's efforts to distance himself from last year's campaign statement on the issue a bit hard to believe -- unless you are an Obama true believer to begin with.
She's willing to stand up for what's right for America -- and isn't one of those NIMBY creeps like Teddy Kennedy who is unwilling to have a little personal inconvenience in order to make this country energy independent.
In a letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and key members of Congress, Governor Palin stressed the need to enact an energy policy that includes oil and gas production from domestic sources, since failure to enact a sound energy policy is having real-life consequences. The Governor reminded members of Congress that the footprint of development would be less than 2,000 acres. She also assured members that any development would be conducted in a responsible and environmentally safe manner.
Bravo, Governor -- especially for the statistic cited in your letter that the area of drilling would be less than 1/4 the size of Dulles Airport. Or to use a different yardstick, the area is 80% the size of Boston's Logan International Airport in an area nearly three times the size of Massachusetts! In other words, the footprint of the development is miniscule.
Does this help Palin's case to be the GOP VP nominee, or does it hurt it? I'm not sure. On the one hand, it does show her to be a ballsy politician willing to take a stand. On the other hand, John McCain doesn't support drilling in ANWR. In the end, though, I don't think she is a serious candidate right now.
On the other hand, Sarah Palin as a GOP candidate for president in 2012 or 2016? I could see it -- and think that any ticket composed of her and Bobby Jindal would be a winner.
Kudlow: Why don’t we just liberate, and decontrol, and deregulate the whole bloody energy business – whether it’s oil, gas, shale, nuclear, coal, natural gas, as well as wind and solar – why don’t we just decontrol, deregulate, go for an America first energy policy? Get independent of Saudi Arabia? America first. Create all of these millions of high paying jobs. Why isn’t anybody talking about that in this race? That’s the natural, Reaganesque thing to do. Isn’t it?
Palin: Yeah absolutely! You’re hitting the nail right on the head. That’s what so many of us normal Americans are asking. The same thing. Why aren’t the candidates talking like that? Where we can secure America and we can be more independent when we talk about energy sources if we could drill domestically.
Here we sent [Energy] Secretary Bodman overseas the other day, and our president had to visit the Saudis a few weeks ago, to ask them to ramp up development. That’s nonsense. Not when you know that we have the supplies here. You have the supplies in your sister state called Alaska, where we’re ready, willing and we’re able to pump these supplies of energy, flow them into hungry markets across the U.S. We want it to happen. It’s Congress holding us back.
A real plan for American energy independence. Go Sarah!
I've always liked Tim McGraw.
And now I have to respect the hell out of the guy for taking action on violence against women -- in the middle of a show, no less.
Country singer Tim McGraw hauled a rowdy fan out of the audience and up onto the stage during his Washington concert on Tuesday.
Video shot by a fan at the concert shows McGraw shouting "Get rid of this guy," summoning security and helping arriving crew members to haul him onstage. When the heavyset fan moves toward McGraw, the singer threatens him with a cocked fist as he's hauled away.
McGraw's rep said, "While Tim was performing at the White River Amphitheater in Auburn, Wash., last night, he watched a man rush to the front of the stage. This overly aggressive fan attacked a female fan and Tim witnessed this incident.
"Tim called for security, but when they could not respond quick enough Tim and several crew members removed the fan from the audience where he was then turned over to the local authorities."
I may disagree on some political things with McGraw, but I certainly do admire him taking action in this case. My question -- why didn't the fans around this creep act to defend the woman from her assailant?
SB 144 by Senators Nick Gautreaux, Amedee, Dorsey, Duplessis and Mount provides that on a first conviction of aggravated rape, forcible rape, second degree sexual battery, aggravated incest, molestation of a juvenile when the victim is under the age of 13, or an aggravated crime against nature, the court may sentence the offender to undergo chemical castration. On a second conviction of the above listed crimes, the court is required to sentence the offender to undergo chemical castration.
Of course, the chemical castration is not mandatory for the convicts. They may choose to be surgically castrated if they don't want to take the drugs.
I'm pretty sure that Justice Kennedy isn't going to like that at all, Neither will the pedophile-cuddling editors of the New York Times, who have never met a child molester (outside the Catholic clergy) who they didn't like.
The McCain campaign has a field day with Barack Obama's opposition to every effort towards alternative energy.
But don't worry -- Barack Obama is prepared to force you to lower your standard of living by increasing taxes on gasoline, thereby raising the price you pay at the pump! After all, he is a typical Democrat -- like these in Virginia.
And remember the words of Michelle Obama -- Barack Obama never allow you to go back to your lives as usual.
Let's not give him that chance.
A vote for McCain is a vote for energy independence.
A White House-backed spy bill to protect telecommunication companies from billions of dollars in possible privacy lawsuits passed a Senate test vote on Wednesday and headed toward final congressional approval.
On a vote of 80-15, mostly Republican supporters of the bipartisan measure, which would also implement the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. spy laws in decades, easily mustered the 60 needed to clear a Democratic procedural roadblock.
As Ed Morrissey points out over at Hot Air, 48 Republicans and 32 Democrats voted for cloture, while 15 Democrats voted against it. Why is the cloture vote therefore labeled as "mostly Republican", even though Democrats voted 2-1 for cloture and supplied some 40% of the votes for the motion?
But on a more important note, this means the bill will be voted on (and presumably passed) on Friday, and that it should be in the hands of President Bush for his signature by next week.
For the second time this month, US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has written an opinion which says it doesn't matter what the political branches of government or the US Constitution have to say on a matter -- the Supreme Court knows better and will impose its will on the people of the United States.
The first time was in granting habeas corpus rights to terrorist detainees, despite Congress having acted under its authority in Article III of the Constitution to strip the Supreme Court of any jurisdiction is such cases.
This time it is in a decision that decrees that the sense of the Supreme Court will be the basis for determining when the death penalty may be imposed, not the laws of the states or the US Constitution -- and that the "evolving standard" on the death penalty can only move towards greater restrictions on capital punishment, not the other direction -- and that the rape of an eight-year old is not a sufficiently serious crime to merit the ultimate sanction.
The U.S. Supreme Court made it illegal to execute persons convicted of child-rape in a 5-4 decision Wednesday.
"The death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy, who authored the majority opinion. The ruling broke on party lines, the liberal Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer siding with Kennedy.
In their decision, the liberal justices ruled that a Louisiana law that sent 43 year-old man named Patrick Kennedy to death row in 2003 for raping his 8-year old stepdaughter was “cruel and unusual punishment.”
The utter constitutional, legal, and moral depravity of Justice Kennedy in this ruling is clear to see for anyone who reads the majority opinion and the dissent. Indeed, Kennedy expresses more concern with the dignity of the child-raping scumbag than he does for the innocent eight-year-old victim in this case.
In his dissent, Justice Alito shreds Kennedy's arguments, ending his analysis of the flaws of the majority opinion with this conclusion.
In summary, the Court holds that the Eighth Amendment categorically rules out the death penalty in even the most extreme cases of child rape even though: (1) This holding is not supported by the original meaning of the Eighth Amendment; (2) neither Coker nor any other prior precedent commands this result; (3) there are no reliable"objective indicia" of a "national consensus" in support of the Court’s position; (4) sustaining the constitutionality of the state law before us would not "extend" or "expand" the death penalty; (5) this Court has previously rejected the proposition that the Eighth Amendment is a one-way ratchet that prohibits legislatures from adopting new capital punishment statutes to meet new problems; (6) the worst child rapists exhibit the epitome of moral depravity; and (7) child rape inflicts grievous injury on victims and on society in general.
Indeed, as in the recent case granting terrorists outside the United States access to federal courts, Kennedy again twists precedent, law, and fact to fit a pre-determined conclusion at odds with all three. This must stop -- and it must stop now.
[W]e just have the court deciding, "We're going to decide these political issues. We're going to decide these things." We don't even need a Congress, anymore. We don't even need a president. We'll just take you all of our controversial issues, submit them to the lawyers [and] the Supreme Court decides, and that's it because that's what it has become.
In the United States,Congress has rarely exercised its power to impeach and remove a sitting federal judge. Furthermore, it has been over two centuries since Congress impeached a Supreme Court justice, and in that case the Senate refused to remove him. Even more importantly, mere disagreement with Supreme Court rulings has not been held to be an appropriate cause for impeachment.
Those things noted, I return to the ultimate authority in this case -- the United States Constitution. Article II, Section 4 speaks to the matter as follows.
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High crimes and misdemeanors.
Furthermore, Article III states that judges (including Supreme Court Justices) shall hold their office during good behavior.
This brings me back to the point at hand -- in these two rulings, Justice Kennedy has demonstrated bad behavior. In both cases, he has placed himself and the Supreme Court above previous court precedent, the laws duly enacted by the elected representatives of the people, and the Constitution itself. As such, he has exceeded his authority in office and promulgated lawless decisions and attempted to make them binding upon the people of the United States and their elected representatives. This is malfeasance in office, pure and simple, engaged in under color of law and authority.
I'd like to urge one or more members of the House of Representatives to file motions for impeachment against Anthony Kennedy. Put each and every Congressman on record right now, four and one-half months before the next election -- do they support allowing the Supreme Court to impose their own extra-constitutional standard rather than that set by the Constitution and the laws enacted by the United States and the several states.
Now some may challenge me, raising the spectre of billboards from decades past urging Congress to "Impeach Earl Warren". The difference here is that while many of the opinions of the Warren Court were controversial and unpopular, it was difficult to argue that they were not grounded in the Constitution -- indeed, the roots of those decisions were buried in the fertile loam that is the text of that guiding document. The same cannot be said of these two most recent judicial monstrosities brought forth by Anthony Kennedy.
I sincerely doubt that the Senate would vote to remove Anthony Kennedy if the House adopted articles of impeachment against the him, but the precedent would serve as a powerful warning against such naked judicial activism.
And in addition, there is a course of action which should be followed by in every state as a result of this ruling. Every state legislature should pass, and every governor should sign, legislation imposing the death penalty for the rape of a child. If even half manage to accomplish this task, it would establish a strong national consensus in favor of the view that "the evolving standards of decency" hold that child rape is viewed by our society as meriting death. Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has already vowed to resist this decision.
Oh, and for those of you curious, here is what Justice Kennedy argues does not merit capital punishment in today's ruling.Continue to be enlightened while reading "Impeach Anthony Kennedy" Â»
Petitioner’s crime was one that cannot be recounted in these pages in a way sufficient to capture in full the hurt and horror inflicted on his victim or to convey the revulsion society, and the jury that represents it, sought to express by sentencing petitioner to death. At 9:18 a.m. on March 2, 1998, petitioner called 911 to report that his stepdaughter, referred to here as L. H., had been raped.
He told the 911 operator that L. H. had been in the garage while he readied his son for school. Upon hearing loud screaming, petitioner said, he ran outside and found L. H. in the side yard. Two neighborhood boys, petitioner told the operator, had dragged L. H. from the garage to the yard, pushed her down, and raped her. Petitioner claimed he saw one of the boys riding away on a blue 10-speed bicycle.
When police arrived at petitioner’s home between 9:20 and 9:30 a.m., they found L. H. on her bed, wearing a T-shirt and wrapped in a bloody blanket. She was bleeding profusely from the vaginal area. Petitioner told police he had carried her from the yard to the bathtub and then to the bed. Consistent with this explanation, police found a thin line of blood drops in the garage on the way to the house and then up the stairs. Once in the bedroom, petitioner had used a basin of water and a cloth to wipe blood from the victim. This later prevented medical personnel from collecting a reliable DNA sample.
L. H. was transported to the Children’s Hospital. An expert in pediatric forensic medicine testified that L. H.’s injuries were the most severe he had seen from a sexual assault in his four years of practice. A laceration to the left wall of the vagina had separated her cervix from the back of her vagina, causing her rectum to protrude into the vaginal structure. Her entire perineum was torn from the posterior fourchette to the anus. The injuries required emergency surgery.
At the scene of the crime, at the hospital, and in the first weeks that followed, both L. H. and petitioner maintained in their accounts to investigators that L. H. had been raped by two neighborhood boys. One of L. H.’s doctors testified at trial that L. H. told all hospital personnel the same version of the rape, although she reportedly told one family member that petitioner raped her. L. H. was interviewed several days after the rape by a psychologist. The interview was videotaped, lasted three hours over two days, and was introduced into evidence at trial. On the tape one can see that L. H. had difficulty discussing the subject of the rape. She spoke haltingly and with long pauses and frequent movement. Early in the interview, L. H. expressed reservations about the questions being asked:
“I’m going to tell the same story. They just want me to change it. . . . They want me to say my Dad did it. . . . I don’t want to say it. . . . I tell them the same, same story.” Def. Exh. D–7, 01:29:07–:36.
She told the psychologist that she had been playing in the garage when a boy came over and asked her about Girl Scout cookies she was selling; and that the boy “pulled [her by the legs to] the backyard,” id., at 01:47:41–:52, where he placed his hand over her mouth, “pulled down [her] shorts,” Def. Exh. D–8, 00:03:11–:12, and raped her, id., at 00:14:39–:40.
Eight days after the crime, and despite L. H.’s insistence that petitioner was not the offender, petitioner was arrested for the rape. The State’s investigation had drawn the accuracy of petitioner and L. H.’s story into question. Though the defense at trial proffered alternative explanations, the case for the prosecution, credited by the jury, was based upon the following evidence: An inspection of the side yard immediately after the assault was inconsistent with a rape having occurred there, the grass having been found mostly undisturbed but for a small patch of coagulated blood. Petitioner said that one of the perpetrators fled the crime scene on a blue 10-speed bicycle but gave inconsistent descriptions of the bicycle’s features, such as its handlebars. Investigators found a bicycle matching petitioner and L. H.’s description in tall grass behind a nearby apartment, and petitioner identified it as the bicycle one of the perpetrators was riding. Yet its tires were flat, it did not have gears, and it was covered in spider webs. In addition police found blood on the underside of L. H.’s mattress. This convinced them the rape took place in her bedroom, not outside the house.
Police also found that petitioner made two telephone calls on the morning of the rape. Sometime before 6:15 a.m., petitioner called his employer and left a message that he was unavailable to work that day. Petitioner called back between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. to ask a colleague how to get blood out of a white carpet because his daughter had “ ‘just become a young lady.’ ” Brief for Respondent 12.
At 7:37 a.m., petitioner called B & B Carpet Cleaning and requested urgent assistance in removing bloodstains from a carpet. Petitioner did not call 911 until about an hour and a half later.
About a month after petitioner’s arrest L. H. was removed from the custody of her mother, who had maintained until that point that petitioner was not involved in the rape. On June 22, 1998, L. H. was returned home and told her mother for the first time that petitioner had raped her. And on December 16, 1999, about 21 months after the rape, L. H. recorded her accusation in a videotaped interview with the Child Advocacy Center.
The State charged petitioner with aggravated rape of a child under La. Stat. Ann. §14:42 (West 1997 and Supp. 1998) and sought the death penalty. At all times relevant to petitioner’s case, the statute provided:
“A. Aggravated rape is a rape committed . . . where the anal or vaginal sexual intercourse is deemed to be without lawful consent of the victim because it is committed under any one or more of the following circumstances:
. . . . .
“(4) When the victim is under the age of twelve years. Lack of knowledge of the victim’s age shall not be a defense.
. . . . .
“D. Whoever commits the crime of aggravated rape shall be punished by life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
“(1) However, if the victim was under the age of twelve years, as provided by Paragraph A(4) of this Section:
“(a) And if the district attorney seeks a capital verdict, the offender shall be punished by death or life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, in accordance with the determination of the jury.”
(Since petitioner was convicted and sentenced, the statute has been amended to include oral intercourse within the definition of aggravated rape and to increase the age of the victim from 12 to 13. See La. Stat. Ann. §14:42 (West Supp. 2007).)
Aggravating circumstances are set forth in La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann., Art. 905.4 (West 1997 Supp.). In pertinent part and at all times relevant to petitioner’s case, the provision stated:
“A. The following shall be considered aggravating circumstances:
“(1) The offender was engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of aggravated rape, forcible rape, aggravated kidnapping, second degree kidnapping, aggravated burglary, aggravated arson, aggravated escape, assault by drive-by shooting, armed robbery, first degree robbery, or simple robbery.
. . . . .
“(10) The victim was under the age of twelve years or sixty-five years of age or older.”
The trial began in August 2003. L. H. was then 13 years old. She testified that she “ ‘woke up one morning and Patrick was on top of [her].’ ” She remembered petitioner bringing her “[a] cup of orange juice and pills chopped up in it” after the rape and overhearing him on the telephone saying she had become a “young lady.” 2005–1981, pp. 12, 15, 16 (La. 5/22/07), 957 So. 2d 757, 767, 769, 770. L. H. acknowledged that she had accused two neighborhood boys but testified petitioner told her to say this and that it was untrue. Id., at 769.
The jury having found petitioner guilty of aggravated rape, the penalty phase ensued. The State presented the testimony of S. L., who is the cousin and goddaughter of petitioner’s ex-wife. S. L. testified that petitioner sexually
abused her three times when she was eight years old and that the last time involved sexual intercourse. Id., at 772. She did not tell anyone until two years later and did not pursue legal action.
The jury unanimously determined that petitioner should be sentenced to death…
But five justices of the Supreme Court think that death is too cruel for the perpetrator.
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Â« All done with "Impeach Anthony Kennedy"?
Now he's dumping Scarlett Johansson!
She said the pair of them had an email relationship.
He says not.
She said Obama had responded to one note about a debate, commenting to her that the questions were "silly."
But speaking to reporters aboard his campaign plane, Obama said the actress doesn't have his personal email address. "She sent one email to Reggie, who forwarded it to me," Obama said, referring to his 26-year-old personal assistant, Reggie Love. "I write saying, 'thank you Scarlett for doing what you do,' and suddenly we have this email relationship"
The Obamateur just lost major cool points. And after all, since he is seeking to be the
first second black president (remember, we were told Bill Clinton was the first) despite his utter lack of qualifications for the job, he needs to show America that he at least has the good judgment to do the job.
Take a good look at the decision here, folks. Does it really show good judgment?
On the other hand, I think this shows much better judgment.
Will the "Texas Two-Step" bite the Texas Democrats in the ass?
A local Hillary Clinton supporter has filed a challenge to Texas delegates elected to attend the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
Fort Worth lawyer Jason Smith sent a credentials challenge to the Democratic National Committee’s rules and bylaws panel last week alleging that the makeup of the Texas delegation is invalid.
The Texas Democratic Party allocated its delegates based partly on the results of the March 4 primary and partly on the results of precinct caucuses held statewide that evening.
That arrangement is counter to a DNC rule that delegate selection must "fairly reflect" the presidential preference of primary voters, Smith said.
So tell me -- with Hillary winning at the polls here in Texas, how does awarding the her 94 delegates while the Obamessiah got 99 delegates begin to "fairly reflect" the preferences of the primary voters?
Simply put, it doesn't -- especially given some of the shenanigans pulled by Obama supporters at precinct caucuses and senatorial district conventions. Seems o me the best solution would be to refuse to seat those delegates chosen through the caucus process, and seat only those reflecting the vote on primary day.
And they already have a precedent -- the stripping of delegates from Florida and Michigan over procedural issues.
They always say that the two most dangerous spots in Washington are:
NOTE: Maryland Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski (center, crushed between the two senators from New York) was not injured in the course of this photo op.
I was also struck by this bit of information in the article about Hillary!'s return to the Senate.
Also yesterday, Hillary Clinton enjoyed a triumphant return to the Senate, where she was greeted by a large group of female interns and exchanged hugs with Democrats.
"Greeted by a large group of female interns."
Isn't that where a lot of Bill Clinton's problems started?
I guess old Ralph thinks Obama should be wearin' a doo-rag and talkin' Ebonics, homey.
"There's only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He's half African-American," Nader said. "Whether that will make any difference, I don't know. I haven't heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What's keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn't want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We'll see all that play out in the next few months and if he gets elected afterwards."
Could you imagine if some conservative argued that Obama was some sort of Oreo trying to make himself palatable to white voters by rejecting his blackness? How on earth does Nader get away with this stuff?
On the other hand, we've seen seen that the only difference between Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, and Michael Dukakis is that the latter two were more qualified for the presidency when nominated than Obama is -- and yeah, that he is half African (not African-American -- in the interest of accuracy we have to remember that his father was Kenyan). But it is really just the same old liberalism, repackaged to sell Hopey McChangerson to the American public.
By the way -- I love how Ralph nader attempts to set himself up as the arbiter of authentic blackness.
"He wants to show that he is not a threatening . . . another politically threatening African-American politician," Nader said. "He wants to appeal to white guilt. You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as black is beautiful, black is powerful. Basically he's coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it's corporate or whether it's simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up."
WTF, Ralph? I'm an anti-Obama conservative, and I find that crap to be offensive. And for what its worth, Ralph, as a Republican descendant of a Union Civil War veteran and having been born a century after the issuance of the Emancipation proclamation, I don't feel any sort of "white guilt".
On a related note, rumor has it that Nader will soon announce his selection of West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd as his vice presidential running mate this year.
The reformist image of Gov. Bobby Jindal, considered by Republicans a top potential vice-presidential choice, has recently taken a beating after Mr. Jindal refused to veto a sizable pay increase that Louisiana legislators voted for themselves this month.
The increase would more than double the salary of the part-time legislators effective July 8, to $37,500 from $16,800, with considerably more money available once expenses are added in. It has touched a nerve in this impoverished state.
Now I don't know about you, but I don't find that increased legislative salary of $37,500 to be all that outrageous (although a 123% pay raise is galling) -- though I am unsure whether or not the legislature is a year-round entity or only a part time, limited session institution like we have here in Texas. But when you add in the per diem and benefits, this looks really bad. And due to a promise during the campaign, Jindal finds himself in something of a bind on this one.
More confounding to many citizens here than the action by the lawmakers is the inaction of Governor Jindal, who came into office this year with promises to overhaul Louisiana’s reputation for dubious ethics.
During his election campaign, he vowed to prohibit legislative pay raises. Once elected, he quickly pushed through a package of measures increasing the Legislature’s transparency and stamping out conflicts of interest, basking in the subsequent glow of his image as a youthful Ivy League reformer doing battle in a shady subtropical outpost.
Governor, less than six months ago you were saying that you would veto pay raises. Why haven't you done so on this one? I could understand letting one slide through after you have cleaned up Louisiana government, but you still have a long way to go to accomplish that end.
And if you are afraid that a veto would doom the rest of your legislative agenda, then use the bully pulpit provided you by your office to make the case for that agenda with the people directly. After all, they responded to your ambitious reform agenda during the election -- they can pressure the legislators to do what is correct, not what is personally profitable. Indeed, a string of governors whose leadership failed (or who were as corrupt as the legislature) is precisely why your state is in the mess that it is.
And Governor, this isn't just an issue for the people of Louisiana. For many of us among the GOP base, you have been seen as a great hope for our party's future, and we have been backing you for five or six years, going back to your first run for governor. Your failure to stand strong here will not only damage your effectiveness as a leader and your ability to bring about reform in your state, but also your ability to be that leader for the future that our party needs.
Stand strong, Bobby Jindal -- wield that veto pen like a sword, and then be prepared to get down into the mud and wrestle with the corrupt alligators in the legislature. You can do it -- and you will have the support of the people who elected you AND Republicans nationwide.
And remember, the people might well support you in recalling some of the recalcitrant legislators, Bobby -- or they might recall you if you don't do the right thing here.
UPDATE: Some movement?
H/T Hot Air
I'm a member of one of the other teacher organizations here in Texas (we don't have unions per se, and are a right-to-work state), but I am thankful that the ATPE has filed this suit to keep the results of teacher background checks from becoming subject to release under the state's public records laws. Indeed, I'm surprised that the other groups didn't file it along with them.
The Association of Texas Professional Educators filed suit Monday against the Texas attorney general's office and Austin school district to prevent the disclosure of information about the criminal histories of school employees.
Earlier this year, Austin teachers and certain other employees were required by a new state law to submit to fingerprints for national background checks. The suit, filed in Travis County district court, is the latest legal twist in the case of media outlets gathering information under the Texas Public Information Act on what the checks found.
The district said the attorney general's office has ruled that some information that could be used to identify specific employees is public. But the educators group, which represents 112,000 members statewide, says releasing such information could violate privacy rights. The group is fighting to keep identifying information, such as dates of birth, confidential, although the district says as of yet, no media outlets have requested that sort of information.
This isn't a question of "having something to hide", folks. It is a question of having our personal privacy respected to the same degree as our fellow citizens. And the format in which the data was going to be released has the potential to reveal personal information, especially in smaller schools and districts.
And that brings up the larger question. Does the public really have a right to know that a local third grade teacher has a misdemeanor conviction for writing a bad check when she was 19? How about that the local football coach was cited for public intoxication when he was a junior in college? Or what's worse -- what about the teacher who was arrested on suspicion of something or other, but never charged or convicted because they were not guilty? These are lives and reputations we are talking about here -- and matters unrelated to the safety of children.
I hope this is enough to make you understand why so many of my colleagues leave the field with a sense that they are disrespected -- and why so many young people won't consider teaching at all. Low pay, low respect, low support from parents -- and now you want to strip us of our privacy, too? You're going to need to do a lot better in the salary and working condition departments if you are going to do that to us, my friends.
Oh, and for the record -- I've never been arrested or convicted of anything, so I really don't have anything to hide. I don't mind proving that to my district. I do, however, object to having less privacy than other members of the public at large.
Congresswoman Laura Richardson is sort of the gift that keeps on giving.
The latest on the triple-default, single-foreclosure Democratic congresswoman from Long Beach: "Rep. Laura Richardson initially failed to disclose economic interests -- including a loan from a strip club owner -- when she served on the Long Beach City Council, public records show," the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports.
From the Press-Telegram: the loan in question was for $20,000, in 2000, and came from a family trust controlled by Jerry Westlund, who owns the Fantasy Castle strip club in Signal Hill and 13 other strip clubs in seven states. Two years later, Richardson -- who had not yet disclosed the loan -- voted with the council to place Westlund's father on the city's board of examiners. She eventually disclosed the loan in 2004.
It gets more complicated: Westlund tells the newspaper that the 60-month loan, at 15.5% interest, was made to Richardson and her then-husband, Long Beach Police Chief Anthony Batts, but Batts strongly disputes that, and the newspaper reports that only Richardson's name is on public records of the loan.
Now here's the interesting twist -- the loan wasn't called in by Westlund until 2005. Why so long? Well, it seems that the Long Beach police started to raid his business establishment.
What does that say to you, folks?
Am I the only one who thinks that Richardson needs a full rectal exam by both state and federal law enforcement authorities seeking evidence of official corruption?
Too bad the California GOP doesn't even have a candidate running against her this fall.
Don't you love it when all you have to do is roll tape of your opponent to show why he is unfit for office?
(H/T Hot Air)
Barack repeatedly said he would take public financing. His party is suing John McCain to try to force him to do the same for the primaries. But Barack Obama is now going to chuck that system out the window because it is to his advantage to do so.
Not, mind you, that I support public financing. I don't. But once Obama made the commitment, it seems he is morally obligated to stick with it -- unless the "Change" he is for is changing his own mind.
I do wish, though, that The McCain campaign had used one of the following for background music.
There are certain laws that apply to public health -- and when a community group is giving out food in a manner that violates the rules, it should be shut down. Last year there was a food poisoning outbreak in Odessa when the rules weren't enforced, but there is an even bigger uproar now that they are being enforced.
Leaders of the Black Cultural Council say volunteers and the black community felt "humiliated" after two health department food inspectors threatened to put a stop to a Juneteenth celebration over questions about food preparation for 600 free barbecue sandwiches.
Council President Jo Ann Davenport-Littleton said health inspectors told them it was illegal for the group to serve the sandwiches because they were not prepared at the site where they were served.
Gino Solla, the county's top health official, said state law prohibits any food service operation from having food prepared in a private home for public consumption.
"I hate that it happened," Davenport-Littleton said in a story for today's edition of the Odessa American. "I wanted people to go away talking about how great the celebration was this year. All you heard was 'They were going to deny us barbecue. Here we are in modern-day slavery again.' "
I wonder what Jo Ann Davenport-Littlebrain would have said if she and the folks she were feeding got a little modern-day food poisoning?
My guess is Davenport-Littlebrain would be complaining that the health inspectors didn't enforce state health regulations -- based upon their racism, of course.
And when Davenport-Littlebrain and her group got sued and faced a big damage award to those made ill by the tainted food, she would probably argue that the equal application of the law was another case of modern-day slavery.
In other words, Davenport-Littlebrain is part of a long line of grievance-mongers, poverty-pimps, and race-hos who insist upon making even the most neutral of actions an example of insidious racism.
John Rosenberg over at Discriminations makes some pointed observations about Barack Obama.
- opposes school vouchers for poor families but sends his own children to a private school;
- supports “campaign finance reform” but opts out of public financing since he can raise more money privately under the old, presumably corrupt system;
- attests to the centrality of his religious experience in shaping his identity but regards others, who are less privileged and culturally and politically different, as “clinging” to religion;
- promises an end to bitter partisanship even though his own record (what there is of it) is one of the most partisan in the Senate and his opponent’s is one of the most bi-partisan;
- promises to transcend race even though he a) married, sat passively for 20 years in the pews of, and raised his children in a church led by and permeated with a militant afro-centrism that often found expression in parnoid (they invented AIDS to kill us), anti-white (“greedy whites” etc.), hatred of America (AmeriKKKa, etc.), and b) continues to support government programs that benefit some and burden others because of their race.
- claims to face the future “with profound humility and knowledge of my own limitations” while, several lines later in the same speech, claiming that his own nomination will be regarded in the future as “the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless … the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal….”
It seems though, that John is "struggling" for the proper word to apply to the Obamessiah, given all these contradictions.
I've got my suggestion -- anybody want to contribute one of their own?
That will certainly be acceptable to the anti-gunners supporting this legislation.
Legislation that would make it illegal for holders of a New Jersey handgun-purchaser permit to buy more than one firearm during any calendar month is going before the state assembly on Monday, June 23.
"There's no good reason why anyone would need to purchase large quantities of handguns all at the same time," said Assemblywoman Joan M. Quigley (D-32nd District), a sponsor of Assembly Bill 339, in a news release. "Criminal applications or unrecorded resale are the obvious implications of purchasing handguns in bulk."
Quigley added that passage of the measure -- a similar version of which was approved by the Assembly last year but failed in the state Senate -- "would help curtail gun access by criminal street gangs."
Well, other than that little Bill of Rights thing, they may have a point.
So let's apply their reasoning to the amendment just prior to the one thy seek to undermine.
Let's pass legislation limiting the number of issues any periodical can publish to one per calendar month. Let's similarly limit the number of articles any writer can have published to one a month. Prayer and attendance at religious service. Only once every 20 days. Ditto petitioning the government or engaging in peaceable assembly. After all, there's no good reason anyone would need to write, publish, pray, worship, petition, or assemble all at the same time. Limiting them to one expressive activity each month is therefore a reasonable way of achieving order in our society and preventing the irresponsible exercise of rights by those with nefarious purposes.
Unless, of course, one wishes to be exercise the inalienable rights with which their Creator endowed them free from interference by the government that is supposed to serve them rather than control them. But then again, limitng the ownership of firearms will certainly make it possible for the servant to become the master -- which is the ultimate goal of the sort of statists who seek to limit or eliminate gun ownership.
I've actually ignored MoveOn.org's "Baby Alex" ad, and hadn't thought to comment on it. After all, after being raised by his emasculating mother, lacking any strong male presence as a string of sex partners move in and out of baby-mama's bedroom, I've no doubt that Baby Alex will be wearing mini-skirts and open-towed pumps, saving his cash for sex-change surgery once he finishes his stint in drug rehab -- in other words, the Corps will be even less interested in Alex than he will be in the Corps.
But Bill Kristol's piece today makes an important point about the ad -- and the philosophy behind it.
Unless we enter a world without enemies and without war, we will need young men and women willing to risk their lives for our nation. And we’re not entering any such world.
We do, however, live in a free country with a volunteer army. In the United States, individuals can choose to serve in the military or not. The choice not to serve should carry no taint, nor should it be viewed with the least prejudice. If Alex chooses to pursue other opportunities, he won’t be criticized by John McCain or anyone else.
But that’s not at all the message of the MoveOn ad.
The MoveOn ad is unapologetic in its selfishness, and barely disguised in its disdain for those who have chosen to serve — and its contempt for those parents who might be proud of sons and daughters who are serving. The ad boldly embraces a vision of a selfish and infantilized America, suggesting that military service and sacrifice are unnecessary and deplorable relics of the past.
And the sole responsibility of others.
So the ad is not merely a dishonest distortion of John McCain's support for a post-war agreement for a US presence in the Middle East (much like our current arrangements in German, Japan, and Korea). It is an attack on the soldiers who serve and the fitness of the parents who "allow" their adult children to do so.
Which is why I am pleased that Kristol quotes one of my favorite bloggers, Beth from Blue Star Chronicles, who writes movingly of her feelings regarding her son, his service to our country, and the ad that defames both her and her son. I'd like to share her words, in a somewhat longer excerpt that used in the column.
As a mother, I have learned that I have to let my children grow up and make their choices in life, just as I made mine. I respect the choices my children have made and I support them 100%. I am proud of my son. His deployment changed him, but mostly in good ways. He is definitely a man now. He has a self-confidence and personal strength he never had before. That doesn’t mean I wanted him to go to Iraq. It just means that I understand that at some point a mother has to stand aside and allow her son to become a man.
I would rather do it than send my son to do it, but that’s not how it works. People like moveon.org would rather we surrender and appease than stand up to danger. By doing that, they put our sons in more danger.
Someone has to stand between our society and danger. If not my son, then who? If not little Alex then someone else will have to stand and deliver. Someone’s son, somewhere. This commercial makes me angry. What she is saying is that she is not willing to do her part. She’ll put us all in more danger to hide herself and her child in a corner. I love my son as much as she loves hers. I held him in my lap when he was a baby. I watched him take his first steps and go to school for the first time. I sat with him when he was sick and listened to him when he was confused. I waited in terror the first time he took the car out for a drive by himself.
The hardest thing I have ever done is spend 15 months knowing that he was in imminent danger half-way around the world and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.
This woman should get used to it. That’s what its like to raise kids.
I honor the men and women who serve our country in uniform. And I honor the families, too, because I remember all too well what it was like to wait at home while my father served in Vietnam a lifetime ago -- including my mother coming back to the car in front of the post office to find my younger brother and I hysterically crying after hearing casualty reports on the radio at the height of the Tet Offensive. And i condemn the MoveOn.org ad because it insults both groups.
And I'm curious -- given Barack Obama's recent comments about the sorts of ads run by 527s and other surrogate groups, when will we hear him condemn the Baby Alex ad? When will he act to force MoveOn.org to drop the ad, and to rein-in the groups speaking on his behalf? And most importantly, when will he apologize to John McCain, our military personnel, and their families for this despicable ad? I think we all know the answer to that one.
H/T Wake Up America
Conservative journalist David Freddoso’s “The Case Against Barack Obama” will offer “a comprehensive, factual look at Obama,” according to Regnery Publishing President and Publisher Marjory Ross.
But the book’s subtitle makes clear its perspective: “The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media’s Favorite Candidate.”
Ross contends that the mainstream media has offered insufficient scrutiny of Obama and likens the goal of Freddoso’s book to that of “Unfit for Command,” the scathing assessment of Kerry’s war record that rocketed to number one on the New York Times best-seller list.
By highlighting negative aspects of Obama’s record and background, Ross says, Freddoso may compel others to offer more critical coverage of the Democratic nominee.
“I think it’s critically important that the country gets a clear and honest view of who is running and what they stand for—warts and all,” Ross says. “With ‘Unfit for Command,’ like ‘The Case against Barack Obama,’ we believe the media has whitewashed the candidate.”
Yet for all the attempts to compare this book with "Unfit for Command", I'd have to argue we are looking at something different here. It doesn't appear to be a hit piece per se -- rather, it is an examination of Obama's career and statements on the issues. What on earth is there to object to -- unless you don't like the conclusions that Freddoso draws. But after the lengthy list of anti-Bush books that have been published over the years -- including one long-discredited book that the Left still cites as gospel when it comes to questions of drug use -- on what basis can they object to Freddoso's tome?
And besides, shouldn't we look at candidates critically? Shouldn't we really delve into who they are, their associations, and their platforms? Or are we supposed to accept the words of this particular candidate on faith, without questioning if he has told us the whole truth?
Tom Brokaw will replace Tim Russert as moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press” through the November presidential election, the network announced today.
Brokaw, 68, filled in for the first post-Russert week. “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams was the host today, and revealed Russert's interim successor during the broadcast.
NBC News President Steve Capus said: "A lot has been said in recent days about what 'Meet the Press' means to NBC News and to the nation. To have someone of Tom's stature step up and dedicate himself to ensuring its ongoing success is not only a testament to his loyalty to Tim, but his enduring commitment to NBC News and our viewers."
NBC’s plans for a successor to Russert, who died two weeks ago after collapsing at the network’s Washington bureau, have been the subject of hot speculation. The interim plan gives network executives time to figure out how to preserve the show’s prestige and profitability for the long run.
Frankly, it is the right choice. Love him or hate him, it was always hard not to respect Tom Brokaw. In retirement, he is a voice of reason and something approaching objectivity. In this time of crisis for the network (but not, as some would paint it, for America as a whole), the decision to make him the interim moderator of Meet the Press is a good one. As a known quantity, it signals that there will not be many changes during the run-up tot he presidential election.
There is another reason that this is a good choice. CBS really does not have a successor to Russert waiting in the wings. Chris Matthews? Keith Olbermann? Dan Abrams? Certainly not. Brian Williams? Maybe, but who would take the nightly newscast? By giving themselves six months or longer to consider the best direction, the network will likely be able to preserve the Meet the Press brand. In the end, that isn't just good journalism -- it is also good business.
Following on the heels of his successful faith outreach through the endorsements of Jeremiah Wright and Michael Pfleger, the Obama campaign today announced the formation of its Axis of Evil Steering Committee. The impetus for the move was today's endorsement of the Democrat hopeful by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il.
The Chosun Sinbo, the mouthpiece of North Korea’s Japanese front organization Chongryon and often for the North Korean regime itself, has announced its preference for Obama over McCain, whom it calls “a variant of Bush” and “nothing better than a scarecrow of neoconservatives,” which is a bit odd considering that the Bush Administration’s giveaway diplomacy is better for Kim Jong Il than even Clinton’s awful performance.
Given the fact that Chosun Sinbo does not make a move without the approval of the North Korean government, and that such approval would come from the highest levels, this can only be seen as an expression of support for Obama coming from the top leadership of the North Korean regime.
Of course, this is not the first supportive statement from one of the worlds leading tyrants that Obama has received. Moammar Qaddafi recently expressed his support for Obama (and warned that the evil Joooos are going to try to kill him). And Fidel Castro has also expressed his support for the Obamessiah. These respected world leaders have joined with Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas and Columbian terrorist group FARC to express their fervent hopes for an Obama victory in November.
Seems to me that all Barack Obama needs now are the endorsements of Hugo Chavez, Osama bin Laden, and Iran's Mahmoud the Mad to have completed the Perfecta of endorsements by America's major enemies. Add to that the garden variety Marxists and Communists in this country and abroad, and you can see that the man has clearly formed a Revolutionary Democratic People's Coalition of support for his campaign.
But here is more, from another one of the heroes, Col. Thomas Kirk, Jr. USAF (Ret.).
On Christmas night 1970, the North Vietnamese moved Kirk into a 45-man cell at the prison Americans POWs dubbed the Hanoi Hilton, where he met McCain. They spent the next four months becoming close friends, talking politics and sharing memories of their college days, and Kirk remembers how McCain's quick wit often lifted the spirits of his fellow POWs.
"He's extremely intelligent and tells the greatest stories in the world," Kirk said. "He could almost be a stand-up comic. He's very funny, the life of the party. He has a wonderful personality."
Even more important, Kirk said: "He's a man of absolute integrity and honor."
Despite devastating injuries, McCain rejected the possibility of early release offered by the North Vietnamese because of his father's status as an admiral.
"He said, 'I will not go unless we all go,'" Kirk said. "I will always admire him for that."
Although let's be honest -- Kirk's modesty doesn't allow him to see himself and his fellow POWs to be heroes.
"Every book about prisoners of war seems to make us into heroes," Kirk said. "I don't think we were heroes. We had the misfortune to be shot down, and the good fortune to survive.
"We were doing what we believed in," he said. "And we were blessed to come home."
Colonel, I admire that modesty, but let me tell you on behalf of a grateful nation that WE consider you, John McCain and the rest of your fellow POWs to be heroes.
And by the way, do you know where Tom Kirk will be on the night that John McCain is nominated to be the candidate of the Republican Party? He will be on the floor of the convention, one of Colorado's delegates to the Republican National Convention. My great hope is that the state's party leaders will allow him to cast the state's convention votes for his comrade in arms.
So much for his new style of politics. He's playing the same old DNC grievance game as he tells female members of the Congressional Black Caucus to "get over it."
Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif., a longtime Clinton supporter, did not like those last three words — “Get over it.” She found them dismissive, off-putting.
“Don’t use that terminology,” Watson told Obama.
So much for reaching out to the supporters of his major opponent -- the ones who are making noises about jumping ship to John McCain. He's telling them to be good little girls and do what he says -- after all, he's the Obamessiah.
But for the sake of sensitivity to these women, perhaps he can try Bill Clinton's favorite line to outraged women.
H/T Urban Grounds
No, not the one in uniform -- that's his partner, Staff Sgt. Charles Shuck. I'm talking Sgt. 1st Class Gabe, the one with the leash and the panting tongue.
In his early years, he was known to wander the streets and howl at the moon. Then, the Army got ahold of him.
His rough and tumble ways behind him, Sgt. 1st Class Gabe, a bomb-sniffing Labrador retriever, is now a top military dog serving on the front lines in Iraq.
To those who rescued Gabe from a Harris County pound three years ago, it's only fitting that he went on to save the lives of others.
Gabe has been a part of over 170 combat patrols, helping to make Iraq a safer place for American, Iraqi, and coalition forces, as well as the Iraqi people as a whole.
Why take the time for this story? Because it allows me to recognize the many Americans serving abroad in defense of our country -- and allows me to remind my readers that there are good dogs waiting for good homes at shelters and with rescue groups around the country. Not all of them are sorts that can sniff out bombs or missing persons -- but they can make your individual life more wonderful by their presence.
Click the link and find a pet near you.
By getting the same activist court that thrust gay marriage upon the state to strip the people of their right to undo that act of arrogant judicial activism.
Gay rights advocates asked California's highest court Friday to keep off the November ballot a citizens' initiative that would again ban same-sex marriage.
Lawyers for Equality California filed a petition arguing that the proposed amendment to the California Constitution should be invalidated because its impact was not made clear to the millions of voters who signed petitions to qualify the measure before the state Supreme Court legalized same-sex unions.
"This court has recognized that gay and lesbian couples have a fundamental right to marry and, as of June 16, such couples have been getting married across the state," the petition states.
"Rather than effecting 'no change' in existing California law, the proposed initiative would dramatically change existing law by taking that fundamental right away and inscribing discrimination based on a suspect classification into our state Constitution."
The people of California know exactly what this amendment would do. It would reinforce the will of the people, who passed a proposition banning gay marriage in 2000. It would make clear to the courts and the legislature of California that the people meant what they said in 2000, and firmly establish that the attempts of the legislature to create gay marriage in defiance of that 2000 vote and the subsequent act of the California Supreme Court to find in the state's Constitution that which the people said was not there have been and are illegitimate usurpations of the power of the people to govern themselves.
Which is, of course, the very reason that these gay rights groups want to make sure that the people are effectively bound and gagged as the gay agenda is imposed upon them.
As Pelosi, Reid, and the rest of the Democrats block energy independence and increased domestic petroleum production and refining.
Only 12 percent of Americans now have confidence in Congress, the lowest percentage in the 35 years that the Gallup Poll has tracked the number.
Americans now view Congress less favorably any of the 14 other American institutions tracked by Gallup, including big business, newspapers and health maintenance organizations.
Even as President Bush’s approval rating languishes at a record low, more than twice as many Americans have confidence in the presidency — 26 percent — than have confidence in Congress.
The Democrats have controlled both houses of the Congress since January 2007. It remains to be seen whether the Democratic Party brand will find itself chained to the poor public view of the legislative branch. A recent analysis of ABC News-Washington Post polls found that in April the Democrats held a 24-point lead over President Bush as "the stronger leadership force in Washington." Today, it's a tie.
While Americans have long viewed their local representative more favorably than Congress as a whole, the public's current view of Congress is exceptionally poor. Today's 19 percent approval rating (a different measure than “confidence”) ties the record low of August 2007 and March 1992.
In other words, the Democrats are sinking fast. The American public is finally waking up to the fact that we have an ineffective, do-nothing Congress. That is something that America cannot afford, especially since the solutions they have proposed are higher taxes, higher prices, and higher government spending -- when members are not proposing to nationalize huge sectors of the American economy.
By the way, does anyone notice something about the dates for the low ratings? June, 2008. August, 2007. March, 1992. In all three cases, the both houses of Congress have been controlled by Democrats. Americans seem to instinctively know that there is no reason to have confidence in the leadership of Democrats. Now if they will only go out and vote that way.
UPDATE: Hot Air shows that the the Dems are out of step with the American people when it comes to more drilling, refining, or even the use of more nuclear power. In each area, the American people favor action while the Democrats favor obstruction.
Well, the Democrats finally concede that national security is more important than partisan advantage -- or maybe that there is no partisan advantage to their continuing to undermine national security.
The House, in an overwhelming bipartisan vote, yesterday approved a sweeping new surveillance law that extends the government's eavesdropping capability and effectively would shield telecommunications companies from lawsuits for cooperating with the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program.
Ending a year-long battle with President Bush, the House passed, by a 293 to 129 vote, an overhaul of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The bill provides a legal avenue for AT&T, Verizon Communications and other telecommunications firms to ward off about 40 lawsuits alleging that they violated customers' privacy by helping the government conduct a warrantless spying program after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Before the vote, Bush said the plan, which is expected to clear the Senate next week, would help thwart new terrorist attacks. "It's vital that our intelligence community has the ability to learn who the terrorists are talking to, what they're saying and what they are planning," he said.
In other words, the current legislation means that there is no need for a warrant to listen in on calls from terrorists that pass through American switching stations and servers. This isn't a program of warrantless spying on Americans. After all, the US Constitution doesn't apply to foreigners outside the US -- unless the Supreme Court decides to grant terrorists outside the US more constitutional protection in defiance of all previous precedent.
Now here's where the political calculus does enter into this one -- Barack Obama has previously opposed such a measure. Does he continue to stick with that position, which is the position of the bulk of his far-Left supporters? Or does he again flip-flop (as he has on public financing for his campaign) -- and risk upsetting his base? Seems to me that the Obamateur is screwed either way he goes. And regardless, it shows that the only change that America can expect is in his positions on the issue -- which we therefore cannot believe in from day to day.
UPDATE: Hot Air notes that Obama has come out in favor of the new bill. Like I said above -- change that shows we cannot believe what Obama says from day to day. Stop the ACLU and Wake Up America note that the NetRoots supporters of Obama are in a lather already. I love it when Democrats eat their young!
The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Judicial Activism Run Amok by Wolf Howling, and After the Charge by Miserable Donuts. Here's your link to the full results of the vote and the vote totals:
|3||Judicial Activism Run Amok|
|2 2/3||Admitting Defeat in the Rhetoric War|
Cheat Seeking Missiles
|1 1/3||What the Free World Would Do Well To Emulate|
The Colossus of Rhodey
|1 1/3||Say It Loud, Say It Proud: I Am a Racist! *UPDATED*|
|1||A Rose By Any Other Name -- Tiptoeing Around Jihad|
|2/3||R. Kelly: I Believe He's a Platinum Predator|
Rhymes With Right
|1/3||My Mother-in-Law The Democrat|
|1/3||The End of Guilt?|
The Glittering Eye
|3 2/3||After the Charge|
|1 1/3||Obama and Taxes: An Unchanged Liberal Agenda|
Lone Star Times
|1||The United States Supreme Court Versus America: Awarding "The Privilege of Habeas Corpus To Terrorists"|
|1||Why Irish Voters Rejected the Lisbon Treaty|
The Brussels Journal
|1||Serlo the Mercer and Magna Carta|
Brits At Their Best
|2/3||They Never Change|
|2/3||The Future of Russo-American Relations (Guest Voice)|
The Moderate Voice
|1/3||Obama Finds Bitter Voter Man|
|1/3||Supreme Court: Supreme Overreach|
|1/3||Who's To Blame For High Gas Prices? Look in the Mirror, America|
Right Wing Nut House
|1/3||Let's Get Something Straight|
|1/3||The Willful Blindness of Barack Obama|
One of the reasons behind the current increase in gas prices has been the stagnation of our nation's refining capacity. Our refineries are already operating at 100%, so it is obvious that we need more refineries, right?
Well, not to Congressman Nick Lampson, (D-TX22). He refused to sign a discharge petition to allow the House of Representatives to even vote on a plan to increase the refinery capacity of the United States. This despite the fact that in the last 30 years America has seen a decrease of 60% in the number of oil refineries in the US, and the disruption of only 5% of current capacity at the time of Hurricane Katrina resulted in a 46 cent per gallon increase in gas prices. What happens when the next storm comes -- or a major fire or explosion disables one of the refineries located here in southeast Texas?
And let's not forget where the American people stand on this matter -- 60% of Americans support increased refinery capacity and domestic oil production. Lampson is clearly opposed.
So to all my fellow voters here in CD22, remember that the next time you fill up your tank -- Nick Lampson and his fellow Democrats don't want to increase America's energy independence in order to decrease gas prices. So for all of Slick Nick's talk about not being a liberal Democrat, Lampson sure does walk the walk of one.
Well, the Left -- in particular in the form of Dan Abrams of radical left mouthpiece MSNBC -- wants to make something of a John McCain quote that it clearly was not.
The quote -- as these folks are presenting it -- is this:
I really didn’t love America until I was deprived of her company."
Here's how Abrams presented it.
The context of that comment -- which McCain has repeatedly used over the years -- is more like this.
HANNITY: — and then I understand you didn’t get any medical help for nine days. You spent two years of this five-and-a-half-year period in solitary confinement. What does that do to a person, to spend that much time in solitary confinement?
MCCAIN: I think it makes you a better person. Obviously, it makes you love America. I really didn’t love America until I was deprived of her company, but probably the most important thing about it, Sean, is that I was privileged to have the opportunity to serve in the company of heroes.
Clearly, this is indicative of something else -- the impact of his time as a prisoner of war upon his his patriotism. Even Abrams pays lip service to that -- but in the service of defending Michelle Obama's comments about never having been proud of America until her husband became a powerful political figure. I don't know about you, but I see the two statements as very different -- one about the privilege of service to one's country, the other about love of becoming one of the privileged. And given Michelle Obama's long string of comments about America being a mean, awful, racist country that needs to be fundamentally changed by her husband's use of force and coercion, I think the more negative interpretation of Michelle's comments are at least reasonable, even if she now wishes to dispel that interpretation.
But McCain's comment is different. Anyone who has been faced with a loss of someone or something dear, only to regain it, understands John McCain's meaning. I can honestly say I did not truly love my wife until 18 months ago, as I stood in a hospital emergency room and was confronted with the possibility that she might not live out the day. The sense of loss -- of the probability that I would have to live the rest of my life without the presence of the woman whose presence I started to take for granted after a decade of marriage -- made me recognize the depths of my love for her in a way I do not believe would have been possible without that experience. McCain's five-and-a-half years deprived of America -- two years of it deprived even of contact with his fellow American prisoners -- can only have amplified his love for this country and the freedom of which he was deprived in her service.
If the American Left had any shame, they would never make the comparison between the comments of John McCain and Michelle Obama. But we all know that the Left knows no shame.
And so let the comparisons continue -- they can only be good for John McCain, and for America as a whole.
Except this time it isn't New Orleans, according to Spike Lee.
“That’s gonna change, though…gonna be a real Chocolate City!”>
* * *
When [film critic Lisa] Kennedy began a question with the phrase, “If Obama’s gonna become president…”, Lee interrupted. “There is no if! It changes everything…it’s gonna be Before Obama, and After Obama. And I’m gonna be at that inauguration, too.”
Chocolate City? I guess that means that when the left says the Obama candidacy isn't about race, that means it is really about race.
However, imagine if such a comment had come out of a Republican -- a white Republican, in particular. There would be outrage. Sort of like the kerfluffle over a disgusting button offered by an outside vendor at last week's Texas GOP convention (of which only four sold -- one to a reporter -- to the roughly 10,000 attendees).
But this is Spike Lee -- a black man of impeccable liberal to radical credentials. It is unlikely that the media will even cover this racially-charged statement and his comments deifying Barack Obama. After all, the "objective media" thinks he's right.
I suppose we have to exclude the Chicago tribune from that category -- after all, they are giving away Barack Obama paraphernalia as a part of a subscription promotion!
So on my way to Saloon Democrats, I stop by the Walgreens on Clark and Lake. And what do I see just inside the entry? A woman with a bunch of baseball hats and tee-shirts trying to sell subscriptions to the Chicago Tribune.
The deal is, if you sign up for the Chicago Tribune at one dollar a week, you can get one of the hats or teeshirts for free. And what's on the teeshirt? Why "Obama" of course. It wasn't the official campaign logo but it was his name splashed across the white cotton fabric. The only reason I noticed is because the woman called out to everyone entering the store saying they could get a free "Obama" teeshirt if they signed up for the Tribune.
Now, I have nothing against the Chicago Tribune trying to cash in on the success of Barack Obama. Truth is, this is a candidate that makes all of us from the state of Illinois proud.
Now I can't help but point out that there are a fair number of folks in Illinois who are neither proud nor supportive of Barack Obama -- those would be Republicans and Hillary supporters -- but that isn't the point. How can the Chicago Tribune be viewed as a credible, objective news source when it is enticing folks to subscribe by giving away items promoting one candidate for office?
But the scary thing is that the Democrat blogger didn't even see anything wrong with this.
Being a liberal and therefore a believer in the ultimate redemptive nature of human beings, I can only hope that this marketing scheme is a sign that the Chicago Tribune will finally come clean, do the responsible thing, and endorse Barack Obama for President of the United States.
Excuse me? The only way to be "clean" is to support the most liberal (and least qualified) presidential candidate in American history -- a candidate who has broken his word on running a clean campaign by forgoing public financing and refusing to rein-in his supporters while demanding that John McCain do both?
And how can the Left make the argument that the media isn't in the tank for Obama when they are using him in an effort to improve the bottom line? How can anyone expect objective reporting from the paper when it has become a cheering section for the candidate? That should be the biggest concern -- after all, this isn't the Cubs, Sox, Bears, or Bulls on a playoff run, it is a race the presidency.
H/T Stop the ACLU
As you probably know, we here in Texas CD22 have a Democrat congressman due to Tom DeLay's attempts to game the system for his own personal ego-stroking in 2006. In 2008, Lampson faces a strong opponent in Pete Olson -- so strong that Lampson is looking to dodge the only scheduled debate between the two.
A few days after an announcement that U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson and challenger Pete Olson would meet in a chamber-sponsored debate, Lampson's office has indicated he might not make it.
The Rosenberg-Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce had announced 12 days ago that incumbent Democratic District 22 Congressman Lampson and his Republican opponent, Olson, would meet in a chamber-sponsored debate on Oct. 20.
But on Tuesday afternoon, a spokesman from Lampson's office said "at this point the congressman's attendance is just tentative for now."
Only tentative? The Chamber had set the date before Lampson even knew who his opponent would be -- and only after Lampson agreed to the date. Why the change? Why isn't he willing to debate Olson? For that matter, with Olson willing to have multiple debates, why isn't Lampson willing to commit to a debate in Harris County, where 40% of the voters in the district live? Could it be that he knows that the more he is out and about among mixed audiences, the clearer his liberal tendencies will be?
H/T The Next Right
But then again, anyone who has listened to the man over the last six months knows that Barack Obama will say anything he has to in order to win the presidency -- even if it means throwing close friends and associates under the bus. So who cares if he has now heaved beneath the wheels the system of public campaign financing that Democrats have long claimed is the last bulwark against the outright purchase of public offices by special interests?
Senator Barack Obama announced Thursday that he would not participate in the public financing system for presidential campaigns. He argued that the system had collapsed, and would put him at a disadvantage running against Senator John McCain, his likely Republican opponent.
* * *
“The public financing of presidential elections as it exists today is broken, and we face opponents who’ve become masters at gaming this broken system,” Mr. Obama said. “John McCain’s campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs. And we’ve already seen that he’s not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies running so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations.”
Now let's point some things out here.
First, Barack Obama indicated months ago that he would take public funding if his opponent did. John McCain is doing so -- but now Barack Obama is refusing to abide by his pledge. Was Obama lying at the time he made the pledge, or is he simply being a self-serving hypocrite at the very time his own party has filed suit to FORCE McCain to accept public financing?
In addition, what efforts has he made to shut down his own allies and their "smears and attacks" against McCain? You know, things like the despicable MoveOn.org ad featuring the unfit mother and her baby.
Obama, of course, knows that neither he nor McCain have the ability to shut down such ads, either by their parties, 527 groups, or any other source. Exerting such control would be illegal -- making every dollar spent by the organizations in question an illegal campaign contribution by those organizations as coordinated expenditures.
As for lobbyists and corporate interests, Patrick Ruffini shows who is really the benefactor of such money -- and it ain't John McCain.
Frankly, I'd have more respect for Obama's move if he had forthrightly said that he wasn't taking the cash because he could afford not to, having the ability to raise more than he would get from the government. What's more, Id have respect for him if instead of talking about fixing the system, he denounced it as a scam designed to limit the speech of the American people and candidates for the presidency, and declared that we need to "end it, not mend it".
But Obama doesn't believe such things. He fully supports a system of campaign speech regulation and limitation -- for everyone except himself. Barack Obama, you see, is different -- the same rules and standards that apply to everyone else don't apply to him.
One of the venerable names in the free email business will be coming back -- and will be joined by a new domain, ymail.com -- under a new plan announced by Yahoo.
Rocketmail has been dormant since Yahoo purchased Four11 Corp in 1997, with no new registrations allowed once Yahoo began offering Yahoo email addresses. Ymail is a totally new domain.
Why the change? Because Yahoo has run out of desirable email addresses at its original domain. After all, to sign up now for a yahoo,com address is to get what you want with some random string of numbers attached to the end -- making the addresses difficult to remember. Yahoo clearly hopes that the newly available addresses will increase its share of the freemail market, with its lucrative advertising revenue.
Police say a cook at a New York restaurant was arrested after coworkers allegedly caught him trying to hide 15 lobster tails in his pants.
Investigators said they found Raymundo Flores, 40, with 15 frozen lobster tails stuffed into his pants and bandages on his legs after two of Flores' coworkers at Junior's Restaurant in the city's Brooklyn borough caught him taking the tails and called 911, the New York Post reported Tuesday.
1) Would you want to eat anything that had been stuffed down your pants to get it home?
2) I suppose he had to be satisfied with the lobster tails -- trying to smuggle live lobsters this way has its own punishment.
Tuesday night, the A/C went out, and we took refuge at a hotel with glitchy wi-fi. We were fortunate to get the A/C fixed by late Wednesday, but stayed teh extra night since the room was paid for and the house needed to cool down (the thermostat read 91 degrees when the technician finally got the unit working again).
Well, as i was bringing the luggage to the car, I felt a twinge in the abdomen. A pit stop a little later led me to suspect another kidney stone like the one back around my birthday. A visit to the doctor confirmed that -- so now I am simply waiting it out.
I should be posting, depending upon how I feel through the course of the day.
My output may drop off the next day or two -- a situation has arisen which is going to require some special attention the next couple days.
No illnesses, no deaths -- just a serious inconvenience that could limit my online access.
I don't know about you, but I see a resemblance.
One of them is an Afghan warlord who hates America and denigrates the troops -- the other is a hack sports reporter turned television blowhard who does the same.
Separated at birth? You decide -- but it would help support the theory that Bush Derangement Syndrome is congenital.
Are they out of their friggin' minds? I don't give a rat's hindquarters why this punk burned down the historic building -- the "young, politically-motivated male" -- burned down the Governor's mansion. Indeed, I denounce him and his motivation right now, without knowing a thing about it.
A young male may have been politically motivated when he set fire to the Governor's Mansion June 8, state officials speculated Monday.
State Fire Marshal Paul Maldonado issued two appeals Monday — one to the public with a Texas Crime Stoppers $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and another directly to the person responsible for the fire, which caused major damage to the 152-year-old mansion.
Maldonado said investigators figure the arsonist's actions conveyed a message and want him to contact them.
"We do feel that you have a message, and we would like to hear from you," Maldonado said. "We are not quite sure what that message is. But please contact us."
Maldonado promised the arsonist that state officials "will listen to your message."
You know, Tim McVeigh and Osama bin Ladin had messages, too. Neither deserved an audience, due to the methods by which they were communicated. Neither does this guy.
And as an aside, the official description of the arsonist eliminates my prime suspect. After all, despite his anger management problem and propensity to threaten political opponents with violence (as well as to violate federal law), he is certainly NOT young.
You know, I didn't think that the left could sink any lower than debauched literati Gore Vidal's "POW denial" published over the weekend in the New York Times.
John McCain was in the navy and then he was in the U.S. Senate. He has never cashed a check a bureaucrat didn't write. I'm not trying to be glib, and I realize he was doing a solemn and dangerous job, killing people from the sky. But it was still government work.
Wait, except for those years as a POW. A sick but undeniable fact about John McCain: The only period in his life when he wasn't living off the American taxpayer, he was living off the Vietnamese taxpayer.
John McCain's father was in the navy and his father was in the navy. The last McCain who didn't live in government housing owned a plantation in Mississippi when the state still had slaves.
Which is why John McCain always sounds so emotional when he gets to this line in his stump speech:
"I am absolutely committed to reducing the size of government."
What he's promising is eventually he'll die.
I'd ask if the author, one Chris Kelly, has any decency or shame, but I think the words written above are illustrative of the fact that the answer would be a definitive "HELL NO!"
In one little snippet of a column, this left-wing cretin denigrates military service (a four-generation McCain family tradition that protects the right of scum like Kelly to insult the military), denounces McCain's time as a POW, and tries to make McCain personally responsible for the acts of an ancestor which occurred three-quarters of a century before his birth.
But let's just consider for a minute what we are seeing here, as a pattern has emerged that I think is important.
In the last week, we have had both Kelly and Vidal attack McCain for his military service and time as a POW. A couple of weeks back, Senator Tom Harkin tried to argue that McCain's military career and time as a POW made him unfit for the presidency because of their impact on his views. Some have questioned McCain's retirement pay and disability pension. There have been repeated questions about McCain's mental stability based upon imputed diagnoses of PTSD.
Expect five more months of attacks on McCain's military service and time as a POW. Expect the same folks who objected when legitimate questions were raised about John Kerry's military service (including documented lies by Kerry and his refusal to release the records of his time in the Navy) or legitimate policy differences were raised against former Senator Max Cleland to launch vicious assaults on John McCain and his military career -- especially the heroic nature of he and his fellow POWs (for such attacks do touch on the heroism of each and every one of them -- after all, they also spent their time "living off the Vietnamese taxpayer.") as they resisted brutal treatment at the hands of their captors that far exceeded "US prisoner abuse" like panties on the head at Abu Ghraib. As a teen I was honored to know one of McCain's fellow POWs and saw some of the scars that the torture left -- and I know about these men came home half-starved, rather than getting fat and receiving advanced medical care like the detainees at Gitmo.
Aren't these the same liberals who tell us time and again that they "support the troops" and "honor their service"? How can they make such a claim when they would insult the service of a candidate who made a career of the military and minimize or deny the courageous nature of that candidate's military service? The answer is that individuals of integrity could not -- which means that your average Democrat politician or left-wing activists will have no problem claiming one while doing the other.
Most disgustingly of all, while the Left has attacked McCain over and over again regarding his military service, they insist that they will not allow Republicans to "Swift Boat" Barack Obama -- a man who was too busy "community organizing" to even consider putting on his nation's uniform.
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Then they need to clean up their own house before targeting John McCain over a supporter's 18-year-old stupid comment.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) has decided to hold a fundraiser initially sponsored by a controversial Texas oilman later in the summer at a different venue, according to an aide who asked not to be identified.
McCain had planned to hold a joint fundraiser with the Republican National Committee on Monday at the Midland, Tex., home of Clayton Williams, who ran for governor of his state in 1990. But after reporters from The Washington Post and ABC inquired Friday about a remark Williams made comparing rape to bad weather -- "As long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it" -- the campaign cancelled the fundraiser. Williams has apologized for the remarks.
Democrats have been in a lather ever since the initial fundraiser was announced. They've even gone so far as to demand that McCain return any campaign cash even peripherally connected to Williams. McCain has refused.
But if the Democrats are so outraged about the comment and insistent that the GOP disassociate itself from Williams, what ever are they going to do about this rape-joker in their own midst?
In the 1995 New York magazine profile of “Saturday Night Live,” Franken is described among a group of show writers sounding out a spoof of Andy Rooney centered on a sedative pill bottle found in the “60 Minutes” essayist’s desk. Franken and fellow writers Norm MacDonald and Jim Downey kick around fictional Rooney responses to the discovery of the bottle.
The article quotes Franken putting an edgy twist on the discussion: “And ‘I give the pills to Lesley Stahl. Then when Lesley’s passed out, I take her to the closet and rape her.’ Or `That’s why you never see Lesley until February.’ Or, `When she passes out I put her in various positions and take pictures of her.”
MacDonald takes it a step further, suggesting that the Rooney rape comment be directed at other “60 Minutes” icons Mike Wallace and Ed Bradley. Franken chimes in: “What about `I drag Mike into my office and rape him. Right here! I guess that makes me bad.”‘
I don't know about you, but I find the Franken "humor" to be significantly more offensive than Williams' inappropriate remark -- and since it is both more recent than the Williams comment and made by the party's candidate for election, it is clearly of much greater concern and of much more importance.
So let's offer a compromise deal -- McCain will forgo the money raised by Williams and avoid campaigning within 50 miles of Midland, Texas in return for the Democrats forcing Al Franken off the ballot and endorsing Norm Coleman for reelection. After all, the Jackass party did set the bar on this one.
H/T Hot Air
I still stand by my assessment from last week, that the majority in the Boumediene case screwed the pooch in holding that detained illegal combatants have habeas corpus rights in American civilian courts. National Review's Andrew McCarthy, in an article that must be read by everyone who wonders where we go from here (impeachment of the five justice majority not being practical), also makes a pointed observation as to why the decision is fundamentally nonsensical.
Now the Court has decided that the combatants have constitutional habeas rights. If you can follow this, the bloc of liberal justices reasons that the framers designed our fundamental law to empower enemies of the American people to use the American people’s courts as a weapon to compel the American people’s commander-in-chief to justify his actions during a war overwhelmingly authorized by the American people’s elected representatives . . . even as those enemies continue killing Americans.
In other words, despite the clear establishment of a Constitutional framework in which Congress authorizes military action and the President is Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, the judicial branch (delegated no role in the war-making function of government) is now somehow on top of the heap when it comes to such matters AND a powerful weapon in the hands of America's enemies, giving that enemy the power to manipulate the constitutional system of checks-and-balances to its own military and political advantage.
I heartily endorse the suggestions made by Andrew McCarthy in the article -- and add to it the suggestion that Congress exercise its authority under Article III Section 2 of the Constitution to strip the Supreme Court of its appellate jurisdiction in any and all cases related to the war powers and detention of enemy combatants.
When the difference is two percentage points in a national poll, and the margin of error is 2%, that means that you have a statistical tie.
Voters are closely divided between Barack Obama and John McCain in Gallup Poll Daily tracking conducted June 12-14, with 44% of national registered voters favoring Obama for president and 42% backing McCain.
What does this really mean?
1) This race will be close through the end of the campaign, barring some serious misstep by one of the candidates.
2) For all the claims that Barack Obama is the "candidate of destiny", the numbers don't bear that out.
3) Given the jump in the number of respondents who are committed to neither candidate that has occurred since Hillary Clinton dropped out of the race, there exists a serious possibility that McCain could win the popular vote by appealing to disaffected Democrats, provided he can do so without losing the GOP base.
And let's not forget -- these national numbers don't mean much. It all comes down to the vote in the Electoral College, so it is really a case of contesting 51 separate elections at once.
Well, going out and proclaiming in the press that you WANT to be Vice President is generally a pretty good way of not getting the job.
Two former senators and one sitting governor thought to be possible candidates for vice president on Sunday expressed minimal interest in the job but didn't remove themselves from consideration.
Been there, done that, said one.
Another is focused on being Louisiana's governor.
The third said it was presumptuous to reject something not yet offered.
That was in contrast to former Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner's statement Saturday removing himself from consideration as a possible running mate for Democrat Barack Obama.
Let's be honest here -- there are only two votes that count regarding the vice presidency -- those of John McCain and Barack Obama. They will pick who they want to pick. And even if Warner -- and former Senator Fred Thompson -- say no right now, they will almost certainly come around in the event that their party's nominee asks them. That also explains why the rest of the diverse group of individuals mentioned in the article said what they said -- they know that all the displays of interest in the world can't help and might hurt -- and that it is all irrelevant until lightning strikes and they are asked to be the running mate.
Besides -- who was the last losing vice presidential candidate to get his party's nomination AND win the presidency when nominated?Continue to be enlightened while reading "VP Candidates Coy" Â»
Â« All done with "VP Candidates Coy"?
For those of you who have never visited it, The People's Cube will be a real treat.
Take these snippets of fun from one recent satirical look at the news.
World's Evilest Thugs Shocked as GOP Takes Hell Hot Spot
(Dante's Inferno, 7th Level) - Senator Dick Durbin's (D-IL) comment "The hottest ring in Hell is reserved for those in politics who attack their opponents' families" made to NBC's Norah O'Donnell has sent shockwaves to evil thugs around the world, who thought they were a shoe-in for the top hot spot in the eternal pit of damnation and hellfire. An assortment of Nazis, Communists, terrorists, and other violent and sadistic figures were found consoling each other shortly after Durbin's official announcement.
[SNIP QUOTES FROM NAZI AND COMMUNIST MURDERS]
Dick Durbin said he didn't believe combining the positions of a Hell's spokesperson and a Democrat Senator presented a conflict of interest.
And best of all -- everything on the site lives up to the same high standards as the above post.
H/T Good Lt.
Take agricultural and other organic waste and convert it to petroleum!
“Ten years ago I could never have imagined I’d be doing this,” says Greg Pal, 33, a former software executive, as he squints into the late afternoon Californian sun. “I mean, this is essentially agriculture, right? But the people I talk to – especially the ones coming out of business school – this is the one hot area everyone wants to get into.”
He means bugs. To be more precise: the genetic alteration of bugs – very, very small ones – so that when they feed on agricultural waste such as woodchips or wheat straw, they do something extraordinary. They excrete crude oil.
Unbelievably, this is not science fiction. Mr Pal holds up a small beaker of bug excretion that could, theoretically, be poured into the tank of the giant Lexus SUV next to us. Not that Mr Pal is willing to risk it just yet. He gives it a month before the first vehicle is filled up on what he calls “renewable petroleum”. After that, he grins, “it’s a brave new world”.
Mr Pal is a senior director of LS9, one of several companies in or near Silicon Valley that have spurned traditional high-tech activities such as software and networking and embarked instead on an extraordinary race to make $140-a-barrel oil (£70) from Saudi Arabia obsolete. “All of us here – everyone in this company and in this industry, are aware of the urgency,” Mr Pal says.
Think about it -- stuff which goes to waste now will go into your gas tank. Heck, imagine if we could just get these critters to excrete the stuff already refined.
But one has to ask -- will the environmental scaremongers seek to block this method of petroleum creation with scare-stories about genetic engineering?
And then revoke his passport.
Maybe he can harangue the Red Chinese dictators for being the biggest emitters of so-called "greenhouse gases" in the world!
China has now clearly overtaken the United States as the world's leading emitter of climate-warming gases, a new study has found. The increasing emissions from China - up 8 percent in the past year - accounted for two-thirds of the growth in global greenhouse gas emissions in 2007, the study found.
The report, released Friday by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, is an annual study. Last year, for the first time, the researchers found that China had edged ahead of the United States as the world's leading emitter.
I suppose the only problem with my plan is that the rulers of Red China are even less tolerant of dissent than Gore is. I can only imagine their response to his efforts. It might look something like this.
Well, Saturday's sessions of the Texas GOP convention ended without much of significance to report. The one potential area of conflict -- a challenge for national committeewoman -- came to naught when challenger Borah Van Dormolen chose to withdraw in favor of incumbent Cathie Adams rather than push for a floor fight after being nominated for the position by 1/3 of the Congressional districts.
But that leads me to look towards 2010, and the real decisions facing Texas Republicans. The statewide races will point us in a new direction, given the desire of many Republicans to evict Rick Perry from the Governor's office -- with a shuffle of other elected officials coming in the scramble to fill any resulting vacancies.
And make no mistake -- I have no interest in supporting Rick Perry in 2010. A commentary in today's Houston Chronicle by Dr. Steve Hotze (whose opinions and endorsements rarely sway me) sums up my feelings on the matter quite well.
In August 2007, after he was safely re-elected to what I am sure he thought was his final term as our governor, you may recall how Rick Perry took the opportunity he had before the foreign media in Mexico City to criticize what were mostly Republicans in Congress who opposed passing an immigration amnesty bill that would legalize millions of workers.
Perry also told his Mexican hosts he supported a system that would temporarily legalize foreign workers. According to the Chronicle, Perry said such a system would allow for a "free flow of individuals between these countries who want to work, who want to be an asset to our country and to Mexico."
Of course, there might be nothing wrong with this statement had Rick Perry not made getting tough on immigration one of the central planks of his re-election campaign leading up to November 2006. Quite the contrary, he featured tough border security as a TV ad and publicly endorsed a concept to empower Web users worldwide to watch Texas' border with Mexico and phone the authorities if they spot any apparently illegal crossings.
Bait and switch. He fooled us once.
Remember, too, how in February 2007 within days of taking office for his second full term Rick Perry tried to end-run our state Legislature and mandate that our sixth-grade girls, who are 11 and 12 years old, must receive questionable vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases. He did this not only without saying a word about it on the 2006 campaign trail, but also without permitting any public testimony on such a delicate matter from such disinterested parties as, say, parents.
Bait and switch. He fooled us twice.
But perhaps most objectionable of all is what goes into effect this month: the Rick Perry business tax. The Perry Business Tax, passed by the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature during the special session in May 2006, was revised and further complicated during the 2007 regular legislative session. It is the largest tax increase in the history of Texas. The average small business will pay 10 percent of its income in new state taxes, while large corporations were given loopholes by the governor in exchange for their support.
Add to that the Trans Texas Corridor mess and I see four very good reasons for opposing Perry's renomination for the office, much less his reelection to it in the fall of 2010.
Friday morning I unexpectedly had the opportunity to speak with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison at her booth in the near-deserted Exhibition Hall before any of the caucuses or sessions began (showing up 45 minutes before the sessions start helps one avoid the crowds), and I told her that I look forward to supporting her in her as-yet-unofficial gubernatorial race. I've hinted around this before, but I am now willing to state my position definitively -- especially after getting it straight from the horse's mouth that Dan Patrick is not running for governor. Rumor has it, though, that Lt. Governor David Dewhurst will also throw his hat in the ring for the office, so expect a real donnybrook.
If this happens, it will mean that Dewhurst's position will be up for grabs -- and there is even some discussion of the possibility that Attorney General Greg Abbott will be running for Lt. Governor even if Dewhurst does not enter the gubernatorial fray. Abbott is popular and has been effective -- and Dewhurst has not always been seen as an ally by party activists. Frankly, I'd be really supportive of Greg Abbott's bid for the position, which is traditionally and constitutionally the most powerful office in the state.
What this means, though, is that we are going to have change taking place in Texas in 2010. My only hope is that it is conservative Republican change, not a shift towards the Democrats.
In searching my archives for something else last night, I came across this post from November 4, 2006. Even though the election in question is over, the message behind it is still strong and bears repeating.
The junior senator from Illinois and presidential hopeful proves that even election to high office doesn't guarantee that one knows or speaks the truth.
Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois on Friday urged hundreds of blacks not to vote along racial lines next week in Maryland's Senate race.
Obama, the only black U.S. senator, came to the state to rally support for Democratic Rep. Ben Cardin, who is white. Cardin's Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, is the first black candidate ever elected statewide and has been courting black Democrats.
"Listen, I think it's great that the Republican Party has discovered black people," Obama said to laughter from students at the rally at predominantly black Bowie State University. "But here's the thing. ... You don't vote for somebody because of what they look like. You vote for somebody because of what they stand for."
Let's give this man a quick history lesson.
If one goes back to the birth of the GOP, it was a party that had the rights of blacks as its primary issue. Remember, the GOP was the party of abolition -- and that among those who were a part of its founding meeting was Frederick Douglass. At a time when the Democrats believed every black should be a slave, the Republican Party was co-founded by black men like Douglass -- an escaped slave. While they could not vote because they were women, Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman were also active supporters of the Republican Party. The Democrats, on the other hand, fought tooth-and-nail to keep blacks from voting in general elections -- or participating in party primaries, until the Supreme Court told Texas Democrats in Fort Bend County (and, by extension, Democrats in the rest of the country) that such actions violated the guarantees of the Fifteenth Amendment.
When the Civil War came to an end and the black slaves of the solidly Democrat South achieved the freedom guaranteed them by Republican President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the Republican Congress' Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, the Republican controlled legislature of Mississippi sent Hiram Rhodes Revels to be the first black United States Senator (filling the seat left vacant by the resignation of Democrat Jefferson Davis -- President of the Confederate States of America. He was later succeeded in the Senate by Blanche Bruce, the first black United States Senator to serve a complete term. At the end of his term, the Democrat-controlled Mississippi legislature replaced him with a former Confederate officer who had helped draft and sign the Mississippi Ordinance of Secession.
Incidentally, the next black man to serve in the US Senate was Edward Brooke of Massachusetts -- another Republican, from 1967-1979, at a time when the Democrat Party was still fighting against civil rights and trying to determine if blacks should have representation at Democrat nominating conventions. On the other hand, should the Democrat Party regain control of the US Senate next week, they will choose a former leader of the KKK, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, to be the president pro tempore of the Senate, placing him third in line for the presidency of the United States.
Republicans were active in their defense of the rights of African-Americans for the next century -- and every significant piece of civil rights legislation passed during that time was the product of GOP authors and/or an overwhelming number of GOP votes in Congress. Democrats, on the other hand, fought against civil rights every step of the way, writing and enforcing Jim Crow policies. It took a Republican Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Earl Warren, to craft a decision to overturn such segregation.
It was a proud Republican who, in 1963, gave a speech at the Lincoln Memorial that clearly enunciated the Republican position on civil rights and racial equality -- of an America in which all people "will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Today the GOP continues to stand for the vision of our brother Martin Luther King, Jr., while the Democrats continue to seek to divide and balkanize along racial lines.
So you see, Senator Obama, it is pretty clear that neither party needed to "discover" black people. The problem is that one of them is the party of Ol' Massa, Jim Crow and the Klan, while the other is the party of emancipation, civil rights, and equality. Michale Steele is a part of the latter -- and any African-American should be ashamed to vote for or serve in office as part of the former.
The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are The Chicken or the Egg? by Joshuapundit, and What Kind of War Crimes Trials Does Obama Plan? (Updated) by American Thinker. Here's your link to the full results of the vote:
|3||The Chicken or the Egg?|
|2||For Once, It Really Is About the Children|
|1 2/3||Caring Is Not Enough|
The Glittering Eye
|1 1/3||The Global Warming Cult|
|1||I'm a Fuel, Fuel, Fuel for You|
Done With Mirrors
|1/3||Quote of the Day: Gas Wars Edition|
Cheat Seeking Missiles
|2 2/3||What Kind of War Crimes Trials Does Obama Plan? (Updated)|
|2 1/3||Wake Up and Smell the Soup!|
|1 2/3||Obama and Khalidi -- What We Know So Far|
|1 1/3||Have You No Shame, Sir?|
Winds of Change
|1||When Worlds Collide|
The Weekly Standard
|2/3||Jimmy Obama, Meet Barack Carter|
|1/3||Shooting Down the Enemies of Progress|
|1/3||Noted Imbecile Mark Morford: Obama Is a "Lightworker," an "Enlightened Being"|
|1/3||Air Is Free|
|1/3||Arson Supected at Texas Governor's Mansion|
When conservatives questioned certain inconsistencies in John Kerry's narrative about his military service and his military service record (which to this day has never been fully released), the Democrats cried foul and invented the term Swiftboating to describe it -- even though the Swift Boat vets were actually members of the same unit as John Kerry and many of them served with him.
Asked what he thinks of McCain, Vidal calls him a "disaster," then tells Deborah Solomon, "Who started this rumor that he was a war hero? Where does that come from, aside from himself? About his suffering in the prison war camp?"
Solomon replies: "Everyone knows he was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam." To which Vidal responds: "That’s what he tells us."
"Aside from himself?"
"That's what he tells us"?
Well, why don't we see what someone else has to say about the matter.
Is that enough for you yet, Mr. Vidal?
I wonder -- John McCain asked that the Swift Boat Vets stop their truthful attacks on John Kerry because he considered them unseemly. Will Kerry return the favor and condemn this false attack upon the well-documented heroism of John McCain during his time as a prisoner of war?
Will the media report on this false claim about McCain by a debauched celebrity with the same degree of vitriolic contempt that they displayed for the truthful words of decorated veterans that served with Kerry?
Will we hear from Al Gore about the disgusting aspersions cast by his cousin?
And I ask again -- will Obama's "new kind of politics" include speaking out against the sort of dripping hatred that Vidal displayed in this interview?
As an aside, Vidal also stated in another recent interview that the United States is a dictatorship with a fascist government. It seems pretty clear, however, that he demonstrates his words to be false by their very utterance -- if America were really a fascist state he would not have made these scurrilous comments for fear that he would be imprisoned or executed.
Here's hoping the sainted William F. Buckley will be granted the privilege of waiting outside the Pearly Gates to carry out this promise before Saint Peter directs Vidal to his infernal reward.
More really needs to be made of Vidal's undeniably evil words.
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Hey -- if mentioning a historical event like the Bobby Kennedy assassination is an incitement to murder, what on earth do you call this quote by Barack Obama?
“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”
Now tell me, what would the reaction be if a Republican candidate or official, much less John McCain, had made that sort of statement? I think we all know that answer. We would be hearing about how that Republican -- and Republicans in general -- were violent extremists who want to see Barack Obama dead (indeed, certain nutroots bloggers are already claiming we conservatives will start a civil war and probably murder Obama).
Will anyone (other than me) hold the Obamessiah to that same standard?
UPDATE: Gateway Pundit asks some pointed questions.
Since Obama insists on his website that he only supports the use guns for the purposes of hunting and target shooting, does Senator McCain fall into the category of "big game" or "clay pigeon"?
Finally, does this mean that the candidate of hope and change is bitter?... Since he's now "clinging to his gun or religion and has antipathy to people who aren't like him?"
See-Dubya (blogging at Michelle Malkin) notes that while Obama is apparently willing to use this sort of disproportionate response against his opponents, he is apparently unwilling to do so against terrorists who threaten our national interests (and rogue states like Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela, too).
I’ve always thought that speech applied very well to the war on terror. I would expect Obama to disagree with me there–but it’s interesting that he does seem to think that “the Chicago Way” applies to domestic politics. I suppose a pupil of Tony Rezko’s would have to think like that.
It makes sense, if you think Republicans are the real enemy, and that the terrorists are just a distraction from the progressive agenda.
I'd like to condemn this disgusting piece of crap for his virulent expression of unAmerican racism.
And I'd like to thank God and the US Constitution that his right to do so is fully protected in this country.
Neighbors say a sign posted by a Houston-area man is causing tension and fear.
They say the sign is offensive. It makes a derogatory and profane reference to Sen. Barack Obama’s bid to become president.
“Whoever did this is a racist,” neighbor Laz Socarras said.
“They hatin’ on Obama,” neighbor Jarmaine Calvin said.
Hey -- I'm accused of "hatin' on Obama" when I tell the truth about his record, statements, and lack of qualifications for the presidency. This is something much more offensive, being that it is a raw, unadulterated expression of racism.
But it is protected by our Constitution. The scumbag makes no threats against anyone, and is displaying it on his own property, so he can say any damn thing he wants. God bless America -- because it means we are still a free people and that even the most disgusting among us still have the right to speak publicly without fear of the heel of government crushing us for unapproved speech. After all -- we are not Canada yet.
Interestingly enough, this is within a few blocks of where I have taught school for the last 11 years. I'm surprised that the sign has stayed up as long as it has.
H/T Lone Star Times
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The toothless, symbolic British monarchy violates the human rights of the British and should be abolished? This would be some sort of joke were it not a something that the UN Human Rights Council has recommended.
The UN Human Rights Council said the UK must "consider holding a referendum on the desirability or otherwise of a written constitution, preferably republican".
The council has 29 members including Saudi Arabia, Cuba and Sri Lanka.
It was the Sri Lankan envoy who raised concerns over the British monarchy.
The resulting report said Britain should have a referendum on the monarchy and the need for a written constitution with a bill of rights.
Now let's consider some of the hypocritical complaints put forward.
The UN report was also critical of the UK's treatment of immigrants from Sudan.
Syrian representatives accused the UK of discriminating against Muslims and Iran complained about the UK's record on tackling sexual discrimination.
Hold on -- Iran is complaining about sex discrimination? That complaint from Burqa-ville should have been laughed out of the hearing room.
But then again, consider the human rights records of the participating nations. What the heck is Saudi Arabia doing recommending a constitution and the abolition of a monarchy? And what is Cuba doing on any body that is tasked with judging human rights?
US out of UN -- UN out of US
Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committee member Fred Hobbs tells The City newspaper in Nashville, "I don't exactly approve of a lot of the things he stands for — and I'm not sure we know enough about him. He's got some bad connections, and he may be terrorist connected for all I can tell. It sounds kind of like he may be."
Hobbs was giving an interview to the paper about fellow Tennessee Congressman and Democratic superdelegate Lincoln Davis, who has not yet declared his support for Obama.
Reacting to Hobbs, Davis' Chief of Staff Beecher Frasier says he does not know for sure if Obama is terrorist connected, but he assumes he is not.
And talk about weak statements -- the Davis camp "assumes he is not" terrorist connected? If Democrat leaders -- superdelegates, no less -- aren't certain that Barack Obama is not connected to terrorists, why on earth is the party willing to take a chance nominating him?
I don't know of any Republicans making the accusation that Barack Obama is a terrorist -- merely that he is unqualified and incompetent. Maybe a few blogospheric fringeoids do, but I haven't encountered it. So what do the Democrats know that the rest of us don't?
It looks like the host committee for the August's Democrat Convention in Denver is short of cash to the tune of $15 million.
The host committee for the Democratic National Convention faces a possible shortfall of $15 million, complicating logistics for the August event and forcing it to abruptly postpone a media walkthrough of the site scheduled for next week.
The Democratic National Committee has asked the cash-strapped panel to raise $40.6 million by Monday to finance the event. Last month, the committee said it had just $25 million in cash, and it has failed to meet each of several fundraising deadlines since signing a contract with the DNC last year.
Host committee members consistently have refused public comment on their fundraising efforts. Committee spokesman Chris Lopez could not immediately be reached by telephone Friday.
Now there is an obvious solution to the problem. The Barack Obama campaign is positively awash in cash, having raised prodigious amounts of money for months -- so much that the candidate is breaking his promise to the American people to take government funding for his campaign and abide by spending limits that go with that money. Why can't he just order his campaign to cut a check to pay for his coronation?
In a rational, constitutionally-limited system, he could. unfortunately, federal campaign finance laws are such that making that sort of transfer of cash to pay for a convention is an illegal expenditure, even if it is done in a public, totally above board fashion. So as a result, the Democrats will have to scale back plans and run a second-rate convention (perhaps appropriate, since they are giving America a second-rate candidate) instead of doing things up right. That once again demonstrates that what is legal under federal election law does not always coincide with what is ethical and what makes sense.
I believe that he committed all 14 offenses with which he is charged.
Grammy-award winning rhythm and blues superstar R. Kelly broke down and wept Friday as a jury cleared him of 14 charges of child pornography.
The hugely successful Chicago-based star had consistently denied the charges since his arrested in 2002 after an incriminating video tape was sent to the Chicago Sun-Times.
"There wasn't enough evidence," jubilant defense lawyer Edward Genson told a press conference saying they were "ecstatic" that Robert Kelly was cleared of all the charges against him after the jury deliberated for less than a day.
"What happened today when those verdicts started (was) you got to see the real Robert Kelly. He sat there and he was contrite. He sat there and he was crying," said another defense lawyer Sam Adam.
"He sat there and was thanking God. All I heard the entire time those 14 verdicts were being read was thank you Jesus," Adam said, adding: "He is a deeply religious man."
Sorry, you pedophile bastard, Jesus didn't have anything to do with your skating on these charges. It was your money and a different spiritual powerhouse -- Satan.
And I can't help but notice that one of kelly's lawyers sort of gave away his client's guilt in that passage above -- "He was contrite."
Let's consider what "contrition" actually is. It is a sadness and remorse for having done wrong -- often understood as carrying with it a sense that one is facing eternal damnation. R. Kelly could not be contrite today unless he was also guilty of the acts in question.
And let's be honest -- this isn't the first time he has used an underage girl as his sexual plaything. Can we say Aaliyah?
Remember, they lied about her age (she was really 15) to get married and the marriage was later annulled for that reason.
Of course, there is also the issue of the videotape. Either Kelly and his young victim on the tape, or someone somehow just happened to get a dead ringer (in appearance and voice) for Kelly AND a relatively unknown child who R. Kelly just happened to have access to. I'm no math whiz, but I can't help but believe that the odds of this collusion of circumstance is so small as to defy reasonable belief.
In a court of law, R. Kelly may be not guilty. However, in the court of common sense the verdict must be something else.
And I hope that the twelve jurors who let this platinum predator go will recognize their guilt WHEN R. Kelly sexually abuses his next victim -- and there will undoubtedly be a next victim.
And may I point to this article which talks about the biggest scandal that this case highlights?
It wasn’t that they couldn’t believe that Kelly, a grown man, had engaged in sex with a girl who may have been no older than 14. They just didn’t see a problem. For an apparently large number of Americans, adult men having sex with young teen girls is no big deal.
The numbers don’t lie: Almost 66 percent of nearly 280,000 babies born to teen mothers in 2005 were fathered by men who were 20 or older, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Most of those men were 20 to 24 years old.
What’s going on here? Some, pathetically, blame the young girls. It takes two to tango, they say. But a 14-year-old girl is not psychologically or emotionally equal to a manipulative, preying older man.
And if this is the case, why are we as a society so willing to allow our daughters, nieces and sisters to be sexually exploited in this fashion?
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Tim Russert, NBC News’ Washington bureau chief and the moderator of “Meet the Press,” died Friday after a sudden heart attack at the bureau, NBC News said Friday. He was 58.
Russert was recording voiceovers for Sunday’s “Meet the Press” program when he collapsed, the network said. No details were immediately available.
Let's be real honest here -- Russert generally tried to be fair. And regardless, it is impossible to see his death as anything other than tragic, given his relatively young age. Let our prayers go out to his family, friends, and co-workers, in particular to his wife, Maureen Orth (of Vanity Fair magazine) and son, Luke -- as well as his father, "Big Russ".
UPDATE: Tom Brokaw announces the death of Tim Russert.
Our senatorial district convention got off to a tardy start (trying to seat a couple hundred delegates and then seat alternates takes time) -- but once we got started things went fairly smoothly.
It was a bad day for the RonBats who disrupted yesterday's First General Session with dilatory motions that delayed the day's business by close to three hours.
Oddly enough, they tried the same thing today in SD11 -- only to find that their call to "follow the rules" meant that we actually had to follow the rules. Thus, when their male candidate lost the SD nomination for Party Chair, they tried to have the SD endorse him anyway on the argument that even though the rules state we can only nominate one candidate for Party Chair we must nominate two -- one of each gender. Then, having had the clear language thrown in their face after the nomination of Tina Benkiser, they objected to the fact that the rules then required us to nominate a man for Vice Chair. I guess that "follow the rules" doesn't really mean "follow the rules.
Also, the RonBat lawsuit against the party was thrown out by an appellate court this morning -- with the RonBats ordered to pay the legal expenses for the Texas GOP based upon the frivolous nature of the lawsuit.
Some on the Left want to make this story into a bad thing. After all, while they are willing to use religion as a crutch to support their otherwise indefensible policy proposals, they don't actually BELIEVE in any of that spiritual stuff. So to find out that a conservative politician actually believes in the tenets of his religion and practices them is somewhat scandalous to them.
Which brings us to this story.
Strangely, I found myself repeating the Hail Mary until it became a chant. Being a recent convert to Catholicism, I had yet to accept the Catholic doctrines concerning Mary and considered any form of Marian devotion to be idolatry. Though I had never before prayed a Hail Mary in my life, I suddenly found myself incapable of any other form of prayer. Somehow, Mary's intercessions allowed me to find peace during that long night; I knew that I had survived the worst and that I would exit with my faith intact. It terrified me to recall how close I came to turning away from Christ out of fear.
The crucifix had a calming effect on Susan, and her sister was soon brave enough to bring a Bible to her face. At first, Susan responded to biblical passages with curses and profanities. Mixed in with her vile attacks were short and desperate pleas for help. In the same breath that she attacked Christ, the Bible's authenticity, and everyone assembled in prayer, Susan would suddenly urge us to rescue her. It appeared as if we were observing a tremendous battle between the Susan we knew and loved and some strange evil force. But the momentum had shifted and we now sensed that victory was at hand.
While Alice and Louise held Susan, her sister continued holding the Bible to her face. Almost taunting the evil spirit that had almost beaten us minutes before, the students dared Susan to read biblical passages. She choked on certain passages and could not finish the sentence "Jesus is Lord." Over and over, she repeated "Jesus is L..L..LL," often ending in profanities. In between her futile attempts, Susan pleaded with us to continue trying and often smiled between the grimaces that accompanied her readings of Scripture. Just as suddenly as she went into the trance, Susan suddenly reappeared and claimed "Jesus is Lord."
With an almost comical smile, Susan then looked up as if awakening from a deep sleep and asked, "Has something happened?" She did not remember any of the past few hours and was startled to find her friends breaking out in cheers and laughter, overwhelmed by sudden joy and relief.
This story chills me to the bone -- mainly because I participated in something similar to this twenty years ago, praying over a friend who was clearly afflicted with some malign spiritual presence. Based upon my studies during my seminary career, I'd call what we each witnessed to be cases of demonic oppression rather than full-blown possession. But regardless, the events described (and those in which I participated) were clearly REAL -- and the underlying reality of a greater spiritual battle between good and evil is real as well.
But since the Left wants to make a joke out of this, I'd like to offer photographic support for my nomination of a candidate for Jindal's next exorcism.Continue to be enlightened while reading "The Exorcist" Â»
Members of Congress are split on whether the National Guard should end its deployment along the U.S.-Mexico border in July, as planned.
On Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff predicted the border would not be secured until 2011.
* * *
The final withdrawal for the National Guard working in Operation Jump Start is planned for July 15.
The National Guard's Noller said that Operation Jump Start is winding down because of a presidential directive. As in all military operations, he said, about 150 guardsmen will remain for administrative duties after the mission ends.
As of June 11, 2,284 Guard members were on active duty at the border.
Git that? The border will be unsecured for three more years -- but we are pulling a couple of thousand bodies away from the task of securing it.
This is one of those things that leaves so many of us so pissed off at the Bush Administration -- its utter fecklessness when it comes to immigration and border policy. Even when the Administration has conceded a need to do more, it does so in such a half-hearted way as to be utterly useless.
And the notion that the Guard should remain deployed has bipartisan support.
Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch recommended keeping the troops along the border for another year or so.
"We can get a long way between now and 2011," Lynch said. "Make an assessment in 2009 or 2010 and see where we are, and if we can afford to move them off our border, then we can do that."
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) was also in favor of waiting.
"My advice would be to favor their continued deployment until the border's judged as secure," he said.
Mr. Bush -- don't undercut the enforcement efforts along our nation's southern border.
Republican Ron Paul ended his rebel campaign last night and announced a new effort to help elect libertarian-leaning Republicans to public office around the country.
"With the primary season now over, the presidential campaign is at an end. But the larger campaign for freedom is just getting started," Paul told supporters in a letter posted on the website of the new group, Campaign for Liberty.
"We will be a permanent presence on the American political landscape," added Paul, who announced his move during a rally coinciding with the Texas GOP State Convention in Houston. "That I promise you. We're not about to let all this good work die. To the contrary, with your help we're going to make it grow - by leaps and bounds."
The 72-year-old Texas congressman won 24 delegates during the Republican primaries, but was the last remaining challenger to John McCain, the party's presumptive nominee.
Doing so at 9:00 last night was probably a good move -- it came right as he was prpearing to host a reception for delegates at the Texas GOP convention.
However, many of them were not happy over this little angle of his withdrawal.
Paul has said he won't endorse McCain, but in an interview with CNN earlier yesterday, Paul had nice things to say about Bob Barr, a former Republican congressman from Georgia who is the Libertarian Party's nominee. Barr "talks our language, so I do really believe that he can have a very positive effect in this campaign and let the people know that limited government is a very, very important message," Paul said.
I think I speak for the bulk of delegates at the Texas Republican Convention when I say the following. Ron Paul needs to decide if he is a Republican of a Libertarian. If he is a Republican, he ought to endorse John McCain and campaign for him vigorously. If he is a Libertarian, he needs to have the integrity to get the Hell out of our party and go back to that party.
WHat happens when a talk radio host decides to run for state senate? He wins a multi-candidate primary with over 2/3 of the vote -- that's what happens.
That is the Dan Patrick story -- from televison news sports guy to restaurant owner to radio host/station owner to state senator -- and maybe even further.
Dan Patrick met with bloggers at the RightOnline.com Blogger's Row.
He noted that this is an interesting year for Republicans with a lot at stake. Unity is important, but it is also important that elected officials inspire the voters by bringing about the reforms that have been promised over the years. This includes controlling the border.. he also talked about the essential need to limit property tax and property appraisal caps to make sure that homeowners can afford to stay in their homes. In addition, the margins tax needs to be repealed. Patrick also noted that several billion dollars could be saved with a five percent reduction of the state budget. In the end, it is visionaries like Reagan who are needed to bring out the voters to make the GOP successful. Ultimately, we must return to our conservative roots to make the US and Texas strong by getting real conservatives in charge.
Patrick noted that his conservative radio format educates, entertains, and informs the people -- and that as a state senator it allows him to explain why things are happening in Austin and the implications of state policies. He particularly mentioned the need to eliminate the margins tax and the "blocker bill". His stations potentially reach 50% of primary voters in the state. In addition, he noted the influence of the blogosphere -- and mentioned his involvement in founding LoneStarTimes.com (note: I was one of the original bloggers for LST).
Patrick also spoke about the importance of transparency in government. This has been something in which Texas has led. "There shouldn't be anything which isn't transparent in government." The big difficulty is that many voters don't have time to follow what goes on in government -- it is therefore important to elect folks you can trust to carry out what they say they will do.
When I asked Senator Patrick about possible plans to run for Governor, he indicated that he loves being in the state senate because of his ability to influence policy. Rather than seek higher office, his interest is to support good conservatives for office. "I'm not planning to kick any doors down." In other words, don't expect a Dan Patrick gubernatorial run in 2010.
Attorney General Greg Abbott met with folks at the RightOnline.com Bloggers Row this afternoon. He was warm and engaging, which is a major reason that so many of us see us as a future governor of the state, or US Senator.
He began by noting the importance of the grassroots to the election of Republicans to all 29 statewide offices here in Texas.
He then turned to child protection, in particular the cybercrime unit that he has created in his office in a very effective effort to track down and arrest youngsters -- the unit has arrested more than 100 sexual predators across the state of Texas. He sees this as his most important accomplishment as Attorney General.
His also dealt with the importance of the protecting senior citizens from abuse and neglect and identity theft, which has become a significantly more serious problem in recent years with the expansion of the internet -- but which is still primarily a crime that is committed by taking mail and other "hard copy" documents.
What is the biggest challenge? Border security, which must be addressed in several ways due to the different aspects of the problem. On one level is the criminal issue, especially with regard to drug trafficking. But of key importance is the need for the federal government to step up and protect the border.
Speaking of the Heller case on the Second Amendment, Abbot expressed his concern that a negative decision could be used to undercut the rights of Texans to carry arms subject to Texas laws. He is eagerly anticipating the decision, with concern that a wrong decision might erode the right to keep and bear arms.
Addressing the FDLS child custody case, Abbott expressed his concern that there are still possible criminal charges possible if there is evidence of child abuse. He also pointed out that there is still the possibility of future removals of children from the compound. "No child should be subject to ongoing rape at the hands of their captors."
Abbott also spoke of the importance of making use of the blogosphere for getting the conservative message out to the world.
All quiet so far. The fireworks, if any, will come later in the Senatorial District conventions.
The most touching moment so far? Governor Perry's comments on the Governor's Mansion, burned in an arson attack over the weekend. It can and will be rebuilt.
Ragnar from The Jawa Report is also here and blogging -- I hope we can hook up.
H/T Michelle Malkin
Today the US Supreme Court created an entirely new principle under the United States Constitution -- that it applies to enemy combatants captured on the field of battle by the US military, who are not either citizens or residents of the US, and who have not even entered the United States!
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts.
In its third rebuke of the Bush administration's treatment of prisoners, the court ruled 5-4 that the government is violating the rights of prisoners being held indefinitely and without charges at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. The court's liberal justices were in the majority.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court, said, "The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times."
Kennedy said federal judges could ultimately order some detainees to be released, but that such orders would depend on security concerns and other circumstances.
The White House had no immediate comment on the ruling. White House press secretary Dana Perino, traveling with President Bush in Rome, said the administration was reviewing the opinion.
It was not immediately clear whether this ruling, unlike the first two, would lead to prompt hearings for the detainees, some of whom have been held more than 6 years. Roughly 270 men remain at the island prison, classified as enemy combatants and held on suspicion of terrorism or links to al-Qaida and the Taliban.
Now here's the problem with the decision.
Never, ever, in the history of the United States have those captured by the military during the course of combat operations been entitled to habeas corpus. Not even during the War of 1812 (when the bulk of the combat took place on US territory) and the Civil War (when those captured were, by the logic of the Union position on the right of states to secede, American citizens) have we allowed such individuals access to civilian courts. Indeed, at the height of WWII the Supreme Court ruled that enemy combatants captured on US territory had no habeas rights in Ex Parte Quirin. Under the Geneva Conventions, enemy soldiers are not entitled to access to the civilian courts, and indeed may not be tried by a civilian court -- but the Supreme Court has miraculously ruled that those who violate the laws of war are entitled to greater protection than those who follow it!
Over at Patterico's Pontifications, we get a wonderful view of the the dissent by Justice Scalia, who positively disassembles the logic of the majority in this case. Most notably, Scalia refused to use the traditional phrase "I respectfully dissent" at the end of his opinion, choosing instead to indicate his profound disagreement with the majority by using the much less collegial "I dissent". The most important line of the dissent, however, is this: "The Nation will live to regret what the Court has done today."
I was blessed to come of age during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, one of the greatest men to occupy that Oval Office -- indeed, the greatest to occupy it during my lifetime.
Twenty-one years ago today, President Reagan gave one of the great speeches against tyranny and oppression. In it, he offered one of the great calls for freedom -- "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
I'd thought to post the speech in its entirety -- but as a student and teacher of history, this video so moved me that I decided to share it instead.
Two-and-a-half years later, the gates were open and the wall began to fall.
Let freedom ring.
If this can be corroborated, it takes us all the way back to the first century, and therefore to those who were contemporaries of Peter and Paul.
Archaeologists in Jordan have discovered a cave underneath one of the world's oldest churches and say it may have been an even more ancient site of Christian worship. But outside experts expressed caution about the claim.
Archaeologist Abdel-Qader al-Housan, head of the Rihab Center for Archaeological Studies, said this week that the cave was unearthed in the northern Jordanian city of Rihab after three months of excavation and shows evidence of early Christian rituals.
The cave is under St. George's Church, which some believe was built in the year 230, though the date is widely disputed. That would make it one of the oldest churches in the world, along with one unearthed in the Jordanian southern port of Aqaba in 1998 and another in Israel discovered in 2005.
Al-Housan said there was evidence that the underground cave was used as a church by 70 disciples of Jesus in the first century after Christ's death, which would make it the oldest Christian site of worship in the world.
He described a circular worship area with stone seats separated from a living area that had a long tunnel leading to a source of water. He said the early Christians hid there from persecution.
A mosaic inscription on the floor of the later church of St. George above refers to "the 70 beloved by God and the divine" who founded the worship there.
There are those who doubt this find -- and I am not ready to support the claim myself. It is virtually inconceivable that the mosaics would date to the first century (the 70 likely would have been a group fleeing from either the persecution of early Christians described in Acts or the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD -- not individuals with the wealth and/or skills to create the mosaics), and so it is more likely that the inscription refers to a legend in the community about the historical use of the cave. Absent some more solid archaeological evidence, I think it is impossible to sustain the claim it makes as fact.
Well, maybe it isn't for them, because the fraudulent votes seem to always benefit them.
But to patriotic Americans who believe in honest elections that exclude necro-Americans and other fake voters, this sort of stuff is outrageous.
Secretary of State Jay Dardenne said Tuesday he will meet today with a Democrat-affiliated group responsible for a voter registration effort that is inundating East Baton Rouge and other parish registrars with bogus and incomplete applications.
Dardenne said his investigators are trying to determine if any state election laws have been violated as thousands of voter registration cards have been dumped on registrars offices through the efforts of VIP.
“We have some very real concerns about the data we are getting from them,” Dardenne said.
VIP is a Washington, D.C., group hired by national Democrats to register some 70,000 new voters in advance of the presidential and other federal elections this fall.
"If any state election laws have been violated"? That is certainly a polite way of putting it.
After all, dead people and those serving time for felonies have been registered. In one parish, the folks in the voter registrar's office were surprised to get a new registration card in the name of their boss turned in by the company. And let's not forget the two Shreveport registration cards turned in for George W. Bush, with the address listed as 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Frankly, there needs to be a federal investigation here -- VIP is based in Washington, DC and is clearly operating interstate to engage in election fraud.
H/T Hot Air
Last week, one of the Chicago area's minor newspapers insinuated that those of us voting against Barack Obama are doing so based upon race. Now Catholic priest and Chicago Sun-Times columnist Andrew Greeley has said the same. Indeed, Greeley goes so far as to imply that even the expression of otherwise reasonable objections to Barack Obama -- objections that would be legitimate if raised regarding a white candidate -- are really just a cover for a latent desire to pull on a white sheet, set a cross alight and proclaim "Ain't no BLACK man gonna live in the WHITE House."
When I vote against Obama on November 4, 2008:
- It won’t be because Obama wants to withdraw from Iraq, which I think will weaken America’s interests beyond repair, it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because Obama thinks that a nuclear Iran is no threat to the Western World, it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because I think it’s an incredibly stupid idea for the most powerful nation in the world to approach evil totalitarian dictators as a supplicant, it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because I hate the idea of a President who will subordinate America’s interests to the UN (as he inevitably will), it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because Obama has the thinnest resume ever in the history of Presidential candidates, it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because I think Obama’s Leftist connections (Ayres, Dohrn, Soros, Pfleger, Wright, etc.) show him to be either stupid about or complicit with an agenda antithetical to basic American values, it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because Obama consistently chooses as advisers people who have opted for the wrong side in the completely binary debate about Israel’s right to exist, it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because Obama wants to socialize American medicine, which I believe will destroy the high quality of medical care available to most Americans, it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because Obama wants to gut the military and reduce us to a nation with a big target painted on our collective backside, it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because Obama wants to gut the Second Amendment and destroy Americans’ Constitutional right to protect themselves from foreign and domestic enemies, it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because Obama has already announced loud and clear that he will support activist judges who place their “feelings” above the law, it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because Obama supports judicial decisions creating a right to gay marriage, when I think that decision is one for the voters, it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because Obama’s announced that he will dramatically increase taxes, putting the slow, inflexible, ill-informed government in charge of what should be a quick-reacting, knowledgeable marketplace, it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because Obama’s record in the Senate (albeit short and undistinguished) has been so liberal he makes Teddy Kennedy look like a reactionary, it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because Obama’s an open-borders kind of guy, it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because Obama has shown himself to be a scarily slow thinker and speaker when released from the teleprompter (which really doesn’t bode well for those cozy private chats with Ahmadinejad, Jong-Il, and Assad), it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because Obama’s wife clearly loathes America and everything it stands for, despite the fact that she’s done pretty well out of it, it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because Obama was affiliated for more than 20 years with a church that preached white hatred and began to care only when it looked as if it would affect his campaign, it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because Obama was good buddies with Tony Rezko, and other sleazy characters (showing again that Obama was complicit or a singularly bad judgment of character), it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because Obama’s a compulsive liar who clearly thinks we in the public are too stupid to catch up with his lies, it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because Obama’s campaign has proven to be fly-paper for every two bit troofer and anti-Semite in America, it will be because I’m a racist.
- It won’t be because Obama’s promised already to start down the totalitarian path of purging his predecessors through criminal prosecutions, it will be because I’m a racist.
And might I add that even though I am a life-long Republican and have never knowingly voted for a Democrat for any position higher than county clerk (and then only when the GOP incumbent was under indictment for official misconduct), when I proudly cast my vote for a real American hero with a lifetime of distinguished service to this country rather than Barack Obama it will be because I’m a racist.
After all, that is what the liberal intelligentsia in the media have proclaimed. And it isn't like they would sling around false accusations of racism against innocent victims because it fits with their political agenda, would it?
I'm not a fan of the mis-named "Employee Free Choice Act", which would strip workers of the right to a secret ballot vote on whether or not to unionize. The Democrats, on the other hand, seem bound and determined to have it.
So let's offer them a compromise that offers employees REAL freedom to choose.
In light of the Democrat's obvious commitment to "Employee Free Choice", I'd like to make an offer in two parts:
- Bring back Card Check legislation, which allows a Union to be created immediately when a majority of employees submit signed cards in support of unionization.
- But make it real employee free choice by allowing a Union to be decertified immediately when a majority of employees submit signed cards opposing an existing Union.
- For bonus points, let's also stipulate that an Employee Free Choice Act should give each employee a free choice about membership in a Union, and no employee can be forced to join (or leave) a Union against his will.
It's a good deal. It's a fair deal. It's the workplace democracy that Democrats tell us they really want. What's not to like about it? I think we can come to a deal.**
What say you, Democrats?
**...unless, of course, Democrats decide that reciprocity isn't they had in mind, and the Employee Free Choice Act suddenly includes a bit too much employee freedom.
All I would add to that suggestion is an addition to the last of the three points -- extend that prohibition to include a prohibition on agency shop fees, which force an employee to still pay the bulk of union dues even if they choose not to be a member of the union.
What objection could there possibly be to providing workers with REAL freedom of choice regarding membership and financial support of unions? Unless, of course, the point is not freedom for workers but welfare for unions.
But it is still funny in a sick, twisted sort of way.
And I thought Richard Sutton was such a nice man; can't believe he sent me this...
If you are sitting next to someone on a plane who irritates you follow these simple instructions:
1. Quietly and calmly open up your laptop case.
2. Remove your laptop.
3. Start up.
4. Make sure the guy who is annoying you, can see the screen.
5. Close your eyes, tilt your head up to the sky & move your lips as if praying.
6. Then hit this link
Like I said, though, don't do this -- you really don't want to risk the jail sentence that might follow.
I've been ignoring this silliness for some days now, but since it continues to get traction in the press, I'm finally going to give in.
Political activists planning protest rallies at the upcoming Democratic Convention in Denver have their stomachs in knots over a rumor about a crowd control weapon - known as the “crap cannon” - that might be unleashed against them.
Also called “Brown Note,” it is believed to be an infrasound frequency that debilitates a person by making them defecate involuntarily.
Mark Cohen, co-founder of Re-create 68, an alliance of local activists working for the protection of first amendment rights, said he believes this could be deployed at the convention in August to subdue crowds.
“We know this weapon and weapons like it have been used at other large protests before,” he said.
Cohen, who described Brown Note as a “sonic weapon used to disrupt people’s equilibrium,” cited eyewitness accounts of its use during free-trade agreement protests in Miami in 2003.
“I think these weapons were mostly intended for military use and so their use for dealing with innocent protesters seems highly inappropriate,” he said. “The idea that they might be field testing them on people who are doing nothing more than exercising their first amendment rights is disturbing.”
Of course, scientific researchers say that the "brown note" doesn't actually exist -- and since there is no actual evidence other than loony ramblings of these aging hippies and '60's wannabes, I'm inclined to believe the researchers.
Maybe the real problem that the Recreate 68 folks have is that radicals like them are have simply become so full of crap that it is waiting to burst out in all its glory.
Democratic Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma said Tuesday Barack Obama is "the most liberal senator" in Congress and he has no intention of endorsing him for the White House.
* * *
Boren, the lone Democrat in Oklahoma's congressional delegate, said that while Obama has talked about working with Republicans, "unfortunately, his record does not reflect working in a bipartisan fashion."
Boren, a self-described centrist, is seeking a third term this year in a mostly rural district that stretches across eastern Oklahoma.
"We're much more conservative," Boren said of district. "I've got to reflect my district. No one means more to me than the people who elected me. I have to listen them." He called Obama "the most liberal senator in the U.S. Senate."
But absurdly enough, this superdelegate will cast his vote for Obama at the Democrat Convention, and will vote for Obama in the fall, so this move is purely symbolic and completely without substance. It proves that Boren talks a good game, but will still care in to the demands of the party leadership when pushed.
Voters of Oklahoma, recognize what you have in Dan Boren and do your duty -- vote him out of office for his fecklessness.
Last week, Jordan indicted a group of Danish publishers and cartoonists for daring to publish the Muhammad Cartoons -- claiming international jurisdiction over any act of alleged blasphemy against Islam. Now the Jordanians are actively stripping human and civil rights from their own citizens who turn away from Islam and embrace the truth that Jesus is the Savior.
The North Amman Sharia Court in April dissolved the marriage of Mohammad Abbad, on trial for apostasy, or leaving Islam. The 40-year-old convert fled Jordan with his wife and two young children in March after another Christian convert’s relatives attacked Abbad’s family in their home and his father demanded custody of Abbad’s children. “Marriage depends on the creed [religion], and the apostate has no creed,” a May 22 court document stated, detailing reasons for the April 22 annulment. According to the document, Judge Faysal Khreisat had “proven the veracity of [Abbad’s] apostasy.”
Jordan’s penal code does not outlaw apostasy, and the country’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion, as does the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that was given force of law in the country in June 2006. But Islam, Jordan’s official religion, forbids conversion to another faith. Jordanian sharia (Islamic law) courts that rule on family law have convicted converts of apostasy, stripping them of all legal rights.
“I can’t win this case as long as I insist that I converted to Christianity,” Abbad wrote after arriving in a European country where he has applied for asylum. Abbad and his 10-year-old son were violently attacked in their home on March 23, when relatives of another convert, staying with Abbad, stormed the house. Abbad suffered injuries to his head and chest and bleeding in his right eye, according to medical reports from Jordan University Hospital. When Abbad went to the police station the same day to file a complaint he found his father there, demanding custody of Abbad’s son and 11-year-old daughter.
By allowing the religious courts to take on civil jurisdiction, Jordan has placed itself in defiance of international human rights norms again, even as Kin Abdullah attempts to present his country as a moderate, modern nation that honors human rights. In the end, however, the reality shows that Jordan is still mired in the seventh century when Abdullah's ancestor, the false prophet Muhammad, first preached Islam.
"The odds are you won't live to see tomorrow."
We can only hope so after this video.
Why does anyone let this man into a recording studio, or in front of a camera?
Hebe-Land? Elders of Zion? What next -- resurrecting Leni Riefenstahl to produce his show?
Contact Comedy Central to protest this anti-Semitic humor.
Bravo to Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL 14) for his honessty about the budgetary priorities of his own party!
“I can’t support a budget, from either party, that raises taxes on the middle class. This bill hurts families all across the 14th District by eliminating the 10-percent bracket for lower-income taxpayers, reinstating the marriage penalty and increasing taxes on small businesses and investments."
So for those of you folks who think that electing Democrats means higher taxes for the rich and cutting your taxes, think again -- the Democrats are already out to raise your taxes RIGHT NOW. It isn't "soak the rich" -- it is "soak the middle class".
One more example of how environmentalism run wild is a threat to human needs.
Two conservation groups plan to sue to protect polar bears from petroleum exploration and drilling off Alaska's coast.
The Center for Biological Diversity and Pacific Environment gave the federal government formal notice Monday that they will sue under the Endangered Species Act to protect the bears, which were listed as threatened last month by Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.
Polar bears are threatened -- likely to become endangered -- because their sea ice habitat has melted dramatically and computer models predict further losses, Kempthorne said. Polar bears use sea ice for mating, denning and hunting.
Kempthorne said the best scientific judgments did not conclude that polar bears were threatened by oil and gas development.
The conservation groups do not agree.
Of course, there is no real threat to the polar bears, whose population has been expanding. But the willingness of the Bush Administration to make the faulty classification of the bears as threatened now threatens America's energy independence and national security.
After all, one group recently indicated its intent to start challenging projects it considers "global warming threats" ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY as threatening the polar bear's habitat in violation of the Endangered Species Act.
Two things need to happen here.
First, the Bush Administration needs to admit its error and remove the polar bear from the threatened list.
Second, the Endangered Species Act needs to be amended to put human needs first -- or better yet, it needs to be repealed completely.
This is one of those stories that takes on a different hue because it is not just a national in scope, but also local -- after all Galveston is just a few miles down the road from where I type this post.
And so it is with sadness and admiration that I note the passing of Roger Stone, who saved two fellow sailors at the cost of his own life on a boat owned by Texas A&M at Galveston.
A college student who survived a boat sinking with four others said Monday that a safety officer who died on their boat was a hero for staying behind and pushing him out.
Steven Guy, a Texas A&M University sailor, said Roger Stone saved him and another sailor by helping them to safety.
"He is my hero," Guy said. "He saved me. If it wasn't for him, I would not be here."
The group never saw Stone after he pushed the two men out of a hatch in the boat, the mariners said. Stone, the boat's second safety officer, was found dead by the Coast Guard on Sunday afternoon.
The two men said they spent a day in open water after their vessel sank in the Gulf of Mexico.
The survivors -- four university students and a safety officer -- told the Coast Guard they were forced off their sailboat after it took on water and capsized early Saturday.
The five survivors were found and airlifted to land around 2 a.m. Sunday, the Coast Guard said.
Stone sacrificed himself so that the other sailors, students from the university, might live. But on a day to day basis, his job was to safeguard those others. By all accounts he did it well -- and in the end, without regard for his own life. May he rest in peace.
Democrats have been sounding off about their candidate for Senate, Slick Rick Noriega. They keep telling us over and over again how he will soundly defeat the incumbent, Senator John Cornyn.
United States Senator John Cornyn has opened a seventeen percentage point lead in his bid for re-election. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state find Cornyn leading Democratic state legislator Rick Noriega 52% to 35%. That’s a significant improvement for the incumbent from a month ago when his lead dwindled to four percentage points.
Cornyn is supported by 86% of Republicans and has a two-to-one edge among unaffiliated voters. Last month, his lead among the unaffiliateds was just four percentage points. Noreiga attracts 72% of Democrats, down from 81% a month ago.
The Democrat leads among voters under 30, reflecting a nationwide trend. He is competitive among those who earn less than $40,000 a year. However, Cornyn has the advantage among adults over 30 and those with annual incomes topping $40,000.
Yeah, Noreiga was pulling close a month ago -- but I think this poll makes it pretty clear that the previous result was an outlier, one of those occasional results that does not present a true picture of the real world. After all, this result matches well with what other polls are showing.
A city Health Department study finds that more than a fourth of adult New Yorkers are infected with the virus that causes genital herpes.
The study, released Monday, says about 26 percent of New York City adults have genital herpes, compared to about 19 percent nationwide.
The department says genital herpes can double a person's risk for contracting HIV.
Herpes can cause painful sores, but most people have no recognizable symptoms.
Among New Yorkers, the herpes rate is higher among women, black people and gay men.
You know what? There are some good reasons to engage in monogamous relationships with partners you know are not infected. Anyone familiar with the rates of multiple sex partners among the groups with the highest rates of infection? And want to bet we would find a correlation?
Pakistan will ask the European Union countries to amend laws regarding freedom of expression in order to prevent offensive incidents such as the printing of blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and the production of an anti-Islam film by a Dutch legislator, sources in the Interior Ministry told Daily Times on Saturday.
They said that a six-member high-level delegation comprising officials from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Law would leave Islamabad on Sunday (today) for the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium and explain to the EU leadership the backlash against the blasphemous campaign in the name of freedom of expression.
The delegation, headed by an additional secretary of the Interior Ministry, will meet the leaders of the EU countries in a bid to convince them that the recent attack on the Danish Embassy in Pakistan could be a reaction against the blasphemous campaign, sources said.
They said that the delegation would also tell the EU that if such acts against Islam are not controlled, more attacks on the EU diplomatic missions abroad could not be ruled out.
Notice that little threat at the end -- "Dhimmify or face more terrorism with our approval!"
We in the West cannot accept such demands -- or the threat that goes with them. If I want to mock the false prophet Muhammad (May He Burn In Hell For All Eternity) then I have an absolute right to do so, both based upon freedom of speech and freedom of religion. For a government to seek to restrict that right goes against the entire thrust of Western Civilization since the Enlightenment -- and violates provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Now here's something I know a lot about -- the need for more poll workers at election time.
States and counties are putting out "help wanted" signs five months before Election Day in hopes of finding hundreds of thousands of younger, tech-savvy poll workers needed to handle an expected record turnout.
In many cases, workers don't even have to be old enough to vote.
With a one-day workforce of nearly 2 million poll workers wanted by November, election officials are busily recruiting at high schools, colleges and businesses. They're looking for people who can speak foreign languages or help voters with disabilities. They're making training more convenient and splitting long workdays in half.
"The first challenge is just in the sheer numbers," says Dean Logan, acting clerk of Los Angeles County, which needs 25,000 poll workers in the nation's most populous voting jurisdiction.
More than 122 million Americans voted in 2004, up from 105 million in 2000. The number is expected to jump again because of high interest in the White House contest, which drew near-record primary turnout on a percentage basis.
What are the requirements down here in Texas? You have to be a registered voter in the county where you are working the polls. That's it. Contact your county clerk (the top election official in the county) and let them know you are interested -- they will in all likelihood be thrilled to hear from you. Or contact the county GOP or Democrat headquarters -- they know precincts that are chronically short-handed on election day and may offer suggestions of election judges to call. For that matter, if you are in the southeast corner of Harris County, send me an email and I may have a spot for you on election day.
I'm with Kevin Drum -- too many down sides for her, and not enough up.
But I have a different question: what makes anyone think that Hillary wants to be Obama's VP? I just don't see it. On a social level, it's hard to picture someone of Hillary's age, experience, and temperament being willing to play second fiddle to a young guy like Obama. On a political level, she has more clout in the Senate than she would as vice president. On a personal level, Obama and Clinton (and their respective teams) just don't seem to like each other much.
Now, maybe she wants the VP slot anyway. Who knows? But I think she'd be more effective in the Senate, have way more freedom of movement, have more career opportunities, and would do more for the party by helping to hold down a second branch of government than she would by being Obama's shadow. Anyone disagree?
I'll take it a step further. Should the Obama campaign implode, Hillary Clinton doesn't want to be anywhere around it. After all, serving as the vice presidential candidate will make it her failure, too -- which would be another blot on her record in 2012. Similarly, does she want to be Walter Mondale to Obama's Jimmy Carter?
No, the Senate is where she needs to stay -- unless she decides to run for Governor of New York (or relocate into NYC to run for Mayor in 2010) in order to get some executive experience. And then there is always that speculation about Justice Hillary Clinton...
Not that it has kept many liberals from claiming differently. But today's Washington Post carries an important piece that points out that time and again George W. Bush and members of Congress were following the guidance of the overwhelming majority of the intelligence community in this country and abroad.
But dive into Rockefeller's report, in search of where exactly President Bush lied about what his intelligence agencies were telling him about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, and you may be surprised by what you find.
On Iraq's nuclear weapons program? The president's statements "were generally substantiated by intelligence community estimates."
On biological weapons, production capability and those infamous mobile laboratories? The president's statements "were substantiated by intelligence information."
On chemical weapons, then? "Substantiated by intelligence information."
On weapons of mass destruction overall (a separate section of the intelligence committee report)? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information." Delivery vehicles such as ballistic missiles? "Generally substantiated by available intelligence." Unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to deliver WMDs? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information."
As you read through the report, you begin to think maybe you've mistakenly picked up the minority dissent. But, no, this is the Rockefeller indictment. So, you think, the smoking gun must appear in the section on Bush's claims about Saddam Hussein's alleged ties to terrorism.
But statements regarding Iraq's support for terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information." Statements that Iraq provided safe haven for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other terrorists with ties to al-Qaeda "were substantiated by the intelligence assessments," and statements regarding Iraq's contacts with al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information." The report is left to complain about "implications" and statements that "left the impression" that those contacts led to substantive Iraqi cooperation.
In the report's final section, the committee takes issue with Bush's statements about Saddam Hussein's intentions and what the future might have held. But was that really a question of misrepresenting intelligence, or was it a question of judgment that politicians are expected to make?
In other words, no lies. What you have instead is the responsible reliance on intelligence provided to the Executive and Legislative branches. Indeed, in 2002 it was Senator Rockefeller himself who said:
"There has been some debate over how 'imminent' a threat Iraq poses. I do believe Iraq poses an imminent threat. I also believe after September 11, that question is increasingly outdated. . . . To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk. Can we afford to take that chance? I do not think we can."
Did Rockefeller lie? Or did he draw the same conclusion as the President did based upon the same data? Anyone who reasonably considers the issue has to accept that it is the latter -- and that the Rockefeller of 2002 is significantly more honest than the Rockefeller of 2008 who implied Bush lied during his press conference about the report.
WaPo's Fred Hiatt then ends with a point that I have made here and in other places any number of times -- that national security decisions must be made based upon the best evidence you have at the time, and that making the right choice relying in good faith upon what later turns out to be questionable data is not "lying us into war". Indeed, it isn't even incompetence -- it is merely tragedy.
I'd like to say I cannot believe that John Aravosis would ask such a question -- but his lack of shame knows no bounds, nor does the lack of shame of many of his commenters.
First off, I find it fascinating that John McCain, who is refusing to vote for the GI Bill for our troops because "it's too generous," is himself getting $58,000 a year, tax-free, from the US government for his military service. Had McCain been getting that amount every year since Vietnam, that would total $2,000,000 for the man who isn't into overgenerous government. I just find that interesting.
His staff responded with the classic "he was tortured for his country." Yeah, we get it. The torture card. It's to McCain what 9/11 was to Giuliani's candidacy - the never-ending name-drop. Though what McCain's staff actually said was downright, um, we're being nice to Clinton now, so I won't say Clintonian. Here's the quote:
McCain campaign strategist Mark Salter said Monday night that McCain was technically disabled. "Tortured for his country -- that is how he acquired his disability," Salter said.
Technically? What does that mean? Usually, it means that under the strict reading of the law, you're covered, but in fact it's kind of a nudge-nudge-wink-wink situation - that's what "technically" means. It's called parsing, which is something you do to "technically" claim something is true, when on its face it really isn't. So is McCain "technically" disabled, and taking $58,000 a year tax free from the government, or is he actually disabled? I would imagine there are other solders who are actually disabled who could use the money. And if he is actually disabled, just how disabled is he?
Aravosis then has the audacity to complain about the so-called "Swiftboating" of John Kerry, in which members of his own unit questioned his accounts of his service AND his fitness for the presidency. Contrast that with the response of the bulk of John McCain's fellow POWs to his candidacy.
And let's not forget that Aravosis still is angry about the fact that Republicans raised questions about Max Cleland's policy positions and votes on defense -- Cleland's injuries supposedly made him untouchable on any defense-related issue, but Aravosis starts his post out by attacking McCain on just such an issue.
So Aravosis now has the gall to raise questions about John McCain?
Why is John McCain getting the disability pay, John? Here's a little reminder for you, you spineless scumbag.Continue to be enlightened while reading "Hatemonger Aravosis Attacks McCain Over Military Disability Pay" Â»
Of the many personal accounts coming to light about the almost unbelievably cruel treatment accorded American prisoners of war in Vietnam, none is more dramatic than that of Lieut. Commander John S. McCain III—Navy flier, son of the admiral who commanded the war in the Pacific, and a prisoner who came in "for special attention" during 5½ years of captivity in North Vietnam.
Now that all acknowledged prisoners are back and a self-imposed seal of silence is off, Commander McCain is free to answer the questions many Americans have asked:
What was it really like? How prolonged were the tortures and brutality? How did the captured U.S. airmen bear up under the mistreatment—and years spent in solitary? How did they preserve their sanity? Did visiting "peace groups" really add to their troubles? How can this country's military men be conditioned to face such treatment in the future without crumbling?
Here, in his own words, based on almost total recall, is Commander McCain's narrative of 5½ years in the hands of the North Vietnamese.
The date was Oct. 26, 1967. I was on my 23rd mission, flying right over the heart of Hanoi in a dive at about 4,500 feet, when a Russian missile the size of a telephone pole came up—the sky was full of them—and blew the right wing off my Skyhawk dive bomber. It went into an inverted, almost straight-down spin.
I pulled the ejection handle, and was knocked unconscious by the force of the ejection—the air speed was about 500 knots. I didn't realize it at the moment, but I had broken my right leg around the knee, my right arm in three places, and my left arm. I regained consciousness just before I landed by parachute in a lake right in the corner of Hanoi, one they called the Western Lake. My helmet and my oxygen mask had been blown off.
I hit the water and sank to the bottom. I think the lake is about 15 feet deep, maybe 20. I kicked off the bottom. I did not feel any pain at the time, and was able to rise to the surface. I took a breath of air and started sinking again. Of course, I was wearing 50 pounds, at least, of equipment and gear. I went down and managed to kick up to the surface once more. I couldn't understand why I couldn't use my right leg or my arm. I was in a dazed condition. I went up to the top again and sank back down. This time I couldn't get back to the surface. I was wearing an inflatable life-preserver-type thing that looked like water wings. I reached down with my mouth and got the toggle between my teeth and inflated the preserver and finally floated to the top.
Some North Vietnamese swam out and pulled me to the side of the lake and immediately started stripping me, which is their standard procedure. Of course, this being in the center of town, a huge crowd of people gathered, and they were all hollering and screaming and cursing and spitting and kicking at me.
When they had most of my clothes off, I felt a twinge in my right knee. I sat up and looked at it, and my right foot was resting next to my left knee, just in a 90-degree position. I said, "My God--my leg!" That seemed to enrage them —I don't know why. One of them slammed a rifle butt down on my shoulder, and smashed it pretty badly. Another stuck a bayonet in my foot. The mob was really getting up-tight.
John S. McCain III, 37, is a 1958 graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy and a trained Navy pilot. His father, Adm. John S. McCain, Jr., was commander in chief of all U. S. forces in the Pacific during the Vietnam war. His grandfather also was a four-star admiral, his great-uncle an Army general during World War I. Lieut. Commander McCain is married, with three children. Their permanent home is in Orange Park, Fla. During captivity his weight dropped as low as 100 pounds. He still walks with a limp from his injuries. He plans to stay in the Navy, has been assigned to attend the National War College this August.
About this time, a guy came up and started yelling at the crowd to leave me alone. A woman came over and propped me up and held a cup of tea to my lips, and some photographers took some pictures. This quieted the crowd down quite a bit. Pretty soon, they put me on a stretcher, lifted it onto a truck, and took me to Hanoi's main prison. I was taken into a cell and put on the floor. I was still on the stretcher, dressed only in my skivvies, with a blanket over me.
For the next three or four days, I lapsed from conscious to unconsciousness. During this time, I was taken out to interrogation—which we called a "quiz"—several times. That's when I was hit with all sorts of war-criminal charges. This started on the first day. I refused to give them anything except my name, rank, serial number and date of birth. They beat me around a little bit. I was in such bad shape that when they hit me it would knock me unconscious. They kept saying, "You will not receive any medical treatment until you talk."
I didn't believe this. I thought that if I just held out, that they'd take me to the hospital. I was fed small amounts of food by the guard and also allowed to drink some water. I was able to hold the water down, but I kept vomiting the food.
They wanted military rather than political information at this time. Every time they asked me something, I'd just give my name, rank and serial number and date of birth.
I think it was on the fourth day that two guards came in, instead of one. One of them pulled back the blanket to show the other guard my injury. I looked at my knee. It was about the size, shape and color of a football. I remembered that when I was a flying instructor a fellow had ejected from his plane and broken his thigh. He had gone into shock, the blood had pooled in his leg, and he died, which came as quite a surprise to us—a man dying of a broken leg. Then I realized that a very similar thing was happening to me.
When I saw it, I said to the guard, "O.K., get the officer." An officer came in after a few minutes. It was the man that we came to know very well as "The Bug." He was a psychotic torturer, one of the worst fiends that we had to deal with. I said, "O.K., I'll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital." He left and came back with a doctor, a guy that we called "Zorba," who was completely incompetent. He squatted down, took my pulse. He did not speak English, but shook his head and jabbered to "The Bug." I asked, "Are you going to take me to the hospital?" "The Bug" replied, "It's too late." I said, "If you take me to the hospital, I'll get well."
"Zorba" took my pulse again, and repeated, "It's too late." They got up and left, and I lapsed into unconsciousness.
Sometime later, "The Bug" came rushing into the room, shouting, "Your father is a big admiral; now we take you to the hospital."
I tell the story to make this point: There were hardly any amputees among the prisoners who came back because the North Vietnamese just would not give medical treatment to someone who was badly injured—they weren't going to waste their time. For one thing, in the transition from the kind of life we lead in America to the filth and dirt and infection, it would be very difficult for a guy to live anyway. In fact, my treatment in the hospital almost killed me.
I woke up a couple of times in the next three or four days. Plasma and blood were being put into me. I became fairly lucid. I was in a room which was not particularly small—about 15 by 15 feet—but it was filthy dirty and at a lower level, so that every time it rained, there'd be about a half inch to an inch of water on the floor. I was not washed once while I was in the hospital. I almost never saw a doctor or a nurse. Doctors came in a couple of times to look at me. They spoke French, not English.
For a guard, I was assigned a 16-year-old kid—right out of the rice fields. His favorite pastime was to sit by my bed and read a book that had a picture in it of an old man with a rifle in his hand sitting on a fuselage of an F-105 which had been shot down. He would point to himself, and slap me and hit me. He had a lot of fun that way. He fed me because both my arms were broken. He would come in with a cup that had noodles and some gristle in it, and fill a spoon and put it in my mouth. The gristle was very hard to chew. I'd get my mouth full after three or four spoonfuls, and I'd be chewing away on it. I couldn't take any more in my mouth, so he'd just eat the rest himself. I was getting about three or four spoonfuls of food twice a day. It got so that I kind of didn't give a damn—even though I tried as hard as I could to get enough to eat.
After I had been there about 10 days, a "gook"—which is what we called the North Vietnamese—came in one morning. This man spoke English very well. He asked me how I was, and said, "We have a Frenchman who is here in Hanoi visiting, and would like to take a message back to your family." Being a little naive at the time—you get smarter as you go along with these people—I figured this wasn't a bad deal at all, if this guy would come to see me and go back and tell my family that I was alive.
I didn't know at the time that my name had been released in a rather big propaganda splash by the North Vietnamese, and that they were very happy to have captured me. They told a number of my friends when I was captured, "We have the crown prince," which was somewhat amusing to me.
"It Looked to Many as if I Had Been Drugged"
They told me that the Frenchman would visit me that evening. About noon, I was put in a rolling stretcher and taken to a treatment room where they tried to put a cast on my right arm. They had great difficulty putting the bones together, because my arm was broken in three places and there were two floating bones. I watched the guy try to manipulate it for about an hour and a half trying to get all the bones lined up. This was without benefit of Novocain. It was an extremely painful experience, and I passed out a number of times. He finally just gave up and slapped a chest cast on me. This experience was very fatiguing, and was the reason why later, when some TV film was taken, it looked to many people as if I had been drugged.
When this was over, they took me into a big room with a nice white bed. I thought, "Boy, things are really looking up." My guard said, "Now you're going to be in your new room."
About an hour later in came a guy called "The Cat." I found out later that he was the man who up until late 1969 was in charge of all the POW camps in Hanoi. He was a rather dapper sort, one of the petty intelligentsia that run North Vietnam. He was from the political bureau of the Vietnamese Workers Party.
The first thing he did was show me Col. John Flynn's identification card—now Gen. John Flynn—who was our senior officer. He was shot down the same day I was. "The Cat" said—through an interpreter, as he was not speaking English at this time—"The French television man is coming." I said, "Well, I don't think I want to be filmed," whereupon he announced, "You need two operations, and if you don't talk to him, then we will take your chest cast off and you won't get any operations." He said, "You will say that you're grateful to the Vietnamese people, and that you're sorry for your crimes." I told him I wouldn't do that.
Finally, the Frenchman came in, a man named Chalais—a Communist, as I found out later—with two photographers. He asked me about my treatment and I told him it was satisfactory. "The Cat" and "Chihuahua," another interrogator, were in the background telling me to say that I was grateful for lenient and humane treatment. I refused, and when they pressed me, Chalais said, "I think what he told me is sufficient."
Then he asked if I had a message for my family. I told him to assure my wife and others of my family that I was getting well and that I loved them. Again, in the background, "The Cat" insisted that I add something about hoping that the war would be over soon so that I could go home. Chalais shut him up very firmly by saying that he was satisfied with my answer. He helped me out of a difficult spot.
Chalais was from Paris. My wife later went to see him and he gave her a copy of the film, which was shown on CBS television in the U. S.
As soon as he left, they put me on the cart and took me back to my old dirty room.
After that, many visitors came to talk to me. Not all of it was for interrogation. Once a famous North Vietnamese writer—an old man with a Ho Chi Minh beard—came to my room, wanting to know all about Ernest Hemingway. I told him that Ernest Hemingway was violently anti-Communist. It gave him something to think about.
Others came in to find out about life in the United States. They figured because my father had such high military rank that I was of the royalty or the governing circle. They have no idea of the way our democracy functions.
One of the men who came to see me, whose picture I recognized later, was Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, the hero of Dienbienphu. He came to see what I looked like, saying nothing. He is the Minister of Defense, and also on North Vietnam's ruling Central Committee.
After about two weeks, I was given an operation on my leg which was filmed. They never did anything for my broken left arm. It healed by itself. They said I needed two operations on my leg, but because I had a "bad attitude" they wouldn't give me another one. What kind of job they did on my leg, I do not know. Now that I'm back, an orthopedic surgeon is going to cut in and see. He has already told me that they made the incision wrong and cut all the ligaments on one side.
I was in the hospital about six weeks, then was taken to a camp in Hanoi that we called "The Plantation." This was in late December, 1967. I was put in a cell with two other men, George Day and Norris Overly, both Air Force majors. I was on a stretcher, my leg was stiff and I was still in a chest cast that I kept for about two months. I was down to about 100 pounds from my normal weight of 155.
I was told later on by Major Day that they didn't expect me to live a week. I was unable to sit up. I was sleeping about 18 hours, 20 hours a day. They had to do everything for me. They were allowed to get a bucket of water and wash me off occasionally. They fed me and took fine care of me, and I recovered very rapidly.
We moved to another room just after Christmas. In early February, 1968, Overly was taken out of our room and released, along with David Matheny and John Black. They were the first three POW's to be released by the North Vietnamese. I understand they had instructions, once home, to say nothing about treatment, so as not to jeopardize those of us still in captivity.
That left Day and me alone together. He was rather banged up himself—a bad right arm, which he still has. He had escaped after he had been captured down South and was shot when they recaptured him. As soon as I was able to walk, which was in March of 1968, Day was moved out.
I remained in solitary confinement from that time on for more than two years. I was not allowed to see or talk to or communicate with any of my fellow prisoners. My room was fairly decent-sized—I'd say it was about 10 by 10. The door was solid. There were no windows. The only ventilation came from two small holes at the top in the ceiling, about 6 inches by 4 inches. The roof was tin and it got hot as hell in there. The room was kind of dim—night and day—but they always kept on a small light bulb, so they could observe me. I was in that place for two years.
Communication Was Vital "for Survival"
As far as this business of solitary confinement goes—the most important thing for survival is communication with someone, even if it's only a wave or a wink, a tap on the wall, or to have a guy put his thumb up. It makes all the difference.
It's vital to keep your mind occupied, and we all worked on that. Some guys were interested in mathematics, so they worked out complex formulas in their heads—we were never allowed to have writing materials. Others would build a whole house, from basement on up. I have more of a philosophical bent. I had read a lot of history. I spent days on end going back over those history books in my mind, figuring out where this country or that country went wrong, what the U. S. should do in the area of foreign affairs. I thought a lot about the meaning of life.
It was easy to lapse into fantasies. I used to write books and plays in my mind, but I doubt that any of them would have been above the level of the cheapest dime novel.
People have asked me how we could remember detailed things like the tap code, numbers, names, all sorts of things. The fact is, when you don't have anything else to think about, no outside distractions, it's easy. Since I've been back, it's very hard for me to remember simple things, like the name of someone I've just met.
During one period while I was in solitary, I memorized the names of all 335 of the men who were then prisoners of war in North Vietnam. I can still remember them.
One thing you have to fight is worry. It's easy to get uptight about your physical condition. One time I had a hell of a hemorrhoid and I stewed about it for about three days. Finally, I said, "Look, McCain, you've never known of a single guy who died of a hemorrhoid." So I just ignored it as best I could, and after a few months it went away.
The story of Ernie Brace illustrates how vital communication was to us. While I was in the prison we called "The Plantation" in October, 1968, there was a room behind me. I heard some noise in there so I started tapping on the wall. Our call-up sign was the old "shave and a haircut," and then the other guy would come back with the two taps, "six bits."
For two weeks I got no answer, but finally, back came the two taps. I started tapping out the alphabet--one tap for "a," two for "b," and so on. Then I said, "Put your ear to the wall." I finally got him up on the wall and by putting my cup against it, I could talk through it and make him hear me. I gave him the tap code and other information. He gave me his name--Ernie Brace. About that time, the guard came around and I told Ernie, "O.K., I'll call you tomorrow."
It took me several days to get him back up on the wall again. When I finally did, all he could say was, "I'm Ernie Brace," and then he'd start sobbing. After about two days he was able to control his emotions, and within a week this guy was tapping and communicating and dropping notes, and from then on he did a truly outstanding job.
Ernie was a civilian pilot who was shot down over Laos. He had just come from 31/2 years' living in a bamboo cage in the jungle with his feet in stocks, and an iron collar around his neck with a rope tied to it. He had nearly lost use of his legs. He escaped three times, and after the third time he was buried in the ground up to his neck.
In those days—still in 1968—we were allowed to bathe every other day, supposedly. But in this camp they had a water problem and sometimes we'd go for two or three weeks, a month without a bath. I had a real rat for a turnkey who usually would take me out last. The bath was a sort of a stall-like affair that had a concrete tub. After everyone else had bathed, there usually was no water left. So I'd stand there for my allotted five minutes and then he'd take me back to my room.
For toilet facilities, I had a bucket with a lid that didn't fit. It was emptied daily; they'd have somebody else carry it, because I walked so badly.
From the time that Overly and Day left me—Overly left in February of 1968, Day left in March—my treatment was basically good. I would get caught communicating, talking to guys through the wall, tapping—that kind of stuff, and they'd just say, "Tsk, tsk; no, no." Really, I thought things were not too bad.
Then, about June 15, 1968, I was taken up one night to the interrogation room. "The Cat" and another man that we called "The Rabbit" were there. "The Rabbit" spoke very good English.
"The Cat" was the commander of all the camps at that time. He was making believe he didn't speak English, although it was obvious to me, after some conversation, that he did, because he was asking questions or talking before "The Rabbit" translated what I had said.
The Oriental, as you may know, likes to beat around the bush quite a bit. The first night we sat there and "The Cat" talked to me for about two hours. I didn't know what he was driving at. He told me that he had run the French POW camps in the early 1950s and that he had released a couple of guys, and that he had seen them just recently and they had thanked him for his kindness. He said that Overly had gone home "with honor."
"They Told Me I'd Never Go Home"
I really didn't know what to think, because I had been having these other interrogations in which I had refused to co-operate. It was not hard because they were not torturing me at this time. They just told me I'd never go home and I was going to be tried as a war criminal. That was their constant theme for many months.
Suddenly "The Cat" said to me, "Do you want to go home?"
I was astonished, and I tell you frankly that I said that I would have to think about it. I went back to my room, and I thought about it for a long time. At this time I did not have communication with the camp senior ranking officer, so I could get no advice. I was worried whether I could stay alive or not, because I was in rather bad condition. I had been hit with a severe case of dysentery, which kept on for about a year and a half. I was losing weight again.
But I knew that the Code of Conduct says, "You will not accept parole or amnesty," and that "you will not accept special favors." For somebody to go home earlier is a special favor. There's no other way you can cut it.
I went back to him three nights later. He asked again, "Do you want to go home?" I told him "No." He wanted to know why, and I told him the reason. I said that Alvarez [first American captured] should go first, then enlisted men and that kind of stuff.
"The Cat" told me that President Lyndon Johnson had ordered me home. He handed me a letter from my wife, in which she had said, "I wished that you had been one of those three who got to come home." Of course, she had no way to understand the ramifications of this. "The Cat" said that the doctors had told him that I could not live unless I got medical treatment in the United States.
We went through this routine and still I told him "No." Three nights later we went through it all over again. On the morning of the Fourth of July, 1968, which happened to be the same day that my father took over as commander in chief of U. S. Forces in the Pacific, I was led into another quiz room.
"The Rabbit" and "The Cat" were sitting there. I walked in and sat down, and "The Rabbit" said, "Our senior wants to know your final answer."
"My final answer is the same. It's 'No.' "
"That is your final answer?"
"That is my final answer."
With this "The Cat," who was sitting there with a pile of papers in front of him and a pen in his hand, broke the pen in two. Ink spurted all over. He stood up, kicked the chair over behind him, and said, "They taught you too well. They taught you too well"—in perfect English, I might add. He turned, went out and slammed the door, leaving "The Rabbit" and me sitting there. "The Rabbit" said "Now, McCain, it will be very bad for you. Go back to your room.
What they wanted, of course, was to send me home at the same time that my father took over as commander in the Pacific. This would have made them look very humane in releasing the injured son of a top U. S. officer. It would also have given them a great lever against my fellow prisoners, because the North Vietnamese were always putting this "class" business on us. They could have said to the others "Look, you poor devils, the son of the man who is running the war has gone home and left you here. No one cares about you ordinary fellows." I was determined at all times to prevent any exploitation of my father and my family.
There was another consideration for me. Even though I was told I would not have to sign any statements or confessions before I went home, I didn't believe them. They would have got me right up to that airplane and said, "Now just sign this little statement." At that point, I doubt that I could have resisted, even though I felt very strong at the time.
But the primary thing I considered was that I had no right to go ahead of men like Alvarez, who had been there three years before I "got killed"—that's what we say instead of "before I got shot down," because in a way becoming a prisoner in North Vietnam was like being killed.
About a month and a half later, when the three men who were selected for release had reached America, I was set up for some very severe treatment which lasted for the next year and a half.
One night the guards came to my room and said "The camp commander wants to see you." This man was a particularly idiotic individual. We called him "Slopehead."
One thing I should mention here: The camps were set up very similar to their Army. They had a camp commander, who was a military man, basically in charge of the maintenance of the camp, the food, etc. Then they had what they called a staff officer—actually a political officer—who was in charge of the interrogations, and provided the propaganda heard on the radio.
We also had a guy in our camp whom we named "The Soft-Soap Fairy." He was from an important family in North Vietnam. He wore a fancy uniform and was a real sharp cookie, with a dominant position in this camp. "The Soft-Soap Fairy," who was somewhat effeminate, was the nice guy, and the camp commander—"Slopehead"—was the bad guy. Old "Soft-Soap" would always come in whenever anything went wrong and say, "Oh, I didn't know they did this to you. All you had to do was co-operate and everything would have been O.K."
To get back to the story: They took me out of my room to "Slopehead," who said, "You have violated all the camp regulations. You're a black criminal. You must confess your crimes." I said that I wouldn't do that, and he asked, "Why are you so disrespectful of guards?" I answered, "Because the guards treat me like an animal."
When I said that, the guards, who were all in the room—about 10 of them—really laid into me. They bounced me from pillar to post, kicking and laughing and scratching. After a few hours of that, ropes were put on me and I sat that night bound with ropes. Then I was taken to a small room. For punishment they would almost always take you to another room where you didn't have a mosquito net or a bed or any clothes. For the next four days, I was beaten every two to three hours by different guards. My left arm was broken again and my ribs were cracked.
They wanted a statement saying that I was sorry for the crimes that I had committed against North Vietnamese people and that I was grateful for the treatment that I had received from them. This was the paradox—so many guys were so mistreated to get them to say they were grateful. But this is the Communist way.
I held out for four days. Finally, I reached the lowest point of my 5½ years in North Vietnam. I was at the point of suicide, because I saw that I was reaching the end of my rope.
I said, O.K., I'll write for them.
They took me up into one of the interrogation rooms, and for the next 12 hours we wrote and rewrote. The North Vietnamese interrogator, who was pretty stupid, wrote the final confession, and I signed it. It was in their language, and spoke about black crimes, and other generalities. It was unacceptable to them. But I felt just terrible about it. I kept saying to myself, "Oh, God, I really didn't have any choice." I had learned what we all learned over there: Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine.
Then the "gooks" made a very serious mistake, because they let me go back and rest for a couple of weeks. They usually didn't do that with guys when they had them really busted. I think it concerned them that my arm was broken, and they had messed up my leg. I had been reduced to an animal during this period of beating and torture. My arm was so painful I couldn't get up off the floor. With the dysentery, it was a very unpleasant time.
Thank God they let me rest for a couple of weeks. Then they called me up again and wanted something else. I don't remember what it was now—it was some kind of statement. This time I was able to resist. I was able to carry on. They couldn't "bust" me again.
Prayer: "I Was Sustained in Times of Trial"
I was finding that prayer helped. It wasn't a question of asking for superhuman strength or for God to strike the North Vietnamese dead. It was asking for moral and physical courage, for guidance and wisdom to do the right thing. I asked for comfort when I was in pain, and sometimes I received relief. I was sustained in many times of trial.
When the pressure was on, you seemed to go one way or the other. Either it was easier for them to break you the next time, or it was harder. In other words, if you are going to make it, you get tougher as time goes by. Part of it is just a transition from our way of life to that way of life. But you get to hate them so bad that it gives you strength.
Now I don't hate them any more—not these particular guys. I hate and detest the leaders. Some guards would just come in and do their job. When they were told to beat you they would come in and do it. Some seemed to get a big bang out of it. A lot of them were homosexual, although never toward us. Some, who were pretty damned sadistic, seemed to get a big thrill out of the beatings.
From that time on it was one round of rough treatment followed by another. Sometimes I got it three or four times a week. Sometimes I'd be off the hook for a few weeks. A lot of it was my own doing, because they realized far better than we did at first the value of communicating with our fellow Americans. When they caught us communicating, they'd take severe reprisals. I was caught a lot of times. One reason was because I'm not too smart, and the other reason was because I lived alone. If you live with somebody else you have somebody helping you out, helping you survive.
But I was never going to stop. Communication with your fellow prisoners was of the utmost value—the difference between being able to resist and not being able to resist. You may get some argument from other prisoners on that. A lot depends on the individual. Some men are much more self-sufficient than others.
Communication primarily served to keep up morale. We would risk getting beat up just to tell a man that one of his friends had gotten a letter from home. But it was also valuable to establish a chain of command in our camps, so our senior officers could give us advice and guidance.
So this was a period of repeated, severe treatment. It lasted until around October of '69. They wanted me to see delegations. There were antiwar groups coming into Hanoi, a lot of foreigners—Cubans, Russians. I don't think we had too many American "peaceniks" that early, although within the next year it got much greater. I refused to see any of them. The propaganda value to them would have been too great, with my dad as commander in the Pacific.
David Dellinger came over. Tom Hayden came over. Three groups of released prisoners, in fact, were let out in custody of the "peace groups." The first ones released went home with one of the Berrigan brothers. The next group was a whole crew. One of them was James Johnson, one of the Fort Hood Three. The wife of the "Ramparts" magazine editor and Rennie Davis were along. Altogether, I think about eight or nine of them were in that outfit. Then a third group followed.
The North Vietnamese wanted me to meet with all of them, but I was able to avoid it. A lot of times you couldn't face them down, so you had to try to get around them. "Face" is a big thing with these people, you know, and if you get around them so that they could save face, then it was a lot easier.
For example, they would beat the hell out of me and say I was going to see a delegation. I'd respond that, O.K. I'd see a delegation, but I would not say anything against my country and I would not say anything about my treatment and if asked, I'd tell them the truth about the conditions I was kept under. They went back and conferred on that and then would say, "You have agreed to see a delegation so we will take you." But they never took me, you see.
One time, they wanted me to write a message to my fellow prisoners at Christmas. I wrote down:
"To my friends in the camp who I have not been allowed to see or speak to, I hope that your families are well and happy, and I hope that you will be able to write and receive letters in accordance with the Geneva Convention of 1949 which has not been allowed to you by our captors. And may God bless you."
They took it but, of course, it was never published. In other words, sometimes it was better to write something that was laudatory to your Government or against them than say, "I won't write at all"—because a lot of times it had to go up through channels, and sometimes you could buy time this way.
How Dick Stratton Was " Really Wrung Out"
At this point I want to tell you the story of Capt. Dick Stratton. He was shot down in May of 1967, when the American peace groups were claiming that the United States was bombing Hanoi. We were not at that time.
Dick was shot down well outside of Hanoi, but they wanted a confession at the time an American reporter was over there. That was in the spring and summer of '67—remember those stories that came back, very sensational stories about the American bomb damage?
"The Rabbit" and the others worked on Dick Stratton very hard. He's got huge rope scars on his arms where they were infected. They really wrung him out, because they were going to get a confession that he had bombed Hanoi—this was to be living proof. They also peeled his thumbnails back and burned him with cigarettes.
Dick reached the point where he couldn't say "No." But when they got him to the press conference, he pulled this bowing act on them—he bowed 90 degrees in this direction, he bowed 90 degrees in that direction—four quadrants. This was not too wild to the "gooks," because they're used to the bowing thing. But any American who sees a picture of another American bowing to the waist every turn for 90 degrees knows that there's something wrong with the guy, that something has happened to him. That's why Dick did what he did. After that they continued to keep pressure on him to say he wasn't tortured. They tortured him to say that he wasn't tortured. It gets to be a bad merry-go-round to be on.
Dick made some very strong statements at his press conference here in the States a few weeks ago. He said he wanted the North Vietnamese charged with war crimes. He's a fine man. He and I were at "The Plantation" together for a long time, and he did a very fine job there. He's an outstanding naval officer, a very dedicated American, and a deeply religious man.
I think a great deal of Dick Stratton. He just was very, very unfortunate in getting the worst that the "gooks" could dish out.
We had a particularly bad spring and summer in 1969 because there had been an escape at one of the other camps. Our guys carried out a well-prepared plan but were caught. They were Ed Atterberry and John Dramesi. Atterberry was beaten to death after the escape.
There's no question about it: Dramesi saw Atterberry taken into a room and heard the beating start. Atterberry never came out. Dramesi, if he wasn't such a tough cookie, would probably have been killed, too. He's probably one of the toughest guys I've ever met —from south Philly. His old man was a pro boxer, and he was a wrestler in college.
The reprisals took place all through the other camps. They started torturing us for our escape plans. The food got worse. The room inspections became very severe. You couldn't have anything in your room—nothing. For example, they used to give us, once in a while, a little vial of iodine because many of us had boils. Now they wouldn't let us have it because Dramesi and Atterberry had used iodine to darken their skin before they tried to escape, so they would look like Vietnamese.
That summer, from May to about September at our camp, twice a day for six days a week, all we had was pumpkin soup and bread. That's a pretty rough diet—first, because you get awfully damn tired of pumpkin soup, but also because it doesn't have any real nutritional value. The only thing that could keep any weight on you was the bread, which was full of lumps of soggy flour.
On Sunday we got what we called sweet bean soup. They would take some small beans and throw them in a pot with a lot of sugar and cook it up, with no meat whatsoever. A lot of us became thin and emaciated.
I had the singular misfortune to get caught communicating four times in the month of May of 1969. They had a punishment room right across the courtyard from my cell, and I ended up spending a lot of time over there.
It was also in May, 1969, that they wanted me to write—as I remember—a letter to U. S. pilots who were flying over North Vietnam asking them not to do it. I was being forced to stand up continuously—sometimes they'd make you stand up or sit on a stool for a long period of time. I'd stood up for a couple of days, with a respite only because one of the guards—the only real human being that I ever met over there —let me lie down for a couple of hours while he was on watch the middle of one night.
One of the strategies we worked out was not to let them make you break yourself. If you get tired of standing, just sit down—make them force you up. So I sat down, and this little guard who was a particularly hateful man came in and jumped up and down on my knee. After this I had to go back on a crutch for the next year and a half.
That was a long, difficult summer. Then suddenly, in October, 1969, there were drastic changes around the camp. The torture stopped. "The Soft-Soap Fairy" came to my room one day and told me that I would get a roommate. The food improved greatly and we started getting extra rations. The guards seemed almost friendly. For example, I had a turnkey who used to just bash me around for drill. The door would open— and he'd come in and start slugging me. They stopped that kind of thing. I attribute all this directly to the propaganda effort that was directed by the Administration and the people in the United States in 1969.
My younger brother, Joe, was very active in the National League of Families of American Prisoners of War and Missing in Action in Southeast Asia. That was the umbrella for all the POW family groups. So he has filled me in on why the North Vietnamese attitude toward the American prisoners changed, and given me this information:
As the bombing of the North picked up in 1965, 1966, Hanoi made its first propaganda display by parading beaten, subjugated American pilots through the streets. To their surprise, the press reaction around the world was generally negative.
Next, the North Vietnamese tried the tactic of forcing Cdr. Dick Stratton to appear and apologize for war crimes. But he had obviously been mistreated, and was doing this only under extreme duress. That backfired, too. They followed this by releasing two groups of three POW's in February and October, 1968. These men had been there less than six months and had suffered no significant weight loss and were in pretty good shape.
Until the Nixon Administration came to office in 1969, the Government back home had taken the attitude: "Don't talk about the prisoner-of-war situation lest you hurt the Americans still over there." Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, early in 1969, went over to the peace talks with the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong in Paris. [Talks had begun under President Johnson late in 1968.] Laird took pictures of severely beaten men, such as Frishman, Stratton, Hegdahl—all of whom had suffered extreme weight loss. He got the photos through foreign news services. He told the North Vietnamese: "The Geneva Convention says that you shall release all sick and wounded prisoners. These men are sick and wounded. Why aren't they released?"
In August, 1969, Hanoi let Frishman come home. He had no elbow—just a limp rubbery arm—and he had lost 65 pounds. Hegdahl came out and had lost 75 pounds. Also released was Wes Rumbull, who was in a body cast because of a broken back.
Frishman was allowed to hold a press conference and spilled out the details of torture and maltreatment. Headlines appeared all over the world, and from then on, starting in the fall of 1969, the treatment began to improve. We think this was directly attributable to the fact that Frishman was living proof of the mistreatment of Americans.
I'm proud of the part Joe and my wife, Carol, played here at home. The temptation for the wives, as the years went by, was to say, "God, I want them home under any circumstances." When Carol was pressed to take this line, her answer was, "Just to get him home is not enough for me, and it's not enough for John—I want him to come home standing up."
I received very few letters from Carol. I got three in the first four months after I was shot down. The "gooks" let me have only one during the last four years I was there. I received my first package in May of 1969. After that, they let me have approximately one a year.
The reason I got so little mail was that Carol insisted on using the channels provided by the Geneva Convention for treatment of prisoners of war. She refused to send things through the Committee for Liaison with Families run by the antiwar groups.
This brings me to something that I want to discuss in more detail:
As you may know, back in 1954, the North Vietnamese had a big hand in toppling the French Government in Paris because the French voters had no more stomach for the Vietnam war their Government was waging at the time. That was the way the North Vietnamese won in 1954—they didn't win in Vietnam.
The French agreed to pull out of Indo-China with no questions asked when they signed the agreement. As a result, they got back just one third of their POW's.
I'm convinced that Hanoi hoped to win in our case by undermining morale among the people at home in America. They had to marshal world opinion on their side. I remember in 1968 or '69 [North Vietnam Premier] Pham Van Dong's speech to the National Assembly, because we were blasted with these things on the loud-speakers. The title of his address was, "The Whole World Supports Us," not, "We Have Defeated the U. S. Aggressors," or anything like that.
In 1969, after the three guys who were released went back to the U. S. and told about the brutality in the POW camps, President Nixon gave the green light to publicizing this fact. It brought a drastic change in our treatment. And I thank God for it, because if it hadn't been for that a lot of us would never have returned.
Just one small example of the way things improved: Over my door were some bars, covered by a wooden board to keep me from seeing out, and to block ventilation. One night, around the end of September, 1969, "Slopehead," the camp commander himself, came around and pulled this thing off, so that I could have some ventilation. I couldn't believe it. Every night from then on they pulled that transom so I could get some ventilation. We started bathing more often. It was all very amazing.
In December of 1969 I was moved from "The Pentagon" over to "Las Vegas." "Las Vegas" was a small area of Hoala Prison which was built by the French in 1945. It was known as the "Hanoi Hilton" to Americans. "Heartbreak Hotel" is also there—that's the first place that people were usually taken for their initial interrogations and then funneled out to other camps.
This whole prison is an area of about two city blocks. At "Las Vegas," I was put in a small building of just three rooms called the "Gold Nugget." We named the buildings after the hotels in Vegas—there was the "Thunderbird," "Stardust," "Riviera," "Gold Nugget" and the "Desert Inn."
I was moved into the "Gold Nugget," and immediately I was able to establish communications with the men around the camp, because the bath area was right out my window, and I could see through cracks in the doors of the bath and we would communicate that way. I stayed in that one, in solitary confinement, until March of 1970.
There was pressure to see American antiwar delegations, which seemed to increase as the time went on. But there wasn't any torture. In January of 1970, I was taken to a quiz with "The Cat." He told me that he wanted me to see a foreign guest. I told him what I had always told him before: that I would see the visitor, but I would not say anything against my country, and if I was asked about my treatment I would tell them how harsh it was. Much to my surprise he said, "Fine, you don't have to say anything." I told him I'd have to think about it. I went back to my room and I asked the senior American officer in our area what his opinion was, and he said he thought that I should go ahead.
So I went to see this visitor who said he was from Spain, but who I later heard was from Cuba. He never asked me any questions about controversial subjects or my treatment or my feelings about the war. I told him I had no remorse about what I did, and that I would do it over again if the same opportunity presented itself. That seemed to make him angry, because he was a sympathizer of the North Vietnamese.
At the time this happened, a photographer came in and took a couple of pictures. I had told "The Cat" that I didn't want any such publicity. So when I came back—the interview lasted about 15, 20 minutes—I told him I wasn't going to see another visitor because he had broken his word. Also at that time Capt. Jeremiah Denton, who was running our camp at that time, established a policy that we should not see any delegations.
In March, I got a roommate, Col. John Finley, Air Force. He and I lived together for approximately two months. A month after he moved in, "The Cat" told me I was going to see another delegation. I refused and was forced to sit on a stool in the "Heartbreak" courtyard area for three days and nights. Then I was sent back to my room.
The pressure continued on us to see antiwar delegations. By early in June I was moved away from Colonel Finley to a room that they called "Calcutta," about 50 yards away from the nearest prisoners. It was 6 feet by 2 feet with no ventilation in it, and it was very, very hot. During the summer I suffered from heat prostration a couple or three times, and dysentery. I was very ill. Washing facilities were nonexistent. My food was cut down to about half rations. Sometimes I'd go for a day or so without eating.
All during this time I was taken out to interrogation and pressured to see the antiwar people. I refused.
Finally I moved in September to another room which was back in the camp but separated from everything else. That was what we called "the Riviera." I stayed in there until December, 1970. I had good communications, because there was a door facing the outside and a kind of louvered window above it. I used to stand up on my bucket and was able to take my toothbrush and flash the code to other prisoners, and they would flash back to me.
In December I moved into "Thunderbird," one of the big buildings with about 15 rooms in it. The communication was very good. We would tap between rooms. I learned a lot about acoustics. You can tap—if you get the right spot on the wall—and hear a guy four or five rooms away.
Late in December, 1970—about the twentieth, I guess—I was allowed to go out during the day with four other men. On Christmas night we were taken out of our room and moved into the "Camp Unity" area, which was another part of Hoala. We had a big room, where there were about 45 of us, mostly from "Vegas."
There were seven large rooms, usually with a concrete pedestal in the center, where we slept with 45 or 50 guys each room. We had a total of 335 prisoners at that time.
There were four or five guys who were not in good shape that they kept separated from us. The Colonels Flynn, Wynn, Bean and Caddis also were kept separate. They did not move in with us at that time.
Our "den mother" was "The Bug" again, much to our displeasure. He made life very difficult for us. He wouldn't let us have meetings of more than three people at one time.
They were afraid we were going to set up political indoctrination. They wouldn't let us have church service. "The Bug" would not recognize our senior officer's rank. This is one thing that they did right up until the end, till the day we left. If they had worked through our seniors, they would have gotten co-operation out of us. This was a big source of irritation all the time.
In March of 1971 the senior officers decided that we would have a showdown over church. This was an important issue for us. It also was a good one to fight them on. We went ahead and held church. The men that were conducting the service were taken out of the room immediately. We began to sing hymns in loud voices and "The Star-Spangled Banner."
The "gooks" thought it was a riot situation. They brought in the ropes and were practicing judo holds and that kind of stuff. After about a week or two they started taking the senior officers out of our room and putting them over in another building.
Later in March they came in and took three or four of us out of every one of the seven rooms until they got 36 of us out. We were put in a camp we called "Skid Row," a punishment camp. We stayed there from March until August, when we came back for about four weeks because of flooding conditions around Hanoi, and then we went back out again until November.
They didn't treat us badly there. The guards had permission to knock us around if we were unruly. However, they did not have permission to start torturing us for propaganda statements. The rooms were very small, about 6 feet by 4 feet, and we were in solitary again. The most unpleasant thing about it was thinking of all our friends living in a big room together. But compared with '69 and before, it was a piece of cake.
The great advantage to living in a big room is that way only a couple or three guys out of the group have to deal with the "gooks." When you're living by yourself, then you've got to deal with them all the time. You always have some fight with them. Maybe you're allowed 15 minutes to bathe, and the "gook" will say in five minutes you've got to go back. So you have an argument with him, and he locks you in your room so you don't get to bathe for a week. But when you're in a big room with others, you can stay out of contact with them and it's a lot more pleasant.
All through this period, the "gooks" were bombarding us with antiwar quotes from people in high places back in Washington. This was the most effective propaganda they had to use against us—speeches and statements by men who were generally respected in the United States.
They used Senator Fulbright a great deal, and Senator Brooke. Ted Kennedy was quoted again and again, as was Averell Harriman. Clark Clifford was another favorite, right after he had been Secretary of Defense under President Johnson.
When Ramsey Clark came over they thought that was a great coup for their cause.
The big furor over release of the Pentagon papers was a tremendous boost for Hanoi. It was advanced as proof of the "black imperialist schemes" that they had been talking about all those years.
In November of 1971 we came back from "Skid Row," and they put us in one of the big rooms again in the main Hoala Prison area. This was "Camp Unity." From that time on we pretty much stayed as a group with some other people who were brought in later. We ended up with about 40 men in there.
In May, 1972, when the U. S. bombing started again in earnest, they moved almost all the junior officers up to a camp near the China border, leaving the senior officers and our group behind. That was when President Nixon announced the resumption of the bombing of North Vietnam and the mining of the ports.
"Dogpatch" was the name of the camp near the border. I think they were afraid that Hanoi would be hit, and with all of us together in one camp one bomb could have wiped us out. At this time, the "gooks" got a little bit rougher. They once took a guy out of our room and beat him up very badly. This man had made a flag on the back of another man's shirt. He was a fine young man by the name of Mike Christian. They just pounded the hell out of him right outside of our room and then carried him a few feet and then pounded him again and pounded him all the way across the courtyard, busted one of his eardrums and busted his ribs. It was to be a lesson for us all.
"I Was Down to 105 Pounds"
Aside from bad situations now and then, 1971 and 1972 was a sort of coasting period. The reason why you see our men in such good condition today is that the food and everything generally improved. For example, in late '69 I was down to 105, 110 pounds, boils all over me, suffering dysentery. We started getting packages with vitamins in them—about one package a year. We were able to exercise quite a bit in our rooms and managed to get back in a lot better health.
My health has improved radically. In fact, I think I'm in better physical shape than I was when I got shot down. I can do 45 push-ups and a couple hundred sit-ups. Another beautiful thing about exercise: It makes you tired and you can sleep, and when you're asleep you're not there, you know. I used to try to exercise all the time.
Finally came the day I'll never forget—the eighteenth of December, 1972. The whole place exploded when the Christmas bombing ordered by President Nixon began. They hit Hanoi right off the bat.
It was the most spectacular show I'll ever see. By then we had large windows in our rooms. These had been covered with bamboo mats, but in October, 1972, they took them down. We had about a 120-degree view of the sky, and, of course, at night you can see all the flashes. The bombs were dropping so close that the building would shake. The SAM's [surface-to-air missiles] "were flying all over and the sirens were whining—it was really a wild scene. When a B-52 would get hit—they're up at more than 30,000 feet—it would light up the whole sky. There would be a red glow that almost made it like daylight, and it would last for a long time, because they'd fall a long way.
We knew at that time that unless something very forceful was done that we were never going to get out of there. We had sat there for 31/2 years with no bombing going on--November of '68 to May of '72. We were fully aware that the only way that we were ever going to get out was for our Government to turn the screws on Hanoi.
So we were very happy. We were cheering and hollering. The "gooks" didn't like that at all, but we didn't give a damn about that. It was obvious to us that negotiation was not going to settle the problem. The only reason why the North Vietnamese began negotiating in October, 1972, was because they could read the polls as well as you and I can, and they knew that Nixon was going to have an overwhelming victory in his re-election bid. So they wanted to negotiate a cease-fire before the elections.
"I Admire President Nixon's Courage"
I admire President Nixon's courage. There may be criticism of him in certain areas—Watergate, for example. But he had to take the most unpopular decisions that I could imagine—the mining, the blockade, the bombing. I know it was very, very difficult for him to do that, but that was the thing that ended the war. I think the reason he understood this is that he has a long background in dealing with these people. He knows how to use the carrot and the stick. Obviously, his trip to China and the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty with Russia were based on the fact that we're stronger than the Communists, so they were willing to negotiate. Force is what they understand. And that's why it is difficult for me to understand now, when everybody knows that the bombing finally got a cease-fire agreement, why people are still criticizing his foreign policy—for example, the bombing in Cambodia.
Right after the Communist Tet offensive in 1968, the North Vietnamese were riding high. They knew President Johnson was going to stop the bombing before the 1968 elections. "The Soft-Soap Fairy" told me a month before those elections that Johnson was going to stop the bombings.
In May of 1968 I was interviewed by two North Vietnamese generals at separate times. Both of them said to me, in almost these words:
"After we liberate South Vietnam were going to liberate Cambodia. And after Cambodia we're going to Laos, and after we liberate Laos we're going to liberate Thailand. And after we liberate Thailand we're going to liberate Malaysia, and then Burma. We're going to liberate all of Southeast Asia."
"North Vietnamese Believe 'Domino Theory'"
They left no doubt in my mind that it was not a question of South Vietnam alone. Some people's favorite game is to refute the "domino theory," but the North Vietnamese themselves never tried to refute it. They believe it. Ho Chi Minh said many, many times, "We are proud to be in the front line of armed struggle between the socialist camp and the U. S. imperialist aggressors." Now, this doesn't mean fighting for nationalism. It doesn't mean fighting for an independent South Vietnam. It means what he said. This is what Communism is all about—armed struggle to overthrow capitalist countries.
I read a lot of their history. They gave us propaganda books. I learned that Ho Chi Minh was a Stalinist. When Khrushchev denounced Stalin in the late 1950s, Minh did not go along with it. He was not a "peaceful coexistence" Communist.
At this particular juncture, after Tet in 1968, they thought they had the war won. They had gotten General Westmoreland [commander of U.S. forces in South Vietnam] fired. They were convinced that they had wrecked Johnson's chances for re-election. And they thought that they had the majority of the American people on their side. That's why these guys were speaking very freely as to what their ambitions were. They were speaking prematurely, because they just misjudged the caliber of President Nixon.
To go back to the December bombing: Initially, the North Vietnamese had a hell of a lot of SAM's on hand. I soon saw a lessening in the SAM activities, meaning they may have used them up. Also, the B-52 bombings, which were mainly right around Hanoi in the first few days, spread out away from the city because, I think, they destroyed all the military targets around Hanoi.
I don't know the number of B-52 crewmen shot down then, because they only took the injured Americans to our camp. The attitude of our men was good. I talked to them the day before we moved out, preparing to go home, when they knew the agreements were going to be signed. I asked one young pilot—class of '70 at West Point—"How did your outfit feel when you were told that the B-52s were going to bomb Hanoi?" He said, "Our morale skyrocketed."
I have heard there was one B-52 pilot who refused to fly the missions during the Christmas bombing. You always run into that kind. When the going gets tough, they find out their conscience is bothering them. I want to say this to anybody in the military: If you don't know what your country is doing, find out. And if you find you don't like what your country is doing, get out before the chips are down.
Once you become a prisoner of war, then you do not have the right to dissent, because what you do will be harming your country. You are no longer speaking as an individual, you are speaking as a member of the armed forces of the United States, and you owe loyalty to the Commander in Chief, not to your own conscience. Some of my fellow prisoners sang a different tune, but they were a very small minority. I ask myself if they should be prosecuted, and I don't find that easy to answer. It might destroy the very fine image the great majority of us have brought back from that hellhole. Remember, a handful of turncoats after the Korean War made a great majority of Americans think that most of the POW's in conflict were traitors.
If these men are tried, it should not be because they took an antiwar stance, but because they collaborated with the Vietnamese to an extent, and that was harmful to the other American POW's. And there is this to consider: America will have other wars to fight until the Communists give up their doctrine of violent overthrow of our way of life. These men should bear some censure so that in future wars there won't be a precedent for conduct that hurts this country.
By late January of this year, we knew end of the war was near. I was moved then to the "Plantation." We were put together in groups by the period when we were shot down. They were getting us ready to return by groups.
By the way—a very interesting thing—after I got back, Henry Kissinger told me that when he was in Hanoi to sign the final agreements, the North Vietnamese offered him one man that he could take back to Washington with him, and that was me. He, of course, refused, and I thanked him very much for that, because I did not want to go out of order. Most guys were betting that I'd be the last guy out—but you never can fathom the "gooks."
It was January 20 when we were moved to the "Plantation." From then on it was very easy—they hardly bothered us. We were allowed out all day in the courtyard. But, typical of them, we had real bad food for about two weeks before we left. Then they gave us a great big meal the night before we went home.
There was no special ceremony when we left the camp. The International Control Commission came in and we were permitted to look around the camp. There were a lot of photographers around, but nothing formal. Then we got on the buses and went to Gia Lam Airport. My old friend "The Rabbit" was there. He stood out front and said to us, "When I read your name off, you get on the plane and go home."
That was March 15. Up to that moment, I wouldn't allow myself more than a feeling of cautious hope. We had been peaked up so many times before that I had decided that I wouldn't get excited until I shook hands with an American in uniform. That happened at Gia Lam, and then I knew it was over. There is no way I can describe how I felt as I walked toward that U. S. Air Force plane.
Now that I'm back, I find a lot of hand-wringing about this country. I don't buy that. I think America today is a better country than the one I left nearly six years ago.
The North Vietnamese gave us very little except bad news about the U. S. We didn't find out about the first successful moon shot [in 1969] until it was mentioned in a speech by George McGovern saying that Nixon could put a man on the moon, but he couldn't put an end to the Vietnam war.
They bombarded us with the news of Martin Luther King's death and the riots that followed. Information like that poured continuously out of the loud-speakers.
I think America is a better country now because we have been through a sort of purging process, a re-evaluation of ourselves. Now I see more of an appreciation of our way of life. There is more patriotism. The flag is all over the place. I hear new values being stressed—the concern for environment is a case in point.
I've received scores of letters from young people, and many of them sent me POW bracelets with my name on it, which they had been wearing. Some were not too sure about the war, but they are strongly patriotic, their values are good, and I think we will find that they are going to grow up to be better Americans than many of us.
This outpouring on behalf of us who were prisoners of war is staggering, and a little embarrassing because basically we feel that we are just average American Navy, Marine and Air Force pilots who got shot down. Anybody else in our place would have performed just as well.
My own plans for the future are to remain in the Navy, if I am able to return to flying status. That depends upon whether the corrective surgery on my arms and my leg is successful. If I have to leave the Navy, I hope to serve the Government in some capacity, preferably in Foreign Service for the State Department.
I had a lot of time to think over there, and came to the conclusion that one of the most important things in life—along with a man's family—is to make some contribution to his country.
Also aboard the windfall-profits bandwagon are presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. "We've got to go after the oil companies and look at their price-gouging," proclaims Obama. "We've got to go after windfall profits."
* * *
We've been down this road before. Under a windfall tax signed into law by Jimmy Carter, domestic oil production plummeted by an estimated 795 million barrels, while imports of foreign oil surged. Congress had anticipated windfall tax revenues of $393 billion. The actual take: just $80 billion. Like so much else associated with the Carter era, the windfall-profits tax was a counterproductive flop. Do Democrats really believe a new dose of Carternomics is going to make today's economy stronger?
If you want to see a real windfall, take a look at what Big Oil pays in taxes. The 27 largest US energy companies forked over $48 billion in income taxes in 2004, $67 billion in 2005, and more than $90 billion in 2006 - an 87 percent increase. Since 1981, the Tax Foundation calculates, the oil industry has earned a cumulative $1.12 trillion in profits - but it paid a cumulative $1.65 trillion in taxes (add another half-trillion to account for taxes paid to foreign governments).
So let's be clear on this -- the Democrats are out to kill the goose that lays the golden egg, all in the name of getting more gold from the goose. We know what happens when these "solutions" are tried -- because they did it three decades ago, and they failed.
And all because the oil companies make 8.1 cents for every dollar in sales -- a modest rate of profit, by any standard that allows for profit.
Be sure to click on the links in Jeff Jacoby's columns -- they'll show you just how much the oil companies are paying in taxes already.
If something like this showed up on a conservative or Republican website, each and every one of us would be depicted as goose-stepping Nazis.
But this is hosted on the Obamessiah's official campaign website -- and as of the time of my posting about it, is still there.
This is from the Socialists for Obama community blog that is a part of the official campaign site of Barack Obama.
Socialists for Obama? Yeah -- National Socialists, quite obviously. It seems like every freak and weirdo that didn't gravitate to Ron Paul is now a part of the Obamanation -- drawn by the incredible lightness of Obama and his record of accomplishments.
Maybe this is the reason that Barack is the favored candidate Hamas -- and why he backtracked so quickly from his seemingly pro-Israel speech at AIPAC. After all, he's got to keep the anti-Semites firmly in his corner.
UPDATE 2: LGF spots another one by the same poster that survived the memory hole -- but not for long. Whatever would Obamessiah's webmasters do without conservative blogger to point out all the anti-Semitism that was acceptable the first time the Obama staff saw it?
Pedro Perez has not left Orcas Island in more than four months. Not for weekend trips with his family, not for cheaper groceries on the mainland, not for medical care—not for anything.
He is afraid border agents will stop him and send him back to Mexico, wrecking the quiet life he has built on one of Washington's remote San Juan Islands.
"I had my eyes on this place for my kids to grow up in," Perez, who is married with two young children, said in Spanish. "There's no gangs here, no crime. It's the kids who suffer."
Perez—who does odd jobs, mostly landscaping—is one of perhaps dozens of illegal immigrants on the islands who have been essentially trapped since February, when the U.S. Border Patrol began checking IDs on ferry runs from the islands to the mainland.
Boo-frickin'-hoo! You are in this country in violation of the law. You ought to be afraid -- very afraid. Indeed, you ought to be so afraid that you go back home and wait in line to enter this country legally.
But there is some good news.
Others have taken the risk and paid the price: As of late May, 49 people had been arrested by the Border Patrol and face deportation. All but one were Latin American.
It is really very simple -- we don't need to deport all the illegal aliens in this country. We simply need to turn the heat up enough that they leave on their own.
Just one more example of the sort of compassionate medical care we can expect from a government-run health care system of the sort the Democrats propose.
An Oregon woman suffering from lung cancer was notified by the state-run Oregon Health Plan that their policy would not cover her life-extending cancer drug, telling her the health plan would cover doctor-assisted suicide instead.
Barbara Wagener discovered her lung cancer had recurred last month, the Register-Guard said. Her oncologist prescribed a drug called Tarceva, which could slow the cancer growth and extend her life.
The Oregon Health Plan notified Wagner that it would not cover the drug, but it would cover palliative care, which it said included assisted suicide.
“Treatment of advanced cancer that is meant to prolong life, or change the course of this disease, is not a covered benefit of the Oregon Health Plan,” said the letter Wagner received from LIPA, the Eugene company that administers the Oregon Health Plan in Lane County.
“I think it’s messed up,” Wagner said. She said she was particularly upset because the letter said doctor-assisted suicide would be covered.
“To say to someone, we’ll pay for you to die, but not pay for you to live, it’s cruel,” she said. “I get angry. Who do they think they are?”
Got that -- the state is saying that they won't bother trying to cure cancer patients, but they will pay to kill them.
Fortunately, Wagener's physician appealed to the drug company for help, and they are supplying the drug to her for at least a year.
And the state? it will continue to offer cancer patients the option of being killed immediately or dying a slow painful death -- something which is out of step with what the minimum standard of care set by oncologists nationwide.
But remember -- "We're from the government and we're here to help you!"
No details yet, but what we do know is that the pre-Civil War structure was reported burning this morning around 1:45 AM Central Time and that it apparently has suffered "extraordinary, bordering on catastrophic," damage.
An early morning, four-alarm fire caused extensive damage to the Governor's Mansion today. But no one was in the building, which has been closed several months for renovation.
Gov. Rick Perry and his wife, Anita, are in Stockholm, Sweden, finishing up a weeklong, trade-related trip to Europe.
Damage to the 150-year-old historic structure is "extraordinary, bordering on catastrophic," including a partially collapsed roof, said Perry spokesman Robert Black.
Security officers staying on the grounds in a carriage house discovered the fire, and when the first firefighters arrived about 1:45 a.m., the fire already had spread to the second floor and the ceiling.
About 100 firefighters responded; none were injured, Black said.
The state Fire Marshal's office has begun an investigation, he said.
The building is in the midst of a $10 million renovation project, which raises the question of whether the fire is somehow related to the work in progress.
And the irony of it all.
Ironically, one of the purposes of the renovation project was to install a sprinkler system in the building, which had none. Before work began, the mansion had a fire alarm system on the first floor but none on the second floor, where the governor and his family lived.
UPDATE: Eyewitness report from YouTube.
Also, let me respond to a private email about this sad event: No, I don't think that delegates to the Texas Democrat Convention in Austin this weekend burned the Governor's Mansion -- even though I agree with the assessment that they are unlikely to have a member of their party win that office anytime in the next decade.
UPDATE 2: Now they say it is arson. Maybe that emailer was on to something after all.
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The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Memorial Day by Done With Mirrors, and John McCain, Prisoner of War: A First-Person Account by US News and World Report.
Here's where you can find the full results of the vote:
|2 2/3||Memorial Day|
Done With Mirrors
|2 1/3||The Costs of Withdrawing from Iraq|
The Glittering Eye
|1 2/3||The Media Furor Over McClellan's Book Leads to Whoppers|
The Colossus of Rhodey
|1 1/3||Slouching Towards Statism|
Cheat Seeking Missiles
|1 1/3||Choice and Honor|
|1||Much Lizardly Ado About... A Little Something|
|2/3||Worst. President. Ever?|
|2/3||Brave? Yes. Unique? No.|
|1/3||Leveraging -- Reloaded|
|2 2/3||John McCain, Prisoner of War: A First-Person Account|
US News and World Report
|1 2/3||Why Spain Lectures Other Countries on Immigration|
The Brussels Journal
|1 1/3||Iraqi Army Interdicting Iranian Operations in the South|
The Long War Journal
|1 1/3||Neocon Nation: Neoconservatism, c. 1776|
World Affairs Journal
|1||The Gaza 'Siege' Is Not an Answer To Terror|
Power and Control
|2/3||Obama, Manliness, and the Notion of Black Privilege|
|2/3||Conservatives and "Liberal Guilt"|
|1/3||Where Is John McCain?|
Right Wing Nut House
|1/3||Shut Up and Do What Andy Says|
Stop the ACLU
|1/3||Hillary, the VP Ppot, and That Bucket of Warm Whatever|
And if that means imprisoning his opponent and banning all election activity by the opposition party, that is how it has to be. Oh, and he is requiring all food distribution to go through government programs -- where he can have government employees sing his praises to the poor and deny assistance to opposition supporters.
With only three weeks to go before Zimbabwe’s presidential runoff, the police briefly detained the opposition’s standard-bearer, Morgan Tsvangirai, on Friday for the second time this week and directed his party to cancel political rallies, effectively preventing him from addressing voters.
At the same time, the Zimbabwean government’s requirement that all nongovernmental organizations suspend their aid operations, which grew out of the authorities’ allegations that some were supporting the opposition, was condemned Friday by officials in the United States and Europe, as well as the United Nations.
Relief agencies said the order, issued this week, would deprive millions of desperately poor Zimbabweans of food aid and other basic assistance. Unicef, for example, depends on 25 nongovernmental organizations to provide education, health care and food to 185,000 orphans in Zimbabwe.
“It’s a horrible situation,” said James Elder, Unicef’s spokesman in Zimbabwe. “The children and their families continue to find stoic means of surviving, but this is a profoundly disturbing blow to them. We can’t reach these children today.”
I don't know which disturbs me more -- this attempt to starve those who might vote for the opposition, or the campaign of outright murder that has gone on since the first round of the election that Mugabe's thugs tampered with to give him a second shot at winning.
If AMD has its way, it just might.
A.M.D. has accused Intel of systematically giving its customers — the world’s leading personal computer makers — large discounts, at times below Intel’s own manufacturing costs, in exchange for commitments not to do business with competitors. Intel has responded that its discounts were legitimate incentives, not offered below cost, and benefiting customers who can buy computers at lower prices.
Intel has also maintained that A.M.D. tried to make up in the courts for its failures in the marketplace.
While Intel has denied the allegations, A.M.D. executives are hoping the case will present an easy opportunity for the next administration to take a noticeably more aggressive approach to competition issues. Technically independent of the White House, the trade commission is led by appointees of the president.
The charges, if true, would be indicative of a major violation of antitrust law. The possible result? Think about what was done to Ma Bell in the 198os..
Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.
In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Allied Expeditionary Force
A President informs a nation -- and offers a prayer for the troops in the field.
O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keeness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment -- let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.
With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace -- a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.
Thy will be done, Almighty God.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
President of the United States
And forty years later, another president paid tribute to those who fought and died -- and to those who fought and lived as well. It remains the most beautiful of spoken tributes to the heroes of Operation Overlord.
Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief. It was loyalty and love.
The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead, or on the next. It was the deep knowledge -- and pray God we have not lost it -- that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.
Ronald Wilson Reagan
President of the United States
Today, sixty-four years later, our troops are again in the field in another Great Crusade against another unholy enemy, an enemy no less opposed to the freedom that marks our nation and our civilization out from theirs than were the forces of totalitarianism which bathed Europe, North Africa, and the Pacific in blood. American troops again come not as conquerors, but seekers of liberty for the oppressed and security for a free world. May they be inspired by the example of the men who braved the fire in landing craft as they stormed the beaches of Normandy, and by those who parachuted behind enemy lines. And may the American people recover that sense of purpose that led our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents on the home front to support the efforts of those troops with prayer and sacrifice.
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Could it be due to government actions that made hiring workers more expensive?
Especially since the number of jobs lost is relatively modest -- too modest to account for the jump in unemployment. It has to be because of the influx of new workers that happens in late spring and early summer each year, as teens and college students seek jobs.
Why have these new job seekers found it difficult to get jobs? One reason is that Congress made jobs costlier just in time for this economic slowdown. Congress raised the minimum wage last year by seventy cents an hour, from $5.15 to $5.85. It will rise again in July to $6.55 an hour, and next year will hit $7.25 per hour. That makes entry-level labor as much as 27% more expensive this summer, when consumers have already slowed down their spending. The natural loss of work from the slowdown amplifies the effect of the minimum-wage increase, because businesses now cannot afford to raise prices to maintain their entry-level positions.
When the minimum wage increase was under debate last year, many of us warned that it would have precisely this effect. Now we see it unfolding before our eyes. Will the Democrats acknowledge the error and take the blame for hundreds of thousands of jobs lost to their economic meddling — or will they try to shift the blame to the Bush administration for no good reason at all? (via Power Line)
Think about it -- increasing wages by 27%. Why wouldn't we have a decrease in low-wage entry-level jobs as a result? And how can anyone call the increase in unemployment that resulted an unforefeen consequence of the wage increase.
But don't worry -- the additional wage increases coming next summer is sure to make the situation much better. Won't it?
UPDATE: A great real-world example of the impact of the minimum wage increase on a real business over at Patterico's Pontifications-- one operated by the blogger's parents.
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Looks like there is a FIFTH tax warrant out against Emperor Keithius Smallpenius of the Olbermann Broadcast Empire.
Olbermann Watch has confirmed that the New York State Department of Labor filed an Industrial Commission Warrant against Olbermann Broadcasting Empire on April 1, 2008 for $1,039.15 with the New York County Clerk's office.
An Industrial Commission warrant is a remedy available to the Labor Department after all administrative procedures have been exhausted - the employer had been given notice of the claim, had an opportunity to contest it, and the time for all appeals has lapsed. It creates a lien on all property of the corporation within the county and gives the county sheriff the right to execute the warrant by, among other things, attaching and selling the employer's property within the county. There are various procedures that the sheriff has to go through before selling the property.
So now he is on the record saying that his wife never said such a thing.
Sen. Barack Obama on Thursday batted down rumors circulating on the Internet and mentioned on some cable news shows of the existence of a video of his wife using a derogatory term for white people, and criticized a reporter for asking him about the rumor, which has not a shred of evidence to support it.
“We have seen this before. There is dirt and lies that are circulated in e-mails and they pump them out long enough until finally you, a mainstream reporter, asks me about it,” Obama said to the McClatchy reporter during a press conference aboard his campaign plane. “That gives legs to the story. If somebody has evidence that myself or Michelle or anybody has said something inappropriate, let them do it.”
Asked whether he knew it not to be true, Obama said he had answered the question.
“Frankly, my hope is people don’t play this game,” Obama said. “It is a destructive aspect of our politics. Simply because something appears in an e-mail, that should lend it no more credence than if you heard it on the corner. Presumably the job of the press is to not to go around and spread scurrilous rumors like this until there is actually anything, an iota, of substance or evidence that would substantiate it.”
The problem is that this tape has been rumored for so long, with folks even offering quotes and paraphrases from it, that one has to wonder if it is true. After all, this isn't JUST Valerie Plame's ex-boyfriend, Larry Johnson, offering up suggestions that the tape exists. It has been "in the air" for several weeks now, from a variety of sources.
But I wonder how things will play out if there actually is such a tape. Will we be getting a statement that "This isn't the Michelle Obama I know and have been married to for sixteen years." as he throws her under the bus?
Clinton Says Running Mate Choice Is Obama’s
Well -- DUH!
Unless, of course, you want to launch a floor fight against Obama's selection -- or Obama shows a decided lack of leadership and decides to let the convention choose his VP for him, something that hasn't happened in over half a century.
Th NY Times offers this explanation of how the newly anointed Democrat nominee is weaker against John McCain than his defeated rival is.
In 2004, Mr. Kerry won 251 electoral votes, 19 shy of the 270 that would have won him the election. Which states among those that had gone to President Bush would today swing only to Mr. Obama, or only to Mrs. Clinton? And which of Mr. Kerry’s states would swing away from only Mr. Obama or only Mrs. Clinton? All this, of course, is based on current polls.
In Ohio, for example, Mr. McCain beats Mr. Obama two polls to one. But Mrs. Clinton beats Mr. McCain two polls to nothing. So Ohio, which Mr. Kerry did not win in 2004, would go into Mrs. Clinton’s column, giving her an additional 20 electoral votes.
In Florida, Mr. McCain beats Mr. Obama three polls to zero. But Mrs. Clinton shuts out Mr. McCain two to zero. Because Florida went to President Bush four years ago, Mrs. Clinton grabs 27 more electoral votes.
In Michigan, Mr. McCain beats Mr. Obama three polls to zero. But the median poll between Mr. McCain and Mrs. Clinton is a tie. Mr. Kerry won Michigan in 2004, so Mrs. Clinton gets to keep it. But Mr. Obama loses its 17 electoral votes.
When you complete this exercise for each state, Mr. Obama picks up Colorado, Iowa and New Mexico, three states that went Republican in 2004, but he also loses Michigan and New Hampshire, two states that Mr. Kerry had won. Mrs. Clinton loses the previously Democratic states of New Hampshire and Wisconsin, but she would nab 57 electoral votes from the Republicans by winning Florida, New Mexico, Nevada and Ohio.
If the general election were held today, Mr. Obama would win 252 electoral votes as the Democratic nominee, while Mrs. Clinton would win 295. In other words, Barack Obama is losing to John McCain, and Hillary Clinton is beating him.
In other words, Democrats, we of the GOP would like to thank you for putting ideological purity ahead of electability in the selection of your party's candidate. So while a lot of us may not have been initially enthused by the selection of one of a nominee who is a moderate conservative rather than a movement conservative, we will be quite happy to do the thing that political parties are created to do -- win elections so as to set policy and control the operation of government.
Because after all, when confronted with a conflict between America's staunchest ally and the terrorist horde they are daily fighting for survival, it wouldn't do to anger the terrorists by supporting the ally.
Facing criticism from Palestinians, Sen. Barack Obama acknowledged yesterday that the status of Jerusalem will need to be negotiated in future peace talks, amending a statement earlier in the week that the city "must remain undivided."
Obama's statement, made during a speech Wednesday to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group, drew a swift rebuke from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
"This statement is totally rejected," Abbas told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "The whole world knows that holy Jerusalem was occupied in 1967, and we will not accept a Palestinian state without having Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state."
* * *
"Well, obviously, it's going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations," Obama said when asked whether Palestinians had no future claim to the city.
Obama said "as a practical matter, it would be very difficult to execute" a division of the city. "And I think that it is smart for us to -- to work through a system in which everybody has access to the extraordinary religious sites in Old Jerusalem but that Israel has a legitimate claim on that city."
Of course, Obama's new position isn't any worse that that of the last two administrations. But the fact that in a matter of days he is backtracking from what he said in a major policy speech because the jumped-up terrorists of the West bank and Gaza is one more sign of his foreign policy weakness.
But then again, America should never have deviated from the most correct position on the Holy Land -- Jerusalem should always be one city, undivided, in the hands of Israel, and the Palestinians have no claim upon any state not currently named Jordan.
Forty years ago today, triumph was cut short by a bullet.
Bobby Kennedy, perhaps the most accomplished and competent of the Kennedy brothers, was laid down by a man who today can only be described as a Palestinian terrorist.
Let us not forget the day.
I've been remiss in not reporting on recent events honoring recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. But this little story today caught my eye, and I wish to reach back over sixty years to share the heroism of a Marine who at age 17 years and 6 days engaged in actions deemed so heroic as to merit the nations highest military award.
JACKSON, Miss. — Jack Lucas, who at 14 lied his way into military service during World War II and became the youngest Marine to receive the Medal of Honor, died Thursday in a Hattiesburg, Miss., hospital. He was 80.
Ponda Lee at Moore Funeral Service said the funeral home was notified that Lucas had died during the pre-dawn hours at Forrest General Hospital. He had been battling cancer. Lee said funeral arrangements were incomplete.
Lucas was just six days past his 17th birthday in February 1945 when his heroism at Iwo Jima earned him the nation's highest military honor.
Let me share with you the citation.
LUCAS, JACKLYN HAROLD
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, 1st Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division.
Place and date: Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 20 February 1945.
Entered service at: Norfolk, Va.
Born: 14 February 1928, Plymouth, N.C.
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 1st Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 20 February 1945. While creeping through a treacherous, twisting ravine which ran in close proximity to a fluid and uncertain frontline on D-plus-1 day, Pfc. Lucas and 3 other men were suddenly ambushed by a hostile patrol which savagely attacked with rifle fire and grenades. Quick to act when the lives of the small group were endangered by 2 grenades which landed directly in front of them, Pfc. Lucas unhesitatingly hurled himself over his comrades upon 1 grenade and pulled the other under him, absorbing the whole blasting forces of the explosions in his own body in order to shield his companions from the concussion and murderous flying fragments. By his inspiring action and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice, he not only protected his comrades from certain injury or possible death but also enabled them to rout the Japanese patrol and continue the advance. His exceptionally courageous initiative and loyalty reflect the highest credit upon Pfc. Lucas and the U.S. Naval Service.
May God welcome this hero home into the company of his comrades.
Simply put -- he'd probably be dead before he would have ever gotten treatment for his brain tumor if required to rely on a government-run universal health care scheme.
Consider Jennifer Bell of Norwich, England. In 2006, the 22-year-old complained of headaches for months - but Britain's National Health Service made her wait a year to see a neurologist.
Then she had to wait more than three months before should could get what the NHS decided was only a "relatively urgent" MRI scan. Three days before the MRI appointment, she died.
Consider, too, the chemo drug Kennedy is receiving: Temodar, the first oral medicine for brain tumors in 25 years.
Temodar has been widely used in this country since the FDA approved it in 2000. But a British health-care rationing agency, the National Institute for Comparative Effectiveness, ruled that, while the drug helps people live longer, it wasn't worth the money - and denied coverage for it.
That's the UK.
Things aren't any better in Canada.
Things are no different in Canada, where the wait for an MRI (once you finally get a referral) has grown to 10 weeks. For Canadians relying on their government health care, the average wait time from diagnosis of cancer to surgery is beyond the guideline set by both the US and European societies for surgical oncology.
And HealthCanada, the government system, similar refuses to pay for treatments that are often covered in America.
Chad Curley, a 37-year-old auto worker from Windsor, Ontario, had a brain tumor like Kennedy's but can't have surgery because his is too large to be operable.
His tumor didn't respond to Temodar and the same doctors now treating Sen. Kennedy told him and his wife that the Avastin combination could stop his tumor from growing and add months to his life. But HealthCanada wouldn't pay to use Avastin to treat his tumor.
Chad's family and friends scraped together the $5,000 for the first round of treatment in mid-November; they later saw Chad's left-side paralysis start to subside. But the money ran out - and he died on Feb. 21.
But then again, maybe Ted Kennedy would have gotten the best treatment -- after all, the bootlegger's son has lot's of cash, so he would be able to pay for whatever he needed (if the government didn't make it illegal to go outside the system, like Hillary Clinton proposed 15 years ago). That would mean he would get the sort of medical care that average Americans would not be able to get under the sort of health care scheme he and his party are pushing -- medical care that is standard today in the United States.
And the rest of us would simply have to die for the collective good. Sounds like the old Soviet Union to me -- the elite get the best care, and the people suffer.
Don Surber also comments.
At least as regards perceived slights against the false prophet Muhammad.
Eleven Danes have been summoned to appear before the Jordanian pubic prosecutor to answer charges of blasphemy and threatening the national peace. They include the cartoonist who drew one of the Mohammed cartoons and editors from 10 of the 17 newspapers that reprinted them.
The group behind the announcement is called The Prophet Unites Us, a union of Jordanian media organisations, organisations and private individuals.
'The public prosecutor decided to summon the Danes for a series of criminal offences. Now the Danes have to meet in Jordan,' said Zakaria al-Sheikh, the group's general secretary, to Politiken newspaper.
He explained that the public prosecutor will ask the Danish embassy for help in contacting Danish officials to arrange the meeting of the editors.
Osama al-Bettar, the group's lawyer, said that if the Danes do not appear, the next step will be to inform Interpol and seek their arrest.
The public prosecutor confirmed to Politiken that the editors have been summoned.
The Danish government has made it clear that the actions of the eleven is not criminal in Denmark, and that they will not be deported to the realm of the Islamo-censors as a result.
Somebody needs to inform King Abdullah of Jordan that there is no basis for prosecution for printing the cartoons because doing so is merely the exercise of fundamental human rights recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Also, I have repeatedly published the cartoons on my site and expressed my contemptuous opinion of the 43rd generation ancestor of King Abdullah, the Christ-blaspheming false prophet Muhammad. I therefore demand an indictment by the Jordanian government!
I know that liberals insist it doesn't happen -- but it does.
Jane Drury voted last year in an election in Stonington, Conn. The only problem is, she died eight years ago.
Her daughter Jane Gumpel thought someone must have goofed.
“I was surprised because this is not possible,” she said.
But it did happen. The town clerk’s record clearly shows Drury’s vote, marked by a horizontal line poll workers put next to her name. And it turns out, Drury isn’t the only voter to apparently cast a ballot from the grave.
The issue of dead voters showing up on ballot records continues to be a problem for election administrators across the country.
Journalism professor Marcel Dufresne, at the University of Connecticut, led a class investigation into dead voters and said his group of 11 students discovered 8,558 deceased people who were still registered on Connecticut’s voter rolls. They discovered more than 300 of them appeared somehow to have cast ballots after they died.
“We have one person who appeared to have voted 17 times since he died,” Dufresne said.
No I realize that Necro-Americans are a key Democrat constituency, but I believe it is important that they be disenfranchised immediately. Pruge them from the voter rolls. Require that voters show identification before voting. Drive a stake through the heart of the undead when they arrive to vote. Only the living should be permitted to vote.
MORE AT Don Surber
Even as Barack Obama's fundraising BFF Tony Rezko was convicted of corrupting Illinois government officials and Obama found it necessary to throw him under the bus using the same argument he did with Jeremiah Wright, the apparent Democrat nominee has picked up another member of the Caucus of Corruption as a supporter.
On a day that Sen. Barack Obama moved closer to clinching the Democratic presidential nomination, embattled Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, Tuesday became the first of Louisiana's four Democratic congressional members to back his candidacy.
You remember William Jefferson, don't you? The guy with $90K in his freezer, on tape taking bribe money from FBI informants? The guy who diverted Katrina evacuation resources to remove evidence from his home after the storm. Yeah, that corrupt Democrat who Peklosi wanted to give a key seat on a committee dealing with national security.
Well, now he is the first Louisiana congressman to endorse Obama. What a coup!
I wonder, can he bring along his newly indicted family members as Obama supporters, too? Seems to me that Barack Obama's first day in office will involve signing a lot of pardons for friends and supporters.
Tony Rezko — the high-flying developer and fast-food magnate who was once a major campaign fund-raiser for Gov. Blagojevich and Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama and one of the governor’s closest advisers — is now a convicted felon.
A federal jury in Chicago convicted Rezko this afternoon on 16 of 24 charges he faced in a political corruption trial that cast a harsh light on the Blagojevich administration.
Now remember -- this is the one who made a sweetheart deal with the Obamas to enable them to buy a property adjoining their residence that they otherwise couldn't have afforded. This is a guy who was a big fundraiser for Obama until he got indicted. I guess the day after he becomes Mr. Inevitable, Barack Obama has to now explain away a fishy relationship with a convicted felon. This should be fun.
Welcome Michelle Malkin readers.
In New York today, an art exhibit was shut down.
This morning, a Boston-born performance artist, Yazmany Arboleda, tried to set up a provocative art exhibition in a vacant storefront on West 40th Street in Midtown Manhattan with the title, “The Assassination of Hillary Clinton/The Assassination of Barack Obama,” in neatly stenciled letters on the plate glass windows at street level.
By 9:30 a.m., New York City police detectives and Secret Service agents had shut down the exhibition, and building workers quickly covered over the inflammatory title with large sheets of brown paper and blue masking tape. The gallery is across the street from the southern entrance to The New York Times building.
The police officers declined to answer any questions, and at first would not permit reporters to speak with Mr. Arboleda, who was wearing a black T-shirt and making cellphone calls from inside the makeshift gallery.
Later, Mr. Arboleda, who is 27, said in an interview: “It’s art. It’s not supposed to be harmful. It’s about character assassination — about how Obama and Hillary have been portrayed by the media.” He added, “It’s about the media.”
Mr. Arboleda said the exhibition was to open on Thursday and run all day.
Now let's say it -- the title of the exhibit was overly provocative. There was, however, no need to shut the exhibit down or require the promotional sign to be covered.
Why not? How about because of this from 2006.
The Republican Party in Texas has said it is "shocking" and "disturbing" that a TV drama is to depict the assassination of US President Bush.
Death of a President uses archive footage, actors and computer effects to portray the president being shot dead.
UK broadcaster Channel 4, who made the mock documentary, said it explored the effects of the War on Terror on the US.
But Gretchen Essell, a spokeswoman for the Republican Party of Texas, called for it not to be screened.
"I cannot support a video that would dramatise the assassination of our president, real or imagined," she told the Press Association news agency.
"The greater reality is that terrorism still exists in our world. It is obvious that the war on terror is not over.
"I find this shocking, I find it disturbing. I don't know if there are many people in America who would want to watch something like that."
How disturbing are the images? I'll let you decide, with this YouTube clip that you can view right now.
An American company will be releasing the film in this country on January 20, 2009. I somehow doubt we will see any effort by the Secret Service or local law enforcement to prevent the release of the film, the showing of the film in a theater, or any of the film's advertising. After all, you've just seen the depiction of the murder of a sitting president hosted on YouTube!
Not to mention threats by Air America Radio.
Why are Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton treated any different, especially when it is clear that the exhibit in question is a critique of the media coverage of the just-concluded race for the Democrat presidential nomination? Could it be that Assassination Chic is only cool if the target is a Republican?
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Exaggeration-prone outsiders. In the 1880s and 1890s, writers such as Mary Noailles Murfree and John Fox Jr. traveled across Appalachia, looking for "local color," and overstated the degree to which mountain populations lived in isolation. During the same time period, missionaries reported pervasive ignorance and poverty, with large families living together in ramshackle cabins. The notion of widespread inbreeding was at least in part the result of crude assumptions about how these isolated forest people might have been perpetuating their communities.
* * *
Stereotypes about West Virginian breeding practices have long been linked to the state's poverty. When Eleanor Roosevelt visited West Virginia mining towns in the 1930s, national newspapers ran pictures of rundown shacks and barefoot kids in rags, which left a lasting impression of the state as a backwater. West Virginians became the prototypical "hillbillies," and incest served as a crude "scientific" explanation for their downtrodden social condition.
Personally, I have a different explanation for that stereotype.
The priest whose mocking of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton stirred more racially tinged controversy in the presidential campaign was effectively placed on leave from his pastoral work Tuesday at the Roman Catholic parish he has led since 1983.
The archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Francis George, called on the priest, the Rev. Michael Pfleger, to “step back from his obligations” at St. Sabina and “take leave for a couple of weeks.”
* * *
He could not be reached for comment late Tuesday, but Cardinal George made it clear that Father Pfleger had disagreed with the decision that he take a brief leave.
“Father Pfleger does not believe this to be the right step at this time,” Cardinal George said in a statement released by the archdiocese. “While respecting his disagreement, I have nevertheless asked him to use this opportunity to reflect on his recent statements and actions in the light of the church’s regulations for all Catholic priests. I hope that this period will also be a time away from the public spotlight and for rest and attention to family concerns.”
His parishioners exhibited their cult-like devotion to him at a special service on Tuesday night.
Hundreds of parishioners crowded a service at St. Sabina on Tuesday evening, asking Cardinal George to reinstate Father Pfleger and requesting a meeting with the cardinal, the Associated Press reported.Father Pfleger has had a regular place at the forefront of activism here, participating in protests against violence and police corruption and at times defying the church leadership.
My guess is that this will lead to one of a several of possible outcomes.
I think it will be really interesting to see how this plays out -- and I don't think that we will see Pfleger back in the pulpit at St. Sabina any time soon.
More At Malkin
With a May death toll more than twice the level of American casualties in Iraq, it is clear that the situation in New York City is untenable and the US should immediately withdraw to a more sustainable position -- perhaps New Jersey.
NYC had 43 murders in the month of May 2008. That’s over twice the US deaths in Iraq (19) for the month of May.
While the liberals and the mainstream media love to remind us (daily) of the death count in Iraq as a way to fuel their anti-war propaganda, they might want to consider focusing their attention to local US deaths as a healthy comparison to the job we are doing over in Iraq.
When we lose more Americans in a major city than we do in a war zone, it is clear that the we are winning that war. It may be disheartening to those who need a US defeat to shore up their electoral position, but that is a hard and fast reality.
Yeah, I know that there are still things that could happen between now and the Democrat convention in August, but it would appear that Barack Obama will be the least qualified Democrat standard bearer since. . . well, ever.
With a split decision in the final two primaries and a flurry of superdelegate endorsements, Sen. Barack Obama sealed the Democratic presidential nomination last night after a grueling and history-making campaign against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton that will make him the first African American to head a major-party ticket.
I've got mixed emotions about this nomination. On the one hand, I feel that the nomination of Barack Obama will do nothing but boost the GOP ticket in the fall, because it will be composed of two candidates with the qualifications an experience necessary to be president while Obama makes Jimmy Carter and Michael Dukakis look highly qualified. on the other hand, I live in fear that we might actually have to suffer through four years of this accomplishment-free individual in the White House -- something that could damage this country for a generation or more.
Cable service operators Comcast and Time Warner Cable said yesterday that they would begin testing new approaches that would slow Internet access for heavy users and charge more to those who want additional speed.
The tests come as the Federal Communications Commission wraps up an investigation on complaints that Comcast blocked certain users from sharing video, music and other files. The complaints fueled a larger debate, with hearings in Congress and by the FCC, on how much control Internet service providers should have over the flow of data.
"The cable companies see a hammer hovering above their heads and are scrambling to find ways to reduce the appearance of wrongdoing," said Ben Scott, head of policy for the public interest group Free Press, which advocates for better oversight of cable operators. He called the plans "Band-Aids" on the bigger problem of network capacity, which he said can be solved only by larger investments in the cable companies' networks.
Comcast said that on Friday it would begin tests in Chambersburg, Pa., and Warrenton, Va., that would delay traffic for the heaviest users of Internet data without targeting specific software applications. Public interest groups complained in November that Comcast targeted users of BitTorrent, a file-sharing application, by blocking or delaying video and other files exchanged with the technology. Free Press said the practice discriminated against certain content and impeded users from having full access to the Web.
Now i'll be honest -- I don't use that much bandwidth on a daily basis, but my webhost does. Are we going to see the destruction of the blogosphere as bloggers get socked with higher fees.
But i don't think such plans will be accepted by consumers, as is noted by this industry analyst.
Analysts warned that customers have become accustomed to flat fees for Internet and television service.
"Flat rate and unlimited service is an endgame move. When you go to that kind of rate structure, you can't go back," Entner said.
This murdering punk doesn't like the lethal injection protocol? Fine -- let's go for the single-bullet-to-the-base-of-the-skull protocol.
Condemned double-murderer Derrick Juan Sonnier received a reprieve about two hours before he was to walk into Texas' death house Tuesday, the second time he has escaped execution.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay of execution after the Texas Defender Service, a watchdog capital punishment group, filed two last-minute appeals in the 40-year-old man's case.
Sonnier was sentenced to die for the 1991 stabbing deaths of Melody Flowers, 27, and her 2-year-old son Patrick.
Authorities said he had stalked the single mother of five for months before the murders.
* * *
In its appeals, the Texas Defender Service argued that the state made changes May 30 to its lethal injection protocol that have not been reviewed by any court.
Its second appeal argues that the lethal injection protocol violates Eighth Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment, an issue raised in two other cases pending before the state court.
I'm sorry -- the "cruel and unusual punishment" argument doesn't was for me. While one can argue that any sentence of death is cruel, it is not unusual under the laws of this country to sentence someone to death for murder. Nor does it somehow shock the conscience that murdering scumbags might feel some fraction of the pain and suffering that their victims experienced -- indeed, most people with any sense of morality would argue that it is not unreasonable for those receiving capital PUNISHMENT to actually experience a some discomfort as a part of their punishment.
I've intentionally kept out of the FLDS saga, not blogging upon it because it so quickly became so complicated and convoluted that I ceased being able to tell what was true, what was conjecture, and what was outright lies. And while I initially supported the raid, I also understood the importance of returning some -- but not necessarily all -- of the children to their parents. Taking that many kids could not be justified.
But one striking point through all of this is the claim made by the FLDS members that no underaged girls were married off as part of the cult's practice of "spiritual marriage". How, then, can they now make this statement?
The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints made the startling announcement Monday that it will no longer allow underage girls to marry adults within their sect.
* * *
As the transfers were taking place, Willie Jessop, an FLDS member and the group's Texas spokesman, said: "In the future, the church commits that it will not preside over any marriage of any woman under the age of legal consent in the jurisdiction in which the marriage takes place."
The announcement applies to both the group's "spiritual" unions and legal marriages. The minimum age to marry in Texas is 16, but only with parental permission.
"The church believes in purity, cleanliness and innocence, and our children and families are the cornerstone of our lives and religion," Willie Jessop said. "We hope this modest clarification will alleviate recent concerns and allow this church and its families to reside in peace among its neighbors."
Now hold on -- I thought they already didn't allow such marriages. Doesn't this constitute an admission that they did -- and the initial move to protect young girls from sexual exploitation by older men was, in fact somewhat justified (even if the initial phone call was a hoax)?
After all, Bob Barr is at least willing to denounce professional racists and refuse to taint his campaign with their money. When racist scum-suckers posted an endorsement of Bob Barr (including an attack on John McCain's adopted daughter) in several locations around the web, here's how Barr's campaign manager responded on his behalf.
The Barr campaign is not going to be a vehicle for every fringe and hate group to promote itself. We do not want and will not accept the support of haters. Anyone with love in their heart for our country and for every resident of our country regardless of race, religion, nationality or sexual orientation is welcome with open arms.
Tell the haters I said don't let the door hit you on the backside on your way out!
I won't vote for Bob Barr -- but I at least retain some respect for him.
This one is important to note -- especially in light of the upcoming Beijing Olympics. On this day in 1989, the oppressors of the people of the People's Republic of China crushed the voice of the people when they called for democratic reform in Red China.
China is still holding about 130 activists from the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations, Human Rights Watch said, calling on the government to free them on the 19th anniversary of the crackdown that falls today.
China should honor its pledge to improve human rights by releasing the prisoners before the Beijing Olympics in August when the square will be used for functions, the New York-based group said.
China tightened security at Tiananmen Square, authorizing police to randomly search visitors, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported last month. ``Security around Tiananmen is very important and has great international influence,'' it cited Zhang Peili, an official at the municipal government law office, as saying at the time.
Chinese soldiers, backed by tanks, killed an estimated 2,000 pro-democracy activists in and around Tiananmen Square and in other Chinese cities on June 3-4, according to Human Rights Watch. The death toll included Chinese citizens who massed in Beijing streets to stop the army reaching the square, it said.
We must never forget the sacrifices of these heroic young people who stood up against one of the most oppressive regime of our times.
Soccer Dad supplies this video that documents the evil committed by the Red Chinese dictators in Tiananmen Square nineteen years ago.
There are at least some peacemakers in the religion of Peace.
A Muslim Indian seminary which is said to have inspired the Taliban has issued a fatwa against terrorism, insisting that Islam is a religion of peace.
Senior clerics from the 150-year-old Darul Uloom Deoband issued the edict saying they wished to wipe out terrorism. "Islam rejects all kinds of unjust violence, breach of peace, bloodshed, murder and plunder and does not allow it in any form," said the rector, Habibur Rehman, to the cheers of thousands of students. Many held placards saying "Islam means peace", while others chanted.
"The religion of Islam has come to wipe out all kinds of terrorism and to spread the message of global peace," Mr Rehman added.
The Deoband institute was established in the aftermath of the 1857 uprising against British rule, an uprising that was brutally suppressed by the imperial forces. Highly influential, it controls thousands of smaller seminaries and madrassas around the world, from Britain to Afghanistan.
Of Britain's 1,400 mosques, about 600 are run by Deobandi-affiliated clerics. Seventeen of the UK's 26 Islamic seminaries follow Deobandi teachings, which produce about 80 per cent of all domestically trained Muslim clerics.
Now, if only the terrorists will listen. After all, given the decentralized nature of Islam, there is no Pope to issue decrees that are binding upon all the faithful. In this particular case, I certainly wish there were.
And I can think of no more fitting tribute than this video, surrounded by some of the greats he inspired.
Musician Bo Diddley has died at the age of 79.
The Grammy-winning singer-guitarist died of heart failure in Florida, his spokeswoman said.
He had suffered a heart attack in August 2007, three months after suffering a stroke which affected his ability to speak.
He rose to fame in 1955 when he topped the R&B charts with Bo Diddley. His other hits include Who Do You Love, Before You Accuse Me, and Mona.
The legendary singer and performer was known for his homemade square guitar, dark glasses and black hat.
His so-called "Bo Diddley beat" influenced rockers from Buddy Holly, to Bruce Springsteen and U2.
Rest in peace.
A woman who was refused free NHS cancer treatment after she paid for extra drugs has died, reigniting the debate over whether patients should be allowed to "top up" their care.
Linda O'Boyle and her husband Brian, both retired health workers, decided to pay for treatment in addition to that available on the NHS in order to prolong her life.
Mrs O'Boyle was told that meant she was considered a private patient and so had to pay for all her treatment.
Government guidelines currently ban patients from mixing public and private care.
* * *
When Mrs O'Boyle, who had three children and four grandchildren, developed bowel cancer and began having chemotherapy, doctors said she could boost her chances of fighting the disease by adding the drug cetuximab.
It is not routinely funded by the NHS but she decided to use her savings to pay for it.Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust then withdrew her free treatment, including the chemotherapy drug she was receiving.
In other words, because Mrs. O'Boyle affirmatively attempted to improve her health by seeking the best in medical care, she was denied access to even the minimal level of care provided by the government.
In my book, that is murder.
And now the Democrats want to bring such a medical rationing system here.
Don't tell them no -- tell them HELL NO!
Looks like the Islamo-censors are back again, out to punish Denmark with acts of terror because of the reprinting of the Muhammad cartoons. After all, there have been repeated threats towards Danish embassies, including this one, since the February reprinting of the inoffensive drawings that offend the sensibilities of those whose brains are addled by extremist Islam.
At least eight people have been killed in a car bomb attack near the Danish embassy in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, according to reports.
About 30 people were wounded. An embassy worker was among the dead and three were hurt, but no Danish citizens died, Danish officials said.
The embassy building and several vehicles outside were damaged.
It was not clear who carried out the attack, as Pakistan's main militant group recently declared a ceasefire.
Pakistan's top Taleban warlord Baitullah Mehsud is in peace talks with the authorities in an attempt to end fighting in the country's north-west.
Some Danish embassies around the world have been threatened since a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad was reprinted in Danish newspapers in February.
The cartoons, deemed offensive to Islam, led to worldwide protests when they were first printed in September 2005.
The BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says suspicion for the attack has fallen on al-Qaeda, as the network's number two Ayman al-Zawahri denounced the cartoons in a recent video.
Per Stig Møller, the foreign minister, blamed the attack on 'dark forces that want to destroy Pakistan's relationship with others'.
'We will not give them that victory,' he said at a press conference in Copenhagen. He that the relationship between the Danish and Pakistani governments is as strong as ever, saying that the bombing 'is also an attack against Pakistan's government and their security people'.
Terror cannot be allowed to win the battle. Freedom of speech and of the pres cannot be abandoned because the most hateful and extreme engage in terrorism and other acts of violence in response.
So to all you jihadi swine out there, here they are -- and you can kiss my big fat bacon grease smeared kaffir ass if you don't like it.
As I noted when his health problems came to light, I don't think that now is the time to attack Ted Kennedy for all the crappy deeds of his past. Human decency and compassion requires that we offer our best wishes for a full recovery.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) will undergo surgery this morning at Duke University to try and remove a highly lethal tumor that doctors discovered in his brain last month.
In a statement, the 76-year-old Democratic icon said he would fight the grim prognosis he was given in May through a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. The operation, which is being performed by neurosurgeon Allan H. Friedman of Duke University Medical Center, is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. and last about six hours.
Kennedy said in his statement that he expected to remain at Duke for about a week after the operation, and start radiation and chemotherapy at Massachusetts General Hospital shortly thereafter.
Kennedy was diagnosed in mid-May with a malignant glioma, a highly aggressive type of tumor that doctors say can never be completely destroyed. About half of the 10,000 people found to have such tumors in the United States each year die within 12 months; three-quarters of them are dead within two years.
My prayers are with the Massachusetts senator at this time, and with his family as they wait with a man they love despite his many flaws. At a time like this politics is irrelevant and love of our fellow man should be the rule.
A bit over a decade ago, my wife was the pastor of a small rural congregation of the United Church of Christ in southern Illinois, and I worked for the county mental health agency in the next county. We lived in the century old parsonage next to the church and a cemetery that dated back to the Civil War and half-a-mile from the nearest neighbor.
Neat as that was, we were also 10 miles from the nearest gas station. Even so, I would often play the "how low can you go" game with my car's gas gauge in the last few days before payday -- and inevitably lost the bet five miles from the nearest gas station. Fortunately, a county sheriff happened by a few minutes later and took me to town for gas. It never dawned upon me that there might be something newsworthy about my situation.
But the fine folks at the Washington Post seem to think there is.
Brent Saba had just dropped a church group off at Philadelphia International Airport on Sunday morning and was heading north on Interstate 95 when it happened: His 15-passenger van ran out of gas.
Saba, a 24-year-old church pastor, made it to the shoulder just past the Ben Franklin Bridge and waited more than 30 minutes for someone to stop and lend him a cell phone. Then he waited a while longer for AAA to arrive with fuel.
With gas prices hovering at $4 a gallon, motorists like Saba are putting less fuel in their tanks _ then coming up empty on the highway.
Though national statistics on out-of-gas motorists don't exist, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that drivers unwilling or unable to fill 'er up are gambling by keeping their tanks extremely low on fuel.
DUH! If you put less gas in the tank you run out sooner or need to fill up more often. If you run out of gas because you have tried to stretch enough fuel for 150 miles to drive 200 miles, you are not going to be successful unless you have gale force tail winds at all times.
And the MSM thinks this is news? I guess there aren't any serious issues to report on.
And this one is going to sting MUCH WORSE than Wright or Pfleger.
And left-winger Larry Johnson is set to break news about it at 0900 on Monday, June 2.
New and dramatic developments. This is a heads up. I’ll post the news Monday morning by 0900 hours. Now I know why people who have seen the videotape say it is stunning. Barack’s headaches are only starting.
Imagine that -- the day before he is set to clinch the nomination, a bombshell of his wife's racist comments at Trinity UCC (if rumors are correct) is set to break. Johnson wants to blame Rove, but my money is on Hillary Clinton. The GOP would wait until the last week of October or even November 1 to break this story.
Obama's problem? He can throw his grandmother under the bus. He can throw Jeremiah Wright under the bus. he can throw Michael Pfleger under the bus. He can even throw his entire 8000 member church under the bus. But how on earth do you manage to throw your wife, the mother of your children, under the bus?
I learned over the weekend why the Republicans who have seen the tape of Michelle Obama ranting about “whitey” describe it as “STUNNING.” I have not seen it but I have heard from five separate sources who have spoken directly with people who have seen the tape. It features Michelle Obama and Louis Farrakhan. They are sitting on a panel at Jeremiah Wright’s Church when Michelle makes her intemperate remarks. Whoops!! When that image comes out it will enter the politcal ads hall of fame. It will be right up there with the little girl plucking daisy petals in the famous 1964 ad LBJ used against Barry Goldwater.
But he raises some other, much more important issues related to Obama's connection to racists.
Barack may have quit his church but his religious problems are not over. Barack Obama has a Nation of Islam problem that will receive more attention in the coming days. Before Barack came on the scene, THE MAN in his political district was Louis Farrakhan. No one could take Alice Palmer’s seat without Farrakhan’s blessing. No one. I do not fault Barack Obama for seeking out the blessing of Farrakhan, but the story of what was done behind the scenes to get rid of Barack’s predecessor—Alice Palmer—has not been told. A knowledgeable source tells me that Tony Rezko played a direct role in this feat. And Rezko has been tight with Farrakhan.
It also should come as no surprise that Barack hired two members of the Nation of Islam to work on his staff—Jennifer Mason and Cynthia K. Miller. (And no, I am not merely recycling info initially reported by Debbie Schlussel. I have two independent Chicago sources for this info.) If Jeremiah Wright and Michael Pfleger had kept their yaps buttoned none of this would mean much. But the fact that both men have been—until scrubbed from the website in recent weeks—listed as spiritual advisors to Barack Obama and also are very close to Louis Farrakhan, forces the question about Barack’s faith and beliefs.
In probing those matters we begin to understand that the Nation of Islam has been a critical component of Barack Obama’s base of support. And, I am told, Louis Farrakhan has been careful to use Tony Rezko as the intermediary in his relationship with Barack. This is not guilt by association, this is guilt because of actual relationship. Farrakhan, Wright, and Pfleger are each on tape in various settings spewing the most vile racists garbage in the guise of preaching. Barack Obama, up to this point, has tried to pretend he had no idea that these men had these thoughts or said these things.
I've got trouble with Johnson's use of anonymous sources here -- but these matters have all been in the public domain in some form or fashion over the last several months, only to be overlooked by the MSM as they fawn over Barack Obama.
Congressman Alcee Hastings, whose major distinction is being one of only seven federal judges in the entire history of the United States to be impeached and removed from office for committing high crimes and misdemeanors, is boycotting the Democrat Convention over the decision of the DNC to give the delegates of Florida and Michigan only half a vote each, made this historically inaccurate statement.
At the beginning of our great country’s history my ancestors were counted as only 2/3 of a person....
Well, not exactly -- in reality it was 3/5 of a person, and only for purposes of representation in Congress.
Interestingly enough, I wrote about this very topic earlier this evening in response to one of my students in my college-level American Government class.
There is this popular notion that the Three-Fifths Compromise means that blacks were three-fifths of a human being. However, if you go back and read it in the Constitution, it deals with a very different issue -- should property be counted for purposes of representation and taxation.
The Northern delegates argued no -- that if slaves were chattel, then they should no more be counted for purposes of representation that cows, pigs, or chickens were. Their goal was to see to it that slave-owners, who acted in violation of the principles of liberty and equality by holding slaves, did not also do violence to the principle of self-government by gaining extra representation by counting those who would not EVER have a voice in government. In short, they were
operating on the principle that those who were entitled to neither liberty, equality, nor self-government under the laws of those states that recognized slavery (northern and southern -- slavery was legal in at least 10 of the 13 states at this time, though more prevalent in the South) should not be included in the total inhabitants of the state who would be represented in Congress.
The Southern delegates, on the other hand, took a pointedly different tack -- they were more than willing to count slaves as their equal in terms of being numerically represented in Congress, even as they denied them liberty, equality, and self-government.
It is really easy (and popular) to condemn the Three-Fifths Compromise today, with the benefit of 221 years of hindsight. After all, that extra representation that the slave-holding aristocracy of the South gained enabled the region's "peculiar institution" to continue for at least three decades beyond what it would have if the Northern delegates had prevailed -- and during that time the forces of slavocracy were able to foist the Missouri Compromise on the nation, along with the Kansas-Nebraska Act and various Fugitive Slave Laws, not to mention the infamous Gag Rule that for a decade forbade Congress to even consider the issues of abolition and emancipation by consigning citizen petitions on those subjects to oblivion without hearing in violation of the First Amendment right of the people to petition their government for a redress of grievances.
However, you got to the meat of the issue in your last sentence -- a majority of those who met in Philadelphia in 1787 recognized that the nation needed to replace the Articles of Confederation with something that created a more functional national government. And so they compromised on the issue, leaving it to future generations to deal with a question they could not.
Consider this, my friends -- without the Three-Fifths Compromise, there would have likely been no Constitution. Not only that, but very possibly the government of the Articles of Confederation would have collapsed within a few years, and with it the fledgling United States of America. for all that it was a compromise with evil (one for which this nation has paid dearly in every generation), are not we and the world better off for it having been made in order to preserve America as one nation?
And as far as I am concerned, he ought to obey it.
A Washington Times reporter has been subpoenaed by a federal judge who wants him to reveal the sources for a story he wrote about an engineer convicted of conspiracy to export U.S. defense technology to China.
National security reporter Bill Gertz was ordered to appear before U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney in June, the newspaper reported Saturday. The judge has also requested e-mail messages, files and correspondences.
Gertz cited U.S. government sources in a 2006 story saying that Justice Department officials approved an indictment against Tai Mak and that four of Mak's relatives would also be charged.
Mak's attorneys had objected to Gertz's story, contending the government violated a federal rule barring federal officials from giving information about grand jury proceedings to outsiders. Carney ordered an investigation to determine who leaked the information.
“We will be presenting our case to the judge and we remain hopeful that he will be receptive to the arguments we present to him in trying to preserve Bill's and the Times' First Amendment right to report the news and his other legal rights as well,” Times executive editor John F. Solomon said.
The four family members were eventually indicted. All have pleaded guilty to related offenses in exchange for leniency. Mak is serving a 24-year sentence in federal prison.
It is my profound hope that the judge is not at all receptive to the arguments put forward by the Washington Times and its attorneys. Members of the press are not royalty, and ought to be mandated to obey curt orders in exactly the same way other citizens. Given that Gertz may well be a witness to the criminal disclosure of grand jury testimony, he must be compelled to obey.