Another cog in the wheel known as the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy to combat the Extreme Left-Wing Media.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Gone until 2007

Here is hoping you have nothing but the best of times in the New Year.

Friday's links and comments

When the Wall Street Journal and President Bush claim we need the illegal immigrants to do "jobs American's won't do" I wonder if this is one of the jobs they are talking about:
A man suspected of shooting two police officers during a traffic stop was killed in a wild shootout with police in a strip mall parking lot, authorities said Thursday. More than 50 shots were fired between Santa Ana police officers and 33-year-old Oscar Gabriel Gallegos on Wednesday, Santa Ana Police Chief Paul Walters said. Gallegos was an illegal immigrant who had been deported three times and had a criminal record dating back to 1990, including arrests for drug offenses and assault with a deadly weapon, authorities said.
Am I the only one that thinks this guy exemplifies why we need real border enforcement?

John Podheretz examines 2006 an concludes IT WAS A VERY BAD YEAR. He cites several events of the past year which were unpleasant, but I still have to disagree. The negative were outweighed by the positives. The positives don't make headlines.

One definition of evil: Using scientific advances to make designer babies. When will we learn that just because we can do something that doesn't mean we SHOULD do it?

The Herald Tribune tells us it was "Another strange year for Florida." They recount some of odder things of the past year which could only happen in Florida.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Some more articles on the passing of Gerald Ford Jr.

Here are a few more articles on the passing of our 38th president:

From the East Valley Tribune comes an interview with Arizona Diamondbacks broadcaster Joe Garagiola Sr. who remembers a good friend he met on the golf course over thirty years ago.

In an article titled "Similar Personnel, Different Approaches" the Washington Post predictably uses Ford's passing as an opportunity to criticize the current administration for not being more like Ford's. Any bets on whether the WAPO was so complimentary of the Ford administration in the year leading up to the 1976 election?

Debra Saunders of the San Francisco Gate examines the pardon of Richard Nixon and concludes that, while most people (herself included) thought it was bad at the time, history has shown that it was the right thing to do.

The NY Post's John Podhoretz departs from the trend of hagiography with a more realistic assessment of Ford's term of office.
Ford was a fine man and a distinguished public servant, and he deserves to be remembered warmly. But the idea that his presidency saved America is ahistorical sentimentality.

Through no fault of Ford's, the man from Michigan presided over two of the worst years in American history. It would not be fair to call his presidency a failure, since he found himself in an impossible situation and managed as best he could. But there's no sense pretending that the 30 months between August 1974 and January 1977 were anything but dire.
I think part of the reason people are acting sentimentally about Ford's time in office is due to respect for how gracefully the man served and how he knew to stay out of the business of his successors. But more than that, the fact that Carter was such an abysmal failure who made many people regret not voting for Ford in 1976 is contributing to overly positive remembrances.

How Lieutenant Ford Saved His Ship. Besides Reagan, every president from John F. Kennedy to George H.W. Bush served in the Navy. This article recalls a moment of heroism of a young LTjg during the WWII. I had read previously about Admiral "Bull" Halsey foolishly ignoring weather reports and driving his battle group through Typhoon Cobra. However, until today I had never heard of Jerry Ford's efforts to save his ship during that tragedy.

Lastly, SondraK found a copy of the cover of Cosmopolitan with Lieutenant Ford.

Alan Trammell for the Hall of Fame

You can find various articles this time of year where members of the Baseball Writers Association of America defend and explain their votes for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Usually I'm not persuaded by the argument of if so and so is in then this other guy should be in because he has the same number or better in one particular statistical category. This argument is often fallacious due to comparing apples and oranges (outfielders to infielders) or cherry picking a statistic which supports a one dimensional player (McGwire). However, Scott Miller of CBS Sportsline effectively uses that line of reasoning in arguing for greater consideration of Alan Trammell's Hall of Fame election.
But here goes: Ozzie Smith rode 91.74 percent of the vote into Cooperstown in 2002. Trammell last year received 17.7 percent of the votes. Trammell isn't a slam-dunk Hall of Famer, but I know this: No freakin' way there should be that significant of a gap in the voting between him and Smith.

In the 1980s, you probably would have taken Smith over Trammell defensively, but it was darn close. While Trammell wasn't as flashy, he still made all of the routine plays, and his range was significant. He was above average defensively.

Across the board offensively, it wasn't even close: You'd take Trammell in a heartbeat. He outhit Smith over their careers (.285-.262), significantly outhomered him (185-28), collected more RBI (1,003-793), outslugged him (.415-.328) and compiled a better on-base percentage (.352-.337).
Smith routinely batted 8th in the St. Louis lineup while Trammell was normally a strong middle of the batting order guy. There is no way that the higher number of runs saved by Smith's glove exceeds Trammell's greater offensive output. If Trammell doesn't merit election then there is no defending Smith's election.

Elton John wants religion banned?

Sometimes you read an article and it is so ludicrous you wonder if it was a spoof. Here is an example.
In a recent interview in The Observer's special "gay edition" of Music Monthly Magazine, musician Sir Elton John told the UK newspaper that religion should be outlawed because it lacks compassion and promotes hatred of homosexuals. In the Sunday, November 12, 2006 issue, John said, "I think religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people. Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays."

Is he talking about brands of radical Islam that oppose homosexuality? No, it seems like he's directing his fire at Christianity.
The article goes on to make several points about the stupidity of John's comments. The authors main point is how John while bemoaning a lack of tolerance for the gay lifestyle choice shows zero tolerance of religion. Beyond that, to me, the bigger point is he is wrong in his contentions about religions. There may be churches that preach strongly against homosexuality, but I've never attended one. However, even if a preacher were to discuss homosexuality it should be addressing the individual's action just like when preaching about gambling or drinking. Personally, I think it is a goofy lifestyle choice, but I'm not going to hate someone for making that choice and I've never met a religious person who would.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Jerry Ford - Rest in Peace

ESPN just reported that Gerald Ford the 38th president of the United States passed away tonight. A long life lived well. A decent man who served his country honorably should be more remembered for the good he did than the pratfalls publicized by comedians. He could have taken action to facilitate his reelection but instead did what he thought was right. Not a great president, but definitely a great man even if he was a Michigan football player. My prayers go out to his family.

Since I posted the news of President Ford's passing I've come across several bloggers with better posts.
BizzyBlog's memorial post has links to several historical items regarding the 38th president.
A Large Regular has a different take than most people on the 1976 election.
You will also see many mentions of people wishing they had their vote back in 1976 to do-over. However, I think the nation actually needed to see the perfidy of Jimmy Carter and a Democratic controlled Senate and White House to make the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 possible. If Ford had won in 1976 then it is very likely that we would have seen four years of vetoes and over-rides and finger pointing. Ford would have been unable to run in 1980 and it is entirely possible that the Republican President would have been blamed for "stagflation" allowing someone like Ted Kennedy to win election in 1980 instead of Reagan.

Don Surber thinks the current president could learn a lesson from the 38th.
Ed at Captain's Quarters has a round up of arguments about whether Ford should have pardoned Nixon.
CNBC discussed Ford's economic impact and noted how many spending bills Ford vetoed. They cited a Ford quote bragging about how many billions were contained in the legislation he vetoed. The current president would do well to follow that example.

I'll add more if I see any particularly noteworthy.

Maybe I was wrong about Jimmy Carter

I've long considered Jimmy Carter the worst U.S. president. Beyond that, I've become convinced that he is an immoral man who has sided with those opposed to Israel out of an inherent anti-semitism. Tonight, I read an article that argues that Carter is not so much an anti-semite as he is just anti-intellectual.
Carter wants to do what's just. His heart's in the right place. He just can't figure out what the right is. He is, and always has been, a man of good intentions bereft of good judgment. He invariably finds himself defending tyrants and dictators at the expense of their oppressed peoples. Not because he is a bad man, but because he is a confused man.

CARTER SUBSCRIBES to what I call the Always Root for the Underdog school of morality. Rather than develop any real understanding of a conflict, immediately he sides with the weaker party, however wicked or immoral.
Upon further reflection, I'm still convinced he has deep seated anti-semitism, but I will grant this authors point that Carter's poor judgment can be attributed as much to stupidity as to racism.

Tuesday morning roundup of links & comments

Here is an article from the Washington Times which makes a good point about the affect on the Democrat 2008 presidential field of the early drop outs of Mark Warner and Evan Bayh. The absence of those relatively moderate candidates tilts the field decidedly to the left.

On the Republican side, former Virginia governor and former head of the RNC, James Gilmore is contemplating running. Normally, I'd dismiss the chances of a candidate with as low a name recognition as Gilmore. However, the friends he made while serving as head of the Republican National Committee could open some doors to get the necessary financial backing. The biggest thing going for the lesser names talking about running (Gilmore, Hunter, etc) is the lack of enthusiasm for the perceived front runner - John McCain. McCain's only chance of a large conservative turnout would be if Hillary Clinton is the Democrat nominee. McCain has so turned off the base that even Clinton wouldn't be enough to convince them to vote for McCain.

Now that November's elections are in the rearview mirror, the Washington Post is noticing the corruption of John Murtha.

The Appeals Court in Iraq upheld Saddam Hussein's death sentence and ordered that the sentence be carried out within 30 days. About time, some of the resistance to the new government has been borne out of an unrealistic expectation that Saddam would return to power.

In America we tend to ignore news from the continent of Africa. Here is something to which we should pay attention.
Ethiopian warplanes attacked the airport in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, on Monday in another major escalation of fighting between the Ethiopian-backed Somali government and the Islamic Courts movement that in recent months has taken over much of the country.
This caught my eye for a couple reasons. First, Somalia has become what we could expect to see develop in Iraq if we abandoned that country to al Queda. In 1993 we turned tail and ran from a few thugs in Somalia. Osama bin Laden specifically cited Somalia as proof that the United States has grown weak and was vulnerable. Secondly, from a personal point of view I'm concerned because I have a friend who is departing in a week on a mission to visit a Catholic hospital in Ethiopia.

Peter Bronson of the Cincinnati Enquirer takes a different approach to writing his end of year column.
This is the time of year when we publish those headlines about the "Top stories of 2006," as if the Republican election beat-down and bombings in Iraq made the Casey Kasem Countdown of the media's greatest hits.

But what about the bottom stories of 2006? What about the stories that were underplayed, ignored or quickly shoved in the back of a drawer because they remind us why journalism would be the least respected profession in America if not for politicians? (Thank you, politicians.)

Isn't there an obvious conflict of interest in this legislation?
An unlikely lawmaker is taking the lead to change Florida law to restore voting rights to convicted felons. Orlando state Sen. Gary Siplin, a convicted felon himself, has sponsored Senate Bill 466, which automatically restores voting rights a year after the felon's sentence is completed.
So the convicted lawmaker introduces legislation from which he would directly benefit and politicians wonder why most of us are cynical about their trustworthiness.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to one and all. My simple prayer at this time of year is for people to remember the reason for the season.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Saturday's various links & comments

A few months ago I noted the story of a Wisconsin politician who was turned in for voting twice in the 2000 election. Now, we have the news of his punishment.
Riley agreed on Thursday to pay a $10,000 fine, surrender his law licenses in Wisconsin and Illinois and not practice law. He must also return campaign contributions to supporters who request refunds in the next 30 days even if it means paying them from his personal funds.

He has 45 days to meet those conditions. In exchange, the single count of election fraud, voting more than once, will be reduced to a misdemeanor. The deal, under which Riley avoids jail time, was reached in a plea bargain. . .
I understand prosecutors offer lighter sentences to get plea agreements to save the cost of a trial, but this is far too lenient if you ask me. However, I suppose I should just be glad he received any punishment. Now if only his punishment got half as much national exposure as Britney Spears got for forgetting her underpants. he obviously isn't the only one pulling this kind of stunt and the only way to discourage people from committing vote fraud is if we make the penalty severe and publicize the penalties.

Former ambassador Joseph Wilson asked a federal judge Wednesday not to force him to testify in the CIA leak case. That's funny, after years of consistently lying, Wilson is afraid of being sworn to tell the truth.

Remember when the Democrat strategy for this past Novembers elections were centered around focusing on a "Republican Culture of Corruption?" Keep that in mind while reading this article: Democrats in the Florida Senate are raising money to help re-elect fellow Democratic Sen. Gary Siplin, the Orlando legislator convicted earlier this year of felony grand theft. Contrast that with how Republican voters dealt with misbehaving politicians.

Here is an interesting story regarding Iowa governor and Democrat presidential hopeful Tom Vilsack. He was placed for adoption shortly after birth and his adoptive mother had told him the records had been destroyed by fire. Recently he received a letter from a nun who had worked at a home for unwed mothers who told him the records are available if he is interested in viewing them. I wish him good luck in whatever he decides to do. Obviously, not an easy decision.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday links and comments

This is funny. Alan Dershowitz has an article calling out Jimmy Carter for refusing to debate his book which he says he wrote to stimulate debate.

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark is pleading with the United States not to hand over Saddam Hussein to the Iraqi government. This clown hasn't had a good word to say about the United States since the early 1960's and all of a sudden he'd rather his buddy Saddam be held by us. Nope. Most of Saddam crimes were committed against the Iraqi people so it is appropriate for them to carry out his sentence.

Terence Jeffrey of Human Events wrote a column titled Ten Principles of Conservatism. Mind you, these are not necessarily principles of Republicans. Here is one from his list, click the link to read the rest.
7. The Constitution Means What It Says

Believing in the God-given rights of man and understanding the imperfect nature of human beings, the Framers crafted a Constitution designed to protect the former from the latter. Many of the problems in U.S. government would be resolved if the President, Congress and Courts limited themselves and each other to the authority the Constitution actually grants them.

This is hilarious. I get the impression Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell will not be exchanging Christmas cards.

Victor Davis Hanson is always worth reading. Today is no exception. Hopefully, everyone running for president in 2008 reads Hanson's suggestions near the end of this column.
Here are a few starting suggestions:

Bluntly identify radical Islam as fascistic - without worrying whether some Muslims take offense when we will talk honestly about the extremists in their midst.

Lastly, Turkmenistan's President-for-life Saparmurat Niyazov died suddenly after 21 years of iron rule. Most Americans have probably never heard of him, but this could end up being very important to the European economy. Turkmenistan is a major exporter of natural gas and any disruption during the winter months could be catastrophic. When a country has been under totalitarian rule of one man for a prolonged period, his departure can leave a difficult void to fill. In case you were wondering, Turkmenistan's population is 89% Muslim. Definitely bears watching.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What's in a name?

What's in a name? Sometimes plenty. Here is an article out of England about most popular baby names. Why is it worth noting?
Mohammed, and its most common alternative spelling Muhammad, are now more popular babies' names in England and Wales than George, reflecting the diverse ethnic mix of the population. The Office for National Statistics said there were 2,833 baby boys called Mohammed in 2006.
That should be alarming to any Brits not inclined to kneel facing Mecca five times a day.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Man bites dog story

I'm happy tonight to report a story of a politician doing something good. The mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Ron Littlefield, gathered up a bus load of homeless people and took them to see the inspirational movie The Pursuit of Happyness. The Pursuit of Happyness is the true story of a man who found himself down on his luck and struggling to raise his son while living in a homeless shelter. The movie is a story of hope and perseverance. If the homeless people Mayor Littlefield took to the movie left with the hope of a better future then his idea was a success. Hope is more important to the human existence than money.

Lying about history

No war or its aftermath ever perfectly matches a preconceived plan. Whatever failings occur in a war zone are fair game for politicians who want to criticize whoever is in charge at a particular time. The Iraq portion of the War on Terror is no exception. Like with any war there have been enough things go wrong for an opportunistic politician to criticize without having to make stuff up. However, some politicians and their accomplices in the media are playing funny with facts to make things sound worse than they are. This weekend, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), who has never let the truth get in the way of making a nonsensical point, was being interviewed on FOX by Chris Wallace and made the following statement.
Our military has been in Iraq longer than in World War II, World War I, longer than the Vietnam War.
Wallace never called Kennedy on his mendacity. We had troops in Germany and Japan for a half century after WW II. The Vietnam War lasted approximately 8 years. The war in Iraq lasted about a month and the occupation has lasted about four years. It is incredibly disingenuous for politicians to make such comparisons between the conflict in Iraq and past wars. We lost over fifty thousand troops in the Vietnam War. We lost over four hundred thousand servicemen in World War II. There is no valid comparison between this conflict and past wars. Having said that, there is a bigger point to be made. Even if there were very obvious comparisons to past wars either in length of time or number of casualties it would have no bearing on whether we should have ever prosecuted the war or whether we should stand by Iraq as it struggles to survive as a democracy.

Because there is no such thing as making too much fun of Ted Kennedy, read the following passage where Wallace is asking Kennedy about domestic issues:
WALLACE: But let me ask you about this, because some people would say that there need to be bigger changes than what you're talking about. Let me give you an example.

Back in 1995, you were one of only 12 senators to vote against welfare reform, which was subsequently signed by President Clinton. And you said the bill was — and let's put it up on the screen...

KENNEDY: This is...

WALLACE: 1995.

KENNEDY: Six years ago, OK.
Huh? 1995 is six years ago to him?

Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored by Y Ted

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Unwritten rules of sports

Last night there was a brawl near the end of an NBA basketball game. After all the punches were thrown and all the players thrown out, the TV talking heads were left to explain what happened. Turns out this brawl was precipitated by a perception by one team, the New York Knicks, that the other team, the Denver Nuggets, was disrespecting them by violating an unwritten rule of the sport. Near the end of the game, the coach of the Knicks Isiah Thomas complained to a Nuggets player about them having their starters left in the game even though they had a big lead. Consider this quote:
"Up 19 with a minute and a half to go, (Carmelo Anthony) and (Marcus) Camby really shouldn't be in the game," Thomas said. "We had surrendered. (Those) guys shouldn't even be in the game at that point."
Instead of coaching his own team, he is worrying about who is playing for the other team. The reason unwritten rules are called unwritten rules is because they don't exist. If you don't want to get embarrassed by your opponent play better. During last years little league tournament, we had a player's dad almost thrown out of the game for arguing with the other teams first base coach because they were still stealing bases even though they were winning by more than a couple runs. I had to explain to him that if we don't want them to steal we need to show that we can stop them. Your opponent is under no obligation to play down to your level.

There will be various punishments handed down by the NBA, but the guy who precipitated the fight, Thomas, probably won't be dealt with by the league. Don't worry though, his comments about surrendering should be a firing offense. The team may wait until the end of the season, but he'll be gone because he can't lead his team.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Friday's links and comments

The Boston Red Sox have completed a deal with pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. The total cost for the pitcher's services for six years is over 100 million dollars. Ridiculous! Too much to commit to a player who has never played in the major leagues. Maybe teams will learn a lesson abut buying a pig in a poke, if, as I expect, he turns out to be no better than average against major league talent.

Rather coincidental that an article with this headline: "Jimmy Carter: Jew-Hater, Genocide-Enabler, Liar" would be written the same week the crazy people were gathering in Iran to argue that the Holocaust never happened. Oddly enough, Carter has canceled his book signing appearance at Brandeis University because the school asked him to defend his anti-semitism in a debate with Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz.

In answering the challenge that Barack Obama is too inexperienced for the presidency, people have been making the comparison to Abraham Lincoln. In her column today, Peggy Noonan addresses this false comparison.
When it is pointed out that he has had almost--almost--two years in the U.S. Senate, and before that was an obscure state legislator in Illinois, his supporters compare him to Lincoln. But Lincoln had become a national voice on the great issue of the day, slavery. He rose with a reason. Sen. Obama's rise is not about a stand or an issue or a question; it is about Sen. Obama.

Many have laughed at the idea of Dennis Kucinich running for president. Don Surber gives us 2,955,963 reasons we should be crying instead of laughing.
EVERYONE who laughed when the elfin Dennis Kucinich threw his hat in the ring to run for president in 2004 should realize why he smiles. He had 2,955,963 reasons to smile. That is how many bucks federal taxpayers gave his ridiculous campaign for president. Kucinich had no chance. Yet under the bizarre federal election rules, taxpayers had to give this fool $2,955,963 just to humor his vanity
Do away with funding of these fools errands with confiscated monies (taxes)!

A few days ago, Sen. Tim Johnson was rushed to the hospital. Since then I've resisted posting anything about any potential political implications. I assumed that no matter how I phrased a sentence it would come across as crass. Many on TV and the internet have been unable to resist the impulse to speculate about what happens if he doesn't make it. I know we live in a age of instant gratification, but somethings can wait. Let us all ignore politics for a while and just hope for a full recovery. If we want a majority in the House or Senate we can earn it at the ballot box.

I'm an opponent of excessive government involvement in business matters. However, big business almost appears to be begging for additional government oversight. Business news this week has been dominated by reports of astronomical bonuses at Goldman Sacks (GS) and other firms. It has been reported that Goldman Sacks will be doling out 16 billion (yes, billion!) in year end bonuses. Adequately compensating top performers is one thing - these numbers are another matter altogether. A major part of the board of directors (BoD) responsibilities is looking out for the stock holders. When the BoD repeatedly fails in this duty we eventually get government involvement. I don't want to hear any complaining from GS when that happens. Just as the crooks at ENRON and Worldcom led to the excessive reporting requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley, the GS bonuses will lead to additional misguided legislation.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wednesday's links and comments

I guess it is a matter of perspective. This headline uses the word blame when I think credit would be much more appropriate.
Coburn blamed for killing bills

In the year leading up to this past November's elections, Democrats with the help of a complicit media pushed the idea of Republican corruption. This tactic worked as Republicans with alleged or real ethical problems were kicked to the curb. However, Democrats reelected their various scandal plagued congresscritters (Martinez, Mollohan, etc). This weekend voters in Louisiana continued the trend by sending William Jefferson back to the House for another term. You may remember Jefferson was taped accepting a bribe and $90,000 of marked money was found in his freezer. While I rightfully blame the fools who voted for this crook, I also blame our federal judicial system that hasn't seen fit to arrest and charge him. This story continues with this item: The Congressional Black Caucus is planning to press Democratic leaders to reinstate Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) to the Ways and Means Committee. Well, that makes sense no one will bribe him unless he is in a position to affect how confiscated money is distributed. Don Surber pointed out this morning that incoming House Speaker Pelosi has taken action to keep Jefferson off the Ways and Means Committee until the investigation is complete. No word on whether he will be giving any refunds.

Investors Business Daily has an excellent article about the classless departure speech of the abysmal failure Kofi Annan. Here is the first and last paragraphs (but read the rest):
Departing U.N. chief Kofi Annan has much to answer for during his tenure, including his own possibly criminal behavior. Instead, in one of his final speeches, he lets loose a flood of bile, mostly aimed at the U.S. . . .

He should be asking the world — including the U.S. — for forgiveness for his many failures as U.N. chief. He also should be indicted or at least investigated for crimes committed on his watch. But Annan's lucky. Instead, he'll retire to the lecture circuit, with a lavish pension funded largely by the U.S., a nation he despises

In the past century, there have been several horrific attempts at genocide (the Holocaust, the former state of Yugoslavia, Darfur, Rwanda). To a large extent, these atrocities went on unchecked until after millions of people were killed or displaced. Outgoing U.N. Ambassador John Bolton has proposed taking action before the atrocities start again. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has repeatedly called for Israel to wiped off the map and is this week hosting a meeting of his fellow racists like David Duke to deny that the Holocaust even happened. Bolton is suggesting that Ahmadinejad should be charged with inciting to commit genocide. Regardless of the fact that his proposal will not likely be acted upon, it is important that Ahmadinejad's comments be denounced with strong moral clarity.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Jeane Kirkpatrick - RIP

Just saw the main headline on announcing that former U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick has passed away. She was a clear thinker and a clear speaker. She understood the threat of communism and brought the same clarity of thought to the current threat of Islamic-terrorism.

Though she was a lifelong Democrat, she was driven from that party by their positions on foreign affairs. She is most famous for coining the phrase "the Blame America First Crowd" to describe how how some U.S. politicians view things.

Rest in peace, Ambassador and thanks for your service to our country's security.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

65 years ago today

65 years ago today, our country was brutally attacked. On a quiet Sunday morning in the Hawaii port of Pearl Harbor as sailors were starting their day (or sleeping off Saturday night if they didn't have duty) the Japanese Navy commenced a surprise attack which killed over 2,400 sailors and decimated the U.S. Pacific Fleet. After that morning we could no longer ignore the war in Europe and the Far East. It is right to remember those lost that day and in the war that followed that attack. However, it is equally important to remember the lesson we should have learned that day.

While there is no doubt that blame for the Pearl Harbor attack was rightly assigned to the Japanese Empire, the cause of the attack was a perception of American weakness. That misperception was stomped out by the great American resolve to deal with the enemies of peace regardless of cost. Regrettably, we have in the decades since recreated that perception of American weakness with predictable results. When we abandoned our allies in South Vietnam, we were branded a paper tiger. When we failed to respond to the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, we emboldened the Islamofacists. When we turned tail and ran from a few thugs in Somalia, we further cemented the idea that we've grown weak. That perception led Osama bin Laden to believe he could attack us with impunity. He directed his fanatics to bomb two U.S. embassies and the USS Cole. Our lack of response convinced them to carry out an attack on U.S. soil which killed over three thousand people. Now, there are some clamoring for us to quit in Iraq and confirm their thoughts that America doesn't have the stomach to continue a war effort to completion.

Don't tell me you remember Pearl Harbor if you refuse to understand the lesson of Pearl Harbor.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

2008 Presidential Aspirants

More than any election in recent memory, the 2008 presidential election is wide open with no clear standard bearer for either major party. This has resulted in an incredible number of politicians believing they have a chance. I've probably missed some, but I'll list below everyone I've seen considering a run. There are over ten on each side. It is a fact of political life that to have any chance at winning a party's nomination a candidate needs to secure massive amounts of campaign funds. So many of the people I'm going to list will drop out of the race once they realize that the serious money is committed elsewhere. Regardless, here is an early list of potential candidates for each party.
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) - Perceived front runner.
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) - He's the only one who doesn't know that people just don't like him.
Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) - You never know what he'll say. Last year, he claimed he could appeal to southern voters because his state of Delaware was a slave state. Good luck running on that platform.
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) - Opposed John Bolton for the U.N. ambassador out of concern for Cuba. Good luck selling that position.
Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) - Has been quietly building support.
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) - Former two term governor of Indiana. May be more formidable in the general election than primary.
Sen. Barak Obama (D-IL) - First term senator. One positive from his presence in the campaign is it reduces the likelyhood of the race baiting clowns (Sharpton/Jackson) getting in the race.
Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) - Like Bayh, Richardson wouldn't be lumped in with the extremists. Unfortunately for him that won't play in a primary.
Former VP Al Gore (D-TN) - The anti-internal combustion engine candidate.
Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) - The anti-Walmart candidate. Attacking Walmart may work with the online Dem activists and with the unions, but that's about it.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) - Has the tin foil hat vote sewn up.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) - Media favorite until he gets the nomination.
Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) - Has stated he will not run. Good call.
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) - Conservative candidate. He needs to increase his name recognition, but he is well poised to jump to the front if people remember why McCain is unacceptable (Anti-First amendment McCain/Feingold legislation and the anti-law enforcement McCain/Kennedy immigration bill).
Former Mayor Rudy Guiliani (R-NY) - In New York he is considered a right winger. In middle of country his positions are considered to be more in line with the other party
Gov. George Pataki (R-NY) - Probably won't run if Guiliani does.
Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) - Well positioned as the outsider. Articulates conservative views well.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty R-MN) - Narrow reelection victory probably ends his chances in 2008.
Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) - Best known for losing a lot of weight.
Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NB) - I can best demonstrate my disdain for Hagel by declaring I would sooner vote for Hillary Clinton than Hagel.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) - Probably much better suited for the job than most with much better odds of winning.
Former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R-WI) - Has executive experience on state and federal level (HHS).
Former Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA) - Brightest mind on the political landscape. Most vilified potential presidential candidate since Richard Nixon.
Former Rep. Bob Dornan (R-CA) - Only running because he thinks the perceived front runners (McCain & Guiliani) should not represent the Republican party.
Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice (R-CA) - Says she is not interested in running.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (NYC) - Billionaire mayor of New York City. Was a Democrat until he decided he wanted to be mayor and saw the Republican primary would be easier to secure. His nanny state form of socialism has him further to the left than most Democrats in my view.

Well, that is around 25 potential candidates and there are probably a dozen I failed to list. If you are aware of anybody who has expressed any interest in running leave their name in the comments section and I'll update this post.


Wednesday News and links

What happened to the policy of shooting spies during wartime?
A military judge today sentenced Petty Officer 3rd Class Ariel J. Weinmann to 12 years in prison and a dishonorable discharge for espionage, desertion and other crimes.
Not enough. That is a firing squad offense.

The oldest Catholic priest passed away this week at 109 years old. Born in the age of candle light and horse drawn carts he lived to see a day when people travel to outer-space.

Here is another story of the horrific results we get from judicial misconduct.
Two decades before he allegedly murdered Mary Hutchison in a suburban Burger King, James Ealy was convicted of murdering a pregnant woman and three children on Chicago's West Side.

But an appellate court threw out his conviction -- and left prosecutors no evidence to try him again.
It is irresponsible for appeals courts to free dangerous criminals due to police not following approved investigative procedures. Administratively punish the police (loss of rank or one week suspension - whatever) if they don't remind a crook of their Miranda rights, but you should not release the crook to kill again.

Walt Williams pays tribute to the recently departed Milton Friedman and includes an especially timely exchange Friedman had with Gen. Westmoreland regarding the idea of a volunteer Army:
Friedman made a major intellectual contribution to the formation of a voluntary army. In testimony before President Nixon's commission on eliminating the draft, General William Westmoreland said he did not want to command an army of mercenaries. Mr. Friedman interrupted, "General, would you rather command an army of slaves?" Gen. Westmoreland replied, "I don't like to hear our patriotic draftees referred to as slaves." Mr. Friedman then retorted, "I don't like to hear our patriotic volunteers referred to as mercenaries. If they are mercenaries, then I, sir, am a mercenary professor, and you, sir, are a mercenary general; we are served by mercenary physicians, we use a mercenary lawyer, and we get our meat from a mercenary butcher."
We need men of Friedman's intellect to respond to the Charlie Rangels who would act to restore the draft.

Man Accused Of Faking Retardation -- For 20 Years
For nearly 20 years -- ever since Pete Costello was 8 -- his mother has collected disability benefits on his behalf. In meetings with Social Security officials and psychologists, he appeared mentally retarded and unable to communicate. His mother insisted he couldn't read or write, shower, take care of himself or drive a car. But now prosecutors said it was all a huge fraud, and they have video of Costello contesting a traffic ticket to prove it.
When we create a social welfare system that is based on how many kids you have and gives a larger amount of money if your kid has problems don't be too surprised that people pull scams like this.

Jay Tea of WIZBANG exposes the hypocrisy of how the Boston Globe chooses which political "scandal" to get outraged over. The same paper that said nary a word about Ted Kennedy abusing the system to have his mother declared a resident of Florida upon her death (since Florida, unlike Massachusetts, has no estate tax) even though she hadn't left Cape Cod for many years prior to dying is all up in arms because Governor Mitt Romney's lawn service hires illegal aliens. Jay has other examples of their selective reporting depending on a politician's political party.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Random Thoughts

If Thomas Sowell can title articles occasionally as a collection of random thoughts then so can I.

How accurate are those expiration dates on medicine? I don't get sick very often, but that last few days I've been fighting a bug. Well, I decided to try some Alka Seltzer and as I'm opening the packet and dropping the tablets in the water I notice they expired in October 2001. However, they still seemed to work as I woke up without a runny nose this morning.

Glad to see Rutgers coach Greg Schiano has stated he will stay with Rutgers. Too often schools like Rutgers get used as a stepping stone to get a job with a higher profile school. An athlete is required to sit out a year when switching schools why are coaches allowed to leave in the middle of a contract with no waiting period?

Congratulations to Ohio State middle linebacker James Laurinaitis who won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the best college defensive player. Bobby Carpenter's injury late in last season which gave Laurinaitis playing time (and practice time with the first team defense) help him show up ready to dominate this season. He is the first sophomore to be selected for this award. This should be just the first of several individual awards garnered by the Buckeyes this season. Personally, I would like to see the various awards presented after the bowl games. These guys should be practicing not going to banquets. In Laurinaitis defense, he didn't stay to receive the award. He left early to return to Columbus for final exams and a coach accepted the award on his behalf.

I'm in the minority in this opinion, but I actually think Joe Theismann does a good job on Monday Night Football. For example, last night in the 4th quarter he made a comment about how he would try set up a match up of running back Brian Westbrook being covered by a linebacker. Very next play, Westbrook is out in the flat covered by a linebacker who couldn't keep up with him and he catches the ball for a 30 yard gain. Tony Kornheiser on the other hand is miscast doing live broadcasts. Kornheiser talks too much and often it has nothing to do with the game. Last night he made some lame joke about his baldness using a player's name that sounded like toupee.

Baseball Winter meetings are taking place in Orlando Florida this week. Talk is centering on whether the Red Sox will move Manny Ramirez. Secondary stories concern where will the big name free agents (Zito, Bonds, Schmidt) wind up. Twins blogger Aaron Gleeman has been hired to report on baseball for and is providing updates from Orlando of all the action. Okay, so far there hasn't been any action, but his commentary is still pretty funny. Unlike some old wizened baseball reporter you can tell that Aaron is still in awe of his surroundings. Here is a paragraph from yesterday.
It didn't take long for my first "celebrity" sighting. As I was checking into my hotel Sunday night, I heard a pair of familiar, booming voices a few feet away. Glancing to my left, I saw Fox's Kevin Kennedy and XM radio's Charley Steiner (who's most famous for his days at ESPN). It's odd enough seeing random recognizable faces-although that's basically what I'm expecting this entire week-but what made it particularly weird was hearing familiar voices saying non-familiar things. As difficult as it was-and I had one of those "devil on one shoulder, angel on the other" internal dialogues going on-I somehow managed to avoid asking if Steiner ever got that whooping that Evander Holyfield promised him in an old ESPN commercial.

Think you're having a bad day? Think of the day our puppy Grady had yesterday. Wakes up everything is good to go, he's all happy-go-lucky then I ask him "Wanna go for a ride" and he gets all excited and runs to the van. He sits up front the whole ride enjoying the view. Then all that happiness comes crashing down as we pull up to the veterinarian's office. While waiting to sign him in the dog was shaking like a leaf. He must have known something was up. Well, after I left he was neutered. So remember no matter how bad your day is it probably is better than yesterday was for Grady.

Monday, December 04, 2006


The men who crafted our Constitution understood that some office holders would act in a manner which would necessitate their removal from office. However, they also realized that occasionally politicians would abuse those procedures so they intentionally made the process fairly difficult.

There has been considerable talk among the angry left about impeaching President Bush for various imagined offenses. Orson Scott Card wrote a lengthy column responding to a Doonesbury cartoon pushing that idea.
The comic strip, by Garry Trudeau, shows a professor teaching a class, in which he compares two presidents -- Bush and Clinton. Of Bush he says, "The first president initiates a bloody, costly, unending war on false premises ... and approves covert policies of illegal detentions, kangaroo courts, extraordinary renditions, torture, and warrantless wiretapping of thousands of Americans."

Of Clinton, he says, "The second president lies about hooking up with an intern. Question: Which one should be impeached?"

The only reason Trudeau's little screed is worth answering is because there are a lot of bitter, angry Democrats who feel the same way.
Click here for the rest of the article. Card very effectively refutes Trudeau's nonsense.

While we are on the subject of impeachment, I believe we actually don't use the process often enough. The political tree most in need of periodic pruning is the federal judiciary. The legislative and executive branch is subject to review by the voters. However, federal judges are appointed for life. Currently the only times judges have been impeached is when they have been caught in specific criminal acts. I don't think that is sufficient. For example, what would you think if a Supreme Court Justice claimed the Supreme Court must promote the political rights of minorities and look beyond the Constitution's text when necessary to ensure that "no one gets too powerful." The reason I ask is because Justice Breyer used exactly that language to defend the current practice of just making stuff up that isn't in the Constitution. What Breyer doesn't get is it is he and his fellow justices who are exceeding the power originally intended for their position. Actually, Justice Breyer, your job is not to promote rights of minorities or any other group. Your job is to rule based on applicable laws. During recent confirmation hearings a senator in an accusing manner asked whether the nominee would look out for the little guy. The nominee rightly responded he would look out for the little guy if the law dictated so, but if the correct ruling would favor the big guy then he would look out for the big guys rights. When it comes to judges, I believe an open declaration of intention to ignore the U.S. Constitution is the equivalent of a high crime.