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

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

We need Joe Biden running

There are around 20 candidates running for president in 2008. Obviously, only one will garner each party's nomination. As we go through 2007, most will fall by the wayside and end their campaign. Some will fail to get the necessary financial backing. Some won't develop the name recognition. Let's hope Joe Biden isn't one of the early drop outs. Not that I agree with him on any policy issues. Rather I want him in the race because if nothing else, he makes the race more entertaining. His proclivity to speak before he thinks makes him stand out from the usual politician who considers how every last word will be interpreted by each constituency before speaking. In the last year he has bragged how Delaware being a former slave state would help his campaign and made silly remarks about immigrants from India all working at convenience stores. Here is the latest example of Biden speaking about fellow presidential candidate, Barack Obama:
Mr. Biden is equally skeptical—albeit in a slightly more backhanded way—about Mr. Obama. “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
Is he saying that all the other black men he has met are either inarticulate, not bright, unclean, or just not nice looking? Over a couple decades ago, we made fun of sports reporters who would refer to a black athlete as articulate since that made the assumption that all others were not. A guy who has served in the senate for over 30 years and is running for president should be held to a slightly higher standard than a goof covering sports for local television.


Police brutality

I'm a strong supporter of law enforcement and usually don't get too worked up if someone resisting arrest gets some healthy bruises. However, even I think there are times where they go too far and here is an example.
A 21-year-old woman told police Saturday that a man grabbed her off Howard Avenue and raped her behind a building during the Gasparilla festivities.

But officers investigating the case arrested her after learning she had an outstanding warrant from her teenage years for failure to pay restitution.

She spent the next two nights in jail
Great job, guys. Lock up the victim why don't ya? Oh, that's right, you did lock up the victim. Some acts of brutality don't even involve touching the subject.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Oldest person dies at 114 in Connecticut

Emma Faust Tillman, who was born to former slaves and lived to see 21 American presidencies, died at a nursing home just four days after becoming the world's oldest-known living person. She was 114. She may not have held the record very long, but I get the feeling that the title "oldest person" changes hands fairly quickly. To put her amazing life span in historical perspective, she had graduated high school and was married before World War One. The year she got married Babe Ruth was a rookie pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. She lived so long she was a widow for 67 years!

Despite being born only one generation removed from slavery and living through various tumultuous times it sounds like she had a very good life with few regrets.
She was the only black student in her high school when she graduated in 1909 but said she never experienced discrimination there whether she was in class, churning butter for a local family or playing shortstop on a town baseball team.

"In Glastonbury, I didn't know if I was white or black," she said in 1994. "People were just fine, even way back then, to me. They treated me just like everybody else."
The mantle of "oldest living person" passes to a Japanese woman named Yone Minagawa. Let's hope she holds the title a little longer than Mrs. Tillman.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Liz Taylor gives Hillary Clinton campaign $100,000

As I read this article, the thought kept going through my mind that the limit an individual can donate to a campaign is $2,000. If that is the case, how does Liz Taylor get away with giving 100,000 to Hillary Clinton's campaign? Well, according to the Federal Elections Commission web site the maximum donation has gone up due to indexing for inflation to $2,300 which is still well less than 100,000.

Now, I understand that laws don't apply to these folks the same way they might to you and I, but this seems awfully blatant. Anyone know if there is an exception for actresses who used to be good looking?

Reuters is now reporting that since their first report would constitute a violation of election laws now it is a lesser amount that Liz donated to Hillary's campaign.
A spokesman for the 74-year-old actress said she had contributed $2,100 to the New York Democratic senator, the legal limit an individual can give in a primary campaign. Earlier the spokesman had said Taylor gave $100,000, but said that was an incorrect figure based on misinformation.
Who knows?

Beer can news

Caution, this post is not for all readers. This entry is intended for my one reader who collects beer cans.

Yesterday in History: Canned Beer Debuts in 1935
Canned beer makes its debut on this day in 1935. In partnership with the American Can Company, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company delivered 2,000 cans of Krueger's Finest Beer and Krueger's Cream Ale to faithful Krueger drinkers in Richmond, Virginia. Ninety-one percent of the drinkers approved of the canned beer, driving Krueger to give the green light to further production.
Click here for a neat History Channel video on the subject.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

How could Hillary Clinton get my vote?

As someone with a basic understanding of math and economics and a capability to discern why capitalism is preferable to socialism, I do not meet the demographics of the typical Hillary Clinton supporter. Having said that, she does have a very slight chance of getting my vote. All she has to do to garner my support is ensure Sen. Chuck Hagel is the Republican nominee for president.

The Washington Post has a fawning article speculating about the various ways Hagel could run for president. What jumped out from the article was this paragraph:
Both parties have their Iraq war contrarians. For the Democrats, it is Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, whose steadfast support for President Bush nearly cost him his seat last year and forced him to run as an independent. The Republican version is Hagel, a career maverick from Nebraska and the only GOP senator to call for an end to the war.
So, Lieberman is unwelcome in his party for wanting us to win in Iraq and Hagel is unpopular in his for the opposite reason. That paragraph is as telling about the two parties as it is about the individuals discussed.

Cheney says Clinton not good for president

Talk about your classic "Sun likely to set in the West" headline. Is this news.
Vice President Dick Cheney on Wednesday said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton would not make a good president -- because she is a Democrat.
No kidding.

Tell your U.S. senator not to undermine the troops

Most Americans understand that our enemies listen to the public pronouncements of our political leaders for any sign that our resolve is weakening. Unfortunately, some of our senators fail to grasp that fact. Senators making open declarations that they expect our efforts in Iraq to fail is tantamount to a self-fulfilling prophesy. Here is a chance to tell them it matters to you.

9052 people have signed The Pledge thus far. Will you?

If the United States Senate passes a resolution, non-binding or otherwise, that criticizes the commitment of additional troops to Iraq that General Petraeus has asked for and that the president has pledged, and if the Senate does so after the testimony of General Petraeus on January 23 that such a resolution will be an encouragement to the enemy, I will not contribute to any Republican senator who voted for the resolution. Further, if any Republican senator who votes for such a resolution is a candidate for re-election in 2008, I will not contribute to the National Republican Senatorial Committee unless the Chairman of that Committee, Senator Ensign, commits in writing that none of the funds of the NRSC will go to support the re-election of any senator supporting the non-binding resolution.

Click the link to sign the pledge.

Almost Jogging?

To counter media claims that Cuban dictator Fidel Castro is dead or dying, we get this article: Chavez Says Castro 'Almost Jogging'. What's "almost jogging?" This morning, I thought about jogging but actually sat on my butt reading the internet. Does that count as almost jogging?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sports Shorts

A couple days ago I mentioned that Mike Tomlin would be the youngest head coach in the NFL if hired by the Steelers. Well, his hiring was announced on Monday and he got to be the youngest coach for one day. On Tuesday, the Oakland Raiders announced they were hiring 31 year old Lane Kiffin as the next guy to fail as Raiders coach. If his name is familiar it is probably because his dad (Monte Kiffin) is the longtime Tampa Bay Buccaneer's offensive coordinator. Asked if he might ever consider working for his son, Monte Kiffin said, "I don't know if that'll ever happen. But if I'm working for him, I'll remind him I'm still your dad."

The NFL coaching ranks will likely continue to get younger as Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells has decided to retire.

If you want a laugh, read the last paragraph of this article.
COMEBACK KING? Jim Leyritz is considering a comeback this season. Leyritz, 43, hasn't played since 2000, when he appeared in 65 games for the Yankees and Dodgers.
He was barely average at best when he last played. What makes him think that his skills would be better in his mid 40's than in his 30's?

It is way too early for baseball predictions, but things are looking better for the Indians. No, the Indians haven't just made a blockbuster trade. Rather their divisional competition have been taking steps backwards. First, the cash strapped Minnesota Twins signed Ramon Ortiz for 3.1 million dollars for the upcoming season. And despite his having an ERA over 5 in three of the last four seasons, they plan on having him pitch. The Twins did have a need for starting pitching due to Liriano's injury and Radke's retirement. However, if Ortiz is the best you can do then you're better off bringing up pitchers from the minors. Then on the heals of the Ortiz signing, we get word that the Chicago White Sox have signed Darin Erstad. Erstad had a good year in 2000 but hasn't exceeded 10 home runs in a season since.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Relic from a simpler time

Here is an cool story from Oklahoma. When Oklahoma turned 50 years old they buried a new Plymouth under the lawn of the courthouse in Tusla. The idea is a different take on burying a time capsule. Who owns the car? They don't know.
Another unknown is who will be able to claim the car. When the car was buried, a contest was announced to award the car and a $100 savings account to the person who came closest to guessing Tulsa's population in 2007. At the time, the guesses were recorded and sealed in a steel container buried with the car.
Using the three months/three thousand miles rule this car is way overdue for an oil change.

State of the Union address

Tonight President Bush will deliver his sixth State of the Union (SOTU) address. Politicians will be listening for policy pronouncements to disparage.
Investors will be listening for indications of future plans to wastefully spend money confiscated from one group of citizens (go ahead and call them taxpayers) to bribe another group of citizens called voters. Chris at A Large Regular reminds us of the language used in the Constitution requiring this annual report.
"The President shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." Article II, Sec. 3, U.S. Constitution
Somehow, I don't think the present practice of promising everything to everyone is what was intended. I believe the founding fathers, knowing how precarious this young country was, really wanted a report on the condition of the union. With this in mind, I recommend the president, instead of giving the standard "The State of our Union is strong" platitudes, should give this short speech:
The state of our union is weak and splintered. Unlike during the 19th century when some states attempted to secede from the union, today we are divided between those who understand we are in a war and want to win it to secure our country's safety and those who believe we can ignore the problem and hope it will just go away. We are a strong country with a vibrant and growing economy. However, If we are unwilling to fully support the efforts to defend our country then in time our economic strength will be undone. Our military performed valiantly and we won the actual war in Iraq. However, if we fail to show the necessary resolve to secure the peace then the great sacrifices made will have been in vain. Our adversaries listen to our public statements. We still have our basic freedoms including freedom of speech, but those freedoms have responsibilities. Exercising it injudiciously sends the message that we while we can not be defeated on the battle field, we can be defeated politically at home. We must not let that happen!

Required Reading

Here is another item from the weekend that I wanted to post but didn't want it to get lost among the laundry list of today's links. This is taken verbatim from Right Moment (with permission).

The words of 2nd Lt. Mark J. Daley about why he joined the Army is something every American should be required to read. So, in order to make it as simple as possible and because I think it is that important here is the full text copied from his MySpace page.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Current mood: optimistic

Why I Joined:

This question has been asked of me so many times in so many different contexts that I thought it would be best if I wrote my reasons for joining the Army on my page for all to see. First, the more accurate question is why I volunteered to go to Iraq. After all, I joined the Army a week after we declared war on Saddam's government with the intention of going to Iraq. Now, after years of training and preparation, I am finally here.

Much has changed in the last three years. The criminal Ba'ath regime has been replaced by an insurgency fueled by Iraq's neighbors who hope to partition Iraq for their own ends. This is coupled with the ever present transnational militant Islamist movement which has seized upon Iraq as the greatest way to kill Americans, along with anyone else they happen to be standing near. What was once a paralyzed state of fear is now the staging ground for one of the largest transformations of power and ideology the Middle East has experienced since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Thanks to Iran, Syria, and other enlightened local actors, this transformation will be plagued by interregional hatred and genocide. And I am now in the center of this.

Is this why I joined?

Yes. Much has been said about America's intentions in overthrowing Saddam Hussein and seeking to establish a new state based upon political representation and individual rights. Many have framed the paradigm through which they view the conflict around one-word explanations such as "oil" or "terrorism," favoring the one which best serves their political persuasion. I did the same thing, and anyone who knew me before I joined knows that I am quite aware and at times sympathetic to the arguments against the war in Iraq. If you think the only way a person could bring themselves to volunteer for this war is through sheer desperation or blind obedience then consider me the exception (though there are countless like me).

I joined the fight because it occurred to me that many modern day "humanists" who claim to possess a genuine concern for human beings throughout the world are in fact quite content to allow their fellow "global citizens" to suffer under the most hideous state apparatuses and conditions. Their excuses used to be my excuses. When asked why we shouldn't confront the Ba'ath party, the Taliban or the various other tyrannies throughout this world, my answers would allude to vague notions of cultural tolerance (forcing women to wear a veil and stay indoors is such a quaint cultural tradition), the sanctity of national sovereignty (how eager we internationalists are to throw up borders to defend dictatorships!) or even a creeping suspicion of America's intentions. When all else failed, I would retreat to my fragile moral ecosystem that years of living in peace and liberty had provided me. I would write off war because civilian casualties were guaranteed, or temporary alliances with illiberal forces would be made, or tank fuel was toxic for the environment. My fellow "humanists" and I would relish contently in our self righteous declaration of opposition against all military campaigns against dictatorships, congratulating one another for refusing to taint that aforementioned fragile moral ecosystem that many still cradle with all the revolutionary tenacity of the members of Rage Against the Machine and Greenday. Others would point to America's historical support of Saddam Hussein, sighting it as hypocritical that we would now vilify him as a thug and a tyrant. Upon explaining that we did so to ward off the fiercely Islamist Iran, which was correctly identified as the greater threat at the time, eyes are rolled and hypocrisy is declared. Forgetting that America sided with Stalin to defeat Hitler, who was promptly confronted once the Nazis were destroyed, America's initial engagement with Saddam and other regional actors is identified as the ultimate argument against America's moral crusade.

And maybe it is. Maybe the reality of politics makes all political action inherently crude and immoral. Or maybe it is these adventures in philosophical masturbation that prevent people from ever taking any kind of effective action against men like Saddam Hussein. One thing is for certain, as disagreeable or as confusing as my decision to enter the fray may be, consider what peace vigils against genocide have accomplished lately. Consider that there are 19 year old soldiers from the Midwest who have never touched a college campus or a protest who have done more to uphold the universal legitimacy of representative government and individual rights by placing themselves between Iraqi voting lines and homicidal religious fanatics. Often times it is less about how clean your actions are and more about how pure your intentions are.

So that is why I joined. In the time it took for you to read this explanation, innocent people your age have suffered under the crushing misery of tyranny. Every tool of philosophical advancement and communication that we use to develop our opinions about this war are denied to countless human beings on this planet, many of whom live under the regimes that have, in my opinion, been legitimately targeted for destruction. Some have allowed their resentment of the President to stir silent applause for setbacks in Iraq. Others have ironically decried the war because it has tied up our forces and prevented them from confronting criminal regimes in Sudan, Uganda, and elsewhere.

I simply decided that the time for candid discussions of the oppressed was over, and I joined.

In digesting this posting, please remember that America's commitment to overthrow Saddam Hussein and his sons existed before the current administration and would exist into our future children's lives had we not acted. Please remember that the problems that plague Iraq today were set in motion centuries ago and were up until now held back by the most cruel of cages. Don't forget that human beings have a responsibility to one another and that Americans will always have a responsibility to the oppressed. Don't overlook the obvious reasons to disagree with the war but don't cheapen the moral aspects either. Assisting a formerly oppressed population in converting their torn society into a plural, democratic one is dangerous and difficult business, especially when being attacked and sabotaged from literally every direction. So if you have anything to say to me at the end of this reading, let it at least include "Good Luck"

Mark Daily

2nd Lt. Mark Daily was killed in Iraq this past Monday (01.15.07) performing a job he did not have to do but did so because he believed it was the right thing to do.

This is our military. Never forget.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Let's all take a moment to give thanks that our country has men like 2LT Daily and follow that with a prayer that our political leaders do not take action which would cause his death to have been in vain.

Tuesday's links and comments

I'm a little behind on posting these but the older ones were important enough to save.

The Cause Bush Did Justice To is an article regarding President Bush's Supreme Court nominees. As much as conservatives have been critical of President Bush we have to give him credit for John Roberts and Sam Alito.

This article from the Wall Street Journal examines Joe Lieberman's lonely stance as a Democrat in favor of winning. Heck, Republican senators in favor of winning make up a small club anymore. The whole article is worth reading, but I want to share this paragraph to demonstrate Lieberman's clarity on the situation.
"Iraq is the central part of a larger and ultimately longer-term conflict in the Middle East between moderates and extremists, between democrats and dictators, between Iran- and Iraq-sponsored terrorism and the rest of the Middle East. . . . Are we going to surrender to them, surrender that country to them, and encourage people like them to be in authority and power all over the Middle East and in a better position to strike us again?" asks Mr. Lieberman.

On the other hand we have Sen. Arlen Specter.
Specter continues to campaign for giving habeas corpus rights to terror-war prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. The Philadelphia Republicrat is wrong. Prisoners of war typically are not entitled to habeas corpus. But Mr. Specter would give unlawful enemy combatants, who target civilians, greater legal rights even though the latter have rejected the laws of war.

In response to Sen. Clinton's entry into the 2008 presidential campaign over the weekend, former senate majority leader Dr. Bill Frist has a series of questions for her that could be posed to any of people running.
As a voter, here is my list of questions that I hope she will answer:

Do you favor personal savings accounts as a voluntary part of Social Security Reform?

Do you favor an increase in retirement age as part of Medicare reform?

Should Medicare have an element of means testing?

Do you favor opening up Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration?

How do you propose expanding Health Savings Accounts?

Do you favor giving citizenship to those who are in this country illegally?

Should the United States send troops to stop the genocide in Darfur?

Will you make the Presidents tax cuts permanent?

Would you favor elimination of the death tax?

Would you support a flat tax?

Do you support President Bush's plan for Iraq?

Will you seek to meet with the leaders of Syria or North Korea or Iran?

Should the United States end the embargo of Cuba?
Voters should understand where candidates stand on these issues and others before entering the voting booth.

Peggy Noonan gives her Thoughts in advance of the State of the Union.

If you are easily offended, DON'T read this article by Burt Prelutsky titled Black Racism. I wouldn't want the job of opening his mail.

There are times where Rush Limbaugh says outrageous stuff just to get people riled up. This is NOT one of those times. From INSTAPUNDIT:
RUSH LIMBAUGH ON THE 2008 PRESIDENTIAL FIELD: "To be honest with you, there's nobody out there that revs me up, so why should I pretend that there is?"
None of the announced candidates on either side strike me as being of presidential timber. Is it too early to see about drafting Fred Thompson?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sunday Football thoughts

The National Football League conference championship games are being held this afternoon. In the early game, the New Orleans Saints travel to Chicago to play the Bears. This evening the Indianapolis Colts will host the New England Patriots.

The Bears at 13 - 3 had a better record than the Saints (10 - 6). Despite this I'm picking the Saints to upset the Bears in a close low scoring game. A good deal of the Bears success this season is attributable to special teams and defensive scoring. Kick off and punts returns for touchdowns are great but not necessarily repeatable at will. Additionally, the Bears secondary was very porous as the season wound down. The weather will likely limit the passing game for both teams. With Cedric Benson and Thomas Jones the Bears have two good running backs. However, the Saints tandem of Deuce McAllister and rookie Reggie Bush is more explosive and capable of picking up yardage in large chunks. I expect the Saints to mix up the plays between McAllister and Bush and keep the Bears defense off balance. Final score: 23 to 17 Saints.

The Indianapolis Colts have a well documented history of struggling against the Patriots in the playoffs. That history ends tonight. This Patriot defense is not the same defense that stymied Peyton Manning in seasons past. Additionally, this is the first time the Colts have faced the Patriots at home in the playoffs. The Patriots will likely concentrate on Manning's favorite target - Marvin Harrison. This should result in a big game from Reggie Wayne. Will the Colts defense continue their strong play against the run? If they limit the Patriots running game and force them into a shoot out I see the Colts winning 31 to 27.

In other football news the San Diego Chargers retained head coach Marty Schottenheimer but didn't extend his contract. Predictably, his assistant coaches started looking for jobs with greater security. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has taken the Dolphins head coaching job and tight ends coach Rob Chudzinski has been hired to be the Browns new offensive coordinator.

ESPN is reporting that the Steelers are going to name Mike Timlin as their new head coach. Timlin is currently the Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator. At 35, he would be the youngest head coach in the NFL. However, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is reporting that Russ Grimm will be the new coach for the Steelers. Somebody got this one wrong.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Hillary Clinton announces she will run for president

In the least surprising political development in recent memory, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) announced she has formed an exploratory committee to prepare for a run at the Democrat nomination for president in 2008.
"I'm in and I'm in to win," she said on her Web site.
I guess that ruins Dennis Kucinich's chances.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Ney sentenced to 30 months in prison

Former U.S. Representative Bob Ney was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison after becoming the only lawmaker to admit guilt in the influence-peddling investigation of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Ney abused his position as a public servant for personal gain and will get no defense from me. However, it is odd that the guy who accepted trips for golf outings (among other bribes) is in prison but the guy caught with $90,000 of marked bribe money in his freezer hasn't even been charged with a crime. Instead he has been reelected and sworn in with the new "ethical" congress. In fact, Jefferson received a standing ovation from the Congressional Black Caucus upon being sworn in for another term.

Indians sign Trot Nixon?

ESPN is reporting that the Indians have signed Trot Nixon to a one year three million dollars contract. I understand that three million dollars is not a lot of money in the insane world of professional sports. Heck, last week some soccer player signed a fifty million a year contract to play in San Diego and no one watched soccer in the United States. Problem I have with this deal is it was completely unnecessary. Cleveland has a glut of average outfielders. Describing Trot Nixon as even average is stretching the truth. Nixon has been injury prone and his performance has been in a steep decline. Bottom line, he provides nothing we don't already have. The only thing I've heard anyone say to defend this signing is "he's a leader and he's great in the clubhouse." Then sign him to be a clubhouse attendant not an outfielder.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thursday's links and comments

My favorite U.S. senator is not either of the two from my state of Ohio. No, the one I'd like the rest to emulate is Tom Coburn of Texas. GQ Magazine has a lengthy article on Senator Coburn (R-TX) titled "HI, I’M SENATOR COBURN, AND I DON’T WANT YOUR VOTE," here is a portion.
While fellow newcomers observed the customary “freshman silence,” Coburn’s first major move as a senator was to pick a fight with one of his party’s most venerated leaders, Ted Stevens of Alaska, a forty-year veteran of Congress who also happened to be the Senate’s president pro tempore.

The fight was over pork. As the 2006 transportation budget passed through the Senate process, Coburn noticed something odd: $200 million to pay for a bridge in Stevens’s home state—a bridge almost as long as the Golden Gate and taller than the Brooklyn Bridge, connecting an island of fifty people to the coast. In the Senate, these kinds of giveaways are not unusual; members, and especially those in a position of influence, are frequently given millions of dollars for personal spending projects back home, items that bypass the normal review process and are quietly ushered in by their peers (whose own projects get the same deal). But to Coburn, who hadn’t spent forty years in the Senate and didn’t have any of his own special projects and didn’t particularly care about keeping pacts with his new colleagues, $200 million seemed like a lot to spend on a bridge for fifty people. So he tried to take the earmark out. And that’s when Tom Coburn discovered what his life in the Senate would be like.
The real shame is a man like Coburn likely has no chance to change things in D.C.

I wasn't going to post anything about this NY Suns article/expose about Jimmy Carter interceding with the OSI on behalf of a former NAZI SS prison guard who was being deported for several reasons. 1. The "request" came seven years after Carter left the presidency. 2. The subject of the case was already deported and the letter was never acted upon. 3. Carter's long record of anti-semitism has been sufficiently documented that it is hardly newsworthy that he had a "let bygones be bygones" attitude about the holocaust. However, after seeing this entry from Mike's America I decided otherwise. Mike reminds us how the media made such a big deal about President Reagan visiting a German cemetery. The German Chancellor Helmut Kohl requested Reagan visit the cemetery as a sign of healing of the old war wounds. Turns out that among the 2,000 soldiers buried at the cemetery, there were also 49 SS interred. Reagan was criticized on the evening news for about a week. Carter's situation won't even be brought up, but there's no liberal bias in the media, right?

Franken reaching out to lawmakers about possible Senate run. Make up your own punch line. Based on his Air America history I'll just ask if he will get the local Boys and Girls Club to fund his campaign.

Realizing that medicine is a very difficult profession and that it is ridiculous to demand perfection, I'm normally strongly opposed to people suing for mistakes made during an operation. However, I have to make an exception in this case. OUCH!

Here is a local story that makes me ask what is wrong with some people? Cops: Slumber partiers got vodka. A group of 14 year old girls are having a sleep over and the mother hosting the party buys vodka for them. WHAT? As a parent, I worry about whether my kid's friends will introduce them to bad ideas. I don't expect other kid's parents to buy alcohol for them.

Art Buchwald - Rest in Peace

An American original, Art Buchwald died yesterday at 81 years old after several years of illness. His irreverent style of political humor was fun to read even though I may not have often agreed with his political point of view. He published many books most of which were compilations of his Washington Post columns. I best remember a touching story he told about looking up his Marine Corps Drill Sergeant long after leaving the service.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wednesday's links and comments

Wesley Pruden has a column which should be widely read by our representatives in congress. It is a shame we don't have a Churchillian caliber speaker today. But it is a larger shame we don't have an audience of the caliber Churchill was addressing.

Having taken control of Congress, the Democrats are quickly pushing legislation to ensure they retain control.
Democrats in Congress are pushing for legislation that they say would bring more balance to the media, but critics say would muzzle conservative voices.

The Fairness Doctrine, a federal regulation requiring broadcasters to present both sides of a controversial issue, was enforced by the Federal Communications Commission from 1949 to 1987, when it was dropped during the Reagan administration.
The liberal extremists have virtually complete control of the message delivered on TV. This legislation would be aimed at radio where conservative voices have been more entertaining and thus more successful.

What I Saw in Iraq is an article by Michelle Malkin detailing her recent visit to Iraq.
I came to Iraq a darkening pessimist about the war, due in large part to my doubts about the compatibility of Islam and Western-style democracy, but also as a result of the steady, sensational diet of "grim milestone" and "daily IED count" media coverage that aids the insurgency.

I left Iraq with unexpected hope and resolve.

Frank Keating Decides Against Run For President. Well, that really clears the way for the other candidates. Seriously though, not that I was promoting Keating as a viable candidate but his decision speaks to the problem of presidential politics. You need big money to be competitive in the primary and big money wants to bet on a winning horse early.

Stupid legal news of the day

Here is an example of excessive government oversight.
Brothers guilty in fat dog trial
I realize this is from England not the U.S. However, a lot of our bad social ideas start over there so it should concern us. I am not arguing in favor of animal cruelty and feel people should take good care of their pets. However, feeding your dog (even overfeeding) is not animal cruelty and doesn't warrant court involvement.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Boy missing four days found alive with boy missing 4 years!

In an amazing turn of events, the 13 year old Missouri boy missing since Monday was found today with another boy who had been missing since October 2002. Each hour after a child goes missing decreases the chance of the parents ever seeing the child alive again which makes this a double miracle for these two families.

Friday's links and comments

This is a scary thought and a predictable result of an abhorrent and immoral government policy, China facing major gender imbalance.
China will have 30 million more men of marriageable age than women in less than 15 years as a gender imbalance resulting in part from the country's tough one-child policy becomes more pronounced, state media reported Friday. Traditional preferences for sons has led to the widespread - but illegal - practice of women aborting babies if an early term sonogram shows it is a girl.

A couple weeks ago I listed the various politicians running or considering a run for president. Here are two more, neither of which should be taken seriously.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) - Paul has run previously as a Libertarian garnering around 400,000 votes in 1988.
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) - Dodd's campaign is off to a rough start as he chose to announce his intentions on the Imus in the Morning radio only to have Don Imus rip into him for being disloyal to Joe Lieberman last year. Then there is this poll which may or may not be satirical (ouch).
National Review Online conducted a quick survey of average Americans to guage the public's response to the news that Senator Dodd is running for president.

Who? 74%

Chris Dodd is alive? 9%

President of what? 6%

Aw, that's cute. 4%

Has he been hitting the bars with Teddy K. again? 2%

No, seriously? 2%

Sweet, Bush can run for a third term and beat that guy. 2%

Yes! Yes! Yes! He's the answer to America's problems! And, he's a great kisser. Less than 1%

Anyone need a new definition of hypocrisy? Try this one:
Phoenix Republican Congressman John Shadegg is criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats for exempting American Samoa and its tuna canneries from the House of Representatives' recently passed minimum wage increase. Del Monte Foods Co. (NYSE:DLM) subsidiary Starkist Tuna employs three-fourths of the work force in American Samoa. Del Monte is based in San Francisco, Pelosi's home district.

The minimum wage is $3.62 per hour in American Samoa, and would remain so under the bill, Shadegg said. The House bill, which would raise the U.S. minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour, did include the Northern Marana Islands.

Shadegg said the Samoan/Starkist exemption is fishy.

Here is an article rightly titled: "The Berger Fiasco." This high level Clinton appointee stole and destroyed classified documents from the National Archives to ensure they wouldn't be reviewed by the 911 Commission and only received a fine and suspended sentence. Many in government service have had their careers destroyed for merely failing to properly safeguard classified material. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but there is a lot more to this story than we are being told and a lot of unanswered questions. Why did he steal and destroy the documents? Did he merely destroy evidence of embarrassing inaction or something worse. he merely Why did he receive such leniency? Who authorized the leniency?

Iraq going forward

Wednesday night President Bush gave a detailed speech outlining what the current problems are in Iraq (sectarian violence) and what we need to do to improve the situation (clamp down). The most important message I got from his speech was the gloves are coming off and we are going to deal with Iraq's neighbors who have been actively working to ensure failure of the fledgling country. Lots of editorials and articles have been published since the speech and I'll cherry pick the ones which say something worth considering.

Former senator Fred Thompson summed up the thoughts of a lot of us in the last sentence of this article:
And, contrary to the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, instead of talking to Iran and Syria the president is taking them on too.

Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops…we will disrupt the attacks on our forces, we will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advance weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.

I'll bet that a lot of folks who support the president on this are asking themselves "what if we'd taken care of business this way two years ago?"
It has been obvious to many of us that Syria and Iran have been funding and supplying the insurgents. I still believe that whatever WMD that existed Iraq were secreted to Syria between the last game of hide and seek with U.N. inspectors and the lead up to the war.

Within hours of the president's speech, coalition forces stormed a terrorist hangout now being called the Iranian consulate in northern Iraq. If this is really a war there is no diplomatic immunity in my book.

One good sign is Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Adviser of the failed Carter administration wrote an op-ed piece highly critical of the president's plan.

Ralph Peters calls this "W's last chance." Peters correctly identified the part of the speech most important to the troops in Iraq:
To a soldier, the most encouraging thing the president said last night was that there had been "too many restrictions" on our troops in the past. Rules of engagement must be loosened. We have to stop playing Barney Fife and fight. And the president has to stand behind our troops when the game gets rough.

Bush's Iraq Plan Draws Fire From Senate Republicans. Not surprisingly there were some Republicans critical of the presidents plan. However, what was surprising is it wasn't just goofs like Chuck Hagel who were quick to pick failure over even trying to succeed. I hope I'm wrong but several appear to be for or against the troop surge based purely on personal future political considerations. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), one of a dozen 2008 presidential hopefuls, had previously supported a troop surge and has now changed his mind.

To me the bottom line is "no more mister nice guy." Anyone who is actively working to continue the violence and to disrupt the daily life of regular Iraqis needs to be dealt with swiftly and thoroughly. Based on his past actions and this quote, "'US reinforcements will go home in coffins'", Moqtada al-Sadr needs to be taken out immediately for this plan to succeed. That country has no chance as long as extra-governmental nutjobs like al-Sadr are fomenting violence against other segments of society.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wednesday's news and links

Have you heard that the president is going to give a speech tonight detailing his plans for going forward in the war? Apparently, a lot of people don't need to hear what he has to say since they are already opposed to his plans without having to listen to the plans.

I won't bore you with a list of the those insisting on defeat. Just consider the worst of the sorry lot of them - Ted Kennedy. I could waste time listing a myriad of reasons why listening to the senior senator from Massachusetts is a bad idea. However, I'll refer you to Don Surber's Daily Mail blog. He was especially harsh with Teddy. He smacked him with his older brother's words:
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge — and more.
A far cry from the Democrat party of today, huh?

I won't paint the entire Democrat party with the defeatist tag. I can't because Joe Lieberman still considers himself a Democrat. What does Lieberman say about an exit strategy?
"In war, there are two exit strategies. One is called victory. The other is called defeat."
I'd like to think all of us would choose the former rather than the latter but alas that is clearly not the case.

Dan McLaughlin of Red State (he is also the proprietor of Baseball Crank) has a recommendation for the presidents speech tonight - Get Specific. Well worth reading. If you go their home page there are links to several other articles regarding tonight's speech.

For comedic relief . . . Gore Leaves Door Ajar for 2008.

In this article Dick Morris and Eileen McGann correctly observes that the assumed GOP front runners are not likely to appeal to conservatives. McCain's only chance would be if his Democrat opponent is Hillary Clinton. I don't even think Clinton would be enough to save Guiliani.
Rudy Guiliani? Pro-choice, pro-affirmative action, pro-gay rights, pro-immigration, pro-gun control Rudy? Righties will vote for him only if they have lobotomies first.

Contrast those candidates with the description Gregg Jackson of Human Events gives of "My Ideal GOP Presidential Candidate."

It is generally understood that the recent change in control of congress will be bad for business. Many people wrongly assume any changes will only hurt "big corporations." Reality is if the government takes action which hurts business it will damage the entire economy. Here is an article regarding the most dangerous action congress could take against the economy while pretending to fix social security.
One topic likely to come up this winter in Washington is Social Security's so-called cap.

All that many people know about the cap is that it is an obscure device that affects payroll tax payment structure. Reports are that everyone from Secretary Henry Paulson's staff at the Treasury to the Brookings Institution is talking about fiddling with or removing the cap. This is bad news, for the little gizmo really is crucial to American growth.
If the cap is removed on the level of earnings which get taxed for Social Security we can look forward to European style double digit unemployment accompanied by a deep recession.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn elected to baseball Hall of Fame

The Baseball Writers Association of America announced the players selected for inductions to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Cal Ripken received 98.5% of the vote and Tony Gwynn was named on 97.6 percent of the ballots. Congratulations to both men on a well deserved honor. However, the talking heads at ESPN are more concerned with a player who received 23 percent (Mark McGwire). If they want to discuss players who should have gotten more support from the voters I would recommend they consider Goose Gossage and Bert Blyleven. Gossage received the most votes amongst players not elected. After the writers last year selected a contemporary of Gossage's who was not as good a pitcher I was sure he would pick up enough votes this year. Blyleven's omission was not as surprising. Despite having the fifth most career strikeouts and 60 shutouts (11 more than any pitcher whose carrer started in 1970 or later) the writers never saw Blyleven as particularly dominating. Historically, the writers have foolishly tended to mainly concentrate on win total when evaluating starting pitchers. While a starting pitcher has a lot to do with whether his team wins, there are obviously other factors that come into play such as run support and whether the bullpen holds the lead. Inexplicably, Blyleven actually lost support from last years election falling from 53% to 47%.

Former Indian Albert Belle falls off the ballot after receiving less than the 5% of votes necessary to remain on the ballot. Belle is obviously suffering for his boorish behavior. I'm not arguing that Belle should be in the HoF, but he was one the the most feared hitters of the 1990 and had a much better career than many who got more votes. Last I heard Belle was in prison for stalking some woman so I guess he has more important things to worry about than the Hall of Fame.


Buckeyes stomped by Florida

I'm glad I didn't make a public prediction on this game as I would have strongly predicted an Ohio State victory. Whether you call them excuses or explanations, there were many things that contributed to this loss. Too long since last game (53 days), a key player injured minutes into the game (Ginn), the offensive line failing completely, questionable coaching decisions, etc. Other than the coaching staff examining the tapes to figure out how to improve preparations for future games it really doesn't matter why they lost all they can do today is salute their opponents for playing a great game.

Tom at BizzyBlog has another idea about what happened last night.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Thursday's links and comments

With our war against Islamic fanaticism at a crossroads, Victor Davis Hanson examines where we are and what our choices are going forward.

With the incoming Democrat majority pledging to raise the minimum wage (and obviously inflation and unemployment as a result), George Will has a column today regarding the minimum wage. Bottom line?
But the minimum wage should be the same everywhere: $0. Labor is a commodity; governments make messes when they decree commodities' prices. Washington, which has its hands full delivering the mail and defending the shores, should let the market do well what Washington does poorly. But that is a good idea whose time will never come again.

Ann Coulter is at her most eviscerating in her latest column, The Democratic Party: A Vast Sleeper Cell.

After the senates deplorable refusal to confirm John Bolton, President Bush will nominate Zalmay Khalilzad to be the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Khalilzad is currently our ambassador to Iraq. Interesting choice. Born in Afghanistan, Khalilzad came to the U.S. as a high school exchange student in the 1960's.

Our thoughts go out to former President George H.W. Bush as he recovers from hip replacement surgery yesterday. This was the right hip the left was replaced in 2000.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Wednesday's new & comments

I never took the Rudy Guiliani presidential campaign seriously because of the various personal and political baggage he carries. This article signals the end of his campaign whether he realizes it or not. Serious financial backers will look for another candidate to invest in with these revelations. It isn't just the subject matter of the leak which hurts but the perception that he is running a sloppy team. The real question is whether this will lead back to the campaign of one of his rivals and hurt more than one campaign.
The last thing Rudy Giuliani needed was to make a laundry list of the vulnerabilities that threaten to derail his pursuit of the Republican Presidential nomination.

But list them is exactly what Mr. Giuliani’s nascent campaign did, complete with bullet points, in a 140-page binder of printed pages, handwritten notes and spreadsheets that outlined in detail his Presidential bid’s secret fund-raising and campaign plans.

Who does Pat Robertson embarrass more, serious ministers or sane conservatives?
In what has become an annual tradition of prognostications, religious broadcaster Pat Robertson said Tuesday God has told him that a terrorist attack on the United States would result in "mass killing" late in 2007. Robertson said God told him during a recent prayer retreat that major cities and possibly millions of people will be affected by the attack, which should take place sometime after September. Robertson said God also told him that the U.S. only feigns friendship with Israel and that U.S. policies are pushing Israel toward "national suicide."
Every time Robertson opens his mouth, a segment of the population takes his inane ramblings as confirmation that conservatives are religious wackos.

Senators historically have not made very good presidential candidates because it is fairly easy for opponents to beat them up over their past votes. Only two senators were elected president in the 20th century. The Washington Times has a look at how the five Democrat senators, talking about running for president, voted on key issues last year.

This is interesting but not incredibly surprising. Iran's Secret Plan For Mayhem. Turns out Iran is backing both Sunni's and Shite's in Iraq. They don't care who wins as long as they are left with a severely weakened neighbor once we put our tail between our legs and abandon Iraq.

This article (long but worth reading) goes a long ways in explaining why conservatives are not in favor of a McCain candidacy. He almost brags about feigning to hold conservative positions.
Given his popular status as a maverick war hero, John McCain has a good shot at winning the 2008 presidential election—if he can get his party to nominate him. But one minute he's toeing the conservative line (on gay marriage, say, or immigration) and the next he's telling someone what he really thinks.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Another bad idea from congress

Some of the worst (and costliest) actions from congress come from the horse trading game of quid pro quo. Here is another example:
D.C. residents may get vote in Congress
Efforts would also add a new representative from Utah
I have long felt that residents of the District of Columbia should have representation in congress. However, adding representatives isn't the answer. Divide their population among the adjoining districts in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. This is being sold as a gain of one house seat for each party since Utah is heavily Republican and D.C. is overwhelmingly Democrat. Problem with this from the Republican point of view (besides the unconstitutionality) is this will set a precedent which will in time lead to a push for additional senators. Once you treat D.C. as a state by giving it a representative in the House it is a short step to the next argument that they rate senators as well.

Bottom line: The 435 congressmen we have as it is are spending money we don't have fast enough. They don't need two more co-conspirators.

Is Ted Kennedy proofchecking at CNN?

A couple years ago, Ted Kennedy was giving a speech and somehow managed to mangle together Barack Obama's name and Osama bin Laden's name. Yesterday, CNN was attempting to divert attention from Saddam Hussein's demise by hyping the failure to get Osama bin Laden and the headline on the screen read: “Where's Obama?” Amazing. While Kennedy blurred (or slurred) the two names at least he had the excuse that it was a live event. CNN had no such excuse.

Separately from CNN's mistake is how much will Obama's name impact his presidential aspirations? Beyond his last name sounding similar to bin Laden's first name he also has Hussein as his middle name. This past weekend, my brother told me there is no way America would elect someone with his name as president. I half-heartedly argued with him that it shouldn't matter and that people should decide based on his qualifications and whether his positions on issues are in line with theirs. Even as I said that, I knew I was wrong about the electorate. Like it or not, a good percentage of voters don't consider (or even understand) a candidate's position on the various issues of the day.