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

Thursday, March 29, 2007

2007 Baseball predictions

The New York Mets will square off against the Cardinals in St. Louis Sunday night April 1st and officially begin the Major League Baseball season. The next afternoon, the Indians will be in Chicago to face the White Sox. Here is the order I see them ending up in October.

American League
Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees
Baltimore Orioles
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Comments: I wanted to make a bold prediction and place the Yankees in last. I couldn't go that far, but they could still end up there. Of their five projected starting pitchers, one (Wang) is already on the disabled list, one (Pettitte) will turn 36 this season and saw his ERA go up nearly 2 runs last season, one (Mussina) is 38 and pitched better in the first half than the second half last indicating a potential drop off, a fourth starter (Pavano) who hasn't pitched in almost two years. Their closer is 38. Their catcher is 35 which is 3 years older than the age catchers seem to breakdown. The second baseman is the only position player under 31 years old. Beyond the Yankees' pitching issues and age of their position players, the main reason I expect them to slip in the standings is the division competition has improved. The Orioles and Devil Rays lost 92 and 101 games respectively last year. Both teams will win around 10 more games this season. Boston improved their pitching and offense in the off season. Last season both Matt Clement and Kyle Snyder pitched around a dozen games with an ERA over 6.00! Those starts will go to Japanese import Daisuke Matsuzaka who has been nearly unhittable at times this spring. Offensively, they improved markedly at shortstop and right field (barring the inevitable J.D. Drew injury).

Detroit Tigers
Cleveland Indians
Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals

Comments: I really wanted to pick Cleveland over Detroit, but couldn't justify doing so. My biggest argument against the Tigers is Kenny Rogers. Rogers was their workhorse last year, leading them in starts and wins. However, Rogers is 42 years old, pitched much better in the first half than the second and is starting the season on the disabled list. However, that argument falls apart when you look at their pitching depth. Rogers could miss the entire season without seriously hurting their rotation. Zach Minor or Wil Ledezma are ready to step into the rotation. As far as the Indians go, as much as I'd like to predict they will win the division I just don't see it for one main reason - too many platoons. Platoons can work, but I can't see a team being successful with platoons at three positions (RF, LF and 1B) which are normally big offensive contributors. Then again, as I was typing this two of those platoon pieces (Trot Nixon and Casey Blake) both homered in today's exhibition game. Instead of competing for the division, the Twins and White Sox will spend the season fighting to avoid taking the Royals place at the bottom of the standings.

LAAA Angels
Oakland A's
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners

Comments: Infield youth and outfield experience will lead the Angels to a run away division championship. Oakland will miss Barry Zito and Texas still does not have enough pitching. Seattle plays in a pitcher friendly park, but doesn't have the pitching to take advantage of it.

National League
Atlanta Braves
Philadelphia Phillies
NY Mets
Florida Marlins
Washington Nationals

Comments: Atlanta failed to win the division for the first time since 1990. A much improved bullpen will enable the Braves to return to the top of the standings. The Phillies will be in contention right to the end and if they are able to trade from their pitching depth for the right pieces a division title is not out of the question. The Mets have been picked by a lot of "experts" to win the East, but not with this pitching. The Mets will lose at least 10 more games this year as their offense can't overcome the regular deficit they will find themselves mired in. The Marlins will continue to improve as their young players gain experience. The Nationals are likely to have the worst record in all of baseball.

Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs
Cincinnati Reds
Houston Astros
St. Louis Cardinals
Pittsburgh Pirates

Comments: The AL Central may be the best division in baseball, but the NL Central is the most competitive. Throw the six names in a hat and pull out the winner and you've got as good a chance of being right as anyone else. This division will have some ugly slug fests. Chicago not only added Alfonso Soriano to their outfield, but also added a big bat at first base as Derrek Lee should be back to full strength from the broken wrist that ruined his season last year. The defending World Series champs, the Cardinals, may end up with the worst won/loss of any defending champ. The Pirates finished strong in 2006 and could surprise some people and fight their way to a winning record.

LA Dodgers
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies
San Francisco Giants

Comments: The Dodgers are one of the most balanced teams in the National League. They added Randy Wolf and Jason Schmidt to their pitching staff to form one of the strongest starting rotations. Two players whose performance could make or break this team are the youngsters at the bottom of the lineup - Andre Either and Wilson Betemit. I picked the Giants for last mainly because of age. They added the 35 year old Ryan Klesko and actually lowered the average age of their starting lineup. Sure well conditioned players can still play at a top level into their 40's, but a team with several older players is tempting fate. The oldest player on the Giants, Barry Bonds, is only 22 home runs behind Hank Aaron's record of 755 career homers. Will the record chase be a distraction? Or is this team so used to the media circus surrounding Bonds that it won't be that out of the ordinary? The Padres won this division last year and have improved their talent slightly over the Winter, but I still don't expect them to repeat for one reason. The Padres replaced long time manager Bruce Bochy with first time manager Bud Black. Black may become a successful manager, however I don't expect immediate success mainly because he has never managed at any level. Managing a baseball team is easy for all of us. Once you actually get the job you find out what you didn't know you didn't know about the job.

Awards: Last season I picked Bonderman and Duke for the Cy Young award and think I was just a year too early so I'll stick with those choices.
AL awards:
MVP: Vladimir Guerrero
Cy Young: Jeremy Bonderman
MGR: Terry Francona
Comeback Player: Gary Sheffield

NL awards:
MVP: Andrew Jones - A great player in his contract year = 50+ homers and big bucks.
Cy Young: Zach Duke (or Ben Sheets)
MGR: Grady Little
Comeback player: Derrek Lee

Play ball! Lets have a great season.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Wednesday night links and comments

Unknown presidential candidate Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) guest blogged a post at GOPBloggers. All of it is worth reading to understand Hunter's conservative point of view. The best line is this jab at his GOP opponents:
National Journal ranks me as the most conservative member of Congress running for the Presidency based on my lifetime voting record. So, I don't need to hire an army of consultants to turn me into a conservative.
Right now Hunter would be the candidate most in alignment with my positions. His problem is that outside of California no one knows him. Perception can become reality as campaign donations go to candidates perceived to have a chance and he doesn't have a chance because of lack of funding.

James Dobson is some kind of heavy weight in the "religious right." Recently, he opened his mouth to change feet. Unfortunately, while his mouth was open some words escaped regarding former senator and potential presidential candidate Fred Thompson.
"Everyone knows he's conservative and has come out strongly for the things that the pro-family movement stands for," Dobson said of Thompson. "[But] I don't think he's a Christian; at least that's my impression," Dobson added, saying that such an impression would make it difficult for Thompson to connect with the Republican Party's conservative Christian base and win the GOP nomination.
Just who the heck does this goof think he is questioning someone's Christianity. I have no problem with religious "leaders" advising their congregation about issues (ex: sin is bad, follow the Ten Commandments, etc). However, it is disquieting to see them get involved in this manner. Politically, this could be an opportunity for Thompson to have a "Sister Souljah moment." It would be great to see Thompson publicly slam Dobson and tell him he has no business questioning his faith.

William F. Buckley Jr. has a column titled "John Edwards Will Give You Free Health Care." It is a shame that politicians don't understand the concept that nothing is really free. Someone else may be paying, but unless doctors and nurses start working for nothing and companies stop charging for medical equipment and supplies then medical treatment will not be free.
Therefore, Mr. Edwards is doing nothing more than to call for increased taxes on the wealthy. They used to call that socialized medicine, when it was instituted by Great Britain after the war. It crossed the Atlantic into Canada, which is a tidy country in which to get sick, provided you can afford to travel across the border to an American doctor.

Most political endorsements are a quid pro quo to some degree, but this is fairly transparent.
Sen. Hillary Clinton has agreed to help former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who endorsed her Monday, pay off his $400,000 campaign debt. Clinton (D-N.Y.) will put the arm on her donor network for Vilsack, who quit the presidential race Feb. 23 citing financial difficulties.

We can only hope this story is true and that this will change things.
U.S. forces have arrested the leaders of one of the deadliest car-bomb-making networks in Baghdad, a military spokesman said.

I frequently criticize lawyers and judges for their negative affect on our society so I should acknowledge it when they use common sense. Here is an instance of a judge stopping someone from doing something really stupid.
Judge bars Bears fan from making good on 'Peyton Manning' bet

Sad story of the day:
Sister of Dying Man Refuses to Donate Bone Marrow to Save His Life
The sad part isn't that he will die. Everyone dies. No, the sad part is he will die knowing his sister thought so little of him that she would not try to help him live longer.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Iranian - British Sailor Hostage Situation

Over the past week, the situation in the Middle East has grown more tense as the Iranian navy overpowered 15 British sailors on two small boats operating in Iraqi territorial waters.

A little background to what led up to this standoff.

* Iran has been growing agitated over the pressure from the West to abandon their nuclear program.
* Iran has been increasingly uneasy over US and coalition actions in overthrowing the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq.
* Iran has been actively supporting and arming the the insurgency in Iraq.
* Iran is believed to be harboring Al Queda terrorists.
* Earlier this year, 5 Iranians were captured in Iraq suspected of fueling the insurgency.
* The waterway where the British Sailors were captured, Shatt al Arab, forms part of the border between Iran and Iraq and has long been the subject of dispute between the two countries. I can remember, long before the current conflict, being briefed each time we deployed to the Persian Gulf to be careful when near those waters. Years ago, the concern was the oil smugglers paying a bribe to the Iranian Navy to avoid detection by using Iranian waters to evade our ships attempting to enforce UN sanctions.
* People are already calling into question the lack of immediate response by the British ship after their small boats were attacked. I think any such speculation is very premature. The CO of that ship had to quickly decide whether to attack an Iranian ship in Iranian territorial waters while knowing any such attack could endanger the very sailors he would be trying to free and be an act of war. Before anyone criticizes the decisions made they need to know what authority the CO had at the time. Anyone who has been in the military has a story or several of a situation getting worse while waiting for a decision from a step or two up the chain of command. I wouldn't be surprised if the ROE (Rules of Engagement) was written so tightly that the CO needed permission to take action.

Obviously, the Iranian government is not going to be particularly forthcoming about whether this was a planned event to provoke a confrontation, but that is what it looks like to me. There will be a lot of back and forth. They will claim they were just defending their territorial waters and of course deny any connection between the British hostages and the Iranian agents caught in Iraq. However, in back channel communications I'm certain the two matters will be closely tied. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. I hope the British sailors are released safely. Almost as importantly, I hope we don't sign onto any bad agreements to secure their release.

Bottom line: I don't know the current U.S. ROE (Rules of Engagement) in those waters, but we better be reviewing them and ensuring our sailors have appropriate authority to defend themselves.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday's links and comments

Sorry for the light blogging, we've had more important things to do.

Jonathan Williams of The Detroit News looks at the latest case of a corporation leaving Michigan and expresses dismay at their governor's response.
With the recent announcement of Comerica's relocation to Texas, the hemorrhaging of Michigan businesses continues. Astonishingly, instead of taking bold steps to make Michigan more competitive and attract investment, Gov. Jennifer Granholm's plan to end the mass exodus of employers is to raise taxes on them.

Basic economics says that to become more competitive, you don't raise your prices, you lower them. Since taxes are the price of living and working in a state, they are a direct cost for businesses and influence business investment decisions.

It is pure nonsense to think Ford or General Motors would attract customers by raising the price of cars. The same goes for raising Michigan's tax burden to compete for business investment
Why does this matter to us here in Ohio? It matters because our politicians are going down the same path Michigan took to find themselves in trouble.

Peggy Noonan's latest column, The Trouble With Loyalty, starts slowly, but makes a valid point about how we choose candidates when it gets going.
We were marking a birthday. I was seated next to a politically experienced businessman, an acquaintance of many years. He kept talking about the presidential race. I asked who he's supporting. He was surprised I had to ask. "Hillary," he said.

I nodded. "Tell me why," I said.

"I've known her for years," he said. "I'm a loyal person."

I waited for him to say more. But he didn't.

"Your reason for backing her is that you're loyal?"

"Yes," he said.

As if that were enough.
Read the rest.

Weird, another goof climbs over the White House fence. Weirder, this guy is 66 years old. Heck, I'm around 20 years younger than that and I'm not going to climb over any ten foot high fence. Get this guy to try out for the Senior Olympics or better yet get him to a prison cell.

This is what we need scientists working to figure out.
Fact or Fiction?: A Cockroach Can Live without Its Head

Former Commissioner of Major League Baseball Bowie Kuhn passed away yesterday. One thing I didn't know, and haven't seen mentioned in news coverage of his passing, is Kuhn was a strong pro-life advocate. Vital Signs Blog has a nice tribute to Kuhn for his efforts on behalf of that worthy cause.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Today's "No Kidding" Headline

Read this headline:
World's biggest yacht a status symbol
Guess what? All the other yachts are status symbols too.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Wednesday's links and comments

A Conservative Who Can Win is a column by Doug Patton of Human Events looking at former senator Fred Thompson's potential run for the presidency.

Since Fred Thompson isn't running yet, World Examiner endorsed another strong conservative - Duncan Hunter.

Meanwhile, former Virginia governor James Gilmore Wants Conservatives to Examine His Track Record

Jay Nordlinger should be required reading. Here is his latest.

It would be difficult to overstate the importance of this potential news item.
The disappearance and possible defection of former Iranian deputy defense minister Ali Reza Asgari has the Iranian government deeply worried — and for good reason.
I say potential news item as his defection has not been confirmed.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Scooter Libby Guilty

Scooter Libby, former assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney was found guilty of four of five charges today. Though I've had problems with this investigation of a non-existent crime from the beginning, I haven't posted much if anything about Libby's trial for a reason. That reason is our justice system is dependent on honest answers particularly sworn testimony. The problem with perjury is normally it is a very difficult case to prove. In fact, I'd argue that more cases of perjury could be brought to trial than any other charge. However, most cases are not referred because the lie or perjury would be something not germane to the law which was broken. People lie for many reasons. Some to avoid embarrassment. Some to mitigate culpability. Some lies are just memory failures. We have all seen situations where sevreal people remember an event they were all present at quite differently. Libby's defense was that his memory was faulty. However, his lawyer's opening statement undermined the memory defense by claiming his client believed he was being made a fall guy. If you think back to when this mess was initially boiling and understand that Libby had no way of knowing that Richard Armitage was the actual leaker to Robert Novak it is reasonable to assume or fear that he might be being set up to take the fall for Karl Rove who everyone speculated was the leaker. My guess, and it is only a guess, is Libby knowingly gave less than honest answer to the initial investigators because he knew he never spoke to Robert Novak about Joe Wilson. Then when he was brought before the grand jury he decided to stick to his first story not comprehending that the original leak was never in question.

People will attempt to use this case to make false claims about recent history. Already, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have made statements claiming this is verdict proves something about pre-war intelligence. Here is Reid's statement:
"I welcome the jury's verdict. It's about time someone in the Bush Administration has been held accountable for the campaign to manipulate intelligence and discredit war critics. Lewis Libby has been convicted of perjury, but his trial revealed deeper truths about Vice President Cheney's role in this sordid affair. Now President Bush must pledge not to pardon Libby for his criminal conduct."
If the jury had found Libby not guilty would Reid accept that as proof of the opposite? Of course not. This case proves nothing except that this jury found the prosecution's case more compelling than the defense's.

Speaking of the jury, the post trial comments of their spokesman were very telling and lead me to believe any trial with political implications should have an automatic change of venue from the the District of Columbia. The jury spokesman (who is already on Larry King tonight and preparing to write a book) actually made this statement:
As you all know, Collins said that jurors had no animosity toward Libby. "There was a tremendous amount of sympathy for Mr. Libby," Collins said. The same was not true, Collins suggested, of other members of the Bush administration. "It was said a number of times, 'What are we doing with this guy here?'" Collins told reporters. "'Where's Rove? Where are these other guys?' It seemed like Libby was…the fall guy."
If they were actually concerned about the case at hand they would not be grousing about not having the defendant they personally preferred. Besides the very high Democrat to Republican breakdown of the local population, you have the problem of the over-saturation of political news in that area.

Continuing about the jury, Libby's attorney Wells should be cited for legal malpractice during the voir dire process. How could he allow a Washington Post reporter to be on the jury without using a peremptory challenge. The WAPO may have some employees who are not rabid Democrat partisans, but I wouldn't risk my freedom on accidentally finding that needle in a haystack.

Bottom line: What effect will this trial have long term? None. People claim this sort of case will discourage people from serving in future administrations. Nope. People are speculating that this coupled with Dick Cheney's latest medical problems will lead to the VP resigning. Nope. Barring his being permanently medically incapacitated Cheney will finish his term of office. The one area this case may affect in the future is whether people will speak to investigators and grand juries or if they will just plead their Fifth Amendment protections.

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Our screwy tax system

Acknowledging I have ranted about our federal income tax system on more than a few occasions, I hope this doesn't sound like just more of the same. Anyways, I was doing our 2006 taxes last night and came across a couple more examples of congresscritters using our horrendous tax system to hand out goodies or attempt to modify behavior. There are several things I could point at, but the real jewel that prompted me to write this is a credit titled:
Sec. 1400C. First-time homebuyer credit for District of Columbia
What!? Why have a different tax code for one city? It is federal taxes not DC local taxes. If home prices in DC are too high let the market correct the situation through the power of supply and demand. When we first made the mistake of creating an income tax it was solely for the purpose of raising money to operate the federal government. Since then congress has added millions of modifications to benefit one group after another. Final result is a monstrosity that only benefits lawyers and professional tax preparers.

Talk to your family, friends, and neighbors about the need to throw out our current tax system and institute a flat tax or a national sales tax.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Monday's links and comments

Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review did a comprehensive interview with John McCain. Here is the transcript. Not a lot there to change my view of the senator. I was already aware of his positives positions and his explanations of his irritating actions (Gang of Fourteen, etc) were no more convincing.

Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post believes Rudy Giuliani's biggest hurdle as he runs for president will be the New York press who know him best.
The former mayor's earliest adversary is the New York press corps, and its depiction of what has come to be dubbed the 9/10 Rudy.

Every White House contender must deal with a home-state media contingent that knows his or her flaws and foibles. But Giuliani came to power in the nation's biggest media echo chamber, where hordes of journalists remember his personal and political difficulties before the Sept. 11 attacks gave him a heroic aura.

"Anyone who lived here at the time remembers the 9/10 Rudy: strong on crime and the economy, yes, but arrogant, bullying, and terrible on race and civil rights. . . . The rest of America sees a far different Rudy," says a New York Magazine cover story.
I still believe the media is saving negative material to use once he gets the nomination. For example, today we have an article with his son discussing his candidacy and while his son thinks he should be president, he doesn't exactly give a glowing character reference. That is followed by a request from the candidate for his privacy to be respected. To many voters, character is one of the most defining aspects to judge in deciding on candidates for the highest office in the land. Whether Rudy Giuliani likes it or not, how he has led his personal life is a reflection on his character. Despite the results in 1992 and 1996 elections, a lot of folks still consider character.

Not sure if you are a conservative? Here is the text of a speech by Vice President Cheney titled "A Conservative View of the Role of Government." Conservatives can have differing views on various issues of the day, but Cheney correctly sums up the overriding view of government's role in our lives.
We recognize that nobody can sit in an office in Washington, D.C. and decide to make America prosperous. Our job is to preserve the freedoms that gave birth to this nation, to encourage free enterprise, and to give people confidence that their hard work will be rewarded, not punished. And that begins with leaving more money in the hands of those who earn it.

Atlas Shrugged - 50 Years Later is a lengthy review by Mark Skousenof Ayn Rand's influential book from 1957. At over a thousand pages it is not quickly read or easily understood. Those who agree completely with Rand are as wrong as those who completely dismiss her assertions. Give it a read, but don't pretend to understand the book until you've read it at least twice.

We have seen this story a dozen times. A woman goes to the hospital complaining of stomach pains and ends up delivering a baby and swears she had no idea she was pregnant. First thought is "BS, how is a woman pregnant for nine months and not aware." However, after reading the story and realizing that the woman is 420 pounds, a hundred other impolite thoughts go through my head.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Howard Dean is right?

It seems strange saying this, but yes Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is right. No, no, no, he isn't right about any issue or policy. Rather, he is right to condemn Ann Coulter's comments yesterday at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Here is what Ms. Coulter said:
"I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word "faggot," so I — so kind of an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards."
The shame of it is Coulter is a very smart person and should be able to get her points across without making these kinds of statements which she does all too frequently. She should be able to address her differences with Edwards' positions on issues without making slurs or any reference to his personal life. She is someone who should be able to influence people and convince them about the conservative point of view. Instead she has become a useful Democrat tool. Somewhere along the way, she decided that in order to be successful she had to be outrageous. Now, she has said enough goofy stuff that she is invoked as an automatic response anytime someone on the left is criticized for going overboard. Earlier this week when an attempt was made on the vice presidents life, commenters on lefty blogs lamented that the attack failed. When conservatives condemned those comments they got the predictable "yeah, but what about when Coulter . . .?" response. She has reached the point where she should be marginalized by the Republican party and relegated to writing her columns and appearing on TV where she speaks only for herself. She should not be invited to speak at official gatherings where it can be inferred that her comments represent the party position or appear to be endorsed.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday's links and comments

Former Virginia Governor James Gilmore fall in that category of presidential candidate that when people are asked about his campaign the answers range from "He's running?" to "Who's he?" Recognizing how far he is behind the other candidates, Gilmore has come out swinging.
In his video, Mr. Gilmore lays out what he regards as the shortcomings of what the press often describes as the top three contenders on the Republican side.
"John McCain has fought conservatives time after time, even invoking the rhetoric of class warfare to oppose the Bush tax cuts," he says in the ad.
"Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney both repeatedly opposed core conservative values to win elections in New York and Massachusetts," says Mr. Gilmore.
Gilmore is right, but I doubt his efforts will gain him much traction. This is coming at the start of the 34th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this weekend. All of the various Republican candidates, except Sen. McCain, will address the conference. The candidate's reception from the conference attendees could breathe life into a campaign or end it.

Speaking of CPAC, Ed of Captain's Quarters is live blogging the speeches.

A state senator in Mississippi provided an example for Sen. Joe Lieberman to consider.
Longtime Democratic Coast Sen. Tommy Gollott switched parties and vowed allegiance to Republican Gov. Haley Barbour on Thursday, temporarily throwing the balance of power in the Mississippi Senate to the GOP for the first time since Reconstruction.
In all seriousness, I do not expect Lieberman to switch parties. For one thing, other than understanding the need to win the war Lieberman is in agreement with the majority of his parties positions. More importantly, politically Lieberman's current status a potential power shifter gives him leverage. If he carries through on the switch he loses that leverage.

Victor Davis Hanson is always worth reading. His latest column looks at the current opinions regarding Iraq and wonders how our country reached this point.
It’s make it or break it in Iraq in 2007. Or so we are told, as America nears four years of costly efforts in Iraq. But how did we get to this situation, to this fury over a war once supported by 70 percent of the public and a majority of Congress, but now orphaned by both?

How did a serious country, one that endured Antietam, sent a million doughboys to Europe in a mere year, survived Pearl Harbor, Monte Cassino, Anzio, the Bulge, Tarawa, Iwo and Okinawa, the Yalu, Choisun, Hue and Tet, come to the conclusion — between the news alerts about Britney Spears’ shaved head and fights over Anna Nicole Smith’s remains — that Iraq, in the words of historically minded Democratic senators, was the “worst” and the “greatest” “blunder,” “disaster,” and “catastrophe” in our “entire” history?

In Time magazine William Kristol has an article titled "Why Republicans Are Smiling." Not sure I agree with all his reasoning, but it is good to hear something besides the doom and gloom which followed the 2006 elections.

This article, "Cuomo Urges Gingrich To Enter Race," is funny even though the article doesn't include the punch line. The information missing in this story is how Cuomo is encouraging Gingrich to take on Giuliani even though Giuliani crossed party lines to endorse Democrat Cuomo in the 1994 governors race against Republican George Pataki.

Obsessing over the candidates families

There are many problems for the media in covering political campaigns which now stretch nearly 2 full years. A reporter can only examine the candidates navel so many times. That leads to going further and further to give background on the candidates and their families. The argument can be made that the family is fair game to a certain extent as they can exercise considerable influence or cause embarrassment for the potential future president. In that regard, I understand reporting on the continuing question of whether Sen. Clinton's brother received payment for facilitating a pardon for some crook when the senator's husband was president. However, there are limits to what should be considered germane to the campaign. I ignored it last week when the Washington Post dedicated barrels of ink to a story about Mitt Romney's great-great-grandfather being a polygamist (which was old news anyways). Now, the Baltimore Sun has gone even further down Sen. Obama's family.
According to the research, one of Obama's great-great-great-great grandfathers, George Washington Overall, owned two slaves who were recorded in the 1850 census in Nelson County, Ky. The same records show that one of Obama's great-great-great-great-great-grandmothers, Mary Duvall, also owned two slaves.
When you have to go back more than two great-great . . . you lose any chance of the conduct being relevant. I'm not in Obama's camp, but vote for or against him based on his proposals for the future not based on what some distant relative did in the past.

The only good thing about this article is it provides an opportunity to mock the stupid idea of reparations.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Thursday's links and comments

Right on McCain is an opinion piece in National Review Online by the other senator from Arizona, Sen Jon Kyl who declares John McCain’s conservative record is excellent. Sen. Kyl uses McCain's voting record in the senate to demonstrate that McCain has consistently advanced conservative principles. I will grant Sen. Kyl that point. In fact, McCain's conservatism makes me want to support his candidacy. The problem Republicans have with McCain has never been about his voting record. Rather McCain's lack of support among conservative Republicans can be traced to two things - his irritating performances on the Sunday morning TV shows and the awful McCain-Feingold anti-First Amendment legislation.

From The Politico we get "Giuliani-Appointed Judges Tend to Lean to the Left." Giuliani's supporters frequently defend him from the charge that he is too liberal by quoting him saying "I would want judges who are strict constructionists because I am," he told South Carolina Republicans last month. "Those are the kinds of justices I would appoint -- Scalia, Alito and Roberts." Well, this article examines the judges he appointed as mayor and finds they were not the strict constructionists he has led us to believe he would appoint as president. The article surprised me for a couple reasons. One - I didn't know the mayor appointed judges. Two - I'm really surprised he would have made the statements about judges knowing people would review his history of appointments.

Here are a couple articles about Barack Obama.

This article titled "Oh, yes: Ohio hot for Obama" talks mainly about the Obama raising money in Ohio this week. However, in my view the enthusiasm Obama is generating was the bigger story. For all the money Sen Clinton is raising, I don't see her engendering the same kind of support that Obama gets.

The second Obama article titled "Obama to offer pro-Israel views at Chicago gathering" will need to be the first of many speeches explaining his position on foreign and domestic issues. I've had several people tell me they like Obama, but when I ask them what his position is on various issues they draw a blank. If he is going to translate the initial enthusiasm for his candidacy into votes he needs to carefully fill in those blanks.

Global warming skeptic simply man of reason is a review of Michael Crichton's position against blind belief in man-made global warming. It is good article except for one sin of omission. The last paragraph reads: "May I suggest that you go to Crichton's official Web site and read the text of several of his speeches? I think you will find the intelligent conversation refreshing." However, no link to Crichton's website is provided. Anyway, here is a link to Crichton's website to read his speeches it also has a video clip of him being interviewed by Charlie Rose.

Lastly, here is a story to make you smile.
A 100-YEAR-OLD man fought off three teenage muggers after being surrounded at a bus stop.

Buster Martin, who still works five days a week as a car washer and mechanic, was followed by the gang when he left a pub.

He said: "They pushed me against a wall and tried to take my money from me.

"I went mad. I was lashing out on the floor and then I stood up and was kicking them all. I pushed one and kung-fu kicked the other one between the legs. They ran off scared after I did that and I still had all my money."
Wow, still going to the pub at a hundred years old is impressive, but beating up some punks goes right past amazing.

California Bill Would Give All State's Newborns a $500 Savings Account

I live in Ohio so I'm not directly affected by how California politicians decide to spend the money they confiscate from their citizens. Having said that, this article brings up several concerns. Here is the basic overview of the proposed program:
Every child born in California would get a $500 savings account to start building a nest egg for college or a down payment for a home, under a state Senate bill introduced Wednesday. .... If families added $50 a month to the state's initial contribution, the savings account would grow to nearly $17,500 at 5 percent interest over 18 years.
At first glance, it looks like a good idea that encourages saving for college, retirement, etc.

They included a provision that should appeal to folks who don't want to see additional government handouts:
Recipients would have to repay the state's initial $500 investment once they turn 18.
Not sure that I'd count on the money being repaid, but whatever.

The biggest problem with this proposal is this little tidbit:
Under the bill, every child born in California after Jan. 1, 2008, would receive the money, regardless of their parents' income or immigration status.
For most of us $500 would not be reason to sneak into another country, but to an impoverished family in Mexico this will serve as one more inducement to invade our country. For that reason alone I have to come down against this idea.