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Friday, June 30, 2006

Common Sense Jeered

Barrack Obama made a very eloquent speech on faith and politics a few days ago, which I didn't hit right away because I wanted to see some other reaction to it.

EJ Dionne in the Washington Post see's Obama's talk of faith as something that should be embraced by Democrats, in a mild way. But the netroots seem to see it a little differently, which is what I figured would happen.

Post Watch has a good rundown on some of the Kos kids reaction to the speech, which is being less than warmly received on that end of the party, which isn't surprising.

The far left of the Democratic party has made secularism a theme; going so far as to claim President Bush is trying to turn America into an Iranian style theocracy. The problem with that stance is that when someone engaging, bright, and fairly well respected like Obama mentions faith and government, they have no choice but to attack him, also.

The folks at "Bring it On" are calling Obama's speech "Dem on Dem Violence", which I find amusing. This quote is priceless:
Obama has shown himself to be a self-hating Dem who is so insecure in his political standing that his only recourse for (apparently) protecting himself is to attack those who put him in office.

Never mind that 85% of American's claim they have some faith in god, and 40% regularly worship in one way or another. Evidently it was the small minority of secularists who gave Obama a landslide victory in 2004.

The people who show the real insecurity are the one's who can't tolerate the word "faith" being used in conjunction with politics, or tolerate any idea outside of their little bubble being discussed.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

What Does It Mean?

As anyone not under a rock all day knows by now, the Supreme Court ruled 5-3 (Roberts abstaining) that President Bush overstepped his bounds by authorizing military tribunal trials, as used after WWII, for terror suspect Salim Ahmed Hamdan.

Contrary to what some folks on the web, and in print, are saying, the idea of military trials is not out the window. The court didn't rule the idea of such a trial unconstitutional, only the method in which the President decided up them, and the type.

In fact, in his concurrance, Breyer wrote:

"Indeed, Congress has denied the president the legislative authority to create military commissions of the kind at issue here. Nothing prevents the president from returning to Congress to seek the authority he believes necessary."

In other words, unless Congress specifically authorizes it, it's not within presidential powers. However, reading that also shows clearly that the idea of the tribunals themselves are not unconstitutional.

Since the decisions also have nothing to do with the legality of keeping Guantanamo open, it won't be closing anytime soon. My guess is over the next couple of months congress will authorize some sort of military style trial that the Court agrees with.

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Cease Fire Possible?

Eleven Sunni insurgent groups have come together in Iraq and sent the government a message, they will stop attacking if they a group of demands are met. The demands include a withdraw of foriegn force by 2008, an end to the prohibition on Ba'ath party members in government, allowing some former Iraqi Army officers back into the service, and a release of insurgent detainees.

It will be interesting to see how the Iraqi government reacts to the offer, and what kind of response Washington gives to it. My guess is it will get a lukewarm public reception in both Baghdad and Washington, but will lead to some interesting behind the scenes discussions in both capitals.

The offer itself gives a boost to the government in Iraq, and shows that the home grown insurgents may feel that it's not only legitimate, but working in the best interest of all Iraqi's.

I'll hazzard a guess that attacks by the foriegn fighters in Iraq may well step up in the next couple of weeks as both Washington and Baghdad begin looking at the offer, and negotiating with the home grown groups. A nightmare for those groups is a united Iraq that is putting it's energy into pushing them out.

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Wal-Mart In The News

Wal-Mart has been in the news, as usual lately. I haven't blogged much about it because it's been mostly the same crap from the unions about how horrible they are.

However, Rassmussen did a poll and found out that the AFL-CIO and Service Workers Internation are probably about as far out of the mainstream as possible in their opinions.

What Rassmussen found was that:

69% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Wal-Mart
79% of current or former Wal-Mart employees a favorable opinion of the company
54% of Americans say that Wal-Mart is good for the community.

In fact, the only demographics that didn't have a favorable opinion of the retailer were the upper middle class and rich folks, the one's least likely to be shopping there.

Which begs a question of the union's opinions, and the amount of money being spent demonizing Wal-Mart. If the demographic you are trying to attract (the middle class) solidly supports Wal-Mart, aren't your attacks more likely to turn them off then bring them into the fold? (H/T to Marsall Mason for the info on this)

In another interesting piece of Wal-Mart news, a Chicago Alderman has claimed that unions in the city have been "strong arming" alderman to support regulations against big box retailers who wish to do business in the city.

He claims that union bosses have threatened to bankroll candidates against incumbents who refuse to vote on (union designed) ordinances that would likely keep any more big box retailers from moving to the city.

More available at the Marathon Pundit.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Flag Burning Amendment Down In Flames

The Flag Burning Amendment is once again off the table, as the Senate voted 66-34 on it, which was one vote shy of the 67 needed to pass it.

I'll admit that my position on it is very "non-conservative", I don't want this amendment passed, though I understand why some do.

My reasoning? I spent 20+ years defending peoples right to free speech, no matter how repugnant, uninformed, and generally distasteful I find it. Flag burning fits into that category to me.

Now, to those citizens who decide that burning the flag is the correct way to show your anger at America, I challenge you to leave. If living here bothers you so much that you have to destroy the very symbol of the country, move. Go somewhere else that's better, and let me know where it is.

For another interesting constitutional debate, read Allison's guest post at "Knockin' On The Golden Door"

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Who to Believe

So, who do I believe, this guy, or this group?

h/t Marquette Warrior via Charlie Sykes.

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Monday, June 26, 2006

America Supports You

If you've ever wondered what organizations you could possibly lend a hand to to help support the guys and gals in the military, I found a great clearing house of them tonight, courtesy of C-SPAN.

A group called America Supports You, led by actor Gary Sinise met with President Bush today, and included representatives of 14 of the organizations that have come together under one web roof.

So, if you want to help someone out, check out the America Supports You website, where you can find literally hunreds of links to these groups.

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Damn Rich People

Warren Buffett, in a move that has to baffle the folks who think rich=evil, has donated $37 Billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

The foundation works on education, health, and welfare concerns worldwide. Buffet, who say's he does a better job of making money than giving it away has decided to take a "hands off" approach to the donation, and will let the Gates' decide how the money is going to be spent.

To put the Gates Foundation in perspective, it's now the largest of it's kind in the world, and larger than the next nine combined. It plans to spend about $3 billion a year, giving to various charities and health organizations. It's also helped cities finance school improvements and technology programs for libraries.

Buffett did put a caviat on his donation; which will be in $1.5 billion dollar annual installments; the money has to be spent in the year it's donated. That means that it won't be used to bolster the foundations investments, but instead it's expenditures.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

This Weekend's History

This weekend the weather stunk, so I didn't do as much touring as I'd have liked. Luckily, I've got at least 2 more long classes to attend in the Boston area, so hopefully I'll get to do a little more when I'm here for them later this year.

I did, hower, vistit the Salem National Historic Site, in Salem, Ma. The site is centered around Derby Wharf (on the left) on the Salem waterfront. Until the early to mid 19th century Salem was one of the busier ports in New England.

It's was also the first place designated a National Historic Site by the National Park Service.

Unfortunately for Salem, the harbor isn't very deep, and when the clipper ships became the standard bearers of the US merchant fleet, Salem's port fell out of favor.

One of the interesting facts about Salem's port operations is that Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author of the Scarlet Letter was the port's surveyor from 1846-1849. It's thought that the bitterness of his dismissal was what inspired his famous novel.

Salem probably best remembered for the Witch Trials of 1692, when a group of young girls started exhibiting strange behavior, and were feared to be afflicted by the devil himself.

The girls started naming people, and, as history tells us, nearly two dozen were tried and hanged for being witches. There is a lot of history on the web about the trials, and their aftermath.
Here's a link to the Salem Witch Trial Memorial, Salem Witch Museum, and the Witch Dungeon, which is a replica of the one that was used in 1692. The original was found in 1956 while the phone company did excavation for a building. Artifacts are in both the Witch Museum and the recreated Dungeon.

Then today I thought I should pay tribute to the Native American's of the region, so I visited the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. While they have a long and rich history, today they have a new claim to fame.

The Foxwoods Casino and resort is the largest casino resort anywhere in the world, and getting bigger. Luckily, I won't be helping to finance that, as I was able come out just enough ahead to buy lunch at their Hollywood Cafe.

So, if you need a trivia question for someone, ask them what state has the two biggest casino resorts in the US. The answer isn't Nevada, or New Jersey, but Connecticut! The second largest is the Mohegansun Casino, which has an arena for the WNBA's Connecticut Sun basketball team. Take that Vegas!

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ALTERed Reality

Jonathan Alter has an interesting op/ed piece in this weeks Newsweek Magazine, "How To Beat Cut and Run". It is not, as the title suggests, a way for the Democrats to beat the charge that every Iraq policy they've proposed has been the equivalent of cutting and running. Instead, it's a look at how he feels Karl Rove can beat the Democrats by turning their Iraq strategy into a political liability, and getting them to ignore it.

The problem with Mr. Alter's column, though, is the altered state of reality it uses as a basis for most of it's charges and innuendo about Rove.

For example, this line, "...that thousands of ailing Americans will ultimately die because of Bush's position on stem-cell research".

The reality of the situation is that Bush is doing something no president before him did, fund embryonic stem cell research. For an outstanding history lesson on embryonic research, and the laws controlling it, click here.

The truth on Bush's policy is that he's allowing federal funding where none was available for embryonic research previously. The caveat that has everyone up in arms is that he deemed that "existing lines" of embryos from invitro fertilization that were available prior to August of 2001 to be the only ones eligible for the funding.

The standard tactic of confusing folks by not differentiating between adult and embryonic stem cells is one thing, but the charge that folks will die is another. Alter fails to note that there have been exactly zero breakthrough treatments in the world with embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells have been used in dozens, and have seen funding go up during the Bush administration.

He also doesn't mention that of the 400+ 'lines' of embryos available in Aug. 2001, less than 10% have been used for research since then.

Another interesting point in his article concerns the "swift boating" of John Kerry. While he doesn't implicitly blame Karl Rove for the actions of the Swift Boat Veterans for truth, he implies that it was a 'Rovian plot'.

Again, truth screws up Alter's perception. John O'Neill, the biggest critic of Kerry, has been challenging Kerry on his Viet Nam record since 1971, hardly Rove's era. Real Clear Politics laid out a very convincing case against Kerry, again, earlier this month, questioning the media's handling of the case.

So what is Alter's strategy for beating Rove at his own game? Forcing Democrats to ignore Rove, and concentrate on Iraq. As I mentioned a few days ago, that could become a dangerous strategy for them.

The Iraqi Prime Minister today presented parliament with his plan for reunification of the country, and the slow the insurgency. If, after debate in Iraq, the policy proves to be a success, any Democrat who follows the Alter/Kos strategy for winning in November would be on the wrong side of the issue.

Alter, like the folks at Daily Kos, and Senators Kerry, Feingold, Levin, and Boxer and Rep. Murtha would suddenly find themselves defending the "cut and run" policy, when "stay the course" turned out to be the right solution.

While many of them make constant reference to "poll show that....", the truth is, if the insurgency is quelled over the next few months by the new government, polls will immediately go the other way.

In fact, one of the difficulties Democrats, and liberal pundits like Alter seem to have with George Bush is that unlike his predecessor when the words "polls show" are uttered he doesn't suddenly change policy.

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Dirty Secrets

If you want to find out what secrets your favorite bloggers are hiding, check out Wyatt Earp's post "Secret's Exposed", where you can find out the dirt on a number of Wyatt's blog buddies.

One secret Wyatt doesn't expose is his own, while he writes with a ton of bravado of being a Philly Cop, the truth is he's the night dispatcher for a local security company that protects Wal-Mart stores.

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One Plus One Can't Equal Two

I'm getting a kick out of reading this morning's Washington Post. One story in the Politics section declares that the GOP majority in Congress is in jeopardy because they can't do their basic job, pass legislation.

Yet the next story is that Hillary Clinton is chastizing the GOP majority in Congress for "blindly following Bush".

Now, I'm no math major (and haven't played one on TV), but if statement number one above is true, then Hillary's comment would of course be false. Or vice versa; both can't be true, or the GOP would be passing legislation left and right, not worrying about losing the majority because they can't.

In fairness, the majority of Sen. Clinton's statement was on the GOP in Congress following the President on his Iraq policy, but she also mentions the failed Marriage Amendment, the upcoming Flag Burning Amendment, and a few other issues.

If you follow her logic on Iraq though, most of her party is also following blindly, based on the vote on the Kerry withdrawl time table.

One thing the GOP in congress is pushing, and the Democrats are having fits about is a new line item veto law. The one passed last week in the House would give the President the ability to cut out funding items from bills, but then allow congress to repass them with only a simple majority in each chamber.

Democrats are leary of this because they know it's a good way to get the pork they have added to bills cut. For the same reason some Republican's are, and because sometimes a few votes for the opposition is needed to get things passed. Pork is the way those votes are obtained. Losing the guarantee that the pork stays in the bills will make some negotiations much harder.

I love the idea because it will make certain items fall under more scrutiny, and get some attention on their own, in a way that probably does make lawmakers nervous.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Securing The Base

Russ Feingold and John Kerry did their best to secure the base of far left voters by introducing a true cut and run resolution in the Senate yesterday. They asked that the withdrawl from Iraq start now, and be substantially over by July of 2007.

Neither can complain that Bill Frist rigged the timing, or the wording of the resolution, as he did last week. It was exactly what they asked for. And it was defeated by a vote of 86-13, with 31 Democrats jumping off the cut and run bandwagon.

Russ and John, though unhappy we won't admit defeat and run, are thrilled by their new street cred with the ultra left. Kerry went so far as to say he was "thilled" by the vote, since it got more votes than he anticipated. By putting the resolution forward, both seem to think it's their ticket to the 2008 nomination for President.

A similar resolution, for a phased withdrawl from Iraq beginning at the end of this year was proposed by Carl Levin, and also defeated, on a 60-39 vote. The major difference was his had no end date on it, and got a single GOP Senator (Lincoln Chaffee) to vote for it.

Kerry and Feingold knew they had no chance of winning, or coming close on their vote. The whole idea of it was simply to reassure votes on the far end of their party they are the standard bearers for them. With both likely to run in 2008, it'll play great in the primary elections, maybe.

I say maybe because they are really 18 months away from the serious campaigning for 2008. As John Kerry learned the hard way in 2004, tea leaves are sometimes hard to read. His "I voted for before I voted against" saga should be on his mind now. Lots can happen in two years, and if it turns out that between now and then the insurgency settles out, and Iraq does handle it's own security, yesterday's resolution becomes the anchor around both potential candidates necks.

One only needs to look back to 1991, when Bush 41 had the highest approval rating of any president in history, and then a minor economic downturn cost him an election 18 months later. Keeping that piece of history in mind means that the crux of a Kerry or Feingold run is that insurgents MUST continue to kill civilians, and American's in Iraq. If they don't, both are dead in the water for a 2008 run.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Terror Plot Foiled?

In what the FBI has called a "domestic terrorism plot", a number of raids and arrests were conducted tonight in Liberty City, Florida, a Miami suburb.

They haven't released much information yet, but have said that no bomb making materials were found in the raids so far. What they have said is that they seized a number of documents which were immediately sealed by the courts.

I'll post more if I hear more this evening.

Update (9:50pm)

According to the Associated Press and New York Times seven people were arrested. Evidently they were plotting attacks on the Sears Tower in Chicago, and other buildings in the US.

The FBI said they will be releasing more information at a news conference tomorrow. What they have said is there was no "imminent threat" to Miami, or any other US city. They've also said that it appears to be a homegrown plot, with no known ties to al Qaeda or other groups.

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Looking For New Ideas

I mentioned last week in "Kos The King Maker?" that at some point the establishment would start to decide Kos shouldn't be the King Maker. Evidently it's happening a little quicker than even I thought it would.

In this morning Washinton Post David Broder not only takes a couple of well placed swipes at Kos and his followers, but offers up some reading for folks looking for a different perspective from the Democratic party.

Thinking Outside The Blog, Broder's column, points out things that conservative bloggers and columnists have over the past couple of years, like Kos candidates folding in every election.

But the blogs I have scanned are heavier on vituperation of President Bush and other targets than on creative thought. The candidates who have been adopted as heroes by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the convention's leader, and his fellow bloggers have mainly imploded in the heat of battle -- as was the case with
Howard Dean in 2004 -- or come up short, as happened to the Democratic challengers in special House elections in Ohio and California.
Broder also points out that the Democratic leadership isn't doing much better in their own right, and doesn't seem to consider them much of a challenge at this point.

The new legislative "agenda" that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and Co. trotted out last week was as meager as it was unimaginative.
Broder leads usto two new groups that are starting to publish both online and in paper, as possible alternatives to the Kossites and netroots. This is probably a good thing, since they have proven, so far, to be more attention getting than vote getting.

Both groups are heavy on Clinton/Gore influence, which isn't surprising, since is the only Democrat to win the White House in the last 25 years, and the only one to win a majority of the popular vote in that span.

One that he doesn't seem to like, The Democratic Strategist, ends up hashing over Kos subjects, without the f-bombs and no new ideas. In my own scan of the titles and authors they could just as easily have named it the Liberal Manifesto Lite and been more on target.

The Democratic Strategist seems to offer little new to those looking for ideas from the party. And any publication that prints an article on "Dukakis Style Management" as a hope for the party probably needs a history lesson.

Broder was a little kinder to Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, which seems to have a little more thought provoking writing and realistic, though still idealist, views on how some things could be worked better.

Why would I, a generally conservative blogger want to point these out to you? Because as I've stated before, politics needs to get back to being a war of ideas, not ideologies. If either party can actually come up with solutions to problems, and present them in a way people will listen to we, as a country, can't help but be better off.

The current course of politics, with name calling, mudslinging, and 'gotcha votes' on irrelevant issuses needs to end. The Kossites aren't the solution to the left's problems in that area, just as Malkin and Coulter aren't the right's answer.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Meyerson Gets It Wrong

In Harold Meyerson's "Leiberman Vs. The Democrats" to make his point on party unity, Meyerson misses Lieberman's point on the issue completely. In fact, he evidently read the quotes and articles he referenced wrong in writing his own piece.

Meyerson repeatedly says that Lieberman has refused to criticize the President over his Iraq policy, which isn't true. What Lieberman actually said, and was referring to with the comments on putting national interests over partisan politics was :

"I think we did the right thing in overthrowing Saddam, and I think we are safer as a result," he continued. "Second, while I have been very critical of the Bush foreign policy before the war and the Rumsfeld-Bush policies in Iraq after Saddam was overthrown, I also made a judgment I would not invoke partisan politics on this war."

That's a far cry from agreeing with everything Bush has done in Iraq, as Meyerson asserts Lieberman has been doing. In fact, in the Nov. 29th Wall Street Journal piece that launched Ned Lamont's challenge, Lieberman admits that there have been mistakes made in Iraq.

He has criticized the administration at other times for not having enough boots on the ground, not having a good follow-up plan for Iraq after Saddam fell, and for not being ready for the insurgency.

What Meyerson has implied; along with most of the Democratic party and it's followers; is that if you refuse to say the entire war has been a mistake, then you have said you support Bush on it entirely.

The point Lieberman has been trying to make since last year is that even if parts of the war have been a disaster, a larger one looms if we pull out to early. Unfortunately that message falls on deaf ears in the Democratic party, which seems to believe any conflict lasting longer than the 24 hour news cycle has turned into Viet Nam redux.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Malkin on Murtha

does a great job of bitch slapping and the "redeploy to Okinawa" strategy he's unearthed again.

You have to watch the video over at Hot Air for a good laugh. While I don't always agree with her, she does an outstanding job of pointing out the problems the Okinawa strategy poses.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Common Sense on the Court?

It seems the is having some common sense attacks lately, and I like it.

Last week they ruled that if the police yell loudly, through a bull horn "Open the Door, Police", but fail to knock they've done enough to announce themselves, and evidence collected could be admitted into court.

Then today the majority, though slim, slapped the EPA and Army Corp of Engineers for their handling of wetlands cases.

In his concurrance wrote that the Corps of Engineers "exercises the discretion of an enlightened despot", and "the Corps has stretched the term 'waters of the United States' beyond parody."

He wrote it because of the Corps propensity to call drainage ditches for roads, areas in 100 year flood plains and man-made ditches "wetlands" and deny usage permits for them. Keep in mind the Corps of Engineers job is to maintain the "navigable waterways of the US", and I've seen some deep ditches, but none I could navigate a boat through.

Unfortunately they couldn't come up with a majority agreement on where the Corps and EPA need to stop, instead sending the most sensitive question of the case back to the 6th Circuit.

And finally, the court ruled it's okay for to continue searching parolees without notice or warrants as a condition of parole. They are the only state that requires those offered parole to accept such searchs or remain in jail.

While the vote was 6-3, Stevens, Souter and Breyer, who claimed "What the court sanctions today is an unprecedented curtailment of liberty," obviously need a reminder of what is.

From Dictionary.com:

The release of a prisoner whose term has not expired on condition of sustained lawful behavior that is subject to regular monitoring by an officer of the law for a set period of time.

While 6 justices understand that people on parole are still, in reality serving their sentence, 3 of them can't seem to fathom that idea. Luckily those three were the minority.

Hopefully after today's ruling more states will pass such laws.
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I Tried, Really, I did

I don't like soccer, never have, and I don't think I ever will. But, with the US facing a desparation game in the World Cup, I decided to give it one more go this weekend.

I'm lucky, because two of my four classmates at the company school are soccer fans, having grown up in countries that embrace the game. So I sought some advice on what I should be watching for, and understanding the calls the referees made.

So with beer (Sam Adams Cherry Wheat) and snacks in hand, I tried watching the game. I was late getting to it (after the half) because of my earlier mentioned sight seeing, but did catch the last 40 minutes or so.

Now, I will admit has a few rules I like, when someone gets red carded and tossed from the game your team plays short for the rest of the game. Kind of like the ultimate penalty box. should try that, I bet it would cut down mightily on the stupid fouls in the lane.

The three substitution rule is also good. should try that one. Scoring would go way up since you would have to be careful not to run out of subs when you might need a left handed batter. Pitchers would start seeing a lot more innings.

As for the game itself, it's like watching grass grow, during a drought. Don't get me wrong, the game takes a great deal of skill to play, but that doesn't mean it's not boring to watch. In fact, it is in the excitement zone of watching golf or bass fishing on TV.

How boring did I find the game? I didn't finish the beer before I fell asleep during the game, and remember there were only about 40 minutes left when I started watching. So, in fairness, I decided to try and watch another game later in the evening. Nope, wasn't that the US v. Italy was an abhoration, the second game was even more boring.

So, for you soccer fans out there, please explain to me what I'm missing in this game, and what is supposedly so exciting about it, because I certainly can't figure it out. Though Wyatt Earp does have one reason (well, two) to at least give it another try.
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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Wonder If This Bugs The Editors

Here's the latest New York Times Best Seller List for Hard Cover Non-Fiction:

Top 5 at a Glance

1. GODLESS, by
2. DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE, by Anderson Cooper
3. WISDOM OF OUR FATHERS, by Tim Russert
4. MARLEY & ME, by John Grogan
5. THE WORLD IS FLAT, by Thomas L. Friedman

I wonder if the #1 book bugs the guys who run the editorial page?

I mentioned last Saturday that I think the publicity she's gotten for calling out the "Jersey Girls"would help her sales more than hurt them, and it looks like the list bears that out.
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Will Wisdom Be Ignored?

David Broder has an interesting column in yesterday's Washington Post, that I missed while out sight seeing. Luckily, Dan at Riehl World View pointed it out. In it, goes over the problem of Connecticut politics right now, and the possibility of a run by Joe Lieberman as an independent if he loses the Democratic Primary.

For those who don't know, , a fairly popular, farther left democrat has challenged Lieberman for the nomination for his Senate seat because Joe wouldn't back down on his Iraq War vote.

Many think the vote is a referendum on the war itself, but it really is as much a referendum on the idea of a honest politics and politicians, regardless of party. If Lamont wins in August and Lieberman does run as an independent the real question becomes 'who do you want to represent you, someone who does everything lockstep with the party, or someone who stands behind their votes?'

As I've pointed out many times, Lieberman isn't popular with the vocal left of the party simply because he refuses to toe the line they've drawn. In the Broder piece Joe has a couple of quotes that many politicians, not just Democrats should probably heed.

On the subject of his stance on the War in being a good thing, and the country being safer because of it:
"My opponent says it broke Democratic unity," Lieberman said. "Well, dammit, I wasn't thinking about Democratic unity. It was a moment to put the national interest above partisan interest."

Unfortunately, the position being pushed my a good portion of his party is unity above all else, even when unity might not be the right thing. It was pointed out at Lone Pony yesterday that was booed at a recent appearance for not changing her position on her vote for the war. Her, and Lieberman's criticism of how the war is conducted, and many of the Bush policies regarding it are completely ignored over the fact they won't say they were wrong to vote for it in the first place.

And on the idea of toeing the line for the party:
"I know I'm taking a position that is not popular within the party," Lieberman said, "but that is a challenge for the party -- whether it will accept diversity of opinion or is on a kind of crusade or of its own to have everybody toe the line. No successful political party has ever done that."

There are some folks in the GOP would could take a hint from that last line when the names Olympia Snow, Lincoln Chafee and John McCain are mentioned.

If the November election comes down to Lamont and and Independent Lieberman the referendum won't be on the war, it will be on the itself, at least in Connecticut, and my guess is the answer won't be one that the left end of the party wants to hear.

While the far left of the party over at and will cheer if Joe loses the primary, they'll forget that if he wins the general election the Democrats are farther from, not closer to their goal of regaining control of the Senate.
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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Constitutionally Speaking

Misleading title, I'm actually speaking of the , not the US Constitution, because I spent my morning wandering the wooden decks, and admiring the wonderful handywork of 208 years of history.

When I first joined the Navy in 1983, and was attending Seaman Apprenticeship School I was given a "dummy" set of orders to the Constitution, unfortunately I also had a set to the . The New Jersey's official orders showed up, so I didn't get to do my two years as a tour guide and mast climber on the Constitution.

So today was my first time to see the ship, and it was incredible. The guided tour lasts for about 30 minutes, and takes you on the spar deck (topside), the gun deck, and the berthing area.

In a way I'm glad I didn't get stationed on the ship, as you can see from this photo of the gun deck, the overheads aren't very high. In fact, I was ducking through the whole tour. I'm pretty sure had I been stationed onboard for two years I'd have ended up with a concussion at least once.

Looking at the 2.5 ton guns, it's amazing to think that there was a crew of 9-14 per gun on this small deck. They loaded, aimed, fired, and repeated every 90 seconds!

The "powder monkey" for each of the guns was a small boy, 8-16 years old, who ran from the gun deck to the powder storage between each shot to get 8 pounds of powder. So, for anyone who thinks their parents were mean, at least they didn't enlist you at 8 to go off to war, and the parents collected the paychecks!

Just think, after spending a few hours in battle, with over 250 people crammed on the gun deck, you could head below to your rack, depending on your seniority, you might be in a cramped middle hammock, or move to the outer edge of the berth as your senority and importance grew.

While this picture doesn't do it justice, there would be nearly 150 hammocks in the area of the photo. Behind my camera angle would be another 100 Navy hammocks, and then the 55 Marines hammocks. The Marines on the ship were berthed between the officers and enlisted to prevent any problems.

Some interesting things about the ship, the name "Old Ironsides" came from the battle against the HMS Guerriere. When the British shot seemed to bounce off the sides of the ship a crewman yelled "Huzzah! Her sides are made of iron!", which the Captain had entered in the deck log.

The sides aren't iron in fact, they are made of "live oak" from the swamps of Georgia and South Carolina, along with other types of oak from the North East. Because the swamp oak is five times more dense than other wood, the ships sides were much sturdier than those of her opponents.

To keep up the ship the maintains a large oak forest at the Crane, Indiana Naval Weapons Station. When areas of the ship require new wood, they harvest an appropriately sized tree for the job.

That's it for tonights history lesson. Next weekend I'll hit another historic site and post a few things about that.
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Regulating Stupidity And Human Error

Can the government pass a law to stop stupidity and human error? thinks so, and my guess is no one will oppose her proposition.

The Senator is proposing a new privacy bill to protect person data theft, like the type that happened to over 20 million veterans and 2 million active duty military. But the truth is, there are already dozens of laws that criminalize what the worker who took the data home did.

There are also tons of them to prevent the type of that occurred with a credit card clearing house, yet they didn't prevent it.

The reason is, as good intentioned as some laws are, they can't regulate human error, such as the programming glitch found in the credit card system a year or so ago, or the DoVA employee trying to get some work done at home.

I've worked in a number of places where taking certain information out of the workplace was not only against company policy, but the current laws. Yet I know that it occurred when folks got rushed for time on projects, or just fell behind for some reason or another. Another law probably won't prevent it from happening again. It may change the penalties that the current laws have, but it won't really make a difference.

Much of what she is proposing is redundant, sound bite legislation, which is great for folks running for reelection, but really don't provide any good.

For instance, she's like companies to be required to let consumers know what data they keep and how they use it and share it. Except there is already a federal law that concerns that, in fact a couple dozen of them, covering everything from medical information to credit information. Just read the fine print in your last installment contract, or credit card application.

Another issue, which she touched on, would be federal surveillance, and requiring a judges approval. FISA is already the law for domestic wiretaps, and there are tons of other ones for criminal investigations. While the constitutionality of the terrorist surveillance program is being questioned, it's working its way through the courts. Another law won't make what he's doing any less Constitutional if that's the way the current cases work out.

Her actual comments on that program were what got me laughing, though, as I read the article.
"Unchecked mass surveillance without judicial review may sometimes be legal but it is dangerous. Every president should save those powers for limited critical situations."
Let's see, finding intelligence that are possibly planning attacks in the US, and communicating with people in the US doesn't amount to a critical situation? Then what does? My guess is if the Brooklyn Bridge plot had worked because we didn't use such techniques she'd be in committee meetings screaming about the fact that the Bush administration was asleep at the wheel, and ignored the warnings.

For more Hillary Funnies go check out Lone Pony's post about her getting booed by liberal activists.
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Friday, June 16, 2006

Politicizing Iraq

The Senate voted yesterday, 93-6 against setting an arbitrary timeline for leaving Iraq, and the House will vote on a similar resolution today.

The Senate resolution, attributed to John Kerry (D) but introduced by(R), was introduced by the GOP to force a start to the debate on whether or not to redeploy out of Iraq by the end of the year.

Democrats are ticked, because while GOP called it the "Kerry Resolution", it's not exactly what plans to introduce next week. Politically there is a reason for introducing the legislation the way they did; GOP committee members would get beat up in November for voting in committee for Kerry's resolution, then voting against it on the floor. By introducing a similarly worded resolution on the floor, they don't have to worry about the "flip flop" charge come election time.

Next week what will likely happen is Kerry's amendment won't even make it out of committee, he'll be told a similar enough one was voted on this week, and the GOP will kill it when he brings it up.

My suggestion would be and get together, and agree to allow Kerry to introduce his amendment, in the form of a resolution, on the Senate floor instead, and hold the debate again, on his exact wording. My money would be on Reid refusing that idea, showing that the only reason they want it voted on in committee is to get "I voted for it before I voted against it" points against some Republicans.

Even after 11 hours of debate yesterday, and more to come today in the House, the truth is, we still aren't having an honest debate on . Instead, we are playing political football with it, each side trying to paint the other into a corner for public debates during the midterm elections.

The truth is, the people deserve a more honest, open debate, centered around the policy, not the politics of the policy on Iraq. Unfortunately, it's an year, and I doubt we'll see that debate anytime soon.
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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Debunking Destiny

I mentioned yesterday in "Drat's Foiled Again" that the left would be fun to read over the whole issue for the next few days.

So, today, being a good guy and checking where my readers came from, one was from Courting Destiny, who's got "My Heart's Broken" posted, and has evidently been drinking the kool-aid, if you know what I mean.

So, while she's totally upset, because in her words, "Rove personifies everything evil and sick about The Regime to me". She gives no examples of his evil, only whines that Bush has been in office for five years.

But what got me was this paragraph:

"The Supreme Court handed Bush the election in 2000. It’s time that we remembered that.was cheated out of office. Have always liked and
respected him. He’s the best hope for winning in 2008. If we have honest
elections, and I have no idea if we do anymore."

So I thought I'd remind her of the headline from CNN on April 4th, 2001.

This was a recount done by the Miami Hearld and USA Today. Both had editorialized that Gore probably won before they did the recount. So the idea that a couple of "right wing rags" came up with the count doesn't hold.

I don't want to be an ass, or anything, but hey, that's my style. Besides, since she brought up Gore's supposed victory, maybe she should read the article, where she'd find this little tidbit....

Their count showed that Bush's razor-thin margin of 537 votes -- certified in December by the Florida Secretary of State's office -- would have tripled to 1,665 votes if counted according to standards advocated by his Democratic rival, former Vice President Al Gore. (emphasis mine)
So, in other words, if Al had gotten exactly what he asked the courts for, he'd have lost by 3 times as many votes. So how exactly was Gore robbed?

As a reminder of the subject of Bush v. Gore, maybe she should read the opinions of the 5-4 ruling. Bush's case was that by only counting undervotes in certain counties, the Gore idea would mean that the undercounts in the rest of the state were meaningless, and disenfranchise those voters.

Two of the dissents mentioned that the Gore method of recounting would disenfrancise voters in the other counties who's undercounted votes wouldn't get a second look, which was the only question before them. However, they voted against the ruling because they wanted more time for a full recount (which wasn't a question before the court).

Now, truthfully, I love her idea that Gore is the Democrats best chance to win in 2008. Please Al, run again. Maybe she hasn't been watching what Al's been doing the last year or so, but his basic job description seems to be to paint himself as an extreme environmentalist and America basher.

So, by all means run. There's so much tape about him talking down about his own country that he'd be sliced, diced, and sauted in an election.

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The Gitmo Solution

As I was flying to Boston yesterday, I was thinking about the 3 guys who whacked themselves in Guantanamo Bay a few days ago.

Of course there are lots of people up in arms about Gitmo, again, after the incident, and I started wondering what is the solution?

As David Ignatius points out in the Washington Post, it's obvious all 400 of them are probably not terrorists, or even al Qaeda or Taliban conspirators. At the same time, regardless of what Human Rights Watch and others tell us, they aren't all poor innocent dirt farmers rounded up by the big bad Yankees to be used as playthings.

So what do we do with them. Right now there are a hundred awaiting release, to countries that won't take them back, or that they don't want to go back to for human rights reasons. Other countries are of course a little hesitant to take folks who aren't wanted by their own countries.

Well, here's an idea. We have Congress take a vote, in both chambers, to decide if we should immediately close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. I'm pretty sure the vote would fail in both Houses, but that's okay.

After the vote, the President can issue an executive order closing the prison, and anyone who can't be resettled in the home country for any reason, can be moved to the congressional district of the folks who voted YES to closing the prison.

I'm sure that , and John Murtha would be fine with that; they've all repeatedly told us how unjust it is for us to detain these folks. They are the obvious choices to host a few of them.

What do you folks think of this idea?

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Drats! Foiled Again!

The Kossite's won't be happy today. Evidently Patrick Fitzgerald has one again cancelled Fitzmas by notifying Karl Rove he won't be indicted in the quickly unravelling Plamegate case.

Lets see, GOP wins the scandal tainted 50th district in California, Zarqawi dies, Rove won't be charged, jeez, what else can go wrong for the lefties in a week.

Doug at Below the Beltway has more, including the lame response from Howard Dean.

Updated 10:02 Firedoglake has a left leaning perspective. Evidently the new 'progressive' idea is Rove is going to roll to take out someone bigger. For a look at the despair of the left read the comments, they are a riot.

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Georgia on His Mind

Jim Doyle, the Democratic governor of Wisconsin has a problem with the lining of his pockets. It's dirty, or at least appears to be. The lining is in the form of $20,000 in donations he received for his reelection campaign from Adelman Travel, which was awarded a $750,000 state contract around the same time the donations were made.

Yesterday in Federal Court, Georgia Thompson was convicted on two counts related to the contract. Govern Doyle continues to contend that no one but Thompson knew about the fixing of the contract, but the more he says it the sillier it sounds.

A few months back the Governor and one of his top advisors, Mark Marotta, denied knowing anything about the contract. Yet during the trial of Thompson it was shown that Doyle and Marotta both met with Adelman to discuss the wording of a request for proposals (RFP). RFP's are how the government get's bidders for contracts.

The e-mail and calender trail shown during the trial continually points to both Doyle and Marotta being involved with Adelman before they put in their RFP, and that they probably used Adelman's advice to solicite the RFP's.

Yet yesterday, after the trial, Doyle had this to say:
"It is clear that Georgia Thompson acted on her own, and that no other state employee was involved," Doyle said in a statement.

Um, excuse me Jim, did you see any of the news coverage of the trial? It's not only not clear that she alone was involved, but considerably suspect that she was the only one involved.

Of course, Doyle is refusing to return the campaign contributions, because he still claims that there was no "pay for play". Even if it turns out that the meetings, contributions, and timing of the contract and those donations were totally coincidental, it would still seem that Doyle would be better off returning the money for the sake of appearances.

Instead, he'll keep up the "I didn't know anything" mantra, and keep the cash. It should be interesting to see what Mark Green, Doyle's republican challenger, and his campaign do with the conviction, and contributions as the campaign progresses. It's already clear from the tone of the state's Republican party that they intend to use this as campaign fodder.

In another bad twist for Doyle in this case, the sentencing hearing for Thompson is scheduled for September 22nd, when the campaign should be getting into full swing. My guess is the voters won't be allowed to forget about it from then until the election.

More coverage at Above the Belt and WisPolitics.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Kos The King Maker?

Pat over at Brainster's Blog got me thinking this evening as I was reading his article "Will Success Spoil Daily Kos".

Kosite's just celebrated their first YearlyKos convention in Las Vegas, and have been annointed the king makers of the Democratic Party, by themselves and much of the MSM.

The coverage got me thinking, what's going to happen to Kos and the Kosites when they decide to make the wrong king (again). I mean, they are already 0-20 or 2-18 depending on who's count you use in deciding how well they are doing.

The truth is Kos is now "big time" as far as the media goes, but I think they are going to learn a hard lesson about being big time, and blogging sometime over the next few months. That lesson is what you blog about is open for everyone, not just your friends.

The vitrol of the Kos site has been well documented in the conservative, and even moderate left blogosphere as one of the problems of the far left.

So what happens when a Joe Lieberman, or other moderate decides that they'll use Kos AGAINST their opponent, instead of seeking favor with the 'netroots'? Anyone who thinks some of the Clintonistas at the DLC hasn't thought of this already is foolish.

When some far left candidate, who's fawning at the attention given by King Kos gets a little too over the top suddenly the commercials will start appearing show what his supporters are saying. And while it might appeal to that 20% of voters who call themselves hard core liberals, the one's you need to win over won't be as fond of what they see.

Then will come November, when the RNC will in all likelihood unleash a torrent of attack ads on candidates, or even the democratic party itself, showing the true colors of the king maker. Again, a sure way of turning off all but the hardest core liberal voters.

Howard Dean already proved this true in 2004, with "The Scream", when no matter how they spun it his netroot supporters couldn't rescue him from himself. Now the question is will they be able to rescue their candidates from the netroots themselves?

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Goin' To Court

The ACLU and Fed's will square off in Federal Court in Michigan today over the NSA's terrorist surviellance wire tapping program today.

I'm glad it's going to court, and I'm hoping to see the ACLU mopped up by the judge on it.

For a quick refresher, here's how the administration has claimed the program works.

1. Intel is collected that includes phone numbers used by suspected terrorists overseas.
2. When those numbers make calls to the US the NSA intercepts them, to see what numbers they are calling here.
3. Then they see who else the numbers here have been calling.

Under the previous administration, according to the 9/11 commission, this type of data was available, but not correlated or used, because of the "stovepiping" of intelligence information. Because the calls originated overseas, the CIA would be responsible for them, but because they came into the US, the FBI should have been. Since they wouldn't allow the two, or DIA, or local police to talk about things outside their areas of operation, no one ever put together the pieces of who in terrorist networks was calling the US.

We saw where that type of work got us, didn't we.

Also keep in mind, that even since FISA, courts have ruled that warrants aren't required to monitor to the communications of terrorists and agents of foriegn governments when they originate outside the US. (see United States v. Duggan, 743 F.2d 59, 2d Cir. 1984)

I also posted in February a link to the American University Law Review, and their take on Presidential powers when it comes to this type of issue. It was published in October 2000, so it was written without the specter of this program hanging over it.

My guess is that as more of these cases go before the courts the ACLU and other groups are going to end up sorely disappointed in the results. And, I'll sleep better at night because of the program.

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Who's Number One?

Haven't seen this weeks New York Times best seller list yet, but on both Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com's lists Ann Coulter is in the top 5. In fact she's number 1 on Amazon's top 100 sellers and number 3 on Barnes and Noble.

I note this because she's getting so much bad press for her comments about the four 9/11 widows who are all the rage in liberal circles these days.

She is driving the left and media nuts, mostly because she has once again had the gaul to hit a group of their "moral authorities" upside the head. She's right to point out that these four widows have no more (or less) moral authority than any of the other thousands who lost someone on that day.

While I occasionally find Ann funny, and well informed, I also see her as the Howard Stern of the conservative movement. She's more a shock jock than true pundit. She say's outrageous things simply to see what kind of reaction she can get out of the left.

So what has all the news coverage, outrage, and vitrol spewed at her done? Well mostly sold tons of copies of her new book "Godless" and made her a bunch of money. Like a great shock jock, she's used her outrageous claims to earn quite a few bucks.

For a great read on Coulter, and the left's strategy of using grief as an unquestionable weapon, check out DafyDD at Big Lizard's article. (H/T Thunder Run)

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Traveling Again

Yup, been home for just over a month, living with the wife, kids and critters, and now it's time to hit the road again.

I've already done a 2 day jaunt to pick up my company vehicle, and 5 days in Minnesota with the new job. Now I get to go to lovely Massachusetts for 17 days of training on the company equipment and software.

Am I looking forward to it? Not really, while I love learning, and I need the training, I'd rather be staying here. However, because the job definitely requires the training, I'll deal with it.

Since I'll be there for a few weekends, I was starting to think of how I'd kill the time, and knowing that there is a lot of historical stuff in the area, figured that should help. I mean, Cheers is a historic landmark, right.

Actually, Michele over at "M's Favorite Things" has given me a few ideas with the pictures from her Memorial Day trip to the area.

As far as the travel itself, I'm liking the fact that the agency the company goes through seems to like putting people on Midwest Airlines when they fly out of Milwaukee. There signature service has 2 across business class seats for everyone, good food, and non-stop service to Logan, what else can a guy ask for.

The fact that the company has prepaid the hotel bill for the stay (over $1700), and reimburses expenses weekly is also a rather nice touch. Better than having to wait for the entire trip to end to turn in the expense report.

Now I just have to figure out how to turn beers at Cheers into a legitimate business expense!

Hopefully the internet service at this hotel won't be as spotty as the stuff in Minnesota was, I have a bunch of new online courses to finish for work, and weeknights in hotels are the best time to work on that stuff.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Buried In The News

I found this tidbit buried in the news tonight....

Appeals Court Sides With Bush on Wire Taps. It's not the story you think it is. It's not about the NSA wiretaps per say, but it does make them easier.
The court ruled 2-1 in favor of the Federal Communications Commission, which says equipment using the new technologies must be able to accommodate police wiretaps under the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, known as CALEA.

Under the law, the internet, VOIP providers, and other "non-private" network equipment must be able to be tapped by law enforcement officials. A school or company's internal network wouldn't be covered by this. However, the provider that hooks them to the internet would be.

The arguement against the ruling, that the 1994 act shouldn't be enforced against the 2006 internet, is IMHO crazy. Unfortunately, congress would have to change laws nearly daily to keep up with technology if we look at things that way.

The truth is, VOIP providers want to be treated as telephone services, so long as they don't have to pay the same taxes and users fees, or be subjected to the same laws as traditional telecoms. The same thing goes for cell service providers, they'd like to be treated different than 'wired' service providers. Neither wants to be required to allow 9-1-1 locating services, pay the users fees etc, but they want to be in the market for the users of traditional system who have to follow those rules.

The truth is though, being in the same market, targeting the same audience means they should be subject to the same rules on these issues. That includes CALEA and the Telecom Act of 1994.

For the supposed civil liberties defenders out there, please apply some common sense when you think about the issue.

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Liberal Failings?

EJ Dionne has a good op/ed piece in the Washington Post this morning, "Lessons for Liberals in California". Unfortunately, he missed the one big lesson from the California initiative votes.

While he calls it liberal failings, or lessons for liberals, it's really a lesson for everyone, if they've been paying attention.

For those not on the "left coast", California has an interesting initiative system, put something on the ballot, get enough votes, it's the law (unless a judge throws it out). Things can end up on the ballot through petition drives, legislation, a number of ways. It really is a great democracy experiment, where the voters become the legislators.

In the case of Tuesday's primary election, 2 big initiatives were on the ballot, one to raise taxes on the rich (income of 400k/yr or greater) to pay for universal preschool, the other to spend half a billion or so on libraries throughout the state financed by selling state bonds. Both got whacked.

Now, if I were a betting liberal, I'd have thought the preschool initiative was a sure winner. It has all the 'big L' Liberal hallmarks. 'It's for the children', 'tax the rich', 'universal preschool', how could it fail?

It was easy, and I saw it in my 14 years out there. The 'big L' Liberals forgot to consult the 'little d' democrats who make up most of the party out there. They've seen the 'tax the rich' initiatives for decades, and know the truth. Usually the cost comes out 20-50% hirer than the initiatives estimates. Then the state has to find a way to make up that shortfall in a voter mandated program the legislature can't kill.

Where does the extra money come from? Other programs get cut, someone elses piece of the pie gets smaller. Why? Well the voters have already made it nearly impossible to raise taxes (without 2/3 of them approving), and have mandated so many programs the legislature can't work out budget issues without killing something.

In the mid 80's when I first moved to California intiatives passed easily, by the late 90's when I moved it was getting tougher and tougher to pass anything with a tax mandate on it.

Governor Schwarzenegger learned the "big lesson" that EJ misses when most of the initiatives he backed failed, too. Still, no one on either side of the aisle has figured out the true lesson of the last 3 years of initiatives.

The big lesson isn't folks don't want to tax the rich, or they don't want universal pre-school. The big lesson is Californians have figured out they don't want to legislate. They seem to be learning that the golden democracy experiment is a failure. By hamstringing the legislature with tons of mandates, and limited power to deal with the budget their state is in a near perpetual state of fiscal chaos. From one year to the next it's impossible to figure out which non-voter mandated programs will be around if the budget is short of cash.

As much as folks in other states sometimes hate their representative legislature, the folks in California are figuring out that system works better than law by the masses.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Gutter Sluts

You know, I've got no problem with sluts, in fact when I was young and single I used to seek them out. But there are a few classes of sluts, the normal one's, you know them they are just easy, enjoy sex (probably for the wrong reasons) but are easy to hook up with. Usually though they had some kind of scruples.

However, there is another class of slut, one that I (and all men should) avoided like the plague. Those are the gutter sluts. These chicks are at best way to easy for too many folks, and at worst, whores.

Why would I write this? Well I was just reading on Yahoo News that the second stripper at the Duke lacrosse party changed her story a few days after the incident. According to court papers filed today, she originally told the cops that the rape allegations were "a crock" and that her and the supposed victim were never apart for more than 5 minutes.

Then, according to the story, after being treated favorably by the DA in another, unrelated case, she suddenly had a different recollection of the night in question. Maybe the were apart 30 minutes, etc.

Additionally, the "supposed victim" claimed she hadn't had sex with anyone in a week. Yet DNA found during her exam was from someone not at the party, and the guy who took her to two or three other events that week also claimed to have had sex with her "at least a few times".

So, who do I think they are gutter sluts? Well, it's becoming clearer with each document released there wasn't a rape, probably not any sex what so ever. Instead, it's a case of a chick knowing she can get some publicity and probably some money, by raking some guys over the coals.

Hopefully the case ends up dismissed, and all three sue her stupid ass and take every dime they can find on her (probably only 2 or 3) just for kicks. I'd love to see her driven to bankruptcy by the legal bills from defending herself.

Rape isn't a joke, it's not a ticket to a free lunch, though it appears Jesse Jackson wants to foot her bills for school. Maybe he should foot her bills for counseling instead. I'm not sure he can afford the legal costs she's going to run up with these BS allegations. Rape is a serious crime, with serious problems for it's true victims. Chicks who fake it, and use that as a ticket to a better life are, well gutter sluts, period.

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Zarqawi Dead

In a wonderful development from Iraq overnight, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq was killed in a bombing strike by US forces.

Now, I don't think this will end the insurgency, but when you kill the leader, and whack seven of his closest aides, what it does do is put a crimp in their style. According to an al-Qaeda linked website, which has also acknowledged the death Zarqawi had already designated a successor in case of something like this.

Something interesting coming out of the story include that it seems to have been Iraqi's who fingered Zarqawi's meeting place, giving the info to Iraqi intelligence. That indicates that more Iraqi's, even in the Sunni strongholds, are willing to stand up to the insurgents.

The other good news out of Iraq is that they have finished the cabinet with the new government. A Sunni will lead the military, a Shiite the interior ministry, and a Kurd in charge of national security. Hopefully the people are getting the word the new government is serious about unity between the three major sects, as it will help with unifying the country.

(H/T to Griz at God Bless America)

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

That Didn't Work

Democrats have to be rubbing their heads today after California's election to replace Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-San Diego) who is now in prison.

In Nancy Pelosi's home state, where the "culture of corruption" should have been a huge issue, the Democrats still lost by about 6% of the vote. It didn't matter than Pelosi, Boxer, Feinstein, Al Gore and John Kerry all campaigned for the Democratic candidate, she still lost.

The pre-election polling showed the race in the 3.5% margin of error, the media was touting it as "too close to call" and a possible coup for the Democrats. Instead, they got beat, badly considering the circumstance.

In Montana, Conrad Burns (R) also won his primary, with 75% of the vote, even though he's been closely tied to Jack Abramoff.

So now you have to wonder what the new strategy will be for the Democrats. Lots of bloggers and right leaning policy wonks have been warning for months that the "culture of corruption" platform wouldn't works, since a solid 2/3's of the electorate consider both parties corrupt and out of touch.

The Bilbray(R) vs. Busby(D) race was supposed to highlight that Democrats could take a weakened GOP seat by drumming on the Abramoff scandal and Cunningham's own problems. Busby even referred to Bilbray as "that lobbyist" regularly, trying to tie him to the scandals he had no part of.

Having lived in that district for a number of years, and knowing Brian Bilbray's actual reputation and experience instead of what the Democrats tried to paint him as, I could have told them this tact wouldn't work. That district has some pretty well informed voters, who for the most part would rather not be part of California politically.

In what the media tried to paint as the most open race, the Democrats strategy has failed, now it will be interesting to watch and see if they decide on a new way to run against the GOP come November.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Double D Culture of Corruption

Okay, so the title is a teaser, but then again, so are many "double d's". The truth is, I'm referring to Mayor Daley of Chicago and Governor Doyle of Wisconsin, two Democrats who seem to be caught up in that culture of corruption that bothers their party leaders so much.

The guys are two Democrats that Nancy Pelosi probably isn't going to be getting close to anytime soon, and in the case of Daley, Rahm Emanuel may start running, fast, if he's smart. My guess is his November opponent will be linking him to the tainted city hiring process, and use of city workers to campaign.

Robert Sorich, the head of the Mayor's "Intergovernmental Affairs Office" is on trial in Chicago, and once again the witnesses are refusing to use that name for his office. Instead, Donald Tomczak and others continue to refer to it as the "patronage office". Tomczak yesterday testified that he gave names of city employees who, on city time, did a very good job working on the campaigns of Rahm Emanuel, Al Gore, Mayor Daley and others
(From the Chicago Tribune)
In 2001, when there were openings for district foremen in his department, Tomczak said two men were promoted on the basis of their "great job" in campaigns. But he named four other applicants he said were better qualified and did not get promoted for lack of support from the mayor's office.

It's getting funnier daily listening to the Mayor deny that his office, or his subordinates knew anything about the patronage system, as more and more city department heads give testimony nearly identical to Tomczaks.

Sorich seems to have a two pronged defense, one being 'if a single person wasn't promoted because of patronage, then all of this is BS', the other being 'the witnesses are getting sweetheart deals for their own crimes'. No actual denials, just a little obsfucation of the facts.

North of Chicago in Wisconsin, Georgia Thompson is on trial for steering a state travel contract to a donor to the campaign chest of Jim Doyle. Seems the folks behind Adelman Travel gave $3,000 to Doyle's war chest before the contract was awarded, and another $7,000 afterwards.
While the contract has been voided, the governor has refused to return the money.

So far the first few witnesses have said that Omega Travel scored hirer on the states system for awarding the contract, but Thompson and others were pressured by Doyle appointees to fudge the numbers so Adelman would win the $750,000 contract.

It will be interesting to see how both trials pan out, and if any media attention is paid to it if they are found guilty.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Wake Up Call

Looks like the folks in Canada got their wake up call for terrorism this weekend. One and a half times the amount of ammonium-nitrate used to blow the FBI builiding in Oklahoma City was found, along with 17 conspirators.

With the exception of some assistance in Afghanistan Canada has been pretty quiet in the War on Terror, and tried to stay out of the "muslim politics" of it. Yet it hasn't stopped them from being targeted by a home grown group of islamowhackos.

It will be interesting to start hearing more details of the plot as the arraignment and other hearigns move forward. Right now the Government up there is saying these folks aren't aligned with any foriegn influences, they are just disenchanted locals who think the whole west is out to destroy Islam.

I wonder if this will help with the "border security issues" in the US, and make us start taking a look at the northern frontier, where apparently terrorists are also residing?

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Sunday, June 04, 2006


Okay, I did lousy in the Chili Cook-off, but I blame it on wimpy women, who can't handle a little heat, and being placed at a bad table.

Every guy I talked to who voted put me in the top 2, along with another guy from KOA Campground who had some really good stuff.

But the women all voted me WAY down because (according to them) there was too much spice in it. Instead, the voted for the "Girl Scout Girl's" chili, which tasted like chili minus any spice.

I mean, really, what good is chili if it doesn't leave your lips numb after the second bowl?

I've already made my suggestion for next years contest, no judges with acid reflux or blue hair allowed. Get a bunch of beer swilling bikers who know what Chili is supposed to taste like!

On the plus side, the Chili Cook-off and charity auction raised over $5700 for LeRoy Butler's Foundation which funds breast cancer awareness and screenings, and I got a seat from the old City Stadium in Green Bay at the auction.

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