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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Saving The Democrats, From Themselves

The guys at Edelman, Wal-Mart's PR firm have been sending me a lot of links to media articles on the Democrats attacking Wal-Mart. For most of the past eight months those links have usually been to articles supportive of the position that Wal-Mart is a bad thing, and Wal-Mart's response to them.

But over the last few weeks, there's been some change, a great deal of them have been to major city newspapers Op/Ed pages, that have been blasting the Democrats for their position.

I hadn't posted anything on it, just read the op/ed pieces in amazement, wondering why the sudden shift at places like the Washington Post and LA Times and Newsweek. Then, it finally hit me, they are trying to save the Democrats, from themselves.

The common theme, from Sebastian Mallaby's "Shopping for Support Down the Wrong Aisle" to Robert Samuelson's "Wal-Mart Is A Diversion", is that the Democratic Party is, by attacking Wal-Mart, attacking the very voters it needs to win the mid-term elections this year.

Mallaby and Samuelson both point to studies that show Wal-Mart saves lower income American's over 200 Billion dollars a year, more of that on food savings than the 33 billion the feds spend on food stamps.

So, while the Wake Up Wal-Mart folks at the United Food and Commerical Workers are happy to have the Democrats on their side, they are basically pandering to a vote (union workers) they already have. But at the same time, by demonizing a place that well over half of non-union low income workers shop, are they alienating them?

Keep in mind, this is a demographic the DNC needs to court, not alienate. While 85 percent of Americans will shop at Wal-Mart at least once a year, polls show that of people who shop Wal-Mart more than twice a month, about 75% vote Republican, and much of it is in conservative, rural areas. Those are voters the Democrats need to win in 2006, and beyond. The people they are drawing rave reviews from, those who never or seldom shop at Wal-Mart, already vote for their party by a 4-1 margin.

What Mallaby, Samuelson, the LA Times, and NY Sun have been doing; in my never so humble opinion; is trying to wake up the Democratic party to the fact that while the far left and their donors there might love this tactic, the very voters they need to attract may be turned off by it.

My guess is more such opinion pieces will be written in the next month, as we move into the meat of the mid-term election season, hoping to shut up some of the Democratic party that is working on shooting itself in the foot, yet again.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Something Outstanding to Read Today

If you need some good reading today, check out Thunder Run's post "Feigned Support - I'm Sick Of It". David does a great job of blowing a few liberal arguements about recruiting, retention, thand the Individual Ready Reserve out of the water for a commenter who is obviously clueless.

He also throws a pretty good right jab over the left's arguement about boots on the ground in Iraq/Afghanistan.

The media has made much of the Marine Corps calling up "Individual Ready Reserve (IRR)" troops for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. For those who don't understand what the IRR is, he's a quick explaination.

When you enlist in the military it is for either a six or eight year obligation, depending on your specialty. Normally that time frame includes 4-6 years of active duty, and 2-4 years in the Individual Ready Reserve.

Unlike "active reserve" troops, IRR troops aren't required to drill with a unit, they receive no pay and benefits for those years. The enlistment document just states that until the end of the obligated time, you are eligible for recall to active duty, as is any other reservist.

So, contrary to popular belief in some media circles, the Marines aren't calling up people who's obligation has already ended, they are just calling on a different batch of reservists. If they read their papers, knew they were eligible for it. Just like I know that until 30 June 2013 I'm eligible for recall from the "fleet reserve" component of the Navy, I read the papers I signed.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

No Longer Strange Bedfellows

A few years back the far left of the world, the heavy duty liberals who weren't part of the Democratic party, and the party fought over ballot access. Specifically, the far left was fighting to get Ralph Nader on all 50 ballots based on his 2000 performance for the Green Party.

The mainstream Democrats of the time fought, spending millions, to keep Nader off the ballot in most battleground states, because they blamed him for causing the 2000 election to be lost.

Today, though, the forces have united, and again over ballot access. This time, though, both sides are fighting to keep someone off the ballot, Joe Lieberman.

That's right, groups who two short years ago fought it out in courts in half a dozen states over the ideology of ballot access have teamed up, both sides evidently deciding that keeping someone off the ballot is okay.

Lieberman, of course, has to go, according to both groups. The far left anti-war activists who are trying to have him removed can't have their poster child Ned Lamont getting beat in the general election. It would ruin that whole aura set up by his primary win.

The mainstream democrats want him tossed from the party, according to the Washington Post. They are looking for party "unity" around Lamont, and besides, they are running out of knives for Joe's back.

It will be interesting to watch how the anti-war activists, who two years ago rallied behind Nader's ballot access cause explain that now they want to keep someone off the ballot.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006



1. You have to be against capital punishment, but support abortion on
2. You have to believe that businesses create oppression and governments
create prosperity.
3. You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens
are more of a threat than U.S. nuclear weapons technology in the hands
of Iran or Chinese and North Korean communists.
4. You have to believe that there was no art before federal funding.
5. You have to believe that global temperatures are less affected by
cyclical changes in the earth's climate and more affected by soccer moms
driving SUV's.
6. You have to believe that gender roles are artificial, but being
homosexual is natural.
7. You have to believe that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of
federal funding.
8. You have to believe that the same teacher who can't teach 4th-graders
how to read is somehow qualified to teach those same kids about sex.
9. You have to believe that hunters don't care about nature, but PETA
activists do.
10. You have to believe that self-esteem is more important than actually
doing something to earn it.
11. You have to believe that Mel Gibson spent $25 million of his own
money to make "The Passion of the Christ" for financial gain only.
12. You have to believe the NRA is bad because it supports certain parts
of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good because it supports certain
parts of the Constitution.
13. You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too
14. You have to believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are more
important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, Gen. Robert E. Lee,
and Thomas Edison.
15. You have to believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial
quotas and set-asides are not.
16. You have to believe that the only reason socialism hasn't worked
anywhere it's been tried is because the right people haven't been in
17. You have to believe that homosexual parades displaying drag queens
and transvestites should be constitutionally protected, and manger
scenes at Christmas should be illegal.
18. You have to believe that this message is a part of a vast,
right-wing conspiracy.
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Yeah, I'm Alive

Got an e-mail from a friend last night checking on me, so I figured I better post something before you folks arrange a cyber-funeral for me.

The truth is, I've been finding the news much less interesting and engaging than being around the wife and kids. Add that to the fact that most of my work weeks are 45-50 hours, and suddenly there is much less to post here on the blog.

This week I'm covering work in another state for a guy at training, so I'm in a hotel (with a crappy internet connection) for a few days while I take care of a few jobs.

I did find out yesterday that the company hired another person who worked with me on my final Navy tour at Great Lakes. That brings the number to 3 of us from that command and time frame, two in my region, and now one in Denver.

I probably won't tell my boss that it's all part of my vast conspiracy to take over the field service end of the business, I'll just let him find out when the coup occurs. (I'm joking, boss, in case you are reading this).

Who knows, maybe tonight I'll actually open a newspaper and see whats going on in the world and give you my opinion on it. Until then, thanks for asking if I'm okay, and I'll be back later.
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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Maybe He Should Read The Whole Paper

David Ignatius, a guy at the Washington Post I love to bash, should start reading advance copies of his paper before submitting his editorial pieces.

I say this, because in writing his "After the Bombs, Politics" column he obviously didn't see the "Hezbollah Balks At Withdraw" article that ended up on the front page of the same paper.

Ignatius, like many folks who believe terrorist groups can be dealt with through diplomacy, is confused by the fact that Hezbollah and Hamas have become involved in politics.

Neither group got into politics as a way to get out of terrorism, but instead as a way to try and show some legitimacy of their cause, and have an "in" with the governments they hold hostage through their acts.

While Hezbollah's political wing said all the right things to get a cease fire in place, they've immediately balked at the requirements of the same cease-fire. In this case, the call for their disarmament and withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

It will be interesting to see how Israel reacts to the idea that the Hezbollah fighters will pull back and disarm, but only if the Lebanese agree not to look into the bunkers where their weapons caches are in the south.

The UN reaction will be predictable, they'll claim it's a great diplomatic victory. The truth is it shows another failing of the group. They'll once again acquiesce to the terrorists, and allow them to keep the guns that aren't in plain sight, and in a few months wonder why Hezbollah guerrillas are once again infiltrating Israel.

Ignatius and his ilk want to believe, despite years of evidence, that everything is solvable through negotiation. They ignore the history of such follies over just the last century. Chamberlain and the French decided if they allowed Germany to go into the low countries and ignored them, they'd stop. The communists were great at putting up a diplomatic front at the UN, while their tanks rolled over disenters in eastern Europe. Kim Il Jong continued to develop nuclear weapons while robbing the west of oil, technology, and food.

With all the empiracle evidence that negotiation don't work with terrorist states or groups, men like Ignatius still hold to the belief that it's the way out of every problem. Alcoholic's Anonymous preaches to people that insanity is when you keep doing the same thing over and over, hoping for a different result. Ignatius and the folks who think every terrorist problem has a diplomatic solution should probably start their own twelve step group for people addicted to failed policies.

Trackback at Basil's Blog, where you can also ask questions for my interview.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

From Both Sides

Brendan Miniter's column in Opinion Journal "Dem's and the Dark Years", should come as no surprise to anyone. Opinion Journal, the online arm of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, has a history of beating on the democrats.

However, E.J. Dionne, from the Washington Post also beating on them, in his latest column "A Gap in Their Armor", should come as a surprise.

Miniter lays out, very well, why he thinks the DNC is on the wrong path for the 2006 mid-term elections. The article referers to the dark years following our withdrawl from Viet Nam. The term has nothing to do with America, but instead how the South Vietnamese felt when we abandoned them, and they fell to the north.

He points out American's don't necessarily like war, as polls show with Iraq, but they like the idea of losing wars even less. And the GOP will spend a lot of money to remind American's that the basic strategy of Ned Lamont and the Sheehan end of the Democratic Party is to admit defeat and leave in Iraq.

Dionne points out that the Democrats have a bad habit of self destruction, and even with what seems a perfect set up for regaining at least some real estate in Washington, they could still blow it.

He points out, as others have over the last few months, that the in fighting between Howard Dean, the DNC Chairman, and Rahm Emanuel, the Congressman in charge of trying to win back the House, could be just what they don't need.

Dean is looking long term, not only to 2006, but 2008 and beyond by trying to rebuild the party structure nationwide. He's actually taken a page from the GOP, and decided that a firm, nationwide structure is necessary for the long term good of the party.

Emanuel, on the other hand, would like DNC money spent in 40-50 House races, for the 2006 election, and then worry about the future. While he has a point for this election, it's not a great long term strategy.

Emanuel could stand to look at how the GOP retook congress in the 1990's. It wasn't by focusing everying over a two year period, it had been worked on since Regan was elected in 1980. It only came into full focus and fruition in 1994. For 14 years before that the GOP had been working on states where they thought they could win, but also on building a decent structure in others at a local level.

That's how they also took a majority of Governor's mansions, and state legislatures since then. It wasn't by only worrying about "big elections". Getting incumbant, popular local legislators who could then move up to national office, or stump for those trying for them was a key to how they pulled it off.

The Emanuel strategy is just the opposite, worry about the big elections, and hope that it rolls downhill to get the smaller ones. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to work as well in most cases.

The Dem's have another problem Dionne points out, their big money donors aren't there like they were in 2004. Like Emanuel, the big money folks like George Soro's only seem to worry about big elections. 2006, while a prime opportunity to regain the House at least, doesn't seem to be attracting the dollars 2004 did.

The GOP, while not always attracting the individual big money guys, has done a great job at securing long term donors to the party, and keeping their money lead. But they've done it like everything else, with long term plans, not "just wait until this year!" type hyperbole.

Maybe, but I doubt it, the Democrats will start looking at both the image problem the GOP is certainly going to give them this year, and their own strategy for winning elections, and come up with a way to be competitive. Instead, I think they will end up finding disappointment come November, because of their own shortcomings.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

We Don't Learn Well

Hurricane Katrina was supposed to have taught us that the multiple layers of control over groups who respond to disasters was, in itself, a disaster.

Louisiana was slow at mobilizing their National Guard troops to try and set up some sort of security in the New Orleans area. Pundits were all over TV (and the blogosphere) wondering why the President didn't take control of the Guard and get them mobilized.

The truth was, short of invoking the Insurrection Act, he couldn't do it, and Kathleen Blanco was, for a least a day or so, reluctant to bring in the Guard.

So, as Congress is supposed to do, they looked at the problem, and decided that the President should be able to mobilize the National Guard in times of natural disaster.

Now, the Governors are pissed off and sending a nasty letter to Congress whining that their toes have been stepped on. They are whining that their State's sovereignty is being infringed on by such an act.

Remember, these are the same governors who expect the feds to have thousands of people on the ground in minutes after a Katrina like hurricane to distribute food and water, and evacuate the people they generally fail to get out of harms way.

Keeping in mind that the Insurrection Act, and logistics, make it difficult to use federal troops in that role, the National Guard is the logical choice. They are close buy, authorized as state troops to provide security and law enforcement, and generally more familiar with their territory than the 3rd Infantry Division would be.

What the Governor's want is control, without of course responsibility or accountibility. When the relief effort is slow to start, security is bad, or things just aren't going right, they want FEMA to be the one to blame. At the same time, they don't want to give up any control on anything in the state.

Sorry Governors, if you want the feds to do everything for you because of the demonstrated piss poor planning in your disaster prone states, then you need to provide them all the tools. If you want to maintain local control, then be willing, unlike Ms. Blanco, to step up and take the heat when stuff goes south.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Does Britain Have An ACLU?

Does Britain have a version of the ACLU, I hope not. If they do I can see many of the (up to) 50 conspirators arrested yesterday getting lawyers from the group.

After reading an article this morning in the Washington Post, that details internet search records, phone calls, and travel plans of those arrested being monitored by Scotland Yard, I can see an ACLU type group coming to their defense, whining about the inappropriateness of the searches.

The Brit's even had the audacity to conduct "sneak and peak" searches to gather some of the data on these folks. The ACLU is of course fighting that provision of the Patriot Act, though I can't find anything that says they've challeged them when they've been used under the RICO Act for 30 years.

The Post, while not divuldging everything about the investigation makes it clear this wasn't a "oops, look what we stumbled on to" type of operation. Instead, it's been a year of work on 4 continents, with thousands of investigators in the US, Britain, Pakistan and elsewhere following suspects and leads.

While Scotland Yard, and the Department of Homeland Security haven't released the exact types of bombs being devised, the news papers have made sure they publish exactly how a peroxide bomb would work, and what chemicals you would use. Thanks, that's information the general public probably doesn't need.

The general ban on liquids does, though, drive home one point, you can't electronically screen, x-ray, etc. for every substance that can be made dangerous on an aircraft. Instead, it's going to take grunt work looking through bags to find some of the things these types of folks would like to use.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

It's Still A Post 9-11 World

For the folks who'd like to go back to living in a Pre-9/11 world, Britian just issued a wake up call. Evidently they broke up a cell intent on destroying a large number of commerical aircraft mid-flight between the UK and US.

Expect delays if you are traveling, as extra security has been added at airports on both sides of the pond, with Britain disallowing any carry on baggage. We changed the threat level for airports to "High" here (orange if you like the color codes), and Severe (red) for flights originating from the UK.

Both countries have prohibited the carrying of any liquids except medicine onto aircraft, Britain is requiring people carrying that to taste it in front of the security screeners. Wonder how that would go over with the ACLU here?

Every time I fly I hear folks who would like us to go back to the old ways of doing business at airports. Today's arrests show that even though nothings happened in about 5 years, folks are still trying to take another cheap shot. That being considered, things will mostly likely stay how they are, or get more strict not less.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Well, If We Can't Get Wal-Mart

Evidently organized labor has slowed it's assault on Wal-Mart for a couple of different approaches.

The first is to start going after Wally World's nearest retail competitor, Target. The United Food and Commercial Workers, who spearheaded the assault on Wal-Mart is now going after Target as their primary goal, evidently realizing Wal-Mart wasn't going to succumb to their bully tactics.

My guess is they won't be anymore successful with Target than they were Wal-Mart, but only time will tell. Target isn't in as good a position as Wal-Mart, since they do pay less (yes, someone does), and make employees wait longer for benefits. However, you may see a tweak on both of those fronts if it looks like the union will make any headway.

The second front labor is targeting; which shows their total desparation for new members; is the day laborer market. Keep in mind that a majority of that market is occupied by illegal aliens, not legal residents.

Why would organized labor, which for years complained that illegal immigration costs their members jobs suddenly decide to join forces with day laborer organizations? Easy, MONEY. By pushing for legalization of some immigrants, and then getting them on the dues paying rolls (probably vice versa) , they increase their bank account.

It will be interesting to see how the AFL-CIO sells this to their members, since for years they've been telling them that cheap foriegn labor is the cause of most of their woes. Now they are going to tell them to embrace that same group? And folks wonder why I use AFL-CIO as the punchline in half the jokes in my comedy routine.

And Rightly So also has a take on this.

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Independent Joe

For an interesting spin on last night's Connecticut primary, one needs to read the New York Times lead editorial on the results today. Called "Revenge of the Irate Moderates ", the Times try and paint Lieberman's loss as the sole responsibility of the moderate democrats who've supported him in the past.

The truth is, there is nothing farther from the truth. While the Times uses lines like this to try and explain away the ultra-left involvement:

It's hard to imagine Connecticut, which likes to be called the Land of Steady Habits, as an encampment of left-wing isolationists, and it's hard to imagine Mr. Lamont, who worked happily with the Republicans in Greenwich politics, leading that kind of revolution

Actually, it's not hard to imagine, if the NY Times editorial board would open their eyes. Lamont wasn't selected by angry moderates to run against Lieberman. He was drafted by the Cindy Sheehan end of the party to run against Bush, by painting Lieberman as his lap dog.

The anti-war, "America is always wrong" group that drafted Lamont did it for two reasons, he had deep pockets of his own, and a desire to be in politics. They didn't care if he'd worked harmoniously with Greenwich republicans for years. They glossed that over in all his advertising and campaigning, instead painting Lieberman as the next best thing to Tom DeLay in Connecticutut.

With the Sheehan's, Kosites, and others from the far left of the party pushing him in, it's obvious to anyone who isn't trying to paint Lamont as the "moderate candidate" why he's there. Yes, some angry moderates did vote for him, but they weren't the groundswell that brought his candidacy to shore.

Unfortunately for the Democrats, November isn't a primary, and they just made it harder on themselves to regain control of the Senate this year. It wasn't the moderates in the party that screwed that pooch, either, it was the left wing of the party, who's "anti-Bush" mantra was used to twist Lieberman's record in the primary.

The GOP now has two strategies to consider in the Connecticut general election. The first would be to replace Alan Schlesinger, who is a political weakling who ran 3rd in a three way poll against Lamont and Lieberman, or concentrate on beating down Lamont, and allowing Lieberman to win as an Independent (He's always polled first in those 3 way polls).

Both strategies have appeal. The first would allow the GOP to possibly gain a seat in the Senate that has been in Democratic hands for decades. However, it's a long shot as there aren't a lot of strong republican's in Connecticut.

The second though, accomplishes almost the same thing. By working not to win the election, but to make sure Lamont loses, the GOP puts the seat into an Independent state, meaning that it's truly a net gain for them in retaining control of the Senate.

While the Democratic party is going to distance itself from Lieberman for the next six to eight weeks, I would bet that around mid-October they suddenly become very conciliatory if it looks as though he'll win. It won't matter, they've burned their bridges already, and will find them hard to rebuild with the current tone of the party. That tone is what Lieberman has vowed to run against in November.

Much like Jim Jeffords, who abandoned the GOP in 2000 because he felt they'd gone to far right, look to Lieberman, if he wins, to stay in the Senate as an independent, because his party is moving too far left.

If, on November 8th Democrats wake up and see the GOP holds the Senate by one seat, based on an Independent from Connecticut, I wonder how many of them will realize that in trying to win one battle against Bush, they lost their war.

The Gun Toting Liberal has a more "left centric" view on this race.
(New) Jessica McBride has a great run down of the winners and losers in the Lieberman Lamont aftermath

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What Happens After Joe?

With the polls closed in Connecticut, Ned Lamont is leading Joe Lieberman by about 3.5% with 75 percent of the vote counted.

So what happens next, if Ned wins (though his lead has been slipping steadily)? One school of thought is that the GOP will run scared in November, because it's obvious that Ned has the right message, the other is that the GOP will love it, because of Ned's message.

Something to keep in mind in today's primary is that it is closed, that means only Democrats are voting, not anyone who'd like to. So it is much less a "statewide referendum" on Lieberman than the Kos kids and their friends would have you believe. It is a Democratic party referendum, that's all.

The fact that it is a closed primary could spell trouble for Ned in the November election. When barely half of your own party is voting for you, that means you need everyone of them, and some of the folks who voted against you to turn out in your favor in November to win.

The problem with that is a lot of folks voting against Lamont are angry with him for the way his campaign, and the ultra left that recruited him, have treated Lieberman. Like the good democrats who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 because they couldn't stomach Al Gore, many good democrats may vote a different way this November because they can't stomach Lamont.

While Lamont's message has played well with the hard core liberals, the fact is it's been a loser in every race since 2004 with the general electorate in most states. Kos backed candidates have only won a single race out of 19 so far.

Much has been made of the 27,000 new voters who have come to the Democrats since this race began, mostly brought in by Lamont. But one also begins to wonder how many of them are going to show at the polls in November, if the "beat Lieberman" mission is accomplished. One thing about rabid voters on either side of the aisle, they tend to not vote when it doesn't matter to them. In the case of Connecticut, what seems to matter to that rabid group isn't keeping the seat for the Democrats, but taking it from Lieberman, which they may have accomplished today.

While I'll feel sorry for Lieberman if he loses, I feel sorrier still for the people of his state. What they'll lose is a politician who may not in every way reflect their views, but who has been nothing but honest with them. It's a trait we see in far too few politicians. And, I think that if the voters actually took the time to look at the record, they'd see Ned Lamont has snowed them on the issue of Lieberman being a Bush lapdog. Unfortunately, they'll probably find out too late who was running that snow machine.

Update: At 9:54pm the Washington Post reported that Lieberman conceded, trailing by 3 points with 90% of the vote counted.

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To my loyal readers, sorry for the lack of posting the last couple of days. An unfortunate family situation is occupying my time a little too much to deal with Wal-Mart, politics, war, and the general idiots of the left.

Hopefully I'll have a chance tonight to finish a followup on the Wal-Mart post.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Repent John, Repent!!

Earlier today, in Pittsburgh PA, former Senator John Edwards (and loser in 2004) held a town hall meeting, sponsored by "Wake Up Wal-Mart" to speak of the evils of the megacorp.

I wonder if John will be asked to repent his sins, of owning Wal-Mart Stock, and allowing his campaign staffers to shop there during the 2004 election season? In fact, I posted that very question on Wake Up Wal-Mart's blog, we'll see if it gets posted or screened out.

Paidcritics.com has the "smoking guns" of John's financial disclosures up through 2003 available on their website, showing Mr. Edwards actively buying Wal-Mart stock, and collecting dividends from them.

One of the bad things about being a public figure, and in Edwards case, an elected official, is that the whole world knows more about you than you'd like. Senators, Congressmen and women, and Presidents all have to file financial disclosures annually.

Since he's left public office, it's harder to know if he still holds any of the stock, but according to the disclosures available during his term in office, he was buying somewhere between 50 and 100 shares a year, and at the peak had between 50 and 100k worth of their stocks.

Also, if anyone looked, they'd see that he had a fair amount of stock in WorldCom, before it collapsed in an Enron like scandal.

(Yes, Edelman did send me a link to the PaidCritics financial disclosures).

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Shifting Principles

I'm getting a kick out of the University of Wisconsin, and it's handling of Kevin Barret, the moonbat "Intro to Islam" professor I blogged about a few weeks ago (here).

Remember back when UW decided that "academic freedom" was more important than the truth when they decided to keep him as an associate professor? Well, oddly, they are now asking him to shut the hell up to the media, and quit making a big deal of his affiliation with the University.

In fact, they've told him; according to Jessica McBride, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ; that he could be dismissed if he continues to make public statements to the media about this theory.

Evidently we've now found the pressure point for the UW system, it's bad publicity. You can apparently teach whatever you want in the name of academic freedom. However, if you make it publicly known what you are teaching, and it gives UW a black eye, then you may face punishment.

My guess, and this is only a guess, is that some deep pocketed donors to the University may have decided they didn't like Barrett, and told the Provost as much. Again, speculation, but I believe that facing the loss of grant money and donations that fund many programs, the Provost was put between the proverbial rock and hard place on how to deal with his new media darling.

In a related story, the Ozaukee County Board decided to withhold funding next year to the extension campus equivalent to the amount of money Barrett will be paid as a lecturer for the University. Board members decided that the "Blame America First" fringe shouldn't be funded by the taxpayers, and a few of the board members are asking all 72 counties in the state adopt similar resolutions.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Happy Blogiversary To Me

No flowers, no candy, the great thing about it being MY blogiversary is that if I forget to get me a gift, I don't sleep on the couch or in the dog house because of it.

Yes, I've been back into blogging for a year, wow, can't believe it. This "blog" actually started as a website on an old ISP, and evolved, and rotted, there for a year or so, then just sat for two. (That page still exists, if you find it send me the URL, and the date last updated, and I'll see if I can't send you a prize.)

It was also on blogger for a few months, and again rotted after I burned out and lost interest.

Then, living alone and wondering how to kill time in Virginia, I decided to get back into regular posting, and over the last year have put up 650 posts.... Evidently I had plenty of time on my hands to kill for a good part of that year.

I've met some cool folks because of it, though, and been mentioned on CNN and in the New York Times and Washington Post, so I guess it's been good for the ego, if nothing else.

Hope those who regularly read stick around, I know posting has slowed down considerably since I moved back to Illinois, and started working a rather irregular schedule. But I'll be around don't worry.... Just won't be doing two posts a day as often.

Thanks for reading, and commenting, which is what keeps me interested.


PS, don't forget to Ask Basil questions for my interview.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Murtha Needs A Lawyer

I wonder if John Murtha saw this lawsuit coming? Evidently a Marine who was at Haditha in Iraq when the supposed slaughter of 24 civilians occured has decided to sue John Murtha for libel and defamation.

The suit was filed the same day the Corps came out and said the preliminary investigation shows there probably was an illegal killing of unarmed civilians, though no charges were announced.

The Marine though, uses that as part of his reasoning for filing suit, and his attorneys have asked to depose Murtha and DoD employees who he talked to. According to the suit, by going on TV and into the papers to drum the Haditha beat, Murtha basically forced the Marines into the findings of wrong doing, to prevent it from being labeled a coverup.

I think the Marine has a point, though I will say if a legitimate investigation and trial finds him guilty, I'll run the gallows. That said, his point is well taken, once the papers and news shows started talking about the alleged massacre, any finding but the one announced today would have been questioned.

Am I cynical enough to believe the military would let a bunch of Marines hang out to dry for political expediency? Yes; because I lived through Tailhook and it's aftermath and witch hunts in the Navy during the mid 90's; I have no doubt that they'll let good men go down for the sake of good press.

Now, to Murtha. I understand his dislike for the idea of such an action, but does he really think that the best way to get a fair investigation was to go all over the TV's making the accusations he did? Or was he just getting more attention for himself. I think any regular readers know my feelings on that question.

It will be interesting to see how the DC Court handles the lawsuit. My guess is they'll find a way to toss it to save the fat behind of a certain representative.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Great Argument for a Flat Tax

If you need a good reason to support a flat tax, today's Washington Post has a really good article on some interesting tax dodges used by rich folks of both political stripes.

I've always favored either a flat, or very limited curve tax code, with much less BS, and more substance in it. The guys in the article above shielded hundreds of millions of dollars in earnings, and taxes, in what their tax advisors claim are perfectly legal schemes.

I'd even figured out the three brackets needed a few years back (though that computer is down right now, so I don't have them) to completely replace the current tax code, and increase revenues based on IRS figures from 2003. The beauty was that it wouldn't require anyone single making under $30k or married making under $45k to pay a dime in federal taxes.

The problem with implementing a flat tax, or the "Fair Tax" (national sales tax) that some advocate is there is a ton of money tied up in the current ponzi scheme that is our tax code. Look at the lawyers names in the Post article, they make millions advising people how to save millions in taxes. A changed code with a one page form would ruin them. H&R Block, TurboTax, etc, would all be unneccessary, and they don't like the idea. Dont' even get me started on the mortgage, tuition and other deductions that have become sacred cows of the tax code.

The problem is that there are too many spinmeisters out there when anyone tries to fix the tax code, or even tinker with it a little. Bill Clinton gave the rich one of their biggest tax breaks in years, while socking it to the little guys with a big increase, and George Bush took 15 million working poor off the tax rolls, but you'd be hard pressed to find those truths anywhere without sifting through IRS data. Which I did for a quite while, damn I'm weird.

Who knows, maybe some day we'll elect a bunch of folks with some common sense who want to make the tax code make sense, instead of having it make lawyers millions showing folks how to skate around it.

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