Twitter Updates

What People Say:
"I never thought I'd read the phrase Crazy Politico's Rantings in the NYT. I'll bet they never thought they'd print anything like that phrase either." TLB

Blogroll Me!

My Blog Rolls

American Flag Bloggers

American Flags

Thursday, November 30, 2006

First Of Many?

How long does it take a politician to break a campaign promise? Evidently they don't even have to be sworn in to do it.

Take the promise of implementing 'every recommendation of the 9/11 commission', heard ad nauseum by many of us who lived in close electoral districts. Well, that promise has already been promised to be broken.

Seems that the Democrats, like the GOP before them, have a hard time with the idea of the Appropriations, Defense and Ways and Means Committee chairman losing any power over anything.

One of the major recommendations of the 9/11 Commission was for the budgetary control of the intelligence community to be moved from the above three committees to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

It's not like this is some little item in the Commission's recommendations, it was a big item (From the Washington Post):
"Of all our recommendations, strengthening congressional oversight may be among the most difficult and important," the panel wrote. "So long as oversight is governed by current congressional rules and resolutions, we believe the American people will not get the security they want and need."

If, as was told to us too many times to count during the campaign season, Bush and the 109th Congress were playing political games with our security, how does ignoring the above make the Democrats any better?

This does of course lead me to wonder how many other recommendations of the Commission will also become too difficult to implement not because of cost, or time, but political expediency? We were promised a change in that attitude during the election, and instead seem to be getting more of the same, just from different mouths.

One of the major reasons for this not going anywhere, according to the Post article is that Speaker-To-Be Pelosi has already lost too much political capital over the Murtha Hoyer fight and the Harman-Hastings debacle to push a major reform such as this through. In a party full of fractured alliances and cobbled special interest quorums, Pelosi is going to have to figure out what is a good fight, and when one will just be wasting ammunition, otherwise she'll be in for a short, undistinguished career as Speaker.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What's the Point

Everyone seemed breathless today about Steven Hadley's memo to the President about the state of the Iraqi Prime Minister's leadership, and government.

Two thoughts came up as I read the NY Times article on the memo, one, why publish it at all, especially the day the President is meeting with the Prime Minister. Second, what would they expect Hadley to write, some tome blowing sunshine up the President's ass?

The answer to the first is of course easy, the NY Times seems to take special pleasure in embarassing the President, and the US as a whole, as often as possible. Why else pick today for publishing their story? The information in it would have been no less relevant in 3 or 4 days.

The second question requires thought though. I think the Times, and the media in general is still, for some reason, in Bill Clinton mode. They expect all of the President's advisors to tell him what they think he wants to hear, not what's really going on.

When Bush's advisors don't do that, it baffles that media. Here's a hint NY Times and others, good advisors aren't "yes men". Good advisors should provide information, insight and advice that is contrary to what whoever they are advising might wish to hear. That's exactly what Hadley was doing with his trip report from Iraq.

Should Maliki be upset about the memo? Hopefully not, he should understand it for what it is, an assement of his government, and their abilities; along with a lot of suggestions on how to help him.

The problem is that things don't always translate well from one language to another. So what Hadley said may well be good, constructive criticism (that all leaders should desire) but after translating it, it may well seem insulting to the Prime Minister. For that reason alone, the NY Times could have waited until after the leaders meeting in Jordan to publish their piece. Unless of course their hope was to embarass the President and insult the Prime Minister.

Technorati Tags:, , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Not Suprised, We Don't Like John

Hey John Kerry, if nothing else has told you that the American people don't like you, finishing dead last in the "likeability poll" of 20 well known political figures. George Bush, with all his warts and the talk of his approval ratings finished five places above him.

Hopefully he gets the message, we don't want him as President. Barack Obama scored well, but only 41% of the respondents said they knew enough about him to give him a rating. Kerry on the other hand, had a 95% recognition rating. For Obama that means he's got a lot of folks to meet, and convince that he deserves a high likability rating. Kerry, on the other hand has to convince people who know him that he's someone other than who they think he is.

Here's my suggestion John. Forget 2008; instead, concentrate on being a good Senator, and getting your parties agenda taken care of in a very closely divided Congress. Don't waste any more of your (wife's) money on trying to be President.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday

I was a moron today, and actually went shopping. It was really more an excuse to take the lovely wife's aunt out for lunch, but including a shopping trip. We started the day right, at Walker Brother's Cafe in Highland Park. If you find an "Original Pancake House" near you, which Walker Brothers is part of, go in and eat. I especially recommend the Apple Pancake, though if you have a small appetite you'll be eating it for the next few days.

We found, shopping at a non-mall location was fine. We hit downtown Evanston, Illinois for the afternoon and while the shops were busy none had fist fights or hair pulling incidents.

If you are a cook who needs some interesting ingredients for your holiday recipes, Home Economist at the corner of US 41 and Church St. in Skokie probably has what you are looking for. I found some great deals on hard to find spices and flours. I love baking bread, but sometimes it's tough to find good flours. They have 70% gluten flour, good whole grain flours, etc. I also found file powder, which essential to great gumbo, and both Spanish and Hungarian Paprika (there is a difference).

I found a couple of nice things, that have no real use in my life but would be cool. Like this espresso maker from DeLonghi, at $1495.00 I can't really see buying one, but it is neat.

We also found a new cafe, one I won't frequent, but looked different. It's call Cereality, a Cereal Bar and Cafe. Yeah, weird. Pick two cereals, toppings, and milk, and get it in a chinese food style container. I'll just go to my grocery store for the cereal, thanks.

The best find (in my mind) of the trip was at Cost Plus World Market, which is an great place to find strange stuff. I like them for some of their weird foods, but they also have a great microbrew and regional beer selection. Today I found a six pack of Leinenkugel's Apple Spice Beer. It's a seasonal, limited batch brew that I'd been dying to try for the last few years, but could never find. I like it, it's like drinking a cup of spiced cider with a little bit of beer bite to it, though the sweet finish is odd for an ale. The lovely one wasn't fond of it, but the child of legal drinking age did find it enjoyable.

Lunch was a near disaster at Wolfgang Pucks. The food was very good, but the waiter we had was a nightmare. He got 2/3's of the order screwed up, wrong soups, wrong food to wrong people, and kind of an attitude about a screw up on the drink order. A free desert smoothed some of it over, even though it was an apple crisp that wasn't horribly good. The butternut squash soup though is outstanding, as is the clam chowder with bacon.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Last year when I posted my Thanksgiving message I was waiting in Virginia for my wife and son to drive out to visit me, through a snow storm. If you've never driven I-68 with snow on it, you'll never understand my worry the night before while waiting for them.

This year, I guess I get to start with being thankful the whole family is together once again. Though I'm traveling for work, more than I'd like the last few weeks, we are still together the majority of the time, and I am pretty happy about that.

The other day I heard the original Thanksgiving Proclaimation, as written by George Washington in 1789. It struck me that his words are as true today as they were 217 years ago, so instead of my usual sappy Thanksgiving message, I'll give you George's words.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October,
A.D. 1789.

Hopefully the folks in Washington will read his message, because it has a message for government, the people, and the world in it.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Enjoy the company you are with, give thanks for your friends and family, and offer a prayer for someone in need, and a hand to someone who could use it.

Technorati Tags: , ,
Read The Full Post!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Excellent Reading On Iraq v. Viet Nam

If you need an excellent comparison of Iraq to Viet Nam, you can't find a better on that Dennis Byrne wrote in the Chicago Tribune, in fact, one paragraph pretty well sums up the comparison:
We abandoned millions of people to be stripped of their freedoms, imprisoned for their beliefs or slaughtered by a monstrous, tyrannical regime. It was one of the most shameful days in American history. It was our own day of infamy.

That is what our legacy to Viet Nam is, the question is do we have enough national fortitude to NOT subject the millions in Iraq to the same thing?

Charles Krauthammer also has an excellent take on the situation in Iraq, and the true problem facing the country.
The problem is not, as we endlessly argue about, the number of American troops. Or of Iraqi troops. The problem is the allegiance of the Iraqi troops. Some serve the abstraction called Iraq, but many swear fealty to political parties, religious sects or militia leaders.

As Charles pointed out, there are plenty of mistakes in Iraq, but the biggest really had nothing to do with troop levels or conduct of the conflict. The biggest issues are the government in charge, and how we've dealt with it, and allowed it to deal with us.

Add the two editorials together, and what you find out is that our political solution at home is probably the wrong answer for 25 million folks half way around the world; and our military solution there has more to do with their politics than our Army.

Fixing Iraq isn't a simple problem, and as much as many people here just want to sweep it under the rug and make it go away, that's the wrong solution. Staying in Iraq for our own national esteem and world standing would be the wrong reason, staying to "finish what we started" would be the wrong reason. Staying in Iraq because it's the right thing to do for 25 million people is why we shouldn't pull out.

Technorati Tags: , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Kissinger On Iraq

A lot of folks who want us out of Iraq yesterday have latched onto a small portion of Henry Kissenger's interview with the BBC on Sunday as a reason to leave Iraq quicker, even though that's not what he advocated in the remainder of the interview. In fact, he warned against too quick a withdrawl from Iraq.

His statement that's getting all the attention was:

"If you mean by 'military victory' an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible,"

Well, that's actually not only not news, it's not surprising. You don't win standard military victories against insurgents and suicide bombers. If you could Israel wouldn't be having the problems they are with the Palestinians.

The second part of the statement "in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support" is a hit on the US and British political systems. Our two countries because of how our governments, and press, and citizens do things don't have infinite patience for conflicts. It's one of the disadvantages of free and open societies in times of war, it's hard to conduct prolonged conflicts when everyone has a voice.

Kissenger, like many others does believe we have to redefine what we are doing in Iraq, but his final quote on the subject is the most ignored by the folks pointing to his interview as a reason to leave:

"I think we have to redefine the course, but I don't think that the alternative is between military victory, as defined previously, or total withdrawal," he said.

You won't find that quote in any of the op/ed columns or blogs that are advocating leaving "because Henry said so", because he didn't say so. Instead, his words have become another case of the media and political class using out of context phrases to try and make their point.

Columnists like Eugene Robinson use the first half of what Kissenger said to try and win their arguements, but ignore the second portion, and reality of the war itself. Robinson was also struck by the President's comparison to Viet Nam, when he said "we'll win if we don't quit". Most people have misread that to mean he thought we won Viet Nam, but what he said was we could have an chose not to.

Bush was correct in that statement, we lost Viet Nam when we quit trying to win, but we stuck around for five more years attempting not to lose. We have the same option in Iraq, but the President has been determined not to conduct it that way, regardless of the political atmosphere in Washington.

In Iraq traditional miltary victory isn't possible, and never was once Hussein was out of power. The insurgents aren't going to elect a leader to sign a surrender document, so those looking for that milestone will always be able to say they were right.

The difference between Iraq and Viet Nam is that a traditional victory against the North was both possible and probable, except for the politicians afraid of angering China and Russia. A traditional victory or the Viet Cong probably wasn't; but we'll never know if they would have collapsed with the fall of Hanoi, because we never tried that.

In Iraq a measurable set of goals for "victory" has been laid out (something Viet Nam was missing), and has been around for nearly a year, The National Strategy For Victory In Iraq.

My guess is if Kissinger instead of the Bush administration had released this document we'd be arguing about which of it's goals we were working towards. Instead, due to political pressures on the left to leave Iraq, and a media obsessed with failure in Iraq, very few people have actually read the document objectively.

The left dismissed it out of hand as a Presidential propaganda, and the media didn't like it because of that whole traditional military victory they are looking for, and the fact that it didn't say anything about winning before the next news cycle.

Technorat Tags: , , , , , ,

Read The Full Post!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Fixing Iraq

Right now two groups, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group lead by James Baker and Lee Hamilton, and the Pentagon's Iraq Review Group are getting ready to turn in their homework on how to "fix" the problems plaguing Iraq.

Just like General Abizaid's testimony last week, it appears both groups are going to eschew the idea of a quick drawdown and withdrawl or "redeployment" as a horrible idea for Iraq and the stability of the greater middle east.

Congress of course will have it's own ideas on what to do, and we've heard plenty of them. It should be interesting to see how they reconcile what they want to do with what the military experts and the other panel come up with.

John McCain seems to be the closest in Congress to what the Pentagon thinks is the best strategy, and increase in forces to speed up training of Iraqi nationals, then a drawdown but maintaining a presence for the foreseeble future.

Kucinich, Murtha and the Modern Hippie crowd of course want an immediate withdrawl, which no one but them seem to think will work for anything other than letting chaos reign.

Now the challenge to the 110th Congress will be to stand by the idea of listening to the experts, as they say Bush hasn't for over 3 years, or deciding that they should instead ignore them and come up with something on their own. I'm not betting either way on this one, though I'm inclined to believe they'll ignore the experts, that's what politicians do when it comes to war.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Bringing Back The Draft

Charlie Rangel is once again seeking a reinstatement of the draft. Of course there are caviats, you could chose to work at airports, seaports, schools, or some other form of service to the country.

The Democratic Congressman from New York has been trying to get a draft brought back for the last couple of years, but has been stymied by the GOP controlled Congress.

Personally, I think congressional Republicans would be ill served to try and block such legislation. In fact, they should work hard to get it to the floor of both houses of Congress and see how the vote falls out.

While Rangel complains about the make up of the all volunteer military, the truth is the public, by better than a two to one majority, doesn't want a draft. The active military doesn't want one, either. But that's okay, Charlie, we know that you know better than the commanders.

The truth is, his proposal has no better chance of passing an up or down vote with Democrats in power than it did with Republicans running Congress. There are too many folks on his side of the aisle that don't want to have such a vote hanging around their neck.

One thing he hasn't mentioned on the talk show circuit is how to pay for all of these folks that would be drafted into public service. Obviously they won't be working for free, which means that there would be a need for a greatly expanded budget for the military, airport and seaport security, and the other programs the draftees would be working for.

Another hitch in his plan, which isn't very clear, is what type of deferments would be allowed. You can be that as much as he complains about the make up of the military that the upper crust he complains isn't represented won't be writing many checks to campaign coffers if there isn't an out for Johnny or Jane.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

How To Pick A Beer For the Game

My son went to the store to get munchies for the football games this afternoon. Chips, dip, salsa, and of course, beer. (Yes, he's 21).

I asked what kind of beer he got and he said, "Well, I was going to get Boston Lager, then I remembered we are watching the Packers vs. Patriots, and I couldn't see drinking Sam Adams while cheering against the Patriots, so I got Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss, a good Wisconsin beer!"
(I would have preferred their Creamy Dark Lager, but he can't handle heavy beer.)

So that's the way to do it folks, buy you beer not based on flavor or taste, but instead get one made where the team you are rooting for lives.


Technorati Tags: , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Feel Good Energy Policy

Reading over the Democratic proposals for their "first 100 hours" energy policy, I can't help but think it's a feel good policy.

There are definitely some good proposals in it, but there are some that if you actually understand how business works are going to end up being consumer unfriendly. Then there are those that instead of being pay offs to big oil are just payoffs to a different group. But it's for the environment, so it's all good.

The "feel good" part of the legislation comes in the form of tax breaks for people who buy hybrid cars and SUV's. If you look at the website www.feuleconomy.gov you'll find that most of the hybrids get 30 or so mpg. That's because other than the Prius and Civic, most are midsized cars or SUV's with V-6 engines.

I would suggest a better tax break than hybrids would be anyone who buys any car, hybrid or not, that gets over 35mpg combined mileage. That would only make 5 of 12 hybrid vehicles eligible, but would put dozens of other cars onto the list. An alternative would be to give the break to vehicles classified as Ultra Low Emmission vehicles, a small group but most put out as little or less greenhouse emmissions than the hybrids. Neither of these options are popular, as they would give tax breaks to a bigger percentage of foriegn owned car companies than US companies.

Increasing the CAFE standards, the measure of vehicle mileage, isn't on the board for the first 100 hours, or even 2 years. John Dingell of Michigan has vowed to keep it off the House floor as a way of keeping the UAW guys in his state happy. With light trucks and SUV's the only profitable vehicles coming out of Detroit it's understandable why he doesn't want to jack up the mileage standards on them.

One of the pay off's to envirnomentalists come in the form of removing some of the tax breaks oil companies get. The major one involves a domestic exploration break, which was enacted to get oil companies to find more here, less abroad. However, the enviromental groups the Democrats are beholden to hate the idea of more wells here.

Those breaks are hard to explain to the general public, which doesn't want long explainations, just something that sounds good. The fact is many other countries offer tax benefits for drilling in them, as they see oil as a way to get ahead. The US is at a disadvantage over many countries anyway due to labor costs and regulation. When you add high taxation to the equation, it becomes more profitable, and less agrevating, for the companies to drill somewhere unstable but cheap.

Another target is the tax break for refinery expansion. We already import about 10% of our refined oil products into the country because of lack of capacity. Lawyers and environmentalists have made it an economic nightmare to expand that capacity here, so the tax credit was used to try and blunt some of that. Unfortunately those two groups are huge donors to the Democrats, so their payback is to make our gasoline supply more dependent on Hugo Chavez.

Ethanol and Biodiesel are also in the plan. Both have good and bad points. Neither is cheaper than oil, the only reason you pay less for E85 fuel is tax credits to the companies that make it. Instead of giving a break to big oil, we give it to big agriculture. E85 is also about 20% less efficient that regular unleaded, and has it's own greenhouse issues. Biodiesel again requires breaks to agriculture to make it cost effective, though the efficiency is somewhat better than ethanol. Biodiesel has one other advantage, you can recycle cooking oil to make it, which is good for the environment, but again not cost effective on a large scale.

For other energy companies, those that produce electricity, the idea is a mandated amount of wind and solar power. The question is, will Ted Kennedy allow the Cape Cod wind farm to go forward, since that area isn't ripe for solar expansion? What about the Sierra Club? They are suing in Wisconsin to save bats from wind turbines. There is of course no provision for nuclear power, though one reactor can get rid of 2-3 coal fired plants.

Chuck Shumer's plan is to break up big oil companies. It won't do anything for conservation, or even the total amount of profits oil companies make. It will just reduce the amount of profit of individual companies. When Shell, Texaco, Chevron, Mobile and Exxon were separate companies they all operated on about the same 9.5% profit margin that they do now (which is about half of what your bank makes as a percentage of gross margin).

Sorry folks, but after reading about the plan, what I find isn't something that designed to help the consumer, but instead is payback to the donors to a different political party. Same game, different players is all we are getting with this.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Praising The Center

Lewis Donelson has an outstanding piece up at Newsweek, "In Praise of the Political Center", in which he espouses something I've mentioned many times, we need to quit playing to bases, regardless of party.

He gives great examples of how Tennessee was turned into a two party, bipartisan state in the 50's and 60's, with both Democrats and Republican's cooperating on civil rights, and educational reforms.

One problem he points out, that was exemplified in Connecticut this year, is the way our politicians work primaries, and how our middle of the road voters ignore them. Ned Lamont was a guy who the Democrats knew could win a primary of base voters, but they ignored every warning sign that he'd lose a general election to Joe Lieberman.

The party refused to believe Joe would buck them and run as an independent, even though the polls that normally govern them said he'd beat Lamont if he did. Had they put some thought into the process, they could have picked someone other than Lamont, who was moderate on many of the same issues as Lieberman, but against the war. They still could have won the primary, but then had a candidate that could have attracted more independent and GOP voters than Lamont was capable of.

On the opposite side of the aisle, the GOP would have been better served by tossing Rick Santorum under the bus, and asking Lynn Swann to run for Senate, not Governor in Pennsylvania. Santorum is a favorite of the socially conservative right, but had become such a big target based on a few views that everyone knew he was done this year.

How do we get back to the center for governing? That's a tough job, as Donelson points out probably the most important thing that's needed is an informed electorate. However, too many are, in my opinion, too lazy to get informed.

Take the stem cell issue from this year. The Democrats played it as though George Bush eliminated federal funding for it, when in fact for embryonic cells he was the first to ever allow it! The majority of voters also don't understand the differences in the types of stem cell research. The Democrats played on that ignorance to scare people into think EVERY type of stem cell research was going away if the GOP stayed in power.

The second step would be to get politicians, and their parties to be more honest on many subjects. There are no black and white, good or bad answers on many subjects. Abortion is a great example, the idea of all abortions being illegal is as distasteful to the majority of American's as the idea of 13 year olds getting them without parental consent. Yet those seem to be the only two sides of the issue the party's believe in. Both play to a base group, and leave the 50% of us in the middle of the debate on the outside.

One other way to help move the major parties back to the center is to include more of the minor parties in debates, which you can bet the GOP and Democrats don't want to do. However, if you include the Green's and the Reform Party (or what's left of it) in the debates what it does is force the GOP and Democrats away from the hard right and left issues those to push for. Instead, both would be forced to look more to the midde, since some of their base vote would be drained off.

If you get a chance, read Donelson's article, it's a great dose of political common sense in an era when both sides have none.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Good Reading From The Week

Thought instead of my usual insight today I'd give a shout out to some of the others bloggers out there who've been doing good work.

First, Common Folk Using Common Sense has facts about taxes, and who pays them. Once again the budget numbers show an inconvenient truth (for the left), the rich pay the taxes, the lower middle class and poor pay damn little, and the middle class (federal income) tax burden has gone down. All you have to do is the math, which if you went to a public school could be an issue.

Bruno at Extreme Wisdom has an outstanding piece, with references (1.7 meg PDF), on how to win the global warming debate. Al Gore shouldn't read it, since it show the UN (and US) science is flawed, shows what law of physics has to be broken for Gore's arguements to be true, and how the sun's roll in the Earth's temperature was completely avoided in calculating global climate change.

For something funny, visit Mark at Knockin' On The Golden Door. He's got pictures from "Knitting For Psychopaths". My wife found it hillarious since everyone in her office wants her to crochet something for them (even a bikini!). We figure if she works on one of the projects on that website everyone will leave her alone.

Charlie Sykes latest column for CNI papers gives some good advice to the GOP on what their priorities should be in the next few years.

Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette has some interesting stuff on Nancy Pelosi and her use of John Murtha, to keep the President's "National Strategy for Victory In Iraq" from being a news story.
(All the liberals that actually read that document before declaring there is no strategy please raise your hands.)

Also, Rachel is having some problems getting batteries out of a cylindrical object, can anyone help the poor girl?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Loyalty, Yeah, That's It.

Quick, name the House Majority Leader of the 109th Congress ..... Okay you can't, that's why the vote yesterday for Steny Hoyer over Jack Murtha, wasn't as big a deal as a lot of us have made it out to be. In only one way, that Nancy Pelosi got bucked by 149 members of the House to elect Hoyer not Murtha, is it a big thing. It shows the horrible liberal ogre with warts on her nose that so many worried about during the election isn't all powerful. (/sarcasm)

Could it be a pretext to bigger rifts in the Democratic party when some legislation comes up in the next two years? Maybe, but I doubt it. Murtha put his own foot in over ABSCAM and the ethics rules in the last week. While they say they hate it, democrats listen to conservative talk radio, and read things like the WSJ editorial page and realized that while Jack may have been, as Pelosi put it, the best chance to end the War in Iraq, he was the worst choice for the post.

Democrats elected in traditionally conservative districts knew by yesterday that Murtha's past, and his current mouth, were going to end up being a bigger problem than a loss on one leadership vote for Pelosi. They didn't want him hanging as baggage around their neck for the next couple of years.

The other group, and larger one, though should bother Murtha. They are the life long blueblood democrats, who despise him simply because of his support for the military in the past. Yes, they understand why he was brought to the forefront as the party's military expert to bitch about Iraq, but they'd like him to go away now. With the Democrats election victory, that group sees no use in keeping Murtha in the spotlight, the old war horse can now be put back in the stable.

Hoyer and the others voted into leadership positions, on the other hand, should watch their backs. No matter how much nice nice was made for the cameras after the votes yesterday, they have to understand how quick a fairly successful person will be jettisoned by the new Speaker.

Political expediency is obviously the word of the day in the new majority. Murtha was picked to end the war quickly. When the next big subject comes up, and Pelosi feels someone is better equipped will she stab Hoyer, or Emanuel, or one of the others in the back to get her person into a post? Only time will tell, but if I were in a leadership position in the House, I'd always be wondering about who's being lined up to replace me.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Welcome To The Majority

Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are getting their first taste of majority leadership in Congress, and it probably doesn't taste good.

No, it's not the chicken and rice pilaf of fund raising dinners they are tasting, but the stinging words of columnists that are generally reserved for the majority folks in Congress.

Robert Novak's syndicated column takes on Pelosi, and her endorsement of John Murtha for Majority Leader in the House and what it's costing her. David Broder takes on the challenges facing Harry Reid, and why he may not be up to them.

While Pelosi is blowing political capital, a form of money that's seldom well spent, on supporting Murtha, she still has the advantage of being in charge of a body where a majority actually does rule. She'll lose a few folks on certain votes because of the back stabbing of Steny Hoyer, but will survive this episode.

Reid though, now has to play in a chamber where 60 votes are required to get anything done, and only has a 1 vote majority. Coupled with that, the one vote is an independent who disagrees with Reid on what the Democrats consider their most important item, Iraq.

Reid's job is made tougher by the fact that for the last few years he's been the chief obstructionist in the Senate, playing the 60 vote rule on ending debate for all it's worth. If he comes out and cries foul the first time it's done to him (which won't take long) the wolves will be on him like a wounded sheep.

While it's generally understood that you take the Minority Leaders and elevate them to the Majority posts when your party takes control of Congress, this might have been one time when the Democrats would have been better off elevating new leadership, especially in the Senate.

Reid's history as a bridge burner is going to make it tough for him to build any to the nine votes he'll need from the right to get anything significant through his chamber. With four years worth of sound bites and snide comments on record, he now has to convince the people he refused to budge with why they should help him out.

Pelosi's challenge is easier because of the size of her majority, but she'll still have to keep the blue dogs in her camp when it comes to the sizable spending initiatives on her agenda. She'll end up spending the month after today's vote for House leadership soothing bruised egos to get everyone lined up in her camp, time that could be better spent working on the actual agenda for the 110th Congress.

Welcome to the microscoped life that is the Majority leadership Harry and Nancy, the excuse that you are the minority is gone, now you have to figure out how to get things accomplished, with tons of pesky columnists writing about it all the time.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,, , ,
Read The Full Post!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Listen To The Commanders, Unless...

General John Abizaid, the "on the ground commander" in Iraq found out today that all the talk running up to the election about listening to the commanders was just standard election time talk.

Abizaid wasn't pulling punches, admits there are problems, but doesn't see either a huge influx of troops, or a timetable for withdrawl as the answer in Iraq. Which of course got the folks who (think they) know better up in arms.

His opening statement to the House wasn't what Democrats wanted to hear:
"At this stage in the campaign, we'll need flexibility to manage our force and to help manage the Iraqi force," Abizaid said. "Force caps and specific timetables limit that flexibility. We must also remember that our enemies have a vote in this fight. The enemy watches not only what we do on the ground, but what we say and do here at home."

Something else was said that doesn't get any air time here in the US, and I'm sure tweaked a few of the folks on capital hill.
(from AP) Alluding to Washington's partisan battles over Iraq, Abizaid said that when he visits the U.S. capital he senses a "despair" that does not exist in Iraq when he visits with Iraqi officials or with American troops and their commanders.

A lot of milbloggers and others have written on the web about that fact, but evidently it's not something that the Hill gang get to hear enough, and should hear more.

Here's my 2 cents worth to DC, for the last year you've been bitching GWB hasn't listened to his commanders enough. Well, they just spoke to Congress, now, are you going to listen?

Senator McCain, while you are right, folks here are tired of the status quo, the truth is that doesn't mean that what Abizaid thinks should be done is wrong. Quite honestly you more than most in Congress should understand that mixing political expediency with military operation has never been a winning combination.

Senator Clinton and Rep. Levin, while you are both experienced lawmakers, you aren't the folks I want making decisions for the military. Leave that to the Generals please.

And to everyone on Capital Hill, you need to learn something about leadership. Sometimes leadership is listening to those below you and making changes. Sometimes it's listening to your peers and making changes. And, more times than not, leadership is explaining to your peers, superiors, and the folks below you in the ranks why things are going to be how they are going to be, and telling them to get over it. I understand that is a concept pretty much 180 degrees at odds with being a politician, but it's the way life works in the real world of the military, where people die because of stupid political decisions.

Abizaid showed leadership today, standing in front of his superiors, the civilian leadership of the country, and telling you that you are wrong. The question is, do you folks on capital hill understand leadership, and will you take in anything he said?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Chance To Be Heard, and Hurt.

Jim Webb, the Senator Elect from Virginia has an editorial in Opinion Journal today entitled "Class Struggle American workers have a chance to be heard". In parenthesis he should have put and hurt.

First, there is at least one part of his editorial I agree with, CEO and other executive pays, and buy out plans have gotten a little crazy. The proposals floating around to have stockholders vote on pay, retirement and buyout packages that exceed certain levels isn't a bad idea. It would bring some accountability back to the boardroom.

On other topics though, Mr. Webb, and his Democratic counter parts have as much opportunity to hurt the average worker as they do to help. They need to tread carefully in the economic world, because what works as a soundbite at a union rally seldom translates into good policy.

US wage stagnation has more to do with the growing global economy than anything the Congress has done in the last 12 years, or 50 for that matter. The nostalgia for the 1950's and 60's, where the US supplied darn near everything to just about everyone is nice; but then so were poodle skirts and saddle shoes, and none of the above are coming back anytime soon.

Economic isolationism isn't an option today like it was forty years ago. Fortunately and unfortunately, we are a global economy. India, China, Viet Nam and Eastern Europe are all developing manufacturing bases that are behind the US on productivity, but have much lower wages and other costs.

Through the early to mid 1990's our productivity advantage was enough to keep most workers wages growing at a fairly healthy pace. However, as the productivity gap has closed, it's put pressure on US companies to reduce costs in other ways to remain price competitive.

That brings us to the Democratic agenda for the workers, all things that sound great at a news conference, but may well have very different results in the real world.

The minimum wage raise that has been promised (and will happen) won't be a huge hit globally to us. Most of the folks in those jobs are in the service sector, though the slight upward pressure on companies that contract cleaning and food service may cause some cut backs in those areas.

It will however, hurt a chunk of the people at, or just above the minimum wage. Most of those jobs are in lower margin industries, such as food service.

Two companies I have daily dealings with, Domino's Pizza and Starbucks both figure out hours based on a rolling cost calculator. During the day the manager can see where labor cost is figuring into the daily margin. When it gets too high a worker gets sent home to lower that cost. The natural result of raising the minimum wage then is less hours for the workers to keep the cost of labor the same.

For the folks just above minimum wage the result of the minimum wage raise, as seen by the left, is that it will cause upward pressure on those jobs pay. The truth is, again because of cost, that it will cause them to stagnate. Every time the minimum wage goes up the number earning it jumps, and stays there for a couple of years. That points to people who were earning at the new level being stuck there. The net effect is a downard pressure on wages, as more are currently earning slightly above the minimum wage than the minimum itself. They get stuck, and have a net downward move.

Easier unionizing also sounds like a great thing, too. Unions generally bring higher wages, and better benefits. But how does a company handle the cost increases? It's not "free money" that the workers get. One way is to raise prices to make up the difference, but that only works to a certain level, then the cost gets too high and consumers go somewhere else.

The other direction, as the UAW and United Steel Workers have found is that jobs go away to keep the labor cost in line with the competition. If you are in the bottom 10-15 percent of workers on the seniority ladder at your company, think hard about a vote to unionize, because that's the group that will go away to keep costs in line.

Finally, health care is another way the worker is going to be saved by the new congress. John Dingell's proposal for a 1.7% tax on you and 7% payroll tax on your employer to try and fix health care comes with a cost (obviously) but bigger to you than that 1.7%.

To keep company margins up that 7% has to be made up, and kept low. Since it's a payroll tax it encourages employers to pay workers less to reduce their tax burden. The two ways are either freezing wages or slowing their growth, or cutting payroll outright. Neither helps the average joe worker, in fact, it puts a bunch of them on the street, increasing the cost to taxpayers for health care, and putting upward pressure on that same tax.

The other pressure such a plan exerts is on those already giving a decent health care package to cut it back to save those costs. Since the feds want to pick up a portion of some costs, employers can (and will) look at that as a reason to cut back in whatever areas the government decides to regulate. The upside is a few extra folks might get to keep their jobs by that cost shifting, but with worse benefits.

Just a few thoughts on how helping the working man may well be hurting some of them too, and that Congress needs to obey the law of unintended consequences. It's one law they can't pass or reject, but just need to respect.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sad Day For Diversity

When I read a nationally read columnist, and he's gloating that more African American's didn't make it in the elections as Governors or into the Senate, I've got to wonder what the hell he was thinking.

Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post is probably the worst kind of guy to have working on your side if you are concerned about moving minorities forward in the US. Instead of looking at the fact that there was a historically large number of minorities running for office this year, he wants to gloat about the one's who failed to make it. I guess William Jefferson is the kind of person he'd like to see more of in office; he's black, a democrat, and we'll just ignore that stash of cash in his freezer.

Eugene is a plantation type of guy, who evidently hates to see any black person who aspires to political office do it anywhere but in the fields of the Democratic party. That's too bad, because what attitudes like his do is discourage young black men and women, who don't believe in the liberal party mantra from trying to move forward in politics. Lynn Swann may have been a good roll model for a few when he was a pro ball player, but how many more would he reach as a Governor?

He conviently forgets that a number of items passed in the last five years have benefited minorities, in some cases more than whites.

Start with No Child Left Behind, which was a bipartisan success, until the Democrats realized it might be working; or more correctly, the teachers unions who fund the Democrats. Then suddenly it was mean spirited. But where does NCLB do the most good, not in the affluent suburbs and cozy middle class neighborhoods. The schools it causes to work the hardest are the inner city schools where the minority population is concentrated.

Another education initiative consistently blocked by the left (due to union pressure) is incentive pay to keep more qualified and experienced teachers in the schools that need them the most. Instead the lower income and tougher areas of most major cities have the lowest number of experienced teachers, and the highest rate of failure for students.

While the left likes to bitch all the tax cuts went to the rich, the truth is over five million low income homes came off of the tax rolls because of them. Households under forty thousand a year with children are now paying a negative income tax. That doesn't help low income minorities?

Income distribution has also gone up, with more blacks moving into the $50K+ income brackets in the last 5 years than were there before.

The economic policies of the last five years have minority (and white) home ownership rates at the highest they've ever been. Property ownership being one of the tenants the country was founded on, and where most of our wealth is stored.

And finally, the executive branch of government might be somewhere for Eugene to look at progress in the GOP for minorities. While Bill Clinton got the title of the "first black president", the fact is he had a cabinet of middle aged white guys. I understand it's not fashionable for Eugene (or Ted Rall) to think that the minorities in the Bush cabinet matter, but look at the positions they hold or have held. Bush has appointed more minorities to top cabinet posts than Clinton and Bush 41 combined.

Sorry Eugene, it's time to pull your head out of the sand, or where ever it is, and realize that it's not a sin for a minority to want to be a republican, and it would probably be better for minorities in the long run if more were. Instead of being beholden to a party that takes your votes for granted, and gives you squat, you might find some better leverage working both sides of the fence.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Stupid Political Moves

Both parties have proven in the last week since the election that they are capable of doing politically stupid things, in a major way.

Let's start with the GOP since I usually pile on the Democrats. Mel Martinez, a sitting Senator as the head of the Republican National Committee is a joke. The President made the announcement yesterday, and there is already tons of grumbling on a few different fronts.

First, he's as soft as they come on illegal immigration, something that a large amount of registered republicans would like to see fixed with out an amnesty program. Martinez's solution to the problem is more amnesty programs.

Second, he's going to be working part time somewhere, either the Senate or the RNC headquarters. Denny Hastert proved in the last year that capital hill isn't somewhere to put things on cruise control and allow the staff to run things; which means the RNC staff will probably be running the party.

Third, there are some serious conflicts between running the party and being a sitting Senator. Too many questions will come up about him doing what's best for the country in the Senate and what's politically expedient for his part time job of running the party.

My suggestion, the party rebukes Bush, and puts up with the flack from it. I mentioned a bunch of folks last week that would be good choices to head the RNC, Mike Steele from MD is going to be unemployed, wants the job, and would drive Howard Dean nuts. (Along with columnist Eugene Robinson, who thinks he's a 'token') .

To prove she can't be outdone, Nancy Pelosi puts her vote for Majority Leader in the House with Jack Murtha. He's become a lightning rod for the right, where his "cut and run" strategy in Iraq doesn't sit well. On the left even George Soros has him in the list of most corrupt congressmen. So much for cleaning up the "culture of corruption" evidently it will be rewarded with high ranking posts in her leadership.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Suggestions Please

I'm thinking of moving the blog off of blogger to a dot com or dot net address in the next month or so.

Any suggestions from my readers for hosting services that are:
A) Reasonably priced (don't have to be dirt cheap).
B) Reliable
C) Easy to sign up with
D) Are Wordpress compatible (that's the blogging platform I'm thinking of using)
E) Have a decent user interface.

Tonights blogger outage is another nail in the coffin of this place, ever since the beta came up the us regular blogger users seem to be getting less and less service, and having more and more problems.

Thanks, I appreciate any help the readers can give.

Technorati Tags: , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Running Out of Air

Air America Radio has been dumped, since the Democratic election wins in Madison Wisconsin, New Orleans, Huntington W. Va and Binghamton, New York. (H/T to The Radio Equalizer, where I stole the picture. )

It's amazing that even with election gains they can't keep air time. And when a liberal talk radio network can't stay on the air in Madison Wisconsin, the Socialist Capital of America, where do they think they'll succeed?

Unfortunately, as I mentioned last month, with Democratic leadership in Congress expect "the fairness doctrine" to be brought back, though not on the up and up. Instead, look for it to be stuck into a bill concerning old people, children, or funding soldiers, something that can't be vetoed without a huge black eye.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

No Doubts

There are no remaining doubts about the Democrat's course for Iraq. Nancy Pelosi has decided to back John Murtha for Majority Leader in the House, making Cut and Run (tm) the official policy for Iraq.

The move wont' be without cost to Pelosi, as she's stabbing Steny Hoyer from Maryland in the back, he's her current Minority Whip in the House. Hoyer has been a good at that job, and Pelosi originally said she was ticked that Murtha was going to challenge him for the number two post in the House.

John, of course, still doesn't get it. Pelosi used him as her "war horse" over the last year and a half, not really agreeing with him on anything but Iraq, but knowing she had to have someone with some military credibility as the point man on the subject.

Her endorsement of him now is for the same reason; Hoyer, while a good 'soldier' for the Democratic party isn't a former Marine, and therefore can't be called a military expert. Were it not for Iraq, Murtha would still be in a closet somewhere, and, if the Dem's get their way and we pull out quickly he might want to watch his back as they try and shove him back into it.

With the announcement, and his probably victory as House Majority Leader, the Democrats have already abandoned any pretense of a fresh look at Iraq and how best to handle it. It will be intersting to see how they handle Murtha's position if it conflicts with the Baker Hamilton group that is looking for solutions.

For more opinions on this check out Iowa Voice.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Lieberman In Control

Harry Reid has started making nice with Joe Lieberman because he knows without Joe He gets to be the Senate minority leader again. Joe should really do lunch with Bill Frist a few times in the next couple of months, just to keep the backstabber on his toes.

Joe, because of 18 years with the Democrats and the seniority it brings, is going to caucus with them; but that doesn't mean he's going to be their best friend in the body. In fact, he's probably going to be a major pain on some issues, like Iraq.

With yesterday's rash of ideas from both old and newly elected Democrats on how they'd like to Cut and Run from Iraq, and Pelosi announcing that the founder of the Cut and Run Coalition, John Murtha is her choice for House Majority Leader, Joe is now a controlling seat on Iraq policy.

There won't be any surprises from the House, with Murtha and Pelosi in charge, they'll scream retreat two days after they are sworn in as the new leaders. But the Senate is going to be a tougher go to get anything through with only a bare majority, and the deciding vote in that group against running.

Could Lieberman, based on the backstabbing he took in the election, decide to caucus with the GOP if he feels the new leadership is going too dovish on Iraq? Yes, but he won't without a sweet deal from the GOP leadership that wouldn't sit well with their rank and file. Instead, he'll take his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee and use it to try and be the guy working across party lines on both national security issues, and Iraq.

Politics does make strange bedfellows, six years ago Lieberman was trying everything he could to keep George Bush out of office, now he's likely to be the guy to save Bush's tail on both Iraq and the Homeland Security Department.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Iraq's Leaders Get It, Democrats Don't

On the Sunday morning talk shows the Democrats were out showing that they don't get Iraq, and confirming the reason that people who do are afraid of them in power.

Carl Levin, the incoming chair of the House Armed Services Committee wants to push for a "phased withdrawl" starting in 4-6 months.

Harry Reid is also calling for "redeployment", but wants the generals on the ground to make the decision. I wonder, will his tune will change if General Pace and his group say it's a bad idea?

What if Howard Baker's group says a withdraw is a disaster, like the National Intelligence Estimate did? If that's the case then where do the Democrats go?

As I posted yesterday, Iraq's own leadership has denounced the idea of a timetable, and steadfast timelines, knowing it just starts a waiting game for the insurgents. But I don't expect the new Congressional leadership to listen to Iraq's government, they'll listen to themselves.

So here's today's question for the redeployment group: How is the Mid East, and world more stable, or secure, if we "redeploy" from Iraq, against their governments wishes, and without them being able to handle it on their own?

Secondly, where will we "redeploy" the troop to? (Search for Okinawa on my blog, you'll find why Murtha's plan won't work).

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Trippi's Predictions

(This post was updated at 8:30 am)
Joe Trippi, the guy who ran Howard Dean's campaign in 2000, has his list of front runners and also rans for the 2008 DNC nomination in the Washington Post today.

Joe has a few errors in his whole column, the biggest being that the conservative ideology has run out of gas. He might want to look at the majority of the new Democratic House members. On more than few issues most would be welcome on the right. What ran out of gas was America's tolerance for bungling in Iraq, and Republican's who forgot conservative philosophies.

Tuesday's election was a mandate on a number of things, a progressive agenda wasn't one of them.

So, back to his list of front runners. He of course has Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama on the top of the list, the "rock stars" as he calls them. I can't disagree that Bill being around Hillary helps her, he's the only proof since 1980 that Democrats can win the White House.

The problem with Hillary, that Joe doesn't mention, is that she energizes the rights base as much or more than the left's. I kind of equate Hillary to Newt Gingrich, both are good politicians, who've done a bunch for their party, but have enough baggage to fill an airliner.

His second star, Obama, is as he says inexperienced, and as he doesn't mention, now tied to indicted fund raiser Tony Rezko here in Illinois. Should Rezko go down ugly, naming names to save his butt, Obama may go from Rock Star to shelf decoration quickly.

The third guy on his list is Al Gore. I'd think that Joe would have been smart enough to leave Al off the list. I can't disagree that he's reenergized a portion of the progressive base. However, he's also created enough soundbites since 2000 to get killed in another general election.

John Edwards is the next on his list, and probably the guy the party should be looking at harder than a few of the others above him. He didn't make any huge gaffes in 2004, is still telegenic which is important, but may get caught in the "what have you done for me lately" trap.

The laugher, is his "Down But Not Out" selection, of John Kerry. John's out. Like the other guy from Massachusetts he needs to quit aspiring to hirer office, and be content in the Senate. Even the AP piled on his comments about the military a few weeks ago, dredging up his 1972 statements about the disaster an all volunteer military would be.

His next two selections, Joe Biden and Evan Bayh are one's I find interesting. Biden has been one of the less confrontational members of the Senate; he seemed to get that hissy fits aren't always the best way to work in the Senate. Bayh was a decent governor in Indiana, but will have a hard time getting support from the coasties, who believe Indiana exists only for them to fly across. Both are too centrist on many ideas to energize the progressive wing, which Trippi, and others, believe won a mandate last Tuesday.

His one to watch is one that I'm sure Republicans would love to see get the nomination, Russ Feingold. Russ, like most Senators with more than a single term has to deal with the issue of his votes. He has lots of them, and while the progressive end of the party will love them, the centrists that have to stick with them to get a President elected may well be scared off by his record. UPDATE: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports today that Russ won't be running in 2008, H/T to Pundit Nation. The reaction is mixed at Daily Kos, though mostly sad, because many of them thought Russ had a chance. That should be the first indication he didn't.

Another guy who probably should have been higher on his list is Bill Richardson. Though combative at times as Governor of New Mexico, he probably does have the best resume of any Democratic contender. If the GOP decides that illegal immigration is going to be their 2008 wedge issue, this would be THE GUY for the Democrats to run to counter that. The question is would the North East elitists, and Hollywood activists rally to someone from New Mexico?

His final two guys on the list, Wesley Clark and Tom Vilsack, a former general and current Iowa Governor dont' have a chance. Yes, Clark got some support and status in the party in 2004, but he also came off as enough of a flake to turn off a lot of the party fairly quickly. Vilsack is a good governor, but he's from Iowa, and no one really knows much about him outside of there. He's probably better suited for the number 2 spot, to help attract midwest votes in 2008 before working for number 1 on his own, in 2012.

Joe finishes with this paragraph:

...To get the chance to lead the nation in meeting the challenges of the next decade -- globalization, energy, health care, terrorism -- the winner will need to break out of the ideological box and stop defending the ideas of the past. Gore or Bayh could run a campaign like that and possibly pass a cautious Clinton to win. But if Clinton or Obama runs such a campaign, the 2008 election could be even more historic than the wave of change we witnessed last Tuesday.
First, as many have pointed out Tuesday's wave of change was anything but historic, it was average for an off year election of a two term president. Joe seems to have forgotten that two of the things on his list (terrorism and globalization) have actually been baggage for the Democrats.

Iraq might have gotten them over the top last Tuesday, but most Americans don't see Iraq as a terrorism issue; when reminded of past Democratic failures on the issue, it's probably not a winner. Globalization is one of those things that stymies the Democrats because dealing with it makes them look isolationist, even though Bill Clinton got NAFTA through (and many Democrats are still not happy about that).

Energy, as much as they want it to be their center piece is more of an Achille's Heel for them. Their own arguements against drilling in ANWR, 'it'll be ten years before we get anything from it' can be used against them on alternative energy. They have no In the Mean Time plan to use until renewables and hydrogen become viable and cost effective. At the same time, they almost have to demonize oil, and can't be for any expansion of domestic production without angering their own environmental base.

Health care could be a winner, but the tough job on that one is convincing 260 million Americans who are covered why they'll be better off with what ever change they propose.

Technorati Tags: , , ,, , , , , , , , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Strange Searches

For some reason I've been getting hit with dozens of searches for "politico's answer, at times" today. I'm not sure what they are searching for, someone please clue me in. I just find it weird that so many people are searching for the same things all the time, especially that exact phrase.

I mean, if I had posted something about Jenny McCarthy's boobs, or Britney Spear's divorce I could see it. Maybe if I'd posted nude picks of Brad Pitt or Jennifer Aniston I could see lots of folks trying to find my blog, but "politico's answer, at times"? That's just weird.

And yes, the above paragraph is only to draw people here, who are dumb enough to search for such stuff on the internet, and then laugh at them when they find this instead. I mean really, if you do search for "Demi Moore, Nude" and click on a link to Crazy Politico's Rantings, thinking you'll find her here, you are probably too stupid to be using a computer.

Technorati Tags: , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Thanks Veterans!

For those who've forgotten, today is Veterans Day. The holiday, originally called Armistice Day, celebrated the end of the first World War, the "war to end all wars"; which it unfortunately wasn't.

If you have a chance today, thank a veteran. The reason we get to write blogs, nasty editorials, and claim our president or congress, or governor is the next Hitler is because for over 200 years there have been folks willing to defend your freedom to do that.

Lawyers like to talk about how their court room antics are the reason you have freedom, judges like to think that their decisions in those rooms are the reason. Legislators sometimes think they give you those freedoms.

The truth is they are all important in exercising that freedom, but they do nothing to defend it. That's done by people brave enough to take a bullet so you can complain about the last election.

Sometimes we like to complain about the military, or point to one or two bad apples as "proof" that the entire group is screwed up. The truth is, the Military generally does a great job, and yes, occasionally screws the pooch on some things. But when the truth comes out, we always find that by and large, the vast majority of the military is doing a great job, with a lower percentage of scofflaws than our cities and corporations have.

So, to all the other veterans out there, and the current crop of future veterans, THANK YOU, from another vet. I, for one appreciate what you do, and understand why you do it; even if some stuffed shirt lawyer or editorial page writer or congresscritter doesn't have a clue.

Technorat Tags: , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Straw Poll

GOP Bloggers has a great straw poll up concerning the 2008 GOP Presidential race, and who's acceptable and not acceptable.

If you'd like to lend your voice to the poll, check out either GOP Bloggers or Iowa Voice. Unfortunately, Blogger seems to have issues with embedded javascript in the post, and won't post the poll. (Anyone that can help with that issue, I'd appreciate some advice).

Technorati Tags: , ,
Read The Full Post!

Iraq's Leadership Gets It

Reading through the Rumsfeld post-mortem's in Time and Newsweek, one thing is clear, the Iraqi government seems to understand the consequences of a Murtha type strategy for Iraq.

In Time's "How Rumsfeld's Resignation Is Playing in Iraq" there was this tidbit:
"If the U.S. withdraws, Iran takes over — it is as simple as that," says Dr. Mehdi al-Hafed, a prominent MP from former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's secular block and one of Iraq's most respected politicians. "The Americans have to ask themselves if such an outcome is acceptable to them."
I don't necessarily agree with him, I think that Syria will want to have a voice in who takes over; they are the home of the only Sunni Ba'athist regime (Saddam's old henchmen) in the area, and don't like the idea of a radical Shi'ite government in Iraq.

While no one's asking them, my guess is Syria's leaders would probably prefer a democratically elected government in Iraq than the alternative of Iran installing a proxy government. Hopefully someone in the White House is talking to them about that.

The al-Qaeda folks in Iraq seem to get the election results, and firing of Rummy also. They made some interesting statements about both, though most of the news organizations (ABC, Washington Post, NY Times) have been ignoring their comments on the election itself. Mostly, I'd guess, because their leader said the election proves America is weak, and willing to run away.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Friday, November 10, 2006

McCain Forms Committee

John McCain officially formed his exploratory committee to look into running for the GOP nomination for President in 2008.

Along with Condi Rice and Rudy Giuliani, McCain is one of the three big GOP names for 2008; though Rice has said she wouldn't run. Rudy hasn't made up his mind, and he knows that he's got personal baggage that would accompany him on a trip through the primaries and general election.

There are tons of Republican's and so called "real conservatives" out there who hate the idea of McCain running because he's not far enough to the right for many of them. Social conservatives don't like his stands on gay marriage and embryonic stem cell research, which makes his battle uphill.

To that group I say, it's never good to cut off your nose to spite your face. As I mentioned about Santorum, and some others in the GOP, they've proven that the hard line social conservative ideas don't necessarily attract the voters you need. Sometimes you have to compromise, or you get Pat Buchannon and Pat Robertson.

No, McCain, or Giuliani aren't perfect lockstep conservatives, so what. If you honestly look at some of the issues, such as abortion and embryonic stem cells, unless you get the Senate down to 39 Democrats you'll never get any laws outlawing them onto the floor. So why fight a battle you can't win, and will only be demonized for continuing?

I don't particularly like McCain for the 1st Amendment squelching McCain Feingold finance reform, that threw campaigns to shadow groups and took away a lot of the publics voice. However, that doesn't mean I wouldn't vote for him in 2008. If I tossed out every candidate I ever disagreed with on one or two items, I'd never vote for anyone. In fact, I'd say to most folks who are going to use two or three of the things I mentioned as reasons not to vote for McCain, scour the records of the folks you voted for Tuesday. My guess is you'll find dozens of items that you disagree with that they voted for. Maybe not huge ones, but dozens none the less.

For the folks who are saying McCain shouldn't run, toss me some names, and I'll post my thoughts on them.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

New Additions

Just wanted to point out a few new editions to the blogroll. A Citizen's Voice and Extreme Wisdom are both Illinois bloggers from the same general area as me.

Both also host radio talk shows on WKRS 1220 AM, "The Voice of Lake County", which can be listened to live over the internet. Thank goodness Al Gore invented steaming audio!

Fred from A Citizen's Voice is a libertarian (no, he doesn't check out books for a living), and a good conservative voice.

Bruno, at Extreme Wisdom is a more Republican type conservative, but also a common sense guy.

Give both a listen, and a read, they have some good ideas on how to correct the problem of supposed conservatives who abanded the movements principles.

Technorati Tags: , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Permanent Minority?

I laughed out loud in my truck driving home from South Bend last night as I listed to Fred's talk show on WKRS; one of the callers and Fred were talking about how the GOP could make it self a permanent minority party in the next two years. I not only disagree with their thought, but think the Democrats may want to enjoy the Senate for the short time they'll hold it. It will be GOP controlled in the 111th Congress. (You can mark that on the calendar if you like).

They did, however, make a couple of good points, that I do have some agreement with. First and foremost, the evangelical right has to become a secondary player on the GOP stage, not the lead actor.

As much as the media in this election tried to push the idea the "religious right" was going to become a bunch of Democrats, they are nuts, and anyone with three firing synapses knows that to be true. They have a better chance of voting for libertarians than they do Democrats in large numbers because of the abortion and stem cell issues.

That said, those two issues need to be removed from the party platform. The GOP needs to not even mention abortion or stem cell research in the next round of campaigns.

Abortion is easy, use the basic "stare decisis" verbology from Supreme Court hearings. The party platform should be it's decided law, and keep the feds out of it at this point. That doesn't mean a state like South Dakota shouldn't try another ballot amendment, it just means the GOP shouldn't be using it as a party plank.

Stem Cell research is a losing arguement because, quite simply, it's too easy to confuse Average Joe on that issue. My guess is 90% of the voters probably can't tell you a few things on that issue, like what are the three major types, and who was the first president to allow federal funding of one of them. Answers: Emryonic, Cord Blood, and Adult are the three major categories and George Bush was the first President to allow federal funding of Embryonic research.

If they are going to have stem cells in the platform, then they need to, IMHO, allow federal funding on donated embryos. Bush's policy was a huge change is US policy towards embryonic research, and it was used to confuse people, and again I think wrong on the subject of donated lines of cells. Creating stem cells to experiment on is wrong, I think, especially when there are hundreds of thousands of embryos that won't ever by used for Invitro fertilization. So allow them to be used.

Finally, Social Security and Medicare need to come back to the table in 2008, in a dark and scary way. Remember how Ross Perot got his 18% of the vote, charts, etc on the federal deficit? Well the Social Security and Medicare funding issues need to be a big issue in that manner. The Democrats won't try to do anything about either in the next two years, it's two risky. They need to be beaten over the head with it in 2008, and as I wrote in previous post, starting with the 2007 State of the Union Adress.

Democrats won't like it, but Bush, and who ever is going to run for his office on the GOP side need to talk about the fact that two Presidents in a row have now called for Social Security reforem, and the same party, the Democrats, have been the group to stop Congress from fixing the problem.

The Democrats own logic on the idea of 401(k)'s being turned to annuities needs to be applied to Social Security. If, as they are proposing, your 401 should be turned into a lifetime annuity, which will end up in the stock and (public) bond markets to fund it, why is that same idea too dangerous for Social Security? That question needs to be brought up, because there is no good answer for it.

In fact, the only answer for that question is the government thinks it's okay to come up with a program foryour money, but not what they consider their money, which is what they consider your Social Security taxes.

It would be very easy for Congress to write Social Security reform that puts part of the surplus each year off limits, and invests it outside the government, but still keep a safety net in place in case the market tanked so bad it would kill the program.

I know a lot of the social conservative folks won't like what I wrote today, but quite honestly, I don't care. They need to look at themselves as part of the problem, which they are in many areas, Rick Santorum and Missouri's Stem Cell amendment show that far right social conservatism doesn't appeal to as many folks as the evangelicals believe. Partially because of confusion, yes, but partly because of common sense.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,
Read The Full Post!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

It's Official

It's official, Ken Mehlman has decided not to try for another term as the Chairman of the GOP. After the election results it's doubtful he'd have been retained anyway, but he's given the party time to come up with some ideas on who to put in charge.

One school of thought has the Lt. Governor of Maryland, Michael Steele as a possible guy for the job, Mary Matlin and Maria Cino have also been mentioned.

Any of the three would be interesting, putting a high profile woman or minority as the party chair would definitely be a first for either party. However, doing just to have a woman or black man in charge would be wrong.

Steele, in my mind, would be an excellent choice, though most folks don't think he wants the job. He's smart, articulate, and annoys the hell out of democrats (just read Kos articles about him).

I don't know enough about Cino to make any statements. Matlin, on the other hand, is well known, understands the party and it's problems, and would be another excellent choice. Her biggest problem is she still carries the title of "Dick Cheney's Former Communications Director", and some folks in the party, regardless of her skills will hold that against her.

Another person who should get serious consideration is George Pataki. The social conservative end the party would hate the idea, but the fact is the guy was able to get elected governor in a state so blue the blood changed colors. The GOP needs to be able to attract exactly the type of voters he did to get elected.

Here's some choices that shouldn't EVER be brought up. First and foremost Rick Santorum. He's the Nancy Pelosi of the right, and would exactly the wrong choice to try and expand the party, which is what is neccessary.

Second, Newt Gingrich. As much as folks year for 1994 again, they have short memories and forget why Newt's gone. Nominate him as party chair, and you'll be reminded of it constantly.

Finally, and it's not been mentioned but will be at some point, Dick Cheney. Many think he's the "brain" of the White House, but he's definitely a polarizing . So here's the scenario, to calm the Democratic majority in Congress, Dick retires as VP, claiming health reasons, or whatever.

Cheney going away would remove a lot of what the Democrats hate about the White House. Then, when his successor is named, the Party asks him to run for Chairman, citing his many years of service to the party. Folks who don't believe me, wait a few days, maybe a week, and you'll hear his name mentioned by others. Anyone fool enough to think it's a good idea needs to join Pat Buchannon on the sidelines of the conservative movement.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Read The Full Post!