Monday, November 26, 2007

Light posting this week. I will be traveling for a few days so here is some interesting reading.
  • Air Mobility Command passed a major milestone Nov. 19, when an AMC aircraft flew the command's one millionth sortie since September 11, 2001. The landmark flight was a C-17 mission flown to Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan. The crew was from the 62nd Airlift Wing's 10th Airlift Squadron, McChord AFB, Wash.

Other mobility facts: - About every 90 seconds a mobility aircraft lifts off somewhere in the world.- Since Sept. 11, 2001, AMC tankers have passed nearly 1.2 billion gallons of fuel to U.S. and allied aircraft.- AMC airlift is keeping about 12,000 people and almost 5,000 trucks off Iraqi roads each month, helping to defeat the enemy's IED strategy. - AMC aircraft are responsible for transporting the nation's senior leaders, including the president. - AMC is rushing about 12 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to Iraq and Afghanistan every day. The command has delivered more than 1,000 MRAPs. - AMC aeromedical crews provide timely airlift and medical care to their fellow warriors, rapidly moving injured service members from the battlefield to the U.S.

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Remember Mike Spann, Nov. 25,2001

On this date the Alabama native was killed in a prison uprising, becoming the first American killed in the invasion of Afghanistan. Most people will remember him as the CIA operative who was interviewing John Walker Lindh moments before the prison uprising that took Mike's life.

JunkYardBlog wrote "Mike Spann's Ballad." MSNBC has a transcription of the exchange between Mike and the "American Taliban." Michelle Malkin takes Esquire to task for a piece about Lindh entitled, Innocent."

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Showdown at the D.C. Corral

After the Supreme Court's decision to review a lower court's ruling that overturned the District of Columbia's gun ban, you can expect all of the MSM's eyes to be focused on guns and the 2nd Amendment. They waited until now to give any coverage to Students for Concealed Carry on Campus even though the group was created shortly after the Virginia Tech disaster.

The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution provides that "a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Does that prevent the federal government (of which DC's government is a part) from banning private ownership of firearms, as the DC law essentially does? That is the questioned asked by Glenn Reynolds, professor of law at the University of Tennessee and author of Instapundit, in a recent op-ed.
From the left we have a NY Times editorial expressing their opinion that the Supremes disregard the 2nd Amendment: "The hope, which we share, is that the court will rise above the hard-right ideology of some justices to render a decision respectful of the Constitution’s text and the violent consequences of denying government broad room to regulate guns. The fear is that it will not."

The Washington Times approaches the case from a different view: "The question the court will address, probably starting in March, is "Whether [the laws] violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes?" The answer should be "a resounding yes says the Washington Times.

For me, I need only look at the Second Amendment: The Bill of Rights lists individual rights given to us by the founders to protect us from an overbearing, oppressive central government. That takes care of the first half of the amendment. The second half states,"the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." What is all the discussion about? The DC gun ban is contrary to the Second Amendment, it infringes on individual rights and liberty by prohibiting the ownership of handguns and requiring that all long guns be kept unloaded and locked away, leaving them virtually impotent. I hope the Court does exactly what the NY Times editorial states and "render a decision respectful of the Constitution's text." For a good article on the Second Amendment read "A Nation of Cowards."

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Happy Thanksgiving To All.

"Tomorrow being the day set apart by the Honorable Congress for public Thanksgiving and Praise; and duty calling us devoutly to express our grateful acknowledgements to God for the manifold blessings he has granted us, the General... earnestly exhorts, all officers and soldiers, whose absence is not indispensably necessary, to attend with reverence the solemnities of the day.” George Washington (December 17, 1777).

I had the first of many Turkey dinners on Sunday. I will be traveling a good bit and thus my blogging will be light during the Holidays. I will leave you with some links to amuse yourself.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The AEA-not for kids? Brian @ Flashpoint has an excellent post that repeats most of my problems with the Alabama Education Association or as I like to call it, "the closest thing to socialism we have in Alabama." According to the AEA, everyone must be paid the same regardless of competency or test scores. Who cares if the children are failing, we had better get my annual raise.
It is a shame that when somebody like Bradley Byrne tries to improve our educational system, they are met with so much hostility just so a few crusty old men can hold on to what they got at the expense of ill-educated kids and a busted budget.

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New Study on Income Equality & Mobility from the Treasury Department.

Treasury studied the income of 97,500 filers between 1996- 2005. The overall finding of the study is the same as similar studies done on income mobility in the 1990s and 1980s. To quote the Wall Street Journal's analysis: “The basic finding of this analysis is that relative income mobility is approximately the same as in the last 10 years as it was in the previous decade.” The report also lets the air out of the populist political theories of "The War on the Middle Class" or "The Two Americas." I have seen John Edward's America and it looks nothing like mine.
Other key highlights:
  • Nearly 58% of filers who were in the lowest income group in 1996 had moved into a higher income group by 2005.
  • 25% moved into the middle or upper-middle groups. 5.3% made it into the highest quintile.
  • Of those in the 2nd lowest quintile, nearly 50% moved into the middle quintile or higher and only 17% had moved down.
  • Full-time workers in the lowest quintile saw their incomes increase by 90.5% in the decade studied.

During the same period the top 1% of filers experienced a loss in income of 25.8%. All other income groups experienced a gain in income ranging from a high of 90.5% to a low of 10%. The WSJ reports: The key point is that the study shows that income mobility in the U.S. works down as well as up--another sign that opportunity and merit continue to drive American success, not accidents of birth. The "rich" are not the same people over time."

"Also encouraging is the fact that the after-inflation median income of all tax filers increased by an impressive 24% over the same period. Two of every three workers had a real income gain--which contradicts the Huckabee-Edwards-Lou Dobbs spin about stagnant incomes. This is even more impressive when you consider that "median" income and wage numbers are often skewed downward because the U.S. has had a huge influx of young workers and immigrants in the last 20 years. They start their work years with low wages, dragging down the averages."

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A Growing Economy Has Boosted Tax Receipts & Cut The Deficit.

Those aren't my words but the words from a White House Press Release from October 11. Among the facts from the OMB and Treasury are:
  • the deficit declined by $250 billion in the past 3 years.
  • In February the Federal budget deficit for 2007 was projected to be $244 billion. Today's numbers show that the actual budget deficit is now just $163 billion.
  • As a percentage of the economy (1.2%), the deficit is now lower than the average of the last forty years.
  • This year tax revenues grew by $161 billion to reach $2.568 trillion, the highest level of Federal revenues ever recorded. That's an increase of 6.7 percent. And it builds on the 14.5 percent and 11.8 percent increase in revenues during the last two years.

Hint: projections are done years in advance are almost never accurate. It is heartening to see them moving in the right direction. Once again, the tax cuts are working. The White House is promoting the fact that tax relief plus spending restraint promotes economic growth. Only took them 7 years to figure that out.

  • The U.S. economy is in its 6th year of sustained growth
  • Since August 2003, the economy has added more than 8 million new jobs for 49 straight months of growth.
  • The national unemployment rate is at 4.7 percent, low by historical standards.

This press release is from early October and if you read between the lines it's easy to see that the WH was already preparing for a budget battle over entitlement spending by Congress.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Birmingham, Alabama's largest city is fighting a multi-front battle.

  • Birmingham was just named the nation's 6th most dangerous city for the 2nd straight year. Through Sunday, there have been 79 homicides in Birmingham this year. There were 109 homicides in 2006.
  • Birmingham City Schools were recently described as "abjectly failing" by an educational think tank.
  • Businesses are leaving the Magic City (Saks, Parisians) and heading for the vibrant suburbs offering safety, and better education.

To combat these problems the newly crowned mayor has decided that his first order of business is going to be a 1% sales tax increase and to double the cost of business licenses. That is not the way to go if you need to attract and keep businesses. You don't punish them for doing business in your city, you reward them. Not to mention that an increase in sales tax is regressive and will depress sales leading to lesser revenues than estimated. Too often the governing body then raises taxes again to gets the same result. Also on the agenda is a plan to buy laptops for all children in grades 1-8 and to provide college scholarships for all graduates of Birmingham City Schools.

Larry Langford was elected Fairfield mayor in 1988. He successfully won tax increases in 1990 and 1996. He was elected Jefferson County Commission president in 2002 and persuaded the commission to raise the county's sales tax by 1 cent in 2004 for capital spending by county schools. (Data from Birmingham News) Some of Langford's previous business dealings have caught the eye of the Securities & Exchange Commission.

The mayor's proposal is aimed at generating revenue to build a domed stadium. Nobody can say who will play there or perform there but the mayor is going full speed ahead with his plan. He has also budgeted $1 million dollars for each of the 15 city councilmen and women to be used at their discretion. It sounds more like a payoff to me. At the very least you could say I am very skeptical of the new plan. The CEO of Alabama Power,a division of Southern Company, has been a vocal supporter of the dome stadium. Probably because if it fails he won't lose a dime and if it succeeds his company will be supplying power to a new stadium for years to come. He cannot lose.

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I was scammed this week but it's OK.
The bait arrived in the form of a forwarded e-mail giving directions on how to send Christmas cards to the troops at Walter Reed. Christmas cards, wounded soldiers alone for the Holidays, months of recovery; I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Having spent most of last Fall in the hospital myself and knowing how frustrating it can be, I felt this was a great way to show support and provide comfort to our troops. I forwarded ( i hate forwards) the e-mail to all my friends and family(so do my family and friends).

Today, I was sent a link to Snopes describing the exact same e-mail I had received. The kicker is that the post office will not accept mail addressed to, "A Recovering American Soldier" because of security purposes. Duh, I felt like such a rube. I had been had. Fortunately, Snopes listed several organizations that provide assistance to recovering soldiers and to pay for my stupidity, I will be donating to these worthwhile organizations. I can't donate to the magnitude of the "Harry Reid smear letter" but I can do my part. I encourage you all to do the same.

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The Politics of Planting via Hot Air.
It is no wonder most people distrust the media and politicians. It turns out that most of the people Wolf Blitzer called, "undecideds" in last week's CNN debate were former Democratic operatives and interns, and leaders of interest groups sympathetic to the Democratic Party. I can understand the argument that the questioners maybe undecided about their choice of Democratic candidate so why not say "Undecided Democratic voters" instead of giving the illusion that the questioners were on the fence between voting Republican or Democrat.

Also what's with the prescreened questions. Wasn't this the "YouTube- You Ask the Questions" debate? I guess prescreening prevents candidates from having to answer the tough questions like,"Boxers or Briefs" or "Brooks Brothers or J. Press." People are sick of politics and we are still a year out. The same goes for the Republican debate on Wednesday. I will be watching you CNN. I beg you, no more softballs please. This post sounds too much like something from the Huffington Post or Kos. Enjoy!!

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Questions plague Clinton Campaign in Iowa
Tuesday,Nov 6-After her speech, Clinton accepted questions. But according to Grinnell College student Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff ’10, some of the questions from the audience were planned in advance. “They were canned,” she said. Before the event began, a Clinton staff member approached Gallo-Chasanoff to ask a specific question after Clinton’s speech. “One of the senior staffers told me what [to ask],” she said.

Clinton campaign also denied the practice of planting. “It’s not a practice of our campaign to ask people to ask specific questions,” said Mark Daley, Clinton’s Iowa Communications Director. But when directly asked if his statements meant that planting does not occur in the Hillary campaign, Daley could only say, “to the best of my knowledge.” “[Planting] is not something that is encouraged in our campaign,” he said.

Saturday, November 10th in SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s campaign admitted Friday that it planted a global warming question in Newton, Iowa, Tuesday during a town hall meeting to discuss clean energy. Clinton campaign spokesman Mo Elliethee admitted that the campaign had planted the question and said it would not happen again. "On this occasion a member of our staff did discuss a possible question about Senator Clinton's energy plan at a forum,” Elliethee said.

A reasonable question might ask,"Why the 4-day gap between being caught planting and admitting your Iowa Communication lied? Is this common practice on a campaign? Is it true that people don't pay attention to the news over the weekend and the admission that the Clinton campaign lied would not make as big a splash on Saturday morning? Or does this again bring up feelings of distrust and deceit from the Clintons in the 90s? It's up to the voters to decide. It feels like the 90s: OJ is on trial and Clinton's running for President.

The Edwards campaign continues to entertain me with this statement,"“It’s what the Clinton campaign calls the politics of planting.” Remember the Edwards campaign released, "The Politics of Parsinging" video last week. Joe Trippi, you magnificent b____d.

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Tomorrow is Veterans Day. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says that Veterans Day is largely intended to thank veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to U.S. national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served - not only those who died - have sacrificed and done their duty. Veterans Day is celebrated the same day as Armistice Day, which is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended WWI in 1918. The major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Read President Bush's well-written and appropriate Veterans Day proclamation here.

"We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." ---George Orwell. Let us never forget their sacrifice yet always remember to give thanks to our veterans whom have given so much for our country. God Bless the U.S.A.
Remember their sacrifice. Video courtesy of the NRSC.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Militant Group Is Out of Baghdad, U.S. Says- Good news from Iraq in the New York Times(eveen if it was on A19), hell must be freezing over.

BAGHDAD, Nov. 7 — American forces have routed Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the Iraqi militant network, from every neighborhood of Baghdad, a top American general said today, allowing American troops involved in the “surge” to depart as planned.

Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., commander of United States forces in Baghdad, also said that American troops had yet to clear some 13 percent of the city, including Sadr City and several other areas controlled by Shiite militias. But, he said, “there’s just no question” that violence had declined since a spike in June.

“The Iraqi people have just decided that they’ve had it up to here with violence,” he said, while noting that their demands for electricity, water and jobs have intensified. Hundreds, if not thousands, of displaced families are returning to their homes, but a majority of them are still afraid to go back to neighborhoods now segregated by sect. “Clearly,” General Fil said, “it will take some time for Baghdad to restore itself to what it was.”

He said that if 2007 was the year of security, 2008 would probably be “a year of reconstruction, a year of infrastructure repair, and a year of, if there’s going to be a surge, a year of the surge of the economy.”

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Alabama's Dumbest Criminals

Two men, at least one of which was believed to be armed with a gun, went inside the restaurant about 12:45 p.m. and demanded money when the restaurant was filled with the lunch crowd

Who robs a restaurant during lunch? Seriously? Who robs a restaurant with a BB gun? Who robs a restaurant that is full of witnesses in a building with walls made entirely of windows. Apparently that's how these 3 guys roll. They didn't even make it a mile before being stopped and arrested. They had to learn the hard way that a late-model red Ford Mustang doesn't blend in that well when you are leaving the scene of a crime that was witnessed by 30 people.
Someone placed a 911 call during the robbery, which allowed the information to be broadcast immediately, while the men still were inside the restaurant.

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"He Hates These Cans."Another movie quote applicable to the S-CHIP debate. Anytime there is a debate over health insurance, the standard line used against opponents of the bill is, "They Don't Care About The Kids." It is just as stupid and silly as when Steve Martin used it in _____(bonus points if you can name the movie).

On Tuesday, Oregon voters overwhelmingly (3-2)
voted against Measure 50 which would have made their children's health plan universal. Let's look at the plan and see if we can learn anything from its failure. The plan would have:
  • broaden eligibility for Oregon's "Healthy Kids" S-Chip program to 300% of the federal poverty level.
  • allowed all families to opt in, regardless of income, though higher earners wouldn't get subsidies.
  • paid for the expansion with cigarette taxes, which would increase to $2.02 from $1.18 a pack

Sounds familiar, right. You think that Oregon would have learned something from the S-CHIP disaster proposed by Congress this year. They didn't. The legislator who initially proposed the measure blames it on Big Tobacco. What is interesting is the comments section below the story. Most of the comments I read were concerned about the same things most Conservatives were about S-CHIP; taxing vices, higher taxes, and paying for health insurance for the middle class. Here's more Portland,Oregon coverage and in the StatesmanJournal.

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Reason #378 I hope the Democratic nominee is Hillary

  • According to the latest RCP Averages Fred, Giuliani, and McCain are all within 7, 4, and 5 points respectively, of the Democratic front runner.
  • If you compare Romney vs. Clinton, the RCP Average puts Clinton ahead by 11 points. Just something to think about.
  • If you look at Fred, Rudy, and McCain vs. Edwards and Obama they are competitive and sometimes come out on town as is the case of Rudy vs. the Breck girl (Edwards).

Just something to think about when considering the "electability" aspect of each candidate. Right now, a vote for Mitt is a vote for GOP suicide. Kinda like Bob Dole in 1996. Dole is a war hero, a great man and legislator who waited his turn but looking back there is no way he could compete again Bill Clinton.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Harri Ann Smith receives support in run to replace Terry Everett

State Sen. Harri Anne Smith, R-Slocomb, said Tuesday that she has received the unofficial backing of a group of Wiregrass business leaders and plans to run for Congress. Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver, an active Republican, said he believed Smith would be a strong candidate for the Republican nomination. “I think she will be an excellent candidate. She’s very electable and certainly a good campaigner, somebody the entire Wiregrass (AL-2) can get behind and hopefully the entire district.”

I am not too familiar with Smith but anyone who voted against the 62% pay raise the legislature voted themselves has got my vote. She is also one of the few legislators who aren't "double-dipping".
Hat tip to Doc, who was been following this for some time now.

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It is not too late for a Republicans Rally
In a follow up to my post,"GOP can win on Illegal Immigration." Michael Barone again addressed the subject in his latest column, "Wavering Republicans" He studied a focus group this past week and here is what he learned;

Many of these voters raised the issue of illegal immigration and were genuinely outraged by the large number of illegals in the United States and by weak enforcement (or non enforcement) of the law at the border and at workplaces. There was some clear condemnation of Bush here. At the same time, there was nothing to indicate that these attitudes were motivated by a dislike or prejudice against Latinos; to the contrary, one or two participants pointed out that illegal immigrants were hard

These voters were solidly arrayed against Hillary Clinton and also against her leading Democratic competitors Barack Obama and John Edwards. Indeed, they showed considerably more unambivalent vehemence in opposing Clinton than they showed in expressing support for any of the Republican candidates. So far during this cycle we have seen that the Democratic candidates are raising more money, generating more volunteers, getting more press coverage (of course, that reflects the press's biases to at least some extent)—all signs that the balance of enthusiasm favors the Democrats more next fall than it did the Republicans in 2004. The vehemence of these Republicans' opposition to Clinton suggests there's at least a possibility that enthusiasm on the Republican side may increase if and when she clinches the Democratic nomination.

The Republicans in the focus group are still undecided about their Presidential choice but there are 2 issues which can galvanize them: Illegal immigration and Hillary Clinton. I call the latter the "ABC factor" or Anybody But Clinton.

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Trouble At Home for Dirty Harry

The Las Vegas Review-Journal poll showed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's Unfavorable rating had moved past the 50 percent mark -- 51 percent, to be precise. His favorable rating was 32 percent, 2 points lower than embattled, lame duck President George W. Bush. The Review Journal's Sherman Douglas on Reid:

Let me spell out Harry's problem. No one can win a statewide race in Nevada on a platform that appears anti-military, anti-family, anti-marriage, anti-religion, anti-free speech, pro-illegal
immigration, pro-abortion, and pro-taxation. While Harry isn't all of that personally, he clearly projects elements of them all when he's doing the bidding of his party on the national stage.
-(It also doesn't help Harry's numbers when he foolishly attacks Rush Limbaugh, only to have the conservative radio talk show host lash back in a brutally effective rebuttal for the entire nation to

Does anyone know what the last Democratic Majority Leader in the Senate is doing now? He is not in the Senate. Tom Daschle was the figurehead for the left wing of the Democratic Party and defeated by young buck John Thune. While was Majority Leader, Daschle marched too far to the left and alienated the conservative citizens of South Dakota. Reid isn't up for re-election until 2010 but that gives him plenty of air time standing next to Nancy Pelosi explaining their views on impeachment, illegal immigration, and Rangel's "mother of all tax plans",the better for the GOP. Don't forget Harry's greatest hits; "We killed the Patriot Act" and "The war is lost."
To refresh your memory, here is what happened to the Patriot Act.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Gift That Keeps On Giving
The Democrats running for the highest office in the land keep providing much needed fodder for the GOP. First, it was Hillary's non-response during the debate. Of course this is a move to pacify the far left wing of the Democratic Party. Move On and Code Pink were pissed enough when Nancy said impeachment was "off the table. Her statement caused media whore Nancy Sheenhan to vow to challenge Pelosi for her San Francisco seat if Nancy didn't bring articles of impeachment against Bush Cheney. This move is clearly a feint by a no shot President to please the left-wing.
Dennis Kucinich introduced articles of impeachment for Vice President Cheney for high crimes and misdemeanors. Evidently his high crime was believing intelligence from no less than 3 foreign intelligence agencies. According to sources, Republicans changed their votes to kill the measure and force the Democrats to take a position on impeaching the Vice President.
Republican lawmakers and aides credited Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) for coming up with the idea.
-Update at 4:30 p.m. ET:
Perhaps we should pause to explain. When most Republicans unexpectedly -- and on orders of GOP leadership, the AP is reporting -- switched sides and voted against tabling the measure, they essentially forced Democrats to keep talking about it on the floor. Tabling the measure would have killed it.
Debate over Cheney's impeachment is in direct opposition to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's wishes. She has repeatedly said an impeachment of Cheney or President Bush is off the table. Thus, failing to table this measure is a essentially a jab in Pelosi's ribs.

The White House struck back at the do-nothing Congress;

"It is one thing for Congressman Kucinich to use this political ploy in his presidential campaign. It is another thing to do so on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Democrat-led Congress still has not sent the President a single appropriations bill. It's time to do so, our troops are waiting," Cheney spokeswoman Megan Mitchell said.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said:

"This Congress has not sent a single appropriations bill to the presidents
desk this year... yet, they find time to spend an entire work period on futile
votes to impeach the vice president or to pass contempt citations against the
president's chief of staff and former counsel," referring to House efforts to
issue citations to former White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former counsel Harriet Miers for failing to respond to subpoenas.

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Monday, November 5, 2007

GOP Can Win on Illegal Immigration

Illegal Immigration is the only issue all Republican candidates can agree on. Even John McCain has backed away from his support for the failed "comprehensive immigration reform" package. At this moment the Republicans in the Senate are more willing than their Democratic counterparts to listen to the majority of Americans whom prefer enforcement first, even at the risk of offending portions of the Hispanic community. Look at the numbers on this CNN poll from 10/12-14 and even an idiot like me can see that this issue is a political goldmine.
  • "Would you like to see the number of illegal immigrants currently in this country increased, decreased, or remain the same?" Increased= 7% _____Decreased=69%_____Same=22%
  • "Do you think state governments should or should not issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants?"
    .Should=23% ___Should Not =76% ____Unsure = 1%

Never has the Democratic murky position on illegal immigration or giving licenses to illegals been more clear than in Hillary Clinton's muddled flip-flopping' answer to Tim Russert's question of whether or not she agreed with Gov. Spitzer's plan to give licenses to illegals. Those questions aren't going away and all candidates will have to state their position clearly. Don't expect other Democrats to lay off Hillary's non response. Contrast these two polls;

  1. One asked voters to pick two from a list of seven problems that explained "why the country is going in the wrong direction." The survey found that among independent voters, 40 percent -- by far the largest group -- picked this option: "Our borders have been left unprotected and illegal immigration is growing."
  2. A major USA Today/Gallup poll review of where things stand a year before the election included a basic question which asked Americans “Looking ahead to next year’s presidential election, what will be the most important issues that you will take into account when deciding whom to vote for?” Only 2% of Democrats say that immigration issues are among the most important issues they will take into account when deciding on whom to vote.

I will be quite content with Democrat's ignoring this issue. Michael Barone wrote in a recent column stating that October 2007 may be the month that immigration becomes a key issue and a permanent fixture in presidential politics.

"The last several Democratic nominees could have said that they're just taking the same position as their Republican opponent. The 2008 nominee won't be able to say the same of hers or his (unless McCain gets the nod)."

"Which leaves Democratic politicians and political candidates out on a pretty flimsy limb. Most of them reflexively back a comprehensive bill, and some of them (like Bush and a number of Republicans backing such a bill) have dismissed opponents as racists. Most Democrats have also been backing bills extending various benefits to illegal immigrants, like the Dream Act for college education for illegals brought over as children. There are appealing arguments for such bills. But most voters reject them. And most voters certainly reject driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. That was one of the issues that led to the recall of Gov. Gray Davis in California in 2003.

E.J. Dione touched on the issue in a column entitled "Dems Face Immigration Dilemna":

In the short run, Clinton's exquisite calibration of her positions was the issue. But her debate jitters reflect a deeper worry among Democrats that Republicans are ready to use impatience with illegal immigration to win back voters dissatisfied with the status quo.
The issue is especially problematic because efforts to appease voters upset about immigration -- including a share of the African-American community -- threaten to undercut the Democrats' large and growing advantage among Latino voters. For Republicans, the issue is both a way of changing the political subject from Iraq, the economy and the failures of the Bush presidency, and a means for sowing discord in the Democratic coalition.

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ABC manufactures news in Birmingham while media calls it a "social experiment

ABC is doing a social experiment in Birmingham, Alabama that includes having same-sex couples show affection for each other in public, according to Birmingham police department sources. ABC was working on a week-long project to see how people would react to things like public displays of affection by gay and lesbian couples. It's funny how the merchant and the police officer call it a "project", not news.

This incident is laughable on so many levels. Michelle Malkin is on it with some history of ABC's "project."First, it is apparent that ABC's news shows are so bad they have to create what they call news to get people to watch their station. Read what UA Professor Gary Copeland said about ABC's "project" Gary A. Copeland, professor and chairman of the telecommunication and film department at the University of Alabama, said
such types of "gotcha" situations are not news and what ABC is doing doesn't have any of the features one would expect in a controlled experiment. He added that what the show is really doing is trading the embarrassment of other people for the story....."Not everyone who came by (will make) the show," he said of passersby. "They picked out the people they wanted to use in the show." "This is not some breaking news that will radically change the nation," he said. "This is just a piece that will attract the curiosity of viewers. And it could just as easily perhaps be done on an entertainment show like `World's Greatest Bloopers,'" he said.

Secondly, ABC's research into the location where they are staging this "project" is non-existent. The area is fairly well-known for homosexual activity.See here and here. Birmingham is the metropolis for Alabama. Did ABC think they could drive to Alabama, set up shop and the biggots would come running. Birmingham is the largest city, well-known for business and the arts and it would not be surprising to most to see a homosexual couple in town. This is the bustling urban center of Alabama So forget about any stereotypes that include overalls,bare feet, or waterhoses. Not that ABC will not find at least one ignorant hick to fulfill their blue state bias but because it happened in Alabama,that proves what redneck, backward hicks we are.

Take the word of the following concerned real people:
James Little, president of the Five Points Merchants Group, said
"Five Points is a diverse, urban, laid-back and open-minded area where people of
all cultures, races, and backgrounds interact. He said if the Birmingham segment is negative, it would destroy the work the merchants, residents and property owners have done to create a positive reputation for their area."
He said that besides filming gay couples, the crew had a girl running up and down the sidewalk in her pajamas as if she was crazy. "They were trying to create an image that does not exist," he said.

Kris Childs, owner of a Southside optical shop called iiis, said she was also concerned.

"If their motive is to make it look like people are going to have a bias against gay couples, we're not like that," she said. "This is misrepresentation to deliberately stage something and make it appear how they want to make it appear. We embrace everybody."

Two off-duty Birmingham police officers, who stood by both days to keep order, said they saw few people react to the scenes, but that some people did do double takes.

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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Referendum C in Colorado.

In 1992. 53% of Colorado voters voted to place a TEL or Tax and Expenditure Limitation on state and local spending. Fashionably called TABOR,Colorado's Taxpayer Bill Of Rights was America's most stringent TEL. TABOR had three primary components:

  1. All tax increases had to be approved by taxpayers.
  2. Existing TELs could not be weakened without taxpayer approval.
  3. Colorado's TEL limited growth in expenditures (spending) and revenues to the inflation rate plus population growth. It mandated that all revenue collected over the limit be refunded to taxpayers. TABOR established a low rate of budgetary growth and mandates immediate refunds of surplus revenues.

In other words if the legislature wanted to spend over a certain amount, they had to ask the public for permission first. Any surplus was refunded to taxpayers. Between 1997-2007, CO taxpayers received over $3.25 billion in tax rebates and a reduction in reduction in the state income tax rate from 5 percent to 4.63 percent.[9]. from the state. For a family of four, that is an extra $3,200 in their pocket. TABOR was passed through citizen initiative and there is some evidence that initiatives passed by interest groups and citizens are stronger forms of TELs. Sounds great, right.

Two years ago Colorado voters narrowly approved Referendum C which will allow the state to keep and spend $3 billion in surplus taxes instead of refunding it to taxpayers. For more on the tax increase see this Colorado organization; TAX INCREASE

Michael J. New describes Colorado's economy this way;

Colorado residents are enjoying some good times economically these days.
Unemployment is down, income growth is up, and tax receipts are soaring. In
fact, tax receipts grew by a whopping 13 percent in fiscal 2006. During the
1990s, Colorado taxpayers could look forward to tax relief during such times of
prosperity. This is because the Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR)
required that all surpluses over its tight revenue limit be immediately rebated
to taxpayers. In fact data from the Office of State Planning and Budgeting indicate that the legislature appropriated over 800 million dollars above the TABOR limit in both 2006 and 2007. This means that the average Colorado taxpayer has missed out on 910 dollars in tax rebates during the past two fiscal years

Colorado's economy grew faster than the national average after TABOR. Regrettably, Amendment 23 put K–12 education spending on autopilot and walled it off from the rest of the budget, putting other vital programs at odds with education. Sounds an awful lot like the separation of Alabama's General Fund and Education Fund. Tax cuts = more money in your pocket, less government growth, and an increase in tax revenue. Where have we seen this before.Maybe here?

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Debate on Torture,waterboarding, and the AG.

The Democrats injected torture into the debate as a red herring against the confirmation of Judge Mukasey as our new Attorney General. Mukasey was given broad support from Republicans and Democrats like Dianne Feinstein before and after the political theater started. Sen. Schumer issued a statement Sunday evening saying Mukasey could become "a consensus nominee": "
While he is certainly conservative, Judge Mukasey seems to be the kind of nominee who would put rule of law first and show independence from the White House, our most important criteria. "For sure we'd want to ascertain his approach on such important and sensitive issues as wiretapping and the appointment of US attorneys, but he's a lot better than some of the other names mentioned and he has the potential to become a consensus nominee."

If the question about his confirmation is really over waterboarding (or is it a "Wink,Wink" thing between the nominee and the Senate) then let's have an adult debate about waterboarding and Judge Mukasey's opinion keeping in mind these points:

  • Do we want the entire world to have the advantage of knowing our interrogation methods?

ABC News has already broadcast the six "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" instituted in mid-March 2002. Their investigation revealed that only 3 have been waterboarded by the CIA. Quite frankly, the enhanced techniques are pretty weak. Throw in an "Indian burn" and the techniques described bear a striking resemblance to Boy Scout camp. I wouldn't be too scared knowing the worst thing that could happen to me is I get my shirt collar ripped or a belly slap.

  • Do we expect Iran, North Korea, the Taliban, or al-Queda to follow in our footsteps if we publicly outlaw "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" as John McCain and Colin Powell have suggested?

It is my opinion that the enemy we currently face will be undeterred by our adherence to the Geneva Conventions. An excellent book that details the years of training that interrogators go through develop the discipline to effectively match wits with Taliban and al-Queda for uninterrupted 24-hour shifts at a time to collect information bit-by-bit is "The Interrogators" by Chris Mackey (fictional name). The author makes the point that his team got less sleep than the terrorists because they had formal duties on top of interrogations

  • Does the Attorney General have a say in interrogation techniques or is the prohibition on torture a statutory issue? or Do the professionals of the CIA, Army,etc. have time to clear their methods through a lawyer in DC?

Interestingly, when the harrumphing senators who accuse Mukasey had a chance, twice, to specifically proscribe waterboarding, they passed on it. They could have done so in both the Detainee Act of 2005 and the Military Commissions Act of 2006. Instead, they passed the buck, settling on opposition to "cruel, human and degrading" practices.

Rather than buying into what Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy say about the Judges' answers to their let's educate ourselves by looking at what the Judge said. Specifically, on the subject of waterboarding, Judge Mukasey wrote:

I do know ... that waterboarding cannot be used by the United States military
because its use by the military would be a clear violation of the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA). That is because waterboarding and certain other coercive interrogation techniques are expressly prohibited by the Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation, and Congress specifically legislated in the DTA that no person in the custody or control of the Department of Defense (DOD) or held in a DOD facility may be subject to any interrogation techniques not authorized and listed in the manual."

Waterboarding is clearly against the law for the American military. Waterboarding is clearly prohibited by the Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Convention. It was again prohibited by the Detainee Treatment Act, which only covers military interrogations.

A powerful politician said this about torture and the "ticking bomb" scenario:

;"In the event we were ever confronted with having to interrogate a detainee with knowledge of an imminent threat to millions of Americans," then the decision to depart from standard international practices must be made by the president, and the president must be held accountable."

That politician was none other than Hillary Clinton.

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Friday, November 2, 2007

The Politics of Parsing from Redstate.
Clarifying HRC's position(s) from the debate the other night. You can guarantee this will be used in the general. I must give credit where credit is due, this video was originally put out by the Edwards campaign, then posted by Stop Her Now and then to Redstate

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It's Friday, I have been lazy all week so here's a link to a cool video on globalization.

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SCHIP Part II cont.

Michelle Malkin has the latest roll call on the Senate passing 64-30 another version of the children's health insurance program which will be vetoed by the President.

The Senate acted after the bill was approved by House of Representatives last week in a 265-142 vote that was short of the two-thirds majority needed to overturn a veto by Bush. Bush vetoed an earlier version of the bill that the House last month failed to override. The bill would provide $60 billion in funding for the program over five years, compared with the current $25 billion five-year funding level. The tobacco tax increase, raising the tax on cigarettes by 61 cents to $1 per pack, would cover the added cost.

Senator Jim DeMint applauds the benefits of a compromise bill offered by Mel Martinez.

Rather than expand the government-run SCHIP program to cover middle-income children in homes making more than $80,000 a year (which will include over 70% of America's children), our plan reauthorizes SCHIP to ensure poor children continue to receive health care. The plan goes further to tackle the problem of the uninsured by providing a tax credit to middle class families for their children's health insurance.
This would allow families to purchase health plans for their kids that they choose, rather than being handed a one-size-fits-all Washington-run plan.

Another benefit of this approach is that unlike the Democrat's SCHIP proposal, our plan would not force children off private insurance and onto government plans. By turning patients into shoppers we will inject more choice and competition into the health care market resulting in more competitive prices for health care premiums. All told, the tax credit approach provides health care to 10.5 million children whereas the Democrat SCHIP plan forces 1.2 million kids onto government rolls. Through this innovative and (free market)approach we offer better coverage to far more.

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The Top 100 Most Influential Conservatives & Liberals in the U.S.

As rated by the The Telegraph of U.K. The list is interesting but is 2008 Presidential candidate heavy. Four of the of top 20 conservatives are Presidential candidates. On this side of the pond, a lot of folks would find it difficult to find 4 candidates that fit their definition of a conservatives in the entire Republican field. The paper also equates party loyalty with either a conservative or liberal philosophy. The top 20 on the liberal side are not pols or experts but interest group organizers, or wives of Presidential candidates. The top 20 Conservatives are mainly 1st round draft picks for the next Republican administration. The paper adopted this formula; anything right of centre = Conservative; left of centre = Liberal. Makes you question where the centre is. The selection process includes this caveat;

When in doubt, we have leant towards those
likely to be most influential in the future rather than those whose careers and
impact lies in the past. But some historical figures cast such a long shadow
that it would have been perverse to have excluded them.

Feel free to list your top 5 most influential (living and nonliving)

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