4.29.2007

Reagan Staffers Backing Fred

It had to be printed in a London paper... the leftymedia would never touch this story:

A key figure in the Reagan inner circle has now given his seal of approval to Mr Thompson, best known as a star of the television crime drama Law and Order.

As deputy chief of staff, Michael Deaver was a key member of the "troika" of aides who kept the Reagan White House on track. With the chief of staff James Baker and special assistant Ed Meese, he was the master of image and presentation.

Mr Deaver sees the same raw material in Mr [Fred] Thompson as was perceived in Ronald Reagan, describing him as someone "that could really make a difference". He added: "He is very popular in his party. He could change this whole thing and turn this primary system upside down.

"As Ronald Reagan used to say, after he stole a line from Al Jolson, 'Stay tuned, you ain't seen nothing yet'."

[snip]

Mr Deaver voiced the view of many Republicans that the current crop of declared candidates is unsatisfactory. Of the front runner, the former New York mayor Rudi Giuliani, he said: "His popularity may be a mile wide and an inch deep. I'm sure that lead will shrink."

Mr Deaver's intervention is significant. He is very close to Mr Reagan's widow, Nancy, and is seen as the keeper of the Reagan flame.

Clark Judge, a White House speechwriter for Mr Reagan, said: "Fred Thompson, like Ronald Reagan, is a man of tremendous substance. There is a sense in the party that none of the candidates is quite 'it'."

Mr Reagan, he said, had "embodied the mission of the party - entrepreneurial growth, limited government and a strong national defence. Whoever can bring that mission into this age will be the nominee. And it may be Fred Thompson." Roger Stone, who was a Reagan campaign strategist, said: "The president Americans want is, in fact, the guy they see on Law and Order: wise, thoughtful, deliberative, confident without the cockiness of George W Bush, urbane yet country. Fred Thompson communicates all those virtues."

It's looking more and more like Fred is going to jump in, probably at the Lincoln Club on Friday. And Reaganites will probably cheer him on.

4.28.2007

Fred on Federalism

While I've been struggling with the issues mentioned below, a fascinating exchange happened on NRO between Ramesh Ponnuru and Fred Thompson. It started with Ramesh questioning Fred's views on federalism, then Fred fired off a response, to which Ramesh replied.

Personally, I think Fred won that fight, even though Ramesh got the last word. But I'd be interested in what others think.

VTech, Leftists, and Laws

Sorry for the slow posting, been going through some personal issues. However, things are getting back to what passes for normal, so I'm baaaaaack! (Hey, where you running off to?)

Anyway, I was posting in the comments section of my favorite "big" blog, Wizbang, and a lefty crystallized my thoughts on leftists and laws. (Here's the thread in question if you wanna read the whole thing.)

Lefties seem to be under the delusion that laws, in and of themselves, prevent crime. BZZZZZT! Wrong! Laws spell out what "crime" is and defines the punishments for various crimes. It's the punishments, not the laws themselves, that deter crime--to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the punishment, of course.

The proof is easy to see. If the leftist view was correct, all we'd have to do is ban crime, and thousands of criminals would turn to a life of honest work. Everyone who thinks that will happen, stand on your head.

So, just passing a law that says "this is illegal" doesn't work. The law has to have teeth... the punishment has to be something a person fears, and the chances of them getting caught and punished also has to be pretty good, or else it won't work.

This explains why more laws won't stop someone like the VTech shooter. He was clearly planning on ending his rampage with his own death, so no punishment in this world would have deterred him. More laws wouldn't have mattered a whit to him.

And that's why the calls for more gun control won't help.

4.23.2007

Ouch.

Harry Reid gets slapped around by his hometown newspaper. Just read it (as usual, the title is the link).

Russia Turning Into Dictatorship, says Former Putin Advisor

This one should make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. The former chief economic advisor to Vladimir Putin was interviewed by Der Spiegel, and here's part of the conversation:

SPIEGEL: Who decided to deal with the protestors so harshly, the president or his advisors?

Illarionov: It certainly didn't happen at the level of Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev alone. It's hard to imagine that such decisions were made without the knowledge of our country's top leadership.

SPIEGEL: There is no evidence whatsoever of any threat to the government. The economy is growing by upwards of six percent, and Russians are traveling abroad on vacation and buying cars. Why doesn't the Kremlin simply accept peaceful demonstrations?

Illarionov: Our rulers act according to a different logic. Putin himself said, and he was probably right, that there are no former intelligence agents. They were specifically trained to hunt down enemies. And if there are none, then they create them.

We could be seeing the Russian Bear sharpening his claws again. I dunno about you, but that doesn't make me feel very warm and fuzzy.

Why the VTech Shooter Was Free

Jonathan Kellerman, a professor of psychology, examines how it came about that someone as troubled as the VTech shooter was allowed to roam the streets at will.

Accepting the arguments of the liberationists and the libertarians at face value led to the assertion that no matter how bizarre, disabling or life-threatening a person's hallucinations and delusions, involuntary treatment was never called for. And to the assertion that violation of that premise created yet another class of political prisoners.

While moderate members of the anti-asylum movement were willing to concede that psychosis might pose difficulties for a few individuals, they insisted that society had no more right to force psychoactive drugs upon mental patients than it did to hold down diabetics for insulin injections. If treatment was to be offered, it needed to be consensually contracted between caregivers and care-recipients on an outpatient basis. That fit perfectly with the sensibilities of conservative scrooges searching for ways to cut the state budget, and all too happy to dismantle a massive state hospital system denigrated as inefficient at best and inhumane at worst. The replacement chosen was an untested, less costly treatment model: the community mental center.

How nice that everyone agreed.

Everyone, that was, except for many families of hospitalized, hopelessly-decompensated, often self-destructive and occasionally violent psychotics. They'd lived with the reality of severe mental illness and wondered what "freedom" would bring. But there weren't enough of these families to matter.

Read the whole thing. The link, as usual, is in the title.

4.20.2007

Weekend Reading: Why They Hate Us

It's a short article (link, as usual, is in the title), but well worth the read, especially if you're interested in the roots of Islamoterrorism.

Lieberman Blasts Reid

Here's a press release from Senator Lieberman:

WASHINGTON - Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) today made the following statement in response to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's comment that the Iraq War is "lost:"

"This week witnessed horrific terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists in Iraq, killing hundreds of innocent civilians and leading Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to declare that the war is 'lost.'

With all due respect, I strongly disagree. Senator Reid's statement is not based on military facts on the ground in Iraq and does not advance our cause there.

Al Qaeda's strategy for victory in Iraq is clear. They are trying to murder as many innocent civilians as possible in an effort to reignite sectarian fighting and drive us to retreat from Iraq.

The question now before us is whether we respond to these terrorist attacks by running away as Al Qaeda hopes - abandoning the future of Iraq, the Middle East, and ultimately our own security to the very same people responsible for this week's atrocities - or whether we stand united to fight them.

This is exactly the wrong time to conclude that we have lost the war in Iraq, or that our new strategy has failed. Instead, we should provide General Petraeus and his troops with the time and the resources to succeed. We should not surrender in the face of barbarism."

(emphasis added)

Is it any wonder the "defeat at all costs" Democrats wanted Lieberman out of the Senate?

Fred on VTech and Gun Control

Once again, Fred sounds more like a candidate than an actor:

Whenever I've seen one of those "Gun-free Zone" signs, especially outside of a school filled with our youngest and most vulnerable citizens, I've always wondered exactly who these signs are directed at. Obviously, they don't mean much to the sort of man who murdered 32 people just a few days ago.
Read the whole thing.

4.18.2007

Thoughts on VTech Shooting

Since Monday, I've been doing a lot of thinking about the shootings at VTech. Herewith, I state at least one of them.

First and foremost, all the victims and their families have my sympathies, and are in my prayers.

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! The following ruminations may appear cold, callous, brutal, and harsh. If you can't handle that, do not read any further. PROCEED BEYOND THIS POINT AT YOUR OWN RISK! You've been warned. Whining to me now will get you nowhere.

With that said, here's the brutal part: College is supposed to be a time of learning, and that this was a lesson that life isn't all peaches and cream, regardless of how much the lefty utopianists want to make it so. Evil exists, no matter how much certain people wish to deny it, and bad things do happen to good people. Learning to deal with such incidents is, regrettably, but undeniably, a part of life.

If the students at VTech are lucky, they'll have teachers who will explain this to them, and help them understand that government can't eradicate evil, nor can "visualizing world peace" change the nature of people. Unfortunately, given that VTech decided to go with the "feel good" position of banning guns on campus, I sort of doubt that the students will be that fortunate.

By the way, that gun ban was sure a deterrent to the shooter, wasn't it?

4.15.2007

Fred on Taxes

If you want to see what Fred Thompson thinks about tax hikes and cuts, see the article linked above (the title is the link). Here's a quick excerpt:

President John F. Kennedy was an astute proponent of tax cuts and the proposition that lower tax rates produce economic growth. Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagan also understood the power of lower tax rates and managed to put through cuts that grew the U.S. economy like Kansas corn. Sadly, we just don't seem able to keep that lesson learned.

Now, as before, politicians are itching to fund their pet projects with the short-term revenue increases that come from tax hikes, ignoring the long-term pain they always cause. Unfortunately, the tax cuts that have produced our record-breaking government revenues and personal incomes will expire soon. Because Congress has failed to make them permanent, we are facing the worst tax hike in our history. Already, worried investors are trying to figure out what the financial landscape will look like in 2011 and beyond.

This issue is particularly important now because massive, unfunded entitlements are coming due as the baby-boom generation retires. We simply cannot afford higher taxes if we want an economy able to bear up under the strain of those obligations. And beyond the issue of our annual federal budget is the nearly $9 trillion national debt that we have not even begun to pay off.
If he's not running, I'll eat my blogging hat.

4.12.2007

Will Jesse Follow Through?

Linked in the title above is an article from just about a year ago (17 April 2006) in which Jesse Jackson makes a pretty generous offer:

The exotic dancer who claims members of the men's lacrosse team raped her at a March 13 team party will never again have to strip to pay for her tuition.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Saturday his Rainbow/Push Coalition will financially support the alleged victim through college, even if her story is proven false in the courts.
(colored emphasis mine)

Wizbang is leading the charge to hold Jackson to his word, and I am happy to join in the fight.

However, knowing the weasel that Jackson is, he'll probably refuse to pay because her story wasn't proven false "in the courts."

I still think we should hound him to follow through, tho.

4.11.2007

Fred Thompson has Treatable Cancer

Fred announced today on RedState that he has a relatively benign form of cancer, which according to his doctor is in remission. It's still cancer, but is very treatable and should not affect his life expectancy at all.

Several commentators believe that his announcement is another step on the road to a formal candidacy, and I tend to agree. One doesn't release this sort of stuff unless there's a good reason.

Captain Ed says that his sources are telling him Fred wanted to get this out into the open to gauge the reaction of his supporters and because he didn't want people to be blindsided with this during his proposed campaign. If true (and while I trust Captain Ed, anyone can make a mistake), that's a good sign for those of us excited about the prospect of a Fred Thompson campaign.

Hat Tip: Wizbang.

Update and bump: Former Senator Bill Frist... also known as Bill Frist, M. D., weighs in on Thompson's announcement:

This morning Fred Thompson, my good friend and colleague of many years, made it known that he has slow-growing marginal zone lymphoma - a disease that has never made him physically ill and for which he has a good prognosis, according to his doctor.

In my view, this disclosure indicates his seriousness as a potential candidate. He's a dedicated public servant with true conservative credentials, extraordinary communications skills and a devotion to his principles.

I hope you'll continue to post your statements encouraging Fred to run so that I can share them with him and other supporters across the country.
I am not only encouraging Fred to run, I am praying for his health to remain good.

The UN has Jumped the Shark

The UN has finally jumped the shark and, thus, descended into total absurdity.

On April 9, 2007 there was a United Nations believe-it-or-not moment extraordinaire. At the same time that Iran’s President Ahmadinejad declared his country was now capable of industrial-scale uranium enrichment, the U.N. reelected Iran as a vice chairman of the U.N. Disarmament Commission.
Anyone still believing that the UN is a credible organization probably also believes that Elvis is still alive, that OJ is innocent, and that Algore is the true President of the United States.

(For those not familiar with "jumping the shark," see this article.)

4.10.2007

Why Animal Rights Wackos Wanted Knut Killed

This one is a must-read. It starts off hilarious and ends serious. I'll share the hilarious part:

I wish I could have been a fly on the wall at the meeting where the German environmentalists declared the fatwa against the baby polar bear.

"So, Helmut, what was wrong with my 'Kick a Puppy to Eliminate Air Pollution' promotional campaign proposal?"

"You're not thinking big enough, Konrad. We need something more compelling - more dramatic! How about 'Mock Handicapped Children to Prevent Global Warming?'"

"Ach! Derision of the enfeebled is too baroque; too recherché. Perhaps 'Deface a Cemetery to Raise Awareness of Mercury Contamination?' Or what about 'Fart Noisily in Public to Protest Fossil Fuel Dependence?'"

"Those are no better than my 'National Day of Spitting on Subway Seats to Save the Rainforest' or 'Cut off the Guy in the Next Lane If You Hate Urban Sprawl.' We need to think bigger, Konrad! Something dramatic. Something that will show the petty bourgeois that we aren't just spoiled trust fund kids engaging in low-impact street theater!"

"I've got it, Helmut! Let's demand that a polar bear be killed in the name of animal rights."

"Eh. Pass."

"But it's not just any polar bear, Helmut. It's a baby polar bear."

"Pass."

"You don't understand. It's not just any baby polar bear. It's the cutest baby polar bear who ever lived. It's absolutely heart-meltingly adorable. It has a cute name and cute beady little black eyes and a cute back-story and soft fuzzy white fur that was made for hugging."

"...I'm listening..."

"It will sell cute pictures across the globe. Animal lovers the world over will pay good money for little dolls of it. It will captivate the media and win the hearts of billions. I say - we condemn it to death!"

"Sounds good! But what reason will we offer for ending the life of our enemy, the adorable baby polar bear?"

"It must perish...because it is inauthentic."

"Inauthentic?"

"Yes. Its anthropocentric upbringing has forever alienated it from its polar bear nature. It can never achieve a state of one-ness with its true primal self. It is a dead baby polar bear walking. For its own good, for the good of all polar bears seeking spiritual integrity, it must be euthanized."

"Konrad, I believe you've found a symbol for our cause. The sweet fuzzy baby polar bear must die!"

Now that you've probably sprayed your beverage of choice all over your monitor, go get a towel and clean it up, then go read the rest of the article. The link, as usual, is in the title (the titles with the three colored dots are all links).

Gingrich Slips

First Rudy, now Newt open their mouths and insert their feet.

In a heavily hyped debate – one that environmentalist Democrats hoped would be a “smack down” on Republicans -- former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich disappointed them and conservatives alike when he declared that human activity was causing the Earth to warm.

The concession was made in a debate on global warming with Sen. John Kerry (D.-Mass.) today on Capitol Hill that was sponsored by the Brookings Institution and the RAND Corporation.

In his first portion of allotted time Gingrich said there were two undisputed areas of scientific consensus on global warming: that the earth is getting hotter and the warming had been caused by human activity.

At one point, Kerry asked Gingrich what he would say to conservatives like Sen. James Inhofe (R.-Okla.) who do not believe global warming is caused by human activity. Gingrich said, "The evidence is sufficient that we should move to the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon."

“We should be moving to develop all kinds of new green technology,” Gingrich said. He challenged Kerry to find market-based solutions to reduce carbon emission instead of increasing environmental regulations.

“Regulation and litigation are the least effective ways of getting solutions,” the former Speaker said. “Reshaping markets with incentives are the fastest way.”
I can't see conservatives uniting behind Newt after that.

Fred Thompson Gaining Momentum

Even Time seems to think that Fred may be on his way into the race.

Indeed, National Review Editor Rich Lowry is sensing serious movement on the Draft Thompson front:

"Now, the odds seem to strongly favor him getting in. If I had to bet, I'd say he does it."

I imagine Lowry's basing his opinion on his sources, but from a common-sense perspective rarely does a draft movement get this kind of momentum without some prodding from the unannounced candidate himself. And one also doesn't pen an op-ed for the conservative RedState.com if he's just 50-50 on the matter. I'd say what Thompson wrote energized the conservative grassroots far more than what Sen. John McCain had to say in the Washington Post Sunday, which is not to malign what McCain wrote. It's just that all the energy out there seems to be with Thompson and whether he's the man conservatives want him to be. His RedState.com article gives them reason to believe.

Looks like we may have a true conservative in the race soon.

Hat Tip: No Left Turns (Sorry, Time, your blog just isn't on my regular reading list... maybe because if you told me stone was hard, I'd experiment with a rock for a pillow.)

PBS Takes After BBC

Looks like we got our own BBC over on this side of the pond, and it's called PBS... you know, that station that you pay for with your tax dollars but hardly ever watch because they seem to be eternally begging for more money, and usually during the only shows worth watching.

The producer of a tax-financed documentary on Islamic extremism claims his film has been dropped for political reasons from a television series that airs next week on more than 300 PBS stations nationwide.

Key portions of the documentary focus on Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser of Phoenix and his American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a non-profit organization of Muslim Americans who advocate patriotism, constitutional democracy and a separation of church and state.

Martyn Burke says that the Public Broadcasting Service and project managers at station WETA in Washington, D.C., excluded his documentary, Islam vs. Islamists, from the series America at a Crossroads after he refused to fire two co-producers affiliated with a conservative think tank.

"I was ordered to fire my two partners (who brought me into this project) on political grounds," Burke said in a complaint letter to PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supplied funds for the films.

Burke wrote that his documentary depicts the plight of moderate Muslims who are silenced by Islamic extremists, adding, "Now it appears to be PBS and CPB who are silencing them."

A Jan. 30 news release by the corporation listed Islam vs. Islamists as one of eight films to be presented in the opening series.
We must prevent the half-dozen people who watch PBS from being exposed to any concept that might cause them to question their left-liberalism, I guess.

Hat Tip: Little Green Footballs.

Further Evidence of the Democrat Fracture

The late Will Rogers once commented, "I don't belong to any organized party. I'm a Democrat." It seems that his statement about the Democrats becoming disorganized is being proven every day:

In the battle for control of the Democratic Party, the George Soros-MoveOn.org crowd is used to getting its way. So it's revealing to watch the consternation in those precincts to the Congressional Black Caucus decision to co-sponsor a pair of Presidential primary debates this year with Fox News.

Liberal activists are livid, to say the least, with one anti-Fox pressure group condemning the Black Caucus for "dancing with the devil." Color of Change, a coalition of black online activists, says the collaboration promulgates "bigoted, hate-filled worldviews." Markos Moulitsas, the DailyKos front man, calls the CBC "corrupt and compromised" for "doing Fox's bidding." His implication is that Black Caucus Members have somehow been bought off, though there is no evidence to support the slur. This is to say nothing of some of the more vicious blog chatter, much of it carrying racial connotations.

It'll be interesting to see how far this fracture grows. Perhaps the Kos Kiddies and their 15% of the electorate can start their own party and let the Democrats move back towards the center-left.

4.09.2007

BBC: Iraq Hero's Tale "Too Positive"

The BBC has canceled plans to tell the story of a British soldier who won the Victoria Cross (Britain's equivalent to the American Congressional Medal of Honor), because it is "too positive."

Amid the deaths and the grim daily struggle bravely borne by Britain's forces in southern Iraq, one tale of heroism stands out.Private Johnson Beharry's courage in rescuing an ambushed foot patrol then, in a second act, saving his vehicle's crew despite his own terrible injuries earned him a Victoria Cross.

For the BBC, however, his story is "too positive" about the conflict.

The corporation has cancelled the commission for a 90-minute drama about Britain's youngest surviving Victoria Cross hero because it feared it would alienate members of the audience opposed to the war in Iraq.

The BBC's retreat from the project, which had the working title Victoria Cross, has sparked accusations of cowardice and will reignite the debate about the broadcaster's alleged lack of patriotism.

"The BBC has behaved in a cowardly fashion by pulling the plug on the project altogether," said a source close to the project. "It began to have second thoughts last year as the war in Iraq deteriorated. It felt it couldn't show anything with a degree of positivity about the conflict.

"It needed to tell stories about Iraq which reflected the fact that some members of the audience didn't approve of what was going on. Obviously a story about Johnson Beharry could never do that. You couldn't have a scene where he suddenly turned around and denounced the war because he just wouldn't do that.

"The film is now on hold and it will only make it to the screen if another broadcaster picks it up."

I don't think there's any "alleged" lack of patriotism there; rather, there is a real, palpable lack of patriotism at the BBC. Not to mention a vitriolic anti-war bias that they seem to be taking fewer and fewer pains to conceal.

It will be interesting to see how many members of the audience who support the war in Iraq the Beeb has managed to alienate. Apparently it doesn't really give a hoot about those people.

Giuliani Feeling the Heat on Abortion

Looks like Rudy's recent abortion comments have put his campaign in full damage-control mode. NRO ran an editorial regarding his statement on Friday, and, lo and behold, the "Policy Director" of Rudy's campaign, a Mr. Bill Simon, has seen fit to fire off a letter to them, which was printed today (link to that letter is in the title of this post). Mr. Simon makes a claim that looks good at first glance:

Abortions declined by 16.8 percent in New York City during the Giuliani administration, according to the Center for Disease Control. And University of Alabama political scientist Michael New told your publication, “The decline in abortions in New York City under Giuliani was greater than the national decline.”
The editors at NRO, however, are no dummies. They reply with:
Like Bill Simon, we admire Professor New. Let’s quote him some more on abortion trends during Giuliani’s mayoral terms: “I cannot attribute this decline to any actual policy Giuliani implemented.” Note also that New York City’s abortion rate had a long way to fall: Even after its decline, it remained much higher than the national average. Should Mayor Giuliani get credit for that fact as well?
The fact that Mr. Simon had to try so desperately to cover Rudy's gaffe indicates that he knows just how much damage his boss has done. I admire Simon for doing his job and trying to cover Rudy's backside, but I can tell you that's a job I sure wouldn't want, the way Rudy likes to speak first and think later.

French Aiding Iran in Developing Nukes

Once again, France has shown that it prefers making money to stopping rogue nations from arming themselves.

WESTERN GOVERNMENTS have been accused of "stunning hypocrisy" after it was revealed that Iran has a 10% stake in the world's largest uranium enrichment plant in France.

All the time that Britain, France and the US have been pressing the Iranian government to cease enriching uranium, the Islamic republic has been reaping multimillion pound dividends from its shareholding in Eurodif, an international enrichment plant at Pierrelatte in southern France.

Because of its involvement, Iran has also been learning more about the latest enrichment technology. It claims that it only wants to enrich uranium to improve its performance as a fuel in nuclear power stations, but Western nations are worried that it will be used to make nuclear bombs.

(blue emphasis added)

Reminds one of French involvement in Saddam's Iraq, doesn't it?

The French are not our allies. This report should be ample proof of that.

Hat Tip: Little Green Footballs.

Democrats Fracturing on Iraq Troop Funding

Well, that didn't take long.

Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee, is now contradicting what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said.

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Sunday that the Senate would not cut off funding for the Iraq war but would keep pressing President Bush for a settlement among Iraqi leaders to end the violence.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), appearing on ABC's "This Week," disagreed with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who said last week that he would co-sponsor legislation to cut off almost all money for the war in Iraq by next March.

"Well, we're not going to vote to cut funding, period," Levin said. "Even Harry Reid acknowledged that that's not going to happen."
Reid acknowledged that that's not going to happen? That's not what Reid himself said less than a week ago.

Looks like the more reasonable Democrats are starting to separate from their rabid frothing-at-the-mouth anti-war Democrats. This could be good or bad, depending on which side eventually wins. However, one thing it will be is entertaining, watching Democrats contradict each other and hopefully ending up in-fighting and getting nothing done.

Hat Tip: Captain's Quarters.

4.08.2007

Okay, ONE Post this Easter Weekend

I just couldn't pass this one up:

At Mother Seton Parish's Easter Vigil service last night, the front pews were filled with pilgrims who grew up far from the Catholic faith.

...snip...

Donya Botkan, 16, a junior at Damascus High School, had to overcome the concerns of her Muslim parents, who assumed she was just going through a phase. She had been attending Mass at Mother Seton as a purely social event with her Catholic friends, but Jesus's message of compassion and forgiveness, she said, wove its way into her heart.

"You don't hear that as much in other faiths compared to Christianity," she said.

Indeed.

Hat Tip: NRO's The Corner.

And a blessed Easter to Donya. Welcome to the flock.

4.06.2007

Easter Weekend

Gonna take some time off from blogging to enjoy one of the holiest times of the year. If something humongous breaks, I may be back, but if not, look for me again on Monday.

And a blessed Easter to all... even those who don't believe in blessings.

4.05.2007

Don't Bomb Iran

One of my very favorite historians, Victor Davis Hanson, makes an interesting point about the recently-concluded Iranian Hostage Situation (March-April 2007 edition):

What should we make of the Iranians’ behavior?

Namely that the country’s leadership is in deep political trouble. The Iranian government is desperate to provoke the West to win back friends in the Islamic world, and to quell growing unrest at home. Subsidizing food and gas, providing billions for terrorists and building nukes all cost money at a time when the state-run Iranian economy is in shambles.

Because of incompetence in their oil industry, the Iranian mullahs have achieved the impossible: Despite having among the world’s largest petroleum reserves, their production is shrinking and they have managed to earn increasingly less petrodollars even as the world price has soared.

While the Iranian theocrats understand that the entire world, including many of their own citizens, is turning against them, they also know that this could change if a Western nation would just attack them. Their strategy seems to be to find a way to provoke someone to drop a few bombs on them, on the naive assumption that such an assault would be of limited duration and damage. Such an attack, they may figure, would earn them sympathy in much of the world.
So, if Iran wants it so badly, is it really a good idea to give it to them?

Global Warming Proven!

And here's the proof:

[C]omputer models indicate that surface air temperatures on the ... Planet increased by 0.65 C (1.17 F) during from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Now, before anyone goes screaming at me, I will freely admit that I left one word out. That word, indicated by the ellipsis in the sentence above, is "Red."

The planet that has warmed by 1.17 degrees Fahrenheit is Mars, not the Earth.

So, there's two plausible explanations for this:
  1. The Martians are all driving SUVs, using incandescent lights, and electing Republican leaders.
  2. The warming trend on both Mars and Earth are due to a source separate from both of them... like, say, the Sun.
I imagine that #2 is the more likely explanation.

Hat Tip: Best of the Web Today.

Civil War in Iraq

...but this is the good kind of civil war--locals helping US troops against the insurgents:

Six months ago, American intelligence reports about Anbar were dire. Although the Marines won the firefights, insurgents controlled the population--the classic guerrilla pattern. Among the groups, the extremists called al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) had achieved dominance. In 2004, AQI briefly held Fallujah, where they whipped teenagers who talked back, bludgeoned women who wore lipstick and beheaded "collaborators"--hapless passersby and truckers. AQI preached a persuasive message: Our way or the grave.

In Anbar, AQI became the occupier, shaking down truck drivers and extorting shop owners. In the young sheik's zone, AQI controlled the fuel market. Each month, 10 trucks with 80,000 gallons of heavily subsidized gasoline and five trucks with kerosene were due to arrive. Instead, AQI diverted most shipments to Jordan or Syria where prices were higher, netting $10,000 per shipment and antagonizing 30,000 shivering townspeople. No local cop dared to make an arrest. The tribal power structure, built over centuries, was shoved aside. Sheiks who objected were shot or blown up, while others fled.

In late 2005, acceptably-trained Iraqi battalions began to join the persistent Americans in Anbar. AQI resorted to suicide attacks and roadside bombs, and avoided direct fights. Sub-tribes began to kill AQI members in retaliation for individual crimes, and discovered that AQI was ruthless, but not tough. Near the Syrian border, an entire tribe joined forces with the Marines and drove AQI from the city of al Qaim.

By the fall of 2006 AQI had become the oppressor, careless in its destructive swath, while the American and Iraqi forces persisted with their mix of force of arms and civil engagement. When an AQI suicide car bomb attacked an Anbar market in November, killing a Marine and nine civilians, the Marine battalion commander and his Iraqi counterpart offered medical care at the local clinic for the entire town, including the first gynecological examinations many local women had seen. This was not an isolated event, and the people noticed.

With a war-weary population buoying them, 25 of the 31 Anbar sub-tribes have pledged to fight the insurgents over the past five months, sending thousands of tribesmen into the police and army. Led by Sheik Abu Sittar, who has called this an "awakening," the tribes believed they were joining the winners.

This is just what the troops need... local info, local assistance, local support.

Hat Tip: BlackFive.

Those Tolerant Lefties

I see that those that preach tolerance from the left are demonstrating it themselves exempting their opponents from being tolerated:

NEW YORK -- The Tennessee Center for Policy Research recently generated headlines when it announced that former Vice President Al Gore's Nashville estate "devoured nearly 221,000 kilowatt-hours" of electricity in 2006, "more than 20 times the national average."

This free-market think tank's phones lit up when it analyzed Nashville Electric Service's public records and identified an inconvenient gap between Gore's conservationism and his energy consumption. The research center's one-page press release was greeted with enough megawatts of hatred to power the South.

"I was accused several times of being a 'stupid, redneck bitch,'" recalls Nicole Williams, who fielded numerous calls. "I repeatedly was called a 'whore' and asked 'Whose whore are you?' for three days straight, almost as if those were talking points ... I was shocked by these sexist insults _ basically attacking my gender."

The calls continued beyond Williams' Nashville office.

"I had to change my home number and get an unlisted number," Williams says.

"I got about 10 death threats by phone. I got the 'I'm gonna get you'-type threats more than 100 times ... I worried I would get shot walking to my car."

Williams discovered her obsolete address posted online. "If they could find my old home address, it would not be so hard to find a current one."

These are the people who want to claim the moral high ground, remember.

If you have a strong stomach, read the whole thing at the link above (the post title is the link). It's not recommended for the squeamish, tho.

Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin.

4.04.2007

And Now for Something Non-Political

The geek in me just loves this kind of story:

A scientific breakthrough could help alleviate blood shortages and reduce the danger of accidental blood-type mismatches, researchers and executives for a U.S. biotech firm said yesterday.

An international team of scientists announced that it has found a way to convert Types A, B, and AB blood into Type O -- the universal donor blood group that can be given to anyone -- and the American company that commissioned the research said such "universally transfusible" blood has the potential to solve problems associated with storing, transporting and transfusing blood.

"The prospects for this are huge ... since blood now must be transfused on a group-specific basis," Douglas L. Clibourn, chief executive officer of ZymeQuest, said in a telephone interview yesterday.

The team of Danish, English and French researchers reported this week in the journal Nature Biotechnology that it isolated two bacterial enzymes that break down and remove the sugar molecules (antigens) on the surface of A, AB and B red blood cells that can cause potentially deadly immune reactions in patients transfused with mismatched blood.

Now, is that neat or what?

Giuliani Also Inserts Foot

It's not just Nancy Pelosi that has foot-in-mouth disease today, seems she's passed the bug on to Rudy Giuliani.

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (CNN) -- Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told CNN Wednesday he supports public funding for some abortions, a position he advocated as mayor and one that will likely put the GOP presidential candidate at odds with social conservatives in his party.
The honeymoon's over, Rudy, and this is likely to hurt you a lot.

Also, a big thank-you to CNN for publicizing this. If they'd been able to restrain their joy at having a Republican support public funding for infanticide abortion, they might have been able to sneak him into the White House, with the willing support of the GOP's leftists moderates.

Better luck next time, lefties.

Another Hat Tip to Captain's Quarters. What can I say, he's got the stories that interest me today. It'll probably be someone different tomorrow.

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

Looks like Nancy Pelosi just got caught with one foot (if not both feet) stuck in her mouth up to the shinbone.

The [Israeli] Prime Minister's Office issued a rare "clarification" Wednesday that, in gentle diplomatic terms, contradicted US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's statement in Damascus that she had brought a message from Israel about a willingness to engage in peace talks.

According to the statement, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert emphasized in his meeting with Pelosi on Sunday that "although Israel is interested in peace with Syria, that country continues to be part of the Axis of Evil and a force that encourages terror in the entire Middle East."

Olmert, the statement clarified, told Pelosi that Syria's sincerity about a genuine peace with Israel would be judged by its willingness to "cease its support of terror, cease its sponsoring of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations, refrain from providing weapons to Hizbullah and bringing about the destabilizing of Lebanon, cease its support of terror in Iraq, and relinquish the strategic ties it is building with the extremist regime in Iran."

The statement said Olmert had not communicated to Pelosi any change in Israeli policy on Damascus.

If Pelosi had any brains at all, she'd have realized that Olmert's office would immediately correct the errors in her statement. Perhaps she thought they'd be too intimidated by The First Female Speaker of the House of Representatives to contradict her, but even that stretches credibility to the breaking point and possibly beyond... the Israelis have stood up to the Arabs that outnumber them many times over since 1948, why would they buckle to one woman with a swelled head?

Maybe Pelosi is just the sort of person who needs 10 minutes each morning to figure out which shoe goes on which foot.

Hat Tip: Captain's Quarters.

4.03.2007

Ready, Aim (at Own Foot), and FIRE!

Looks like the Kos Kiddies may get their wish after all. Harry Reid is threatening to cut off funds to the troops.

WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday he wants to cut off money for the Iraq war next year, making clear for the first time that Democrats are willing to pull out all the stops to end U.S. involvement.

[snip]

"In the face of the administration's stubborn unwillingness to change course, the Senate has no choice but to force a change of course," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who signed on Monday as a co-sponsor of Reid's proposal with Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis.
I gotta agree with Uncle Jimbo of BlackFive... please, Harry, do it! Show the American voters how the Party of the Donkey "supports the troops."

A bit of history for those educated in public schools: Since the last time that Congress cut off funding for a war (Vietnam), there have been eight Presidential elections. Democrats have won three of those, and each of those can be tied to a Republican screw-up (Watergate, "Read My Lips," and the idiocy of nominating the lackluster Bob Dole to go against the admittedly charismatic Bill Clinton).

And now the Democrats want to do it again. I say, bring it on! Show the American voting public once again why you can't be trusted with national security.

Show us that you can walk the lefty anti-war walk instead of just talking the talk, Harry.

Former Terrorist Group Member on Islam

Simply put, if you want to understand what the terrorist groups teach about Islam, you have to read the article linked above. Here's a quick excerpt to whet your appetite:

It is vital to grasp that traditional and even mainstream Islamic teaching accepts and promotes violence. Shariah, for example, allows apostates to be killed, permits beating women to discipline them, seeks to subjugate non-Muslims to Islam as dhimmis and justifies declaring war to do so. It exhorts good Muslims to exterminate the Jews before the "end of days." The near deafening silence of the Muslim majority against these barbaric practices is evidence enough that there is something fundamentally wrong.
Now you see why I say ya gotta read it.

Democrats Overreaching on Investigations

Looks like the Democrats are in for a short-lived majority, if they follow the plans outlined in the story linked above (in the title).

Simply put, this is dangerous for the Democrats for two reasons:

  1. It will soon become apparent even to John Q. Voter, who hardly ever follows the ins and outs of politics, that these investigations are purely politically motivated. Many of the John Q. Voter-type citizens believe that "everybody should just get along," so they won't like an endless stream of "investigations" splashed across the headlines.
  2. It will focus public attention on "scandals," and Lord knows the Party of the Donkey has quite a few of those... remember William Jefferson's $90,000 in the freezer, Dianne Feinstein's sending military contracts to her husband's firm, Pelosi's plane kerfuffle, and the laundry list of the Clinton scandals? One would think the last thing a Democrat would want to do was shine a light on political scandals.
Personally, the line about being thankful for stupid actions by one's opponents comes forcefully to mind.

Hat Tip: Wizbang!

4.02.2007

Novak on Thompson (Fred, not Tommy)

Robert Novak weighs in on a possible Fred Thompson candidacy:

In just three weeks, Fred Thompson has improbably transformed the contest for the Republican presidential nomination. It is not merely that he has come from nowhere to double digits in national polls. He is the talk of GOP political circles, because he is filling the conservative void in the Republican field.

Republican activists have complained for months that none of the big-three contenders -- Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney -- fits the model of a conservative leader for a conservative party. The party faithful have been waiting for another Ronald Reagan. But in the past year, nobody mentioned Thompson as the messiah until he appeared March 11 on ''Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.''

His statement to Wallace that he was ''giving some thought'' to a presidential run generated a reaction that surprised Thompson. In the first Gallup Poll that listed Thompson (March 23-25), he scored 12 percent -- amazing for someone out of public life for more than four years. More important than the polling data is his backing within the political community. Buyer's remorse is expressed by several House members who had endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Romney.

Thompson's popularity reflects weakness among announced Republican candidates, as reflected in the Gallup survey. Sen. McCain, no longer an insurgent but still not accepted by conservatives, is stuck in the 20-25 percent range. Former New York City Mayor Giuliani has dropped precipitously from 44 percent to 31 percent, amid attacks on his ideology and personal life. Most startling, despite a well-financed, well-organized campaign, Romney has fallen to 3 percent.

Be sure to read it all (the title of this post links to the full article). It looks like Fred might be the Dark Horse to beat.

Democrats Display Dhimmitude Again

Well, the Democrats have bent over backwards to avoid interfering with the Islamoterrorists' holy duty to eradicate the American infidels again:

WHY must Democrats constantly defend against charges that they can't be trusted on issues of national security? Well, consider what went on in the House of Representatives last Wednesday night.

Various members of the House majority had just spent 30 minutes in self-praise over the $7.3 billion transportation-security bill, calling it long-overdue relief for millions of Americans. Then Rep. Peter King (R-L.I.) rose to propose an amendment directed at a dangerous new threat to national security.

His motion was a response to the "John Doe" lawsuit filed by six "Flying Imams." Last November, the six were ejected from a US Airways flight after their fellow passengers reported what they saw as strange and disturbing behavior. The imams claim that they were victims of "intentional" and "malicious" discrimination and are seeking compensation, including punitive damages - from the airlines, and also from the passengers and crew, who are identified in the suit as "John Does" to be served with legal papers once a court order reveals their actual identities.

That lawsuit is a dangerous threat aimed at a vital component of public-transit security - the public itself.

King explained as much, speaking on behalf of his amendment, which would protect anyone who makes a reasonable, good-faith report of suspicious activity from being the target of a lawsuit. "We have an enemy which is constantly adapting," King said Wednesday. "We have to think outside the box."

That enemy, of course is al Qaeda - which is obsessed with slaughtering innocents using public transportation. There was Madrid's "3/11" - 10 bombs detonated on four trains at the height of the morning rush hour, killing 191 and injuring 2,050. And London's "7/7" - four suicide bombers in the Underground and on a double-decker bus, resulting in 52 dead and 700 injured.

But we can't possibly protect people who report possible terrorist activity, can we? That would interfere with the Islamoterrorists' right to fly planes into buildings, blow up buses and trains, and so on.

This is the kind of no-brainer legislation that every member of Congress should vigorously support. Yet House Democrats reacted to King's proposal as if he'd thrown a bomb into the House chamber itself.

According to witnesses in the gallery and on the floor, Speaker Nancy Pelosi displayed a classic deer-in-the headlights look as the Democratic leadership went into a huddle - plainly eager, not to embrace this common-sense measure, but to sidetrack it.

Meanwhile, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, took the floor to oppose King's motion - and to defend the lawsuit against John Does. "We should be tolerant," he argued; people shouldn't be singled out because they "look different."

In fact, the flying imams triggered concerns by a variety of unusual actions, as well as words that roused the concern of another Arabic-speaking passenger. Witnesses say that House members started booing Thompson.

Finally, a member of the leadership realized how this would look to Americans watching on C-SPAN: Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) was seen staring at Thompson and repeatedly drawing his hand across his throat - an urgent signal to get off the floor.

With Democrats realizing they couldn't argue against King's measure, it went to a vote, and passed, 304 to 121

Every one of those 121 votes aimed at defeating protection for "John Does" was a Democrat - indeed, more than half of all Democrats present voted "nay."

Remember that... every single nay vote was a member of the party whose emblem is a Donkey.

Hat Tip: LGF

SCOTUS: No Appeals from Gitmo Detainees

Just off the wires:

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday from Guantanamo detainees who want challenge their five-year-long confinement in court, a victory for the Bush administration's legal strategy in its fight against terrorism.

The victory may be only temporary, however. The high court twice previously has extended legal protections to prisoners at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. These individuals were seized as potential terrorists following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and only 10 have been charged with a crime.

Despite the earlier rulings, none of the roughly 385 detainees has yet had a hearing in a civilian court challenging his detention because the administration has moved aggressively to limit the legal rights of prisoners it has labeled as enemy combatants.

A federal appeals court in Washington in February upheld a key provision of a law enacted last year that strips federal courts of their ability to hear such challenges.

At issue is whether prisoners held at Guantanamo have a right to habeas corpus review, a basic tenet of the Constitution that protects people from unlawful imprisonment.

Okay, let's take this apart piece by piece so that people can understand what this AP reporter apparently doesn't.

The people held in Gitmo are not, I say again, not American citizens. Therefore, the Constitution does not apply to them in any way, shape, manner, or form. Period. Full stop.

The earlier rulings referenced said that the proper legal framework had not been set up for the military commissions that were in use. So, Congress voted in the proper legal framework, thus eliminating the problem. The Supreme Court recognized this, and is now ruling in accordance with the law legally passed by Congress.

I know, it is a sad day for lefties, they won't get to see President Bush hauled into court in chains to face the righteous indignation of the terrorists he's been trying to keep from their holy duty of killing American infidels.

For the rule of law, however, it is a very good day.

Hat Tip: BlackFive.

4.01.2007

Obama Between Rock and Hard Place

Barack Obama is apparently starting to feel the discomfort that comes from being between a rock and a hard place:

If President Bush vetoes an Iraq war spending bill as promised, Congress quickly will provide the money without the withdrawal timeline the White House objects to because no lawmaker "wants to play chicken with our troops," Sen. Barack Obama said Sunday.

"My expectation is that we will continue to try to ratchet up the pressure on the president to change course," the Democratic presidential candidate said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I don't think that we will see a majority of the Senate vote to cut off funding at this stage."
Welcome, Senator, to the uncomfortable place between the voters that don't want to cut-and-run from Iraq, and the MoveOn/DailyKos/Cindy Sheehan folks that want to cut and run immediately, if not sooner.

According to Little Green Footballs, where Mr. Johnson apparently has the balls to go where I won't, namely into the bowels of Kosville, the frothing-at-the-mouth lefties are already starting to foam:
Markos “Screw Them” Moulitsas, on the other hand, is all about playing chicken with our troops. And he’s really seething at Obama: Daily Kos: Obama caves to Bush. (Hat tip: Ron.)

What a ridiculous thing to say. Not only is it bad policy, not only is it bad politics, it’s also a terrible negotiating approach.

Instead of threatening Bush with even more restrictions and daring him to veto funding for the troops out of pique, Barack just surrendered to him.

Let me repeat that — Obama just surrendered to Bush.

It's gonna be an interesting year and a half till election time, especially with the surge apparently starting to work. Now that victory looks possible, calls for retreat look, well, cowardly. But we already knew that anti-war folks are, at heart, cowards, didn't we?

Another Thompson Enters the Race

Not Fred Thompson, whom I wrote about earlier today... Tommy Thompson, former Governor of Wisconsin, former HHS Secretary under Bush, has announced that his hat is officially in the ring.

He has some interesting ideas:

Discussing some campaign issues, he said:

_He would have "a completely different Iraq strategy" from the president's. Thompson said he would "demand" that the Iraqi government vote as to whether it wanted the U.S. to remain in the country. If the answer were yes, "it immediately gives a degree of legitimacy." If the answer were no, "We would get out, absolutely. It's a duly elected government."

_He would veto the war spending bills in Congress that have timelines for a U.S. exit from Iraq. "This is an invitation to continue the kind of civil war that's going on right now. I think it's the worst mistake," Thompson said.

_Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has made "terrible mistakes" in the handling of the fired federal prosecutors. "I would not have appointed Mr. Gonzales. I would have appointed somebody that was loyal to me," Thompson said.

I don't have much of a problem with any of those, not even the vote from the Iraqi people, because I am pretty sure I know how it would turn out.

He's also the one with the most executive branch experience, serving 14 years in the Wisconsin Governor's Mansion. That beats Rudy's 8 years as a mayor handily, Romney's 4 years as a governor, and McCain's big fat zero seconds of executive experience.

If Tommy Thompson starts gaining traction, this will become a completely different race. I'm not quite ready to slap a "Tommy 2008" banner on this here blog yet, but I'm interested enough to sign up for his newsletter, which I haven't done for any of the other candidates yet.

Ferguson on Giuliani

Andrew Ferguson of the Weekly Standard takes a good, hard look at Giuliani (the title is the link--I'm gonna mention that a lot for a while--to get people used to it), and sees things that make him think that Rudy as the GOP Nominee will be bad news for conservatives:

Giuliani cites his triumph in New York in the 1990s--along with the sensitive and courageous performance of his duties during the chaos of September 11, 2001--as his chief qualification for the presidency. Yet voters will be entitled to wonder whether the triumph is transplantable to a different time, on a different scale, in a much larger, two-party political culture that is not nearly so irrational and self-destructive as New York City's. The personal temperament and "management style" he displayed as mayor, not unusual for New York, are hard to imagine in the Oval Office. "People didn't elect me to be a conciliator," he told Time magazine at the end of his second term. "If they just wanted a nice guy they would have stayed with [David Dinkins, his feckless predecessor]. They wanted someone who was going to change this place. How do you expect me to change it if I don't fight with somebody? You don't change ingrained human behavior without confrontation, turmoil, anger."

How would such a rough-edged approach appeal to those moderation-loving centrists who, Giuliani supporters claim, the candidate will attract to the Republican party in uncountable numbers? Even in New York his public personality wore thin. Three months before the end of his term Giuliani's poll ratings had fallen to George W. Bush-like levels--only one in three New Yorkers approved of his performance. The dip followed an excruciating personal difficulty that Giuliani himself thrust into public view. In early 2000, at a press conference on an unrelated matter, Giuliani suddenly announced to the assembled reporters that he was divorcing his second wife. The second wife, for her part, held a press conference of her own a few hours later to announce that the mayor's announcement was the first she'd heard of any divorce. She couldn't have been terribly surprised, though. By this time, the mayor had abandoned his official residence, moved in with friends, and taken to appearing at public functions with another woman, Judi Nathan, whom he would eventually marry three years later. The second wife and their two children were left to themselves in the mayor's mansion. The kids were 14 and 10 at the time. It's not necessary to imagine what all those moderation-loving centrists will make of this episode; just imagine what a Democratic ad-maker will make of it.

(emphasis mine)

That right there tells me that Giuliani, once that story gets wider exposure, will become highly unpalatable to many people. Ferguson, however, has more rounds to fire:

It was an interesting platform that Giuliani offered his audience [in San Francisco]--and that he intends to set before voters as the campaign progresses. He spoke of reforming Medicaid spending by giving vouchers to the poor. He suggested rebuilding the No Child Left Behind school reform by giving vouchers for parents to choose schools among private and public options. He endorsed a government-sponsored, NASA-like program to develop alternative sources of energy. Americans, he said, should have the choice of accepting the Social Security system or opening a private account instead. At the same time he suggested strengthening electronic provisions of the Patriot Act, and supporting "tough, intense interrogation" techniques against terrorists. Add the endorsement of gay rights and abortion rights, and it's an unusual stew.

Giuliani is routinely described, in the pundit's shorthand, as a moderate, and Fred Siegel, the Cooper Union scholar, coined the term "immoderate centrism" to describe Giuliani's politics. But watching the mayor lay out his views you begin to see that Siegel's term is only half correct. Giuliani's not a centrist at all. He's that rare politician who's most comfortable staking out positions at the further points of the ideological spectrum, swinging from one end to the other depending on the issue at hand, and passing over the middle altogether. Rather than appeal to the "center," as his supporters claim, it is just as likely that Giuliani's social liberalism will offend conservatives and his fiscal conservatism will offend liberals.

Simply put, Giuliani is the darling of the Nelson Rockefeller wing of the GOP simply because he's not a conservative. And if he is nominated, the Democrats will do a dance for joy.

Democrats as Copperheads

Also thanks to No Left Turns, I was pointed to a very good article in the Christian Science Monitor (again, the title of this post is the link) by Mackubin Thomas Owens that compares and contrasts the Democrats of today with the Copperheads that dominated the Democratic Party during the Civil War.

It's a largely forgotten element of the Civil War, but it bears striking – and ominous – similarity to the obstruction we see in Washington today over the Iraq war. Indeed, as Democrats in Congress this week imposed withdrawal deadlines, it's clear that Copperhead syndrome is alive and well.
Owens then chronicles the actions of the Copperheads:
They actively interfered with recruiting and encouraged desertion. Indeed, they generated so much opposition to conscription – including armed resistance in some places and the infamous draft riots in New York City – that the Army was forced to divert resources from the battlefield to the hotbeds of Copperhead activity in order to maintain order. Many Copperheads actively supported the Confederate cause, materially as well as rhetorically.
...and then compares today's Democrats to that standard:

Today's Democratic Party seems to have inherited the mantle, if not the name, of their Copperhead forebears. Like the Copperheads of old, today's Democrats put the entire blame for the war and its conduct on the administration. While the Copperheads of old assured the Union soldiers that the Rebels could not be defeated, today's Copperheads assure us that the Iraqi insurgents are invincible.

The Copperheads of old described Lincoln as a bloodthirsty tyrant, trampling the rights of Southerners and Northerners alike. And they portrayed Union soldiers as instruments of his tyrannical administration. Invoking the USA Patriot Act, Guantánamo Bay, and Abu Ghraib, today's Copperheads – from lawmakeres to bloggers – call President Bush a tyrant and a terrorist. Some have even suggested similarity between US soldiers serving in Iraq and Nazis in World War II. Rarely do they censure the enemy in such terms.

Like the Copperheads of old, today's Democrats offer no viable alternative to their respective president's policy except to "end the war now." And just as former Copperheads preferred Lincoln's failure to saving the Union, the current ones would rather see Bush lose than the country win in Iraq.

Of course, rhetoric is one thing. An action to obstruct the war effort is another. With the recent shameful vote in Congress to hamstring the commander in chief's authority and ability to conduct the war in Iraq, the Democrats have assumed Copperhead status by moving from the former to the latter.

The bill they passed is a disgrace, but it is certainly in the best Copperhead tradition. It is a variant of what some call the "slow bleed approach": tie the president's hands while avoiding the responsibility that would go with an action that is within Congress's constitutional authority – cutting off spending for the war.

The principle that once Congress funds a military force, it has no further authority to direct or limit its employment was established during the administration of President Adams and the Quasi-War against France (1798-1800). Congress's action in this case is clearly unconstitutional.

I've probably excerpted enough to whet your appetite, so I won't share his conclusions... go read it all.

Kristol: 2008 will be Obama vs. Thompson

William Kristol has an interesting article in Time (the link is the title--titles with links are indicated by the three colored dots--I know it can be hard to distinguish) where he opines that we're heading for an Obama vs. Thompson election in 2008, and he goes even further, saying:

Bobby Kennedy vs. Ronald Reagan — it's the grand matchup we were denied. They debated once, mostly about Vietnam, on a 1967 CBS telecast that featured Reagan in Sacramento, Calif., and Kennedy in New York City answering questions from students in London. (It was generally agreed that Reagan bested Kennedy, who asked afterward, "Who the f___ got me into this?") Who would not have relished a repeat confrontation between the conservative champion and the liberal prophet? Perhaps in October, when Thompson and Obama stand across the stage from each other, the hopes and dreams of both parties riding on their shoulders, we'll come close.
It's an interesting matchup.

Personally, if Thompson were to (finally) toss his hat in the ring, I'd probably support him. None of the others really set me on fire right now, but if push came to shove, I'd probably go for Romney.

Hat Tip: No Left Turns.