Craig to Resign

It's still in the stages where officials will only speak on the condition of anonymity, but...

Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig will resign from the Senate amid a furor over his arrest and guilty plea in a police sex sting in an airport men's room, Republican officials said Friday.

Craig will announce at a news conference in Boise Saturday morning that he will resign effective Sept. 30, four state GOP officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

His replacement has already been chosen, it appears:
Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter appeared Friday to have already settled on a successor: Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, according to several Republicans familiar with internal deliberations.
Rumor has it Risch was planning a run for Congress anyway, this just sort of gives him a running start.

Now, if only the Party of the Donkey would clean house as quickly and effectively.


All Religions are Equal, but Some are More Equal than Others

Here we go again...

A popular comic strip that poked fun at the Rev. Jerry Falwell without incident one week ago was deemed too controversial to run over the weekend because this time it took a humorous swipe at Muslim fundamentalists.

The Washington Post and several other newspapers around the country did not run Sunday's installment of Berkeley Breathed's "Opus," in which the spiritual fad-seeking character Lola Granola appears in a headscarf and explains to her boyfriend, Steve, why she wants to become a radical Islamist.

The installment did not appear in the Post's print version, but it ran on WashingtonPost.com and Salon.com. The same will hold true for the upcoming Sept. 2 strip, which is a continuation of the plotline.

Click here to see the Aug. 26 "Opus" strip about radical Islam.

The Washington Post Writers Group syndicates "Opus," and the Post is the cartoon's home newspaper. The syndicate sent out an alert about the two strips in question, according to Writers Group comics editor Amy Lago.

Sources told FOXNews.com that the strips were shown to Muslim staffers at The Washington Post to gauge their reaction, and they responded "emotionally" to the depiction of a woman dressed in traditional Muslim garb and espousing conservative Islamic views.

There was also considerable alarm over the strip at the highest echelons of The Washington Post Co., according to the sources.

So, let's review.
  • Poking fun at Jerry Falwell: just fine with that.
  • Poking fun at radical Islam: no way.
Anyone besides me see a bit of a double standard there?

We Have An Official Date!

Straight from the ImWithFred website:

The plan is Fred announcing September 6 by a webcast at www.imwithfred.com. Then Fred will head out on a five-day campaign tour through Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida before his homecoming in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.
The proto-campaign is almost over... the real campaign is about to begin!


Quite Simply, The Best Dissertation on the Current Situation in Iraq

The article linked in the title above is long, but is absolutely essential if you want to truly understand the recent progress in Iraq beyond the sound-bite level (you know, the one most lefties dwell at). It's written by Lieutenant Colonel David Kilcullen, Australian Army (currently in the Reserves), now Senior Counterinsurgency Advisor to General David Petraeus, so ya know the author has both seen what's going on in Iraq and thought deeply about it.

Here's a quick excerpt:

Islam, of course, is a key identity marker when dealing with non-Muslim outsiders, but when all involved are Muslim, kinship trumps religion. And in fact, most tribal Iraqis I have spoken with consider AQ’s brand of “Islam” utterly foreign to their traditional and syncretic version of the faith. One key difference is marriage custom, the tribes only giving their women within the tribe or (on rare occasions to cement a bond or resolve a grievance, as part of a process known as sulha) to other tribes or clans in their confederation (qabila). Marrying women to strangers, let alone foreigners, is just not done. AQ, with their hyper-reductionist version of “Islam” stripped of cultural content, discounted the tribes’ view as ignorant, stupid and sinful.
Now, go read the whole thing, and then spend some time digesting it.


What an endorsement!

The big news today was the major endorsement that THE Hillary received early in this election cycle...what? The United Transportation Union? No, not that one! I meant the endorsement of a Hillary-Obama ticket by the one man in our hemisphere who shares many a political stance as these to democrat heavy weights: none other than Fidel Castro himself!

That's right, the 81 year old Cuban dictator....oops, i meant "duly elected president" of the Caribbean island nation has tipped his hat in favor of Hill the Schrill and Osoma Obama as the next leader of what could become a once great nation if it actually happens. Castro was quoted as saying in the New York Times...oops, my bad again, i meant the Granma (the Cuban Communist Party paper) as saying, "The word today is that an apparently unbeatable ticket could be Hillary for president and Obama as her running mate,".

Not that this is unexpected seeing how Castro as referred to Bill Clinton as "really kind", has claimed that President George W Bush stole the 2000 election (hey, they use DNC talking points down there too!) and also names Jimmy Carter as his favorite US President since he himself took control of Cuba in 1959 according to a Reuters report.

So there you go folks, as if the Al Qaida/Taliban endorsements of the democrats in the 2006 midterm elections weren't enough...this is definitely gravy!

Paranoia and the Left

As anyone who has attempted rational discourse with a lefty knows, they are full of paranoid nightmares about George W. Bush and the eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil Wepubwicans.

Weekly Standard contributing editor Noemie Emery shines a bright light on this tendency and pokes some fun at them at the same time:

At the same time that Conason is looking back to a fictional past in America, Naomi Wolf--last heard from in 2000 advising Al Gore to dress in earth tones--is looking back to a real past in Europe, and seeing troubling parallels. In 4,600 overwrought words, she explained to the readers of the Guardian that there are ten steps to "Fascist America" and Bush is taking them all. He has whipped up a menace (the war on terror); created "a prison system outside the rule of law" (Guantánamo, to which public dissidents, including "clergy and journalists" will be sent "soon enough"); developed "a thug caste .  .  . groups of scary young men out to terrorize citizens" (young Republican staffers who supposedly "menaced poll workers" during the 2000 recount in Florida); set up an "internal surveillance system" (NSA scanning for phone calls to and from terrorists). An airtight case, this, and leading to just one conclusion: "Beneath our very noses, George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable .  .  . that it can happen here."

Well, this explains many things. It explains why poor Cindy Sheehan is now sitting in prison; why Bush critics like CIA retiree Valerie Plame have been ostracized by the corporate media and are wasting away in anonymity; why no critic of Bush can get a hearing, why no book complaining about him can ever get published, and why our multiplexes are filled with one pro-Bush propaganda movie after another, glorifying the Iraq war and rallying the nation behind its leader.

You really must read the whole thing. Trust me on this one.


How We Are Winning in Iraq, Part IV

I didn't start this to be a series, but it seems to be going well, so why stop now?

From another reporter embedded with our troops in Iraq:

JUST TWO WEEKS AGO, Captain Thompson, along with a squad of soldiers from Baker Co's 3rd Platoon, met with the representatives of the al Jabouri tribe. As we sat down in the living room of the house owned by the sheik and his brother, the men told us of how their tribe's village had, in recent months, been the focus of insurgent attacks. Black scorch marks on the portions of the cement floor not covered by carpet, as well as on the walls (despite their recent plastering), backed up their story of fire having been set to their house in particular in recent months.

Thompson wrote down the information they offered about this and other past attacks, and thanked the tribal representatives -- the sheik, his brother, and a pair of neighborhood gentlemen -- for contacting him. "We're here to help you," he said. "Tell me what you need." The brothers and their companions spent over an hour detailing the transgressions of the insurgency against their tribe and their village, from the fire to alleged kidnappings, and expressed a great interest in manning their own tribal security force. "We set up a police checkpoint for you right outside the neighborhood here," Thompson reminded them, noting that crime and terrorism had gone down since then.

The sheik, though, was less than impressed with the work of the NPs -- who, he noted, "only work from 7am to 5pm."

"We need an army here," he declared, "and you are not enough soldiers to keep us safe."

Thompson very quickly explained the ground rules of the Concerned Citizens program, from the allowance for (but not provision of) AK-47s, to the uniform requirement, to the requisite stipulation that the armed guards must submit to the National Police and to coalition forces unquestioningly. The latter caused a bit of consternation on the part of the al Jabouri (a sizable portion of the NP force is believed to be corrupt), but the desire to secure themselves outweighed whatever concerns they might have had.

At the end of the meeting, Thompson agreed to return in the near future with money to purchase uniforms for the 60 promised guards, in exchange for their all being present at a formation so that he could input them into Baker Company's biometric identification database. He also informed them that, in the next week, Baker Co. would be holding a "Med Op," or a clinic for the villagers in the area. All sick and ailing were welcome to come, and coalition medics would treat them.
Note, especially, this line: "the desire to secure themselves outweighed whatever concerns they might have had." Al Qaeda is doing our recruiting for us, in a way. By being so brutal to those that would otherwise not give American troops the time of day, they are driving these people into our arms, despite their misgivings. We may be, in their eyes, the lesser of two evils, but we have the opportunity to show the Iraqi people that we are trustworthy. That is, unless short-sighted politicians in DC screw up a good military plan by trying to be armchair generals.

Fred to Announce in Early September?

That's what NRO's Jim Geraghty seems to think:

I would be really, really shocked if Thompson didn't announce sometime between Labor Day (September 3) and Petraeus's testimony, which is, last I heard, is going to be September 10 or 11.
We'll see how good a political prognosticator Geraghty is, I guess.

Update and Bump: Apparently, Geraghty may be on to something. We have this from RealClearPolitics.com:
Sources tell numerous outlets that Thompson will announce his campaign September 4th, and that he will participate in his first debate on September 27 at Morgan State University in Baltimore. His first major appearance at a GOP event will be at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference in Michigan around a week earlier.
I'll be watching the news as closely as I can without getting the boss mad at me next Tuesday.

Don't Mess with Texas

This one pretty much speaks for itself:

Aug. 21, 2007

Statement by Robert Black, spokesman for Texas Governor Rick Perry, concerning the European Union’s appeal that Texas enact a moratorium on the death penalty:

“230 years ago, our forefathers fought a war to throw off the yoke of a European monarch and gain the freedom of self-determination. Texans long ago decided that the death penalty is a just and appropriate punishment for the most horrible crimes committed against our citizens. While we respect our friends in Europe, welcome their investment in our state and appreciate their interest in our laws, Texans are doing just fine governing Texas.”
Anyone who has ever known a Texan (and I once worked for a company headquartered in Houston, so I've known a lot of them) knows that they don't like being told how to do things in their state. They are both fiercely independent and stubborn about it.

And ya know, I admire that about them.

Now, if only we could transplant some of Governor Perry's backbone into some other Republicans.

And a tip of the hat to Wizbang's newest blogger.

Silly Question

If I find lots of stuff to blog about in one day, does that mean that I am on a "blogroll"?

Just wondering...

More on Fred from Geraghty

Also from Geraghty, this insight into the Fred campaign-in-the-making:

In the past couple weeks, as Thompson has focused almost exclusively on fundraising, low-profile radio interviews, and appearances at Sean Hannity's concerts, the conventional wisdom on him curdled after a couple months of good buzz. He went from the next Reagan to a lazy lightweight who wasn't that interested in the job or the work needed to win it, with, rumor had it, a pushy wife and ever-changing not-quite-campaign staff.

The speeches suggest that large chunks of the negative buzz are overhyped. A lazy or unambitious man doesn't spend a lot of time talking about entitlement reform. We're seeing a theme emerge: "Get Serious." Fred Thompson's the guy who isn't going to waste anybody's time blowing sunshine up your... well, you know where. He sees big threats on the horizon, and he's sounding the alarm, like Paul Revere. No vague and soothing "audacity of hope." Nevermind complaining about "two Americas," Thompson wants to make sure no nuclear bomb goes off in either one of 'em. For all his background as a lobbyist and inside-the-beltway lawyer, Thompson seems likely to denounce business as usual - he doesn't seem above using a barnyard epithet to respond to Don Young declaring in a pork right, "it's my money! It's my money!"

I wouldn't have recommended the Thompson not-quite-campaign being as quiet as he has been for the past month or two. But his critics and rivals shouldn't fool themselves - the ingredients are there for a very competitive bid for the nomination.

Fred's prior experience as a lobbyist and Senator probably won't be that much of a problem, I am thinking... he can make the point that he left Washington willingly because of the very things he speaks against now.

All in all, Fred's strategy may be the best one I've seen out of the GOP pack so far. And he has the gravitas to pull it off successfully, too. Both Republicans and Democrats underestimate Fred at their own peril.

Craig Pleads Guilty

Another Republican is in trouble. Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) pled guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in Minneapolis, receiving a fine and probation. The charge stems from alleged lewd behavior in an airport men's room.

Notwithstanding what I said about Gonzales earlier, Craig needs to be quietly but firmly pushed to resign. This sort of conduct--regardless of the gender of the other party or the orientation of Senator Craig or the other person--in public is completely unacceptable in a party that stands for family values. By pleading guilty, Craig has admitted that he did something wrong, not to mention illegal, and he needs to be gone.

Lefties Collect Gonzales' Scalp

Seems no one in the Bush White House has figured out yet that offering scalps to lefties doesn't quiet them down, it encourages them. Or, if anyone knows that, they're not being listened to.

Expect an increased wave of congressional investigations in the wake of Gonzales' resignation.

Of course, that might not be such a blessing to the Party of the Donkey. If they go too far overboard, hopefully the American people will toss them overboard in 2008.


How We Are Winning in Iraq, Part III

Small things are often signs of bigger things. Such appears to be the case here, as reported by a soldier who is actually in Iraq right now:

There at the first corner, I see it. New glass. Someone has put new glass in a shop. Someone only installs new glass when they think it won't get broken. New glass is confidence.

As we roll though Ramadi I see more stores and small shops open. And more new glass.


Several days later we return to Ar Ramadi. We take the western highway this time which takes us north and around the city of Falluja. The north and east sides of Falluja are the most devastated. That is the direction from which US Forces attacked during Phantom Fury in November 2004.

As we round the northeast corner, I see one house that looks different from the others. People are living there. Coming and going. It has something the other places don't.

New Glass.
As Badger 6 points out, someone only installs new glass when they are not fearful that it will be broken soon. As commonplace as it is here in America, we may not realize what a big sign of hope that it is in Iraq to see new glass.

No matter what the lefty talking heads say, or wish, we are winning in Iraq. We are bringing hope back to people who have been trodden under the heel of a brutal dictator for decades. The fact that the left in this nation wants us to stop doing this, to pull out and create conditions where that hope is dashed upon the rocks of the genocide that even the NY Times believes will happen if we do, speaks volumes about what kind of people make up the left in America.

If the left had had its way, there would be no new glass in Ar Ramadi; we would have pulled out before those shopkeepers and homeowners had enough hope to install it. Keep that in mind when you hear Dean, Pelosi, Reid, Murtha, et al speaking.


One Lucky Little Boy

All I can say about this is wow.

Elijah Moulton is doing well after receiving a liver, small bowel, pancreas, colon and stomach during the seven-hour procedure July 10 at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian, doctors said.

He was born with total intestinal atresia, a malformation of the entire gastrointestinal tract that makes eating impossible.

Dr. Mercedes Martinez said at a news conference Friday that the boy would probably be moved to a rehab center on Monday, where he will spend as many as six weeks learning to eat. His release was delayed a few days because he was having difficulty breathing.

"He's doing so well right now," Martinez said. "He's gorgeous. He's looking around and smiling."

My prayers are going up for this young man.

How We Are Winning in Iraq, Part II

From a Weekly Standard reporter embedded with the Marine Expeditionary Force comes a story of how the armed conflict is shaping up.

Learning from past mistakes, commanders of the "surge" forces now take territory only if they can hold it. But for certain elements of Phantom Strike, they are making an exception to that rule. Divisional commands across Iraq have been instructed to cash in their accumulated intel and attack insurgents where they are most likely to be hiding--whether it makes sense to hold the territory or not. In planning rooms across the central third of Iraq, commanders looked at their target wish-lists--places where they had taken fire in the past, or tracked possible insurgents, or gotten credible tips from the population--and chose the most enticing ones.

The Joint Campaign Plan, a document that operationalizes the surge in accordance with Petraeus's counterinsurgency strategy, calls for coalition forces to give the government of Iraq "the time and space that it needs to succeed," according to military officers. The practical emphasis has been on "space." By pushing coalition forces out from their bases and into neighborhoods across Baghdad and other major urban centers in Iraq, commanders have sought to establish "area security" through "clear, control, and retain" operations. Key to retaining these areas is the participation of Iraqi Security Forces and other nonmilitary Iraqi government support.

The success enjoyed in places like Anbar province has come because security forces convinced people that they were there to stay. Those populations have shown their appreciation by joining the fight against al Qaeda in their neighborhoods, joining the police, and establishing neighborhood watch systems. Purely disruptive raids in which neither control nor retention is sought have thus fallen somewhat into disfavor.

But there is one good reason not to abandon them altogether. Disruption is a way to seize and maintain the initiative. Disruptive attacks keep the enemy off-balance, guessing as to your next move. That makes him concentrate on defense, and put off his own attacks. It's like a boxer keeping his opponent on the ropes with a flurry of jabs until the right moment for a knock-out blow.

Read the whole article (link is, as usual, in the title of the post) for the full story.

Then you'll know why Reid, Pelosi, Murtha, and the like are worried.


Fred's New Approach

Fred sat down with veteran WaPo political reporter David Broder, and the results are interesting to read:

Thompson, like many of the others running, has caught a strong whiff of the public disillusionment with both parties in Washington -- and the partisanship that has infected Congress, helping to speed his own departure from the Senate.

But he says he thinks the public is looking for a different kind of leadership. "I think a president could go to the American people and say, 'Here's what we need to be doing. And I'm willing to go halfway. Now you have to make them [the opposition] go halfway.' "

The approach Thompson says he's contemplating is one that will step on many sensitive political toes. When he says "we're getting a free ride" fighting a necessary war in Iraq with an undersized military establishment, "wearing out our people and equipment," it sounds like a criticism of the president and the Pentagon.

When he says he would have opposed adding the prescription drug benefit to Medicare, "a $17 trillion add-on to a program that's going bankrupt," he is fighting the bipartisan judgment of the last Congress.

When he says the FBI is perhaps incapable of morphing itself into the smart domestic security agency the country needs, he is attacking another sacred cow.

Now, my memory isn't perfect, but didn't another former actor successfully run against Washington a couple of decades ago? Of course, the analogy isn't perfect, since that actor ran against a Washington dominated by one party, not the nearly equal Congress we have now. Still, it's worth considering.


BDS Reaches a New Low

I can't explain it better than Human Events did:

So, it has come to this: A 20-year-old Illinois college student is whining because she won’t be able to vacation in Costa Rica, because she got pregnant, because she couldn’t get birth control anymore, because it cost $20-a-month more at the university clinic, because its federal funding was cut, because President George Bush signed the Deficit Reduction Act.

Boy, doesn’t that beat all. Bush lied to us, got us into an unnecessary war and now he got a 20-year-old pregnant and denied her the entitlement of drinking mai tais on a tropical beach.
We've reached the lowest point of Bush Derangement Syndrome yet.

Read the whole thing.

The Truth About "Truthers"

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It's really that simple. Conspiracy kooks see conspiracies everywhere.

Back in April, Bill at Eject! Eject! Eject! wrote a very good article about these people, and linked to another great article (way down at the bottom of Bill's post). If you really want to understand these people and how they think, ya gotta read them both.


How We Are Winning in Iraq

This is how you fight terrorists... by winning hearts and minds; and by making it safe for civilians to speak out against the terrorists:

This time last year, even most military people concluded that Anbar Province was irretrievably lost to al Qaeda. But General Petreaus was not ready to give up: A few short months ago, he told Anbar’s traditional leaders, the tribal sheiks, that if they’d ally with the U.S., their people and their lands would be liberated from al Qaeda’s “occupation.”

They agreed. Since then al Qaeda terrorists by the score have been killed, captured, and driven out of Anbar. Mneimneh wondered: How would the sheiks and religious scholars justify this alliance to themselves and their people? To put it bluntly, how would they explain partnering with infidels against fellow Muslims?

He found the answer in numerous sermons and publications — everything from books to blogs and websites. The truth, he discovered is that most Iraqis, unlike so many Westerners, do blame al Qaeda for the carnage al Qaeda has carried out. And most Iraqis have not embraced al Qaeda’s brand of Islam, with its barbarism — e.g. the murder of children to teach their parents obedience — and ultra-fundamentalism.

What’s more, Iraqis were deeply offended by al Qaeda leaders — almost all of them foreigners — saying their interpretation of Islam is flawed and inadequate, as has been that of their families and clans for generations. Mneimneh reports that Iraqi clerics have responded by calling al Qaeda’s version of Islam “excessive and unfair.”

To express such views while al Qaeda militants were walking the streets would have brought severe reprisals. But over the past few months, as the surge has been making progress, and as more Iraqis have felt more secure, they have been articulating these views loudly and clearly. Mneimneh believes they are being heard beyond Anbar, beyond Iraq and even beyond the Middle East. “This is coming out,” he emphasized.
This is why General Petraeus' strategy is working. And that's why the Party of the Donkey is both convinced and concerned that he will deliver a mostly positive report next month... convinced because they see it happening, as much as they wish it wasn't; concerned because to say they are heavily invested in American failure in Iraq is a gross understatement.

Now, if we can keep the Donkeys from pulling the rug out from under General Petraeus, perhaps we can bring our troops home soon--the right way!


Best of Ann Coulter Quotes

John Hawkins at Right Wing News has posted The Best Quotes From The Last Year Of Ann Coulter Columns. If you're a fan of Annie, you should wander over and read them all.

A few of my favorites from the best of list:

I'm astounded that debate has sunk so low that I need to type the following words, but: No law is ever enforced 100%. We can't catch all rapists, so why not grant amnesty to rapists? Surely no one wants thousands of rapists living in the shadows! How about discrimination laws? Insider trading laws? Do you expect Bush to round up everyone who goes over the speed limit? Of course we can't do that. We can't even catch all murderers. What we need is "comprehensive murder reform." It's not "amnesty" -- we'll ask them to pay a small fine.

For six years, the Bush administration has kept America safe from another terrorist attack, allowing the Democrats to claim that the war on terrorism is a fraud, a "bumper sticker," a sneaky ploy by a power-mad president to create an apocryphal enemy so he could spy on innocent librarians in Wisconsin. And that's the view of the moderate Democrats. The rest of them think Bush was behind the 9/11 attacks.

Three months after Nixon was gone, we got the Watergate Congress and with it, the new Democratic Party. In lieu of the old Democratic Party, which lost wars out of incompetence and naiveté, the new Democratic Party would lose wars on purpose.


Pajamas Media Straw Poll - Week 31

Pajamas Media's weekly straw poll, week 31, is open. Click on Polling Booth at the top of the right hand column to vote.

The Ron Paulbots continue to make their presence known on the internet, leading Paul to another weekly win in the straw poll, but shedding about four percentage points from week 29. It appears most of the four points went to Mike Huckabee. I guess his showing in the Iowa Straw Poll had some positive effect for Huck.

Leading vote getters for last week (percentages rounded off): Paul 40%, Fred! 27%, Rudy 11%, Mitt 8% and Huck 6%.

Dennis Kucinich made an appearance atop the democrat field for the first time in several weeks, edging out Richardson, the winner in recent weeks.

Leading vote getter for week 30 (percentages rounded off): Gazoo 30%, Richardson 27%, Slow Joe 12%, Hillary 9%.

Straw poll results for week 30 here.


Reagan Aide Michael Deaver Passes Away

Another of President Reagan's close aides has gone to his reward:

Michael Deaver, worked for Ronald Reagan for more than 20 years, was philosophical about being in Reagan's shadow. "My obit will probably say 'Close Reagan Aide Dies,' " he told the Los Angeles Times in 1988. "That doesn't bother me a bit. That's my life."

When Deaver, 69, died Saturday of pancreatic cancer, his obituaries indeed highlighted his longtime association with both Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Historian Douglas Brinkley, who edited the recently released "The Reagan Diaries," says Deaver's "exceedingly close" ties to the Reagans allowed him to "learn how to properly market" the president. "He became one of the greatest crafters of stage designs for a president."

Time magazine dubbed him "the vicar of visuals." Who can forget the backdrop of Reagan calling on Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall" in front of the Brandenburg Gate, or the stunning cliffs in Normandy during the 40th anniversary of D-Day, as Reagan saluted "the boys of Pointe du Hoc" who had scaled them in the face of withering German fire.

Godspeed, Mr. Deaver.


Kind Words for Denny Hastert

Tom DeLay has some kind words about Dennis Hastert.

A Genius for Service

Denny Hastert never met a problem he couldn’t solve. He was so good at legislating that it’s possible he would have been just as successful in his career had he never been Speaker at all. That is to say, Denny didn’t need the gavel to lead, but to a greater degree than many know, Congress needed him to govern.


He was always Speaker of the whole House, not just the Republicans, and however much they may have grumbled about their treatment in the minority, Democrats never had a better friend in leadership than their Speaker. He took every part of his job seriously and worked as hard to mend fences between Democrat and Republican leaders as he did to help an elderly constituent sign up for the right Medicare prescription drug program. No national crisis – not impeachment or 9/11 – was beyond his ability to work through, nor any legislative minutiae beyond his capacity to master.

As is so often the case, you don't know what you got 'til it's gone.

It will only be after Dennis Hastert is gone from Congress that the institution, and his constituents, will fully appreciate all he did for our country. The man is just a genius for service.

I admit, I've had my share of negative things to say about Denny Hastert. Some of them having to do with some questionable earmarks that might have personally benefited him in the long run. Sometimes I thought Hastert wasn't partisan enough in his dealings with the democratics. I often thought he didn't vociferously enough defend the House GOP Caucus against attacks from democratics. But, in reality, that wasn't his job as Speaker. That's the job of the House Republican Leader.

Compare Hastert's conduct as Speaker of the House to that of SanFranNan's. Quick, tell me who the House democrat Majority Leader is. It's not Nancy Pelosi. But you wouldn't know that from the amount of time she spends in front of the camera, microphone or in the news. She is the face of the democratic House Caucus.

The Hammer is right. The Speaker is not supposed to be a totally partisan position. It's title, Speaker of the House, should say it all. Sometimes people are put in positions of leadership that requires them to rise above partisan politics at times. It sounds as if Denny Hastert took that to heart.

Oh, if you didn't know, the House democrat Leader is Steny Hoyer. That probably isn't readily apparent from day to day reporting. Her Speakerness and Mad Jack Murtha definitely overshadow him as the public face of the House democrat Caucus.


Democrats and the Culture of Corruption, Part IV

Here we go again...

Even by the scandal-pocked history of New York politics, Eliot Spitzer's fall from grace is extraordinary. A mere seven months into his term after a landslide victory, the Empire State's brash new governor is openly ridiculed as a liar and worse. An astonishing 80 percent of respondents tell pollsters they want the governor to testify under oath to prove his claim that he had nothing to do with "troopergate," a dirty-tricks plot to smear Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, a Republican rival.
There's lots more than just "troopergate." Read the whole article.

Ethanol and Food

Looks like certain people are getting the idea that pushing ethanol isn't a magic solution to all of our problems. Turns out there's some side effects that were entirely predictable, but that short-sighted politicians in search of sound bites apparently ignored... or they just didn't think the problem through.

It takes over 450 pounds of corn, enough calories to feed one person for a year, to produce 25 gallons of ethanol. Pressures on world food crops caused by increased ethanol production mean higher world prices for both processed and staple foods.

While ethanol subsidies and mandates benefit corn producers, consumers, especially those in poor countries, are hit with the shock of much higher food prices. The World Bank estimates that nearly 3 billion people live on $2 a day or less. Consider the devastating impact of the increased cost of staple grains.

Rolling Stone magazine recently nailed the problem in an article by Jeff Goodell, "Ethanol Scam: Ethanol Hurts the Environment And Is One of America's Biggest Political Boondoggles." Goodell says, "The great danger of confronting peak oil and global warming isn't that we will sit on our collective [behinds] and do nothing while civilization collapses, but that we will plunge after 'solutions' that will make our problems even worse. Like believing we can replace gasoline with ethanol, the much-hyped biofuel that we make from corn."
I dunno which is worse, if politicians wouldn't think the problem through and realize that pushing ethanol will take corn away from the food industry, or if they knew it and ignored it.


It was thirty years ago today that Elvis Aaron Presley, The King of Rock 'n Roll, died. Elvis was discovered dead on the floor of his bathroom at Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee.

Elvis' untimely death was tragic, as were the later years of his life. It is sad to realize a person with so much talent and ability, whose singing and performances brought so much joy and happiness to his fans, was consumed by his demons.

It has been debated exactly what caused his death. Some reports say drugs, one says a heart attack. There is no doubt however, Elvis was seriously overweight, he had an enlarged heart and had abused prescription drugs for years. What is certain is that he died too young, likely sped along by poor health caused by his excesses.

I was attending a Navy aviation A School in Millington, TN, a little town about twenty miles from Memphis, when Elvis died. At the announcement of his death, Memphis became a city turned upside down. Every radio station, of every format, played Elvis songs around the clock for days. Television stations had Elvis movie marathons. Considering I was going to classes starting at 7:00 AM, I was staying up too late watching them.

No, I wasn't, and am not now, a rabid Elvis fan, especially compared to some of his fans and followers. I will admit to owning a CD of Elvis' greatest hits. I can appreciate the fact that he was an entertainment star as big as any of his era. A singer who changed the face and sound of music; that would be copied and emulated, and set the stage for many singers who followed.

Elvis was often criticized for various aspects of his singing and music and style of some of his performances. I'm no audiophile, but even I can tell the boy could flat out sing. His acting was obviously nothing that was going to win him any awards. I'd say they were simply vehicles to sell his songs and rake in some box office money from his adoring fans. Despite the campy nature of his movies, I always enjoyed watching them.

Whatever one thinks of Elvis as a singer, performer and person, they can't deny his impact on American pop culture during his career. Nor can they deny the devotion of his ardent fans. Today there will be probably millions of his fans who will observe, in some way, the anniversary of his death. A shipmate in the Navy was from near Tupelo, Mississippi. Told me that every year on that day, at the time Elvis was discovered dead, his sister took five minutes and cried.

The King is dead; long live The King.

Updated Aug. 16, 2007 @13:45: As is often the case concerning American music icons, Power Line has an excellent post about Elvis - Thinking About Elvis. The post relates a somewhat bizarre event about Elvis meeting President Nixon to pitch the idea of enlisting Elvis as something of an undercover agent to infiltrate anti-American movements within the entertainment industry.

What is striking about the story Power Line tells is Elvis' patriotism and deep love of America. Also, a letter of introduction to the President where it sounds as if Elvis actually thinks the President might not know who he is.

Dear Mr. President

First I would like to introduce myself. I am Elvis Presley and admire you and Have Great Respect for your office. [...]

Some might see that as odd. I read it as a touch of humility, even from an entertainment star of Elvis' status, not automatically assuming that the President of the United States would know who he was.

Another passage in the Power Line post that really struck me, was when Elvis was flying to D.C. and had told his bodyguard to get some cash for the trip -

Bodyguard Sonny West would fly in from Memphis to meet them. Elvis asked Schilling to take out some cash for the trip, which Elvis ended up giving away to soldiers returning from service in Vietnam.
Flawed, he might have been. It's obvious there was more to the man than just his musical stardom and the personal weaknesses.


Lessons from One Thompson for Another

Tommy Thompson's withdrawal from the race after the Ames straw poll might have implications for Fred:

While Thompson may today benefit by being “none of the above,” that could easily change in weeks or days. Mitt Romney could easily build on his comfortable win in Ames and line up the conservative support troops Thompson is counting on. John McCain shows no sign of going anywhere, the turmoil surrounding his campaign notwithstanding, and one New Hampshire source says he is getting a hero’s welcome in the state of his biggest triumph seven years ago. Mike Huckabee appears a post-Ames fixture on TV talk shows and could well move into the top tier of Republican candidates, usurping the mantle Thompson obviously covets.

So take a lesson from the page of your namesake Tommy, Fred. Timing is not everything in politics, but it’s an important thing. Make a move or at least let your intentions be known a little more firmly. And don’t forget the admonition of former Secretary of State James Baker: “Overnight is an eternity in politics.”

Are ya listenin', Fred?

Slammin' Marine - Interview and New Rendition

BlackFive got the scoop. Uncle Jimbo tracks down SSGT Lawrence E. Dean II. Evidently, the piece is titled She Called and is his artistic response to a question his Grandma asked of him, why he goes off to fight.

Here is the coolest thing, the piece is titled She Called, well She is his Grandma and the piece is his explanation to her of why he would go to war.
Hear the audio interview (QuickTime).

I posted the original video in A Marine Has Something to Say - In a Poem. I've since learned that this type of poetry is called slamming. Who knew? Certainly not me.

There's a different version of the same poetry slam that's just as good and the backdrop is appropriate.

She Called

Found the words here


and She called...
Blacks, Whites...wait
African Americans and Caucasians, Asians, excuse me.
Vietnamese, Philipenes, Koreans and Jamaicans or
Haitans, waitin' Hispanics y'all.

Please be paitent
Mexican, Puerto Ricans, Venezualean, Cuban, Dominican, Panamanian Democrats
I beg your pardon, you partied with the late, great Reagan?
Republican, Independent, Christian, Catholic,
Methodist, Baptist, 7th Day Adventist, 5 Percenters,
Hindu, Sunii Muslim, Brothers and Sisters who never seen the New York city
skyline when the twin towers still existed.
But still She called.

From the bowels of Ground Zero she sent this 911 distress signal.
Because She was in desperate need of a hero,
and didn't have time to decipher what to call 'em,
so she called 'em all Her children.
The children of the stars and bars who needed to know nothing more than the fact that she called.
The fact that someone attempted to harm us
this daughter who covered us all with her loving arms.
And now these arms are sprawled across New York City streets.
A smoke filled lung, a silt covered faced,
and a solitary tear poured out of her cheek.
Her singed garments carpets Pennsylvania Avenue and the Pentagon was under her feet.
As she began to talk, she began to cough up small particles of debris
and said, "I am America, and I'm calling on the land of the free."
So they answered.

All personal differences set to the side
because right now there was no time to decide which state building the Confederate flag should fly over,
and which trimester the embryo is considered alive,
or on our monetary units, and which God we should confide.
You see, someone attempted to choke the voice
of the one who gave us the right for choice,
and now she was callin.
And somebody had to answer.
Who was going to answer?

So they did.
Stern faces and chisled chins.
Devoted women and disciplined men,
who rose from the ashes like a pheonix
and said "don't worry, we'll stand in your defense."
They tightened up their bootlaces
and said goodbye to loved ones, family and friends.
They tried to bombard them with the "hold on", "wait-a-minute's", and "what-if's".
And "Daddy, where you goin?".
And, "Mommy, why you leavin?".
And they merely kissed them on their foreheads and said "Don't worry, I have my reasons.
You see, to this country I pledged my allegience
to defend it against all enemies foreign and domestic.
So as long as I'm breathin, I'll run though hell-fire,
meet the enemy on the front lines,
look him directly in his face,
stare directly in his eyes and scream,

And if by chance death is my fate,
pin my medals upon my chest,
and throw Old Glory on my grave.
But, don't y'all cry for me.
You see, my Father's prepared a place.
I'll be a part of his Holy army standing a watch at the Pearly Gates.
Because freedom was never free.
POW's, and fallen soldiers
all paid the ultimate sacrafice
along side veterans who put themselves in harms way.
Risking their lives and limbs just to hold up democracy's weight,
but still standing on them broken appendages anytime the National Anthem was played.
You see, these were the brave warriors that gave me the right
to say that I'm Black. Or white.


African American or Caucasian,
I'm Asian, excuse me.
I'm Vietnamese, Philipene, Korean, or Jamaican.
I'm Haitan, Hispanic

Y'all, Please be paitent.
I'm Mexican, Puerto Rican, Venezualean, Cuban,
Dominican, Panamanian, Democrat
I beg your pardon, you see I partied with the late, great Reagan.
I'm Republican, Independent, Christian, Catholic,
Methodist, Baptist, 7th Day Adventist, 5 Percenters,
Hindu, Sunii Muslim,

Brothers and Sisters We're just Americans.
So with that I say
"Thank You" to the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines,
for preserving my rights
to live and die for this life
and paying the ultimate price for me to be...FREE!

Bad Week for Algore

It's as close to a sure thing as one can get these days. Turn on the laptop, load Firefox, point it to TCSDaily.com, and there's likely to be a good article there... at least on weekdays.

Today we have commentary on global warming from a scientist who actually works in the field... and not on Algore's side.

In case you hadn't noticed, the global warming debate has now escalated from a minor skirmish to an all-out war. Although we who are skeptical of the claim that global warming is mostly manmade have become accustomed to being the ones that take on casualties, last week was particularly brutal for those who say we have only 8 years and 5 months left to turn things around, greenhouse gas emissions-wise.

I'm talking about the other side - the global warming alarmists.

Of course, the other side is shooting back... albeit with blanks...

But these volleys have not gone unanswered. From the other side of the battlefield, Al Gore and Newsweek coordinated an assault on a few skeptics with all kinds of guilt-by-association accusations. They allege that a few scientists were offered $10,000 (!) by Big Oil to research and publish evidence against the theory of manmade global warming.

Of course, the vast majority of mainstream climate researchers receive between $100,000 to $200,000 from the federal government to do the same, but in support of manmade global warming. Apparently, that's okay since we all know that the federal government is unbiased and there to help, whereas petroleum companies only exist to force us to burn fuels that do nothing more than ruin the environment.

Little damage was done by the Gore-Newsweek assault, though, since the attack amounted to little more than a verbal "Well, your mama wears Army boots!" It didn't help matters that the magazine's own columnist, Robert Samuelson, published a follow-up article saying the allegation of bribes offered to scientists "was long ago discredited" and that "the story was a wonderful read, marred only by its being fundamentally misleading."

Colored emphasis added by me.

All in all, not a good week for the folks that want to use global warming to reshape American society. Which means it was a very good week for rational Americans.


This is officially our 200th post on this blog, and I wanna take a moment to thank all the readers (yes, even you lefties) and the commenters (what few there have been--come on, folks) for checking us out.

And, sadly for the lefties, neither John nor I have any intention of quitting. So here's to starting the next set of 200 posts...

John adds: Two more right wingnuts in the righty blogosphere, here to stay.


Rule of Law in Iraq?

The article linked above is one of those that's hard to write a blurb that will make you want to read it, so I will let the author whet your appetite himself:

BAGHDAD - Because of my temporary and purposely broad role here as a rule of law advisor, I have the luxury of being able to think about the bigger picture (and indeed am occasionally specifically asked to do so).

For example, is it even right to talk about developing "rule of law"—as we understand that term—in Iraq? Does it not betray a Western bias, not in the politically correct sense, but in terms of political anthropology? And even if it is right, and what we should in theory be doing, is it realistic—in Iraq generally but especially under the current conditions of insurgency?

Go read the whole thing. It's really thought provoking.

Okay, one more quote:

Of course, where those local customs, traditions, and culture are wholly illiberal, universal principles must trump, because part of nation-building is fixing what's broken. Like the British general said in India:

'You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.'

Just had to include that one.

Could Iran Fall from Within?

Some interesting speculation in NRO. It starts out with:

President Bush is annoyed that Afghan President Karzai and Iraqi President Maliki are both speaking about Iran in words reserved for an ally, rather than the main engine driving the terror wars in their countries. But if you look at the world through their eyes, it is easy enough to understand. They fear that the Americans will soon leave, and the Iranians will still be there. They know that Iran is a mortal threat, and they are now making a down payment on the insurance costs that are sure to come if the Democrats in Washington have their way. For extras, Maliki has certainly noticed that the United States is paying off the Middle Eastern Sunnis, hoping that the Saudis, Jordanians, and Gulf States will manage to contain Iran in the future. This cannot be good news in Baghdad, where the Shiites are struggling to put together a government capable of managing the country’s myriad crises.
The real meat comes at the end, tho:

In reality — for what little it matters nowadays, either here or in the Middle East — we are winning the battle of Iraq. The percentage increase in Iranian activity, combined with a drop in the number of attacks, is another way of saying that al Qaeda is being destroyed for a second time, and the Iranians are scrambling to fill the void. But they are on the run, just as is al Qaeda, as you can tell by the back-and-forth shuttling of their factotum Moqtadah al Sadr, between Iran and Iraq. If their scheme was working in Iraq, he’d sit still. He’s scrambling because they’re in trouble.

They’re in trouble at home, too. Indeed, things are so bad that the government itself has open fissures, the latest caused by the resignation of the minister of industry and mines, and by the public testimony of the minister of welfare:

The welfare minister, Abdol-Reza Mesri, appeared at the Majlis social committee on Saturday and announced that about 9.2 million Iranians live below the absolute poverty line. About 10.5 percent of residents in urban and 11 percent of residents in rural areas live below the absolute poverty line. Nevertheless, Mr. Mesri insisted that indicators used in computing the poverty line must be changed. The minister’s persistent suggestion to abandon internationally recognized methods of computing the poverty line has been met with the reaction of experts and professionals.

In simple English, there is so much poverty in Iran that the minister wants to change the reporting requirements so that nobody can really know the full dimensions of the Iranian people’s misery. Even their current language (what is “the absolute poverty line” anyway?) is designed to mislead.

Iranians are not stupid people; they know they are ruled by tyrannical incompetents. Listen to the words of one Reza Zarabi, in the August 5 Jerusalem Post: “Iranians have become accustomed to dictators, yet an incompetent despot that bases his economic policies on the future benevolence of the coming Islamic Messiah is another thing altogether...It is quite remarkable for such economic damage and global ridicule to be heaped upon a nation in (so) short a time. Yet the policies of the current Iranian administration have left nothing for the imagination.”

I ask you, is this not a perfect description of a revolutionary situation? And you reply: So why aren’t we doing anything about it? Which, I think, is precisely the question our military leaders in Iraq, and the people of Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, are aiming at Washington.

Let us hope that Washington starts putting pressure... gentle, and plausibly deniable pressure, perhaps, but pressure... on Iran.

Nunn to Run as Independent?

We may be facing another 3-way race in 2008, if the article linked above is right.

Last week, former Democrat Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia said he is frustrated with the direction of the presidential race and in the direction of both parties. He also acknowledged talking with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others about an independent challenge to the major parties. “We’ve had conversations about frustration with the fact that the process is flawed,” Nunn said of Bloomberg. “I’ve told him … it may be time for some serious people to look at what I call a time-out and having people of good faith in the Democratic and Republican parties to come together and address the issues that the parties don’t seem to want to address.” He went onto say, “We have not discussed any kind of joint strategy,” Nunn added in an interview with The Associated Press. “I have just had conversations with him.”
He's no friend to the MoveOn-dominated Party of the Donkey:
In 1996, Sen. Nunn stepped down from the senate. Nunn was a centrist Democrat of the old school by weaving a coalition of black and rural voters, and was one of the last of his kind. Nunn tried to steer his party into the middle and was often frustrated. In his retirement remarks he described the Democratic Party as pursuing a ``brain-dead defense of the status quo.'' He praised the Republican revolution for seeking lower taxes and entitlement reform but also said the revolution was in danger of going to extremes.
And on the big issue of our time:
The biggest issue of the day is terrorism and national security. Where would Sen. Nunn stand on terrorism today? On June 14, 2007, Nunn spoke to the Council on Foreign Relations about the threats we face today. He said, “The greatest threat we face today -- catastrophic terrorism, a rise in the number of the nuclear weapons states, increasing danger of mistaken, accidental or unauthorized nuclear launch -- we can prevent only in cooperation with Moscow, Beijing and many other capitals.” He went on to say, “If al Qaeda had hit the Trade Towers with a small crude nuclear weapon instead of two airplanes, a fireball would have vaporized everything in the vicinity.” Nunn gets it and has talked around the world about the dangers of nuclear weapons and the role of US leadership, cooperation with allies and “urgent new actions” that need to be taken against terrorist groups that are “conceptually outside the bounds of a deterrent strategy.”
Sounds to me like he might actually have a chance. We shall see how it all plays out.

Have You Heard? Mittney is Rich!

The Boston Globe reports that Romney's worth up to 250 million dollars. I've seen this headline numerous times in the past day. News outlets are breathlessly reporting that Mitt is rich. As if this was some surprise to anyone. In reality, he and his wife, Ann, are worth from 190 to 250 million dollars. Of course, all the headlines trumpet the 250 million dollar upper limit. Hey, the guy could be worth as little as 190 million dollars. Not as if that's anything to sneeze at, but Romney having a ton of money is no surprise to anyone - except maybe the old media, if you judged it on their triumphant reporting.

Mitt Romney, by far the wealthiest presidential candidate, and his wife, Ann, are worth $190 million to $250 million, his advisers said yesterday after filing a personal financial disclosure statement with the Federal Election Commission.
The tone of the headlines and the articles seem to assign some kind of scandal to Romney's wealth, as if he doesn't deserve it because he earned the foundation of his wealth buying and turning around under performing companies.

I suppose it's much more righteous to accumulate your wealth by writing books about your time in the White House, being paid as much as $400,000 for a speech, or better yet, suing doctors right out of practice.

On the other hand, most articles I've read about Michael Bloomberg's potential entry into the presidential race as an independent is shored up by eager reports of how he has enough money to self-finance a billion dollar campaign if he chose. I guess that's a good thing since the driveby media think he would be a good candidate to challenge a GOP nominee.

I don't recall the old media taking such a dim view of Kerry's wealth in 2004 as he ran for president. In fact, they seemed to be upset that it wasn't all his money that he could dump into a challenge if he needed the cash. I had a problem with Kerry's wealth, since he gold-digged it by marrying the widow who inherited it from the man who accumulated the fortune - John Heinz.

The Globe thoughtfully added a graph indicating the fortunes of some of the other candidates: Rudy - 13.1 to 40 million; Clinton - 10 to 50 million; Breck Boy - 29.5 million and Obama - $400k to 1.1 million.

I don't have a problem with any of these candidates being wealthy. What I have a problem with is them being wealthy and running around the country talking about Two AmericasTM and poverty and taxing the producers in this country into being non-producers.

I say good on Mittney. I hope he and his family enjoy their fortune. If he or one of the other Republican candidates win the election, they might have a chance of keeping most of it.

English is the Language of The United States

This is a great video. I first heard the song on the J.D. Hayworth Radio Show a couple of weeks ago, but didn't realize it was a video. Then tonight I heard it on the Mike Gallagher Show and he mentioned it was a video on You Tube.

It's a musical video by a husband and wife team, Rivoli Revue, that's been viewed more than 4.8 million times on You Tube. The song decries the diminishment of the English language in our multi-cultural society, making the point of why we native English speakers are the ones required to press one to hear it.

Press One for English

Recently I read some snarky commentary about Tom Tancredo and his supporters complaining about this very matter. The commentary went on to ask if pressing one on the phone was just beyond Tancredo's ability.

Of course, the commentary missed the point of Tancredo's complaint and will likely miss the point of this video. When you call Joe Schmoe's Customer Service Hotline, after the recording introduces itself, it should say in Spanish, presione uno para el español, then continue on with explaining the directions in English.

Oh, I know, there will be those out there who will claim this song is racist. They'll just have to say it, because I'm going to post the video anyway and say loud and clear that I support it's message. After all, what can I possibly know about racism? I don't belong to a Mexican immigrant advocacy group whose name, La Raza, translates to The Race.

Besides, the music has a good beat and you can dance to it.

Press One for English

Hey, I can't read that sign out there
Please tell me what's it say
We have to have subtitles
In five languages these days
Now we don't ask too much
To share this land of liberties
But if it's not too much to ask
Could you please speak English


English is my language
It's the language of this land
And every sign that's posted here
I should understand
I do not live in China, Mexico
No foreign place
And English is the language
Of the United States

Now I'll speak very clear for you
So there'll be no mistake
My family fought and died
Protecting freedoms in these states
Now we all welcome those who come
But when you reach our shores
Folks you should speak our language
Not the one you spoke before

(Repeat chorus)

Now I'm proud of this country
And this great Democracy
And I believe an open door
Should be our policy
But for these opportunities
We'd simply ask you this
Hey you're the one who chose to come
Now choose to speak English
Now here's one thing I question
And try to understand
Hey why must I press one for English
When it's the language of this land

(Repeat chorus)

I do not live in China, Mexico,
No foreign place
And English is the language
Of these United States


Pajamas Media Straw Poll - Week 30

Pajamas Media's weekly straw poll, week 30, is open. Click on Polling Booth at the top of the right hand column to vote.

Ron Paul has reappeared in the weekly poll, I suppose having made a small percentage blip in the Gallup Poll, and leads the Republican Straw Poll for week 29 with 44%. Fred! continues to garner second place in the GOP field with 27%. Full Republican results here.

For the democratics field, Bill Richardson led week 29, garnering 33%, showing strength each week. Dennis Gazoo Kucinich shows a strong second week after week, netting 22% in week 29 polling. Find full results here.

Yes, I know it's a straw poll, I just like some of them.

Corruption in New Orleans? Say It Ain't So!

Reported by the LA Times, New Orleans City Councilman, Oliver Thomas, resigned today after pleading guilty to charges that he took kickbacks.

The humorous part of the story is the shock among New Orleans residents, considering Thomas one of the least corruptible, straight shooting politicians. He was thought highly of and was a leading contender for a future mayoral run.

The longest-serving member of the New Orleans City Council resigned today, hours after pleading guilty to charges that he took kickbacks from a businessman who wanted to keep a parking lot contract for the French Quarter.

The swift fall of Oliver Thomas, who until recently served as the council's president, stunned New Orleans' political world and led many citizens and commentators to fear that it would further tarnish the city's image at a time when many think the stain of corruption is hurting Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts.


Thomas, 50, was considered a future mayoral candidate and one of the city's most effective elected leaders. He was also regarded as one of the least corruptible figures in a city long sullied by sleazy politics.

He is the biggest political figure to fall in a wide-ranging federal investigation of New Orleans government that has already netted several other elected officials, including the former president of the Orleans Parish school board -- and he probably won't be the last.

The U.S. District Judge took a dim view of the charges against Thomas:

When prosecutors finished explaining the charges, U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance castigated Thomas for embarrassing New Orleans at a time when it could not afford such notoriety.

Callers to a local radio talk show were dismayed

On WWL-870 AM, one of New Orleans' lively talk radio stations, news of Thomas' disgraceful end elicited a torrent of anger and disbelief from Louisianans. Many callers noted that Thomas seemed like one of the few straight shooters in city politics.

"If our best guy pleads guilty to corruption, what are we left with?" said the show's host, John "Spud" McConnell.

Despite that, at least one caller was undaunted by the corruption.

Although most people condemned his acts, some of the chatter demonstrated that New Orleans had a ways to go before it became intolerant of corruption. After the station broadcast Thomas' mea culpa, a man called in and said he didn't care. He said he would still vote for Thomas if he could.

We shouldn't be surprised by his sentiments. After all, New Orleans is the city that reelected School Bus Nagin as Mayor even after his disastrous performance. And Louisiana reelected William Dollar Bill Jefferson even with a possible indictment hanging over his head, and plenty of evidence to support it.

Why is that New Orleans residents seem to be shocked by these developments? Every casual observer of Louisiana politics isn't.

A note of interest - in four articles I read on this story, not one mentioned what party Thomas belongs to. Yeah, I know, he's just a city councilman. But he's a city councilman in New Orleans, a city that is receiving billions and billions of dollars in federal government taxpayer dollars to rebuild the city; a city that has been under democrat party governance for decades. Yet not a mention of his party affiliation.

I'd wager money he's a democratic. If he was a Republican I have no doubt that fact would have been in the opening paragraphs.

What I did find, in The Times-Picayune article, is that Thomas held the black at-large seat. There is also a white at-large city council seat. Political observers are concerned that this could present an opening to upset the racial balance of the at-large council seats.

As potential candidates study the field, a key issue will be the unspoken rule that has kept the two at-large council seats divided between white and African-American politicians since the mid-1970s.

During the recent election, Thomas was handily re-elected to the "black" at-large seat, while Clarkson and Fielkow battled for the "white" seat. Some black political commentators already are expressing fear that Thomas' departure might provide an opportunity to upset the racial balance in the at-large seats.


"Race is going to be a very contentious issue in the upcoming council race," said Sidney Arroyo, a political consultant who has worked for many local politicians, including Thomas. Holding the election at the same time as the governor's race would help African-American candidates because the turnout would be higher, he said.

Do these people realize this is 2007? Does the black population of New Orleans really think the black elected politicians in that city have really represented their best interests? I suppose it could be so, as they have continued to elect democrats despite their poor track record over the decades.

A Marine Has Something to Say - In a Poem

A Marine has something to say, and he says it in a poem. It's said it's going viral. I just hope everyone gets to hear it. It's powerful!

There's nothing I can add, except Semper Fi! Marine, and thank you (as I blot away my tears).

h/t: Little Green Footballs

Sorry, Hillary, We're Not Losing in Afghanistan.

Once again, Hillary gets proven wrong. You'd think she'd learn to be careful about opening her mouth.

AFGHANISTAN--Sen. Hillary Clinton has cynically charged that we are "losing the fight to al Qaeda and bin Laden" in Afghanistan. But on my eighth trip to Afghanistan (last month) I saw that the trend lines are up, not down.

The first encouraging sign came in Dubai as I boarded my flight for Kabul. Afghanistan's main private air carrier, Kam Air, has recently added a second daily round trip between Kabul and Dubai.

Once in Kabul I bought a new SIM card for my mobile phone and found that what would have cost me $40 a few years ago and $9 in September last year now cost only $3. Not surprisingly, mobile phones have spread to a broad section of Afghanistan's 24 million people, with the two major providers, AWCC and Roshan, claiming a total of three million subscribers, up from two million in September last year. Amin Ramin, managing director of AWCC, estimates that his company alone will count two million subscribers by the end of 2007 and three million by the end of 2008.

I spotted similarly hopeful trends in three heavily Pashtun provinces--Nangarhar, Laghman and Khost--in eastern Afghanistan.

It's more than just cell phones, tho.

The U.S. is now planning to start a second provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in Nangarhar Province, and it will be staffed by military reservists who are farmers and ranchers in civilian life. This second PRT will work with local farmers in Nangahar's lush river valley, while also building infrastructure to get crops to market--cold storage facilities and local roads. Air Force Lt. Col. Gordon Phillips, the commander of the existing PRT, says that blacktop roads will link all district centers in the province to the main road to Kabul by the end of this year.

"Every day we open 15 to 20 new accounts," says Maseh Arifi, the 24-year-old manager of the Jalalabad branch of Azizi Bank, one of Afghanistan's two homegrown consumer banks. The branch opened at the end of last August and has 18,000 accounts. Next door, rival Kabul Bank has opened 9,400 accounts totaling $7 million in two years. The 27,000 bank accounts represent about 15% of 660,000 adults of Jalalabad--and doesn't count some of the most prosperous locals, who commute to Peshawar to do their banking. In Nangarhar, AWCC and Roshan together have about 206,000 mobile phone customers, 31% of the adults.

Further south is Khost, a province that received little help from the central government in recent decades. Now construction cranes hover over Khost City, with modern five- and six-story office buildings and shopping centers rising amid grimy two-story concrete bazaars. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently finished building a new university in the city. And this month the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency, an investment-facilitating agency, is inviting 300 overseas Khostis to come discuss building an industrial park.

And there's still more good news. But ya gotta read the whole article.

Get Out the Blue Hankies

Karl Rove is retiring effective 31 August.

Who will the lefties say is pulling Dubya's strings now?

Get ready for much wailing and gnashing of teeth... and/or frothing at the mouth.

Hat Tip to the Confederate Yankee.

John adds: To answer CCG's question of who the lefties will accuse of pulling Dubya's strings now. They'll just say Rove is directing him from Texas. After all, there are phones and emails. 'Cuz you know, Bush could never figure out what to do on his own.

Mother Sheehan vs. Nancy Pelost

The anticipated announcement from Cindy Sheehan that she is officially entering the race to challenge Her Speakerness Nancy Pelosi for the California Eighth District U. S. House of Representatives seat came August 9, 2007.

Cindy Sheehan, The Absolute Moral AuthorityTM on the Iraq War, tearfully announced her candidacy, citing her son, Casey, as her inspiration. Sheehan had threatened to throw her hat in the ring against Pelosi if Her Speakerness did not move to impeach President Bush.

SAN FRANCISCO — A tearful Cindy Sheehan cited her son, killed in Iraq, as her inspiration as she announced her candidacy Thursday for the U.S. House against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Sheehan said last month she intended to run against Pelosi, D-Calif., if the San Francisco congresswoman didn't move to impeach President Bush by July 23.

Sheehan said Thursday that Pelosi had "protected the status quo" of the corporate elite and had lost touch with people in her district, most of whom, she asserted, want American troops out of Iraq.


In every democrat cloud, there is a silver liberal lining. The New York Times headlines a column explaining how Sheehan's candidacy can help Pelosi:

Sheehan Challenge Could Help Pelosi Dampen GOP’s ‘Leftist’ Portrayal
The Times argument goes that by having a truly liberal anti-war activist challenging SanFranNan, it will make her look less liberal and blunt the GOP's portrayal of her as a far left San Francisco liberal.

Not necessarily true. Nancy Pelosi will still be a San Francisco ultra-liberal; she'll just be challenged by a far left, anti-war whackjob. It will still be easy to portray Pelosi as a San Francisco liberal, we'll just have her lack of accomplishments as House Speaker to add to the campaign to defeat her and the democrat lead House.

Related posts - Mother Sheehan vs. America's Mother-in-law


HamNation: Ooh Rah! USMC Sunset Parade

Conservababe Mary Katherine Ham's weekly vlog is up. This week's subject is Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., Sunset Parade at the USMC War Memorial.

Sorry, no code to embed the video this week - Ooh Rah! USMC at Sunset Parade

Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C.

Marine Barracks Washington, also known as "8th & I," is the oldest active post in the Marine Corps. Located on the corners of 8th & I streets in southeast Washington, D.C. the Barracks supports both ceremonial and security missions in the nation's capital.

Sunset Parade

A one hour performance, the Sunset Parade features the music of "The Commandant's Own", The United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and precision drill by the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon.

On Nov. 10, 1954, the 179th birthday of the United States Marine Corps, a bronze monument modeled after the famous photo of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, was unveiled at the Arlington National Cemetery. President Dwight D. Eisenhower dedicated the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial to all Marines who had died to keep their country free.

Since September 1956, marching and musical units from Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., have been paying tribute to those whose "Uncommon valor was a common virtue" by presenting Sunset Parades in the shadow of the 32-foot high figures of the United States Marine Corps War Memorial.

USMC War Memorial

The Marine Corps War Memorial stands as a symbol of this grateful Nation's esteem for the honored dead of the U.S. Marine Corps. While the statue depicts one of the most famous incidents of World War II, the memorial is dedicated to all Marines who have given their lives in the defense of the United States since 1775.

Mary Katherine seems to be surprised (disappointed?) that you can't hug a Marine while he's in uniform. That's right Mary Katherine, no PDA (public display of affection). It's un-military. I wonder how many slips of paper she got with Marine's phone numbers on them?

IMO, the Marine Dress Blue uniform is the sharpest, best looking uniform of any military in the entire world.

Semper Fi!

Bob Novak on the Mark Levin Radio Show

Thursday night, August 9, 2007, political columnist Robert Novak was a guest on the Mark Levin Show. Novak has recently released a book, The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington, that Levin and Novak discussed.

Novak went to Washington, D.C. as a political reporter during the last years of the Eisenhower Administration and he has some fascinating insights and stories and opinions.

There is no transcript of the interview, so I listened to the audio clips of the segments a few times and jotted down some of the things I found most interesting. Mind you, these are not word for word answers or all the answers by Novak, nor do they represent exactly the questions Levin asked. All of it is just the best I could do as I listened.

If you're interested in listening to the audio of the interview, here is the link to the page with the audio. The Novak segment starts at about the 55 minute mark and lasts about twelve minutes. On the QuickTime player, it's at about 75-80% through the clip. Look for the clips from 8/9/2007.

Mark lead off with the obvious question. What about Wilson-Plame?

Novak has never met them face to face, has never talked to Valerie Plame. Talked to Joe Wilson on the phone prior to first column. Joe Wilson never asked Novak not to mention Valerie's name. Wilson wanted Novak to know that he was no dove or peacenik; that he was very anti-Saddam, but thought he (Wilson) was just more prudent. Wanted Novak to know that Novak's former partner, Evans, had written glowingly about his time as Charge d' affaires to Baghdad Embassy in the days after Iraq invaded Kuwait.

After the column came out, Joe Wilson called Novak, complained that he thought Novak had said he had a CIA official source for Valerie's name. Novak says he was very explicit that it was an administration source (Armitage), and had a confirmation from a CIA spokesman. Novak says both the phone conversations were cordial and the ranting and raving that Wilson did in public at Novak was a show, because it didn't happen during the phone calls.

After that, Levin asked Novak for his observations on Patrick Fitzgerald.

Novak said he was scared while he was being interviewed during the investigation. Explained that special prosecutors have a lot of power and he didn't want to say something that would get him in trouble. Novak said he didn't want to make the mistakes Libby wound up making. After the fact, as he looked back, in retrospect, said Fitzgerald had special prosecutor's disease - just can't leave it alone. Said Fitzgerald knew from the beginning that Armitage was the source of the information, all he had to do was decide if a law had been broken, which no law broken is the conclusion he obviously arrived at. Yet Fitzgerald kept the investigation going, for whatever reason.

Levin next addressed Novak's feelings about Robert F. Kennedy.

Novak had an almost instant dislike of RFK. Thought JFK picking his brother as Attorney General was a bad idea. Thought RFK was very hard on civil liberties. Said RFK was ruthless, just like his father, Joe Kennedy. Added that he was never convinced Bobby was a compassionate liberal that he campaigned as during his run for president.

Then Levin asked Novak who he thinks has been the worst President during his time in D.C.

Unhesitatingly, replied Jimmy Carter. Said he was a liar; lied to the public, lied to him (Novak). Said he has a devastating analysis in his book of Carter by one of Carter's Treasury Secretaries, Michael Blumenthal. Carter was a poor party leader. Party hated him, from Tip O'Neil on the left to Patrick Moynihan on the right. Novak said everything Carter did was a failure.

Next up, Levin asked Novak who his best source was. (This is a bit out of order because it winds up relating to Carter)

Man named John Carville, (ed.- not sure of the spelling) an aide to Jesse Helms. Had secret group called The Madison Group, a group of right wing plodders (as Novak described them). Leaked documents to Novak. Once gave Novak top secret plans from the Pentagon. They documented plans to concede 1/3 of Germany to the Soviets and Seoul to the North Koreans in the event of attacks. [ed. - Levin interjected here that he wanted to make sure the audience understood what Novak was saying, that Carter was prepared to give up on these countries in the event of attacks.] Novak believes that the publishing of those plans forced Carter to back away from those positions.

A bit of disclosure here. I loathe Carter. I strongly dislike Bill Clinton and think he was a lousy President, for a number of reasons. But I absolutely, with all my body and mind, loathe and despise Jimmy Carter. He's a four year black mark on the history of the United States. He's the stain you can't get off a white sweater. He's, well, I think you get the idea by now - I just can't stand the guy.

Last, Levin asked Novak who was his favorite President. Note, he asked favorite, not who Novak thought was best. Novak clarified that he was only talking about President's he'd known since he was in Washington.

Reagan, without a doubt. Said Reagan was a leader, not a manager. All he wanted to do when he was elected President was restore the economy, win the Cold War and revive the morale of the American people - and he did all three. Only President in Novak's time he gives a passing grade to, but said he's a very tough grader.

A very interesting interview and I think worth the twelve minutes to listen to the audio clips.