Supporting the Troops, Oakland Style

Full disclosure: I have not independently researched the validity of this email yet. Like Scott Thomas Beauchamp, this could turn out to be a lot of nothing.

However, with that said, it certainly seems par for the course for Oakland, which is right across the bay from ultra-left San Francisco, and if it's less well-known, it's certainly not that much less left-leaning.

On September 27th 204 Marines and soldiers who were returning from Iraq were not allowed into the passenger terminal at Oakland International Airport. Instead they had to deplane about 400 yards away from the terminal where the extra baggage trailers were located.

This was the last scheduled stop for fuel and food prior to flying to Hawaii where both were based. The trip started in Kuwait on September 26th with a rigorous search of checked and carry on baggage by US Customs. All baggage was x-rayed with a "backscatter" machine AND each bag was completely emptied and hand searched. After being searched, checked bags were marked and immediately placed in a secure container.

Carry on bags were then x rayed again to ensure no contraband items were taken on the plane. While waiting for the bus to the airport, all personnel were in quarantined in a fenced area and were not allowed to leave.

The first stop for fuel/food and crew change was in Leipzig Germany. Troops exited the aircraft and took a bus to a reception area in the terminal, where there was a convenience store, phones, Internet and restrooms. As we excited the bus we were given a re-boarding pass. Three troops remained on the plane with the rifles and pistols. There was no ammunition on the plane and the bolts of the rifles had been removed. After about 2 hours troops re-boarded the plane and flew to JFK in NY.

At JFK the procedure was similar to Germany, 3 troops stayed on the plane to guard weapons while the rest deplaned. At the gate we were each given a re-boarding pass and spent about 1.5 hours in the terminal, at which time we re-boarded and flew to Oakland.

As we came in for the final approach to Oakland a Lieutenant who served in Afghanistan with the same unit in 2006 mentioned how when they landed in Oakland they were not allowed in the terminal. He said, "they made us get out by the FED EX building and we had to sit out there for 3 hours". He also indicated he was almost arrested by the TSA for getting belligerent about them not letting the Marines into the terminal.

Well the same thing happened again. This time we did not park by the FED EX building, instead we were offloaded near the grass that separates the active runway from the taxi ramp, about 400 yards from the terminal. When we inquired why they wouldn't allow us in the airport they gave us some lame excuse that we hadn't been screened by TSA. While true, the screening which we did have was much more thorough than any TSA search and was done by US Customs.

Additionally, JFK didn't seem to have a problem with our entering their terminal, nor did security in Germany.

It felt like being spit on. Every Marine and soldier felt the message loud and clear, "YOU ARE NOT WELCOME IN OAKLAND!"

(Name and unit removed - see update below.)
Given that this purports to be written by a chaplain, and both a full name and unit are given, I am inclined to trust its veracity until and unless credible evidence to the contrary is uncovered.

So, this is how they support the troops in Oakland.

UPDATE: A person claiming to be the brother of the chaplain who wrote the above email has written me, asking that I remove the author's name and unit. My initial reaction was to leave it in pending confirmation, which I left to National Review, where I originally found the email, citing their vastly superior ability to verify the person's identity. However, upon reconsideration, I am removing them at this time.

UPDATE II: Upon emailing with Michael Ledeen, who posted the original story, I have received confirmation--to my personal satisfaction, at least--of the brother's identity.

Also, in speaking to friends who are from the San Francisco area, I've not found any who found the idea of Oakland not permitting soldiers in the airport terminal outlandish. Of course, most of my friends are conservative, like me, so that may not be worth much, but I offer it for what it's worth. As one friend pointed out, Oakland is not that far from Berkley, and most people know how far left Berkley is.

UPDATE III (and bump): I have decided I owe Michael Ledeen a steak. He just pointed me to Michelle Malkin, who has completely confirmed the above story, even to receiving a response from the Port of Oakland, which runs the airport. Of course, as could be expected, they are trying to blame the charter airline and the Armed Forces, but it was still their final decision on how to treat our troops, and that speaks volumes.

Also worth noting is that while Oakland blames the Armed Forces for not receiving "clear communication" from the airline, there was apparently no such problem at JFK in New York. There are three possible explanations that I can see:
  1. The airline did communicate clearly with all airports along the planned route of the flight. This would be the most logical, as it can be assumed that the people doing the communicating are experienced at this sort of thing and know what is necessary.
  2. The airline did not communicate clearly with all airports along the flight route. As noted above, this is not very likely, as it can probably be safely assumed that the airline knows what it is doing.
  3. The airline communicated clearly with JFK but not Oakland. This is even less likely than #2 above. If they communicate clearly with one airport, why not all of them?
Of the three, I am sure that the Oakland people prefer #2 or #3. However, the most likely is still #1, which points to a problem at Oakland... either the Oakland airport staff did not properly handle the information from the airline--which I deem as unlikely as the airline not properly communicating; these are all professionals, after all--or they're desperately trying to cover their posteriors.

My money is on the latter, personally.


Frenchmen I Can Agree With

This is just the sort of thing I was hoping for from new French President Nicolas Sarkozy:

Ahmadinejad at Columbia provided the entertainment, but Sarkozy at the U.N. provided the substance. On the largest possible stage — the U.N. General Assembly — President Nicolas Sarkozy put Iran on notice. His predecessor, Jacques Chirac, had said that France could live with an Iranian nuclear bomb. Sarkozy said that France cannot. He declared Iran’s nuclear ambitions “an unacceptable risk to stability in the region and in the world.”

His foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, had earlier said that the world faces two choices — successful diplomacy to stop Iran’s nuclear program or war. And Sarkozy himself has no great hopes for the Security Council, where China and Russia are blocking any effective action against Iran. He does hope to get the European Union to join the U.S. in imposing serious sanctions.

“Weakness and renunciation do not lead to peace,” he warned. “They lead to war.” This warning about appeasement was intended particularly for Germany, which for commercial reasons has been resisting U.S. pressure to support effective sanctions.
Some of us have learned from the French attempt at appeasement of Hitler's Germany in the 1930s; it appears that Germany itself may not have learned anything, or forgotten what they learned. It also seems that our native lefties haven't quite comprehended the lessons of French appeasement either.

Star Trek: Conservative

Ya gotta love it when someone takes a lefty icon like Star Trek (which I must admit, I am a fan of--except Enterprise) and points out the many conservative points in it.

The show’s much better when Kirk is running guns (“A Private Little War”), trying to get the locals to fight the Klingons before they’re all slaughtered (“Errand of Mercy”), or letting Joan Collins die so she doesn’t go on to found a Hitler-enabling pacifist movement. (“Yesterday is Tomorrow.”) Unfortunately, goopy multi-culti cant seeped deep into Next Generation — in the latter seasons, the writers actually imposed an intergalactic speed limit for ecological reasons. (Thanks to the efforts of Capt. Samuel Hagar and his stirring address — “I can’t warp 5.5” — the ban was eventually lifted.) Deep Space Nine got it right: We learned a lot about the bad guys, the Cardassians; we even heard professional Irishman Miles O’Brien refer to them as Spoonheads, which was just the sort of epithet the enlisted men would say. We understood the Cardassians; we learned much about their culture, and knew a few fine examples. In the end, though, their culture had taken a horrible turn, and there was no getting away from that. Much blowing up had to be done.
It may or may not be significant that out of all the Treks, DS9 is my favorite.

Anyway, as usual, I invite you to read the whole article. And then find a Trek rerun on cable somewhere.


Health Care Questions

Dennis Byrne has a few questions about HilllaryCare II:

How do you make Americans sign up for universal health insurance?

So, what happens when someone refuses to get the health insurance that would be mandated by two Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.)?

If an uninsured patient shows up at a doctor’s office or hospital emergency room, is he refused care? Does he have to produce evidence that he can pay? Will he be required to sign up on the spot for health care coverage before receiving care?
Good questions... will Hillary answer?

Probably not without a lot of pushing. She doesn't want to tell people that what she's proposing is really socialized medicine.

Iraqi Army Becoming Independent of Coalition Forces

More good news from Iraq... sorry, defeatists:

Iraqi officers today are — by and large — hard-working, battle-seasoned, and generally incorruptible. There are exceptions, (as in any army), but as Iraqi Brigadier General Ishmayil Shihab Muhammad says, “We will deal with them.”

At 42, Gen. Ishmayil is the face of the new officer corps: An old corps commander in the new army, who demands adherence to exacting standards of loyalty to post-Saddam Iraq and a commitment to fighting terrorists. Ishmayil is a career officer whose combat-leadership experience stretches back to the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88) when he was a second lieutenant. Today, he commands the 2,100-man 3rd Brigade of the 7th Iraqi Army Division, a crack force of infantry that now operates as lead security in the extreme west of Al Anbar Province. The U.S. Marines, who have trained and conducted missions with the brigade for well over a year, continue to operate in the region, but only in a “tactical overwatch” capacity.

“This brigade continues to conduct offensive operations to disrupt insurgent activity as they provide a secure environment for the people of the region to provide for their livelihood,” Lt. Col. Jason Bohm,
the task-force commander of 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, told National Review Online last week. “The brigade is now receiving orders directly from its higher headquarters, the 7th Iraqi Army Division, and issuing orders directly to its subordinate battalions without having to work through us.”
An interview with General Ishmayil follows this excerpt... it's worth reading. I'll highlight one exchange here:
SMITH: What is the Iraqi perception of the American Marine presence? How do they feel when they see Americans moving through and operating in their neighborhoods here in Anbar?

For the past two years the relationship has gotten better and better. Prior to that, there was the fear that American Marines and Army were here as occupiers and would only hurt or damage Iraq. But what the people actually saw, in a practical sense, was that al Qaeda members were the ones hurting Iraqis and destroying infrastructure. So the Iraqis here weighed the good and the bad and realized that al Qaeda was bad and the Americans were good. The Americans are helping Iraqis, trying to make their lives better, and the ordinary Iraqis see and realize this.
And that is why we are winning, and cannot stop now.

Gas Is Dead? Maybe Not.

Detroit News writer Henry Payne takes a look at the anticipated demise of the gasoline engine, and opines that maybe it's a bit early to write the obit:

At this year’s Society of Automotive Engineer’s convention in Detroit, one forum debated the question: “The Gasoline Engine Is Dead. Or Is It?” Siemens executive Michael Crane answered matter-of-factly: “For the foreseeable future, the gasoline engine will continue to dominate.” At present, Crane pointed out, gas powers 90-percent of autos on the planet with its fossil-fuel cousin, diesel, feeding most of the remainder. Only in Brazil and South Africa, where governments have dictated national alternative energy programs, has that supremacy been challenged.

Gasoline’s 100-year reign is no fluke: It offers high energy density per pound (125,000 BTU/gallon) at low production cost, with a manageable supply infrastructure. And gas engine technology is ever-advancing.

Today’s gas engines are near zero-emission vehicles. “If I mow my lawn for one hour,” says Crane, “I’d produce more emissions than if I drove a new car from New York to Los Angeles.” So clean is Ford’s Durotech engine, for example, that it meets California’s zero-emissions standard along with the celebrated Toyota Prius hybrid.
He then goes on to consider various alternative technologies. Read the whole thing.


Another Good Republican Gone Bad on Spending

This one pretty much speaks for itself:

Washington – When it comes to spending bills in the Senate, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is looking more and more like his counterpart across the aisle, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

The Senate has voted on four appropriations bill so far, three of which President Bush has threatened to veto for exceeding spending limits, but Senator McConnell has voted for all of them without so much of a peep or whimper. He has also voted against every anti-pork amendment offered so far, including an amendment offered by Senator Coburn to eliminate funding for a Montana baseball field and North Dakota Peace Garden (Roll Call #335).

In contrast to the House, where Republican leadership has rallied the necessary votes to sustain a presidential veto on spending and is fighting for stronger earmark reform, the Republicans in the Senate, with a few exceptions like Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK), Jim DeMint (R-SC), and others, are marching in lockstep with the Democrats, rubber stamping one bloated spending bill after another.

Are ya listening, Kentucky?


Al Qaeda Fumbles Again

Looks like instead of creating terror, one of the most recent attacks by Al Qaeda in Iraq has had the opposite effect:

RAMADI, Iraq - Iraqi tribal leader Ahmed Abu Risha speaks very softly, but his voice resonates determination—the revolt his brother started against Al Qaeda in Anbar province will not falter despite his death.

A bombing claimed by Al Qaeda killed Shaikh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha in his car on Sept. 13 in the provincial capital Ramadi. Ahmed quickly took over an alliance of Sunni Arab tribal leaders his brother had headed to avoid a leadership crisis.

‘The effect his assassination left is only emotional, that we have lost him,’ the quietly-spoken shaikh told Reuters over the weekend in his first face-to-face interview with the Western media since assuming control of the Anbar Salvation Council.

His assassination has increased our will to fight Al Qaeda,’ added Ahmed Abu Risha, 42, speaking at the family compound in Ramadi, a series of homes heavily protected by dozens of Iraqi police and armed guards.

(Emphasis mine.)

In fact, this is not the first time that Al Qaeda has miscalculated like this. 9/11 was supposed to send Americans into terror, not send American troops into Afghanistan and Iraq to root out these Islamoterrorists. Also, the reason for the current Iraqi grassroots uprising against Al Qaeda is, in large part, because of the excesses of Al Qaeda in dealing with the Iraqi tribes (which I have blogged about before).

Also worth noting is this story:
TAJI, Iraq - More than 1,200 Iraqi males from in and around Tarmiyah stood in line for hours to join Iraqi Security Forces, local sheiks and Coalition Forces in the fight against al-Qaeda and other insurgent militias in Tarmiyah Sept. 12.

Local sheiks and CF from 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment reached out to the Iraqi people, asking the citizens of the small town of Tarmiyah to volunteer to defend their homes and neighborhoods against the terrorist insurgency in their town.

This concept of the people standing against al-Qaeda and other insurgents has been dubbed an "awakening," or the mental realization that the terrorists offer nothing but fear and injustice.
In short, the enemy is faltering in what used to be their stomping grounds. The Iraqis are realizing that if they want Al Qaeda out of their neighborhoods, they have to help us. This is not the time to turn our backs on the Iraqi people and walk away. This is the time to join hands with them and fight alongside them to defeat our common enemy.

A Laugh, and a Pointed Point

A Hollywood writer using a pen name--conservatives in Hollywood have to, ya know--lets loose in grand snarky style about this season's anti-war films. Read it. Really. (Link is, as usual, in the title.)


Fred Hits a Homer at NRA Convention

Courtesy Jim Geraghty's Campaign Spot blog, we have a very favorable report on Fred's appearance today.

Two questions from the Q&A session will sort of give the picture:

"Some believe that the Second Amendment has different meanings in different places, and that the gun rights of citizens in, say, New York City and Chicago can restricted more than the gun rights of those in Tennessee and Montana. Do you agree?"

Thompson responds with a deep, rumbling, slow, "Noooope." Then he follows with absolute catnip for gun owners: "It's never seemed to me to be coincidental that the places that have the highest crime rates tend to be the places that have the most restrictions on gun ownership in America."
Will he appoint an Attorney General who shares his opinion of the Second Amendment. "Yes." More applause. "I think we're winning on the interpretation of the Second Amendment. I have a complicated position on this: The Constitution means what it says." He gets another standing ovation.
I think Fred has found his footing and is gonna be tough to beat from this point forward.

Update: Courtesy Fred08.com, here's a clip of parts of his speech, including the two quotes above.

Click to play

I don't know that I'd call his "nope" slow, as Geraghty does, but it is certainly definitive.


What DID Those Israeli Jets Do in Syria?

On 6 Sept, Israeli aircraft did something in Syria. That much is pretty well established. But what exactly happened? Charles Krauthammer has a guess:

Circumstantial evidence points to this being an attack on some nuclear facility provided by North Korea.

Three days earlier, a freighter flying the North Korean flag docked in the Syrian port city of Tartus with a shipment of “cement.” Long way to go for cement. Within days, a top State Department official warned that “there may have been contact between Syria and some secret suppliers for nuclear equipment.” Three days later, the Sept. 19 six-party meeting on dismantling North Korea’s nuclear facilities was suddenly postponed, officially by China, almost certainly at the behest of North Korea.

Apart from the usual suspects — Syria, Iran, Libya, and Russia — only two countries registered strong protests to the Israeli strike: Turkey and North Korea. Turkey we can understand. Its military may have permitted Israel an overflight corridor without ever having told the Islamist civilian government. But North Korea? What business is this of North Korea’s? Unless it was a North Korean facility being hit.


Krauthammer has more thoughts on the future of the Middle East, and as usual, they are well worth reading.

HamNation: Vets for Freedom

Mary Katherine talks with Vets for Freedom and Families United. Hear from the people who have been to Iraq, their families, and hear what they have to say about our effort in Iraq.


He'd Rather Reopen an Old Wound than Let it Heal

I almost couldn't believe my ears when I first heard this story on the radio today:

NEW YORK - Dan Rather filed a $70 million lawsuit against CBS and his former bosses Wednesday, claiming they made him a "scapegoat" for a discredited story about President Bush's military service during the Vietnam War.

The 75-year-old Rather, whose final months were clouded by controversy over the story, said the actions of the defendants damaged his reputation and cost him significant financial loss.
But wait, there's more!
In his lawsuit, Rather maintains that the story was true, but that if any aspect of the broadcast wasn't accurate, he was not responsible for the errors.

The story relied on four documents, supposedly written by Bush's commander in the Texas Air National Guard, the late Lt. Col. Jerry Killian. Critics questioned the documents' authenticity and suggested they were forged.

A CBS review determined the story was neither fair nor accurate. CBS fired the story's producer and asked for the resignation of three executives because it could not authenticate documents used in the story, and Rather was forced out of the anchor chair he had occupied for 24 years.

Rather's lawsuit says he was forced to apologize, although "as defendants well knew, even if any aspect of the broadcast had not been accurate, which has never been established, Mr. Rather was not responsible for any such errors."
Now, I am not trying to claim that Rather was responsible, although I suspect he had a hand in it somewhere. Whether or not he did will probably come out at the trial... if there is one (more on that in a moment).

The big question is, why bring this up now, three years after the story, and two and a half years after he was fired?

The only thing I can come up with is that, with the Iraq news turning positive, the lefties are looking for any excuse they can to bash President Bush again. The question of why they chose this particular story is still open, and I could be wrong about the motive for the timing.

It's entirely possible that this could never make it to trial, as well... as soon as conservatives (such as your humble author) get hold of this and bring up all the evidence for it being a total fabrication, not to mention what CBS's lawyers dig up through discovery (which then gets released to the public), the lawsuit could be quietly withdrawn or thrown out of court. Heck, it could be withdrawn before it ever gets to the discovery phase, rather (no pun intended) than let all that embarrassing stuff on the bias in the media gets dug up and displayed before John Q. Voter.

It'll be interesting to watch this.

Shady Brady and Bill Belicheat

If you're even a casual sports fan, you probably heard last week about the Patriots, and head coach Bill Belichick's cheating scandal.

A sports fan has set his disdain to video and song. This is good.

See all his work at RyanParkerSongs


Values Voter Debate Review (Candidates)

As noted in Values Voter Debate Review all the candidates had ample time and opportunity to answer questions. The only candidates who were short changed were the four not participating. In Values Voter Debate Review (Extended), covered some of the questions and answers I thought were interesting.

In this post will try to concentrate on each candidate, in no order, just as they come to my mind. Video clips of the debate are starting to show up on YouTube. Search page results of debate videos.

Alan Keyes - The newcomer to the race, but not to campaigning. Powerful speaker, maybe a bit overdone for a debate forum. Sure he's great at speeches and on the stump. Much the same positions as the other participants, just more insistent on their place in our nation and government. Could only help himself by participating. Doesn't have a chance.

Duncan Hunter - Usual solid performance. Emphasis on building the fence and stopping illegal immigration, tying it to strong families and values. Consistent in hitting on unfair trade agreements with China and the looming military standoff.

John Cox
- Someone most of the public isn't even aware of. A businessman, non-politician. Says the GOP has lost it's way because there are too many career politicians. Running as true outsider. Took to task the Congressmen on the stage for losing their way along with the rest of the party and not making enough of an effort to stop it as it was happening.

Mike Huckabee - As noted in the initial review, the runaway winner of the straw poll of the Values Voter delegates. Right in his element in this setting, in front of the sponsoring groups. The guy has perfect timing and pitch. I think most of his answers ended and the chime went off indicating end of his time. Emphasized his ten years as governor and three as lieutenant governor. When informed he had four minutes for his closing remarks, always the Baptist preacher, quipped, "With four minutes, I have time to take an offering. If I could ask the ushers to come forward."

Sam Brownback - Played to Sam's strong suit: Abortion, family, values. No surprises from Sam. Emphasized the work he's done in the Senate on these issues. Losing points advocating for guest worker programs while the nation's sentiments are distinctly 'secure the border first'. IMO, his best debate performance, but not good enough to help him among primary voters.

Ron Paul - No surprises. Had more time than usual to explain and expound on his position and beliefs. Paul hammered on his usual smaller government theme. He's not losing any support there. But, he went into his illegal war in Iraq, leave everyone alone, mind our own business routine. Emphasized the Christian them of the just war and says ours is not. Got a direct question concerning libertarianism and he answered it quite well. Wish I had a transcript. Maybe it's in one of the video clips.

Tom Tancredo - Of course, Tank hammered home the illegal immigrant issue and tied it in with American values and family. Addressed his controversial stance on suspension of all immigration until we are able to assimilate the immigrants now here. Thought he had one of the best closing remarks. Said even though he didn't agree with everything all the other candidates believed, he was proud to among them as he considers them all men of integrity and principle. I liked that.

If you think I didn't capture the essence of a particular candidate, oh well. As I said, my observations and impressions. So, what you read is what stuck with me and what I recalled from reading my notes. I'm sure everyone who watched garnered different things from each candidate.

All in all, I liked the whole debate and think it was great the non-top tier candidates got so much time to answer questions. The shame is that more people couldn't have seen it. I'd be interested in finding out how many viewers and listeners the debate had.

The only real losers in this debate were the four candidates who didn't show up.

Values Voter Debate Review (Extended)

First part of review Values Voter Debate Review

The debate portion of the program was long and makes a concise review very difficult. I have not been able to locate video or audio of the entire debate, nor a transcript of the questions and answers. I did find a list of the questions in Janet Folger's article, Values Voters Move Into the Driver's Seat. With all that in mind, most of what I put forth here will be my observations and impressions, with a few nearly accurate responses from the candidates.

This was my first time seeing or hearing Alan Keyes. I've heard of him, of course, even read some about him and what he says. Never seen him or heard him speak. His oratory skills are quite powerful, but I think his performance last night was more suited for a revival meeting. Since this was the first time I've heard him speak, I don't know if he always uses the same rising crescendo and arm motions, or if he was being dramatic because of the audience. There is certainly no quibble with his position on the issues that are important to the values voters. He struck the same tenor as most of the other candidates.

I think it's important to note here, there was never a mention of his race by him or the questioners. Keyes is simply another conservative in the GOP field, with an impressive resume and a powerful speaking style. If he was a GOP front runner, would the media fawn over him as they have Obama?

There was very little separating the candidates on any of the issues important to the values voters, only methods and means in preserving them. All the candidates believe in the sanctity of life, the preservation of man and woman as the only legitimate marriage and preservation of family as a cornerstone of the foundation of our society.

There was some differentiation in the methods that should be employed to implement measures to protect those tenets.

One of the first questions asked was if the candidates support the Federal Marriage Amendment. All, except Paul, support this amendment. Paul adamantly stated 'no more amendments', marriage should be a state issue, to the extent government should be involved in sanctioning marriages. Sam pointed out he was the one who carried the amendment in the Senate. At least one pointed out that judges have eroded the sanctity of traditional marriage and the only way to protect against that is through a Constitutional amendment.

One of the first questions posed to the candidates was

"Can you tell us a little about your faith in God?"
This question did not cause nearly the discomfort it caused the democrat candidates in a recent debate. They all, to me, they all looked very uncomfortable talking about that. All of these candidates were quite comfortable talking about this and even eager.

After the initial round of questions there was a speed round where each candidate illuminated a green or red light on their podium to indicate yes or no. I am conflicted on this method. On one hand I'm glad to see them forced into just saying yes or no. However, as much as I wish some things were as simple as yes or no, I know they aren't always that clear cut. Two or three of the candidates used their time bank to expand on their answers. Nevertheless, on almost every yes/no question posed, all the candidate's responses were nearly unanimous. The one candidate who often differed from the others was Paul, as would be expected. As his disagreeing response was registered, it was easy to see how it would be consistent with his stance on government and the Constitution.

One of the yes/no questions posed to the candidates was

"Recently a federal judge ordered the Indiana Legislature to censor their prayers. Specifically, the federal judge ordered the Indiana Legislature to never allow anyone to offer an invocation prayer in Jesus' name. Will you, as president, consider impeachment a possible remedy for this judicial activism?"
All the candidates answered yes to this question, except Duncan Hunter. IMO, he's the only one who answered the question correctly. The President can't bring impeachment charges against anyone - only the House can do that. The President might encourage it, even endorse the action, but they cannot bring impeachment charges. Impeachment of federal judges is a corrective measure that has been utilized too little by Congress to reign in the courts and judges.

In the third round, some special questioners were brought in to ask specific questions to a certain candidate. During this round, each of the absent candidates was asked a question. It might seem a bit theatrical to some, but it did drive home the point that four of the GOP candidates elected not to participate.

The most poignant was the question asked to Rudy Giuliani by an abortion survivor.

Teresa Ippoliti, abortion survivor – RUDY GIULIANI

My name is Teresa Ippoliti. Eighteen years ago, an abortionist was hired to kill me, but I survived. I was wrapped in newspaper and tossed on a shelf struggling for my life. Nuns came and rescued me, took me to a hospital where I stayed for two months. I was then adopted by my heroic mom and dad. Mayor Giuliani, your position on abortion would have left me dead. Now that you see me, Mr. Giuliani, do you honesty still believe an abortionist had a right to kill me?

Rudy had nothing to say - he wasn't there.

One more debate review to cover the candidates individually.

Roundup of coverage:
A Values Voter Debate Review (Right Wing News)

Huckabee Wins Values Voter Straw Poll!
Second-tier GOP candidates vow to combat homosexual activism

'Unseen world' dominates GOP presidential debate
Values voters move into the driver's seat

Values Voters Hold Debate (AP)

UF Student Tasered at Kerry Appearance

You may have heard by now about the student who was tasered today by police at a Kerry event.

A University of Florida student who was Tasered by police during U.S. Sen. John Kerry's Monday speech exited the Alachua County jail Tuesday afternoon and rushed to embrace his father.


During the forum, Meyer approached an open microphone to pose a question to Kerry, but University Police Department officers tried to physically remove him when he raised his voice and peppered Kerry with a series of questions.

Videos of Meyer's arrest, followed by a Tasering that made him scream in pain, have streamed across the Internet and been played by national media outlets. Critics have charged that the UPD officers involved, two of which have been placed on paid administrative leave, used excessive force. When Meyer was Tasered, he was being held to the floor by six officers.
Opinions and arguments are varying widely as to the necessity and appropriateness of the tasering the student received.

I really have no opinion on the whole affair, except they missed a perfect opportunity to taser the one person there who really deserves it.

HillaryCare, Again

Well, we knew it was gonna happen... Hillary has proposed reforming health care, again. But, this time, she promises it's not government-run.

And I have some oceanfront property to sell. In Nebraska.

Peter Ferrara explains:

Hillary Clinton’s plan starts out very simply: she will mandate under federal law that everyone in America must buy health insurance, and by this she supposedly achieves universal coverage. The catch, of course, is that once you start down the road with this mandate, you end up with government-run health care.

If you are going to require people to buy health insurance, then the next question which follows is, exactly what do they have to buy to fulfill this requirement? Suppose they buy the Fraternity Plan that pays only for unlimited beer and pizza during the weekends? Have they satisfied the requirement?

The serious point is if you are going to require people to buy health insurance, then you are going to have to specify exactly what health-plan people will have to buy to satisfy this requirement. So the government has gone from telling you that you need health insurance, to telling you what kind of health-insurance coverage or plan you must have. And with Hillary, we can assume that this will be no basic, minimum plan. But Hillary continues to insist that this is not government-run health care.

And this, of course, is only the beginning. Special interests will swarm to get their favored coverage in the required plan. People will merrily get used to billing everything in the plan to the insurance company. And costs will rise.

People will start complaining that they can’t afford paying for this costly coverage, and whining that the government must do something. The government itself will already be paying for a lot of this coverage, and budgets will therefore explode.

So the government will do something to control costs. It will start rationing. It will start telling people what services and treatments they can have, and when. It will start delaying access to new innovations. It will squeeze payments to health care providers so much that the providers will start rationing what they provide. Government guidelines will start dictating to these providers that they ration care, and how to do it. After a while, people start to realize, “hey, we have government run health care.”
And voila! Socialized medicine for the 21st century.

The problem is, Hillary introduced it too soon. Perhaps she feels the need to get the coverage off General Petraeus, perhaps there are other considerations, but with well over a year to pick apart this plan, the chances of it seeing the light of day are about the same as a snowball's in... well, you know.

Added @5:38 PM: Dan McLaughlin at RedState says of HillaryCare

She said she could envision a day when "you have to show proof to your employer that you're insured as a part of the job interview — like when your kid goes to school and has to show proof of vaccination," but said such details would be worked out through negotiations with Congress.

Proof of health insurance, yes. Proof of citizenship, no; that would be unfair and mean-spirited. Also, it's racist to require proof of citizenship and eligibility to vote.

Values Voter Debate Review

None of the candidates on the debate stage last night can legitimately claim they were short changed on time. The debate format was very fair and equitable. In the first round, each candidate got to answer each question. The second round consisted of a series of yes or no questions that the candidates responded to by illuminating a green or red light on the front of their podium. Round three was a series of questions posed to a specific candidate, but each candidate was asked a question.

The four absent GOP candidates were represented on stage by an unused podium. Each candidate had a set time to answer questions in each round and each was allotted a two minute time bank they could use to finish answers or extend or elaborate on answers or rebut another candidates answer. All the candidates did quite well in staying in allotted time. Only a couple of the candidates had used all of their extra two minutes at the end of the debate.

The debate kicked off at 7:30 PM Eastern. About twenty minutes was taken up with opening remarks by the debate hosts, prayers and a choir. In no way did those preliminaries cut into the time for the main event. The entire program lasted three hours; about two hours and forty minutes of that was devoted to the questions and answers.

All the groups that participated in the debate invited delegates to the debate who would vote in straw polls before and after the debate. Janet Folger explained they went to great lengths to make sure these delegates were representative of values voters and were in no way connected or associated with any of the candidate. Folger went to great lengths to make clear these straw polls are not like the straw polls we are accustomed to, as the candidates did not bus in their supporters, buy tickets or provide food or entertainment. It was a straw poll of strictly values voters.

(All emphasis in quoted passages were in the original text.)

“Unlike other straw polls where candidates have bussed in supporters or paid for their tickets, forty national leaders chose hundreds of delegates who accurately represent America’s largest voting block,” said Mat Staver, Chairman of Liberty Counsel, and Values Voter Debate committee member. “This is the most important straw poll yet.”
During the question and answer periods the delegates had a means to indicate their reaction to each candidate's answers. There was no on air indication of what those reactions were and I have not found anything after the fact showing those results.

Before the debate the delegates voted on which candidate they favored at that time. After the debate they voted once again and the debate sponsors tabulated the results to see what shifts took place from hearing the candidate's answers to the questions.

I missed the first few minutes of the after debate wrap up. The after debate results showed that the four absentee candidates had all suffered losses from the before debate polling. Ron Paul also suffered a big drop but still polled in the top three or four in the after debate poll.
“The big losers last night were the no-show candidates Fred Thompson who placed at 4 percent, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain who each received 1 percent and Mitt Romney who was the only candidate to receive zero votes at the end of the night.
Considering the audience and the questions, unsurprisingly, Mike Huckabee came out the big vote gainer and runaway winner in the after debate straw poll. Folger seems to think this might coalesce values voters behind Huckabee's campaign.

While many very good candidates attended the event, Governor Mike Huckabee was the clear winner,” said Janet Folger, President of Faith2Action and member of the Values Voter Debate committee. Huckabee received nearly five times the votes of the other candidates.
Again, there is no place I've found that shows the before and after polling results. All this is from releases from the debate and what I jotted down as they were explaining the results.

This debate was almost tailor made for these seven participating candidates. Even though some of the questions might have been a bit controversial for the four absentees, I don't see how they gained anything by skipping this forum, and think some of them lost quite a bit of credibility by not showing up. Even if their positions on some of the issues are not totally in line with groups sponsoring the debate, their appearance would have at least shown they are willing to face those who do not totally agree with them.

I can't help but wonder how the democrat presidential candidates would fare in this debate, being asked the same questions. There's obviously a reason they all declined an invitation to participate in a similar format sponsored by the same groups.

I'll make another post with some specifics from the debate and my impressions and observations of the candidates.

Reuters Reports Good News in Iraq

Well, I will be darned.

Reuters actually ran a positive story about Iraq.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A row of beds lies empty in the emergency ward of Baghdad's Yarmouk Hospital. The morgue, which once overflowed with corpses, is barely a quarter full.

Doctors at the hospital, a barometer of bloodshed in the Iraqi capital, say there has been a sharp fall in victims of violence admitted during a seven-month security campaign.

Last month the fall was particularly dramatic, with 70 percent fewer bodies and half the number of wounded brought in compared to July, hospital director Haqi Ismail said.

"The major incidents, like explosions and car bombs, sometimes reached six or seven a day. Now it's more like one or two a week," he told Reuters.

The relative calm at the Yarmouk hospital lends weight to U.S. and Iraqi government assertions that a security campaign launched around Baghdad in February has achieved results.

Pardon me while I pick my jaw up off the floor.

Kudos to Reuters for printing this.

And kudos to Confederate Yankee commenter "Neo" who pointed it out in this thread.


Another Lefty, Clueless About the Armed Forces

It's really hard to believe, but the college student who penned the essay linked above was apparently unaware that the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis is (gasp) part of the United States Navy!

I suppose, given the woeful state of education in this nation, I should be glad that she figured it out at all. However, she apparently feels that she needs to warn other people of this fact, which she has just recently grasped herself, and you can almost hear the outrage in her voice as you read her screed.

I wonder if she realizes that the United States Military Academy, Air Force Academy, and Coast Guard Academy are also part of the Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard, respectively. Perhaps that will be the subject of future essays by this political science major.

Hat Tip: The Tank

Automotive X-Prize Offered

The folks who launched the successful X-Prize for a vehicle entering space twice within a 2-week period have recently announced a new X-Prize, this one for a non-petroleum-based automobile.

Despite the typical lefty claptrap on their website about global climate change and such, I think this is a good idea. Privately-funded competition has given us most of the innovations we enjoy today, although it wasn't offered as a prize until recently. No one promised Edison a prize for developing the light bulb, but he knew he could make money from it, so he did it.

It'll be interesting to see what ideas come out of this X-Prize, too.

GOP Values Voters Debate - September 17, 2007

Bumped for visibility September 16, 2007 until debate time.

There will be a GOP Presidential candidate debate on Monday, September 17, 2007 at 7:30 PM (Eastern Time). The debate will be in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and is sponsored by American Family Association, along with others. The debate will be moderated by Joseph Farah of World Net Daily.

Participants will be: Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, Ron Paul and John Cox. Mitt, Rudy, McCain and Fred! all chose not to attend.

Updated 9/15/2007 @ 11:45 PM: Appears Alan Keyes has announced his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination and will attend the Values Voters debate. This will only make the stage more crowded and detract from the opportunity the other participants had for some more face, and voice, time.

Despite the absence of the big four, this is a great opportunity for the attending candidates. They will not be over shadowed and should get much more time and attention than they have gotten in the previous debates. If your guy is one of the other candidates, this is a debate you need to watch or listen to as they will likely get more time to talk about their issues than usual.

Coverage of the debate will be on Sky Angel television, VCY radio stations, WKBF-AM 1270 and webcast on AFA Net (believe it will require a simple registration).

If you've never heard of Sky Angel, you probably don't have it. The VCY stations can be streamed via the internet. WKBF is billed as a Spanish language station, so don't know if the debate will be in English or translated to Spanish, but does have live streaming.

I'll bump this post to the top on Monday as a reminder.

For scheduling purposes, the next GOP debate will be September 27, 2007. More on that closer to the date.

Note to debate organizers. This is another debate the sponsors seem to want to keep secret. It took me a good thirty minutes to find all the information I put into this post. Between conflicting times, including no specification of time zone, and no one place where the viewing and listening options were listed, if one were to try to find information at the last minute, the debate might be over before they were able to tune in. To me, just doesn't seem like a smart way to do business when you're trying to get your message out.

Added 9/14/2007 @ 11:53 PM: Corrected the date in the opening paragraph. Had it right in the title, then brain cramped in the body.

Also, it's worth noting that even though only six of the GOP candidates will participate in this debate, the offer was extended to the democrat candidates for a similar debate and none of them accepted.


FINALLY, Someone from the Left Side of the Aisle Criticizes MoveOn Ad

And it's a very simple, and to the point quote:

“Someone who’s spent their life in the military doesn’t deserve ‘General Betray Us,’”
Who had the guts to say that out loud?
MoveOn.org should not have labeled Gen. David Petraeus “General Betray Us” in a controversial newspaper ad, Elizabeth Edwards said in Des Moines Friday.

“Someone who’s spent their life in the military doesn’t deserve ‘General Betray Us,’” said Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.

Elizabeth Edwards spoke in an interview after a Des Moines campaign appearance. She noted that her father was a career naval officer, and she grew up on Navy bases, so she said she respects military service.
Of course, she still has to prove she's a lefty:
Elizabeth Edwards said the group could have made its point by simply using Petraeus’ own previous words about purported good news in Iraq without insulting him personally.
Get that... "purported good news in Iraq." Oh, well, can't have everything.

She's not the only one, either:
Her views on the ad were similar to those expressed Thursday by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin. The Iowa Democrat told a Des Moines Register reporter that the MoveOn.org ad “was a bad choice of words. I would have said, ‘Petraeus, mistaken again,’” Harkin said. “But ‘Betray Us?’ That’s going too far.”
I salute Mrs. Edwards and Senator Harkin for having the guts to point out that MoveOn crossed the line.

And a big raspberry to the rest of the lefties cowering before the power of MoveOn!

Hat Tip to NRO's Campaign Spot.

Open Suggestion Thread

Gonna try a little experiment here.

This thread is for any or all of our readers to suggest things you'd like us to write about, changes to the blog, or just shooting the breeze, if you want.

Please note, suggestions that we change to a lefty viewpoint, either on a certain issue or in toto, will be ignored. All other serious suggestions, however, will be considered. Obviously, neither John nor I can guarantee to do everything everyone asks, but we'll consider your suggestions.


Transportation Budget and Congressional Pork

Many headlines proclaimed Senate adds one billion dollars for bridges to Transportation bill. Only a few short weeks after the Minneapolis I-35 bridge collapse, sounds reasonable, especially with the reports of so many bridges in the United States in poor repair.

With a Transportation-HUD spending bill in excess of one hundred billion dollars, why would the committee need to add one billion dollars for bridge repair?

Possibly because of the eight billion dollars in pork stuffed in the spending.

Six weeks after a fatal Minneapolis bridge collapse prompted criticism of federal spending priorities, the Senate approved a transportation and housing bill Wednesday containing at least $2 billion for pet projects that include a North Dakota peace garden, a Montana baseball stadium and a Las Vegas history museum.

You might think after the catastrophe of the bridge collapse, our Congressmen would abandon their frivolity and focus on the real needs of our nation's infrastructure. You'd be wrong of course.

Total spending on transportation "earmarks" next year is likely to be about $8 billion, when legislative projects from a previously approved, five-year highway bill are factored in. A newly released report by the Department of Transportation's inspector general identified 8,056 earmarks totaling $8.5 billion in the fiscal year that ended in October, or 13.5% of the Transportation Department's $63 billion spending plan.

With so many needs for repairs to our nation's highways and bridges, with all the pork that needs to be handed out, how will we ever come up with enough money to do the real work needed? Raise taxes, of course.

Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has proposed a temporary 5-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase that he said would raise $25 billion over three years to help reduce the backlog of critical bridge repairs. Among Oberstar's earmarks in the House transportation bill is $250,000 for a bike trail in his district, which he has defended as legitimate. He did not respond to a request for comment.

I like that. A temporary tax. I'm here to say there is no such animal. Once Congress starts getting your money to spend, they are going to do everything they can to keep getting it. The only temporary thing related to taxes is temporary tax cuts. The Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 are due to expire in a couple of years and we can't get them extended or made permanent. Tax cuts are temporary. Tax increases are not.

One would think that a Representative from Minnesota, who chairs the committee that sets the spending for transportation needs for the country, would be more serious than to allow billions of dollars of pork to take precedence over highways and bridges. You would think wrong, of course.

Last, we hear from the stalwart Senator Tom Coburn.
Coburn's staff identified 500 earmarks in the bill, totaling $2 billion, that were publicly disclosed under new rules designed to shed some light on the practice.

"No one in America seriously believes that bike paths, peace gardens and baseball stadiums are more important national priorities than bridge and road repairs," Coburn said.

Coburn and a handful of other lawmakers routinely try to strip bills of earmarks, only to see colleagues crush them with bipartisan efficiency.

On Tuesday, Coburn offered an amendment prohibiting spending on earmarks until every structurally deficient bridge was fixed. It lost, 82 to 14.

Obviously, at least to Congress, it's not a matter of spending priorities. It's that we aren't paying enough gas taxes. As is so often the case in DC, the solution to a problem is not to solve the problem with prudent policy and focused spending priorities, it's to raise taxes.

It's very easy to lay the blame at the feet of Congress for this ongoing diversion of our tax money to feather the nests of elected Representatives and Senators by earmarking money for special pet projects in their districts and states. However, we should look at ourselves just as critically. Every time Congressman Porky Pig is at a ribbon cutting for some new project in your district and you think "Ah, good ole Porky Pig got us that bike trail" and you go and vote for him in the next election, you're encouraging him to use our tax dollars to perpetuate his incumbency.

Example of a transportation money used for pork: Sparta Teapot Museum

h/t: Mark Levin Show

HamNation - Out-truthing the Truthers

Conservababe, Mary Katherine Ham's vlog this week focuses on Ground Zero. Man on the Street comments on the troofers who swarm to the WTC site to advance their conspiracy theories.

Best line (at about 1:20 remaining): "I have enough confidence in the incompetence of the government to know it could never have been a conspiracy."

Research Poll Says 1.2 Million Slain in Iraq

Los Angeles Times has story claiming a British polling agency, ORB, has conducted a survey in Iraq suggesting as many as 1.2 million Iraqis have been slain since the start of the war in March 2003.

Let me call B.S. on this story right from the get go.

By Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 14, 2007
BAGHDAD -- -- A car bomb blew up in the capital's Shiite Muslim neighborhood of Sadr City on Thursday, killing at least four people, as a new survey suggested that the civilian death toll from the war could be more than 1 million.

The figure from ORB, a British polling agency that has conducted several surveys in Iraq, followed statements this week from the U.S. military defending itself against accusations it was trying to play down Iraqi deaths to make its strategy appear successful.


The headline touted a new survey claiming Iraqi civilian death toll may top 1 million. Yet the writer mixes in a recent bombing and accusations the military is fudging the numbers. What is the story here? Bombings and fudged numbers, or the survey claiming extraordinary numbers of dead?

According to the ORB poll, a survey of 1,461 adults suggested that the total number slain during more than four years of war was more than 1.2 million.

ORB said it drew its conclusion from responses to the question about those living under one roof: "How many members of your household, if any, have died as a result of the conflict in Iraq since 2003?"

Based on Iraq's estimated number of households -- 4,050,597 -- it said the 1.2 million figure was reasonable.

There was no way to verify the number, because the government does not provide a full count of civilian deaths. Neither does the U.S. military.

Both, however, say that independent organizations greatly exaggerate estimates of civilian casualties.

ORB said its poll had a margin of error of 2.4%. According to its findings, nearly one in two households in Baghdad had lost at least one member to war- related violence, and 22% of households nationwide had suffered at least one death. It said 48% of the victims were shot to death and 20% died as a result of car bombs, with other explosions and military bombardments blamed for most of the other fatalities.

The survey was conducted last month.

It was the highest estimate given so far of civilian deaths in Iraq. Last year, a study in the medical journal Lancet put the number at 654,965, which Iraq's government has dismissed as "ridiculous."


The number of deaths the Lancet study claimed have been thoroughly debunked. I feel safe in saying that this poll by ORB can also be dismissed as ridiculous.

Let's break down the numbers. The Iraq War began March 20, 2003. This article says the poll/survey was done last month, so let's call it August 20, 2007, just to make it easy for me. I call that 53 months. That's 4 years times 365 days, plus 5 months times 30 days, and add in four days for a leap year and thirty one day months.

(4 x 365) + (5 x 30) + 4 = 1460 + 150 + 4 = 1614 days since the start of the war.
1,200,000/1614 = 743.9 deaths per day. Even if we use the lower number of 1 million, we come out with 619.6 deaths per day. I'm still not buying it. Do you? Remember, these are war related deaths. Not deaths by old age, illness or anything else. War related.

The LA Times article doesn't give many details on the polling agency, nor a link to the organization's website. The only ORB I could find that resembled the organization in the Times article was ORB - opinion research business. It does market and opinion research and is located in England. From it's home page:

We offer market and opinion research as well as research-led message development through our company partnerships to help your organisation thrive in today’s rapidly changing environment.With experience in global market research in over 65 countries and a dedicated team of market research professionals, ORB can help your organisation meet its objectives.

From it's newsroom page, found the following on it's most recent surveys:

September 2007:UK attitudes towards Al-Basrah withdrawal

Latest findings from our BBC Newsnight Poll - released Sept.3rd 2007

August 2007: Sunnis financially suffering the most in Iraq

- Just one in five Iraqis believe that the general economic situation in Iraq has got better in the last twelve months. - Sunnis are suffering the most with 53% saying it has got worse

August 2007 - ORB proud to be awarded International Quality Standard

ORB has been awarded the international quality standard ISO 20252 by SGS - the worlds leading verification, testing and certification company.

So, they have done some recent surveys focused on Iraq, but nothing about this survey/poll quoted in the LA Times article.

The real problem with this survey is even if it is thoroughly discredited, much as the Lancet study has been, it may be quoted far and wide as authoritative - if it gets any dissemination in the media. How many days before Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi are quoting these results in the Senate or House and flinging it out at press conferences?

Updated 9/15/2007: The subject poll now appears at the ORB website. dKos diarist seems to be buying the results of the poll.

Anbar Government Dedicates Success to 9-11

President Bush made an unannounced visit to Anbar Province on Labor Day. We all heard about that. The visit and his remarks were analyzed in depth. His intentions and message were either hailed or criticized - depending on from what quarter the critique was coming.

Amidst all that hullabaloo, something happened that you likely didn't hear about. The Anbar Province Government presented a letter to President Bush.

RAMADI, Iraq - When members of the government of Anbar Province met with President Bush last week, they presented him with a letter dedicating their success in wiping out Al Qaeda here to the victims of Sept. 11

The letter, which was obtained by the Daily News, was signed by Anbar Governor Mamoun Sami Rashid, Provincial Council Chairman Abdul-Salam Abdullah, and Sheik Sattar abu Risha, the sheik credited with beginning the Anbar Awakening.

"In the month when the terrorists attacked the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, we dedicate the victory of Anbar Province to the families of the victims who suffred that criminal act," the letter said, which was addressed directly to Bush.

"With the help of the president of the United States, we pledge to continue to cooperate and communicate with you to continue to get good results," the letter said.

Yes gentle reader. From the Anbar Province Government to George Bush, dedicate to the victims of 9-11.

The above quoted article was in the New York Daily News on Monday, September 10, 2007. A quick search indicates this seems to be the only place it's appeared in the media, but has been posted on a few blogs.

Today, the Anbar Awakening leader, Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, was assassinated. Obviously his sin was working with MNF-Iraq and against al Qaeda.

[T]en days later, and a year after the young clan leader first rallied other Sunni tribes to challenge the terror movement, Abu Risha was assassinated Thursday.

American and Iraqi officials hoped the slaying would not stall the campaign to drive al-Qaida from the vast province spreading west of Baghdad and reconcile Sunnis with the Shiite-led national government.


All I want to know is why the letter from the Anbar Province Government isn't news. If the American people knew about that, how would they feel about our mission in Iraq?

h/t: Mark Levin Show


NYT Offers Lower Rates to Anti-War Ads

By now, many of you have probably heard about the MoveOn.org ad that ran in the 10 Sept edition of the NY Times, which cost them $65,000--far below the rate quoted on their card. If you haven't, Bob Owens over at Confederate Yankee has been all over it.

However, it now seems that there's another twist to the story:

The full page MoveOn.org ran on September 10, 2007 attacked General David Patreus’ credibility and patriotism. Freedom’s Watch’s full page on September 11, 2007 honored the memory of the victims of 9-11 and reminded your readers that America is engaged in a global war on terror.

According to the published reports, MoveOn.org paid $65,000 for its full page ad. This rate was not offered to Freedom’s Watch to run the same size ad with the same placement on September 11, 2007. The New York Times representative explained to us that we could run a “standby rate” ad for $65,000, but we could not pick the date or placement of the ad. At a minimum, it’s clear that MoveOn.org was able to pick the date of their ad or was given preferential treatment on the timing of the ad because it was reported before it was published.

We are at a loss to explain this discriminatory pricing. The only difference between the ads appears to be that Freedom's Watch disagrees with your paper’s editorial policy while MoveOn.org basically agrees with it. Surely it is not the policy of the Times to give discounts to certain advertisers based on this. And surely you do not wish to convey that your newspaper has suspended any patina of objectivity and fairness and is now actively promoting the MoveOn.org worldview in your news pages.

In short, either MoveOn got preferential treatment for their "standby" ad, or they got a heck of a discount. I can't wait to see if the NY Times permits Freedom's Watch to rerun their ad at the same rate that MoveOn paid.

I am betting they won't, to be quite honest with you. Lefties like those in charge of the NY Times are nothing if not shameless.

Today in Global Warming - 1922

Today in 1922, the Earth's highest ever recorded temperature was 136 F at Al' Aziziyah, Libya. As a side note, the highest recorded temperature in the United States was 134 degrees F in July , 1913 at Death Valley, California.

More proof of global warming - or not.


Tax Hike Mike (Huckabee)

I've been reading, with some skepticism, GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee's rising prospects, as noted in some polls. Some of this increasing popularity is based on his solid showing in the Ames GOP Straw Poll last month and his solid performances in GOP debates.

I'll admit, Huck is an attractive candidate. He's a former governor, he is well spoken, he's humorous, he's solid on family and values and has a good grasp on the issues. Nevertheless, Huck worries me. I think he's a populist and bit of a nanny-stater.

When I first heard Huckabee's name circulating as a prospective GOP presidential hopeful over a year ago, I did a little research and wasn't impressed with what I read. Yes, Huck can claim a record of accomplishment as Arkansas Governor, that doesn't mean it's a record he should run on as a conservative GOP presidential hopeful.

In recent weeks Huckabee has said as President he would sign legislation for a nationwide smoking ban and he has endorsed the DC Voting Rights Act.

Those two things alone give me pause. But it goes beyond that. In one of the early debates, Huckabee tried to shoulder the mantle of fiscal conservative and tax cutter. He claimed to have cut taxes ninety four times, then went on to say, as governor, he had turned a deficit into a one billion dollar surplus.

My first reaction was to wonder how Arkansas wound up with a billion dollar surplus if he had cut so many taxes.

Well, Club for Growth isn't very impressed with Huckabee's tax cutting resume either. Look what they have to say on Huck at Tax Hike Mike.

Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has taken to calling himself a “fiscal conservative,” but who ever heard of a fiscal conservative who raised taxes and spending through the roof while governor of Arkansas? Mike Huckabee is also calling himself “a different kind of Republican,” but that’s just a codeword for a big-government Republican who wants to cover up his tax-and-spend record with folksy talking points and one-liners. Sorry Tax Hike Mike. No dice.

(much more at the link)
h/t: Real Clear Politics

Ron Paul Radio with John Ziegler

Ron Paul did appear live, in studio, with KFI's John Ziegler Tuesday night.

Audio of the interview, about thirty minutes.

Below are my impressions of the interview. There is no transcript and I'm not going to go through the thirty minute clip several times to get exact questions and quotes. If you disagree with what my opinions and impressions are of the exchange, then click on the audio link and listen for yourself.

Ziegler bills himself as more libertarian than any other political leaning, but more cynical than anything. Despite his common ground with Paul's libertarian beliefs, the exchange sometimes turned testy and contentious.

Zig and Paul have differing opinions and viewpoints on the Iraq War and much of the interview was spent on that subject. One thing that Paul always brings up about Iraq is that it's un-Constitutional, because Congress didn't declare war. Yet, during the same interview Paul said he voted for the Afghanistan War. But that's not a declaration of war either. Much the same means and language have been used for both both military actions.

Most of the time I think Paul is just bent out of shape because it doesn't say United States Declares War on ________ at the top of the legislation.

Paul wouldn't even consider that the war in Iraq is simply the resumption of hostilities due to Iraq's breach of the Desert Storm cease fire agreement.

Ziegler turned the exchange to 9-11, as would be apt for the date, and especially Paul's views on the cause. Zig pointedly asked Paul if he was in the same camp as the 9-11 troofers. Paul adamantly denied that, saying he's not in the LIHOP/MIHOP* extreme. However, he does think we don't know the whole truth about 9-11, how we got there and what actually happened. Paul is not satisfied with the findings of the 9-11 Commission, nor, apparently, any other results of any investigations. However, sounds like he is of the belief we brought it upon ourselves - we deserved it.

I don't know how Paul thinks he's going to find a totally impartial, truth at any cost, body of people to find the whole truth and nothing but the truth in this day and age. Good luck on that.

In summation, Ron Paul has some good things to say and certainly has some valid points on the size and function and role of government. What he doesn't address is how he would be able to accomplish anything as President. If elected, even as a Republican, he would have no natural caucus in Congress. He might be able to cobble together a few from each side and get some legislation passed - but not very often. He could veto a lot of bills, which I predict would get overridden quite often.

As Ziegler pointed out to Paul during the interview it's not practical to make decisions today on what you should or should not have done in the past, but based on where you are today. I feel like Ron Paul would want to roll back our government to 1800. That's just not practical. Even if he's absolutely, 100% right, it's not practical - nor doable.

I was, have been, disappointed that no one has asked Paul about his invoking international law in one of his answers during the FOX debate in New Hampshire. I want to know how that squares with Paul's Constitution.

There's common ground I could find with some of Ron Paul's positions, just not as President. I simply cannot buy into Ron Paul's vision of foreign policy, especially not at this point in history. It's so one hundred years ago.

*Let it happen on purpose/Made it happen on purpose


Why We Must Remember 9/11

Today, I have overheard several people asking, in various forms, "why do they always have to bring up the attacks today?"

There is a very good reason, but it is rather hard to explain. I'll try, however.

We must remember because it was on this day, six years ago, that we were attacked both from without and from within. The men who piloted those planes into those buildings were not American citizens, but they had lived among us--eating our food, drinking our beverages, watching our TV, etc--for quite some time. Thus, though they came from outside our nation, they had at least experienced enough of it to be relatively at home here.

And they hated us. Their brethren around the world still hate us, and are determined to either destroy our way of life. If they can't do that, they will kill every single American that does not bow the knee to them and their twisted religion of hatred and death.

So why do they hate us so? That question has been pondered by much better minds--and much poorer ones--than mine. My own belief is that it is a combination of many factors. For some, it is our support of Israel. For some, it is that we, who as a nation are predominantly of another religion, is so much more successful than they are. For some, it is simply that it is easier for them to destroy others than improve themselves.

We are engaged in a war against these people. The main battlefields may currently be in Afghanistan and Iraq, but look at the headlines for the last year and you will see other places where the war is being waged--Glasgow Airport; Fort Dix; Ramstein, Germany among many others.

If we forget what these people did to us, collectively, as a nation, six years ago today; if we forget how we felt watching the horror unfold on our TV screens or listening on our radios, we may forget why it is important that we triumph over our enemies.

Even after this war is won, and I pray for our victory every day, we must still remember. Because we cannot permit ourselves to let another 9/11 happen. We have been caught with our pants down twice so far in our history; Pearl Harbor is the other instance. Both occurred when Americans believed we could safely turn our backs on the world and isolate ourselves. Both showed that when we do that, the world intrudes on us in devastating ways.

And that, neighbor, is why we must never forget 9/11, and why we must always honor those who were innocent victims of evil, and especially those who ran into danger when others were running away.

On a Tuesday Morning in September

I have been wondering since Friday what I was going to do for a 9/11 remembrance post.

Cox and Forkum has answered that. I am going to point you to the link in the title.

I honestly cannot do any better than they did.

See also Wizbang.


Ron Paul on KFI - Should be Good Radio

Ron Paul is scheduled for an on air interview tomorrow, Tuesday, September 11, 2007, with John Ziegler of KFI AM 640 (listen to streaming audio here). The interview is set for the seven o'clock hour (Pacific).

If Ron Paul makes the appearance, it should be a good time. John Ziegler is an excellent interviewer and won't pull any punches with Paul. Zig will go right at Ron Paul on his 9-11 troofer positions. There could be fireworks - or at least we can hope.

A year or two ago, Mary Mapes appeared on John Ziegler's show after she released her book about the TANG Memos. It was obvious Mapes and her publicist did not do their research on Zig. He sucked her right in and it was almost the end of the segment before she caught on that he was not sympathetic to her position.

Desecrating Monuments

I know that many people don't hold monuments to our fallen soldiers and war dead in as high of regard as others do. Some people think those fallen heroes are just fodder for bad foreign policy; they are dupes and as culpable as those who send them to fight. Those people probably believe that memorializing them and erecting monuments to those who gave their lives is profane. I understand that.

There are those among us who believe not only is it necessary to memorialize our war dead and heroes, it is entirely necessary. It is necessary to remind us as a Nation that our liberties and freedoms did not come without sacrifice.

We are a Nation that gained our independence through the will and sacrifice of thousands in the Revolutionary War. We kept our relatively young Nation from splintering during the Civil War. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died establishing our great Nation, keeping it whole and then fighting to keep peril from our shores and helping other freedom loving people establish and keep their own.

We, the United States of America, memorialize and erect monuments because it is the right thing to do - and the very least we can do.

When I read something like this, it makes my blood boil. And it makes me very sad. Robert Bluey at RedState reports.

I got word this morning from Gathering of Eagles that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial had been vandalized, so I headed over to check it out for myself. Sure enough, I found several stones covered with an oily substance.

In the above photo (and others available on Flickr), you'll noticed that the memorial has been sprayed toward the bottom of the wall with some kind of black substance. Free Republic has also posted photos.


The most tragic part of the vandalism is that the damage appears to be permanent. The Park Service employee who talked to me said that the initial diagnosis was that the oily substance had stained the stone. He said another analysis would take place tomorrow.

At a time when America is particularly sentimental about the men and women who have given their lives for our country, this is a sad and unfortunate act. The coward who did it should be ashamed.

Vietnam Wall Vandalized

With the testimony this week by General Petraeus before Congress and the sixth anniversary of 9-11 tomorrow, one would have to believe this act of vandalism and desecration had to be motivated by a political view point.

The Park Service says they are reviewing video tape. I hope they can identify the perpetrators of this desecration. If they are part of an organized group, I would wish that the media make them infamous. I won't hold my breath.

If the monument cannot be repaired, I think it would be fully justified for the Park Service to install a placard near the site pointing out the effects of the vandalism and noting the name(s) of the vandals and any group associated with the act.

No matter what your viewpoint on an issue, no matter how volatle, no matter how passionately you believe in your cause, it is never appropriate or acceptable to vandalize, deface or destroy someone's property. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the property of the people of the United States.

In May, a monument to forty five war dead was destroyed in Beeville, Texas.

There was a somber sight in the city of Beeville Tuesday night, as a war memorial honoring veterans killed in four wars was completely destroyed.

That memorial once stood as five granite panels, with the names of 45 veterans who lost their lives, paying the ultimate sacrifice. But Tuesday, the memorial lies in pieces at the city's maintenance yard.

Local veterans said they're not sure when the memorial was vandalized. They say it looks like someone took their car and just rammed into it. The memorial was erected in 1989 and residents there said they're devastated by it's vandalism, because it's more than just rock - it's a symbol of freedom.

I would rather the anti-war, anti-military protesters spit on me and hurl invective at me. Just please, don't destroy the monuments. The names on those walls can no longer defend themselves.

Today In Global Warming - 1976

On this day in 1976, the weakened Hurricane Kathleen hit Ocotillo, CA. Lest anyone be confused, a Pacific hurricane is not the same as an Atlantic hurricane. Pacific "hurricanes" are cyclones but nevertheless named as hurricanes and make up the Pacific Hurricane Season as opposed to Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Kathleen was the first tropical cyclone to hit Southern California since 1939. There was over $160 million in damages and five people died. A wall of water left a 700 feet wide, 40 feet deep gap at the Myer Creek Bridge on I-8. The 4 to 6 feet high wall of water destroyed 70% of the homes in Ocotillo, CA, about 90 miles east of San Diego.
If this weather phenomenon occurred today, I'm sure someone would attempt to attribute it to global warming. Yet, in 1976 the experts were concerned about the coming ice age.

Kathleen's rainfall
Hurricane Kathleen track

Destructive Storm Hits the Desert

[O]ne of these rare instances was in September of 1976. On September 7th, a tropical storm formed off the coast of Baja California, which is not unusual in the least. Several hurricanes and tropical storms form in this area every year without affecting land. Many of these head north until they reach cooler water where they dissapate. However, this storm formed very quickly and moved swiftly up the coast until it reached the midpoint of Baja. There, it turned into a hurricane and made landfall, causing it to lose strength and turn into a tropical storm. However, this storm moved so fast over land to the north that it did not disspate enough to spare the Yuha and Colorado desert areas of tropical storm strength wind and rain. Yuma recorded a sustained wind of 57 mph.

Ten to eleven inches of rain hit the mountains of Southern California on the 10th and 11th. Even half of this amount is as much rain as the desert receives on an average year. The desert floor around Ocotillo and I-8 turned into a large inland sea. The freeway was destroyed and the most of Ocotillo was destroyed and three people drowned. San Diego's major highway to the east was gone. The Southern Pacific Railroad lost over a million dollars in railway (you can see an overturned tressel in the Plaster City area to this day). The storm wasn't quite through, though. It continued north across the Mojave and Sonoran deserts until it died over the high deserts of Nevada.


Some history on California tropical storms from USA Today.

Link to map of Ocotillo, CA

On the Atlantic Hurricane Season front, an article in Bloomberg News reports that hurricane researchers have flubbed their predictions for two straight years.

Hurricane researchers, who forecast seven more storms this season, have flubbed the past two annual estimates because of unusual El Nino and La Nina weather phenomena in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The predictions reflect variables that make this kind of weather forecasting ``more art than science,'' said Eric Blake, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Two of the nine Atlantic hurricanes predicted already have occurred for the season that ends Nov 30. Last year, five storms emerged after nine were anticipated.


For the global warming alarmists: Earth is cooling.