Wednesday, May 31

$85 million

National Guardsman Sgt. Peter Damon, an Iraqi war vet who lost both arms while repairing a Black Hawk helicopter, has announced that he is suing Michael Moore and Miramax for $85 million for using what he describes as 'misleading' footage of him while being treated at Walter Reed Medical Center in Moore's wildly inaccurate documentary 'Fahrenheit 9/11.'

From TheState.com:

"In the movie, Damon is shown lying on a gurney, with his wounds bandaged. He says he feels likes he's "being crushed in a vise."

"But they (the painkillers) do a lot to help it," he says. "And they take a lot of the edge off of it.""

Damon's contention is that Moore misleadingly sequenced his clip after Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), a pacivist and former ally of Saddam Hussein, said the following, "You know, they say they're not leaving any veterans behind, but they're leaving all kinds of veterans behind."

Damon says he "agrees with and supports the President and the United States' war effort, and he was not left behind."

'radioactive corruption'

How relevant can the concept of 'Separation of Powers' actually be if the parties in question refuse to actively police themselves?

Here's an example of what NOT to do: Pull a Sandy Burger and stuff secret documents into your pants.

Or into a bag, like dirty Congressman Jefferson (D-LA) did the other night as the Feds were searching his house in New Orleans.

REPEAT AFTER ME: Obstruction of Justice.

Via WaPo: "It is my belief that when Congressman Jefferson placed documents into the blue bag, he was attempting to conceal documents that were relevant to the investigation," said FBI agent Stacey E. Kent.

Meanwhile, in January, Brent Pfeffer, a former congressional aide to Jefferson was sentenced to eight years in federal prison after pleading guilty to bribing and conspiring to bribe Jefferson.

NOW there's a bunch of crazy talk coming from Capitol Hill from a bunch of mixed up politicians, one who just happens to be my very own Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) who has mentioned impeaching Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Thankfully, the always brilliant Andy McCarthy goes beyond the craziness with an instructive timeline:

July 2005 -- Jefferson's videotaped $100,000 bribery.

August 3, 2005 -- $90,000 (from the above $100,000) was seized from Jefferson's freezer.

Same day -- The Justice Department served a grand-jury subpoena on Jefferson.

MORE from McCarthy:

"Subpoenas apparently followed in the late summer of 2005, to both Jefferson and his chief of staff. Speaker Hastert, according to a memorandum filed by the Justice department on Tuesday, was notified about the subpoenas by Jefferson on September 15, 2005, and again on November 18, 2005. The Justice department has been trying to get production on those subpoenas ever since—to no avail."

Interesting. Dennis Hastert -- the same Hastert that has been bitching and moaning that he didn't have enough heads up about the FBI raid on Jefferson's office. Strange, it turns out that the Speaker had PLENTY of advance notice on the raid.

For all of those attempting the straw man argument of protecting the 'Speech and Debate' clause...as if any papers in the possession of a Congressman are work product and deserve Constitutional protection. Ridiculous. When did lawmakers start attempting to protect criminal activity with the Constitution? Yet, Republicans Robert Walker, a former PA Congressman, Hastert, Issa among others are actually making this argument.

McCarthy nicely sums it up:

"Notwithstanding all of this, for month after month, as Jefferson day-after-day participated in the business of the American people, there is no indication that Congress itself ever did anything—anything—to address this blight. With its public reputation for institutional integrity at stake, the same guys now talking about impeaching the attorney general or hauling him and the FBI director up to the Hill to answer tough questions did absolutely nothing about the blatant evidence of radioactive corruption in their midst."

Tuesday, May 30

'national proportions'

The headline from Bob Novak's new piece says it all: "Black Republican a Dem nightmare."

The "Black Republican" is Maryland Senatorial candidate Michael Steele, who in a deep, deep Blue state like Maryland is drawing people like Richmond Myrick to rallies.

Novak says:

"Myrick, the principal of Largo High School, is a registered Democrat in overwhelmingly Democratic Prince George's County next to Washington, D.C. He has not been active politically and is not recorded as having made any contributions to candidates for federal office. Yet recently, he stood in the parking lot of Prince George's Community College adjoining his school to introduce Republican Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, whom he has endorsed for the U.S. Senate."

No wonder Democrats are freaking out. They win the black vote every election promising big changes, yet they never deliver and nothing ever changes. Blacks living in poverty still live in poverty. Broken inner city schools remain broken. The uneducated still aren't learning.

Democrats have no credibility with the African American community anymore. But the GOP does. Lower taxes, education credits, school vouchers, (a Republican concept with high support in the black community) African American home ownership has seen record levels under George W. Bush. And African Americans hold unrivaled power in the Federal Government thanks to the Bush Administration, with Powell, Rice, Jackson and others.

Steele, for his part however, isn't just walking the party line. He's been critical of the White House, specifically on education and on Hurricane Katrina.

''In the eyes of blacks, Katrina was a 9/11 event. You (President Bush) didn't fly over 9/11. You got on the ground in the rubble. You should have been on the ground for Katrina.''

I strongly disagree with that assessment. People forget, but Bush was on the ground once the waters receded. And he continues to visit the Gulf Coast regularly. I think Steele is speaking to the choir for political reasons, and in that vein, I support him. But, BUT -- it is far too easy to bash Bush over some pre-conceived notions, many of them false, created and continually advanced by a hyper-partisan press.

As long as Steele is talking to black people about Hurricane Katrina, perhaps it would be instructive for him to point out to Maryland blacks that it was the Democrats in Louisiana -- led by Governor Kathleen Blanco and newly re-elected New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin -- who failed people of all races on the ground in New Orleans, both before and after Katrina. Maybe Steele could educate the Maryland electorate the role of State Governments in disasters versus the role of FEMA and the Federal Government.

guilty




Just as the MSM isn't telling us the truth about what's going on in Iraq, they aren't reporting the truth about things happening in our own country.

The '02 DC Sniper case of Lee Malvo and John Muhammad was never reported as it was, two crazed Islamic radicals, waging their own version of jihad on the Washington area.

Already facing a death sentence in Virginia, Muhammad was convicted today of killing six additional people.

From the AP:

According to the testimony of Malvo, "Muhammad planned two phases of attacks -- six shootings a day for a month, followed by a wave of bombings of schools, school buses and children's hospitals. Malvo said that when he asked Muhammad why, the older man replied: "For the sheer terror of it - the worst thing you can do to people is aim at their children."

MORE:

"Muhammad hoped to extort $10 million from authorities and use the money to set up a school in Canada to teach homeless children how to use guns and explosives and use violence to shut down other cities, Malvo said."

Check out Malvo's drawings. I'm still lovin' that religion of peace, how about you?

trading up

Meet President Bush's choice for new Treasury Secretary: Goldman Sachs chief executive officer Henry M. Paulson Jr.

There has been speculation that Paulson might be the choice for Treasury since Josh Bolton, a former Goldman Sachs executive and now Bush's new chief of staff, had worked with Paulson, a committed environmentalist and avid bird-watcher.

I smell two new brewing controversies from this nomination:

--1. While I haven't yet checked out the Left wing blogs for the DNC response to Paulson, my head tells me that they either already are or will soon all be crying 'nepotism' anew, given the fact that Paulson was a 'Pioneer' and raised $100,000 for Bush's '04 re-election campaign.

--2. Then there is the matter of what-Bush-knew-and-when-did-he-know-it as relating to Snow/Paulson because as recently as last Thursday night, during his co-press conference with Tony Blair, a question was posed to the President about Treasury Secretary John Snow. "No, he has not talked to me about resignation. I think he's doing a fine job," Bush said.

But according to press secretary Tony Snow, Bush had offered Paulson the Treasury job five days before. Certainly, this will become more fodder for the anti-Bush crazies about his penchant for lying.

So what about John Snow? How did he fall out of favor with Bush? There is the clear perception that he failed on Social Security reform and on overhauling the burdensome US tax code. Some of that is true, but not for lack of trying. More than those two separate issues, I think it was Snow's anemic role as economic cheerleader-in-chief that finaly did him in. He never really established a credible narrative on what many people are now calling the best economy in history.

Whomever the spokesperson is -- Snow, Paulson or Mickey Mouse -- the virulent anti-Bush press will continue to under report good news of any kind for the President.

Monday, May 29

down in front

Senate Minority leader Harry Reid (joined by John McCain, on the left side of the photo) accepted a $1,400 ringside ticket to the Oscar De La Hoya-Bernard Hopkins championship fight in Vegas back in September '04.

Just a nice little campaign contribution from the Nevada Athletic Commission. That's right about the same time that Reid was busily pocketing $60,000 in cash from dirty lobbyist Jack Abramoff. How about them apples?

Oh, by the way, McCain paid for his ticket.

Sunday, May 28

'defacto directory'

As an wannabe screenwriter, as a movie fan, I peruse the Internet Movie Database from time to time. In conversations I have with people 'in the business,' I'll hear about someone I know working on such-and-such project or a friend of a friend will mention that so-and-so is in production on the latest Sandra Bullock, Kevin Costner, or Sam Shephard project.

IMDB, as its called, is the biggest online superstore of all things motion picture. I thought I knew a lot about the site, but I didn't know, for example, that the site is owned, not by Paramount or Twentieth Century Fox, but by Amazon.com. I learned too that they don't have big, swanky offices in Hollywood, rather they operate out of a modest office in Great Britain.

Conceived as merely a hobby of cataloging films and actors, founder Col Needham (above) makes money by selling ads, publicity photos and selling movie tickets through partners, licensing its content and by offering a premium service -- called IMDB Pro -- where, for $99 a year, subscribers get 'granular access' to industry data like movie budgets, details about films in production and lists of cast, crew, writers, directors and producers.

IMDB also gauges popular actors and films through its Starmeter and Movimeter ratings. And as the Times correctly points out, Google virtually any big screen tough guy or sexy starlet, and the highest ranking hits, more often than not, come from IMDB.

It appears that big things are coming down the pike for Col and his company. While being mum to talk about it, the evidence all clearly points to some type of online delivery for movies to PC's. Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios and Warner Brothers are all involved.

Stay tuned.

Friday, May 26

lame duck?

Happy Memorial Day. My Dad was a Marine, so you'll see me at his grave this weekend honoring his service and his character. I hope you'll do the same for your loved ones or just thank someone currently in serving in the miltary. Just make sure they know you appreciate their sacrifice. It'll mean a lot.

I won't be posting this weekend. In fact, I'm here packing it in on a Friday night and the thought just occurred to me: President Bush is supposedly a lame duck. But look what's happened lately.

-- Extended tax cuts

-- Falling gas prices

-- Sunnier outlook in Iraq

-- Drilling now looks possible in Alaska

-- Immigration bills are forthcoming

-- Judicial nominees finally being confirmed

This is a guy with a 30% approval rating?

three years later...

Three years after first being nominated as an U.S. Appellate Judge, Brett Kavanaugh has finally been confirmed by the Senate, 57-36.

Congratulations to Majority leader Frist. He promised to get this done before Memorial Day.

'taqqiya'

Driving home the other night I caught about 15 minutes of the Hugh Hewitt radio show. The guest was the always brilliant writer Mark Helprin, who was busy offering his thoughts about Iran, Iraq and the current state of the US military.

Linked above is Helprin's piece, "After Diplomacy Fails," which ran in the April 13, 2006 WaPo.

This caught my eye:

"Iran's claim of innocuous nuclear ambitions comports both with the Islamic doctrine of taqqiya (literal truth need not be conveyed to infidels) and the Western doctrine of state secrecy (the same thing), and it is part of a strategy of deception and false compromise deployed to buy time."

Arabs, if they are following Islam to the letter, will never be honest with non-Muslims?

Good to know.

'eminently qualified'

By a 78-15 vote, the Senate confirmed General Michael Hayden as the new director of the CIA this morning.

for scooter

Federal Judge Reggie Walton has ordered Time Magazine to turn over relevant documents to Scooter Libby's attorneys for use in his defense against perjury and other charges in the CIA leak case.

Walton also told represenatives of the New York Times they 'might' be asked to turn over some documents, but fewer than previously expected, while former Times reporter Judith Miller was informed that she 'doesn't have to provide two notebooks, her phone records or appointment calendars to lawyers for Libby, Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff.'

Additionally, NBC is not expected to release documents because correspondent Andrea Mitchell will not be testifying in the case.

Thursday, May 25

'steadfast'

"The amazing thing about dealing with Prime Minister Blair is never once has he said to me on the phone, we better change our tactics because of the political opinion polls. And I appreciate that steadfast leadership. And I appreciate somebody who has got a vision, a shared vision, for how to not only protect ourselves in the war on terror, but how to make the world a better place."

---President George W. Bush, May 25, 2006.

Great sentiments shared tonight by two brilliant men, Tony Blair and George W. Bush. The stakes are indeed high. Losing would be catastrophic. A perceived loss could be just as bad. The President and the Prime Minister understand this. They remain confident. Progress is being made. But the counter-insurgency must continue. It must.

Despite all the calls for immediate withdrawal and despite the MSM's narrative which has relentlessly painted Iraq as a fiasco, here's how I see it. We've been in Iraq for three years. It's been more painful than we expected. American lives have been lost. But leaving now, leaving prematurely, means that we won't have properly finished the job. If the Iraqi government tells us they need more time, another year, then by all means, let's give them another year. Let's finish this the right way.

Americans are doubting Bush's resolve, doubting the loss of lives, doubting the importance of the mission. The terrorists in Iraq aren't, which is why they continue to fight.

h.r. 5429

One million barrels of oil a day by drilling in ANWR? It doesn't matter what the environmentalists want anymore. Energy independence is a pressing need.

The House passed H.R. 5429 bill today, 225-201. Will the arrogant bastards in the Senate choose to play politics with America's national security again? What's more important? The mythical 'rights' of a reindeer in Alaska or the positive economic effects of lower gas prices?

tonight

"They're not going to race out and say, we're all coming home. You know, there aren't going to be people kissing in Times Square tomorrow. But I do think what you will have is a very forward-leaning set of discussions about how to proceed forward," said White House spokesman Tony Snow.

guilty

Conspiracy to commit securities fraud, bank fraud and wire fraud.

Wouldn't it be fitting if both of these guys, Lay and Skilling, were made to be productive, to do more than just sit in their jail cells the rest of their lives? Why not have them work to pay back their debts to their former employees?

Mentoring inner city school kids, teaching at community colleges, lecturing to business people, maybe they get lucrative book deals. Whatever they do, they get paid, with all the proceeds going to the hardest-suffering former Enron employees.

President Bush? Here's a feel-good election year idea for your Administration. Sign an Executive Order mandating incentive tax breaks for corporations willing to pay Lay and Skilling for 'community services performed.' All monies earned would then be collected and given back, tax free, to those who lost their pensions, everything, while Lay et. al., were secretly dumping Enron stock.

advance

Apparently security lapses aren't limited to the Secret Service. (See my post 'You're Fired' from May 9)

A British 'attack scenario' document tasked with protecing Prime Minister Tony Blair and his cabinet was left behind at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, England (presumably by an absent-minded member of the advance team) ahead of the upcoming Labour Party conference in September.

The document, part of a detailed folder of likely 'suggested' terrorist scenarios including car bombs, mortar attack, rocket grenades and suicide bombers.

From the UK Independent:

"The documents were stamped "Restricted" and "Confidential", but Greater Manchester Police said security had not been compromised and no specific threat against the conference or the Prime Minister had been identified."

gassy

Here's my problem with the Global Warming zealots. While they are lecturing the rest of us about the evils of greenhouse gases and the vital importance of limiting emissions, caution is thrown to the wind whenever it serves their own purposes.

Check out the French exploits of 'Friend of the Earth,' Al Gore:

"Gore and his team were seen driving the 500 metres or so from a hotel to the Cannes festival headquarters in several cars. The representative said that arriving at events like photocalls and news conferences in cars was normal practice in Cannes. And Gore walked the shorter distance from another hotel to the festival for the movie's screening."

libel, defamation

Here's the text of Hastert's letter to ABC News:

"David Westin
George Stephanopoulos
Brian Ross
ABC News
7 West 66th St.
New York, NY 10023

RE: False Story Regarding Justice Department Investigation

Dear Mr. Westin, Stephanopoulos, and Mr. Ross:

At 7:25 p.m., the Statement of the Department of Justice confirmed:

“Speaker Hastert is not under investigation by the Justice Department.”

At 10:21 p.m., you wrote:

“Whether they like it or not, members of Congress, including Hastert, are under investigation,” one federal official said tonight.”

This statement is false, and your republication of it after actual knowledge of its falsity constitutes libel and defamation. ABC News’ continued publication of this false information, after having actual knowledge of its falsity, evidences a specific and malicious intent to injure and damage Speaker Hastert’s reputation by continued repetition of a known falsehood.

We will take any and all actions necessary to rectify the harm ABC has caused and to hold those at ABC responsible for their conduct.

Please advise regarding who will accept service of process to remedy this intentional falsehood.

Very truly yours,
J. Randolph Evans
Stefan C. Passantino
Counsel to Speaker J. Dennis Hastert"

phony

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert victimized by ABC News? The network is reporting that the Illinois Congressman is 'under investigation' by the Justice Department.

Interestingly, said Justice Department is saying that Hastert 'is not' under investigation.

I don't know enough about the story, but we do know for a fact that the MSM invents stories about Republicans, and GOP policies, everyday.

"Rathergate"?

Under-reporting on Iraq?

Biased reporting on President Bush?

Downplaying the strength of the economy?

Virtually no coverage of scandals involving Democrats?

This same report on Hastert last night by Brian Ross made no mention of Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson's party affiliation -- he's a Democrat.

Wednesday, May 24

'legal, safe and orderly'

"Since the beginning of my administration, the government of Mexico has promoted the establishment of a new system that regulates the movement of people across our border in a manner which is legal, safe and orderly."

---Mexican President Vicente Fox, during remarks to the Utah Legislature, May 24, 2006.

What the hell is he talking about? The border is a complete free-for-all, with people sneaking across, drowning, being attacked by coyotes and snakes, dying, crashing into vehicle barricades, etc.

sandy froman

The National Rifle Association, for only the second time in its history, has elected a woman President. Sandy Froman, 55, a widow and attorney from Tucson.

"When you look at the criminal use of guns, it's a small fraction of the firearms that are used everyday by peaceable Americans for lawful purposes, and that's what I'm here to talk about," Froman said.

The Constitution's 2nd Amendment affords all Americans the right to 'keep and bear arms,' and I'm glad the NRA has someone like Froman out in front representing them. It's hard to imagine the Left demonizing Froman the way they savaged Charleton Heston.

I caught Froman on Fox News Channel this past weekend and she told her story: Growing up a San Francisco Liberal hating guns, but after being robbed at gunpoint in her own home, she got angry, took shooting lessons and became a licensed gun owner.

In her words: "Now I'm active on the political side."

puff piece

"Since the start of 2005, the Clintons have been together about 14 days a month on average, according to aides who reviewed the couple's schedules. Sometimes it is a full day of relaxing at home in Chappaqua; sometimes it is meeting up late at night. At their busiest, they saw each other on a single day, Valentine's Day, in February 2005 — a month when each was traveling a great deal. Last August, they saw each other at some point on 24 out of 31 days. Out of the last 73 weekends, they spent 51 together. The aides declined to provide the Clintons' private schedule."

--Patrick Healy, the New York Times, May 23, 2006.

I thought I was reading People Magazine, US Weekly or the Star, not America's 'Newspaper of Record.'

MORE:

There is a 'public distance' of the Clinton's,' reportedly because Bill is concerned with appearing to be stepping on Hillary's toes as she embarks on the '08 Presidential campaign. Also, he is a much better speaker than she is.

"When the Clintons appeared at Coretta Scott King's funeral in February, several Democrats remarked that the former president's emotive tone and remarks were pitch perfect — and that Mrs. Clinton sounded starchy by comparison."

Rather, he's got a personality and she doesn't.

MORE:

'Rarely do the Clintons appear in public when they are together.' They struggle to spend time together, 'an hour here, two hours there.' Really? That's hard to substantiate.

Actually, there are very few actual sources in this story. Former advisor Donna Brazille is quoted a couple of times, but it's more like '...said one longtime friend of the couple's, who was granted anonymity because the Clintons did not want this person to speak.'

Quite the puff piece.

I was really hoping that the inquisitive Healy might explain how the artist responsible for paiting Bill's portrait (above) omitted the former President's wedding ring. I read somewhere that the artist didn't believe including the ring was 'important.'

Ah, screw it. Those two crazy lovebirds -- they've got SOME marriage, don't they?

opposites

I like how the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) is describing the Jefferson matter:

"They are different scales," Mr. Emanuel said. "One (the Republicans) is a party outlook and operation; the other (Jefferson) is an individual's action. They have institutional corruption."

(Laughing) Okay Rahm. But what about Alan Mollohan (D-W.VA), the former ranking member of the House ethics committee, who resigned last month for unethical conduct? You failed to mention him.

Republicans, when charged with wrongdoing -- Tom DeLay, for example -- immediately and voluntarily give up their leadership posts and cooperate with investigators, but Democrats, faced with similar charges, not only refuse to leave their leadership positions, they also work fast and furiously to obstruct investigations.

Why is that?

he won't go


From Reuters:

Claiming not to care about the 'high ethical standards' of the House Democratic Caucus, "Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson rejected a request by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to step down from the Ways and Means Committee while the Justice Department investigates whether he took more than $400,000 in bribes to promote Internet technology in west Africa."

"I will not give up a committee assignment that is so vital to New Orleans at this crucial time (rebuidling from Katrina) for any uncertain political strategy," Jefferson said in a letter to Pelosi."

Jefferson cannot be forcibly removed with a full House vote. Actually, I think he's smart to hang on, what with Republican leaders like Boehner and Hastart siding with him on Constitutional protections of his office.

At this point, he's got nothing to lose. The FBI might decide to return the documents obtained by last weekend's raid on his offices. And he'd still have that $90,000 in his freezer. But who really cares? We all know it was just racial, anyway.

pelosi

From the AP:

"May 24, 2006

Congressman William J. Jefferson, 2113 Rayburn House Office Building, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Jefferson:

In the interest of upholding the high ethical standard of the House Democratic Caucus, I am writing to request your immediate resignation from the Ways and Means Committee.

Sincerely,

Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader"

Hey, wait just a minute, Nan. What about 'the Republican Culture of Corruption'?

liftoff

Terrorists are so obvious, aren't they? While the Iranians conducted a "partly successful" test of the long range Shihab 3 missile yesterday, Israel's Prime Minister Olmert had a private in the Oval Office at about the exact same time.

Wow. What a coincidence.

For their part, the Israeli's have been testing the Arrow 2 missile defense system, which, as recently as December, successfully intercepted a simualted incoming Iranian missile at a higher altitude than any of the previous exercises.

The thinking goes like this: If the United States attacks Iran to quell their nuclear program, then Iran, seeking retribution, will simultaneously attack Israel and trigger multiple suicide attacks within the US, via Hezbollah, the Lebanese umbrella organization of radical Islamic Shiite groups and organizations.

Here's my question: What would 'President Kerry' do?

o is for obvious

Can someone please tell me how this Taylor Hicks person has gotten to the 'American Idol' finals? I've never seen a goofier acting person on television and last night's rendition of that Elton John song was ghastly.

Meanwhile, Katharine what's-her-face is adorable, she's got a great voice, she's comfortable in front of the camera...she's a freakin' natural. Done. Over. Finished.

From a financial standpoint, however, it would be better for McPhee's career is she loses tonight because then she'll be contractually free of Simon. As the creator/owner of the show he gets more than half of the winner's earnings for seven years.

Tuesday, May 23

nano nike

Apple Computer and Nike have created a joint venture, 'Nike+iPod.'

From Reuters:

"Using a Nike+iPod Sports Kit, expected to retail for about $29, consumers will be able to access distance, time, pace and calories burned on the screen of a nano version of the iPod via a sensor inside the shoes that communicates with the digital music player."

Look for it in two months, with more products to follow.

.mobi

I'm a wannabe cyber squatter. Yes I am.

Microsoft, Google, Vodaphone, Nokia, and others, have put together a company to create a new domain name: .mobi, for 'Mobile,' to take advantage of the growing cellphone/Blackberry content market.

As it stands now few websites are created to be viewed on mobile devices. Mobile Top Level Domain is going to change all that.

"Dot-mobi makes the Internet work on phones," says Neil Edwards, Mobile Top Level Domain Chief Executive Officer.

I was going to snap up some sweet .mobi domain names this morning and make some big bucks, until I discovered that they won't be available for public purchase (that's for you and me) until August 28.

Damn. Squashed by 'the Man,' again.

BTW, here's my dream .mobi list. Market value, give or take, around $75 million...

MySpace.mobi
NFL.mobi
NBA.mobi
MLB.mobi
AmericanIdol.mobi
HBO.mobi
HelloMoto.mobi
TMobile.mobi
Nike.mobi
Netflix.mobi
MTV.mobi
VH1.mobi
Paramount.mobi
Sony.mobi
Universal.mobi
Starbucks.mobi

beyond dispute

Peter Wehner, deputy assistant to the president and director of the White House's Office of Strategic Initiatives, lays out heavy doses of the facts about Iraq in today's WSJ.

Myth: The president misled Americans to convince them to go to war.

Ted Kennedy: "There is no question [the Bush administration] misled the nation and led us into a quagmire in Iraq."

Jimmy Carter: ""President Bush has not been honest with the American people."

Al Gore: "An "abuse of the truth" characterized the administration's "march to war."

Wrong. "The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is the intelligence community's authoritative written judgment on specific national-security issues. The 2002 NIE provided a key judgment: "Iraq has continued its [WMD] programs in defiance of U.N. resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of U.N. restrictions; if left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade.""

"The bipartisan Silberman-Robb Commission, which investigated the causes of intelligence failures in the run-up to the war, we now know that the President's Daily Brief (PDB) and the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief "were, if anything, more alarmist and less nuanced than the NIE." We also know that the intelligence in the PDB was not "markedly different" from that given to Congress."

John Kerry: "I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security."

Ted Kennedy: "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."

Hillary Clinton said in 2002: "In the four years since the inspectors, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability and his nuclear program."

"Beyond that, intelligence agencies from around the globe believed Saddam had WMD. Even foreign governments that opposed his removal from power believed Iraq had WMD: Just a few weeks before Operation Iraqi Freedom, Wolfgang Ischinger, German ambassador to the U.S., said, "I think all of our governments believe that Iraq has produced weapons of mass destruction and that we have to assume that they continue to have weapons of mass destruction.""

"In addition, no serious person would justify a war based on information he knows to be false and which would be shown to be false within months after the war concluded. It is not as if the WMD stockpile question was one that wasn't going to be answered for a century to come."

Myth: The Bush administration pressured intelligence agencies to bias their judgments.

Gore: "CIA analysts who strongly disagreed with the White House found themselves under pressure at work and became fearful of losing promotions and salary increases."

Kennedy: "The administrationput pressure on intelligence officers to produce the desired intelligence and analysis."

"This myth is shattered by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's bipartisan Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq. Among the findings: "The committee did not find any evidence that intelligence analysts changed their judgments as a result of political pressure, altered or produced intelligence products to conform with administration policy, or that anyone even attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to do so." Silberman-Robb concluded the same, finding "no evidence of political pressure to influence the Intelligence Community's prewar assessments of Iraq's weapons programs...Analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments."

Myth: Because weapons of mass destruction stockpiles weren't found, Saddam posed no threat.

Howard Dean: "Iraq was not a danger to the United States."

John Murtha: "There was no threat to our national security."

Max Cleland: "Iraq was no threat. We now know that. There are no weapons of mass destruction, no nuclear weapons programs."

"Yet while we did not find stockpiles of WMD in Iraq, what we did find was enough to alarm any sober-minded individual."

"Upon his return from Iraq, weapons inspector David Kay, head of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), told the Senate: "I actually think this may be one of those cases where [Iraq under Saddam Hussein] was even more dangerous than we thought." His statement when issuing the ISG progress report said: "We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities" that were part of "deliberate concealment efforts" that should have been declared to the U.N. And, he concluded, "Saddam, at least as judged by those scientists and other insiders who worked in his military-industrial programs, had not given up his aspirations and intentions to continue to acquire weapons of mass destruction.""

"Among the key findings of the September 2004 report by Charles Duelfer, who succeeded Mr. Kay as ISG head, are that Saddam was pursuing an aggressive strategy to subvert the Oil for Food Program and to bring down U.N. sanctions through illicit finance and procurement schemes; and that Saddam intended to resume WMD efforts once U.N. sanctions were eliminated. According to Mr. Duelfer, "the guiding theme for WMD was to sustain the intellectual capacity achieved over so many years at such a great cost and to be in a position to produce again with as short a lead time as possible...Virtually no senior Iraqi believed that Saddam had forsaken WMD forever. Evidence suggests that, as resources became available and the constraints of sanctions decayed, there was a direct expansion of activity that would have the effect of supporting future WMD reconstitution."

"Beyond this, Saddam's regime was one of the most sadistic and aggressive in modern history. It started a war against Iran and used mustard gas and nerve gas. A decade later Iraq invaded Kuwait. Iraq was a massively destabilizing force in the Middle East; so long as Saddam was in power, rivers of blood were sure to follow."

Myth: Promoting democracy in the Middle East is a postwar rationalization.

Nancy Pelosi: "The president now says that the war is really about the spread of democracy in the Middle East. This effort at after-the-fact justification was only made necessary because the primary rationale was so sadly lacking in fact."

"President Bush argued for democracy taking root in Iraq before the war began. To take just one example, he said in a speech on Feb. 26, 2003: "A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region, by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions. America's interests in security, and America's belief in liberty, both lead in the same direction: to a free and peaceful Iraq...The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life. And there are hopeful signs of a desire for freedom in the Middle East...A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region."

In other words, a great many people on the Left owe apologies to many, many people on the Right.

influence peddling

With immigration legislation pending in Congress, what is Vicente Fox doing taking a tour of Western states?

It disgusts me that he will be addressing the California legislature on Thursday.

Monday, May 22

michael hayden

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 12-3 today in a closed door hearing to send the nomination of General Michael Hayden to the full Senate.

Had Hayden been in command of the CIA these past six years, it's my guess that America's intelligence gathering capabilities would have been dramatically improved.

nab

Jordan has announced the arrest of an unidentified al Qaeda leader in Iraq.

"The man was responsible for kidnapping Jordanians and Arabs and robbing commercial trucks driving between the kingdom and Iraq."

'as if the feds are watching...'

Louisiana Democratic congressman William Jefferson, already under bribery charges, has been caught on video accepting $100,000 in cash.

New details in the case emerged this past weekend after federal agents searched Jefferson's congressional offices Saturday and Sunday.

In documents released, Jefferson and an informant -- a female business executive from Northern Virginia, who agreed to wear a wire after being ripped off by Jefferson and another business associate -- make jokes about passing notes back and forth to each other using codes to "keep secret what the government contends was his corrupt role in getting his children a cut of a communications company's deal for work in Africa."

Jefferson, who represents New Orleans, was videotaped at the Ritz-Carlton taking a briefcase containing $100,000 from the informant's car, putting the briefcase into his 1990 Lincoln Town Car, and driving away.

The Feds found bunches of $10,000 bills wrapped in plastic and hidden in food containers and aluminum foil in his freezer.

Later, heard on audiotape, the informant asking Jefferson about the "status" of "the package."

Jefferson reportedly replied: "I gave him the African art (code for the cash) that you gave me and he was very pleased."

Over dinner on May 12, 2005 at a Washington DC restaurant, the FBI overheard Jefferson telling the informant that he needed an increased stake in an upcoming deal. From "7%," to "18-20."

From the AP:

"As Jefferson and the informant passed notes about what percentage the lawmaker's family might receive, the congressman "began laughing and said, 'All these damn notes we're writing to each other as if we're talking, as if the FBI is watching,'" according to the affidavit."

Yeah, that's pretty damn funny, ain't it? Now the Democrats are trying to spin this as a 'racial' case and even some Republicans -- Speaker Hastert and Majority Leader Boehner -- are calling the FBI raid on Jefferson's office 'unconstitutional.'

Are you kidding me? Racial? Don't waste my time. 'Unconstitutional?' (1) Election year panic and (2) Ego -- Hastert is reportedly miffed that he didn't get a 'heads-up' about the raid from the White House.

More from The Hill:

"Hastert complained that the seizure of legislative papers, no matter how innocuous, was a violation of the “the principles of Separation of Powers, the independence of the Legislative Branch, and the protections afforded by the Speech and Debate clause of the Constitution.”"

Generally speaking, I would think that criminal activity by Jefferson would usurp, or limit, the Constitutional protections relating to his office.

bernard khoury






I really enjoyed learning about Lebanese architect Bernard Khoury in the NYT's Sunday Magazine.

Top to bottom:

-- B018, a Beirut night club.

-- Khoury @ the bar of Centrale, a steel tube on the ceiling of the restaurant; he also designed a new apartment complex, out the window to the left.

-- Centrale restaurant.

-- Buried underground, the sushi restaurant, Yabana.

-- Khoury's apartment building, and the family furniture business building, both designed by his father, Khalil, now semi-retired.

milk chocolate


Ray Nagin is STILL the Mayor of New Orleans, which is a remarkable achievement given his total and complete negligence in governance of the city pre-and post-Katrina. Today, Nagin's a changed man.

In his victory speech he actually thanked President Bush for 'keeping his promises.'

"You and I have probably been the most vilified politicians in the country. But I want to thank you for moving that promise that you made in Jackson Square forward," Nagin said.

That's code for saying: "Help me, Dubya!" Nagin, of course, realizes that his success going 'forward' is largely dependent on Bush and heavy assistance from DC.

Matt Drudge is now reporting that Howard Dean and the DNC were actively campaigning against Nagin in an effort to aid the campaign of Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu. (the brother of Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, whose most recent victory was attained only AFTER some questionable voting behaviors in the Crescent City)

While Lt. Gov. Landrieu crushed Nagin in the fund-raising department, $3.3 million to $541,980, thanks to a coordinated national effort by Democrats to defeat Nagin, Nagin prevailed by speaking directly to the people and won 52%-48%.

From the DrudgeReport:

"Preliminary campaign finance reports indicate many of Landrieu’s contributions came from out of state white Democrat leaders and financiers, including a $1,000 contribution from Sen. Ben Nelson's (D-NE) PAC."

"The defeat of Mitch Landrieu is the latest setback for Dean's often criticized field operation."

"DNC Communications director Karen Finney said the report was "absolutely false." Finney explained: "The DNC does not as a policy get involved in Democratic primaries...The only thing that the DNC did was a campaign helping ensure that displaced voters had an opportunity to vote."

If Mayor Nagin can successfully manage the reconstruction of New Orleans, we might very well be calling him 'Governor Nagin' in four years.

Friday, May 19

white or milk chocolate?

Less than two weeks before the start of hurricane season and it looks like Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu is going to become the next Mayor of New Orleans.

The city needs a coalition builder, which is how Landrieu is most often described. Incumbent Mayor Ray Nagin has a tendency to blame everyone for his own shortcomings as a leader. I saw him on Chris Matthews the other night STILL saying Katrina was all FEMA's fault.

Ironically, I'm pulling for Nagin to win tomorrow because I know Bush likes him. But it doesn't look good. The last opinion poll I saw had Landrieu up by 10 points.

get your virgins, here!

I say let these pigs kill each other. The detainees at Guantanamo, I mean. If they want to commit suicide, fine. Let them go see Allah. I think they'll find that collecting their virgins will be a bit more difficult than advertised.

We've talked a lot about Gitmo here on this blog...I'm on record as saying the prisoners have it REALLY good down there. New prayer rugs, new copies of their holy book, arrows on the floor, pointing toward Mecca, ice cream and cookies. C'mon. A lot of American citizens don't live as well.

The most difficult daily decision for these guys is whether to play basketball or football during exercise time.

I'll tell you something. If I was running that place things would be a bit different...I'd shave their beards, take their skull caps and I'd beat them senseless if they didn't tell me what I wanted to know.

I think we're treating these people too softly. They don't seem to respect us. Look what happened this most recent Thursday night: A terrorist, pretending to be in the process of hanging himself in his cell, lured two American guards into a trap where they were attacked by other prisoners wielding makeshift weapons of broken light fixtures, fan blades and pieces of metal.

Keep in mind that these are the very same prisoners that Liberals say should have lawyers so they can have access to the American judicial system.

s. amendment 3985 to s. 2611

The Senate voted 50-49-1* to award social security to illegal aliens.

Look at the 'Nay' votes:

Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Allen (R-VA)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burns (R-MT)
Burr (R-NC)
Byrd (D-WV)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Coleman (R-MN)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
Dayton (D-MN)
DeMint (R-SC)
Dole (R-NC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Frist (R-TN)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lott (R-MS)
McConnell (R-KY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Roberts (R-KS)
Santorum (R-PA)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Smith (R-OR)
Snowe (R-ME)
Sununu (R-NH)
Talent (R-MO)
Thomas (R-WY)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Warner (R-VA)

*West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller didn't vote.

s. amendment 4064 to s. 2611

Okay, now we can rest easier. The Senate voted on S. Amendment 4064, a measure to make English the national language of the United States.

It passed, by a 63-34 margin, but only after [1] the language of the bill was changed from 'English as the national language of the United States,' to English being the 'Common and unifying language of the United States' and [2] Harry Reid accused those who supported the bill, even the bill's author, Oklahoma's James Inhoff to be 'racists.'

"This amendment is racist. I think it's directed basically to people who speak Spanish," the Democrat said during the already tense debate over immigration reform."

Hell, even our President is against making english the national language of the country, favoring instead a program called 'English Plus,' (please insert obligatory Spanish joke here _________________________________) believing it to be a positive thing to be proficient in more than one language.

batter up

My Liberal friends think that [1] nothing positive is happening in Iraq; [2] regardless of American and World history, that nothing good could ever come from war and [3] President Bush should be impeached for any number of bogus offenses.

I beg to differ, of course. The terrorists are losing, freedom is everywhere, a legitimate government has been elected, a constitution has been drafted, capitalism and commerce is flourishing, daily newspapers, websites and blogs abound.

War is painful and destructive, to be sure, but it also preserves peace and liberty, while quelling the spread of evil and tyrannny and saving lives.

Tomorrow, Iraq's Prime Minister-designate will present his Cabinet to Parliament. That's definitely a good thing.

But that George W. Bush sure is an idiot, isn't he? He should be impeached, I tell you. (dripping sarcasm...)

irksome

Our government has done nothing on immigration until this week -- Dubya's Monday night speech has ignited a hyper-flurry of legislative activity on Capitol Hill.

Yesterday in the House, despite American's anxiety over high gasoline prices, despite energy independence being vital to national security, members voted 279-141 against a bill by Texas Republican Ted Poe -- part of the DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ENVIRONMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007 -- to lift the restriction on offshore drilling.

While I sympathize with the desire to mainstain coastal beauty, I think it's ridiculous and foolish to oppose any and all efforts to take advantage of our own rich natural resources.

Thursday, May 18

nine vacancies

Nine vacancies remain on the circuit courts, two on the DC circuit, the second most important court in America.

Hugh Hewitt brilliantly analyzes this issue with an interview with press secretary Tony Snow, even correctly asserting that "the White House's inexplicable failure to position federal circuit court nominees for confirmation is the biggest failing of the second year of the second Bush term."

There simply is no question that the unprecedented tactics of the Democrats with respect to the judiciary have [1] Frustrated the White House to the point of near submission and [2] in Hewitt's words: "Will almost certainly cost President Bush at least some of his most lasting domestic legacy --a federal judiciary committed to the rule of law not the rule of courts."

Click 'Nine Vacancies' above for a PDF Senate status report of Bush judicial nominations.

Wednesday, May 17

rfl election preview: casey vs. santorum (pennsylvania)

Longtime RFL readers know that I'm a big fan of Rick Santorum. He's a classy guy and the Senate is a better place with him as a member.

Democrats have targeted Santorum this year because of his effectiveness -- and hand-picked the scion of an Pennsylvania political legend, Bob Casey, Jr. as his opponent.

The father, the former Governor Robert Casey (1987-1995) should have been the national Democratic poster boy due to the special attention he paid to civil rights causes. Ironically, Governor Casey was all but denied the keynote speaking role at the 1992 Democratic National Convention because of his staunchly pro-life beliefs.

Diss the old man but butter up the son so he'll run against Santorum? What's that about? Too bad the son is a lightweight. Check out this statement of brillance: "This isn't a discussion about public policy, this is an election, and politics in this state is a contact sport."

'Contact sport' is code for 'playing dirty.' More comments like that and it will be a cakewalk for Santorum, who is well qualified to engage in a debate about said public policy.

lynn swann

Former Pittsburgh Steeler Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann won the Pennsylvania Republican Gubnatorial Primary yesterday, so he'll be facing incumbent Governor Ed Rendell this November, which promises to be a knock-down, drag-out, bare-knuckled brawl, especially in Philadelphia.

I'm sure, as I write this post, Rendell's DNC thugs are already busily stuffing the ballot boxes.

rfl election preview: cantwell vs. mcgavick (washington)

Washington State incumbent Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell voted 'No' today on S.2611, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006. Cantwell is a reliable Liberal obstructionist vote and she must be defeated.

Her opponent for re-election this fall is Mike McGavick, the former chairman, president and ceo of Safeco Insurance Corporation from 2001-2005. If you, dear reader, are registered to vote in Washington State, I implore you to learn more about McGavick before casting your vote this November.

Here's McGavick on the issues:

Immigration: "Our borders must be secure, whatever it takes."

Opportunity: “We must keep taxes low, burdens off business, and provide opportunity for young minds to learn and grow so they can contribute back to society.”

Winning The War On Terror: "U.S. forces will come home from Iraq when the job is finished. Setting a timetable for troop pullout gives the advantage to America's terrorist enemies."

Health Care: "Health insurance, as offered today, has too many middlemen who disconnect the individual from making rational decisions concerning personal health care. Stewardship of personal health care should be given back to families—and Health Savings Accounts are one way to give back that control."

The Environment: "Environmental conservation and productive development are not mutually exclusive. We can protect and improve our environment while allowing responsible human development. Forging these environmental solutions requires civility, responsibility and common-sense cooperation."

senate amendment 3979 to s.2611

Here are the 16 who voted 'No' on S.Amdt. 3979 to S. 2611 (Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006):

Akaka (D-HI)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Dodd (D-CT)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Inouye (D-HI)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Murray (D-WA)
Obama (D-IL)
Reed (D-RI)
Rockefeller (D-WV), Not Voting
Sarbanes (D-MD)

peace talks?

Matt Drudge is reporting that the NYT on tomorrow's front page that 'Bush's top advisers have recommended a broad new approach to dealing with North Korea that would include beginning negotiations on a peace treaty, NYT planning to report in Thursday Page Ones...Developing...'

'cold blood'

John Murtha (D-PA) has accused US Marines of killing innocent Iraqi civilians "in cold blood" in retaliation after one of their fellow Marines was killed by a roadside bomb. The alleged incident occurred November 19 in Haditha, Iraq.

From the AP:

"Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood," John Murtha told reporters. "

"There was no firefight" that led to the shootings at close range, the Vietnam war veteran said, denying early official accounts, which said that a roadside bomb had killed the Iraqis."

"There were no (roadside bombs) that killed these innocent people," he said."

"Time magazine reported the shootings on March 27, based on an Iraqi human rights group and locals, who said that 15 unarmed Iraqis died, including women and children, when Marines barged into their home throwing grenades and shooting."

"It's much worse than reported in Time magazine," Murtha said."

"At least three Marine officers are under official investigation, and no report has been released, Army Times said Tuesday."

My take on this: Given that the investigation into this affair is still open, Murtha's comments strike me as irresponsible and premature at best.

this just in...

Eureka! The Senate just voted 83-16 to build a fence and 500 miles of vehicle barriers along the US/Mexico border.

Said Jeff Sessions (R-AL): The Senate vote sends "a signal that open-border days are over...Good fences make good neighbors, fences don't make bad neighbors."

"What we have here has become a symbol for the right wing in American politics," countered Sen. Dick Durbin, (D-IL). He said if the proposal passed, "our relationship with Mexico would come down to a barrier between our two countries."

border security

How about hiring Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio to run the Border Patrol?

Arpaio is the guy that makes his criminals live outside in tents. He feeds them bologna sandwiches and makes them wear pink underwear and old-school black and white striped uniforms. He's the law enforcement rarity that believes in actually punishing criminals, which is quite refreshing.

In his own words:

"Under my watch, prisoners are treated like criminals and not like guests at the country club."

There's not a better public servant in America than Sheriff Arpaio. I say put him in charge of America's border security NOW.

more false reporting

Last week's blockbuster USA Today expose on the NSA's domestic telephone database is rapidly falling apart.

Yesterday executives at BellSouth denied handing over phone records to the NSA. Today, Verizon is saying the same thing.

From the AP:

"One of the most glaring and repeated falsehoods in the media reporting is the assertion that, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Verizon was approached by NSA and entered into an arrangement to provide the NSA with data from its customers' domestic calls," the official company statement read.

The MSM continues to embarrass itself by reporting what it wishes were true instead of readily available objective facts.

Tuesday, May 16

hypocrites

The Democrats have been accusing the Republicans of 'a culture of corruption,' but that's just a tad disingenuous when Democrats themselves are ensnared in ethics problems.

First, there is the case of Alan Mollohan of West Virginia, until April the ranking Democrat on the House ethics committee, who resigned after it was disclosed that one of this campaign contributors had profited from a Government contract through his an association with Mollahan.

Also, Louisiana Democrat William Jefferson stands accused of taking bribes.

From Bloomberg:

"Prosecutors, in court papers that referred to Jefferson as "Representative A,'' have alleged that the lawmaker asked a Kentucky businessman to make regular payments to a company he controlled. The businessman, Vernon Jackson, on May 3 pleaded guilty to bribing "Representative A'' by paying him more than $400,000 to help win telecommunications deals in Africa."

And more from Bloomberg:

"The ethics problem "seems to transcend party affiliation,'' said Amy Walter, House editor of the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan Washington newsletter. "An overwhelming focus on this corruption issue feeds into the negative stereotype that voters have about Congress, which is that it's just one side trying to score points off the other.''

How amusing is all of this? The constant phony refrain from Democrats about Republicans is disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. But just as many Democrats profited by associations with Abramoff, most notably Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who pocketed over $60,000 of Abramoff-related cash.

Hillary Clinton got Jack money as well. But at least she was smart (and honorable) enough to donate her Abramoff funny money to charity.

Former House Leader, Democrat Tony Coelho (who resigned in 1989 rather than face ethics charges) sees it differently:

"It doesn't make any difference how many Democrats are involved,'' Coelho said. "If the public turns off because of 'corruption,' they will blame the party in power."

Republican pollster Ed Goeas disagrees. Goeas said a survey he conducted with Democrat Celinda Lake shows that Americans aren't holding only the GOP responsible. Asked who was more to blame for ethics issues in Congress such as the Abramoff scandal, 64 percent said both parties equally, while 20 percent picked Republicans and 11 percent said Democrats.

"There's kind of a basic distrust of government,'' Goeas said. "When you have things popping up on both sides of the aisle, all that does is reinforce the basic instinct of the people, which is it's on both sides.''

joining arnold again

Here's the text of an email that I just received from the Schwarzenegger campaign:

"Dear Fellow Californian,

One hundred seventy-five days from now, voters across California will determine our great state's future. I welcome the opportunity to campaign around the state -- reminding our friends and neighbors of the progress we have made together and the plans we have for building an even better tomorrow.

I look forward to talking about the successes we have achieved over the past two and a half years including:

-- Creating over half a million new jobs
-- Paying down the debt (by half)
-- Reducing the car tax
-- Reforming workers' compensation laws
-- Funding education at record levels (Liberals lie when they say Arnold has 'cut' education)
-- Protecting our environment for generations to come

Together, we have come a long way. But we're not stopping until we have protected the California dream for every family in every part of our state. That's why I was so pleased recently to work with the Legislature to pass a new $37 billion bond initiative that will be on the ballot this November. The initiative will make vital investments in creating new schools, new roads, and fixing our levees. This initiative is about more than building infrastructure...it's about building our future.

And that's just part of what's at stake this November. I want to continue to lead California forward with a bold and positive agenda for our future. But I need your help. Politics is a team sport, and I'm eager to build a great team to help me take our message to the people.

Please visit the Action Center on this E-Team page to update your information and receive news on important issues facing California and about our campaign. You can sign up to volunteer, host a house party, and join me on the first Team Arnold conference call later this month.

This election is vital because our future is at stake. Won't you join me in our campaign to protect the California dream?"

Sincerely,

here's tony...

What's this? White House press secretary Tony Snow crying when a reporter asked him about his 'Livestrong' yellow cancer bracelet?

Click the 'Here's Tony' headline above to watch the video.

ej and me

I look at this photo of Elton John and I can almost see myself.

Back @ Fresno State University, my pledge semester, I was really looking to make a "splash" on Halloween. I ran all over town looking for the right costume until finally ending up at a store that sold dance supplies. There I bought angel's wings, dance shoes, a pink leotard, makeup and a tutu.

It was quite a splash. Without question, I was the gayest Tutu Fairy you never saw. Thank God I don't have a picture to show you.

bomb's away

Venezuela, led by the anti-American wise guy Hugo Chavez, (pictured above) has announced publicly that it is "considering the feasibility" of selling its fleet of U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets to Iran.

Everybody is trying to stick it to Bush. Why don't we just bomb this guy into submission the way Reagan bombed Libya's Muammar Gaddafi?

the day after

CNN reports a 67% approval rating of those who watched President Bush's speech on immigration last night.

Always eager to knock Bush's dick in the dirt, CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider said the following:

"[Last night's speech] wasn't the best response he's gotten compared to other speeches, in fact it was lower than any speech we've measured since he took office."

My buddy, Arizona Congressman JD Hayworth, who will be traveling with the President to the border on Thursday, wasn't impressed:

"If the Senate insists on passing guest-work amnesty, and it returns to the House for a conference, the House leadership and, I think, the rank-and-file members, have made it clear the Majority party is not going to entertain the notion of a guest-worker amnesty plan."

new releases

Judicial Watch has forced the government to release surveillance videos of the Pentagon as it was struck by United Flight 77 on September 11, 2001.

The organization has been seeking the release of the video to put to rest various conspiracy theories that a missile or government drone hit the Pentagon instead of a commercial jetliner.

Watch the video by clicking on the 'New Releases' headline above. To me, these videos are still inconclusive. You never are able to see a plane, just a shadow to the right of the building just before a large explosion. High speed, yes. But I'd think there would be some visual evidence.

harsh measures

No wonder CNN's ratings are in the tank: They began their coverage of President Bush's immigration speech last night sixteen seconds early as the leader of the free world was rehearsing his remarks.

CORRECTION: NBC has the official White House feed on Bush's speech Monday night, NOT CNN. So CNN was just following the lead of NBC when they began broadcasting Bush's rehearsal. It was NBC trying to embarrass the President. My apologies to CNN.

Americans are generous people, but we don't like unfairness. Just as it was unfair for a major media organization to try to embarrass the President before his speech, it is unfair for illegal immigrants to believe that they have the same rights as American citizens.

Unfair too is advocating the placement of 6,000 National Guard troops along the US/Mexican border, allowing them to be nothing more than casual observers. Talking tough on immigration isn't going to solve the problem. If we intend to get tough on immigration shouldn't we be prepared to stop the people attempting to cross over illegally?

If securing our borders is a matter of national security, then shouldn't we really be serious about preventing illegals from getting into the country? That means arming the Guard with guns while the wall is built and while the drones and the sensors are being installed. That means shooting to kill. Do that a couple of times and I guarantee that they'll stop coming. That also means the rejection of social services to those illegals in our communities. Refuse to grant medical care to illegals and they will stop coming.

Unfortunately, we are incapable of doing what truly needs to be done. We lack the 'National Will.' As Shelby Steele wrote in a brilliant op-ed last week in the WSJ, American political correctness (Steele calls it 'white guilt') prevents us from doing what is necessary to solve problems, both at home and abroad.

Last night President Bush outlined five clear objectives to tackle illegal immigration:

[1] Securing the border.
[2] Creating a temporary worker program.
[3] Holding employers accountable for their hiring practices.
[4] Facing the reality that millions of illegal immigrants already live among us.
[5] Honoring the great American tradition of the melting pot.

Bush said 'The United States must secure its borders. This is a basic responsibility of a sovereign nation.' I wholeheartedly agree. But the time to do that was about forty years ago. Today we already have an estimated 12 million illegals inside the United States and many more coming everyday. I hate to be cynical and say it's too late, but I actually believe it is too late to enact real change on border policy.

I support the creation of a temporary worker programbecause it would assist us in knowing exactly who is in the country and it would allow us to keep track of these people so we would know when it was time for them to leave.

I support holding employers accountable. Companies cannot continue to hire illegal immigrants all for the sake of cheap wages. Denying illegals job makes sense. If they can't work, they'll stop coming.

It seems to be true that the country is finally waking up to the fact that there are illegals among us. We've had our heads stuck in the sands or in the clouds for far too long. We've expected the problem to go away.

This melting pot argument doesn't matter to me. I've never been down with 'diversity.' To me, that's code for racism. An illegal is an illegal. Frankly, I think it is outrageous that we have illegals fighting in the American military. The President spoke of a Marine last night, Guadalupe Denogean. I respect his love for America, but I question the decision to allow non-citizens to wear the uniform of the United States.

I salute President Bush for going on the record about what he believes. Overall, I think it's a good beginning. And yet again, Bush and the GOP have something the Democrats don't: A plan.

Monday, May 15

transforming consensus

Michael Barone writes a brilliant piece today where he talks about policy and public approval of seven American and British leaders over the past twenty six years.

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, John Major and George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair and George W. Bush.

Barone postulates:

"The transformational Thatcher and Reagan had negative to neutral job ratings during most of their longer years in power. [They were] followed by lukewarm but clearly right successors in Major and the first President Bush. Blair and Clinton for most of their years in office had quite high job ratings. Yet surely history will regard Thatcher and Reagan as more consequential leaders than Blair and Clinton."

How should we thus interpret the low approval ratings for President Bush? Certainly, his foreign policy could be described as 'transformational' as Reagan's.

Could it be that bold-visioned Conservatives are less popular than consensus-building Liberals?
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