My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


How The Headline SHOULD Have Read

Even though the Rocky Mountain News managed to make it onto M.K.Ham's list of conservative editorial boards, the headline writers apparently still don't have a clue.

First, read this article, headlined "Students Pass On Uncle Sam."

Then, let's rearrange some of the paragraphs and see if my proposed headline is more appropriate. I will only be adding four words to this article, emphasized:

First, here's my headline:

Uncle Sam Finding Success, Snubs In Area

High schools are required by federal law to give military recruiters the names of students nearing graduation. Recruiters then work the list by phone and mail.

But an increasing number of students in some of the largest metro- area school districts are signing a form that lets them remove their names from the list, according to data obtained from high school and district officials.

[In spite of this], Lt. Col. Jeffrey Brodeur, commander of the Denver Army Recruiting Battalion, said he still has plenty of names and recruits. The battalion serves an area from southern Colorado to the Canadian border.

Army statistics show that 225 seniors enlisted in fiscal year 2005, which ended Oct. 10. That's up from 163 seniors who joined the Army in fiscal year 2004.

The Army's Wheat Ridge district, which covers western and northern parts of the Denver area, saw high school recruits increase from 27 to 35. Recruits increased from 14 to 35 in the district that covers the south and east parts of the metro area.

"The number of students who want to serve their country is increasing," Brodeur said.

Liz Daley, 16, a junior at Pomona High School who lives in Arvada, said she did not sign the opt-out form. She's considering the Navy or the Air Force, both of which offer flight programs.

"I feel it will really be an interesting thing to do," Daley said.

She'll use the college scholarship money she earns to major in business and culinary arts. Her dream is to open a small restaurant where bands can play.

But an increasing number of students in some of the largest metro- area school districts are signing a form that lets them remove their names from the list, according to data obtained from high school and district officials.

In Jefferson County, the state's largest school district, 25 percent of juniors signed the opt-out form this fall, up from 13 percent in fall 2004.

In neighboring Douglas County, opt-outs increased from 51 percent last school year to 55 percent this school year.

In Denver, opt-outs went from 5.3 percent of students in 2001-02 to 25.5 percent in 2004-05. The district hasn't compiled data for the current school year.

The war in Iraq is on the minds of many students, although it's not necessarily the chief reason that many opt out.

"I just don't feel comfortable going into the service," said Andrew Shaffer, 17, of Westminster, a senior at Pomona High School in Jefferson County.

In the article that actually ran today, those interesting little tidbits about the ACTUAL recruiting numbers were buried in the bottom half of the article.

Don't you think that, in a balanced world, would have been the interesting factoid, rather than the slightly more sensational news about the bureaucratic process some are going through?

And then, in that same balanced world, wouldn't my approach to the article be a wee little bit more . . . accurate?

If Cindy Sheehan Can Get Her Fifteen Minutes (Twice), . . .

Then Debra Burlingame should be on every media outlet for the next two days after this:

One of the most excruciating images of the September 11 attacks is the sight of a man who was trapped in one of the World Trade Center towers. Stripped of his suit jacket and tie and hanging on to what appears to be his office curtains, he is seen trying to lower himself outside a window to the floor immediately below. Frantically kicking his legs in an effort to find a purchase, he loses his grip, and falls.

That horrific scene and thousands more were the images that awakened a sleeping nation on that long, brutal morning. Instead of overwhelming fear or paralyzing self-doubt, the attacks were met with defiance, unity and a sense of moral purpose. . . .

It is an insult to those who died to tell the American people that the organization posing the greatest threat to their liberty is not al Qaeda but the FBI. Hearing any member of Congress actually crow about "killing" or "playing chicken" with this critical legislation is as disturbing today as it would have been when Ground Zero was still smoldering. Today we know in far greater detail what not having it cost us. . . .

Getting a FISA warrant requires a multistep review involving several lawyers at different offices within the Department of Justice. It can take days, weeks, even months if there is a legal dispute between the principals. "Emergency" 72-hour intercepts require sign-offs by NSA lawyers and pre-approval by the attorney general before surveillance can be initiated. Clearly, this is not conducive to what Gen. Michael Hayden, principal deputy director of national intelligence, calls "hot pursuit" of al Qaeda conversations.

The Senate will soon convene hearings on renewal of the Patriot Act and the NSA terrorist surveillance program. A minority of senators want to gamble with American lives and "fix" national security laws, which they can't show are broken. . . .

The public has listened to years of stinging revelations detailing how the government tied its own hands in stopping the devastating attacks of September 11. It is an irresponsible violation of the public trust for members of Congress to weaken the Patriot Act or jeopardize the NSA terrorist surveillance program because of the same illusory theories that cost us so dearly before, or worse, for rank partisan advantage. If they do, and our country sustains yet another catastrophic attack that these antiterrorism tools could have prevented, the phrase "connect the dots" will resonate again--but this time it will refer to the trail of innocent American blood which leads directly to the Senate floor.

How much you want to bet Debra Burlingame does NOT show up tomorrow for a little sit-down with Katie Couric? Hmmm?


That Sound You're Hearing? That's The Lemmings Falling

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday announced she'll join potential 2008 presidential rival John Kerry in voting to filibuster against Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, just as top Democratic leaders predicted the effort is likely doomed. (courtesy TheCorner)

This announcement came at about the same time as I saw this analysis about what John Kerry was REALLY doing with his bizarre filibuster. I wish I could find, so that I could credit, who this analysis came from--just rest assured, it is not original to me:

John Kerry is pushing for a filibuster for one reason: to put Hillary in a quandary regarding 2008. If Hillary follows conventional wisdon and her own political instincts, she goes against the filibuster and alienates the activist base that gives candidates the nominations; if Hill acquiesces to the base, she loses the ability to play moderate with the electorate in general and is suddenly in the middle of the scrum--no longer aove the fray.

If that's what he's actually doing, it would show a remarkable level of political savvy for the tin-eared junior Senator from Massachussetts. And, now that he's got Feinstein and Kennedy on board, he actually looks like the leader of the party. Well, that is, if you disregard that the New York Times actually initiated the call for the filibuster Thursday morning.

Now, let's just wait and see what the junior Senator from Colorado has to say about this. Heh.

Never Good To Be Described As 'Flaccid'

But that is exactly the word Jim VandeHei used in paragraph two of this story to describe how the Left is looking at the Alito confirmation process.

Democrats are getting an early glimpse of an intraparty rift that could complicate efforts to win back the White House: fiery liberals raising their voices on Web sites and in interest groups vs. elected officials trying to appeal to a much broader audience.

These activists -- spearheaded by battle-ready bloggers and making their influence felt through relentless e-mail campaigns -- have denounced what they regard as a flaccid Democratic response to the Supreme Court fight, President Bush's upcoming State of the Union address and the Iraq war. In every case, they have portrayed party leaders as gutless sellouts.


Line Of The Day

I often find White House Spokesman Scott McClellan somewhat ineffective. Obviously, I have no idea what it's like to be in a room filled with hostiles (oh, wait . . . I taught middle school for three years, so .. .) day in and day out, so I probably have almost no idea how difficult his job really is.

But today's Q & A may have him moving up a bit in my esteem, if for only this line (hat tip: NRO Corner)

Q: Can I also ask you, on Senator Kerry's comments, what is your reaction to the filibuster call by Senator Kerry, on Judge Alito?
MR. McCLELLAN: On his call yesterday? It was a pretty historic day. This was the first time ever that a Senator has called for a filibuster from the slopes of Davos, Switzerland. I think even for a Senator, it takes some pretty serious yodeling to call for a filibuster from a five-star ski resort in the Swiss Alps. (Laughter.)

Nicely done, Mr. McClellan.


Surprising Governor's Poll

Rasmussen has a poll out showing some surprising early numbers regarding the race for Governor.

Matched against Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez, Hickenlooper leads 43% to 38% in our survey of 500 likely voters. Matched against University of Denver President Marc Holtzman, Hickenlooper leads more comfortably, 46% to 36%.

No other Democrat pursuing the nomination currently does as well. Former Denver district attorney Bill Ritter is neck and neck with Beauprez. Ritter narrowly trails Holtzman, 39% to 35%.

What I find most interesting is how, looking at the GOP numbers, it would appear that the primary race is basically neck-and-neck. Beauprez appears to be about +5 relative to Hick, but -3 relative to Ritter. Though a very imprecise way to read numbers, it does look very interesting on the GOP side. And if you factor in what would appear to be a fairly advanced ground game already in place for the Holtzman campaign, you have the makings of a hotly-contested race.

[cross-posted at HvB]

Confirmation Watch

Senate debate on the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito proceeded today, with a few surprises.

First, Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota announced that he was going to vote FOR Judge Alito. Actually, that's not really a surprise--he comes from a very red state which almost tossed him out on his ear last time around, and did toss his best friend out on his ear two years later. Clearly, a re-election motivated move.

Second, Robert Byrd announced that he was going to vote FOR Judge Alito. Now, at first blush, this may not seem so surprising, because it's always possible that the well-aged Senator from West Virginia was simply confused. But then he gets so many things right in his floor statement, that you have to give him some credit.

The people of West Viriginia in no uncertain terms were, frankly, appalled by the Alito hearings. I don't want to say it, but I must. They were appalled. . . .They called them called an outrage and a disgrace. . . .

It is especially telling that many who objected to the way in which the Alito hearings were conducted do not support Judge Alito. In fact, it is sorely apparent that many who opposed Judge Alito's nomination also opposed the seemingly made-for-TV antics that accompanied the hearings...

Then John Kerry announced--from Davos, Switzerland--that he would support a filibuster of Judge Alito. Byron York nails it at NRO.

And, finally, since it would appear that the Democrats have no ability to or interest in keeping their word, Senator Frist filed for cloture, a vote to occur on Tuesday morning at 11:30. If everything goes according to plan, cloture will be invoked, the vote will occur Tuesday morning, and the President will be able to claim another SCOTUS victory in the State of the Union.

Of course, I have no expectation that things will go according to plan. I'm fairly certain that the Dems will demonstrate one more time their Khan-like sense of honor and "with my last breath, I spit at thee . . . for Hate's sake" to find a way to delay the vote one more meaningless day. Fine--the GOP needed a little fundraiser material anyway.


Er . . . .Huh?

This story in the News today caught my eye. But it didn't seem like much, until I saw the last paragraph.

First, the lede:

Juniors and seniors are sliding through high school on lax academic standards, members of a study panel appointed by Gov. Bill Owens said today.

Rick O'Donnell, director of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, called the lack of rigor in 11th and 12th grade "shocking."

And then, the conclusion:

Tupa agreed that high schools must improve the junior and senior program, but warned that many districts don't have the money for additional courses.

"You can't accomplish these goals with absolutely no funding. It doesn't happen," Tupa said.

"Tupa" being Ron Tupa, Dem state senator from Boulder.

I know a little bit about how high school schedules are built, and how teaching assignments are decided, having taught in a high school for six years. And that last statement is either just ludicrous, or a blatant play to increase funding for schools. Look, the students have to take a certain number of classes anyway--they either take the serious classes or they take the lighter fare. But there's not a senior alive who will take seven classes because they HAVE to take calculus but also WANT to take a schedule-filler (and I'm not gonna suggest course titles here because every subject has students who would do anything to be in the class; I'm talking about the mystery classes that fill out the mandatory 5-class schedule for juniors and seniors after they take requirements and desirables). So the issue becomes one of how teacher resources are allocated, NOT whether you need more teachers.

But there's another point here, also--this seems pretty superflous as far a "reform" goes. The college bound are already likely to be in calculus and those types of courses; the non-college bound are not ever going to benefit from calculus. Is it possible, just possible--and I know I'm proposing something radical here--that the non-college bound would be better served by an accounting class, to learn how to manage and understand money; or a persuasive writing class to learn how to make an argument, rather than a college composition course?

Is it possible that at some point we should recognize that trying to fit every student into a pre-cut mold MIGHT not be the best way to serve the population at large? Yes, I think it would be nice if everybody could carry on a lucid discussion of Shakespeare; but it would probably be even nicer, and better for society, if everybody had useful tools to function in life. For some, that's college-style skills (which will likely serve them for precisely four years, and then they'll have to learn living skills); for others, that's probably a different set of skills.


Exactly WHY Should We Believe the U.N. Can Handle ANYTHING??

Perhaps because of its remarkable ability to successfully intervene in conflict? No, wait . . .

The United Nations pulled its remaining peacekeepers out of the national park where eight Guatemalan peacekeepers were killed in an apparent gunbattle with Ugandan rebels, a U.N. spokesman said Tuesday. (courtesy CQ)

Or its amazing ability to be an impartial broker between two conflicting parties? Oh, no, maybe . . .

However, some of the words have now been deciphered and to the best of our knowledge include the following: "Palestine's Political Map, The Palestine Liberation Organization, the Center for Research, Beirut".

Recall that the January 16, 2006 letter from Under-Secretary-General Ibrahim Gambari to American Ambassador John Bolton claims "It is a historical map, showing Palestine as it was in 1948, at the end of the British mandate." Gambari stressed the map was just "Palestine as it existed in 1948."

But it turns out that the map was not historical at all. It was "Palestine's Political Map." And it wasn't a mere early map the UN found in a history book. It was a map which must have been produced post-1964, since the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was created June 2, 1964. (courtesy Powerline)

Yeah. I think we should turn over everything to Turtle Bay. And then sing the Smurf Song (la la lala la la .. .)

Exactly WHY Should We Believe the U.N. Can Handle ANYTHING??

Perhaps because of its remarkable ability to successfully intervene in conflict? No, wait . . .

The United Nations pulled its remaining peacekeepers out of the national park where eight Guatemalan peacekeepers were killed in an apparent gunbattle with Ugandan rebels, a U.N. spokesman said Tuesday. (courtesy CQ)

Or its amazing ability to be an impartial broker between two conflicting parties? Oh, no, maybe . . .

However, some of the words have now been deciphered and to the best of our knowledge include the following: "Palestine's Political Map, The Palestine Liberation Organization, the Center for Research, Beirut".

Recall that the January 16, 2006 letter from Under-Secretary-General Ibrahim Gambari to American Ambassador John Bolton claims "It is a historical map, showing Palestine as it was in 1948, at the end of the British mandate." Gambari stressed the map was just "Palestine as it existed in 1948."

But it turns out that the map was not historical at all. It was "Palestine's Political Map." And it wasn't a mere early map the UN found in a history book. It was a map which must have been produced post-1964, since the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was created June 2, 1964. (courtesy Powerline)

Yeah. I think we should turn over everything to Turtle Bay. And then sing the Smurf Song (la la lala la la .. .)


Is THIS Liberal Compassion?

The NYTimes editorializing:

If Judge Samuel Alito Jr.'s confirmation hearings lacked drama, apart from his wife's bizarrely over-covered crying jag, it is because they confirmed the obvious. . . .

Bizarrely over-covered??? Jag??? This is supposed to be the people who represent the poor, the down trodden, the powerless? To take shots such as these at a person stuck in the least powereful position in Washington--the wife of a candidate who can't get in a word edgewise, a wife who's been told to keep a tight lid on it during the hearings, a wife who has to sit through endless hours of hearing her husband called a liar, a bigot, and a sexist by overbloated, WHITE, RICH, MEN who hold onto power well beyond their ability to use it--strikes me as the lowest, cheapest form of discourse.

Congratulations, NYT. The "Paper of Record" has now slunked over to "Paper of Refuse," and what was once just incompetent is now completely mean, classless and base.


Oy!! The Pain .. .

Pittsburgh 34, Denver 17. Ouch.

Congratulations, Steelers. Very well-done, and if anybody other than the Broncos are going to go, I'm glad it's Bill Cowher, Jerome Bettis, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Key play of the game: first drive, Broncos blitz, get Roethlisberger throwing off balance, and he lobs one straight to Champ Bailey . . .

who lets it slip between his hands, bounce off his helmet straight up in the air where Heinz Ward grabs it and gets the first down.

Follow that with a close fumble overrule and another dropped interception--all on that first drive--and you kinda had the feeling this wasn't Denver's day.

Big game, big players gotta make big plays, and Champ blew his chance. Denver never got the upper hand from then on, and Pittsburgh goes to Detroit.

A Pointless Prediction

Denver 24, Pittsburgh 20. Jake Plummer has just refused to make mistakes this year, and if the Denver defense could make Tom Brady look rattled, I think it can push Ben Roethlisberger into a mistake or two.

So quick . . . .everybody go put your money on the Steelers.

A Little Bad News To Start Your Sunday

I don't tend to be a pessimist. But the first thing I read out of the gate this morning was this from RedState.

All the reasons for invading Iraq apply doubly to Iran, and with far greater urgency. Iran right now poses the imminent threat to America which Iraq did not in 2003. Iran may already have some nuclear weapons, purchased from North Korea or made with materials acquired from North Korea, which would increase its threat to us from imminent to direct and immediate. [...]

Iran has dramatically shortened the time required to acquire the necessary weapons-grade fissionable materials by purchase abroad of pre-enriched, but not yet weapons-grade, fissionable materials (not just from North Korea). Iran's technicians already have the expertise to fabricate functional nuclear weapons. The latter opinion is held by, among others, Mohamed El Baradei, director-general of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency, who said that Iran can produce nuclear weapons in a few months if it has the requisite weapons-grade fissionables: "And if they have the nuclear material and they have a parallel weaponization program along the way, they are really not very far--a few months--from a weapon." [...]

Oh, yippee! The very mad bad man may already have gotten a nuke from the other very mad bad man. I suppose there's a reason they're both charter members of the Axis of Evil.

And what are our allies, to whom we have deferred diplomatically, doing about this? Here's Mark Steyn's take (courtesy RCP):

And, on the other side of the negotiations, we have Her Britannic Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. A member of the "EU3" -- the Franco-German-British team Washington has let take the lead in negotiations with Iran -- Jack Straw has been at pains to emphasize that no military action against Tehran is being contemplated by him or anybody else. But in a sign that he's losing patience with the mullahs, Straw's officials have indicated that they're prepared to consider the possibility of possibly considering the consideration of a possible motion on considering sanctions for the U.N. Security Council to consider the possibility of considering.

Even while I'm giggling at Steyn's biting wit, it makes me sad to think how accurate his portrayal of the situation is.

Ah, Happy Sunday.

So, now that you're depressed, go and find a TiVo'd feed of John Kerry on "This Week" and have a few laughs.

And Now, For Something Completely Different

I generally try to stay away from blogging about things theological--mostly because I'm wildly unqualified to talk about things theological. But every once in a while something comes onto the radar screen that leaves an impression.

When The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe came out six weeks ago, I thought to myself "Hey, it's been since 4th grade--why not re-read The Chronicles again." And so I have been.

By the way, as an aside, my wife and children begged me to see the movie again today . . . for the THIRD TIME! And, of course, having already cleaned the house and done all important things domestic, I agreed. There are far worse things I could drop the money on than seeing this fine movie again. And, as a further aside, six weeks after release, the theater was still half-full, and I would guess 80-85% adult movie-goers without children.

But back to my story . . .

I just finished the fifth book in the series, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. And it ends with this dialogue (which I am reproducing, hopefully not in terrible violation of copyright):

And of course, as it always does in a perfectly flat place without trees, it looked as if the sky came down to meet the grass in front of them. But as they went on they got the strangest impression that here at last the sky did really come down and join the earth--a blue wall, very bright, but real and solid: more like glass than anything else. And soon they were quite sure of it. It was very near now.

But between them and the foot of the sky there was something so white on the green grass that even with their eagles' eyes they could hardly look at it. They came on and saw that it was a Lamb.

"Come and have breakfast," said the Lamb in its sweet milky voice.

Then they noticed for the first time that there was a fire lit on the grass and fish roasting on it. They sat down and ate the fish, hungry now for the first time for many days. And it was the most delicious food they had ever tasted.

"Please, Lamb," said Lucy, "is this the way to Aslan's country?"

"Not for you," said the Lamb. "For you the door into Aslan's country is from your own world."

"What!" said Edmund. "Is there a way into Aslan's country from our world too?"

"There is a way into my country from all the worlds," said the Lamb; but as he spoke, his snowy white flushed into tawny gold and his size changed and he was Aslan himself, towering above them and scattering light from his mane.

"Oh, Aslan," said Lucy. "Will you tell us how to get into your country from our world?"

"I shall be telling you all the time," said Aslan. "But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder. And now come; I will open the door in the sky and send you to your own land."

"Please, Aslan," said Lucy. "Before we go, will you tell us when we can come back to Narnia again? Please. And oh, do, do, do make it soon?"

"Dearest," said Aslan very gently, "you and your brother will never come back to Narnia."

"Oh, Aslan!" said Edmund and Lucy both together in despairing voices.

"You are too old, children," said Aslan, "and you must begin to come close to your own world now."

"It isn't Narnia, you know," sobbed Lucy. "It's you. We shan't meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?"

"But you shall meet me, dear one," said Aslan.

"Are--are you there too, Sir" said Edmund.

"I am," said Aslan. "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."

Those few highlit phrases stuck out to me. It is amazing to me that a writer of a children's tale--no matter how gifted an author C.S. Lewis is--would put into such clear terms a Gospel message that not only is understandable to children, but which resonates with adults.

And, the line "know me by another name" conjured up for me a childhood memory--the words of a song. "Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, that you do unto me." Makes me think very hard about just how many times in every day we all meet "Aslan." Is he our priest or pastor? Is he the smiling face of an innocent three-year old? Is he the troubled face of a mother at her wit's end in the check out line at the grocery store? Or perhaps the lonely face of the angry boy dressed in black riding his bike up the street?

Just something to think about.

Told you I was unqualified--fortunately, Lewis is supremely rich material.


Rocky Mountain News For Shadegg

From today's Rocky:

Of the three contenders, only Arizona's John Shadegg offers the dedication to principle and commitment to reform that could get his wayward party - and Congress - back on track.

Shadegg is an underdog. Missouri Rep. Roy Blunt, the majority whip, was DeLay's loyal deputy.

Little wonder. Blunt was also thick with the K Street crowd. . . .

Nor is Ohio Rep. John Boehner a fresh face. He has floated in and out of the leadership since 1995. . . .

For his part, when Shadegg discovered $6,900 in donations from Abramoff's casino clients, he didn't return it to the lobbyists; he donated it to anti-gambling groups.

I don't particularly have a dog in this fight. To the extent that the perception of corruption sits on the House GOP, I think a clean break is essential. But recent polls show that the perception of corruption is a bi-partisan thing (and for those who don't think that's fair, just remember the names Bob Toricelli, Henry Cicsneros and Marc Rich), so . . .

On the other hand, you know the Dems are going to try to hang this on the House Republicans, and only a person whose credibility is unimpeachable will be able to fire back effectively. Beyond that, I think a periodic shake-up is a good thing--fresh blood, fresh ideas, new momentum.

If I were worried that the transition would give the other side a chance to take over the agenda, that would be a concern. Fortunately, I have no reason to fear that Nance Pelosi could possibly go on the offensive in the war of ideas.

Couple the logic of the Rocky's endorsement with an impressive interview Shadegg gave Hugh Hewitt last week, and I would have to add my voice to the growing chorus calling for a Shadegg victory on Feb 2.

Just a Coincidence???

Does anybody else think it, well, strange, that the first time we've heard from bin Laden in fourteen months was just five days after we may have killed the man who has been his mouthpiece for those fourteen months?

I'm not out-of-hand saying I don't believe the Pakistani story that we missed Zawahri, but got his chief bomb-maker and a few other nasties. I'm just saying it's odd timing if we missed Zawahri that bin Laden comes out right now with this seemingly pointless audio tape.

In terms of organizational leadership, isn't one of the first principles that the organization always knows that SOMEONE is at the helm? If that most visible someone for the last year has been Zawahri, and if he's now a smudge, then wouldn't it be very important for someone to make a public move to show the organization that someone is there?

I realize that's a lot of "ifs"; but I tend to find my explanation more credible than the explanation of the nutter left.


Game On!!

In a move that came as a complete surprise to observers (NOT!), Congressman Bob Beauprez threw hit hat into the ring for Governor yesterday.

"I believe that the vast majority of Coloradans understand and identify with the same conservative principles that guide me: respect for traditional family values, including the institution of marriage and the sanctity of life, and an unyielding belief in the rights enshrined in our founding documents," he said to a group of supporters at the state Capitol. . . .

He also gave a preview of the issues he will focus on during his campaign: illegal immigration, quality health care, the ability of families to choose where their children go to school, water rights, renewable energy and government fiscal responsibility.

In the meantime, his GOP primary opponent, Marc Holtzman, is in a good position to challenge Beauprez, widely seen as the favorite, having garnered the endorsement of sitting Gov. Bill Owens.

Holtzman raised $1.5 million last year, versus Beauprez's $1.2 million. Of that total, Holtzman raised $383,788 in the fourth quarter of 2005, edging Beauprez's $381,512.

No other candidate for governor has raised as much money at this point in an open race.

Both camps have promised a "vigorous" campaign, which has already started in many ways. Whoever survives this primary campaign should go into the general with very sharp campaign skills and a pretty thick layer of political skin. Stay tuned . . .

Okay, This Could Be Getting Out Of Hand

I wrote last night that I thought it was an excellent idea for the Democrats to put up a ballot proposal ALLOWING homosexual civil unions. Then today comes this:

A once-splintered coalition of conservative leaders has agreed to seek a constitutional ban on gay marriage in Colorado but does not plan to ask voters to outlaw domestic partnerships, according to those involved in the effort.

And when will someone propose a ban on gay marriage AND domestic partnerships? Will that make the ballot in time?

This strikes me as a tactical error on the part of the "once-splintered coalition of conseervative leaders." I would much rather that the first issue play itself out at the ballot box, and then see where that goes.

Not that I have any doubt that the marriage ban would pass--it would. And it might have the same electoral effects as I hypothesized the first issue would. But at this point, I think the presence of both on the ballot might be confusing.

That, and it almost guarantees that the saturation of the airwaves with this issue will be complete in September and October.


Embrace The Gift Horse

--Dems want voters to legalize partnerships for same-sex couples--

Two leading Democrats say they want to ask Colorado voters to decide whether the state should legalize domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.

Rep. Tom Plant, D-Nederland and Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, D-Golden, say it's a legal issue -- not a debate over traditional marriage values.

The referred measure would need a two-thirds vote in each house to get on the November ballot.

I've been wondering what single issue the state GOP could embrace to try to find its way back to power. A little while ago, I thought major education reform, as in funding, could be an issue that would distinguish the GOP.

Then along come the Democrats.

I think every single GOP legislator should vote for this measure--or, at least, abstain. Let this measure go to the voters. You wanna see turnout go through the roof? You wanna get the base motivated and activated? Let this measure go to the ballot in November.

When you look at the history of gay marriage measures/bans going before the voters, the track record is CLEARLY in favor of the traditional marriage supporters--by as much as a 3-1 margin in some states.

Let the people decide this issue. If the Democrats really have the courage of their convictions, let them put this in front of the voter.

Obviously, the GOP will have to make a big show of supporting the people's right to voice their opinion, NOT the measure itself. But I think this could be really huge. Like, realigning huge.


Links for Tonight

A disturbing piece on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in Milwaukee Public Schools (courtesy TDB).

And while you're depressed about that, how about we pile on a little with this piece on the state of Europe and its future.

And finally, to pull you back a bit from the brink, and especially given tonight's Golden Globe paean to GBLTs with no mention of real heroes, I direct you to this.


Broncos 27, Patriots 13

Anybody who told you they were expecting this result is either lying or knows nothng about sports.

And speaking of knowing nothing about sports, we should all resolve now NOT to let Hugh piggyback onto this win on the grounds that the d-line came from Cleveland.


Speculation on "Harm The National Security"

Exhibit A: Ignoring strong international protests, Iran resumed work on its uranium enrichment program Tuesday after a two-year suspension. U.S. and European officials said the move sharply reduced chances of containing the country's nuclear ambitions through negotiation.

Exhibit B: Iran threatened Friday to block U.N. inspections of its nuclear facilities and end all voluntary cooperation if it is referred to the U.N. Security Council as the long confrontation over Iran's nuclear program escalated.

Exhibit C: Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy, ostracized for decades by Western nations for his role in supporting terrorism, agreed yesterday to dismantle the country's weapons of mass destruction as part of a deal with Britain and the United States that would bring Libya slowly back into the international community. . .

Libya, the US official said, contacted Britain in mid-March to explore the possibility of working with London and Washington to disclose aspects of its weapons of mass destruction programs.

That timing coincides almost precisely with the start of the war in Iraq, which began March 19

Exhibit D: Most U.S. troops will leave Iraq within a year because the Army is "broken, worn out" and "living hand to mouth," Rep. John Murtha told a civic group.

Are these four exhibits linked in any way? You know, maybe, just a little bit, RELATED?

Sure, Ahmedinijad is probably certifiable; but nobody ever really gave Qaddafi (Khaddafi? Kadafi?) much credit for his grasp on reality.

Add to that reports that Qaddafi (Khaddafi? Kadafi?) told Italian P.M. that the fate of Saddam Hussein was one of his principle motivations for allowing inspections, and you have to think that maybe the defeatism of the Left has had a profound effect on the views of the world's dangerous crackpots of the United States.

Or, more importantly, their views on our ability to restrain their insanity.


State of the State

Today, Governor Owens gave his eighth and final State of the State address (press version of the text here). Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the after-speech sit-down with other members of the RMA (Robert has some thoughts up about this already), but I was able to watch and read the speech.

In all, it seemed a bit subdued--not that SotS is a rock concert, but still relatively short on sparks. A couple lines jumped out at me:

Referendum C isn't an excuse to reverse any of that progress. It's an opportunity to make prudent investments in priorities--not to rebuild government bureaucracy. . . .

Let me remind you of the clear language contained in the title of Referendum C: "Without raising taxes, in order to pay for education, health care, roads, bridges and other strategic transportation projects . . . ."

. . .one-third of all foreign-born Colorado residents are here illegally . . .the ultimate solution lies at the national level. . . .

While it could be argued that advocating C & D was hardly the conservative position (as I did last Fall), I find it encouraging that the Governor is out front trying to guarantee a conservative approach to spending the moneys of Ref C. And while the Dems are pushing for spending almost entirely on education and health care, the Gov is out front pushing to rebuild some state infrastructure. Whether or not the Democratic legislature will let him accomplish that is another thing entirely.

I also find it interesting that he spent a pretty good chunk of the speech on the issue of immigration, which he acknowledged is a federal issue. Maybe starting to lay the groundwork for the state's federal candidates? Who knows.

Overall, pretty dry, and it seemed to receive a pretty dry reaction in the chamber. Not a surprise: Dems see him (and last sessions 47 vetoes) as the enemy, and some of the Republicans are smarting from his role in C & D last Fall.

Oh, and for the opposition view of the State of the State--not the speech, but the condition of Colorado--check out this. If I really believed this rhetoric, I'd be awfully depressed about my life. Fortunately, I don't believe them; and, by the way, let's be sure to rally around the Party of gloom and doom.

I Wish I Could Write Like This

Every once in a while Peggy Noonan turns a phrase that belongs in the writers' Hall of Fame. She pulls one of those out of her word processor this morning:

The great thing about Joe Biden during the Alito hearings, the reason he is, to me, actually endearing, is that as he speaks, as he goes on and on and spins his long statements, hypotheticals, and free associations--as he demonstrates yet again, as he did in the Roberts hearings and even the Thomas hearings, that he is incapable of staying on the river of a thought, and is constantly lured down tributaries from which he can never quite work his way back--you can see him batting the little paddles of his mind against the weeds, trying desperately to return to the river but not remembering where it is, or where it was going. I love him. He's human, like a garrulous uncle after a drink.

The MSM and Drama

It seems obvious that the most dramatic moment of the hearings today was Martha, Judge Alito's wife, breaking into tears and leaving the hearing in response to the Dems repeated attacks on her husband's character. So how does the MSM cover that moment?

WaPo: paragraph 23 Graham told Alito he believed him because of "the way you have lived your life and the way you and your wife are raising your children" and, referring to the Democrats' criticisms, said, "I am sorry that your family has had to sit here and listen to this." At that point, Martha Alito rose and left her front-row chair immediately behind her husband, returning about an hour later.

NYTimes: op-ed The debate over Judge Alito is generally presented as one between Republicans and Democrats. But his testimony should trouble moderate Republicans, especially those who favor abortion rights or are concerned about presidential excesses. The hearings may be short on fireworks, but they have produced, through Judge Alito's words, an array of reasons to be concerned about this nomination. [Note the use of both of the Dems' big words: "concern" and "trouble" .. . hacks and shills!]

NYTimes: "news" paragraph 8 The Democrats' questions and implications about her husband's record appeared to get to Judge Alito's wife, Martha-Ann. She began crying as Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, defended her husband's character and rejected any suggestion that his membership in the alumni group made him a bigot, Mrs. Alito retreated to an anteroom, sobbing for some minutes.

WashTimes: paragraph 7 of an article entitled "Alito Accused of Racism" But it did get to Judge Alito's wife, Martha, who sat directly behind him. Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, questioned the nominee about his association with the alumni group in an effort to portray Democratic accusations as ridiculous.

You get the flavor. Only one of the above even noted the McCarthyism at work, and the Post buried the drama deep in the article.

Unfortunately for the Dems, I noted pictures of Mrs. Alito leading off the 10 pm news on local TV (channel 4) tonight. And that picture will leave an impression with soccer moms.

By the way, has any MSM noted the stark difference between the treatment Alito is getting and the treatment Ruth Bader Ginsburg got when she came before Republicans a decade ago? Yeah, I didn't think so.


Holyfield vs. Tyson

Watching the spectacle that the Senate Dems decided to make out of themselves today, I was trying to think of an apt analogy. It was difficult, because it's difficult to think of another forum in public life in which one goes into an arena alone to battle in a means dictated by others.

But I think I have one.

Following their subdued performance Monday and Tuesday, one imagines more than a few Senators and staffers were called into "meetings" with Ralph Neas to be reminded whence their money flows. So today, we got a bit more fiesty of a performance.

Right up until they tried to bite his ear off.

For two rounds on Monday, a couple more on Tuesday, and a couple more today, the Dems tried to dance with the champ. They stuck and moved, jabbed and weaved, while he tirelessly danced around them and easily dismantled their defenses. Clearly, on an intellectual level they were not up to the task before them.

So they took a couple big swings. First Kennedy with the CAP follies--an attempted head butt headed off by the referee (Specter). And eventually an unmitigated smear campaign attempting to paint him as elitist and racist--a desperate clench punctuated by biting his ear off. Unfortunately for the Dems, Alito has proven to be too smart in the hearings, and his track record is too distinguished for them to make this stick.

But it doesn't change the wrongness of what they did. And that's why you get the reaction we saw from Alito's wife. I understand that reaction--my wife gets to a point where her anger needs a vent, and if she can't do it verbally, the tears flow. If it were my spouse sitting there having to endure the slurs, the lies, the insinuations, all of which I knew to be patently and baldly false, I think my anger would well up a bit, too. My guess is it would be wise for Leahy, Kennedy, and Schumer to avoid social outings at which the Alitos will be for a few years to come.

But wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall for that meeting?


Can You Say "Irony"?

I've been following the Alito hearings with as much attention as I can devote to it between my job and life. And, near as I can tell, Alito seems to be doing quite well. He might even manage to get one or two Dems to vote for him. Nah.

But one thing REALLY jumped out at me from today's hearings:

Ted Kennedy: And so, Judge Alito, we need to know whether the average citizen can get a fair shake from you . . .

Seriously? Ted Kennedy is going to lecture this son of immigrants who went to public schools and worked his way up through the ranks about the "average citizen"? Ted Kennedy?

On a related note, I am surprised at how tame the attacks from the Democrats have been. Not that they're civil, fair, or even honest--just that they seem a bit subdued. Of all of them, only Chuck Schumer seemed to really want to go toe-to-toe, and even he was unable to get much of a rise out of Alito.

So I'm wondering if maybe they're keeping their powder dry; do they know something, or suspect something, about the future of SCOTUS, that is causing them to back off a little bit? Maybe if John Paul Stevens retires after this term, or the next, as is rumored, maybe they've decided that they should save all their best ammo for an all-out assault on the next nominee.

I'm just speculating, because I know nothing. It just seems that they were oddly mild today. If there's another opening--and replacing Stevens would mark a significant rightward shift (heck, putting my dog on the court would make for a rightward shift from Stevens)--then I would expect a filibuster, and a multi-million dollar ad campaign to destroy the next nominee.

Of course, there's still some distance to cover for Alito. I'm just thinking . . .


The AP/Ipsos Poll: Nothing To See Here

The AP has made much ado over the last two days over their most recent poll.

Poll: Most Want Court OK for Gov't Taps

AP/Ipsos Poll: Voters Seem More Ready To End GOP Control Of Congress

What neither article run on the AP tells you is the most salient fact of the poll: the demographic breakdown of the poll was 52% Democrat vs. 40% Republican. 52-40!! Not anything resembling any breakdown of election participation at any time in this country.

In fact, based on that breakdown, that the NSA wiretap numbers was 56-42 and the Congressional number was 49-36 should actually be read as relative GOP strength.

I'm not saying here that everything is rosy; but there is absolutely nothing in this poll to get any more worked up about than teh Republicans have been worked up about for several months.


More Thoughts On The GOP Rift

I was giving a little more thought tonight to the supposed rift in the Colorado Republican Party, as I wrote about last night. And another thought occurred to me:

The Party needs more than leadership and humility--it needs an idea. And as Ken Mehlmann talked about on the Hugh Hewitt Show a couple days ago, that idea needs to be a reformist idea. Hard to do, given that the GOP, current weakness aside, has basically dominated state politics for the last decade.

So here's my idea.

There is one issue that both sides want to claim as their own, and which noone has yet really gotten a hold of. Republicans want to reform it and put it out more to local control, Dems want to guarantee its funding and reform accountability expectations. Of course, the issue is education, and the funding for this is always a central debate in the state house.

Currently, schools are funded through a combination of many things, but mostly property taxes and state money. Unfortunately, this leads to a nearly perpetual state of funding problems for the schools--witness St.Vrain a couple years ago, JeffCO still working on cutting budget even though it passed a huge mill levy increase 14 months ago, and several other districts are looking at mill increases on an annual basis.

A couple years ago I had an opportunity to ask State Treasurer Mike Coffman a question about school funding--before he went to fight in Iraq--and he conceded that it was likely that we would have to re-examine how we fund schools in the future.

I think the future is now.

Somebody who's very smart about things like this ought to take a look at different models for funding the public school system, and start developing a new way to fund Colorado schools.

Let's face it--the biggest impediment to school choice (even charter schools, which ARE public schools) is the drain of resources out of the public system. At least, that's what the opponents say. And as long as property taxes--thus, property values--are a part of the equation, there will always be wild fluctuations and discrepancies in how different schools get funded.

So somebody ought to look at how we do this and propose a better way. That is the sort of radical change which could control the agenda and push the GOP back to its status as the majority party in the state. And, on top of that, it would be good policy, which always makes good politics.

And it doesn't have to be some far-right proposal which would exacerbate the internal squabbles of the party. Just something smart would do very nicely.

Sadly, I don't have time or expertise to come up with what that would be at this time. It would be fun to be part of that study group, however.

Eventually Reality MUST Intrude On Bias

This was originally going to be a post about how the liberal media spins the news. To my surprise, the obvious comparison reversed what I would have expected:

WashPost: The U.S. job market strengthened last year, as employers added 2 million jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent in December, the Labor Department reported Friday. The data reinforced other signs that the economy was growing at a healthy pace as it entered the new year despite the turmoil caused by hurricanes and higher energy prices.

WashTimes: Job gains slowed abruptly last month to 108,000 after surging in November, reflecting a lackluster Christmas hiring season and a slowdown in home building, the Labor Department reported yesterday.

Not how I would have expected the coverage to break down, but the essential facts are all there: the job market is solid, unemployment is low, and the overall economy is robust.

Gee, maybe we should listen to Harry Reid now and change all the policies that got us to this point.


Real Trouble, Wishful Thinking, or Something Else?

To read the headline and the lede, you would imagine it's the first thing.

A cultural war that has been brewing within the Republican Party for years is threatening to split the state GOP at a time when it needs unity to retain the governorship and take back the statehouse.

The divide between social conservatives and moderates in the party - exacerbated by infighting over Referendums C and D - appears ready to widen as the two factions fight over who should set the agenda.

It is certainly true that in the wake of losing the state house, the Senate seat, and the 4CD two years ago, and not being able to unite on C&D, the state GOP appears to be in an unusual position of weakness headed into 2006. Couple that with what appears to be shaping up as a fairly ugly primary battle for governor and the demonstrated strength of the Democratss at putting money where it needs to be, and its possible that you have a "perfect storm" brewing.

But I tend not to be so pessimistic. In the first place, the two highest elected Republicans in the state both downplayed the significance of the "rift" (Gov. Owens and Minority Leader Stengel); in the second place, much of the GOP strength in the 90s was a reflection not of cultural issues but of statewide economic prosperity--it was easy for small-government types to get elected on economic issues in a boom. That is to say, the cultural issues weren't the ones that led to GOP gains, and probably will only play a small role in the GOP effort in 2006.

It seems that for most of my lifetime the state has been an electoral enigma--GOP legislature with Dem governor, split Senate seats and divided House representation. The GOP won't be so surprised by the money this time around, won't have an open Senate seat to defend, and will have someone at the top of the ticket pulling the party along. I don't see the "rift" as all that dramatic or crippling.

That said, one caveat: the party obviously needs someone to step up and take a leadership role. It isn't the whole moderate/conservative split that needs mending, its that the infrastructure of the party has been neglected and there is no party discipline. Both are characteristics of people accustomed to easy power, as the GOP enjoyed in the 90s. It's time for a little humility, a little understanding of message unification, and a little common sense about governing. If nobody steps forward to lead the way on those three points, then the party may just make a backyard swimming pool of a problem into that perfect storm.

Let Me Be Quick to Add My Name . . .

to the list of those condemning the bizarre, inappropriate, and, frankly, borderline lunatic rantings of Pat Robertson.

Honestly, I don't think this man has much credibility left in center-right political circles, but we should treat him now with Abramoff-like disdain.


Just A Coincidence?

The latest Rasmussen Polls have two interesting little tidbits in them.

First: Presidential approval: 36% strongly disapprove.

Second: NSA wiretapping: 33% say it broke the law.

Those are two awfully close numbers--within the margin of error, to be sure.

Makes you wonder--does Bush hatred lead to disapproval of security techniques, or does disapproval of technique lead to Bush hatred?

Which is the symptom, and which is the pathology?

Pathology being the key word.

New York Times
Dateline: June 3rd, 1944

U.S. Military, Administration Using German Spies for Disinformation Campaign

The New York Times has learned that the U.S. Military, under orders from and with explicit approval of the Bush Administration, has been engaged in a months-long effort to make contact with German spies in England and America. The purpose of these contacts is unclear, though it is thought that the spies could be used to pass deliberately misleading intelligence to the Nazi Government.

Well-placed sources, under condition of anonymity, have revealed to the Times that this effort has been ongoing for several months now without approval of Congress and without Judicial oversight.

Among the bits of misinformation being passed to German spies includes the intention to make a landing at Calais. Said one administration official "I just think this President has no respect for the sacrifice of the men in uniform who will be asked to undertake this harrowing invasion. But to do so while deliberately lying to the press, to our allies, even to our men compounds the danger with dishonor."

Asked to comment, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said "A declaration of war does not give the President the right to fight this at any cost. What good is our best effort if we betray the ideals of our country in the process?"

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said "We cannot hope to win the real war if we cannot be trusted. The word of the American President has to mean something to the world, and if we engage in this sort of tawdry disinformation, then we really will have surrendered."

Many prominent Democrats expressed outrage at the revelation, and many called for Congressional hearings.

"If we can be so free to mislead the world about our intentions and our reasons for acting, what limits can there be on the government power? It is just the sort of horrific tactic used by the Japanese when they attacked Pearl Harbor" said Dick Durbin, Senator of Illinois and number two Democrat in the Senate.

Asked for comment, the White House said it does not comment on tactics, but emphasized that, in their view, the President has explicit powers under the Constitution to conduct war as he sees fit. Asked if that includes the power to manipulate intelligence, the White House spokesman said that is part of war, and falls under the President's power.

Lawrence Tribe, well-respected law professor, said "this is in a bit of a murky Constitutional area. The President does have some inherent powers, but whether or not those extend to interfering with the Bill of Rights is not clear--it has never come before the Supreme Court."

Prominent conservative law professor and supporter of President Bush Ted Olsen said "this clearly is within the President's purview. "

Nonetheless, Ted Kennedy (D-MA) said "We should sheeriously conshider the conshequenshes of not telling the people of Normandy that we're attacking Calais. How many inoshents will die becaushe of thish Preshident's 'devil-may-care' attitude about the war?"

In case you don't get it, this is my weak attempt at farce. Just ask yourself what would happen if you transported this political/journalistic climate to the spring and summer of 1944.


Reserve All Credit, Deflect All Blame

The New York Times runs a patently self-serving CYA editorial this morning. It's almost laughable in its convolutions of logic, but then, we've come to expect that.

The longest-running of the leak cases involves Valerie Wilson, a covert C.I.A. operative whose identity was leaked to the columnist Robert Novak. The question there was whether the White House was using this information in an attempt to silence Mrs. Wilson's husband, a critic of the Iraq invasion, and in doing so violated a federal law against unmasking a covert operative. There is a world of difference between that case and a current one in which the administration is trying to find the sources of a New York Times report that President Bush secretly authorized spying on American citizens without warrants. The spying report was a classic attempt to give the public information it deserves to have. The Valerie Wilson case began with a cynical effort by the administration to deflect public attention from hyped prewar intelligence on Iraq. The leak inquiry in that case ended up targeting the press, and led to the jailing of a Times reporter.

Actually, the important point is that the "leak" of Valerie Plame's name involved no real wrongdoing, since Plame had been deskbound for almost seven years and her status was fairly widely known in Washington, while the NSA surveillance leak involved codeword materials and real intelligence sources and methods.

Oh, but . . .

The White House has yet to show that national security was harmed by the report on electronic spying, which did not reveal the existence of such surveillance - only how it was being done in a way that seems outside the law.

Well, it's hard to say how security was harmed, since there's no way to know what we can't know--only through such intercepts could we learn of plots and we're not going to get those now, so there's no way to know what harm has come.

And notice how studiously the Times avoids mentioning that this sort of NSA activity was started by Jimmy Carter, of all people, and has been in use by every administration since then. It's only now, when we actually are at war with an enemy that has the ability to strike us in the homeland, that the Times chooses to reveal this program.

Talk about cynical . . . .

Faith: Rewarded (UPDATED)

Twelve of the 13 miners trapped in an explosion in a coal mine were found alive late Tuesday after more than 41 hours underground, turning a community’s worst fears to unbridled joy. Family members streamed from the church where they had kept vigil, shouting “Praise the Lord!”

A few minutes after word came, the throng, several hundred strong, broke into a chorus of the hymn “How Great Thou Art,” in a chilly, night air.

“Miracles happen in West Virginia and today we got one,” said Charlotte Weaver, wife of Jack Weaver, one of the men who had been trapped in the mine.

I love ending the day on an up note.

UPDATE: And then starting my morning on a serious down note. What an awful tragedy, compounded by the communications screw-up. Still, one survivor is a miracle--we should all pray for his recovery, and hope some lessons are learned about this.


Gotta Love How Unions Look Out For Their . . . um, Members

From Tuesday morning's OJO:

If we told you that an organization gave away more than $65 million last year to Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Amnesty International, AIDS Walk Washington and dozens of other such advocacy groups, you'd probably assume we were describing a liberal philanthropy. In fact, those expenditures have all turned up on the financial disclosure report of the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union. . . .

When George Soros does this sort of thing, at least he's spending his own money. The NEA is spending the mandatory dues paid by members who are told their money will be used to gain better wages, benefits and working conditions. According to the latest filing, member dues accounted for $295 million of the NEA's $341 million in total receipts last year. But the union spent $25 million of that on "political activities and lobbying" and another $65.5 million on "contributions, gifts and grants"

Exactly. Feel good about those union dues, friends?

It would be interesting to see to exactly what causes the local versions give their members' money to. For a thorough and ongoing discussion of this type of thing, check out Ben's site--he's been on this for years.


The Denver Post Editors--Right On Top Of Things

The Denver Post editorial board has just noticed that Germany is wobbly.

A recent spate of hostage-taking in the Middle East has made front-page news in Europe, as several victims are citizens of European countries that don't have a military presence in Iraq. Yet just this week, a French engineer was kidnapped in Iraq and a German diplomat and his family were abducted in Yemen. These same European countries are necessary allies in the global war on terror, so how they stand up to or crumble in the face of kidnappings and terrorist threats could affect international anti-terrorism efforts.

Against this contemporary backdrop, it's appalling that a German state court freed a Lebanese Hezbollah member, Mohammed Ali Hamadi, who was convicted of murdering U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem during the 1985 hijacking of a TWA airliner. . . .

Despite self-serving German assertions to the contrary, American officials had, in fact, tried to get Germany to turn Hamadi over to the United States if he were released. Instead, Hamadi was flown to Lebanon, where he was held briefly, and then disappeared.. . .

Germany has long been regarded as a valued U.S. ally, but this latest slap in the face should make Americans wonder how reliable a friend it will be in the war on terror.

Naw . . .Really!?!?! THIS should make us wonder how reliable a friend it will be? It wasn't Schroeder getting re-elected on an explicitly anti-American platform in 2003? It wasn't their collusion with France in blocking U.S. efforts at the U.N.? Or how about when they announced their intentions to integrate their military with France and Belgium, to the exclusion of England and newer NATO members?

For my money, I would have advocated the closing down of Ramstein Air Base in the spring of 2003 and moving those facilities to Poland or one of the other East Europe countries who seem to value freedom and the necessity of standing up to evil. But to assert that just now would be a time to be concerned about Germany is just silly, and reveals a deep ideological willingness on the part of the Post to ignore reality when it happens to play to their worldview.

Important Read

I'm not big on "New Year's resolutions," but Jonathan has written something that could make me rethink that policy.

Must-read stuff, especially for parents.

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