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


On Memorial Day

This is one of those days that I feel so much the smaller man for never having served in the uniform of this country. And, as much as I wish I had something smart, or clever, or poignant to say to honor the victorious dead, I've learned to let my betters do the speaking when they can.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that the nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow, this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought so nobly advanced. It is for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God shall have a new birth of freedom; and that the government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

As much as Lincoln could not consecrate that ground, neither can we properly express our gratitude to all the men and women who have fought and died under the Flag for the last 230 years. But know that your brothers and sisters in arms, who fight and die this day, are in our thoughts and prayers as much as you were in your day. Godspeed.


"Fantasy" A Best-Case Description

I love the following lines:

Since the only post-Sept. 11 foreign policy Americans know is Bush's, many believe -- especially many Democrats -- that if only Bush weren't president, the world would be manageable again. Allies could be easily summoned for the struggle against al-Qaeda or to bring pressure on Iran or to replace American troops in Iraq. Threats could be addressed without force, through skillful diplomacy and soft power. Maybe some of the threats would disappear.

This is fantasy.

And, frankly, this about sums up what the Democrats have offered for real strategies on dealing with the world as it really exists. Oh, sure, John Kerry had a plan "at his website www.johnkerry.com", but other than the defeatism of John Murtha, the Democrats have offered nothing more than platitudes and criticism in the last three years.

Of course, that quote comes for an article by Robert Kagan arguing in favor of Democrats gaining power in the Fall, which makes me loth to bring it to anyone's attention. Nonetheless, any time someone calls the great bluff of the Democrats, it's worth a read.


Not The Kind Of Help I'd Like To See

According to the Denver Post's Dan Haley, and followed up by an e-mail from the campaign (I think):

Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, a possible 2008 presidential candidate, will hold a fund-raiser for Rick O’Donnell on June 2. . .

Hagel served in Vietnam with the Army’s 9th Infantry Division and was awarded two Purple Hearts. He’s been an outspoken critic of President Bush on the war in Iraq, and is just the type of Republican O’Donnell needs by his side in the 7th CD, which is evenly divided among Democrats, Republicans and unaffliated voters. [emphasis mine]

I understand that when you're running for office, you take help from wherever you can get it. But Chuck Hagel is NOT the guy to do this.

If Tom Osborne had chosen to run against Hagel for Senate instead of trying for the governor's seat in Nebraska this year (which he lost a primary over), I might have gone so far as to go out to Nebraska to campaign for him--and AGAINST Hagel.

Note to O'Donnell Campaign: DO NOT TAKE ADVICE FROM DAN HALEY. Follow the Beauprez playbook, and don't be a schmo: consolidate the conservative base by touting pro-growth, pro-business, strong on defense positions, and then take quiet center-right positions on social issues. Beauprez won re-election by assuming it would be a difficult race, and then working hard at it, but never by running from the center-right that got him elected.

DO NOT PLAY TO THE LIBERALS--they won't vote for you, anyway, and your base will stay home.


Quick Hits

:I think this guy gets it

Maliki held his first cabinet meeting on Sunday. Security, the overwhelming top concern of Iraqis now, took priority. "We will use maximum force against the terrorists and killers who are causing the bloodshed," Maliki told reporters after the cabinet session.

I wonder if the Iraqi press will have a giant hissy-fit if a few prisoners get "humiliated" in this process?

:In case you'd forgotten

This is who we're fighting against:

In public statements and in interviews with Arab media, [Mustaffa S.] Nasar said he was happy to work with al-Qaeda but emphasized that he was an independent operator. His theories of decentralization had already taken shape: It would be a mistake, he said, for the global movement to pin its hopes on a single group or set of leaders.

"My guess is that he saw bin Laden as a narrow-minded thinker," said Jarret Brachman, research director for the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. "He clearly says that al-Qaeda was an important step but it's not the end step and it's not sufficient."

Nasar's theories of war also called for the most deadly weapons possible. In Afghanistan, he worked with al-Qaeda leaders to train fighters in the use of "poisons and chemicals" at two camps near Jalalabad and Kabul, according to the State Department. After the Sept. 11 hijackings, Nasar praised the attacks. But he said a better plan would have been to load the hijacked airplanes with weapons of mass destruction.

Yep. No amount of death and suffering is good enough.

:And some odd electoral analysis re:evangelicals

This month, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean -- yes, that would be the Howard Dean who dismissed Republicans last year as "pretty much a white, Christian Party" -- went on Pat Robertson's "700 Club," asserting that Democrats "have an enormous amount in common with the Christian community, and particularly with the evangelical Christian community." Randy Brinson, founder of Redeem the Vote (think Rock the Vote meets Jesus), met last week with the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. . . .

Democrats have a shot at luring some of them, but it's a long shot, and one that poses dangerous temptations for the party as it tries to narrow the God gap . . .

To some extent, Democrats could help themselves with evangelicals simply by showing up -- at the megachurches, on Christian radio and in other venues where Democrats have been scarce. Whether the Democrats are deploying the right messengers is more questionable: a liberal San Francisco Democrat and a civil union-signing Vermont governor may not be the party's best bet with evangelicals. More important, occasional drop-bys and clunky dropping of biblical references aren't going to do the trick. These voters weren't born again yesterday.

Please, oh puh-LEEEZ spend your time, energy and money tryng to get evangelicals to vote Democratic. Go to as many churches as you can and talk about the "freedom" of abortion and gay marriage--let a good pastor have a swing at your rhetorical garbage.


A Tale Of Two Athletes

In the middle of the afternoon today I had a choice of athletic events to watch: I could watch the San Fransisco/Oakland baseball game, or I could watch the Preakness Stakes.

On the one hand, there was the possibility of Barry Bonds hitting a home run that would tie him in second place all time with Babe Ruth at 714.

On the other hand, there was the possibility of seeing Barbaro win the second leg of the Triple Crown.

My choice, as a lifelong baseball fan who played the game for several years, coached the game for a couple years, and loves the game, chose to watch . . .

a horse race.

Mind you, I know next to nothing about horse racing; I am not a gambling man, so there's no hook there; and one fast horse seems very much like another to me.

So why choose the horse race? Because, given the choice, I thought the chances of history being made at Pimlico was much better than in the Bay. And not that I didn't think Bonds would homer today--he has a pretty good shot every day.

It's just that what he has done does not, to me, smack much of history. It smacks of a grand tribute to pharmacology.

And so I watched what turned out to be a tragic event which had little actual interest for me instead of a milestone event which should have had a great deal of interest for me, . . .

but only spoke to the tragedy of modern professional sport.

Perhaps Ruth was a womanizing, drunken, brawling, overblown ass; but he hit 714 home runs in a time when 40 in a year might be a total for an entire team, and let's not forget he also won more than 100 games as a pitcher. He remains a larger than life figure that, in many ways, represents both the grandiosity and the boorishness that is America, capable of magnanimity and accomplishment on a scale never before seen on earth;

and also capable of cheap, brazen, gluttonous gestures like Hollywood, Brittany Spears . . .

and hitting home runs while "enhanced" to the point of almost constant physical breakdown, off of pitchers who are also "enhanced" to the point of rarely being able to throw a ball for more than five seasons without ripping their arm apart, into bleachers filled with fans so cynical about the state of the game that Congress (speaking of boorishness) has had to get involved in oversight of the nation's pasttime.

Yes, I chose to watch a horse race. And on that inevitable day in the not very distant future when Barry Bonds has a chance to break Hank Aaron's all-time home run hitting record, I'll probably choose to mow the lawn, instead.


This Does Our Side No Credit

Seriously, guys, can we at least TRY to act like we're, I don't know, GROWN-UPS.

The surprising dustup came at the beginning of a forum at Plum Creek Golf and Country Club in Douglas County that featured Holtzman and Democrat Bill Ritter. Beauprez was in Washington, but was represented by state Sen. Shawn Mitchell.

An intern for the Holtzman campaign, Laura Mendenhall, tried to block a Beauprez staffer, Jory Taylor, from videotaping the event. That outraged the Beauprez campaign, which says it routinely tapes such forums. . . .

A spokesman for Holtzman said Mendenhall had made "a rookie mistake" and gotten carried away

Frankly, this is just a little embarassing all around.

Though, on the other hand, gotta give the Holtzman campaign credit for the line of the day:

"We're sorry the girls in our campaign beat up the boys in their campaign"

When Even Your Friends Are Telling You You're Drunk . . .

just sit down.

Words of advice for Ward Churchill.

From the Left Edge of the Blogosphere: It's too bad, too. Because the world needs professors who are brutally candid and credible under scrutiny. Churchill only managed a shabby try at the former. [emphasis mine]

From very liberal Congressman Mark Udall: "I believe that an educator who engages in this kind of misconduct has no place in our educational system. Ward Churchill has sullied the reputation of the University of Colorado and has brought disgrace on the academic community," Udall said.

"I have not reached this conclusion based on Mr. Churchill's comments about the 9/11 attacks, even though I think his interpretation of what happened on 9/11 is factually inaccurate, and his defamation of the attacks' victims is indefensible and reprehensible,"

Or, perhaps, sit down AFTER resigning.

Come on . . . you know some stupid think tank or other is dying to offer this guy lots of money to "think."


Priorities, Priorities

About a month ago I speculated that the Congressional Democrats and Washington glitterati would not turn out in force for the debut of United 93-- certainly not in the same sort of numbers as did for Michael Moore's great fiction.

Turns out they had yet another opportunity to show what they think is important (courtesy of The Corner)

Former Vice President Al Gore debuted his global-warming documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," Wednesday night to a Washington audience that included members of Congress and Queen Noor of Jordan.

When he found out when the Washington screening was scheduled, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he told Gore, "I'll make sure we're not going to have any votes tonight so we can come see your movie." Reid said the Bush administration has made a number of mistakes but that "nothing is comparable to his ignoring the death of our planet."

I wonder if the voters of Nevada have any way of making sure that a picture of Harry Reid embracing Al Gore is available.

Mon Dieu!! Zee Feection Ees Not So Good!!

“The Da Vinci Code” drew lukewarm praise, shrugs of indifference, some jeering laughter and a few derisive jabs Tuesday from arguably the world’s toughest movie crowd: critics at the Cannes Film Festival.

Heh. As I said blogged when I finally got around to reading the book last summer, the book wasn't very good--certainly not as good as its precursor, "Angels and Demons."

Which begs the question: "Why make a blockbuster movie out of a second-rate novel?" But then, I don't suppose I really have to answer that, now do I?

More press:

“I kept thinking of the Energizer Bunny, because it kept going and going and going, and not in a good way,” said James Rocchi, a film critic for CBS 5 television in San Francisco and the online outlet Cinematical. “Ron Howard makes handsome films. He doesn’t make bad ones, but he doesn’t make great ones.”

One especially melodramatic line uttered by Hanks drew prolonged laughter and some catcalls, and the audience continued to titter for much of the film’s remainder.

Yep. Go see "Over the Hedge" instead.


Movie Review: Over The Hedge

My daughters won a few passes to an advanced screening of "Over the Hedge" tonight, so we went.

And, boy, am I glad that we did.

This movie is 90 minutes of a decent story, propelled along at breakneck speed by incredible good humor. I was laughing constantly during this--and not just understanding little chuckles; my youngest was almost non-stop laughing; even my oldest, who is probably too old for this type of movie, was fully entertained throughout. There is, as in all good kid's movies, enough little clever snippets for the adults that make it worth sitting through, and the stuff for the kids is wonderful.

It's not a story of the depth of "The Incredibles" or of "Finding Nemo", but it is good enough to keep you interested through the exposition. And I am predicting that the new favorite child's hero is going to be the little squirrel guy from this movie--absolutely hysterical from the first moment he's on screen through the very end of the movie. And who doesn't love portraying the President of the Homeowner's Association as a pompous, self-important, unpleasant witch?

When this movie actually comes out, let me recommend that you spend your movie dollar on this rather than "Da Vinci Code"--you'll be a lot happier when you leave the theater.

The President's Speech--Reaction

I did not watch the President's speech tonight--pressing family obligation (look at next post for more information on this). However, I did read the text of the speech, and here's my reaction.

There is one key statistic you must see to understand this speech:

fence:2; barrier: 2; wall: 1; identification card: 1.
temporary worker: 3; citizenship: 4.

By my count, that makes 6 for the good guys, 7 for the other side.

We lose.

Simply from the standpoint of emphasis, this would seem to indicate that the President is more interested in letting more people in and in what we do with those who are here already than in keeping out the rest of them. Which is not where I would have had him put his emphasis.

On the other hand, that the President mentioned a wall at all is rather remarkable, and shows how far the debate and the public outcry has moved him from what has been his default position. Now it remains to be seen if there is any appreciable difference between a "high-tech wall" and a "wall," but I suppose we'll see how that plays out over time.

And I guess I should be happy that the President hit all the points that I would have suggested: a wall, enforcement on employers, and "earned" citizenship. I just wish we would have heard a little more about the first, and a little less about the last.

Now the ball is in the Senate's court; let's see if they can get anywhere with it.


John Elway vs. Marty Schottenheimer

This is what it feels like to be waiting for this speech tonight.

Given the excerpts that have been released to the press so far I would have to say I think we're all gonna feel a little like Marty tonight.

The Prez has an opportunity to snatch his malaise out from the grave, but if he doesn't say anything stronger than "National Guard", it's time to hand the ball to Ernest Byner and go home.

If I Were A Speechwriter

Here's what I would write for the President tomorrow night.

My fellow Americans (blah blah blah)

So, tonight, I am announcing a three-pronged approach to immigration reform which I am calling on the Congress to take up as their first priority.

First, we must stop the unabated flow of illegal immigrants across our Southern border. This will involve two phases: first, we will federalize and then deploy the National Guard all along the southern border to reinforce and provide support for out border patrol; second, we must construct a physical barrier in high population density areas of the border. No matter how advanced our technology becomes, we simply cannot prevent every illegal from coming through our border when they have the oppportunity to disappear into an urban setting within 50 yards of their point of entry.

Second, we must take steps to diminish the demand for illegal immigrants. Already, federal agents have taken steps to identify and punish large employers in three industries who make widespread use of illegal immigrants--this will continue.

But we must also recognize that there are large industries that will not be able to survive if they do not access to the labor and talents of our immigrant population. So, once we close the border and stem the demand for undocumented workers, I am proposing that we create a fast-track system to get those who are already among us and productive mebers of society, to give them an expedited route to enjoying full participation in our American life. The details of such a plan would certainly be negotiable, and I look forward to working with Congress on the details. I am envisioning a system on the lines of a seven-year process contingent on demonstrating employment, paying back taxes for work done "under the table" previously, and learning to speak English.

Controlling the flow of the world into our country is crucial, on two levels. First, we must know who is in our country and what they are doing here. I promised the American people that I would do whatever it took to protect them, and my administration continues every day to work to implement every legal tool within our authority to unveil the networks of our enemies, to disrupt their planning and operations, and to roll up their operatives. But it has become increasingly clear that until we have some control over our borders, we cannot protect Americans from our tenacious and violent enemies.

But second, America continues to be a beacon to the world. As such, it is intolerable that an entire class of people--sometimes estimated at 12 million--lives among us in the shadows, doing labor that Americans won't do, for an impoverished wage, with no hope of ever enjoying the full fruits of our great democracy. We are starting to see in different countries and cultures what can happen when a large group of people are not inluding in society, and it is not a pretty picture. We can, and we must, learn from the world and do a better job assimilating those people from around the world who have followed their dreams to our shores.

Realistically, this should be a short speech. But I have the sinking feeling the President is intent on sticking to his current, unpopular position and using a lot of air time to try to explain it. If this is actually the case, then the President ought to propare for an 8-10 point drop in his already abyssmal approval ratings.

And he also ought to get ready to work with a Democrat Congress come November.

So Long, Farewell . . .

The West Wing had its final show tonight.

And it might surprise you to learn that I'm sad to see it go.

Sure, it was often painfully liberal. But you knew that going in--after all, it was a show about the administration of a Classic New England liberal president. What else would you expect? Besides, the show (at least for the first few seasons) almost always had one intelligent voice for conservatism on the show, and that voice would win a pretty good percentage of the arguments it got into.

And, of course, it did have its bad years--in particular, seasons four and five were mind-numbing--but so does almost every long-running show.

But for at least one hour a week I could be fairly sure that the television program would not have gratuitous sex (though ocassionally some clever innuendo), violence or foul language; and, as often as not, it was the only show on TV that even attempted to use a high school vocabulary. And every once in a while, there was actually an attempt to educate the audience about just how their government worked. I'm sure it wasn't exactly spot-on, but it was close enough for my comfort, and it was at that a vast cry better than anything else anyone has attempted (consider Commander In Chief . . .okay, you can stop now).

So, farewell WW. Thanks for raising the bar a little bit for a little while.


Weird Month Of May

On a lighter note . . .

The Colorado Avalanche got eliminated from the playoffs tonight, looking, frankly, old and slow in losing their fourth straight to the Mighty Ducks, 4-1.

Still, for a team that Sports Illustrated had pegged to not even make the playoffs this season, not only making the playoffs but taking out the number two seed Dallas in the first round was quite an achievement. Nothing to feel ashamed of for the Avalanche--a fine season.

And, of course, the Nuggets were eliminated in the first round by the Clippers last week, looking undisciplined and immature doing so.

For a team picked to finish pretty high this year, they showed their age in stumbling into the eighth playoff spot (only slightly polished up by the weakness of the Midwest Division, which gave them a better seed by vitue of winning the division), and then not being able to get a thing together against the Clips.

Normally, this would all be reason to hang my head, and put the remote away for a few months, at least until preseason football rolled around.

But then there's the Rockies, who, inexplicably, are leading their division and only two days ago were [gasp] EIGHT games over .500. Solid pitching, timely hitting, and a pretty good understanding of how the game should be played is fueling this little run.

Don't get me wrong--it's not like I'm rushing to Vegas to put a bet on them for the pennant. I'm just saying it's refreshing to have a surprisingly early end to the spring sports, only to find that there IS one more pretty good team in town to watch.


I've Been Warning About This

But the goofball Republicans in the Senate haven't been able to get their act together, and the President is on the wrong side of the issue. Which--as I warned--left an opening for a Democrat to be the one to get out in front of this issue.

Taking her hardest line yet against illegal immigrants, Sen. Hillary Clinton told the Daily News she wants U.S. borders secured with a wall or fence, possibly surveillance drones and infrared cameras.

Clinton's proposal - which came just weeks after she blasted Republican crackdowns on illegal immigrants as un-Christian - raised the ire of activists.

Okay. And it's not like some responsible members of the GOP (John Kyl comes to mind) haven't been trying for this same thing--heck, the House already passed their bill. But Kyl et al. got so much resistance from within their own ranks that it was going to have to be with the support of Democrats to get anything real done.

And now this will be know as the "Nameless-GOPer/Clinton Border Act of 2006".

Which might actually give her a chance in Arizona in '08. God help us all.

But it gets better than that. Not only does Hillary come out for a fence, but she manages to keep the base happy on the backswing.

In an exclusive interview with Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin, Clinton said that she envisions a two-stage plan in which border security is beefed up, followed by legalization efforts in a year or two. . . .

Embracing both conservative and liberal goals, Clinton said said she backs citizenship rather than amnesty for illegal immigrants, as long as it's "earned."

If she can manage to shepherd this through the Senate, it would give her one more significant legislative achievement than John Kerry had when he ran for President.

And, by the way, one more significant achievement than her husband had when he beat a downtrodden and disheveled GOP in 1992. Sound familiar?


Clear As Mud

The Federal Reserve today raised a key interest rate to the highest level in more than five years but signaled that it may pause to assess the impact of its string of rate hikes.

What does this really mean for the economy? Well, nobody really knows. The statement that accompanied the rate hike was about as ambiguous as it could possibly be--"we'll decide the direction of further actions based on future data."

And as a result the Dow Jones struggled to gain a tiny little bit, closing at its third-highest level ever. And this in the face of two straight years of interest rate hikes, insane increases in the cost of fuel, and "ballooning" federal deficits.

Some analysts are talking Dow at 13,000; some are suddenly bearish.

I suspect that only one thing is easily predictable: when the Dow hits a new all-time high (I'm going out on a limb and saying Monday), the story will be buried in the c-block of the evening MSM newscast, getting a grand total of 12 seconds of coverage on the way to commercial break.

Good News For Denver--potentially

United Airlines parent UAL Corp. said Wednesday it is looking to consolidate its facilities — a process that could end with the company deciding to move its headquarters from Chicago's suburbs, according to a Chicago development official.

I suspect the process of getting this deal done involves some pretty close coordination between the governor and the mayor. Let's hope they're both astute enough (and I think they both are) to pull it together and make this work. That would be a huge politial coup for both.

And, again, we all breathe a sigh of relief that Hick stayed out of the governor's race.


Words of Warning

I missed this yesterday.

John Fund is one of the most astute observers of the American political scene. in Monday's OJO he wrote a cautionary essay about who the biggest threats to the GOP are this fall--themselves.

Ken Mehlman is the unflappable efficiency expert who chairs the Republican National Committee. Because he's not known for histrionics, his warning last week to GOP congressional staffers about this November's elections caused many on Capitol Hill to bolt upright.

Mr. Mehlman traveled to Capitol Hill to warn the staffers that they risked a disaster at the polls if they didn't pass meaningful legislation the conservative base cares about. Other GOP strategists go even further. "If the election were held today, I'd say the odds are 90% that we'd lose the House," says GOP consultant Mike Murphy.

If Mehlman is up on the Hill warning the Congressional GOP, you gotta know there's a real issue. But note the way that's worded--"meaningful legislation the conservative base cares about." What would that look like?

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll offered respondents a menu of legislative action Congress could address before it goes home this year. Asked to choose which should be its top priority, a stunning 39% selected "prohibiting Members of Congress from directing federal funds to specific projects benefiting only certain constituents"--i.e., the pork-barrel spending at the heart of the Congressional earmark process. Immigration reform was in second place with 32%.

That should be pretty easy: earmark reform and immigration. Earmarks are just a matter of willpower among the leadership, and the House has already passed something that begins to look like the right sort of immigration package, though it needs some forward-thinking addendums from the Senate to be palatable.

Oh . . . wait a second. There's the problem--I used "forward-thinking" and "Senate" in the same sentence. Let's just say even David Blain wouldn't try to hold his breath for that to work out.

How much you wanna bet all the Senators who are getting in the way of useful legislation are Senators NOT up for re-election? Senator Specter? Better lose any affinity you have for "Mr. Chairman." Senator McCain? Well, we all know what his prize is--and we can also safely assume he's not even gonna get the nomination to achieve that prize.

But perhaps the Senate GOP would rather consign their House colleagues to minority status. You can only assume that, based on their behavior. Wonder if that's likely to change as the summer wears on.

When Words--Whether True Or Not--Destroy

I've been watching with a great deal of interest (I don't know why) the debacle that has become the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case. The university itself came out with a report yesterday; the key points:

Duke underestimated the rape allegations against members of the lacrosse team in part because Durham police initially said the accuser "kept changing her story and was not credible," according to a university report issued Monday.

The day after the March 13 team party where a 27-year-old black woman claimed she was raped, Durham police told campus officers that "this will blow over," the report said. It said that the woman initially told police she was raped by 20 white men, then said she was attacked by three.

Of course, this is hardly exculpatory--the fact that a grand jury has indicted two players can not be ignored. On the other hand, the accuser raised similar claims ten years ago in a case that never resulted in charges, and I hardly think it's coincidence that the two already indicted are among the wealthiest players on the team. And then, of course, there's the indisputable fact that one of the accused has an ATM receipt from, like, 97 seconds after the alleged rape happened.

And yet, before there were indictments, before there's been even a trial, much less a conviction, a coach lost his job and an entire team lost its season.

Can the actions of those team (having a party, hiring a stripper) be defended? Of course not. On the other hand, what they did is not illegal, or, as far as I know, even against a code of conduct. Immoral, debauched, disgusting . . .yes. But not deserving the consequences brought down on them just yet.

Then there's this local story, which led the 10 o'clock news on at least one of the local stations last night.

A middle school teacher was arrested on a charge of sexual exploitation of a child and other counts involving a former student, authorities said Monday.

Now, if that's where the story ends, its one thing. But the teacher's name, place of employment, and mug shot were put on the news and got about two minutes of air time right at the top of the news.

My problem with that is this: the arrest is based on the allegations of ONE student based on an incident from two years ago (right--no physical evidence). If this student turns out to be troubled or delusional, this teacher's life is still over.

You see, in this profession, there is no presumption of innocence, and eventual exoneration guarantees nothing for the teacher except continued humiliation. Odds are, he will never be allowed to return to a job he has been doing for years and apparently loves.


But I think it's irresponsible of the media to have plastered his name and face all over the TV based on one allegation.

And so we have two cases where criminal conduct has been alleged but nowhere near proven, but the consequences have already been extreme. Conviction by media; no chance for appeal.

Well, This Is Good News

CentCom released some documents today that show that we're actually winning in Iraq. At least, that's the view of our enemy:

At the same time, the Americans and the Government were able to absorb our painful blows, sustain them, compensate their losses with new replacements, and follow strategic plans which allowed them in the past few years to take control of Baghdad as well as other areas one after the other. That is why every year is worse than the previous year as far as the Mujahidin’s control and influence over Baghdad. . .

6. The mujahidin do not have any stored weapons and ammunition in their possession in Baghdad, particularly rockets, such as C5K Katyosha or bomber or mortars which we realized their importance and shortage in Baghdad. That was due to lack of check and balance, and proper follow-ups. . .

Northern al-Karkh groups are estimated at 40 mujahid, so is the Southern Karkh. They could double that number if necessary. Al-Rassafah groups in general is estimated at 30 mujahidin as I was informed by the commander of al-Rassafah. These are very small numbers compared to the tens of thousands of the enemy troops. How can we increase these numbers?

I'm thinking this is . . .wait, right? . . . Yeah, this is GOOD NEWS. You know? We're winning.

Couple this with Tom Macinerny's view from Iraq from last month, you should think that the worm is beginning to turn.

I just hope the conventional wisdom hasn't hardened to the point of irretrievability.


I Wish I Hadn't Read This

Even though this actually isn't Atwar Bahjat, it STILL demonstrates--clearly, starkly, painfully--the utter, depraved, evil of the monsters on the other side.

Warning: graphic. Gut-wrenching, unimaginably graphic. (courtesy RedState)

A large man dressed in military fatigues, boots and cap approaches from behind and covers her mouth with his left hand. In his right hand, he clutches a large knife with a black handle and an 8in blade. He proceeds to cut her throat from the middle, slicing from side to side.

Her cries — “Ah, ah, ah” — can be heard above the “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) intoned by the holder of the mobile phone.

Even then, there is no quick release for Bahjat. Her executioner suddenly stands up, his job only half done. A second man in a dark T-shirt and camouflage trousers places his right khaki boot on her abdomen and pushes down hard eight times, forcing a rush of blood from her wounds as she moves her head from right to left.

Only now does the executioner return to finish the task. He hacks off her head and drops it to the ground, then picks it up again and perches it on her bare chest so that it faces the film-maker in a grotesque parody of one of her pieces to camera.

Now . . .

As awful as this is, consider that the . . . people . . . on the other side SENT THIS TO THE FAMILY in an attempt to magnify their grief.

We really have to end these people. Stuff like this makes me even more certain that there can be no co-existence with Islamic fascism.


State of the Governor's Race

Ben has a good run-down of the latest polling information on the race for governor of Colorado.

The conclusion? that the election is still six months away.

Self-Inflicted Snake Bite

You would think that the Bush administration would be very happy with these two stories for a Friday afternoon:

:Dow Jones average leaps by 138 pts; closing in on all-time high

:Patrick Kennedy to enter rehab as stories starts to develop holes

But NOOOO. This administration, as has been the case throughout much of its tenure, manages to put another story in between the press and the good news.

:CIA Director Goss abruptly, unexpectedly resigns.

Good work. Another bit of economic data that's all good for the administration, coupled with a potential Democrat scandal, and we've managed to make the dominant story of the day the intelligence community. Not exactly a GOP strong point.

Can we PUH--LEEAZE get someone in the administration with a little public relations experience?


Will This Be The One That Finally Breaks Through? (UPDATE: Probably Not)

Tomorrow's job report should be strong, yet one more indicator of a robust economy.

One more, among literally a pile of evidence.

One wonders if good news on that front will finally break the stranglehold bad news has had on the collective psyche of the American people.

We'll update this at about 6:31 tomorrow morning.

UPDATE: Payrolls grew by 138,000 new jobs in April, and unemployment remained at a mere 4.7%; at the same time, wage growth over the last year increased by 3.8%, the largest gain since 2001.

That sounds like good news, right? Might cut through the murk, right? Not likely.

The 138,000 was less than the 200,000 predicted. Which gives the media the leeway to headline the story about the booming jobs market thus (from AP):

Payrolls Grow Smallest Amount Since Oct.

I should think Tony Snow's first, most important job once he takes the podium next Monday is going to be starting and ending every press briefing with the good economic news. The price of gas has not gone anywhere in three weeks--that story needs to be forcefully stamped out; the overall strength of the economy is getting buried, and the only way to put it out there is for every question to be answered with DATA demonstrating the strength.

Things That Make You Go "Heh."

Three things tonight (with a nod to CQ):

--Zarqawi, terrorist mastermind, most-feared warrior of Allah, has a bit of trouble with guns.

The U.S. military command Thursday released previously unseen images of a video purportedly posted by Al Qaeda in Iraq's leader, showing him decked out in American tennis shoes and unable to operate his machine gun. ...

"It's supposed to be automatic fire, he's shooting single shots. Something is wrong with his machine gun, he looks down, can't figure out, calls his friend to come unblock the stoppage and get the weapon firing again," Lynch said.

"This piece you all see as he walks away, he's wearing his black uniform and his New Balance tennis shoes as he moves to this white pickup. And, his close associates around him ... do things like grab the hot barrel of the machine gun and burn themselves," the military spokesman added.

I love the detail about the New Balance tennis shoes. Nice touch.

--Another Kenney has issues with either substances and cars or with his schedulers

Rep. Patrick Kennedy crashed his car near the Capitol early Thursday, and a police official said he appeared intoxicated. Kennedy said he had had no alcohol before the accident. ...

Kennedy said he was late for a vote, officer Greg Baird said in the letter to McGaffin.

--Zacarias Moussaoui's Mommy Is Channelling The ACLU (courtesy Powerline)

At least if he had done something, then he would deserve it. He did nothing... It was because of his words, because of his ideas, because of his color and his race...

Yeah. That's it--it was his color. I hope she had a touching farewell to her warm, loving, misunderstood son.

Not Often I Agree With These Guys . . .

but when they're right, they're right.

Xcel Energy, owner of Colorado’s largest utility, just reported a 25 percent increase in profits over the previous year. Xcel’s huge profits come at a time when customers have been reeling from skyrocketing bills all winter. Home heating bills, on average, rose 25 percent to 40 percent in Colorado during the peak winter months.

What’s worse is that two weeks ago Xcel requested an electric rate increase by 19 percent, a $209 Million overall increase on residential customer and small business bills. This morning Xcel admitted that this is likely to be the first in a series of hikes on consumers.

I just got the notice in the mail yesterday that Xcel was going to ask for a massive rate hike on home electricity. My first comment to the wife was "weren't they just telling us how nice they were going to be by cutting rates this winter?"

Well, I guess the nice thing went away.

Look, I'm no economist, but I think I have a passing knowledge of economics; and I think I understand the market forces that play on things like this. But to raise rates last Fall in anticipation of one thing, then to cut during the winter when that event didn't come to pass, then to ask again for a rate hike during peak air conditioning season, only to follow that up with an announcement of unusually strong profits, strikes me as either complete befuddlement among management or distinct incompetence.

In either case, the consumer loses.


Full Of Sound and Fury, Signifying NOTHING

Monday's immigrant boycott didn't do much to shift the public debate on immigration in either direction, according to a new survey that polled before and after the walkouts.

Before the marches, according to the Rasmussen Reports poll, 67 percent wanted an enforcement-first approach to immigration, and that number dropped a statistically insignificant one percentage point in the poll taken after the marches. Meanwhile, support for allowing illegal aliens a path to citizenship remained steady at 53 percent before and after.

"Nationwide rallies, protests, and boycotts on Monday had little if any impact on public opinion," the pollsters said. "To the degree that there was any movement, it was not what the organizers intended."

Way to go, ANSWER; way to go , reconquistas; way to go, random, pointless professional protest marchers. You accomplished nothing.

At least the students who marched got a day off from school, and probably provided their teachers with at least a light work load (though if it had been me I'd have been giving extra credit work out the wazoo on Monday); everybody else just lost a day of pay for no purpose.

Nicely done.


Gotta Love The Irony

From the WashPost (page A10), via CQ:

Congressional leaders in Washington have gotten bricks in the mail from a group that advocates building a border fence, states in the West and South have drawn up tough anti-immigrant laws, and ordinary citizens, such as Janis McDonald of Pennsylvania, who considers herself a liberal, are not mincing words in expressing their displeasure.

"Send them back," McDonald said. "Build a damn wall and be done with it."

Of course, this leads to the inevitable quistion: WHY THE HELL CAN'T CONGRESS GET THIS DONE??!! If a self-described liberal sees the answer this clearly, why can't the elite class figure it out?


A Remarkably Lucid Act From The Colorado Senate

As thousands rallied outside the Capitol Monday to demonstrate the economic might of immigrants, a Senate committee backed a bill that would crack down on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

The Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee voted 6-1 in favor of House Bill 1343, which requires contractors doing business with the state to use a federal database to check whether their new hires are in the country legally.

Contractors who knowingly hire illegal immigrants could lose state contracts worth millions under the measure by Sen. Moe Keller, D-Wheat Ridge.

Gotta love how that irony got served up.

This seems to be an obvious measure, which has a great deal of common sense about it, and actually deals with the problem in a useful way. And, if I'm reading the story right, this will only effect state contracts, not private actions.

All in all, I'd say this is an excellent step in the right direction.

On a long road.

The Great, The Good, The Bad, and the Unfathomably Stupid

Quotes, that is.

The Great: Larry Kudlow, courtesy RCP:

As David Beamer (who lost his heroic son Todd on United 93) wrote in the Wall Street Journal recently -- this flick is a wake-up call. I wish it had been made earlier.

And the shots of the World Trade Center attacks, both up close and from the distant tower of the Newark air control center, reminded me of this: Why the hell haven't the quarrelsome, dingbat New York and New Jersey politicians rebuilt those towers?

The Empire State Building was built in one year during the 1930's.

We will never be whole as New Yorkers or as Americans until those towers are rebuilt.

The Good: Senator Mel Martinez, re: Immigration Day (courtesy The Corner)

“The endearing quality of our nation’s immigrant history is that each wave has been willing to work hard to achieve the American Dream. A boycott sends the wrong message.”

The Bad: Senator John McCain, without comment (courtesy CQ)

I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I’d rather have the clean government."

And the Unfathomably Stupid: Tim Russert, revealing why Americans don't understand economics--because the arbiters of all news couldn't be more clueless about it (courtesy RedState)

"Oil demand is up. Supply is down. So why are prices rising?"

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