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


So, Will It Be Called Hizbulla-stan? Or Hizbull-anon?

And, will it have its own seat at the U.N., or will it remain behind the Lebanese delegate simply pulling the strings?

That is my main concern following the news that Israel has agreed to a 48-hour cessation of air operations, this within two days of the cabinet refusing to commit to a greater ground offensive.

From the beginning, this has looked a lot like an inexperienced Israeli war cabinet was not interested in actually winning this war--if this move is what it appears to be, that appearance will be solidified.

Look, I have zero military experience, so take my assessment for what that's worth. But if we learned anything from our Iraq experience, it should have been that nothing effective happens without boots on the ground killing the bad guys one at a time. Air power has its uses, but the continuing launch of missiles into Israel demonstrates the long-term futility of that approach. Couple that with Sheik Nasrallah's ability to remain alive, and I wonder about the accomplishment of strategic objectives. And, as America was way too slow to learn, the longer the battle continues, the more effective the enemy is at manipulating public opinion against us. Regardless of how we see the delay of almost 8 hours between the bombing of a building that had been used as a launching point for Hizbullah missiles, and the collapse of said building, killing 58 women and children, the only thing that matters is the opinion of the Arab world (which I am comfortable throwing the U.N into)--and the Arab world's opinion has settled.

The next step of "successful" diplomacy will be the creation of a "buffer zone" between Lebanon and Israel. But we know Hizbullah has missiles that can reach beyond Haifa--so we know that it is possible for Hizbullah to continue launching terrorist strikes at Israel from behind the skirts of the buffering force, like the school yard bully continuing to throw rocks after the schoolmarm has stepped in to stop the fight. And in the meantime, Israel will be prevented from doing anything about it by the same schoolmarm.

Suicide, one small cut at a time.

And, by the way, just for the record, the collapse of a building 8 hours after it was struck DOES NOT pass the smell test (if the World Trade Centers collapsed in three hours, what are the odds that this building in Canaan stayed up for 8 hours?). The continuing presence of women and children in a building after it has been (apparently) severely damaged, DOES NOT pass the smell test. Whether by firing from the proximity of a civilian structure, or by failing to evacuate civilians from said structure, or by storing its own explosives inside said building, or by some heretofore unknown act which may have directly caused the collapse of the building and the deaths of the civilians, responsibility for the tragedy in Canaan belongs to Hizbullah. And as long as Saniora keeps thanking Hizbullah for defending Lebanon, then the responsibility belongs to the entire government of Lebanon.


There's Meaning In That-There Poll

The Wall Street Journal released a poll yesterday: Both Parties Post Low Approval Ratings In Poll. And while the GOP numbers are, well, abyssmal (Bush approval 39%, GOP 33% up and 46% down, generic congressional poll 48-38% for Dems, right track/wrong track 27%/60%), there is a very important tidbit inside the poll that points a straight line towards a GOP strategy for the Fall.

Another problem for Republicans is that they are getting no dividends from a U.S. economy that continues growing, with low unemployment and modest inflation. . . ."We're in a period of unusual and sustained economic pessimism," Mr. McInturff observes. Topping the list of concerns is gasoline prices and energy costs, named by 40% as the nation's most important economic issue.

If only 41% of the people think the economy is good, and, of those who don't, 40% think the big issue is the price at the pump, you CANNOT hope to gain traction on the strength of the economy. You--being the GOP powers-that-be--MUST work to pin the blame on the price of fuel on the Democrats.

It should be easy; here's a first salvo:

[film footage of offshore drilling platform, pan in to show platform hitting oil; voiceover] "one country is gaining ground on freeing itself from dependence on middle eastern oil; one country is making progress in NOT shipping billions of dollars to regimes that support terrorism around the world; one country is taking action to reduce the price of gasoline for its citizens;[pan back quickly to show a beach looking out at the sea] "one country is developing their resources within sixty miles of the coast of Florida. That country is Cuba.

Ask yourself: wouldn't YOU like to reduce the price of gasoline? Call the Democrats in Congress and ask them: if Cuba can get oil from the Gulf of Mexico, why won't they allow America to get the resources in our own back yard?

We have to turn this into "a vote for any Democrat is a vote for the extreme environmental, terrorist-centered approach to energy" (yes, I know that's overstated)

If the price at the pump is a top issue this year, then play the game by the rules the public has decided on. It won't do any good to continue arguing that things are great--we've got to connect on what matters. Once we establish credibility on that count, then we can make the argument that things are actually pretty good.

Now if the Senate Republicans would get the heck out of the way, we could argue that only the GOP can secure the borders from illegal immigration . . ."Hello? Senators McCain and Specter? STEP ASIDE!!"

Salazar Speaks--Republicans Should Listen

How could a Democrat win statewide office in a red state like Colorado? That's the question I've been asked often since I beat Pete Coors by 5 percentage points in 2004.

So begins the article on RealClearPolitics by Sen. Ken Salazar today--and I would strongly advise the Republican candidates to listen.

Salazar's main points are these:

Security first. As the Attorney General of Colorado, he had a lot of credibility on this count--sadly, something not too many Democrats do.

The second defining theme for me was my work in the rural parts of Colorado. This made a huge difference in Colorado; Salazar was already going to do well in the Denver-Boulder corridor, but his strength in "red" rural CO was what got him over the top, and, again, his credibility in that area is both strong (as a small rancher) and, again, unique among Democrats, who tend to hail from parts urban.

The third key issue was faith. But not in a Johnn Kerry-like, Howard Dean-like way; Salazar is open and honest about it, and is strong enough on it that he did not get endorsements from NARAL and NOW because he supports some restrictions on abortion. But crucially, his faith was an authentic part of who he is, not something he puts on like a cheap coat to impress the right crowd.

But his most important piece of advice is this: Besides the issues, the most important thing that a candidate can do is to be authentic. If a candidate tries to wear religion [or security, or a good personal story, . . .] like clothing without really having it, that tactic will backfire.

Of course, he's right. The problem most Democrats will have in following his advice is that they just aren't credible on these counts. They, as a party, have spent so much time pandering to the narrow interests that make up their coalition that it will be difficult to convince too many voters of their authenticity on too many of these fronts.

And, besides which, Salazar left out the most important ingredient in his successful run for office: have an opponent who is completely inexperienced at campaigning and who is completely wooden in his appearances for the first nine months of the campaign. If they could just arrange for that to happen everywhere, the Dems could score a huge landslide . . .

It IS Wonderful When A Lefty Makes My Point For Me

From Friday morning's WaPo, here's the punchline from Peter Beinart:

Privately, some Democrats, while admitting that they haven't exactly been taking the high road, say they have no choice, that in a competition with Karl Rove, nice guys finish last. But even politically, that's probably wrong. The Democratic Party's single biggest foreign policy liability is not that Americans think Democrats are soft. It is that Americans think Democrats stand for nothing, that they have no principles beyond political expedience. And given the party's behavior over the past several months, it is not hard to understand why.

Ouch. And exactly spot on.

What Beinart didn't mention was hypocricy--like Howard Dean calling the PM of Iraq an anti-Semite for refusing to condemn Hezbollah on the day after six Democrats in the House voted AGAINST a resolution for the same.

Factor in yesterday's bizarre protest of the PM and today's disruption of the Bolton nomination by an odd Code Pink activist; factor in the possible filibuster, though almost certain spectacle, of John Bolton's re-nomination to the U.N.; and factor in Cindy Sheehan's upcoming sit-in of the Presiden'ts vacation with a variety of communists and anarchists; you begin to get the picture that the Left is losing its mind. Only rarely to be held together by their ongoing hatred of the President.

It's 1968 all over again, and thy refuse to see it--or to see that there's a problem with that kind of thinking.

By the way, since we already know Sheehan is going to be there, could we PUH-leeze have a media strategy in place for dealing with her. Calling Tony Snow . . . your presence is needed!


Not A Lot Of Help From The Courts Lately

for the Lefties, that is . . .

Deferring to state lawmakers and agreeing with most other U.S. courts, the highest court in Washington state on Wednesday upheld a state law that bans same-sex marriage.

The Washington Supreme Court, though, was bitterly divided in its 5 to 4 decision, producing six separate opinions in rejecting the claim of 19 gay couples that they are victims of state-sanctioned discrimination that harms their children and their financial security.

Geez, at this rate, the Left may actually have to start winning elections to get their agenda through. Note the crucial line at the beginning of the article: "Deferring to state lawmakers . . ." as a proper Court should.


Bloggers Middle-Earth: Elrond [Extended]

Here's a first pass at the HH contest.

The face of Elrond was ageless, neither old nor young, though in it was written the memory of many things both glad and sorrowful. . .

Elrond was well-aware of . . . Power, of [its] potential and [its] history, and eagerly shared his knowledge at the Council.

I think of the blogosphere, and I try to think of one who is wise, who understands history, who observes all things, understands all things, and is able to put into historical context all things. I also picture someone who, at this time, remains effectively above the fray, though willing to advise all good people who are wise enough to listen to him.

And, of course, only one name jumps to mind: Michael Barone.

The author of the American Almanac of politics; who, while apparently conservative in his views, is not, to my knowledge, directly linked to any one political party or candidate; who looks at numbers and delivers analysis far more trenchant than anything else out there. The absolutely indispensible source for political information. Michael Barone is the Elrond of the Blogosphere.

That was, to me, the most obvious choice. The rest are going to be off-the-cuff little amusements for myself.

The Fellowship of the Ring:

Gandalf: Hugh Hewitt. It would be interesting to see where public influence and the blogosphere meet--I'd be willing to bet there are very few with the influence, the ability to shape events, the way HH does.

Aragorn: Michael Yon. Been there, done that, more interested in service than in power. Sounds like a Marine.

Frodo: Captain Ed.
Samwise: Powerline. (Not to imply a servant relationship, but NARN must be well-represented in the Fellowship)
Merry: SCSU Scholars (Hobbits must be from the north . . .)
Pippin: Peeps ("He will find his courage . . .")

Legolas: Glenn Reynolds Sees more than he lets on, though not by much, and was a crucial early link in holding the 'sphere together
Gimli: Yoni I believe the word is "cantankerous" . . .

Boromir: tragically flawed, but with reserves of strength and courage . . . sounds like a hawkish lefty to me


Eowyn of Rohan: Michelle Malkin for obvious reasons
Denethor of Gondor: Andrew Sullivan because I'd hate to be wrong about the obvious

Tom Bombadil: James Lileks "enigmatic", yeah, that's the ticket . . .


The Value of the DIS-proportionate Response

[Mahmoud Khomati's] comments were the first time that a leader from the terror group has suggested it miscalculated the consequences of the July 12 cross-border raid that seized the two.

"The truth is - let me say this clearly - we didn't even expect (this) response.... that (Israel) would exploit this operation for this big war against us," said Komati.

He said Hizbullah had expected "the usual, limited response" from Israel.

Which, of course, is nothing more than a recipe for continuing terror attacks. The status quo ante (as SecState Rice is fond of saying) is precisely what the Islamists want--it gives them time for Iran to develop its nuke, which would spell the end of Israel.

And make no mistake--the Lebanese government is, at the least, complicit in the attacks on Israel. Any claim of innocent victimization is laughable. The sad part is that the Lebanese people are paying a high price for the choices of its government and the cowardice of hizbullah.

Important--And Surprising--Clarity on National Security

"The Court Is persuaded that requiring AT&T to confirm or deny whether it has disclosed large quantities of telephone records to the federal government could give adversaries of this country valuable insight into the government's intelligence activities," U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly said.

At which point the judge dismissed the lawsuit filed by the ACLU and a few others, alleging that their rights had been violated by the NSA.


courtesy TPM.


This Is Why Democrats Don't Win Elections

As bad as Republicans are, and as ineffective as they can be as a governing party, they do have one massive structural advantage--they always run against Democrats. After all, elections are not referenda, they are choices, and that is one reason that I am less worried than I might otherwise be about the November elections.

Case in point: this "footage" mocking the President's arrival at a Denver fundraiser last week (click video screen to view). Honestly, if this is what passes for intelligent argument--hell, if this is what passes for entertainmnet--among the Left, then it's no wonder they so quickly descend into invective and screed. They have no wit or force of ideas to propel them forward.

Oh, yeah. That and they pick children like John Kerry to head up their tickets. Honestly, didn't a different President than George W Bush preside over the beginning of the Intifada? From Camp David? With Arafat in the room?

Or perhaps he prefers the peaceful model of diplomacy of an older Democratic President, who managed to not lose any hostages over the course of a fifteen-month hostage crisis. Of course, we as a country lost all credibility, the beginning of Islamic extremism gained instant credibility around the world, and the words "paper tiger" became part of the vernacular for people who hate America all around the world. But at least he was managing the economy; oh, wait . . .

New Colorado Poll Numbers

Zogby has a new poll out today (subscription required) showing the race for governor in Colorado is tightening up. Bill Ritter now leads Bob Beauprez by the statistically insignificant margin of 43%-41%.

I take all Zogby polls with a grain of salt; however, this one passes the smell test for me. At this point in the race, for the margin to be negligible and the "undecideds" to be running around 16% seems about right. Lots of room for growth in both camps, and the lack of information around the state about both of these metro-area politicians makes this a wide-open race.

Gotta get to work, Republicans.


Unusual Moment of Unity

First, me, from last night:

I'm not sure this would have been my first veto--six years in to my Presidency. And if it comes at the cost of expanding funding for adult stem cell research, I'm also not certain that that was worth the price. Besides which, I'm reminded of the thoughts of Samuel Broder, former director of the National Cancer Institute.

Okay, then from the Rocky:

the veto is a serious mistake on several levels. . .

given the impressive Senate majority that passed the bill and the House's relatively narrow failure to override the veto, it's possible the next Congress might pass a similar measure by a veto-proof margin.

And then from the Post:

Instead of using his first veto to hinder stem-cell research, Bush should have vetoed early and often on budget-busting bills and bureaucratic boondoggles that he has signed without a second thought throughout his term.

Wierd. I don't remember the last time that me and both dailies were more or less on the same side of an issue (though, admittedly, my position is by far the weaker of the three).


Quick Hits

Not a lot of time to play with tonight, so I'll just go around the bases with quick hits.

--If I were in charge:
world to Israel: cease fire
Israel to world: since you have no interest or ability to force Hezbollah into a cease-fire, we will agree to a cease fire once we have guaranteed that they no longer have the ability to fire

--President Bush issues first veto, killing federal funding for embryonic stem cell research funding

Politically speaking, I'm not sure this would have been my first veto--six years in to my Presidency. And if it comes at the cost of expanding funding for adult stem cell research, I'm also not certain that that was worth the price. Besides which, I'm reminded of the thoughts of Samuel Broder, former director of the National Cancer Institute.

Morally speaking, I'm glad the President both stuck to his promises AND acted to protect life. I'm a little less confident of my position vis-a-vis the "life" of a test-tube zygote than I was five years ago when this was first in the news, but I respect that the President stuck to his convictions, even if the issue is a loser.

I do think he should follow that up, though, with an aggressive campaign for expanded federal research into adult stem cells. But that's just me . . .

--Is anybody else worried that a cruise liner used to evacuate Americans from Lebanon makes an awfully big target steamin' around the Mediterranean?

--The House, citing the nation's religious origins, voted Wednesday to protect the Pledge of Allegiance from federal judges who might try to stop schoolchildren and others from reciting it because of the phrase "under God."

For my money, I would have preferred to wait for the Supreme Court to have an opportunity to clear up its muddled thinking on the Establishment Clause with this case. If SCOTUS blew it then, then it would be appropriate for Congress to act in this fashion.

On the other hand, the result is a good one, so . . .


You Have To Appreciate Artful Cleverness

I can't read the credit to attribute appropriately, but I had to post this. [Courtesy:Powerline]

UPDATE: Okay, so I'm having trouble uploading the picture. Go here, and get a sad, ironic chuckle.


This Should Sound Familiar, Coloradans

An alliance of nearly a hundred of the nation's wealthiest donors is roiling Democratic political circles, directing more than $50 million in the past nine months to liberal think tanks and advocacy groups in what organizers say is the first installment of a long-term campaign to compete more aggressively against conservatives.

Remember how the Democrats took control of the CO statehouse in 2004? Yep, that's right--through the shadowy funding of the Gang of Four, who overwhelmed competitive districts with "independent" high-quality mailers. At what cost to them? I don't know if we know the exact numbers, but I seem to recall the total was in the vicinity of $3 million.

Turns out Colorado was just a template. I wonder if, on a national scale, the Republican Party is any better situated to compete with this than the CO GOP was two years ago.

For that matter, I wonder if the state GOP is ready for the onslaught this year.


Nothing To See Here

The Denver Post, in conjunction with Mason-Dixon Polling, put out a new poll today. In it, Dem. Bill Ritter is ahead of Rep. Bob Beauprez in the Governor's race by a margin of 42%-35%.

Not good news, but not really much news here at all, it turns out.

In the first place, the margin of error is plus or minus 4%. That, for the non-statisticians out there, is a pretty big margin of error. To put that in terms that might be easier to grasp, imagine if somebody said Todd Helton's batting average was .300, plus or minus 4%. In other words, Helton's average could be .260, or it could also be .340.

Think that makes a difference? Ask a sports agent if there's a difference between a .340 hitter and a .260 hitter.

So, back to the poll, what that really means is that Beauprez is polling right now somewhere between 31 and 39%, while Ritter is between 38 and 46%. Statistically, this poll shows nothing except that this race is close right now.

Secondly, look at the internal numbers a bit: polling sample of 36% Dem, 40% Rep, and 24% Ind. Current actual voter registration numbers are 30% Dem, 36% Rep, and 34% Ind. (Note: I tried to find voter turnout numbers by party affiliation for the past couple elections, but could not find that anywhere. A link, if you know one, would be much appreciated).

Now, while that looks like both parties got over-sampled (and that would be true), it does skew a little towards the Democrats: they were over-sampled by 20%, while the GOP was oversampled by just 10%. Admittedly, not enough to want to throw the whole thing out, but certainly enough to make you wonder.

And, lastly, the really interesting thing that shows up in this poll is the little detail that Bill Ritter, past District Attorney of the largest city in the state, is an unknown to 25% of all voters in the state. That strikes me as an awfully high number for someone who has less than four months until the election--maybe he should ask John Kerry for some advice about introducing himself to the voters.


Recent Headlines That Give Me No Hope

all via the Washington Times.

Senate denies funds for new border fence (Charles Hurt)

Senate bill seeks more pay for aliens (Charles Hurt)

Senate bill may restrict police (Charles Hurt) [from helping Immigration . . .Officials]

No comment necessary.

How You Can Help

courtesy of Josh:

This Sunday, at the BMH-BJ Congregation here in Denver, there's going to be an Israel Solidarity Rally, organized by the local Jewish community. The rally will be 6:30-7:30 pm, and the shul is located at 560 South Monaco Pkwy.

I'm not going to go on about how important it is to be there, since you already know that. I will point out that there's plenty of room, and plenty of parking. (Not only do the synagogue and GW High School have large lots, it's right across the street from my house; if those lots get filled up, I have two spots in my driveway, and I won't charge. Or at least, not very much.)

I'm going to be on air with John Andrews, but I'll be looking for pictures, so if anyone has a camera, feel free to send them to me, and I'll be happy to post them.

OK, I lied. Guys, it's game on now. This is serious business, with Haifa and now a ship getting hit. The Air Force is, ah, preparing the battlefield, as they say, but eventually it's going to take boots on the ground to play Orkin Man to Hezbollah's cockroaches. We need to make sure that Israel has the time it needs to do the job it needs to do.

Be there.


via Captain's Quarters:

Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame have run into a bit of bad luck in their lawsuit against Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, and ten random Republicans. CQ reader Denis K took a peek at the complaint and noticed something that I had missed earlier -- the judge assigned to the case. Wilson and Plame drew Judge John D. Bates -- and a quick glance at his rulings will no doubt have the Left fuming.

For instance, Judge Bates ruled in
January 2005 that Michael Newdow would suffer no harm if the President said a prayer at his inauguration. . . .

If that doesn't get the Democratic Underground in a fury, they may instead recall their anger when Judge Bates told Congress that they had no standing to sue for access to the records of Dick Cheney's energy task force. . . .

And, hell, if that doesn't do it for Wilson supporters, his work as one of
Kenneth Starr's staff during his independent-counsel investigation of Bill Clinton should force them into despair.

With just a little bit of luck, this one will get a summary dismissal with extreme prejudice, and Plame and Wilson can fade back into the shadows where they belong.


At Least The Rocky Remains Sane [UPDATE: Both Papers Sane]

I was curious how the local papers would react to the escalation of agressions in the middle east. I was satisfied:

But Israel cannot tolerate another country - even a fledgling democracy -functioning as a safe haven for a group that attacks its troops and shoots rockets across its border that reach a major city. It has been a sad week for the Middle East, but also a clarifying one for those with eyes to see.

"Eyes to see," indeed. I find it quite illuminating that the reflexive comdemnation of Israel so long the norm from the Europeans and the U.N. has been missing over the last two days (though the U.S. did have to exercise a veto at the UNSC today). Perhaps, just maybe, the world has noticed that Hamas and Hezbollah are the instigators and, thus, unworthy of even rhetorical protection.

The Post has been silent on the issue, though, in fairness, its Friday edition is still not available online at the time of this blogging. I'll update as soon as I see something.

Also, curiously, the local Lefty blog has been completely silent on the issue, as well.

UPDATE: The Denver Post does wigh in this morning, and, to my surprise, sees the events for what they are.

We are encouraged by the restraint shown by Arab governments in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia - who clearly understand that radical regimes in Damascus and Tehran were using the trusted catspaw Hezbollah to further their goals. Iran seeks to distract the West from confronting its nuclear ambitions. Syria seeks to dominate Lebanon and challenge Israel.

That's encouraging, even if their conclusion is lukewarm (at best):

Solid diplomacy and cool judgment from Western and Arab nations will be needed to control this crisis in the days ahead.

How's this: solid reprisals against terrorists and cold, calculated expulsions of terrorists from Lebanon will be needed to END this crisis in the days ahead.


Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends

Israel is going to war.

I was thinking a couple days ago about which countries are most likely to survive the impending clash of civilizations. And, though the obvious answer was "America", I could not help but think the only logical response was actually "Israel", and for just one simple reason:

Israel sees the world as it is, cares little for world opinion when it is engaged in an existential struggle, and has, as a state, a long memory.

Whereas the U.S. might feel compelled to go the the U.N. for "action" before engaging the enemy in the face of an act of war, Israel takes swift, decisive--and final--action.

Pray. There is little hope now that either side will step back from the precipice at this juncture; I also doubt that there is much chance that this conflict will confine itself to Israel and Lebanon. Once Damascus gets involved, how long until Tehran?

Again I say, pray. Pray for a swift conclusion, a decisive conclusion, the souls of the innocent who will, inevitably, get caught up in this, and the safe return of the Israelis whose abduction started this.

ADDENDUM: Sadly, I heard some idiot on the radio assert tonight that, given a different circumstance, he would take up arms against Israel. His logic? That the Islamic world hates the U.S. because of our support of our ally.

Setting aside the obvious superiority issues, let me just address the fallacy in the premise of that logic. If Arab aggression against the U.S. is based on our support of Israel, then should it not follow that a flagging of our support would lead to a more peaceful coexistence?

Explain, then, why the administration MOST critical of Israel, MOST supportive of Palestinian goals, MOST engaged in solution-building in the Middle East--the Clinton Administration--was the victim of Somalia, Khobar, the African Embassies, and the U.S.S. Cole attacks? Why, when our support of Israel was at its most Palestinian-centric point, did the Islamic terror network begin its planning phase for the attacks of 9/11?

Those who would blame Israel for the sorry state of the Islamic psyche betray an almost laughable willingness to ignore history. I think that ignorance needs to be challenged.

A Modest Strategic Proposal

The numbers are mind-blowing:

:unemployment at 4.6%, lower than the averages of the last four decades
:since August 2003 some 3.5 million new jobs have been created
:wages are up--last month more than .5%
:the stock market seems to be holding steady close to the record, though unable to crack it
:growth in the GDP has been, at the very least, robust--5.6% last quarter
:and, as of today, federal tax receipts are up enough that the budget deficit is falling faster than projected, so that the deficit the President promised would be cut in half by 2009 will be in that condition in 2008.

So why can't the GOP get any traction out of a booming economy?

Because gas is costing Americans about $3 a gallon right now.

The GOP will not get any traction out of the economy as long as it costs more than $40 to fill up the tank once a week. So I would suggest that the GOP starts pushing back on this issue and this issue alone.

Why is our refining capacity strained? because the liberals haven't allowed us to build a new refinery in 25 years while increasingly demanding for more specialized blends, which tax our very limited refining capacity.

Why are we so reliant on foreign oil? because the liberals won't let us get at our own resources in ANWAR and off the continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico and off of California.

Why is our economy so reliant on oil? because the liberals keep trying to sell us on "alternatives" that make barely a dent in our need while blocking the path to the solution that the French have found so useful--nuclear.

You see how this could work. While I would much rather focus our attention on finding solutions to our problem (which, by the way, could mean the end of the financial pipeline from America to our "friends" in the middle east and South America), the only chance at getting to a solution is to maintain the GOP majority.

And that will not happen if the GOP sticks to a strategy of talking about successes that aren't important to the people on the street.

It doesn't matter how big the spitwad is if you keep spitting into the wind.


M.A.D., Far-East Style

As in "Mutually Assured Destruction."

Japan said Monday it was considering whether a pre-emptive strike on North Korea's missile bases would violate its constitution, signaling a hardening stance ahead of a possible U.N. Security Council vote on Tokyo's proposal for sanctions against the regime.

If any country has a greater interest in reining in the madman of PyongYang than the U.S., it would be Japan. After all, of the seven test missiles which fluttered harmlessly into the sea last week, about seven of them were both on their way to Japanese airspace and had Japan in their range.

I have heard it said many times in the last few weeks that Japan has about as much plutonium on hand as any country in the world, and could, conceivably, go nuclear in a relatively short amount of time. That, alone, may be enough to get things moving in the six-party talks and at the U.N. If there's one thing China does not want, it would be a thriving democracy forced to arm itself to defend itself just one short boat ride away from the mainland.

Sometimes It's The Inadvertent Truths . . .

That are most revelatory.

Take, for instance, this lede from the WashTimes this morning:

U.S. warns Iran to halt nukes or face 'action'

U.S. officials yesterday accused Iran of stalling negotiations and said the deadline has arrived for the country to halt nuclear production or face sanctions in the United Nations.

"We offered them two paths, negotiations or Security Council action,"

Yes, I too would put the word "action" in quotation marks, when the action in question is referral to the U.N. In fact, if I were speaking this, the quotation marks would be the sarcastic two fingers on each hand extended and flexing to signify the quotation marks. It's kind of like how I say the Colorado Rockies have gone to the bullpen to "save" the game.

Action and U.N. are not two words that belong together.


Our Friends, The Russians

Two articles from the morning's WashTimes should get your attention.

The first, showing Russian willingness to be complicit in our current crisis with North Korea.

Russia secretly offered to sell North Korea technology that could help the rogue state protect nuclear stockpiles and safeguard weapons secrets from international scrutiny,

The second, bringing up ongoing efforts by Vladimir Putin to enlarge his reach and control over every aspect of Russian life.

Alongside his drive to re-establish Kremlin control over the nation's political life, Mr. Putin aggressively has reasserted state domination over major economic sectors -- in part by installing members of his own team, many dating back to his days in St. Petersburg, into key positions in some major state-controlled companies. . . .

The list of government officials doubling as captains of industry goes on, reflecting deeply intertwined state and business interests. Mr. Putin's influence in so many industries raises questions about whether politics won't trump economics in the end when business decisions are made.

Two things: one, of all the things President Bush has said that don't make much sense (and, come on, syntax isn't exactly his strong suit), the one he should regret most is "I've seen his soul, and I trust" President Putin.

And, two, any further effort to get Russia to work alongside us to resolve crises such as NoKo and Iran will obviously center around economics. But to expect them to do the right thing, seeing them as ideological allies united because of their Chechen problem, is foolish.

Celebrate Our Commonalities

Yes, indeed--our brethren to the South have a great deal in common with us. Just take their recent elections, for instance.

The Leftist candidate loses by just a little bit in a heated contest. Does he accept his fate graciously? HAH!

No. Just as in America, the Leftist candidate goes to the courts to demand a recount. All our country is missing is the ability to motivate 100,000 people to protest in the streets.

Oh, wait. I forgot about Jesse Jackson . . .


I Know This Is Old News

But it deserves mentioning.

" . . .behind the walls of the CIA, analysts had concluded the opposite: that bin-Laden was trying to help Bush gain a second term" by releasing a tape in the days leading up to the 2004 election.

Seriously? How stupid is this?

This, on the heels of the news that the Bin Laden Unit has been disbanded and subsumed back into the general counterterrorism population at the CIA.

For my money, if this is the sort of brilliant insightful analysis the CIA is coming up with these days, we should just shut down the whole Langley operation, and disperse those "analysts" among the general population of the Postal Service.

Must Reads

If you haven't been keeping up with the incendiary evidence of Saddam's WMD pursuits--I don't know, maybe because you're relying on the Old Media--you have to read both Powerline and Captain's Quarters tonight. Both have separate reports related to documents from the Iraqi-document-dump-unreviewed-by-intel-services-but-having-important-info which have been translated by various independent sources. Go now . . . read.

Ouch. That's Gotta Hurt.

Not once . . .

The state Supreme Court reinstated Georgia's constitutional ban on gay marriage Thursday,

but twice . . .

New York's highest court ruled Thursday that gay marriage is not allowed under state law, rejecting arguments by same-sex couples who said the law violates their constitutional rights.

on the same day the Courts declined to do what the Left has been unable to accomplish at the ballot box. Just to refresh your memories, the Georgia case was in relation to a ballot initiative that had 76% of Georgians rejecting both gay marriage and civil unions. And, just in case this isn't reported, the New York court explicitly told the appelants to try to get what they want through the ballot.

"We do not predict what people will think generations from now, but we believe the present generation should have a chance to decide the issue through its elected representatives,"

Now, if there's a state in the union where this has a chance through the electeds, it would be in New York. It will be fascinating to watch what happens in the New York state assembly in the next few weeks.

And, on a related topic, is anybody else out there worried that the abundance of ballot initiatives on this very subject slated for Colorado's ballot (at last count, I think, there will be FOUR such) will muddy it all up so bad that any real chance at getting a clear idea of what the electorate is thinking is, at best, iffy?


A Word About the Special Session

My elected state Senator recently sent out an e-mail regarding the special session which is going to start tomorrow; the basic gist can be summed up by these excerpts:

What more can we do during the Special Session?The biggest thing I can think of is to expand the law making it illegal for state contracters to hire illegals to include ALL Colorado contracters. If no one hires illegal immigrants, they won't come to Colorado. They come for the jobs, not the services. . .

This special session is more about election-year posturing and politics than it is about illegal immigration.

Well, um, yeah. It would seem pretty obvious to all involved that making it illegal to hire illegals will have a useful effect on the problem.

How about ending sanctuary cities? Oh, no. Wait. The Dems killed that in the regular session this past year.

How about limiting the payment of workers' comp to illegal aliens? Oh, no. Wait. That got killed in committee by the Dems this past session, also.

How about just some statement--somewhat unimportant and self-serving, but at least it's something--encouraging the federal government to enforce their own laws? Oh, no. Wait. That got killed in committee by the Dems this past session.

Well, I can see my Senator's point. It would seem that the Dems actually did do all the work they needed to this past session. Many of the really useful bills were killed, so . . .

what more CAN they do during a special session?

Favorite T-Shirt Seen At July 4th Festivities

"'To err is human, to forgive Divine.'

Neither of which is Marine Corps policy."


The Grey Lady as Pinata

I would describe this as brilliant, only it's such an easy target. Frankly, I'm surprised more of these haven't come across (easy to say, I suppose, for someone who can't draw stick figures)

And not that the cartoonist (who, to my knowledge, remains nameless) isn't good--he/she's great! It's just that concept suggests itself pretty easily. However, the byline is a hysterical invention.

In Case You Didn't Know This. . .

today is the 145th anniversary of the third and final bloody day of the Battle of Gettysburg.

On this fateful day, Gen. Lee attempted to press the attack against fortified Union positions across one mile of open field. This attack was spearheaded by Gen. George Pickett, which earned this ill-fated attack the monicker "Pickett's Charge."

By the end of the day, 10,000 Confederate soldiers were casualties, and the Battle of Gettysburg was over. In total over the three days some 51,000 Americans had become casualties, the most in any battle ever on North American soil. In addition, for all intents and purposes the ascendancy of the Confederacy was over. No Southern general was to ever cross into Union territory with such ambitions again, and the tide of the war changed for good.

So as we prepare to celebrate Independence Day, consider that one event 145 years ago made it possible that we would still be celebrating as one nation.

By the way, if this was obvious historical information for you, congratulations. You must have had a better History curriculum in high school than I did. I only learned anything of interest about the entire Civil War well after I graduated from college.


Start Sending Your Spare Coats To Hell. . .

as we enter July, the Colorado Rockies are three games ABOVE .500, and, with a record of 41-38, have guaranteed themselves a winning record at the halfway point of the season.

Even more amazing, the Rockies got a complete game shutout victory while facing the absolute minimum number of batters and using only 91 pitches tonight out of Josh Fogg. It's almost as if--ALMOST--the Rockies have a pitching staff. Tonight's win left the Rockies only 1 game out of first place.

It's at least going to continue to be fun watching these guys play out while waiting for Broncos training camp to open up.

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