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


Update: Mike Merrifield Resigns Committee Chairmanship

Following the revelation of his email exchange with fellow Democrat Education Committee Chairperson Sue Windels, Rep. Mike Merrifield has resigned from his Chairmanship of the Colorado House Education Committee.

Merrifield's letter of resignation, which he delivered to the floor today, was very simple:

"I don't want my remarks or my health to sidetrack the important work of the House Education Committee. Accordingly, I am asking Rep. Solano to assume my duties as chair for the remainder of the session."

Unfortunately, I cannot link it for you, because none of the local news outlets have chosen to make it available to you. Also, Merrifield gave a statement on the floor to accompany his resignation--it, too, is not available from any of the local news outlets.

I wonder why not. Hmmm . . . .

[And that's really too bad, too. Because this "apology" is so chock-full of "if my statements were interpreted to mean . . ." and "if anybody felt insulted . . ." gobbledy-gook, that it was actually very funny to listen to. I will attempt to figure out how to link it for your listening pleasure later.]

For that matter, even though this story was on the front page of the 9News webpage early this afternoon, not a word f it was spoken during the 4 o'clock, 5 o'clock, or 10 o'clock broadcasts.

Hmmm. I wonder why that would be.

For that matter, the Denver Post has the audacity to headline its online article "Merrifield Steps Down, Cites Cancer." As if he would have resigned today, anyway, whether this email came to light or not.

I wonder why they would choose such a headline.

At any rate, this whole story highlights how smart work on the part of a few--or one--interested blogger can create a story and a reaction that the "professional" journalism class never gets close to.

Major kudos to Face The State for getting his/her hands on this email and bringing it to light.

Also, nods of approval to Ben for following this story and giving some insightful commentary; for Denise, whose new blog is chuggin' on all cylinders, and adding some great thoughts to this story; to Bob, who adds some real passion to the discussion; and for Richie, who first brought this to my attention.


Democrats Should Be Asked Why They Hate Schools

Charter schools, that is.

Face the State has, somehow, gotten a copy of an e-mail exchange between Mike Merrifield (D), former school music teacher and chairman of the Colorado House Education Committee, and Sue Windels, former high school teacher and chairperson of the Colorado Senate Education Committee.

While it's tempting to focus on this line:

There must be a special place in Hell for these Privatizers, Charterizers, and Voucherizers! They deserve it!

I think, from a pragmatic standpoint, it's more important to focus on this line:

I agree that if Gov would support, we should go for the whole enchilada!

And what, you may ask, is the whole enchilada? Shutting down the Charter School Institute, the state body that is tasked with overseeing the propriety of school districts' approval/disapproval of charter school applications, and, sometimes, granting charters to applicants that have been turned down by their home district for no good reason.

So, while it is no surprise that these two former educators and current tools of the uber-powerful teachers unions dislike charter schools, why should they work so diligently to close down a state regulatory agency? That's counter-intuitive for Democrats, at best.

Their answer is that deciding charter licenses should be a matter for local control (never mind that they impose their views on a statewide basis whenever it suits them).

Why should they oppose the state having an opportunity to grant charters, as well?

Their answer is that charter schools take money away from students in normal public schools. And that is, to a degree, true. But given that traditional school districts take away from charter schools at least 5% of the state per-pupil funding, the amount taken out of the traditional schools is relatively small.

Do charters out-perform traditional schools? The evidence is, at best, inconclusive. There is, however, nothing to suggest that charter schools are bad.

Are parents and students more satisfied with their charter schools than with traditional schools? ABSOLUTELY! The evidence here is incontrovertible: parents, when asked, indicate a vastly higher degree of satisfaction with charter schools than with traditional schools.

So, the question remians: if charter schools are getting the job done, and parents and students are much happier in charter schools, and the impact on traditional schools is small (other than the exodus of serious families), then why does the establishment hate charter schools so much?
Rather than dismiss supporters of change as "evil", wouldn't it be vastly more useful to demonstrate that theirs is a better way?

I understand being passionate about the importance of public education. But there is nothing to suggest that that passion is best served by demonizing those who earnestly believe there is a better way.

And, by the way, the answer to the mirror image of the big question is simple: why do these parents despise traditional schools so much? Senator Windels, you have to look no further than the actions of you own committee, which, at every opportunity, thumbs its nose at people of Faith and seriousness in education.

After that line of questioning, THEN we can get around to asking why the establishment is comfortable calling charter supporters "evil". Because, after all, isn't Hell the place to which God consigns evil people? And what, pray tell, in the idea of supporting school choice and options for their children, is the evidence that allows the establishment to call charter supporters evil?


Quick Hits, Musings, and Miscellany

--When Short on Courage . . . go for the back door. Colorado Conservative Project, via Exvigilare, exposes the Colorado Democrats trying to slide through their own definition of marriage by burying it in a Housing Bill.

--Newt Nails It .. . . when asked by Hugh Hewitt how Britain should respond to Iran, he says:

I would say to them, I would right now say to them privately, within the next week, your refinery will no longer work. And within the following week, there will be no tankers arriving. Now if you would like to avoid being humiliated publicly, we recommend you calmly and quietly give them back now. But frankly, if you’d prefer to show the planet that you’re tiny and we’re not, we’re prepared to simply cut off your economy, and allow you to go back to walking and using oxen to pull carts, because you will have no gasoline left.

And, by the way, WE ARE NOT THE WARMONGERS WHEN RESPONDING TO AN OVERT ACT OF AGRESSION. On the other hand, when we fail to respond, we are encouraging a great deal more agression in the world.

--If You Haven't Started Reading Michael Yon, START NOW!! Yon is an excellent writer, and former special forces operator, who has a front-row seat for all that is good and bad in Iraq. Good: the men and women on the ground and Gen. Patreaus; Bad: military mid-level management, who are doing their level best to guarantee that America loses the media war. And when you lose the media war, you lose the war.

--Did Anybody Else Notice? the unusual timing of the President of Iran's cancelling his trip to the United Nations? Did anybody maybe think that something else might be in the works? Yeah, sure--we didn't issue the visa. But if he had really wanted to be here, is there anybody who thinks he wouldn't have made the trip and then dared the U.S. to keep his plane from landing?

--When Competence Becomes the Issue . . . you have to be on the right side of the discussion, and right now, we're not. Alberto Gonzalez and his office have failed in that regard, and so a non-story is the scandal of the week(s); the military is doing great stuff in Iraq, but, as I wrote above, their press people are so bad that the story can't get out. This all adds up--it's no longer a matter of right or wrong, the competence issue cuts that argument off at the knees before our side even has a chance.

--Catch Him Doing Something Right I'm pretty quick to criticize John McCain when he pulls one of his . . . moments; so I should be equally quick to credit him when he gets it right. And with this one, he gets it right:

We the undersigned remain steadfast in our support for the war against terrorism and mindful of the consequences of failure in Iraq, even if Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid refuse to acknowledge those consequences.

Sen. Hagel, You Should Keep Those Tee Times

Because a primary run for the GOP nomination, after today's vote, is Quixotic, at best, and downright megalomaniacal, at worst.

The Would-Be Other Senator's Excuse

Mark Udall's statement regarding the House vote last Friday to insert a timetable (again, editorial comments are all mine):

"I think it would be grossly irresponsible to vote against providing America’s men and women in uniform with the equipment and resources they need [but I'm okay with telling them they can't get their mission done, and guaranteeing that they won't]and against providing them the best health care they may require when they come home.

“Many Americans are frustrated and angry because we are four years into a war the president assured us would be short and decisive. The president’s misjudgments, lack of planning and poor leadership have made a bad situation worse. Many do not trust him to find a way to end this war, and they believe Congress should simply act to cut off additional funds.
[this is what I want to do, too, but I don't have the courage to do it]

“I opposed giving the president the authority to wage war in Iraq, but the fact is that we are still deeply engaged there. So long as our troops are in the field, we must provide them what they need
[except, of course, our support ] even as we move to change the mistaken policies of the Bush administration in Iraq.

“This bill begins that change. It includes important language to hold the president accountable to the benchmarks set by his own administration and the Iraqi government and will provide General Petraeus and the administration with the leverage necessary to help the Iraqis forge a political solution.
[without allowing them to actually try to win] It will take a political solution – not a military one – to end this war.

“The bill is an important step toward a responsible end to the war in Iraq, based on a strategy of phased
[declaring defeat and running away with our tails between our legs]withdrawal of troops, accelerated diplomacy and redeployment that is based on Iraqi stability and not arbitrary deadlines. This legislation includes a [arbitrary deadline] date certain for withdrawing U.S. combat troops from Iraq. I do not believe this language is wise and were it up to me it would not be included in the bill. As a matter of national security policy, we should steer clear of arbitrary public deadlines and focus instead on realistic goals. Our military needs flexibility to be able to link movements of U.S. troops to the realities of the situation on the ground. The August 2008 deadline in this bill is [an arbitrary deadline] far enough away that I believe we may be able to revisit it if need be.

“In addition, I am pleased that the Colorado delegation was successful in persuading the House leadership to include
[lots and lots of pork, pork, pork . . .] financial assistance for farmers and ranchers, including for those affected by Colorado’s recent blizzards, and I am hopeful that the funding will be included in the final conference report.

“We need to be scaling back our military mission in Iraq. We need to make the U.S. military footprint lighter – not in order to hasten defeat or failure in Iraq, but
[in order to guarantee . . um, non-victory and humiliating non-success] to salvage a critical measure of security and stability in a region of the world that we can ill afford to abandon. We need to [abandon our allies in Iraq] change course and chart a path that enhances our national security and sets the right priorities for the war on terrorism and struggle against extremists [while almost certainly enabling genocide]. This bill begins to chart this path, and that is why I support it.”

This man would be your Senator, Coloradoans.

Be afraid . . . be very afraid.

Salazar's Excuse

Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) offered the following statement (editorial comments are all mine) on the Senate vote to give the enemy our playbook . . . er, set benchmarks and a timetable.

“Our troops have done the heavy lifting to free Iraq and now the Iraqis must take responsibility for their country. Today’s vote is about ensuring that change takes place and I voted for it.

“I continue to believe our troops deserve a policy that is worthy of their sacrifice and dedication. This policy continues to honor them
[by insisting that they accept defeat] and moves Iraq in a new direction [towards anarchy and genocide].

“Today’s vote does five simple things:

--Plainly states that Congress and America support our troops; [actually it only says Congress and America support the troops, while, in actuality, it clearly states that the Congress DOES NOT believe the troops can accomplish their mission]
--Establishes a series of benchmarks which the Iraqi government must meet – including disarming militias, strengthening Iraqi security forces, and sharing oil revenues;
[but, really, this is completely meaningless, because we're running away in March 2008 regardless of what the Iraqis are actually accomplishing]
--Requires periodic reports on the Iraqi government’s progress in meeting the benchmarks; [again, whatever . . . this is really just a way of keeping the general staff busy with paperwork so nothing useful can get accomplished]
--Sets the goal of redeploying, by March 31, 2008, U.S. troops not engaged in training Iraqi troops, conducting targeted anti-terrorism operations or protecting US personnel and infrastructure in Iraq; and
--Encourages the President to continue recent efforts to work cooperatively with Iraq’s neighbors to develop a comprehensive diplomatic, political, and economic strategy for a stable Iraq.

“I remain hopeful the President will listen and support it.”
[but we don't really care, because he has no other options available to him as of March 31, 2008]

Notice, the good Senator never say anything about the $20 billion in pork going along with this bill.

Again, I think the President should be talking about this in front of every camera available to him, every day for the next three weeks. And then, when this lands on his desk, he should write in big, bold letters "NUTS" on it and return it immediately.

The media will begin spinning this immediately: "now that the President has vetoed the supplemental, the military will start running out of money in days . . . " The only chance is for every Republican to get their talking points right and do so immedately, and then get in front of every available camera and make the case.

Let's see if this team has any fight left in them.

The troops deserve for someone to stand up and make a line in the sand on their behalf.


On The Lighter Side

In case you haven't noticed, we are right now in the midst of the greatest fortnight of sports on the calendar. To wit:

:the final two weeks of the hockey season, which are a lot like the playoffs, which are awesome fun to watch. In case you haven't caught up to the story, the Colorado Avalanche are making an historic run for the playoffs--they haven't lost a game in the month of March, and have come to within 5 points of their nearest rival for the final playoff spot.

:opening day for baseball is just one week away

:The Masters golf tournament is less than two weeks away

:and the Final Four is next weekend, following one of the most entertaining weekends of college basketball I can remember

:and, just for good measure, the Air Force Academy basketball team is making a Final Four run in the National Invitational Tournament.

Lots of fun stuff out there.

Life is not all politics.

Democratic Deviousness In Action (O.R.)

When is a bad idea even worse? When it gets dismissed as predictable silliness, but has the long-term effect of eliminating possibilities for good governance.

Stay with me on this one--it's gonna take some work.

State Rep. Mike May (R) hands out the "Golden Anvil" Award every so often to Bad Business Bills which Weigh Down Colorado Commerce. I am on this mailing list, so I keep pretty well informed of what the Democrats are trying to do to ruin the Colorado economy. Tonight, though, something new piqued my interest.

The "Golden Anvil" citation included the following lines:

That is why House Republican Leader Mike May, R-Parker, awarded this week’s Golden Anvil to House Bill 1293, which was promoted this weekend by sponsor Rep. Gwyn Green (D-Golden) and anti-highway-expansion activists. . . .

As amended, HB 1293 would create a 500-yard bubble, the length of five football fields in each direction, around all public and private schools, making it more difficult for any highways to be built or expanded within that area.

This set off my radar, so I did a little reviewing of some stuff I took an interest in not too long ago.

The Colorado Deparment of Transportation, along with several other agencies, have been studying for several years now the feasibility of completing the Denver Highway Loop, which begins in the West at the intersection of C-470 and I-70, and circles south and east around the city to connect with E-470, which goes all around the east part of Denver and, with the recently completed connection, goes all the way around to reach Flatirons' Crossing Mall in the far northwest corner of the city. This leaves just the furthest West/Northwest corner of the Denver Metro Area without a leg on the Loop. And, as anybody who has tried to get anywhere in the northwest corner of the metro area can tell you, completing that loop would make a huge difference in travel around the city. CDOT has dubbed this project "The Northwest Corridor."

Two years ago, when this was first being looked at, I went to a couple of the public meetings held by CDOT to try to start a working plan. There was, as I recall, about 80 possibilities for this highway, though some were obviously better suited than others. But most of the most sensible alternatives involved the use and expansion of an already-existing four-lane highway, Colorado Hwy. 93, to complete the Loop into and through Golden, where it would hook up to C-470/I-70 and finish the Loop. If you look through the heading "Alternatives" at the above link, it will show you all the possible routes the NW Corridor could take.

The problem with that is that the residents of Golden--which, by the way, is about three times the size it was 20 years ago and sprawls up onto the sides of the foothills in every direction around the city--do not want a highway coming through their city. And, I suppose, I can't blame them: I don't want one coming through my part of town, either. But, given that there's already Hwy 93, CO Hwy 58, and CO Hwy 6 all passing through or around Golden, carrying traffic to Boulder and the gambling cities in the mountains, this is a smaller adjustment for that community than it would be for many others.

So how does Gwyn Green's HB 1293 come into play? Well, first, notice that Gwyn Green represents Golden. Second, check out this map on Mapquest, which shows the location of Mitchell Elementary School. Now, I'm no cartographer, but it looks to me like Mitchell Elementary School is within about 50 feet of Highway 93.

In other words, were HB1293 to pass and become law, the Northwest Corridor IS DEAD as a highway project. Hwy 93 could never be expanded as long as Mitchell Elem. still stands, and the residents of Golden, thanks to the cleverness of their representative, would never have to deal with being a part of the Denver Highway Loop.

Keep in mind, folks, that with the opening of Flatirons' Crossings Shopping Center, the redevelopment of the Rocky Flats region, and the otherwise normal expansion of housing in the northwest part of the metro area, NOT having an easy means of highway travel in this area will mean significant losses in terms of commerce, traffic congestion, lost time, and the massive environmental impact of cars idling in traffic jams. NOT completing the Highway Loop would be--twenty years out--a disaster for this area.

This disaster brought to you by the Democrats in your Legislature.

Addendum: Note that this bill passed out of the Education Committee, where it is more easily disguised. Had it gone through the Transportation Committee, somebody might have noticed the scheme.

Addendum 2: In case you were wondering, Mitchell Elem School (new facility) opened in about 1995--WAY after Hwy 93 existed in its current corridor.

cross-posted at Political Avalanche



The Deafening Silence

Last night I asked if anyone would find Senator McCain--or anybody else, for that matter--and ask them of the importance of the Geneva Conventions in light of Iran's announced intention to ignore them.

Today, I find myself disappointed.

Not at all surpised, but disappointed.

I checked the transcripts for FoxNews Sunday, Meet The Press, and watched a good part of This Week. Not only did McCain not show up at all, but not a single one of the guests on any of the shows get asked about the Iranian situation, and not a single mention of it was made during any of the roundtables.

Wonder why the American people are uninformed? It's because the "professional" journalist class is uninterested in informing them.

By the way, what was the discussion about? Alberto Gonzalez. Just so you know.

Y'know--matters of vital national security.


Around the Colorado 'Sphere

A new site is up, Colorado Index, which tracks internet activity in Colorado on a daily basis, as well asome original commentary and reporting. A useful site, with an excellent mission in mind. Check in with them every day.

Another good new site is up, with a very specific mission: keep the state informed about Charter Schools in Colorado. The site is Colorado Charters Schools, and its run by one of the original advocates of charter schools in Colorado.

Guy links to an excellent defense of Gen. Peter Pace's position vis-a-vis homosexuality by Chuck Colson.

Exvigilare devotes some good grey matter to the ipending Colorado Senate race.

Jim is all over the world with some great blogging, including this advice related to the House vote on the war supplemental:

Just a word of advice for any Republican planning on taking bribes offered by the Democrats; there are millions of principled Republicans like myself that will see to it that you won’t have that opportunity again when you come up for re-election. If you won’t stand up what’s right, we’ll elect people who will.

The small (but mean) bird of prey , as usual, links to more interesting, under-the-radar international news than any site I know of anywhere.

Ben hits many high notes this week, including good coverage of the impending Senate race and his typically sharp coverage of things educational--especially the Governor's sneaky, massive tax hike

And Bob got some good news (?) this week (Godspeed, brother!), and writes with great passion about THE fundamental social contract we hold.

Happy reading!

Somebody Find Senator McCain--

ask him if he still thinks the Geneva Conventions must be held sacrosanct--"for the protection of American soldiers. "

Tell me, Senator, what do the Geneva Conventions say about forced confessions?

Iran claimed Saturday that 15 British sailors and marines had confessed to entering its waters in an act of "blatant aggression," an escalation of Tehran's rhetoric over the confrontation.

Or, perhaps, Senator, what do the Conventions say about show trials of unlawfully held hostages?

FIFTEEN British sailors and marines arrested by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards off the coast of Iraq may be charged with spying.

A website run by associates of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, reported last night that the Britons would be put before a court and indicted.

Referring to them as “insurgents”, the site concluded: “If it is proven that they deliberately entered Iranian territory, they will be charged with espionage. If that is proven, they can expect a very serious penalty since according to Iranian law, espionage is one of the most serious offences.”

Okay, sure, we're not talking about Americans--we're just talking about our closest allies. I would hope the standard still applies. A Convenion is a Convention, no?
As Captain Ed put it, "Can we expect the same level of outrage over this explicit violation as the supposed violations of the US government?" The Captain was referring to the U.N. and the international community.

I'd settle for a little outrage from the Democrats on the Sunday morning talk shows.

And, like I said, a little outrage from Senator McCain.

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Media Cover: House Emergency Military Supplemental

One wonders why the evening news broadcasts on two different Denver television stations hid important facts about today's vote, and why the Rocky Mountain News story (via the AP) buries those same facts deep in the story.

--The Democrats, despite a 31-vote majority, only managed to eke out a 6-vote victory on the spending bill

--The Democrats, despite a comfortable working majority, only managed to garner the bare minimum number of votes for passage (218) by buying the votes of two Republicans, while 14 of their own voted against it

--The Democrats weighed this military funding bill down with an additional $25 BILLION in pork projects, including such "critical-to-the-mission" items such as:
:$25 million for spinach farmers in California
:$74 million for peanut storage in Florida
:$64 million for the National Marine Fisheries Service
:$282 million for the Milk Income Loss Contract Program

--The Democrats forced this bill through, despite a certain Presidential veto, which makes the military running out of funds while troops are in the field a very real possibility

One does have to wonder why important details such as his manage to escape the notice of the "professional" journalist class.

Or, perhaps, one should wonder why the professional journalist class continually chooses not to report details such as these.

How Media Betrays Its Sympathies

A major public figure announced today that they were going to undergo treatment for a health-related issue. Same public figure has overcome cancer in the last two years.

But it, apparently, only gets reported on Colorado's Number One News Channel if said public figure is female, or a Democrat.

See, today, Tony Snow, the White House spokesman, announced that he was going to be having surgery next week to remove a growth in his abdomen. Snow, of course, overcame colon cancer two years ago.

But this story shows up nowhere on the Channel 9 KUSA news programs at 4 o'clock or 10 o'clock (I was at dinner at 5). It also, somehow, managed to escape the notice of Channel 4 KCNC News at 10 o'clock, as well.

These, of course, are the same stations that put the news of Elizabeth Edwards' recurrence of cancer in the A Block yesterday, giving it a couple minutes of valuable broadcast time. In fact, Elizabeth Edwards was such the darling of Channel 9 that not only did she get four minutes in the A Block last night, she got another three minutes in the B Block of the 4 o'clock news tonight.

One has to wonder about the judgment of a news channel. Certainly, Edwards' story is worthy of air time. But when the most visible face of the Administration, aside from the President, has a similar sort of story, it should also merit at least a passing mention.

I also wonder why the story is the at the top of the "news" section on their website (or, at least, it was at 4:30), but doesn't manage to crack the broadcast.

I guess some cancers--or some cancer patients--are more sympathetic than others.


Prick Us, Do We Not Bleed . . .

Fifteen British Navy personnel have been captured at gunpoint by Iranian forces, the Ministry of Defence says. . . .

It added that the men had been carrying out a routine patrol in Iraqi waters.

Quick--somebody go find Jack Murtha and ask him at what point a provocation becomes an act of war.

And then, see if he can finish the passage from above. My guess is his answer will, shall we say, lack poetic power.

Though he almost certainly will match the comedic persona of other Shakespeare characters.


I Don't Agree With Tina Griego Very Often

So I have to make a point of publicly pointing out when I do. And today, Tina Griego wrote a very good piece about a subject near and dear to my heart: raising girls.

The sexualization of girls has been in the news lately with the release of the American Psychological Association's report on the subject. Women dressed as girls, girls dressed as women, the reduction of femininity to sexuality, the psychological and emotional damage this causes. None of this is new, but it is more ubiquitous, going mainstream, entering a store, a magazine, a song, a television show near you. It will require me to return a pair of pants to Target because what looked good on the hanger - appropriate for an 8-year-old - clung to my daughter in a most inappropriate way. My husband and I consider ourselves lucky she is something of a tomboy. . . .

As noxious as the business of reducing women and girls to their navels, boobs and butts is, it is also never far from my mind that my husband and I are my daughter's first teachers. Right now, I am her most influential female role model. To that end, Judith Warner, in a guest column for The New York Times, raised pertinent questions last weekend when she asked: "How can we (mothers) expect our daughters to navigate the cultural rapids of becoming sexual beings when we ourselves are flying blind?"

"How can we teach them to inhabit their bodies with grace and pleasure if we spend our own lives locked in hateful battles of control, mastery and self-improvement?" . . .

am the mother of a daughter who soon enough will become a young woman and I hope to teach her that her body is both functional - we use proper names in our house - and sacred. That she is as she was meant to be, born with many gifts of the mind and spirit, which she will discover and share because that is how we honor ourselves and others.

I absolutely love the idea behind Ms. Griego's prose. As a teacher and as a father, I am continually disturbed and disgusted by the messages girls get in today's culture. They are taught that they have to look like a Pussycat Doll, that they have to move like Christina Aguilera, and that their most important asset in the world is their body. NOT as an instrument of beauty and a means of expressing love, but as a way to manipulate the world to get what they want.

And, oh yeah, they're taught that what they should want is STUFF and the "hottest" male available.

The lines of defense that have to get thrown up around young girls in today's society need to be 30 feet tall, have mines in the ground in front of them, barbed wire on top of them, surveillance cameras and blocking software at every entry point, and a platoon of Marines walking the wall. In my house, we refer to that defense as "Dad".

And even that is no defense against one classmate who has a mom working on her fourth marriage.

I believe Ms. Griego loves her daughter very much; I believe she wants to see her grow up healthy and wise; and I applaud her that she includes her husband in the discussion of what is best for their daughter.

But, knowing a little about her from her previous writings, I don't think she's completely serious. I wonder if she's willing, for instance, to criticize this:

A federal judge in Philadelphia yesterday struck down a 1998 law that made it a crime for Web sites to allow children to gain access to material deemed “harmful.” . . .

“Despite my personal regret at having to set aside yet another attempt to protect our children from harmful material,” Judge Reed wrote, he said he was blocking the law out of concern that “perhaps we do the minors of this country harm if First Amendment protections, which they will with age inherit fully, are chipped away in the name of their protection.”

Or I wonder if Ms. Griego thinks this is a good thing--or, more to the point, whether she is willing to confront the community bluntly to address this:

More than 40 percent of Black children live with a single mother, compared with one-fifth of Hispanic children and about 12 percent of White children. [this data is slightly out-dated; I believe the current numbers are even higher, with more black children being born to unwed mothers than being born into a family]

Or, for another instance, how did Ms. Griego feel about the state legislature attempting to MANDATE that her daughter would have to be inocculated against a disease that she could only contract through sexual contact. When she was 11 years old.

I think this points out an important difference between liberals and conservatives. While both sides abhor the smuttiness of society (at least, rhetorically), only one side is willing to confront it. Liberals hide behind the ACLU and decry efforts to rein in pornography, limit the language used on television, and have dress codes in public schools. They point out the awfulness while constantly refusing to do anything about it--even empowering it.

On the other hand, the libertarian wing of Conservatism is much the same way, feeling that the government should not be empowered to affect such choices, and believing that the open market place will find a way to sort itself out. And, I guess, it's not just the libertarian wing.

And when the Cultural Conservatives try to take a stand for anything, they get compared to the Taliban and dismissed--even mocked--by Republicans, who should be their natural allies.

The problem is that we've built ourselves up to a point in society where neither side is willing or capable of doing anything politically to improve society . . .

and our girls are suffering.

Do girls suffer disproportionately to boys? I would argue that yes, they do. But that is another discussion for another day.

I guess my point is that Tina Griego and I have common ground on this point, and that is reassuring. Perhaps that ground could be tilled to find a solution amenable to both of us that would protect more of the girls in the world. I, for one, would want my daughter to hang out with a girl raised in the way Ms. Griego describes her house.

Because the alternative is a taller wall, and a deeply disturbed generation of girls on the other side.


Hat Tip

to Ben, who broke the story about McInnis not running for Senate yesterday, a day before the dinosaur media got to it.

Crazy Like A Fox

Has it occurred to anybody that the White House may have learned very well the lessons of the previous administration, and is playing the Congress like a fiddle? The President makes a "magnanimous" gesture to allow access to his advisors, and the Democrats--predictably--are making a great deal of noise to set up a "Constitutional crisis."

Heh heh heh.

A House panel authorized subpoenas yesterday for top White House and Justice Department aides, including White House counselor Karl Rove, setting up a constitutional clash with the Bush administration over the U.S. attorneys investigation.

The subpoenas served as an act of defiance toward President Bush, coming less than 24 hours after he warned Democrats against engaging in a "partisan witch hunt" and vowed to embark on a legal battle to shield his staff from public testimony under oath.

If memory serves, the country is not terribly forgiving of Congress when it overuses its Constitutional check to hunt down a President, even one who has lied to it. And, though I'm no lawyer, I think the law is pretty clear on Presidential prerogatives.

Unfortunately, this White House has not shown any of the same fight mentality as its predecessor. That is, until the last two days. I've tried before to credit the White House with a Rope-a-Dope, only to be disappointed.

I'll be very interested to watch this one play out.


Democrats Moving To Expand Their Voting Base

Two measures passed out of committee at the state legislature today. Both passed on straight party line votes. Both are obvious ploys by Democrats to pander to a segment of their constituency. Both will be ignored by the media. Both will create structural barriers to prevent Republicans from winning elections in the near future.

And both are bad--not just for Republicans, but for everybody.

From the indispensible Colorado Senate News:

:Democrat senators approved a proposal in committee today that expands the list of documents allowed for an ID or to prove lawful presence in Colorado – drawing charges by a Senate Republican of a “rollback” on immigration reform.

House Bill 1313 passed through the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on a 3-2 party-line vote. Under the bill, a person would be able to prove legal residency by simply providing a Social Security card with either a hospital record or religious documentation.

Sen Dave Shultheis . . .says . . . among the offending provisions is one that allows a person's friend to submit an affidavit attesting to that person's lawful residency in the U.S.

"They're just going to have to take the guy's word for it," said Shultheis

And . . .

A measure allowing convicted felons on parole the right to vote in elections was embraced again by Democrats today -- this time in a Senate committee, which agreed on a 4-3 party-line vote to send the proposal back to the Senate floor. . . .

“This (parolee voting) portion redefines by legislation a constitutional phrase, and the Legislature does not have that authority,” said Dan Domenico, solicitor general of Colorado.

So, anybody out there seriously wonder which direction those votes are going to break? Paroled felons and immigrants whose only verification of residency is a friend's word? Gimme a break.

So, here we have the Democrats in the legislature starting to move to shore up their positions to hold on to power in this state for a lot of years to come. They've demontrated over the past three elections that they have vastly better fundraising ability than our side does; they managed to out-maneuver us in 2000 to prevent good redistricting; and now they're redefining who is and isn't a voter in ways that could increase their percentage of the vote by an amount we have no way of guessing right now.

This is a story that HAS to find a way into the mainstream media--Coloradans won't stand for this, but only if they know what's going on. And the media certainly won't do anything on their own.

cross-posted at Political Avalanche


Why Is This So Hard?

I don't normally watch the Today Show--with very good reason, I think. But, for some reason, I turned over this morning to the show while getting ready for work, and I caught an interview between Meredith Vieira and Tom DeLay.

Now, let's be clear: Tom DeLay is one of the most effective Republican LEGISLATORS in recent history--there's a reason he was called "The Hammer" and that he became the prime target for the Democratic Search-and-Destroy Team. But this interview left me wondering what happened to all the good Conservative debaters. A sample:

Note: this transcript is mine, from the interview which can be seen at the show's website

[video clip of DeLay on Meet the Press, in which he points out that announcing a timetable for withdrawal gives aid and comfort to the enemy]
vieira: In a poll taken last week, sir, 59% of Americans say they agree that troops should be removed from Iraq by Fall of 2008. So, does that mean that more than half of Americans are unpatriotic? that they're abetting the enemy?
delay: No, No, that...it's much different. When you give a date certain, and you telegraph to the enemy what your plans are, and what your strategies are, the enemy can design his own strategy in response.
vieira: How is that different than the American people--59%--who are saying that they want American troops out by the Fall of 2008?
delay: For what reason? and when?
vieira: Because they think that it's not working.
delay: No.. .it's . . a lot of it has to do with the American people are frustrated, as I am, as the President is, that it's not going as well as you'd like to have it, and you'd like to be out. But it's not a matter of setting a date, and, uh . . .when you set a date, you're aiding and abetting your enemy.
vieira: Well, I think they are saying, sir, not to beat a dead horse, I think they are saying that they want American troops out by the Fall of 2008.
delay: well . . . I didn't know that you spoke for the American people.
vieira: No, I'm not. I'm speaking for the poll, actually. And the poll shows 59% say that. I'm just wondering . . .I want to make sure I understand you when you say that those people are not unpatriotic, that you're not taking that position.
delay: People can take a position at all. What I'm saying is that, when you set a date, and . . .uh, . . it . . .it gives the enemy, uh . . . comfort to know what you're gonna do so they can, uh, plan their attacks,uh, on their own.

There. That's enough.

Okay, let's make the excuses first. DeLay was there to pimp his book, so he probably had no reason to think about this line of questioning. He was probably caught a little off guard by the clip from MTP, and, perhaps, it is reasonable to think this was a bit of a blindside.

That said, let's see a show of hands for everybody who would have thought ahead of time that DeLay was going to get a straight shot on the Today Show.

Yeah. Me neither.

So, dammit, Republicans, get an answer ready to go for this line of questioning. If you are going to go out in public and use the words "aid and abet", you'd better be ready to back it up. How hard would it have been to say something like this:

"Well, Meredith, those 59% aren't the policy-making body of the United States. It's one thing for the public to say they WANT a thing to happen, it's another thing entirely for the Congress to say a thing MUST happen. I want the troops out; the President wants the troops out--EVERYBODY wants our boys and girls to come home. But it has to be done responsibly, in a way that respects the work and the sacrifices our troops have made.

"Let me put it this way. If you polled New York Giants fans, and asked them if they wanted the team to throw the ball down the field more late in the game, I'll bet you could get 59% of the Giants fans to agree with that. And the Dallas Cowbos wouldn't care a whit about that information. But, if on the other hand, Coach Coughlin and the coaching staff came out and announced that they were GOING to throw the ball downfield more, starting at the 10 minute mark of the 4th quarter, then that's a whole different thing. And I think the Dallas Cowboys would find that information most useful.

"It's the difference between the other side knowing your players and your tendencies, or the other side actually having your playbook."

Now, granted, I had all day to flesh these thoughts out, and Tom DeLay didn't; but I haven't made a career out of taking and defending political positions in public. And, to be perfectly honest, most of this answer came to me almost immediately.

Frankly, it's not that hard.

Why, I ask, do Republicans get SO bumfuzzled every time they have to defend themselves. I would rather a politician come out and be strong and forceful, even if they make a few rhetorical mistakes.

Reagan was known to make a few mistakes. But he didn't lose too many rhetorical battles, and he always spoke in terms that most of the public understood.

Today's GOP could take a lesson or two.

Why Is This So Hard?

I don't normally watch the Today

A Penny For Your Thoughts

Ben has a straw poll up regarding the 2008 Colorado Senate Race. Click on over there and contribute your thoughts about who should be the GOP candidate.


This Must Be Double Super-Secret Party Support

Via Colorado Senate News:

A key Democrat lawmaker said today the governor’s mill-levy “freeze” – proposed last week amid fanfare as a way to raise $65 million for schools – will not be introduced in the Senate after all. Instead, the controversial hike in most Coloradans’ property taxes now will be amended into the annual School Finance Act in the House.

The latest twist with the now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t tax hike had critics wondering if the Ritter administration is backpedaling in the face of mounting political push-back since he debuted the proposal.

Make no mistake: Gov. Ritter's proposal is nothing more than a semantically-neutral way of raising taxes--A LOT!

But rather than showing just a tiny bit of political courage and supporting their guy by going out and making a case for this plan, the Senate Democrats--and, in particular, Sue Windels--are going to play a shell game with this tax hike and hope that they can get it through without the public noticing.

Yes, that's right--EVEN THOUGH they have a voting majority, and they know that the Governor won't veto his own plan (oh, wait . . . .), they know better than to try and do this sort of thing out in the open.

There's a lesson in this, Colorado: this state has not gone Blue. Think of all the ideologically blue proposals that the voters smacked down in the last election and look at the dubious accomplishments and approach of the Democrats in the legislature, and you sense that, on a very core level, this state is still very much center-right.

Now, if only we could get some candidates to articulate that effectively and some money to combat the Gill/Stryker/Polis tidal wave, we might actually win something again.

cross-posted at Political Avalanche


Will The REAL Conservative Please Stand Up?

No, I'm not trying to disparage any of the people in the race already. I'm simply laying out an obvious platform for anybody interested in the conservative vote in 2008.

You want to appeal to my conservative instincts? Run on a platform of tearing down the government and rebuilding it in a way that has a prayer of working.

Just try to think about what we've learned about the U.S. government in the last year or so:

:Embassy staffers said they have wasted countless hours squabbling with Washington instead of focusing on more urgent initiatives to stabilize Iraq. In one incident, as the bickering between Commerce and State intensified, the embassy blocked a team of Commerce officials from entering the country.

:A United States Justice Department report says the FBI has improperly - and in some cases illegally - put citizens under surveillance without judicial approval. . .

The report says the FBI not only violated their own internal regulations, but in some cases violated the law in gathering the private information.

:D. Kyle Sampson, the chief of staff to Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales, is leaving the Justice Department in the first fallout from the department's bungled firing of U.S. attorneys last year, people familiar with the situation said Monday night.

:Such questions reveal slip-shod tradecraft, casting doubt on whether Plame’sidentity was even classified, much less covert.

[Seriously, folks, this was just the quickest link to find about incompetence at the C.I.A. This is a LONG list that includes missing the fall of the Berlin Wall, missing the Iraq invasion of Kuwait, missing 9/11, and blowing the call on WMD's in Iraq.]

:He was also pretty blunt in his assessment regarding some members of the Public Affairs Office. “There are some guys who are winning this war,” he said. “There are others who are losing it.”

:More than a year after it was launched, a privately run teacher certification program backed by $40 million in federal grants is accepted in only five states and has certified only a half dozen teachers.

:The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.

This is the world of Building 18, not the kind of place where Duncan expected to recover when he was evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center

:Fifteen years and $14.6 billion later, the Big Dig is nearly complete. But one tunnel is being treated as a crime scene after a ceiling collapse killed a motorist. A contractor stands indicted on charges of supplying shoddy concrete. One of the tunnels remains closed to traffic, and many Bostonians shy away from the others, unsure they are safe.

After years of cost overruns and tunnel leaks, the project plunged this month into the deepest crisis in its history when the 12-ton section of ceiling panels broke loose, crushing a car and killing a 38-year-old woman inside.

So, in just this quick survey, we've seen incompetence at Commerce, State, The F.B.I., Justice, the C.I.A, Defense, Education, Veteran's Affairs, and Transportation.

And, oh yeah, have you noticed that tax day is coming soon?

And don't get me started on the various bits of politically correct incompetence related to Homeland Security or Border Security.

And does anybody rememember the highlight of the last few years' bungle-fest . . .little event called "Katrina" . . . bad little agency called FEMA (whether it's fair or not).

My point is this: when was the last time you heard a report about an agency of the federal govenment actually working the way it was designed to work?

If the entrenched bureaucracy in Washington is unable to get the job done for the American people, then the entrenched bureaucracy needs to be removed.

Of course, there's no way this can happen in today's political environment. So, instead, the smart candidate should actually propose creating brand new agencies to better handle the demands of the new century. A 20th-century government is not nimble or intelligent enough to deal with the expectations of the 21st century.

In the meantime, the only way to balance the budget while doing all of this is to starve the dying and useless elements of the old government.

You might even be able to attract talented people to want to be a part of government again, if you can convince them that government might actually work.

Or something like that. I haven't had a chance to fully flesh this out.

But it's clear from just that quick set of google searches--which took very little time--that the federal government DOES NOT WORK. And a Presidential candidate who can come in and articulate that and show that they have a track record that indicates they might be able to fix it is a Presidential candidate that I would not only vote for but would walk streets and work phone banks for.

And, on that count, I think that might give Mitt Romney and Rudy Guiliani a leg up.


Media Lies: Valeria Plame

You have, no doubt, seen the media coverage about Valerie Plame-Wilson's testimony today before the House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee. And, OH MY GOD, could the coverage BE any more biased? [sorry--channelling Chandler Bing there]. For a sample:

WaPo: Plame, breaking her public silence about the case, contended that her name and job "were carelessly and recklessly abused" by the government. Although she and her colleagues knew that "we might be exposed and threatened by foreign enemies," she said, "it was a terrible irony that administration officials were the ones who destroyed my cover."

NYTimes: She spoke at first in a quiet but insistent voice that was nearly inaudible over the crackle of three dozen camera shutters. Fumbling with the base of her microphone, Ms. Wilson looked at once nervous and bored waiting out the photographers. As she talked more, her voice seemed to gain force, volume and velocity — a confident bearing to match her appearance.

She said the security breach might have endangered agency officials but also “jeopardized and even destroyed entire networks of foreign agents, who in turn risk their own lives and those of their families to provide the United States with needed intelligence. Lives are literally at stake.”

[ed: don't you love when the news division can double as fashion critic?]

The AP: Valerie Plame put a glamorous face and a personal story to Democrats' criticism of the Bush administration Friday, telling a House committee that White House and State Department officials "carelessly and recklessly" blew her CIA cover in a politically motivated smear of her husband.

Plame, the operative at the center of the leak scandal that resulted in last week's criminal conviction of a former top White House official, created more of a stir by her presence on Capitol Hill than by her testimony.

And, of course, coverage of her testimony was all over the evening news broadcasts, as well. Usually, though, it showed up in code ("The former covert agent whose outing by the Administration led to the conviction of the Vice President's former Chief of Staff .. . ") Also, notice how careful the media is to never show any of the questions asked of Ms. Plame by the Republicans on the committee, much less show any of her answers to those questions ("Well, my employer was not known by EVERYBODY on the Georgetown cocktail party circuit . . .")

But Ms. Plame was not the only person who testified before the Committee. Somehow--SOMEHOW--the entire media is finding a way to miss reporting on this crucial bit of testimony from today's hearings:

No White House can prudently safeguard classified or otherwise non-disclosable
intelligence information (such as covert status) unless its own intelligence agency follows
the proper procedures to inform it and its Executive branch clients of that classification or

If Plame was really covert in July 2003 (or within five years of covert), the CIA
was required under the statue to take “affirmative measures” to conceal her relationship
to the United States, particularly because the criminal law comes into play. If Plame was
really covered by the Act in July 2003, why did:

• The CIA briefer who said he discussed the fact of Wilson’s wife working
at the CIA with Libby and the Vice-president, not tell them Plame’s
identity was covert or classified;
• Richard Armitage, (who, having seen Plame’s name in a State Department
memo from which he gave the gossip to Robert Novak and later asserted,
“I had never seen a covered agent’s name in any memo…in 28 years of
government”) not know Plame’s identity was not to be revealed;
• State Department Undersecretary, Marc Grossman, not know Plame’s
identity was not to be revealed;
• CIA spokesman Bill Harlow tell Vice-president staffer, Cathie Martin, that
Wilson’s wife worked at the Agency but not warn her Plame’s identity
was not to be revealed;
• CIA spokesman Bill Harlow (who, according to Wilson’s autobiography,
had been “alerted” by Plame about Novak’s sniffing around, p. 346 [App.
B, p3] ) confirm for Novak that Plame worked at the CIA;
• The CIA not send its top personnel, like the Director, to Novak and ask
the identity of Plame not be published just as the government does any
time it really, really, really does not want something public, e.g. in
December 2005 when the New York Times was about to publish the top
secret NSA surveillance program;
• The CIA not ask Joe Wilson to sign a confidentiality agreement about his
mission to Niger (a document all the rest of us have to sign when
performing any task with the CIA) and then permit him to write an OpEd
in the NYT about the trip, an act certain to bring press attention, when his
Who’s Who biography includes his wife’s name;
• The CIA allow Plame to attend in May 2003 a Democratic breakfast
meeting where Wilson was talking to New York Times columnist
Nicholas Kristoff about his trip to Niger;
• The CIA allow Plame to contribute $1000 to Al Gore’s campaign and list
her CIA cover business, Brewster-Jennings & Associates, as her
• The CIA give Plame a job at its headquarters in Langley when it is
mandated by statute “to conceal [a] covert agent’s intelligence
relationship to the United States”;
• The CIA send to the Justice Department a boilerplate 11 questions
criminal referral for a classified information violation when its lawyers
had to know that merely being classified did not fulfill the required
elements for exposing a “covert agent”?

Such questions reveal slip-shod tradecraft, casting doubt on whether Plame’s
identity was even classified, much less covert.

In fact, in a curious twist, while the CIA was turning a blind eye to Wilson writing
about his mission to Niger (Did he go through the pre-publication review process like the
rest of us have to do?), it was sending to the Vice-president’s office documents about that
same trip and these documents were marked classified. So the very subject Wilson could
opine about in the New York Times was off-bounds for the Vice-president to discuss
unless the person had a clearance.

You will probably never see any of this testimony show up in the media. Surprise.

The problem I have with not revealing this testimony is that the 20% (?) of the public that gets all of its news from the first ten minutes of the nightly news, the first three or four pages of the newspaper, and the Daily Show now have no alternative to the story that the White House leaked a Classified CIA Agent's name for political purposes and that an Administration official has been convicted in the case.

It is not enough to mock the media bias. Somehow, Republicans have got to find a way to get the Whole Story out in the public.


Colorado Delegation On Retreat

Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-CO7) made a floor statement in support of the Democratic legislation today. The whole text is here; I would highlight the key passage in his statement, but he didn't manage to arrive at one in a statement that wouldn't have made it past Mrs. Flander's editing pen in 10th grade.

I'm so proud that this guy represents me.

Representative--would-be Senator--Mark Udall did not weigh in on this issue today; instead, he introduced legislation protecting consumers from credit card issuers.

Way to be on top of the big stuff, Congressman. Aren't you on the Armed Services Committee?


Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) also made a floor statement today on the Senate's vote on the Iraq Resolution. The whole text is here; the key statement:

“Today, I voted for a new direction in Iraq.

The crucial understanding: this resolution failed to even generate a simple majority.

Way to be a mover and a shaker, Senator!

Some Unsolicited Advice for the White House

Answer A: "Serve at the pleasure of the President"
Answer B: "NUTS"

I don't know what's gotten into these guys, but over the course of the last three years the political operation has become . . . lackluster. So now that the Congressional Democrats have all the power, including the subpoena, I think the White House has two very obvious answers to make to Congress.


The Justice Department advocated in early 2005 removing up to 20 percent of the nation's U.S. attorneys whom it considered to be "underperforming" but retaining prosecutors who were "loyal Bushies," according to e-mails released by Justice late yesterday. . . .

The dismissals, and the Bush administration's shifting explanations for them, led a growing number of lawmakers to demand Gonzales's resignation this week. Justice Department documents released Tuesday refuted the contention that the White House was not closely involved. . . .

...yesterday, the Justice Department notified the Senate Judiciary Committee that four senior aides, including Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty, would be made available to Senate investigators.

The committee had authorized subpoenas for the four officials and Sampson.
Subpoenas for Rove, Miers and deputy White House counsel William Kelley were delayed for a week as the Judiciary Committee continued negotiations with the White House over their testimony.

So . . .

STOP RUNNING FROM THESE GUYS! Send Rove, send Miers, send Kelley, send Gonzales, and instruct them to deliver one message to Congress:

"United States Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President. He may hire them, fire them, move them, remove them, or reappoint them AT WILL. And while there are certainly political considerations in any such arrangement, the fact is that there is no controversy here--only the actions of the Executive as described in the Constitution. And, yes, I was aware of the conversations about this, and took part in them, and, ultimately, agreed that the course of action taken was the best one."

End of story. Instead, these guys run around and negotiate like they're trying to hide something, when instead they should welcome this and face it directly.

And, secondly:

Democratic legislation to set timelines for the removal of troops from Iraq headed for a showdown on the House floor next week after the Appropriations Committee approved a $124 billion war funding bill yesterday that would end the U.S. role in the conflict by next year.

The committee's vote kept the controversial legislation moving forward, even as the Senate scuttled its own legislation to bring troops home.

In a way, I kinda hope this one makes it through the House and the Senate on straight party-line votes. Then, when it arrives on the President's desk, he can respond to it in the same way that another American famously responded to a call for surrender:


Don't stamp the veto, don't sign it--just write on it in clear, bold letters: NUTS.

It's time to take a page from the playbook of Ronald Reagan. Stop coddling these guys, stop trying to play nicey-nice, and stop compromising principles. STAND YOUR DAMN GROUND and force Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to articulate their ideas.

We're making it way too damn easy for the Democrats to make much sound and fury, signifying nothing.


Their Actions Betray Them

Ron Tupa can say whatever he wants ("I love the uniform," he said, adding he would never sponsor anything that was a slight against the troops. ), but his friends and allies can't help but reveal the hideous, true face of the Left.

From the Rocky Mountain News (same link as above):

Some witnesses earlier appeared at opposing war gatherings just west of the state Capitol. They stood on opposite sides of Lincoln Avenue and shouted at each other.
"Mercenaries!" one anti-war protestor yelled.

A woman across the street, who was holding a "Support our Troops" sign, pointed to the picture of the young serviceman pinned to her jacket.

"Are you saying my son’s a mercenary?" she yelled back. "(Expletive) yes," the protester hollered, to the disgust of those rallying for the troops.

Anybody care to venture what the missing expletive was? Yeah, I think I can guess, too.

The point is that Tupa, for all his rhetoric, is doing this merely to throw a bone to the ugly Left whose millions got him elected to Senate Leadership. This resolution is pointless, meaningless, and a waste of legislative time and energy, for no effect on the world.

And in case you think "hideous" and "ugly" are too harsh a choice of words, I would ask you what words you would use. How would you describe using expletives to tell a mother that her son, who volunteered to put on a uniform and fight for his country for really poor pay, is a hired killer? I think I've shown restraint in my choice of words.

Every once in a while these things are good to see behind the masks--if only the media would show them.

Oh, and, by the way, notice that the News, and its fellow, the Denver Post, both manage to fail to report that the Resolution passed out of committee on a straight party-line vote. I wonder why that detail was left out?

No, not really. I don't wonder.



I Wonder If Lefties Appreciate Irony

Stuff like this just makes me laugh!

A North Pole expedition meant to bring attention to global warming was called off after one of the explorers got frostbite.

The explorers, Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen, on Saturday called off what was intended to be a 530-mile trek across the Arctic Ocean after Arnesen suffered frostbite in three of her toes, and extreme cold temperatures drained the batteries in some of their electronic equipment.

Which fishtails very nicely with this in tomorrow's NYTimes. The title is good:

From a Rapt Audience, A Call To Cool The Hype

However, the online version doesn't say which page of the paper this piece is buried on. Nor does is put anywhere in the first ten paragraphs--saving it for paragraph 29!--the important scientific pieces of news:

Geologists have documented age upon age of climate swings, and some charge Mr. Gore with ignoring such rhythms.

“Nowhere does Mr. Gore tell his audience that all of the phenomena that he describes fall within the natural range of environmental change on our planet,” Robert M. Carter, a marine geologist at James Cook University in Australia, said in a September blog. “Nor does he present any evidence that climate during the 20th century departed discernibly from its historical pattern of constant change.”

In October, Dr. Easterbrook made similar points at the geological society meeting in Philadelphia. He hotly disputed Mr. Gore’s claim that “our civilization has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this” threatened change.

Nonsense, Dr. Easterbrook told the crowded session. He flashed a slide that showed temperature trends for the past 15,000 years. It highlighted 10 large swings, including the medieval warm period. These shifts, he said, were up to “20 times greater than the warming in the past century.”

Let's watch closely tomorrow night, folks, and see where this story appears on the nightly news. And then, just for grins, let's compare it to where the misreporting about the U.N. report appeared last month.

I suspect we're going to see a "Whole Story" segment soon. . .


Colorado Democrats Just Can't Help Lurching Leftward

The activity down at the Colorado StateHouse this week was hilarious for those of us who were waiting for the Left to show its stripes. A sample of the activity:

:the State Board of Education has come to the realization--to its dismay--that the Democrats are trying to make school accountability a meaningless (and costly) exercise in Colorado

[from ColoradoSenateNews] The Colorado State Board of Education has denounced sweeping attempts by key legislative Democrats to “overturn the educational accountability reforms that have been painstakingly built over the last 14 years.” One board member called the Democrat legislation a “flight from accountability.”

a letter Monday to Gov. Bill Ritter, Board of Education Chair Pamela Jo Suckla issued a stern warning about four pending bills that essentially would gut the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests, also called CSAPs.

“(B)y going in this direction, we would be turning our backs on the hard-won growth and progress our state has shown over 14 years within an accountability system that has won national praise,” Suckla wrote.

“Basically, if these four bills became law, they would decisively overturn the educational accountability reforms that have been painstakingly built over the last 14 years by Governors Romer and Owens and bipartisan majorities of the General Assembly,” she wrote. “In addition to jeopardizing hundreds of millions of federal aid dollars, they would also fatally undermine the database that is essential to the very promising longitudinal program you recently signed into law.”

This, of course, comes as no surprise to those of us used to the way the teachers' unions view the CSAP tests--which translates very closely into what the Democratic party thinks. It's just refreshing that the State School Board is resisting the most powerful lobbyist group in the state and rebuking the majority party in the process.

Also, by the way, you would never know about this story if you relied on the major Denver dailies for your news--neither the Rocky or the Post has any evidence of this story anywhere on their websites.

:The Senate on Tuesday turned an annual election-code cleanup into a broad overhaul that would let felons on parole vote and close public access to ballots cast in questionable elections.

Ah, yes. So the Senate Dems want to let bad guys vote but keep you from figuring out exactly what happened in the election. I wonder what could possibly prompt these moves?

:The Democratic-led Senate blocked a GOP effort to set safeguards against illegal voting in elections.

What do those mean, cruel, and heartless Republicans want? THEY ACTUALLY THINK THAT A PERSON SHOULD SHOW EVIDENCE OF CITIZENSHIP BEFORE REGISTERING TO VOTE. How mean can they be?

More importantly, why in the hell would Democrats NOT want proof of citizenship?

:And, just for good measure, don't miss the hearings next week on a resolution of opposition to the President's "surge" strategy in Iraq.

As if these guys have any clue what they're doing in that realm.

So, to recap: felons vote, illegals could sneak through without barrier and vote, you and me can't figure out what happens in an election, this legislature should make foreign policy, and schools should not have to demonstrate effectiveness.

Sounds like the "moderate", "meaningful" Democrats have been fish-hooked by their keepers to throw the liberals a few bones, while ignoring transportation and health care.

So we're at the halfway point in this legislative session, and so far, the most meaningful activity has been a union-empowerment bill which the Governor had to veto because it gave away too much of the Democratic playbook too early (of course, as Ben has noted, that creates its own problems for the Democrats).

Look for the Left to get a little impatient and make more noise in the second half of the session.

cross-posted at PoliticalAvalanche



Gone Dark

major life event going on here, so I'm not going to be able to post much for the next few days.

Even though the coverage of the Libby conviction is driving me NUTS!

Still, more important stuff to attend to. Be back when things return to something close to normal.


Udall: Tell Me What We Do When We Fail

From Mark Udall's website:

Colorado Congressman Mark Udall (D-Eldorado Springs) today called for action on legislation he has sponsored that would require the Pentagon to report to Congress on steps it has taken to plan for contingencies in case the president’s surge policy in Iraq fails. Udall, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the White House failed to plan for the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 and he does not want a repeat of those planning failures after the surge, especially if the security situation there continues to deteriorate.

“Recent press reports suggest that there may not be a plan for post-surge Iraq. Americans want assurances that this administration is thinking about and planning for the unthinkable. No one wants chaos or increased violence in Iraq, but it would be irresponsible not to plan for those possibilities. While looking at Iraq through rose-colored glasses may make us feel better, we will only do right by our men and women in uniform if we plan for likely contingencies, however unpalatable. I don’t want a repeat of the performance that led the administration to launch a war in Iraq without a plan for what would come after initial military success,” said Udall.

The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released last month states that as Iraq’s security environment worsens, three scenarios could emerge: chaos leading to partition, the emergence of a Shia strongman, or anarchic fragmentation of power. Udall’s bill, H.R. 1183, The Iraq Contingency Planning Act, would require that by June 30, 2007, the administration inform the House and Senate Armed Services Committees how the Defense Department and other agencies would respond to each of these scenarios with an explanation of the role of U.S. troops under each scenario, including a comprehensive analysis identifying and justifying the number of U.S. troops needed in each case.

This is the man who wants to be Colorado's next Senator.

Were Udall being totally honest, he would have included the same caveat the NIE placed just before the "three scenarios language":

A number of identifiable internal security and political triggering events, including sustained mass sectarian killings, assassination of major religious and political leaders, and a complete Sunni defection from the government have the potential to convulse severely Iraq’s security environment. Should these events take place, they could spark an abrupt increase in communal and insurgent violence and shift Iraq’s trajectory from gradual decline to rapid deterioration with grave humanitarian, political, and security consequences.

Even the NIE is a strongly hedged document, that in NO WAY predicts with certainty the "three scenarios" that Udall cites in his press release.

Further, Udall selectively ignores any of the optimistic language included in the NIE:

If strengthened Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), more loyal to the government and supported by Coalition forces, are able to reduce levels of violence and establish more effective security for Iraq’s population, Iraqi leaders could have an opportunity to begin the process of political compromise necessary for longer term stability, political progress, and economic recovery.

Well. . . .okay. So it's not exactly "optimistic," but it is also no more certain a scenario than the ones Udall cites. He also chooses to leave out this language, which is far more important to the overall debate:

Coalition capabilities, including force levels, resources, and operations, remain an essential stabilizing element in Iraq. If Coalition forces were withdrawn rapidly during the term of this Estimate, we judge that this almost certainly would lead to a significant increase in the scale and scope of sectarian conflict . . .

In other words, based on cherry-picked language from the NIE, Mark Udall wants to have the Department of Defense announce to the world what its plan is for WHEN the surge fails. Which, of course, is just another way of giving the torrorists our playbook for the next phase.

This, boys and girls, is the man who wants to be your next Senator.

cross-posted at Political Avalanche


But Is He Interested In A Solution?

I don't know why I'm doing this to myself . . . or to you . . . but more from John Murtha on Meet the Press.

"This is a worldwide problem. What happened internationally, the Chinese have bought 23 submarines they’ve built in the last four years. They’re increasing their defense spending to $90 billion. We don’t have to worry only about Iraq. We got to worry about Afghanistan. We got to wa—long-term future of this country. And we got to address the fact that we have no ground reserve to take care of those strategic problems."

Huh. Yeah, that seems like a problem. I bet he's going to be the first one to sign on to the Jim Talent solution.

The "operational tempo" of American conventional forces -- the number, intensity, and duration of their deployments -- has increased since the end of the Cold War. Yet the forces were almost twice as big in 1992 as they are today. The active-duty Army was cut from 18 divisions during Desert Storm to ten by 1994 -- its size today. The Navy, which counted 568 ships in the late 1980s, struggles today to sustain a fleet of only 276. And the number of tactical air wings in the Air Force was reduced from 37 at the time of Desert Storm to 20 by the mid-1990s.

Modernization budgets also were cut substantially during the Clinton years, and procurement budgets were cut much further than the cuts in force size and structure warranted. In essence, the Clinton administration took a "procurement holiday" where the military was concerned. The contrast in the average annual procurement of major equipment in two periods -- 1975 to 1990 and 1991 to 2000 -- is startling. For example, the Pentagon purchased an average of 78 scout and attack helicopters each year from 1975 to 1990, and only seven each year from 1991 to 2000. An average of 238 Air Force fighters and five tanker aircraft were procured each year from 1975 to 1990, as against only 28 and one per year, respectively, from 1991 to 2000.

These dramatic reductions had profound implications. When older platforms are not replaced, readiness levels drop, and the cost of maintaining inventory climbs rapidly. By the end of the Carter years, the force had gone "hollow"; by the end of the Clinton years, it had begun to "rust," badly. The George W. Bush administration has increased procurement budgets, but nowhere near enough to make up for the 1990s. The average age of Air Force aircraft in 1973 was just nine years. Today, the average aircraft is 24 years old and aircraft-modernization funding has dropped by nearly 20 percent over the last 22 years. . . .

The good news is that robust and consistent funding of the military is fully within America's capability. Currently the U.S. spends only 3.8 percent of its GDP on the core defense budget, including the non-Department of Defense expenditures for national security. That is far lower than during the Cold War, and almost a full percentage point less than was spent even during the Carter years. America's economy is so powerful that even after years of underfunding military procurement, the U.S. could still recapitalize and sustain its military strength by enacting the $34 billion increase I mentioned earlier, and maintaining defense spending at no less than 4 percent of GDP thereafter.

Seems like a no-brainer for a great tactical thinker like John Murtha. He should welcome an increase, so that there are no more trucks with the seats falling out of them on aircraft carriers (as he talked about on MTP). Especially in light of this:

China's military is engaged in a major buildup of submarines that includes five new strategic nuclear-missile boats and several advanced nuclear-powered attack submarines, according to the Office of Naval Intelligence.

The new nuclear-powered missile submarines (SSBNs), identified as Type 094s, will be outfitted with new 5,000-mile range JL-2 missiles that "will provide China with a modern and robust sea-based nuclear deterrent force," . . .

Look, Mr. Murtha. For a year you've been making noise about sounding a full retreat from Iraq, but haven't been able to muster the support to get it done. In fact, you've never even offered the necessary bill to defund the effort, showing that you do not, when it comes to actual legislating, have the courage of your convictions.

So, maybe you can redeem yourself with this one: be the first one to carry the legislation to do the things you're complaining about--equipment, training, the strategic reserve. C'mon, Mr. Murtha . . . put your money where your mouth is.

Or, better yet . . . . . put up or shut up.


A Study In Contrast

Today's Meet the Press featured Jack Murtha and Lindsey Graham. Here are excerpts:

Russert: And this is what you wrote in the epilogue to your book: “A war initiated on faulty intelligence must not be followed by a premature withdrawal of our troops based on a political timetable. An untimely exit could rapidly devolve into a civil war, which would leave America’s foreign policy in disarray as countries question not only America’s judgment but also its perseverance.” Isn’t that exactly what’s happening?

MURTHA: Yeah, I, I believed that at the time, and, and I believed that when there was a chance of solving it. I just say you have to solve it a different way. It can’t be done militarily. In this case, it has to be done diplomatically and internationally. The only way this can be solved—the progress that we make is measured by economics, it’s measured by, by the fact that, that you have no oil production—it’s below prewar level, electricity below—all the things they measure are below prewar level. So it’s not working militarily. Only a third of this thing could be done militarily. The rest of it’s got to be diplomatic and international. That’s what I’ve been saying. So, so the fact that redeployment, I think, is first step towards, towards stability in the Middle East.

By the way, in case you were unclear that it should be done "diplomatically," it should be done "internationally," he only said it about 13 times in the course of ten minutes of interview. And, by the way, the stutters in the above excerpt are rather mild examples of his . . . eloquence.

What's most frustrating to me is how many times Murtha talks about us talking to Iran, and how that will lead to stability, but, for some reason, RUSSERT NEVER QUESTIONS HIM ABOUT THE WEAPONS IRAN IS SENDING INTO IRAQ! Of course Iran can be a stabilizing influence--ONCE IT RULES IRAQ BY PROXY! But Russert just lets Murtha slide on that one.

Then, Sen. Lindsey Graham comes on and actually manages to make some sense.

Graham: There are plenty of Iraqis who want to live together in peace and want the same thing for their family you want for yours. But the moderates are being shut out by the extremists. Small in number in terms of the overall population, but a desire to win at any and all cost. Do we have the desire to win? Do we have the desire to stand beside imperfect moderates, who I think are the future of the Mideast? Are we going to let car bombs and extremists run us out of Iraq? And where do you go? Where do you deploy to if you lose in Iraq? Because if al-Qaeda tastes the blood of Americans leaving and they can say with certainty they broke our will and ran us out of Iraq, and we go to Kuwait, they come wherever we go. The Gulf states are next. If we lose in Iraq, the moderate Gulf states are next. People like King Abdullah in Jordan, they’re on the hit list. We cannot allow Iraq to fail, because if you fail in Iraq, every moderate voice in the Mideast has a death sentence on their head. [emphases mine]

Graham has it right: they will come after us wherever we go, and in the process, they will do what bin Laden, Zawahiri and al-Jihad were originally aiming for--the destruction of the "apostates" [read: moderates] everywhere in the Muslim world.

How many die in that struggle, Mr. Murtha?

A friend of mine calls Jack Murtha the most dangerous man in Congress; I think he has a lot of competition in that race. But he's up there. For pity's sake, he's still primarily worried about throwing off a major, direct military confrontation--he's buried in a 20th century mindset! But one thing is certain: were Jack Murtha to be the face and voice of American foreign policy in the world, the world would be a far, FAR more dangerous place.

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