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Rocky Mountain Alliance of Blogs, 2.0
My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
|Note to the Shaffer Campaign:|
If--When--The Immigration Deal Falls Apart
Then it's incumbent on every serious Republican candidate for ANYTHING to come out immediately with their plan for immigration reform.
Every one. Mitt Romney. Rudy Giuliani. John Mc . . .
oh, never mind.
Even, and perhaps especially, BOB SHAFFER. Especially since his opponent, Mark Udall, has had precious little to say on the subject.
The point is GET OUT IN FRONT OF THE NEXT REFORM PACKAGE! Force Kennedy to shut up on this issue and get a serious reform idea on the table.
And here's a novel idea: listen to the public. Turns out, the American public has already come up with the outlines of the plan that will generate over 70% support.
And this isn't new, though it is backed up by recent polling showing wide distrust (to be kind) of the Bush-McCain-Kennedy plan.
From back in March, 2006:
Q3: How Serious is Illegal Immigration?
Very/Extremely Serious 68%, Somewhat Serious 21%
Q4: Is the U.S. doing enough to secure the borders?
Q8: Should Illegals be allowed to obtain government services?
Q11C: Would you favor major penalties for employers of illegals?
Q11E: Would you favor providing for some way for illegals to become legal? (bad paraphrase, but hopefully you get the idea)
Q11F: Would you support shutting down the border, including using the military?
Q11G: Do you favor a fence?
Yes: 56% No: 40%
Q16: Have the recent demonstrations made you look on illegals more sympathetically or less?Less: 40% More: 14%
Is it just me, or does it look very--VERY--obvious what the politically smart approach to this issue is? Let me distill it:
Step one: shut down the border . . . period.
Step two: cut off, or at least restrict, the amount of government services made available to illegal immigrants
Step three: strengthen and enforce penalties to employers who hire illegal immigrants
Step four: provide an opportunity for people to EARN citizenship, including learning the language, holding a job, and paying taxes
I remain completely befuddled by the President and by Congress' inability to either have this idea on their own or to READ A DAMN POLL!
And, by the way, the President's attack on his supporters who disagree with him on this issue is one of the worst political moves I've ever seen. When you only have one or two friends left, you may want to listen to them.
|Welcome to the Party, Hugh|
I noticed that Hugh Hewitt has come to the conclusion that Fred Thompson may not be a likely savior for the GOP's hopes in 2008. The logic: Thompson is a Southerner, a plain-spoken, folksy, slow-moving gentleman who exudes a simple charm.
Sound like anybody familiar?
Hugh's concern is that the 2008 election will be one for change--anybody but Bush.
Not to toot my own horn, but here's something I wrote not too long ago (April 2nd, to be precise):
What I think the electorate is going to look long and hard at for 2008 is the aura of competence and intellect--even brilliance, if someone can pull it off without seeming arrogant--coupled with easy personability, but not necessarily approachability.
Of course, at the time I failed to note the similarities between Bush and Thompson--I guess I assumed Thompson could pull off the Watergate- and television-lawyer role, and wouldn't fall so easily into "Grandpa Fred". And it remains to be seen if he can.
So even the right analysis--or at least one backed up by far more knowledgable people (Hugh)--sometimes leads to the wrong conclusion.
Nonetheless, whatever else happens in 2008, every candidate who really wants to win will be smart, informed, eloquent, and sharp.
|How The New York Times Distorts Even Its Own 'News'|
Here's the title of the article: Strife Foreseen in Iraq Exit, But Experts Split On Degree
Maybe all the dire consequences everybody's been predicting are overblown; maybe there's a chance that Iraq won't tear itself to pieces in the wake of our withdrawal. Let's see what the experts say.
Here's the quotes from experts who think the strife will be less-than-horrific:
“Everybody predicts chaos: I don’t predict chaos,” he said. “It goes up for a short period and it is not nearly as intense as everybody is predicting.”
And . . .
“There is risk, but I think the greater risk is not putting pressure on the Iraqis, watching them say that time is not relevant,” he said.
And . . .
“I think the Sadr tide will rule the country,” . . . . “They are the majority and they have a good background, and that gives them a chance to take control. Once we take power, we will be merciful with Sunnis. Our way is to kill somebody only when we suspect he has a link to insurgents.”
So, there you have it: three "experts" who think that Iraq won't descend into genocidal mayhem after a rapid withdrawal of American troops.
Oh, wait a second . . . you want to know WHO the three experts are. The first quote is from John Murtha, a Democratic American Congressman who has been advocating immediate withdrawal for a year. The second quote is from Carl Levin, a Democratic American Senator. And the third quote is from an Iraqi named Muhammed Qasim Ali--a supporter of Muqtada al-Sadr.
There you have it: the experts who think Iraq will be fine are two KongressKritters and a follower of al-Sadr.
Pretty good company you keep, Messrs. Murtha and Levin.
But the real distortion is, of course, from the NYTimes. The title of this article is not in any way warrented based on just the "experts" who deviate. But then you hear some of the evidence of a belief that Iraq will be a bloodbath, and it makes the distortion that much more insidious.
About 64 percent of Baghdad residents who were polled in late February and early March said American forces should remain until security was restored, until the Iraqi government was stronger or until Iraqi forces could operate independently. . . .
“Pulling back to bases maybe makes sense,” said Mansour Abdul Mohsin Abboud, 66, a Shiite tribal sheik who lives in Najaf. “But leaving, withdrawing completely from Iraq, that means erasing Iraq from the map.” . . .
Many militias and terrorist groups are just waiting for the Americans to leave,” said Salim Abdullah, the spokesman for the Iraqi Accordance Front, . . .
“Projecting our hopes onto them does not correspond to anything we know about the way Iraqi politics has worked so far,” said Steven N. Simon, an aide on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration . . .
By the way, notice that these quotes are actually from either Iraqis or from actual experts--not politicians.
The NYTimes should be ashamed of itself, or of, at least, its headline writers.
But then, recent history demonstrates a decided lack of shame in the ranks of the "professional journalism" class.
|Seeing The Light Of Day--In Oregon, Of All Places|
Listeners of the Hugh Hewitt radio show know that there has been a brewing controversy over the airing of a film made by frequent contributor and Director for the Center For Security Policy Frank Gaffney. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting awarded a grant to Gaffney et al. to produce a film, which ended up being Islam vs. the Islamists; CPB then has refused to broadcast the film.
"Islam vs. Islamists: Voices From the Muslim Center" will air on the Oregon Public Broadcasting system's five stations, thanks to an agreement reached this week. The company will also act as distributor for the 52-minute documentary for possible broadcast on other PBS stations nationally.
This sounds like a pretty good time to call up the local PBS stations and ask them to contact the Oregon PBS to get this on the air here in Denver.
--the National Basketball Association has got to be dreading what's headed their direction: a San Antonio Spurs-Detroit Pistons finals showdown. These two teams have the ability to make an 85-83 game look like an uptempo horse race. Seriously, the excitement factor for this finals couldn't be lower.
And it's not like it's bad basketball. These two teams play excellent basketball--in the same way that a 2-1 baseball game is an excellent baseball game: the purists love it, but Joe Schmoe average fan couldn't care less. These guys do clutch-and-grab better than a jiu-jitsu master and never get called for it because that's all they do all game long--it's like Greg Maddux painting the "corner": it's probably not a strike (it's probably a foul),but you do it so consistently that the officials just start giving it to you.
So much for making the game more "fan-friendly" like they were trying to a couple years ago.
--Mrs. Destiny and I took the family out to dinner tonight, and, I gotta say, the service was ATROCIOUS! All-around, just bad: from the hostess to the server and out into the kitchen, just awful. And this wasn't the first time--we've probably had 10 such experiences over the past six weeks, and we don't eat out very much.
Which got me wondering:
is the recent uptick in enforcement of immigration responsible, in some way, for our inability to get good service in restaurants lately?
Just wondering.. . .
--I was playing "flip" last night, and landed on a movie about one of my favorite historical personalities. And that movie reminded me of a few things:
:one, America--and, I daresay, white men everywhere--have a long and troubled history dealing with race and equality; this history, while vastly better than it once was, is not over with
:two, there is a people that America has a history of enslaving, of denigrating, and of treating as second-class citizens
:three, said people were even once rounded up into concentration camps in the United States based solely on their ethnicity
:four, as recently as thirty-five years ago, a prominent member of this ethnic minority was denied a major television role (which he helped create), which called for an ethnic character, because he was too obviously ethnic
:currently, this minority makes up only 4% of the population of the United States, roughly one-third the representation of African Americans, and roughly two-seventh the representation of Hispanics
:and yet, there is no prominent lobby for this minority group; in fact, for statistical purposes, most educational institutions do not even consider this minority a "minority"--certainly, when it comes to Affirmative Action and such programs, this minority gets little consideration.
What is this tiny, oppressed minority?
Asians have an ugly history in the United States--perhaps not as ugly as Africans, but not exactly a thing of pride for the American psyche.
And yet, when was the last time your saw a prominent representative of the Asian community come forward to decry the 'racist' tendencies of this country? Not any time in my memory.
And who was this historical figure I'm referring to? Bruce Lee.
Something to think about next time somebody excuses their own failure or that of their communities by citing racial injustice.
|Just So We Remember in 2008 (UPDATED)|
The House voted today on the Iraq Supplemental--it passed 280-142. Clearly a victory for the President, who was able to beat back any talk of timelines or "short-terming' the funding.
Of the Colorado Delegation, here's how they voted:
DeGette (D): no vote (?)
Udall (D): aye
Salazar (D): aye
Musgrave (R): aye
Lamborn (R): aye
Tancredo (R): aye
Perlmutter (D): NO
Got that, 7th CD voters? The only member of the Colorado delegation to vote against funding for the troops was your own representative, Ed Perlmutter.
Let's remember that in 18 months when this guy's up for re-election. Talk about "outside the mainstream"--this guy's on the same side as just 1/3 of the House an whether or not to give the troops the necessary money to carry out their mission for the upcoming year. Shameful.
UPDATE: Both Colorado Senators voted "aye" on this bill.
That pretty much puts Perlmutter, officially, off the reservation.
|A Thought On High Gasoline Prices|
The price of gasoline at the station around the corner from my house is now up to $3.29. I know this is not unusual around the state--or the country--but it's still a bit of shock to see on the sign.
I know there has been a lot written about this subject, and by people a lot more knowledgeable than myself. But I saw a graphic today that helped me put at least part of the problem in perspective: (if this, for whatever reason, doesn't show up on the blog, go to page 49 of the link)
The point is, there are two different gasoline blends in use in America that are only used in 3--THREE--counties in the entire country, and one other blend that is only used in eight counties.
Consider how much down time a refinery has to go through to change over to make this particular blend; consider how expensive it must be to blend it in such small volume; and then stop wondering so much about the price of gasoline.
I'm not really sure exactly how much this sort of economic insanity affects the price at the pump. But if there is a role that the federal government can play in the cost of gasoline for consumers, it would be in overriding some of the EPA's requirements in different places around the country, and in relaxing the demands on the refineries so that they can push refined products out in as efficient a manner as possible.
|Liberals Can't Do Numbers|
Just remember that. Want evidence?
FasTracks, approved by voters three years ago at $4.7 billion is now pegged by RTD at $6.2 billion, according to figures released today.
Conservatives argued against this, based on voluminous evidence from other cities like San Fransisco and Boston. But RTD and its liberal friends outspent the conservatives and this passed.
Referendum C will bring in about $1.6 billion more than originally forecast, according to reports released Tuesday by top state economists.
Mike Mauer, chief economist for the nonpartisan Legislative Council, said his forecast shows that the state will take in $5.37 billion over the five years the referendum is in place.
Once again, conservatives argued against this referendum--I, for one, referred to it as the $3.7 billion solution to the $1.3 billion problem. But, again, the liberal forces around the state VASTLY outspent conservatives and this went through. That's about $1200 out of your family's pockets over the next five years.
Can you think of something to do with that money? I can.
So when they tell you that the "Property Tax Freeze" will remove a mere $1.7 billion from your pockets over the next ten years, don't believe them. Further, insist that the provisions of TABOR that haven't been gutted--like a tax hike requiring a vote of the Colorado people--get followed by the legislature.
By the way, isn't it curious how that $1.7 billion they're reaching out for is almost the exact same amount that they've already gotten in extra through Ref C? Is there any limit to how much they will take out of your pockets?
Of course not.
|More Ramblings on the Immigration Deal|
Not that I need to expand on what Hugh contributed through learned, scholarly analysis, but . .
The President’s Job Approval has fallen to the lowest level ever recorded by Rasmussen Reports. Just 34% of American adults now Approve of the way that George W. Bush is performing his duties as President. Just 71% of Republicans now offer their approval. His support among men has fallen to 35%.
The President’s ratings have tumbled each time immigration reform dominates the news.
Looking at the Rasmussen Poll recent history, you can see that the President was at a whopping 38% on Wednesday. On Thursday, after word of "The Deal" had started to leak, that number had fallen to 35%; by today, now that all three days' worth of polling are after word of the deal had been widely disseminated, it drops to 34%.
Thankfully, I suppose, The Deal could be DOA in The House.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has told the White House that she's not going to bring the issue to the floor unless the president can deliver at least 70 Republican votes.
I'm not sure there are 70 Republican House members who can look at the President's numbers and think that it's worth their careers to support this Bill.
Though, if it were me in the Whip's job, I'd find 70 members to SAY they were going to vote for it, with no intention of letting any of them cast a vote for this Bill. Yes, the President is out to lunch on this issue; John McCain is doing his usual job of serving his own interests backed by Lindsey Graham, the lapdog from South Carolina; and a handful of Republican Senators who recognize that a real amnesty bill would cost them their seats (Jon Kyl) are signing on to this and trying to mold into something more tolerable.
But let's make sure that in the House, at least, it is VERY clear that this is really a DEMOCRAT idea pushed by DEMOCRATS with the inexplicable support of this President. Let this hit the floor. It will still pass in the House without 70 Republican votes.
But let the message be very clear: amnesty comes from the Democrats.
And the thing is, I am CERTAIN that this is not just a Republican issue. I was talking on Mother's Day with my father-in-law, who is a lifelong, union-based Democrat. And he is LIVID at Ted Kennedy et al. for pushing LAST year's amnesty bill; I've haven't talked to him this week, but I can say very confidently that he's not going to be happy with anybody who supports this amnesty, either.
There is no good political logic to supporting this bill. I heard Fred Barnes say tonight that Republicans just have to swallow this and get the issue off the table before next year. The logic being, I suppose, that it's better to get votes from people who are likely to forget about this by getting rid of it sooner than later.
The thing is . . . I won't forget. And neither will most of the Republicans who are serious about national security and rule of law.
Rudy's statement on The Deal, strangely, is weak and incomprehensible. Which makes Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson look better and better.
I suppose it still makes a lot of sense to elect a Republican President to preside over a 57-43 Senate and a 60-vote advantage Democrat House.
Though, if my history serves me, our greatest President was elected just four years after his former political party was dissolved and a new one took shape. Sometimes a purging fire is good.
|Let This Paean Inform Your Opinion of "The Deal"|
There's so much wrong with this article that I don't know where to begin. So I'll just post some of the crucial lines and, you know, go from there.
Manuel Aragon is hopeful he'll soon be able to stop looking over his shoulder.
As with all humans, isn't this sort of worry the conscience's way of telling us we're doing something wrong?
Aragon, who has been living in Colorado illegally for the past 23 years, said he watches for police every time he drives to and from his construction job. . . .
"I've been living here illegally since Jan. 6, 1984. I can't get a driver's license. I can't get a work permit.
But, wait . . . If he can't get a driver's license, and he can't get a work permit, then WHAT THE #%&! IS HE DOING DRIVING TO WORK?! I suppose that also means he can't get insurance, which means that when he hits me and kills my child, I'm just SOL.
Aragon said that adding more border patrols or a fence would only cause more deaths in the desert.
"That's unjust. Many people die trying to cross through dangerous sites.
Yes. Many other people die trying to rob banks or trying to steal cars. The point is that doing something ILLEGAL is inherently dangerous, so when you undertake such an action, it is part and parcel of the act that is could turn out bad.
"I hope something does happen so that I don't have to risk getting picked up by immigration."
like he's been doing for the last 23 years.
When the Rocky Mountain News comes right out of the gates with a tribute to a seemingly nice, hard-working illegal to make a sympathetic point about "The Deal," then you know that the full-court public relations press is going to be on in the media and elsewhere.
And, by the way, where is the interview with the other population of illegals? You know, the ones who are behind bars and populating the gangs on the streets of Denver? Where is that interview?
In the meantime, those of us who find it, at best, ODD, that the Rocky Mountain News would use this opportunity to give print space to a felon, are likely to get pretty well screwed in this whole deal.
"Doinked with our pants on" is the way one TV character put it, I believe.
|Remember When . . . |
all the talk was about the political realignment, a filibuster-proof majority, and GOP holding on to power for the foreseeable future?
Hard to imagine any of that now.
In six years, we'll all pine for the days that the GOP had the power to sustain a filibuster, even if it didn't have the strength to override a veto by President Clinton.
I'll have more thoughts on this after I get some sleep, but on first read, this Immigration Bill stinks, and will continue to stink long after this President is replaced by a Democrat and Senators Kyl, Sununu, Smith and Coleman have returned to the private sector where they will make millions.
Of course, they'll be giving most of that back to the Democratic political leadership of the country in taxes, but, HEY, what the hell?
|Sen. Salazar on the Immigration Deal|
“Today, we have finally reached broad agreement on immigration reform.
“I have spent countless hours working with my Republican and Democratic colleagues to reach an agreement on a plan that first and foremost secures our borders.
“This bill secures our borders, has tough enforcement of our immigration laws on the border and in the interior, brings the 12 million undocumented workers in our Nation out of the shadows and creates a real immigration system for the future.
“This compromise includes an agreement on a guest worker program that will help our farmers, ranchers and businesses across Colorado and the Nation.
“While I still need to see the final language, today’s agreement is an important start in the process of moving this bill forward. This is a compromise that we can take to the floor process where I look forward to working with my colleagues to further improve it.”
Does anybody REALLY think the floor process is capable of improving this?? REAALLLY?!?!
It's all well and good that Salazar and others are touting the "strict enforcement" provisions, but when their first act is to renege on last years' promise and only build half the fence, it's hard to believe that any of their other useful provisions are likely to come through, either.
|Thoughts On The Debate|
Rudy Giuliani: for no other reason than the smackdown of Ron Paul--this is the sort of clarity that distinguishes Republicans from Democrats and Europeans. It's just too bad that not enough Republicans spoke like this prior to the last election.
Mitt Romney: projects to the audience that he is the intellectual class of the field. He's articulate, informed, and clear about what he thinks and why. Of course, one of the most effective lines of the night was the straight jab he aimed at John McCain over immigration. Whether or not his past views limit his appeal has yet to be seen.
Chris Wallace: pretty good questions, and "I'll give you another 30 seconds to actually answer my question" was one of the better lines of the night. The problem is that he never seems to press points like that with Democrats.
FOXNews: when they cut off what was about to be a lively debate after the Ron Paul quackery, only to return to canned questions. Too bad.
John McCain: two reasons--when Mitt Romney hit him on the nose over immigration, he dodged the real issue to launch a personal attack; secondly, when asked about "torture" he absolutely ruled out using any and all means to stop an imminent attack in lieu of courting world opinion. I'm not sure that the victims of that attack would really be in a mindset to give a !#*&^ about world opinion.
Ron Paul: for a while, he was a curiosity; now, he's been revealed as a nut.
The rest of it was pretty meaningless.
Hopefully, some of these guys are going to start to recognize that they're nowhere near ready for prime time, and get off the stage. Leave it to the big boys.
|Colorado Democrats: Generous With Your Money, Stingy With The Teachers' Money|
I've been trying to come up with the language for this for a few days now. Let me bounce this off of you. and see what you think.
By the way, this is my idea of an ad that the state party or some group of people with a lot of money should run sometime soon, and then again next summer during the campaign.
[Scene:standard shot of state Capitol with pictures of Ritter, et al., superimposed over it as the ad goes on]
[voice-over]Last week, Democratic Governor Bill Ritter signed into law the "Property Tax Freeze" which was prominently supported by Arvada Democrats Sue Windels, Sara Gagliardi, and Debbie Benefield.
Why do ALL these Democrats support this bill? Because they say it will provide more money for education. This, in spite of Amendment 23, which guarantees more money for schools every year than for any other program in the state, and Referendum C, which allows the State to keep more of your money every year for whatever it wants to.
How much of your money will this divert to the schools? The Rocky Mountain News reported that this plan would raise $48 million next year. [change scene to graphic of small, Excel-spreadsheet-type graphic block representing $48 mil] What the Rocky failed to mention is that legislative analysts have pinned the ten-year price tag of this plan at $1.7 billion [add on to graphic another block representing $1.7 bills].
That's right. One Point Seven Billion Dollars.
And, I suppose you can make the case that educating our children is worth all that money.
But then you'd have to ask why Ritter, Windels, Gagliardi, and Benefield felt the need to take $3.5 million away from charter schools [add graphic (itty bitty block) representing $3.5 mil]
Why do Democrats feel it's okay to take $1.7 billion out of your pockets--FOR EDUCATION--but then aren't willing to designate $3.5 million--2/10 of one percent--for charter schools?
Democrats [show pictures of Ritter, et al.]: generous with YOUR money, very stingy with the teachers' unions' money.
I pick on Arvada Democrats because, a. I live in Arvada and am represented by these people, and b. this area is generally much more Republican than recent votes indicate AND has a huge charter school community. But this sort of targeting should work to hammer up to 15 or 20 Dems around the state in the next couple years.
If the Republican Party fails to make THIS case to the public, then we will have RE-earned our status as a minority party for however long it lasts.
|What Our Congress People Are Up To|
Ed Perlmutter, the rookie congressman in CO CD7, has this to say about the President's next veto opportunity:
“Tonight the House will consider HR 2206, the revised Iraq Accountability Act. This revised bill is the best answer to providing a new direction on the war in Iraq, [and even though it will never become a law, which will leave the troops without funding for several more weeks]and I support this bill.
This Congress will not provide a blank check for President Bush with this war. This legislation fully funds the troops [until July}, honors our commitment to our veterans [other than committing to victory], while holding the Iraqi government and the President accountable [and, hopefully everybody will forget that us Democrats are going to be responsible for a genocide]. . . .
HR 2206, the revised Iraq Accountability Act, provides this comprehensive solution to bringing an end to this war expeditiously." [while almost certainly guaranteeing that the next war will be medieval in its brutality]
Mark Udall, the man who would be Senator, is bragging about bringing home the pork. Is it just me, or is it odd how much Democrats love the military when they have a chance to attach pork to it?
Senator Salazar is quiet on his website about the big debates, though he joined most of the rest of the Colorado delegation in designating Rocky Mountain National Park as a "wilderness."
Just so you know. I expect Sen. Salazar will have more to say as the Senate considers the July cut-off bill later this week.
In light of my previous post, I went in search of how the Denver and national media covered this story.
Denver Post on Wednesday: (from the AP story)
The government's response to the disaster was undermined by ongoing National Guard deployments to the Middle East, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said.
"I don't think there is any question if you are missing trucks, Humvees and helicopters that the response is going to be slower," Sebelius said.
New York Times: (Front Page National section)
With 80 square blocks of the small farming town destroyed, Ms. Sebelius said her fears had come true: The emergency response was too slow, she said, and there was only one reason.
“As you travel around Greensburg, you’ll see that city and county trucks have been destroyed,” Ms. Sebelius, a Democrat, said Monday.
“The National Guard is one of our first responders. They don’t have the equipment they need to come in, and it just makes it that much slower.” ...
In Kansas, the National Guard is operating with 40 percent to 50 percent of its vehicles and heavy machinery, local Guard officials said.
But then we get word that, well, all is NOT as it would seem:
Currently, the Kansas National Guard has 88 percent of its forces available, 60 percent of its Army Guard dual-use equipment on hand, and more than 85 percent of its Air Guard equipment on hand, said Randal Noller, public affairs officer for the National Guard Bureau. Under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which is a national partnership agreement that allows state-to-state assistance during governor or federally declared emergencies, Kansas has more than 400,000 Guardsmen available to it, he pointed out. However, Kansas has not yet requested assistance from other states.
You may have seen her on television when she said that, and she talked about Hummers, that we needed Hummers. There were Hummers sitting in front of my house every day. The National Guard was there," he said. "I saw people from all over who came right away to help and nobody sent them, they just came because they knew it was going to be big. The response was excellent, the rescue efforts were all night long, . . .
Now, there actually is one real, legitimate, and potentially verifiable element of this conversation:
White House press secretary Tony Snow responded to Sebelius by saying that there was no request by Kansas officials for extra equipment, and that if there is anyone to blame, it's her.
You would think that a good, serious journalist somewhere--ANYWHERE--would ask for a record of this request as it was sent along.
You wonder why no good, serious, professional journalist has done so.
|Go Read This: Democrats Lying About Tragedy To Score Political Points|
Jim has the goods on Kansas Democratic Governor Kathleen Sibelius' invention of a federal fiasco. Read that link and the one below it.
Then start to tell people about it. You know the media won't do it--somebody has to!
|Because I Like Pointing Out the Counter-Intuitive|
A story is evolving out of Ft. Collins about a question on a math test at Rocky Mountain High School. The question is this:
Question 3: Politics in Florida
In 1988, there were 6.047 million people registered to vote in Florida. Of these, a certain number were registered democrats, some were registered republicans, and others were registered as independent. The number of democrats was 0.908 million more than the number of liars – I mean republicans [emphasis supplied]. The number of republicans was 1.935 million more than the number of independents. Using mathematics from Chapter 1, find the number of registered voters for each party, in millions.
Now, of course this is offensive and out-of-line; sadly, it is NOT all that surprising; and, in a surprise move, I'm actually willing to give the teacher a little bit of rope: there are occasions, as a teacher, when you develop such a rapport with a class of students that you can use humor that an observer to your class might not understand (for example, if this Democrat teacher had had an ongoing public conversation--in good humor--with a Republican student in the room, this could be nothing more than an isolated needle at one student, which MAY have caused a few knowing chuckles in the room.). Whether that translates into the appropriateness of this question for more than one class remains to be seen, but let's not get too hung up on that issue.
For the moment.
Further down in this post at Face The State, you will see a list of the staff members in the math department at Rocky Mountain H.S., with their party affiliations. Here's how they shake out:
2 registered Democrats
2 registered Republicans
2 not registered at all
5 registered unaffiliated
For the sake of argument, let's say that those "unaffiliateds" actually break 4-1 for Democrats, based on actual voting patterns. That leaves you with a group of teachers that is roughly 6-3 Democrats to Republicans.
Got that? This department, which I would suggest is actually fairly representative, splits 2-1 for the Democrats.
When was the last time you heard of a teachers union only endorsing Democrats by a margin of 2-1? Or giving Republican candidates half of what they give Democrats? Or organizing neighborhood walks for half as many Republicans as Democrats?
The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, that, contrary to popular belief, teachers are not all Democrats. It has been my experience, having worked in 23 schools in my career (yes, I have an odd job description), that there are vastly more Republicans in the education profession than the general public believes there are, or than get represented by their unions' activities. The very nature of the profession (change the world, poor renumeration in return for security, etc . . .) tends to draw the Lefties, but not exclusively. There are many of us that simply concluded at some point in our youth that there is no more important job in the world than trying to get the next generation to learn the skills and habits that will make them self-sufficient and productive members of society.
The point is, and I have said it before, that when you talk in dismissive terms of "education", please try, somehow, to draw a distinction between teachers' unions--the heart and soul of Big Education--and teachers themselves. The former is one of the greatest impediments to properly educating our children; the latter are (largely) smart, dedicated, and creative servants of the public good.
Yes, there are bad eggs out there--as this teacher at Rocky Mountain demonstrates. My above argument notwithstanding, even I don't completely buy that this guy had that kind of rapport with his class; or that, having that rapport, would be stupid enough to put this question in writing; or that, even if those were true, that this would in any way justify putting this question on a test that more than one class would have to take. This guy, I think, has an agenda which he subjects his students to, probably on a regular and humorless basis.
The real tragedy here is that the system is built in such a way that this guy will be protected, and that system was designed and built by Big Education. Consider that it's okay for this guy to do what he does in class with taxpayers' money, but it's not at all okay for students to have a moment of prayer before a football game.
Until this system gets disrupted, we should get used to stories like this.
For more thoughts on this subject, read all of the Face the State post (linked above), and then read Ben's thoughts on this--it's really in his wheelhouse.
|The Man Who Would Be Senator|
So the Democrats finally have a plan . . .er, a NEXT plan. Oy.
At any rate, here's part of what Rep.-who-wants-to-be-Senator Mark Udall had to say after the veto:
I supported the legislation and voted to override the president’s veto. But now that the veto has been sustained, I think it is essential that a way be found to bridge our differences so that agreement can be reached both on a funding bill and a change of policy to bring the war in Iraq to a successful conclusion. In this regard, I am hopeful that the wisdom articulated in the Iraq Study Group (ISG) report may serve as a good bipartisan foundation for a new policy.
Here's part of the Democrats' new plan:
House Democratic leaders planned to brief party members Tuesday on new legislation that would fund the Iraq war through July, then give Congress the option of cutting off money after that if conditions do not improve.
In other words, if "conditions do not improve," then the money for the war will end on July 31st.
And, just for grins, let's take a look at what the ISG report ACTUALLY says--for those of you reading along, this is from p.30:A premature American departure from Iraq would almost certainly produce greater
sectarian violence and further deterioration of conditions, leading to a number of the adverse
consequences outlined above. The near-term results would be a significant power vacuum,
greater human suffering, regional destabilization, and a threat to the global economy. Al Qaeda would depict our withdrawal as a historic victory. If we leave and Iraq descends into chaos, the long-range consequences could eventually require the United States to return.
So, Udall wants us to follow the ISG, the ISG says premature departure would almost certainly lead to "adverse consequences," but the Democrats are putting forward a plan that gives them the option of stopping the war instantaneously.
So we should be able to count on Udall to oppose this plan, right?
Is somebody writing this stuff down for the next campaign? This guy writes our commercials for us, if anybody bothers to notice.
Last night, I posted the following statement:
Make no mistake, on a state-wide basis, there simply is no bigger special interest than the education establishment.
Some observers--who are smart and have a good point--have noted that I may be overstating the case.
Other than essays we write, and excepting the Colorado Senate News, there has not been a single essay on the legal system, nor a single essay on SEIU, at most one or two mentions of the four millionaires, and not much on big labor.
On the other hand, there may have been twenty essays on the "special place in hell" email alone. Yes, that email is important, as is education, but not so important that it should crowd out the other important issues of the day to the point that lawyers, union hacks, and millionires can operate under the radar. That is what is happening.
I think CI is pretty smart, and I accept the premise that there are other forces out there that may have more influence on Colorado elections.
But the issue is what drives Colorado elections, and it drives it in one direction.
If memory serves (and God knows my memory serves very little--except, perhaps, as a sticky note holder), the last time the Colorado GOP swept statewide elections, it was when we owned the education issue after introducing the CSAP and pushing charter schools. In the last few elections, we've made vouchers an issue (which has three times failed for us on a statewide ballot), and then gotten stuck in the vise of Amendment 23/TABOR and failed to come up with a solution.
That has, effectively, put the issue right back in the Democrats' court. And that is a big part of why they've at least split every election since 2000, and pretty much dominated the last two.
There is no doubt that the Gill/Polis/Stryker brigade has, well, BOUGHT the last three elections. But when their front groups needed to defend Sue Windels against a credible challenge from Jessica Peck-Correy, they did it on the issue of education. When their front groups needed to buy a House seat for Debbie Benefield, they did it on the issue of education.
Also importantly, in 2000, when the Democats got their first recent whiff of success by taking the Senate, Amendment 23 was on the ballot--"to increase state funding for education." Because Democrats got the Senate, a judge got to design the legislative districts for the next ten years. Because a judge designed the districts, the state legislature skews a lot more to the Democrats than it should (again, from CI: while Republican legislative candidates as a whole get tens of thousands more votes than Democrats as a whole, even in the last election, the Republicans hold only 41 of 100 legislative seats). Not to mention CD7 is now in play every year.
Judicial corruption might be--okay, OF COURSE it's tremendously important, but its way below radar among the electorate; and the unions matter, but suburban voters don't go to the ballot box worried about unions (though, I suppose, a lot of conservatives may do just that in 2008). The Stryker Brigade has the power to buy a lot of elections, but when they need an issue to pummel us with, it is, very often, education.
And they will always--ALWAYS--side with Big Education. You know them: safe, tenure-protected, maintain-the-status-quo-unless-you-want-to-give-them-$1.7 BILLION more to spend, and don't dare innovate or compete or provide choices.
That's who Big Education is, and that's what we need to figure out how to Jiu-Jitsu into electoral victories.
:For what it's worth (which isn't a whole lot), Chris Matthews asked his panel of regular contributing journalists who did the best at the Republican debate Thursday; 9 out of 12 said Mitt Romney
:The Rocky Mountain News had a short-list rundown of the Colorado legislative session that just ended. Notable for its inclusion by Republicans in the Senate among their list of "important legislation" that they fought against unsuccessfully are a string of education bills, all of which either maintain the Big Education status quo or which actually feed the beast more.
And, yes, from now on I'm going to use "Big Education" in the same way the Democrats throw around "Big Oil" or "Big Business". Make no mistake, on a state-wide basis, there simply is no bigger special interest than the education establishment.
Peggy Noonan had a great suggestion for the Republican candidates:
They should stop [asking who is going to be the next Reagan] already, and Republicans should stop playing along. They should try instead a pleasant, "You know I don't think I'm Reagan, but I do think John Edwards may be Jimmy Carter, and I'm fairly certain Hillary is Walter Mondale."
So let's all join along-I'll start.
I think Denis Kucinich might be Shirley Jackson Lee, who was probably George McGovern.
And Barack Obama is Pat Schroeder.
|Did They Miss The Low-Hanging Fruit?|
I've been reading the transcript of the debate last night (I actually did have better things to do than watch the whole thing), and I have just one question:
why did none of them find a way to put this in one of their answers?:
"Well, Chris, I do feel that I need to congratulate my fellow canidates on displaying the courage to come out here tonight, to participate in a debate broadcast on the liberal media outlet MSNBC, in an event co-sponsored by the left-leaning Politico.com, for a broadcast hosted by the virulently anti-Republican Keith Olbermann, and moderated by a former speechwriter for Jimmy Carter and aide to Tip O'Neill. It is encouraging to me that at least the members of THIS party are not afraid of the opposition, which, I suppose, should give us hope that whoever wins the Presidency from this group will be able to stand up to our enemies."
C'mon, guys--get the low-hangers. Try to force the AP to lead with something other than "Giuliani Struggles With Abortion Question"
|Ah, The Democrats--Both Frivolous AND Dangerous|
This is the kind of stuff that, if it got wider coverage, would just make people LAUGH and LAUGH.
The House next week will consider the Democrat-crafted Intelligence Authorization bill, which includes a provision directing an assessment of the effects that climate change has on national security. . . .
Intelligence panel Chairman Silvestre Reyes, Texas Democrat, said the climate-change study is one of several shifts his party has made to intelligence policy.
"We're concerned that global warming might impact our ability to maintain national security," he told The Times, describing the idea as "cutting edge."
"We want to get feedback from the intelligence community to understand if there are possible global issues," Mr. Reyes said, noting the change was on the advice of "several former military commanders."
I'm not really sure any comment is necessary.
But that's never stopped me before.
THIS is the seriousness with which the Democrats take national security. BE VERY CLEAR HERE: in a post 9-11 age, after which we all learned how dismal both the performance and the resources devoted to intelligence have been for 30 years, to divert ANY money away from gathering intel on the people who want to kill us quickly and in huge numbers is irresponsible. There is simply no excuse for this committe to do anything other than bang the drum for more resources to catch al-Qaeda and track our enemies around the world.
You would think this would be a no-brainer for the Democrats, also. After managing to overcome their perceived weakness on national security to sweep into power last November, they could have done much to shore up their credentials by properly managing some of these key committees. At the very least, they could have said that our intel was so bad that the President got duped into an unwinnable ar in Iraq, so we need to devote whatever resources are necessary to make sure this never happens again. And, in the meantime, we need to tend to the areas of the world that the President has neglected for too long.
But no, they choose to devote intelligence resources to global warming.
How funny would it be if the CIA comes back and concludes that there is a.) no appreciable security threat to the U.S. from glaciers melting in Antarctica, and b.) only dubious evidence of world-wide global warming at all.?
And when the intelligence community comes back with an assessment of "grave peril" from global warming, how exactly, given their recent track record, are we to put any weight on their assessment?
|As Much As The Soldiers Deserve To Win The War . . . |
I often think the Pentagon itself deserves to lose.
The U.S. Army has ordered soldiers to stop posting to blogs or sending personal e-mail messages, without first clearing the content with a superior officer, Wired News has learned. The directive, issued April 19, is the sharpest restriction on troops' online activities since the start of the Iraq war. And it could mean the end of military blogs, observers say. . . .
"This is the final nail in the coffin for combat blogging," said retired paratrooper Matthew Burden, editor of The Blog of War anthology. "No more military bloggers writing about their experiences in the combat zone. This is the best PR the military has -- it's most honest voice out of the war zone. And it's being silenced."
Who in the HELL is in charge of the public affairs office at the Pentagon?
I've watched, with growing concern, for the last five years as the military seems to be able to win every engagement on the battlefield (until it throws handcuffs on our soldiers) BUT LOSE EVERY ENGAGEMENT IN THE PRESS. It's distressing how clueless the military is about how to win a public relations war. I thought, you know, maybe they're just taking their cues from the White House, which has been similarly inept at making its case for the ongoing War, but this action takes that to a whole new level.
Clearly . . .CLEARLY . . . the brass at the Pentagon failed to learn THE most important lesson of Vietnam: America only loses wars at home, never in the field.
Our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines deserve better than this. Much better.
|Democrats Are Coming For Your Wallets|
and ignoring their own rules to do it.
Gov. Bill Ritter's plan to generate more property tax income for schools cleared the final legislative hurdle today with narrow passage in the Senate.
The vote was 18-16, the bare minimum number of affirmative votes need for passage.
How much will it cost? The Rocky tells you:
In the version approved today, the plan will raise $48 million more in property tax revenue next year.
But then the Rocky goes on to defend the reason for the measure:
Budget analysts predict that the state education fund will be insolvent by the 2011-12 school year. The additional property tax revenue from the measure passed today will reduce the amount that must come from the state fund.
What the Rocky DOES NOT tell you is what those same budget analysts peg as the long-term cost of the measure: $1.7 BILLION.
For some reason, the Rocky also fails to mention that the Democrats shoved this measure through the Senate without:
: the required public hearing in front of the Senate
: consideration for the fact that Referendum C monies are coming in to the state's coffers at a rate of $1 billion a year more than originally projected
: consideration of the fact that the state Attorney General ruled last week that this measure was required under TABOR to be put to a vote of the general public
The Rocky also managed to miss that Windels et al. managed to--with this one fell swoop--drain $3.5 million out of the capital construction budget for charter schools.
The Rocky did do one thing right: they posted a chart showing how property tax rates would jump/fall for homeowners in the various area school districts. So, every time a Democrat tries to tell you that they're looking out for the 'little guy', remind them that with this bill they raised the property taxes for a person in the following districts by the following amounts:
(based on median home price in Denver metro area )
Commerce City $15.04
Cherry Creek - $11.75 (that is, they pay less next year)
Jefferson Cty $14.82
Douglas Cty $26.05
Boulder Cty $13.34
Just look at that list a little closer: notice that the greatest increase will be in Denver, and the only county on that list (there are two others I did not calculate, and about 10 more that have increases) that has a decrease in tax payments is Cherry Creek.
Does that make sense to anybody?
But, then again, we are talking about a Democratic plan: making sense is purely optional.
|This Is An Atrocity|
I heard John Eastman read this, from p. 14 of the Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v Carhart, on the Hugh Hewitt Show tonight. It's not really news to me, but it is worth reiterating.
Warning: graphic details follow.
In the usual intact D&E the fetus’ head lodges in the cervix, and dilation is insufficient to allow it to pass. See, e.g., ibid.; App. in No. 05–380, at 577; App. in No. 05–1382, at 74, 282. Haskell explained the next step as follows:
"‘At this point, the right-handed surgeon slides thefingers of the left [hand] along the back of the fetusand "hooks" the shoulders of the fetus with the index and ring fingers (palm down).
"‘While maintaining this tension, lifting the cervix and applying traction to the shoulders with the fin-gers of the left hand, the surgeon takes a pair of bluntcurved Metzenbaum scissors in the right hand. He carefully advances the tip, curved down, along the spine and under his middle finger until he feels it con-tact the base of the skull under the tip of his middle finger.
"‘[T]he surgeon then forces the scissors into the base of the skull or into the foramen magnum. Havingsafely entered the skull, he spreads the scissors to enlarge the opening.
"‘The surgeon removes the scissors and introduces a suction catheter into this hole and evacuates the skull contents. With the catheter still in place, he appliestraction to the fetus, removing it completely from the patient.’" H. R. Rep. No. 108–58, p. 3 (2003).
This is an abortion doctor’s clinical description. Here is another description from a nurse who witnessed the same method performed on a 26½-week fetus and who testified
before the Senate Judiciary Committee:
"‘Dr. Haskell went in with forceps and grabbed the baby’s legs and pulled them down into the birth canal. Then he delivered the baby’s body and the arms—everything but the head. The doctor kept the head right inside the uterus. . . .
"‘The baby’s little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall.
"‘The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby went completely limp. . . .
Words really don't come close to expressing my revulsion and profound sadness that there are people in this country who actually believe a woman has a right to do this to her baby. Or that there are doctors willing to do this.
Just so you know what they're really talking about.
Two bits of infomation you should put in your files, and a stray thought:
:An Israeli government commission excoriated Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday for “severe failures” in last summer’s war against the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, setting off a furious debate on whether he should remain in office.
This commission's report was confined, by the way, to the first five days of the war. If the first five days involved "severe failures", I can't wait to hear what the commission has to say about how Olmert ended the war.
Destabilisation of the Israeli government has important implications to internal U.S. discussions about what to do about Iran--keep an eye on this.
and . . .
:The Times has a profile of Fred Thompson. It doesn't contain much new or useful information, but there is this little tidbit:
When 10 of the declared Republican presidential candidates gather for their first debate on Thursday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Southern California, Fred D. Thompson, the actor and politician, will not be among them. But he will not be far offstage.
Mr. Thompson, the former Tennessee senator and current presidential question mark, is speaking the next night at the annual dinner of the Lincoln Club of Orange County . . .
This is very smart on his part; it also hearkens back to another wonderful conservative who created a platform for himself to refute his opponents' points one day after a public event: Abe Lincoln.
Clearly, Thompson is getting in. It just remains to be seen how much influence he can have from outside the process at this point.
There's nothing to indicate that the tanker crash and subsequent highway collapse in Oakland, CA was anything other than an accident . . .
but don't you think the terrorists might just have noticed?