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


Question For The Man Who Would Be Senator 

Congressman Udall: your campaign commercial trumpets the importance of refocusing our mission on Afghanistan, "where al-Qaeda is based;" but, if al-Qaeda is "based" in Afghanistan, a. how would you explain the significance of the Pakistani airstrikes over the last several days, which seem to point to Pakistan as the new headquarters of al-Qaeda; b. the recently reported death of Abu Khalad in Mosul, Iraq--a man whose title was "senior leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq"?

Likewise, since the U.S. handed over primary responsibility for Afghanistan to our NATO allies, along with handing over operational command of our troops, almost TWO years ago, would you advocate overriding NATO and reclaiming responsibility of Afghanistan? For that matter, do you agree with Barrack Obama's once-stated assessment that the U.S. military and intelligence should invade Pakistan--our ally--in pursuit of as-Qaeda leadership?

Or are you all bluster and smokescreens?


The Rocky Takes A Swipe At "The People Who Brought You $4/Gallon Gas" 

But the underlying issue is still troubling.

I wrote a while ago about the full-scale ad campaign being run at the evening news hour, attacking Bob Schaffer and his ties to oil companies. I concluded this:

Schaffer is being hammered right now about his ties to the oil industry; I'd like to see him hit back and hit back hard at the people who have made it impossible to maintain a household budget any more.

The Rocky writes this today:

Perhaps what Colorado really deserves is a Senate campaign that involves a serious discussion of energy issues rather than sleazy scapegoating. In pursuit of that goal, however, voters apparently won't get any help from the League of Conservation Voters.

To date, both of us have been rather disappointed. Of course, the Schaffer campaign has not attempted to answer the attack ads, which has left the room entirely void of the serious debate the Rocky is hoping for. And now that speculation has gas approaching $6 in the near future, the absence of that debate is bordering on criminal.

On one level, we suppose, Atkinson's take on the Senate race amounts to conventional wisdom: Unrebutted negative ads take their toll on candidates. Yet in this case the ad is so crude and lurid, and the message so remarkable, that its possible success is a depressing commentary on swing voters in this state. [emphasis mine]

Actually, I disagree--as much as I would like to agree. Given the state of the recent polls in the Presidential race, I find it increasingly easy to believe that the entire country is a "depressing commentary on swing voters." But, more directly, the Rocky has it right: unrebutted negative ads take their toll.

If the ratio of LCV/Udall ads were about 1 to 1, then, given a tough year, one could expect a small margin for Udall; given that the ratio is currently about 10,000 to . . . um, let's see . . . ZERO, that the margin is ONLY 10 points is rather remarkable.

It's early, and I don't want anybody to get too worked up just yet. I just hope that our side doesn't recognize too late that this is a gunfight, and we should pull out something more than our pocket knives.

Metaphorically speaking, of course.


If You Haven't Read This One Yet . . . 

do yourself a favor and link over to it.

Losing Our Collective Minds 

The headline scrolling across the bottom of the 9News ticker all day long was this:

Supreme Court Upholds Second Amendment.

At first, of course, my reaction was "good--about time they got one right this term."

And then it struck me: how in the HELL can the Supreme Court purport to even rule on the actual second amendment? So, what . . .? the Court managed to find the the Constitution was Constitutional? Well, good for them!

I know the ruling was on the Constitutionality of the D.C. handgun ban. But I think 9News actually had a little Freudian slip, there. Judging from the recent rulings, I think the Court is quite happy to arrogate to itself the duty of ruling on the Constitutionality of Articles 1-7, with all the Amendments.

Either the "professional journalist" class doesn't understand what the Supreme Court does, or, as part of the "elites," it actually believes that it is the role of SCOTUS to sit in judgment over the Constitution itself. Both scenarios are believable.

And equally disturbing.


Might Have To Miss This One 

Says Will Smith, a person whose race has obviously made it difficult for him to find his "niche" in American life:

WILL SMITH: You know I just, I just came back from Moscow, Berlin, London and Paris and it's the first, I've been there quite a few times in the past five to 10 years. And it just hasn't been a good thing to be American. And this is the first time, since Barack has gotten the nomination, that it, it was a good thing.


I'm not a big fan of boycots, so I am in no way advocating that anybody join me in avoiding Hancock. But, I just don't see any reason to contribute to this guy's pocketbook.

Which, I know, is cruel. Seeing as how he's barely getting by on his $20,000,000 per movie.

It IS tough to be an American.

McCain's Big Idea 

So, John McCain has proposed a $300 million reward for a really good battery-operated car.

Okay. Interesting.

I have a better idea. The person who comes up with this thing is going to make WAY more than $300 mil. So maybe he should take that $300 million and divide it up into 200 different grants for motor heads, mech.engineering students, and people like my neighbor kid who spends 20 hours a day on his computer playing simulations to do what they do best--build new stuff.

I think we all instinctively know that the next thing is NOT going to come from Detroit. The intellectual culture of the corporations is just too bankrupt.

But I have a lot of faith in people like the guys who race up at Bandimere Speedway--guys who can take a '67 Nova and turn it in to a 250 mph rocket ship (don't forget to wear your helmets, boys). I bet somebody's already come up with something great, but doesn't have the capital or the time ('cuz motor heads tend to have jobs, too) to develop it the way it should be.

A little grant money might be just the thing to get the American people busy on solving this problem.

A problem, by the way, that Congress seems completely indifferent to.


It's Not The Reflexive Liberalism That Gets Me . . . 

So much as the willful indifference to reality.

Who am I talking about? Why, Senator Barack H. Obama, of course. Two instances:

:on raising the capital gains tax--

GIBSON: And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased; the government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down.
So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?

OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.

Though, I suppose, to be "fair" (is there any word in the lexicon more abused than "fair"), raising the capital gains tax probably would result in more "fairness"--lop 20% off of everybody's money and the differences DO get smaller. To paraphrase my favorite Pixar movie, "when everybody's below average, NOBODY's below average."

:on ethanol--(from the Corner)

But is heavily subsidized midwestern bioethanol the way to go? It doesn't seem to be (not least because of what we now know to be its impact on global food prices [not to mention the greenhouse gasses it produces]). That doesn't seem to have deterred Obama, a supporter of the recent subsidy-laden farm bill. Worse still, he's an opponent of relaxing tariffs on imported Brazilian sugar cane ethanol, a far more energy efficient fuel than its corn-fed alternative.

So, I guess the issue really isn't energy independence for Obama, . . . or global warming, . . or helping feed the poor.

The issue, it would seem, really just boils down to giant-government programs to subsidize corn farms in the American midwest. Not a lobbyist, I suppose (though they most certainly have theirs), but certainly a special interest.

:on prosecuting the War on Terror--

"And, you know, let's take the example of Guantanamo. What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks — for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated. "

And many of the people behind 9/11 are now, likewise, incapacitated, as are many people behind the next attack and the one after that . . . incapacitated because THEY ARE DEAD!! That is how you prosecute a War. If Obama is truly so blind to the reality that the arrest of those behind the 93 attack did NOTHING to deter the Khobar Towers Attack, the East African Embassies Attack, the U.S.S. Cole Attack, or 9/11, then he truly, TRULY is way out of his depth here.

There are a lot of liberals out there, many of whom I don't think of as naive, dangerous or dumb. Obama's indifference to reality almost guarantees that he is one of those three things, if not all three.

It's a serious world, and its not time for rookies.


THIS is What I'm Talking About 

A couple nights ago I wrote this:

America is unique and special; therefore, the primary purpose of government should be to protect, preserve, and bring to fruitful realization the full extent of that specialness.

Much good flows from a simple belief like this. Like: the protections of the American Constitution do NOT extend to people captured as an irregular militia on foreign soil trying to kill Americans through stealth and terror; like: our dependence on the world market for core supplies like oil have introduced a vulnerability to our economy that is unnecessary, so we should take the necessary steps to provide for ourselves; like: American jurisprudence should be based on America's needs and place in the world, so judges will get appointed to lifetime jobs based on their understanding and adherence to America's founding documents and not world opinion;

Then I see that John McCain said this last month [courtesy Donald Kochan]:

As you might recall, the case inspired a Supreme Court opinion that left posterity with a lengthy discourse on international law, the constitutions of other nations, the meaning of life, and 'evolving standards of decency.' These meditations were in the tradition of 'penumbras,' 'emanations,' and other airy constructs the Court has employed over the years as poor substitutes for clear and rigorous constitutional reasoning. . . . "

So, at the very least, I think I can count John McCain in my camp on this one.

It seems simple: American decision-making should be based on American standards of law, interest and conduct. But too many on the Left would have us rely on international standards of law--the same ones that condemn Israeli military action but has yet to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah and other terrorist groups--international standards of "interest", meaning America has no rights to act in their own interest, in spite of the U.N. charter, and international standards of conduct--the same ones that brought us the U.N. peacekeeper forced-prostitution scandal and the Oil-for-Food scandal.

Is America perfect? No. But no country, or intergovernmental body, has ever come as close as we have to realizing the vast potential of democratic governance based on Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

I, for one, am encouraged that one of the Presidential candidates recognizes that specialness and is willing to base appointment decisions on it.

At least in this area.


Obama Follies, Week in Review 

This week, Barack Obama . . .

:blamed the Republicans for failing to get Osama bin Laden. Let's see . . . if we're not allowed to "bring into question a politician's patriotism" because we doubt his/her judgment, why, exactly, is Obama allowed to get away with a thing like this? Oh, never mind, I know why.

And, in case Obama forgets his history [again], he needs to remember that bin Laden got away when we handed over responsibility for being the anvil to our hammer to one of our allies. The approach Democrats have been screaming for for six years ("work with our allies, blah blah blah") has been proven ridiculously wrong. Yet, he still works the theme--Democrats just don't WANT to learn.

:and speaking of relying on old, failed policies . .

he lauded the law enforcement model of pursuing the War on Terror. Yes, Senator--we did get one or two people behind bars. In the meantime, OBL kept planning and playing, and five years later U.S. Sailors died because we couldn't get an indictment on OBL. But, by all means, let's stick to the model (The math, by the way, is Clinton/Democrat approach:2, Bush/War/Gitmo/etc : 10,000 plus).

:and he preemptively cried "foul" on Republican attacks on his race. Once again, in what world is this NOT playing the race card? Why is blaming Republicans for being racist before they ever do anything NOT just as racist--or WORSE--than the attacks that he supposes are on their way? WHY does the press let him get away with this crap.

Oh, never mind.

But if McCain manages to store up enough of this and chooses to use it, Obama is really setting himself up.

See, McCain can't actually attack Obama--he's proven to be too teflon and too nimble for anything to work. But if he manages to simply make the country aware of Obama--the reality behind the happy rhetoric and charisma--he may be able to knock him of his damn high horse.

If he gets to work on it soon enough.


GOP Reformation: Start With First Principles 

I opined at length the other night about the need for the conservatives and Republicans to engage in a new intellectual/philosophical Reformation. Tonight I will begin offering my opening thoughts on ways forward.

And it begins with a simple belief: articulate, refine, and constantly refer back to first principles.

This, of course, has electoral significance, as well. If John McCain gets caught in a battle this year of exchanging specific stories about people they've met on the campaign trail, and those peoples' trials and tribulations, Obama will crush him. First of all, McCain doesn't hold a rhetorical candle to Obama; second, that's always been a losing strategy for Republicans. The Left operates on emotion, and when they are allowed to draw on the pathos of their audience, they usually get the better of it.

[Note: the notable exception to this was Al Gore, who probably would have succeeded with the idea, except that he kept inventing he subjects of his stories]

We on the Right do much better when we make arguments based on broad, first principles. Ronald Reagan did not particularly articulate all the specifics of his plans, but we knew what his goals were: diminish the role of government, rebuild the military, and reaffirm the unique specialness of America. His successors have been less effective at articulating any such message--George H.W. Bush could not articulate much of a vision at all (which, it turns out, would have been okay--he played the part of "Steward" anyway), Bob Dole was never able to get around a message, and as clearly as W. has stated some of his first principles, his actions have been either too incompetent to execute them properly or Congressional Republicans have ignored any principle at all.

John McCain is starting to do well this week as he's going around the country hammering one consistent idea: America can and should be energy independent. He's called for an expansion of nuclear power use, and he's called for drilling on the outer continental shelf--an excellent first salvo which, so far, Obama has not had an answer for.

That's the beginning of a good theme. Let me propose this as the broader theme this week presents to us on the Right:

America is unique and special; therefore, the primary purpose of government should be to protect, preserve, and bring to fruitful realization the full extent of that specialness.

Much good flows from a simple belief like this. Like: the protections of the American Constitution do NOT extend to people captured as an irregular militia on foreign soil trying to kill Americans through stealth and terror; like: our dependence on the world market for core supplies like oil have introduced a vulnerability to our economy that is unnecessary, so we should take the necessary steps to provide for ourselves; like: American jurisprudence should be based on America's needs and place in the world, so judges will get appointed to lifetime jobs based on their understanding and adherence to America's founding documents and not world opinion; like: America will act as it sees fit to protect our interests and citizenry around the world, and not subject our policy debates to a "global test."

Somebody should make a point of saying that America is unique and special, and so it has a unique and special role to play on the world stage. Barack can go on and on all he wants about "restoring our standing" in the world, but making concessions to the bad players in the world will only make us look like dupes, and the truly failed policies of the past (circa 1978) will only leave us vulnerable and unrespected. Better that we embrace our place in the world and use it to extend the connectedness that our superior technology has created across the globe.

We've all become so danged accustomed to hearing politicians apologize for America that we lose sight of the big picture: America has been safer for the last seven years than for the seven before it; America has had an almost logic-defying period of economic growth in the last seven years; and there are parts of the world that are vastly safer now than they were seven years ago thanks to the work of Americans. Frankly, the world really needs an America that is confident and strong, or the Mugabes of the world will have an open field on which to create chaos, death and destruction.

And it starts with recognizing our place.


This Distortion Brought To You By The Same People Who Brought You $4 Gasoline 

I've been a bit disturbed of late watching the evening news. The Udall campaigns and its surrogates have bought enormous amounts of airtime preparing the battlefield for the fall race.

One of teh most ubiquitous campaigns is from the League of Conservation Voters called "Fingerprint Bob." The basic claim is that Bob Schaffer is in the pockets of the EVIL oil companies.

But a little look at the League reveals an interesting history. According to Open Secrets, the League of Conservation Voters has donated more to Mark Udall's campaign than any other candidate but one; and that is before you consider the actual independent expenditure involved in buying the ads. In addition, in 2004, LCV donated $1 million dollars around the country to 9 targeted races based on the candidate's hostility to drilling offshore and in ANWAR.

I'm sure somebody out there with better research skills than I can come up with even more useful information about the LCV.

But the point is this: Schaffer is being hammered right now about his ties to the oil industry; I'd like to see him hit back and hit back hard at the people who have made it impossible to maintain a household budget any more.

Look, Schaffer is never going to beat Udall if he fights on the battlefield of the environment. What he needs to do is minimize the impact of that issue and Ju-Jitsu it into a debate about energy and the price of fuel.

He might just be able to win that debate.


Losing Our Collective Minds: The Remedy 

Just as there are many pathologies involved in the current state of decline of America, so, too, there must be many different approaches to remedy the situation.

I. We--conservatives, Republicans, whoever--must begin speaking the truth without fear of reprisal or "spin."

I was talking about this with a friend on Saturday night, and she was expressing how frustrated she was getting with Republicans' inability to put up any defense to an attack from the Left. As case in point, she brought up the spectacle of Trent Lott being run out of his position of power over his comments in praise of Jesse Helms. And, I must say, I agree with her wholeheartedly. That was not only a tactical defeat for the Right--it was a shameful display. Republicans are regularly called racist, homophobic, misogynistic and hateful, usually for no good reason at all--AND ALMOST ALWAYS WITHOUT A STRONG RESPONSE! And, of course, the problem with a non-response to a false personal attack of that nature is not that you lose the argument--it's that you surrender the intellectual field of battle. Once a conservative allows themselves to be called a racist for no good reason, then they no longer have any standing to bring up any issues facing the black/Hispanic/Muslim community. Can you possibly imagine Trent Lott now going before any audience anywhere and making a case for a revival of the family within the inner city?

Some of the most important issues facing the country are ones that conservatives cannot engage in the discussion of because we've surrendered that battlefield. Persistent poverty in the inner city is criminal and dangerous to society as a whole (remember that "Disconnectedness defines danger;" is any part of American life as disconnected as the family of three kids being raised by their 11-year old sister because mom is either working three jobs or out pursuing her own habits, and none of the kids know their dads?); yet, the problems are not society-wide, nor are they the latent effects of slavery. "Whitey" is not responsible for the fact that more black children are born to single mothers than they are into families; "whitey" is not responsible for the fact the teenage birth rate in the African population is nearly twice what it is in the general population; and "whitey" is not responsible for the fact that more black youths are murdered by other black youths than any breakdown in any other population subset. And yet conservatives are somehow not allowed to be part of this discussion because any criticism from the outside is dismissed as "racist" and any criticizer is vilified and run out of town.

We must stop being afraid of the labels the Left uses to pin us in corners and shut us up. There is something distinctly refreshing--if wildly disturbing--about the candor with which Douglas Bruce approaches issues. More forceful contributions from more conservatives would do a great deal to move our debates forward.

II. Conservatives need an intellectual Reformation.

William F Buckley led a charge to define conservatism and package it for general consumption some 40 years ago. In his wake, we have had a more than 2-1 advantage in years in office in the Oval Office, even if Congress has--except for one brief period--remained persistently in the hands of the Left. On the shoulders of Buckley's work, we got Ronald Reagan in office--a feat which led directly to the longest period of economic expansion in the country's history and the victorious conclusion of the Cold War.

But the last, great salvo of conservatism was fired in 1994, when Newt Gingrich devised the "Contract with America." In the wake of that, Republicans gained control of Congress for the first time in forever. However, since then, nobody has been able to articulate a forceful case for continuing the policies of conservatism, nor has anybody been able to retool the particulars of the message to modernize it and make it more palatable today. It is telling that, in exile, Newt Gingrich is still the leading voice of conservative philosophy from his place in think tanks--not in government.

It's time for a new voice.

Conservatives need to build on the work of the past, but come together to coalesce around a coherent, comprehensive philosophy for governance. It took Republican majorities the sum total of eight years to devolve from philosophical leadership to merely maintaining power--which led directly to losing power. The challenges facing the country are too great for us to lack a conservative idea for their solution, but the leadership in office has been unable to articulate any good ideas.

[Note that I said "articulate;" I think this President and elements within his White House have good ideas, but nobody has yet been able articulate any of them.]

I will--as I have for the better part of five years now--happily offer my ideas for what such a conservative philosophy would look like. Please feel free to join in.

III. Republicans MUST shake the stench of incompetence from themselves.

Starting with the FEMA response to Hurricane Katrina--whether this was fair or real or a media creation does not matter--the overwhelming impression of the White House operation, Republicans in Congress and conservatives everywhere is that they are not fit to govern. And, like it or not, I think the country would rather elect people who they disagree with sooner than they would elect somebody who they don't think can get the job done.

How's that for a bumper sticker?: We At Least Have The Right Ideas, Even If We Can't Make Them Come True.

Or Who Would You Rather Vote For? Somebody Bad At Doing The Right Thing, or Somebody Good At Doing The Wrong Thing?

And, unfortunately, this is the hardest hill Republicans have to climb right now. I think it's no mistake that in my Congressional district (7), a do-nothing, know-nothing, freshman like Ed Perlmutter is being challenged by someone who is a self-described "sacrificial lamb" this year. The perception of incompetence has become so attached to Republicans that all a Democrat candidate (ahem . . . .Jared Polis) has to do is say "President Bush and the Republicans" and they gain 10% in the polls.

Republicans simply must begin to get their house in order. They can no longer accept "questionable" ethics from within the caucus, they can no longer accept pork, they can no longer accept the idea that getting elected is more valuable than governing.

And, I think, that process has begun. I was very impressed with the Republican leadership in the state legislature this year, and they put forth an ambitious agenda which had a lot of success. That has to happen at every level of government all over the country.

Can it happen in five months? I doubt it. We may be headed for the wilderness.

But, if the movement starts early, maybe we can return from the wilderness like Churchill--stronger and more focused than we went in.

I just hope we don't open the door to tragedy while we're figuring this out.

Losing Our Collective Minds: The Answer To The Riddle 

Last night, I asked you to consider several simultaneous factors weighing on the news of late, and asked what they have in common. Allow me to connect the dots.

A superpower is not measured simply in terms of its military might; a superpower gains preeminence in evert facet of international life, though that is commonly led by or accompanied by military supremacy. As you look at history, I think you will see the distinction. Nobody considered Japan, Germany and Italy gained a degree of military strength in the 30's, but never had the sort of economic preeminence that dominated world events. In fact, that sort of economic inadequacy can actually be, in some ways, blamed for the outbreak of open hostilities. However, if you consider the state of the U.S. and the Soviet Union in the second half of the 20th century, you see not only a military standoff, but competing economic visions, the resolution thereof being the actual cause of the fall of one of the superpowers. If you look back at other superpowers in history, I think you'll see the same sort of situation--England in the 1800s, Rome and Greece and etc. . . The point being this: "superpower" is a rather broadly-based term, with a great deal more meaning than simply a martial one.

Therefore, if you were to look to bring down a superpower, you would have to deal with both the military aspect of the power and the economic element. How, then, could you possibly bring down a country which is alone in its supremacy in the world?

Simple: wait for them to do it.

The American military was, thirty-forty years ago, a bit of a joke, having struggled to cope with being run out of southeast Asia, and in the midst of restructuring and strong political/domestic pressure to reform. Yet, still, there was an obvious adversary at the time, one whose strength demanded strength on our part. There were still enough serious people to make sure that we were strong--military spending as a percentage of GDP was solid, the size of our forces was adequate to a two-theater scenario, with Naval power to support. In general, even though the political and philosophical will was weak, the actual state of the U.S. military was still solid enough that when Ronald Reagan took office, his tough rhetoric was credible (as opposed to Jimmy Carter's weak rhetoric . . .which was, also, credible).

Today, our military, while preeminent in the world, and surely manned by the greatest, most intelligent and capable personnel of any military in our history, is fast fading from fearsome to irrelevant. In 2003, the U.S. military was a credible enough threat that Iran opened up its borders to inspections, Libya revealed all of its NBC programs, and Russia was a quiet ally. But, handicapped by political considerations like ridiculously restrictive Rules of Engagement and a faulty, politically-motivated strategy, our fearsomeness became perceived as ineptness. Casualties climbed in Iraq, a general state of chaos befell the country, and people around the world began to wonder if we had the spine for the fight the insurgents wanted to bring to us.
Even now, when a better strategy has been implemented and the battle is surely turning in our favor, the perception clings to us tenaciously of an inept military. On top of that, aided by a corrupt media and the partisan Democrats in Congress, the mantra of an "overstretched, inadequate" military has become the perceptual reality of our situation.

So, in spite of obvious gains on the battlefield, the country now seems poised to elect as Commander-in-Chief a man who has promised as his central act to order a surrender and retreat from the field of battle.

And, to add insult to injury, one of the great successes of the war--the removal from the field of battle of combatants without uniform or heirarchy--has now been undone by a Supreme Court intent on extending the rights guaranteed to all Americans to the enemy in our custody. In other words, men and women removed from battle before they could blow themselves up trying to kill a couple Marines are now going to have free rein within the court system of our country.

Our obvious military superiority in the world is completely undermined by political and judicial activities in the rearguard. Our strength is irrelevant--imagine Muhammed Ali in his prime by Gerald Cotzea, but with a patch over one eye and one arm tied behind his back.

But, that's not the only stab it takes to kill Caesar. Economically, America is still the engine of the world economy. Unfortunately, this engine needs oil, and the world has decided to start gobbling up heaps of it to try to catch up to us. Which makes it more expensive. Which has had a notably crushing effect on the U.S. economy. Inflation is ticking upwards, the cost of a gallon of gas is starting to put the trucking industry--the lifeblood of commerce--in jeopardy, not to mention how difficult it is becoming for normal people to get to work or for anybody who travels to get a plane where they need to be.

All of that is causing unemployment to start lurching upward--to its highest level in several years. And as people lose their jobs, the plummeting housing market has chewed up all of their equity savings, which makes it nearly impossible to keep their heads above water. While still far short of a crisis, there seems to be universal recognition that the economy is hurting, and that it may continue to hurt for the foreseeable future.

And, yet, of the two candidates for President, one has admitted to "little knowledge or interest," and the other has proposed--of all things--a massive tax hike on businesses and investment which would drive the economy further into the hole.

And there is still the lurking threat that oil may still get vastly more expensive--some (though I don't know how credibly) experts are predicting that oil will more than double in the next couple years.

The thing is, America DOES have the resources to get off the world market and manage its own energy policy. Unfortunately, even the "pro-business" candidate for President has said he would not open up ANWAR to drilling, nobody seems to want to join Cuban interests sixty miles off of our own shores to get deep-sea reserves, and environmental interests have prevented any new development of other resources like the oil shale in the Colorado mountains. On top of that, this country hasn't built an oil refinery in 35 years, and an alternative that France has embraced--nuclear power--has not brought anything new online in 30 years.

The possibility--the very real possibility--exists that in about twelve months, we could be in the throes of a massive recession/depression brought on by our own energy ineptness coupled with running back home from Iraq with our tails between our legs after an ignoble surrender.

I don't know quite enough history to know what sort of conditions existed as the Roman Empire began to collapse; nor do I know about how the other great, historical superpowers began to fall apart. But I'm having a difficult time imagining that the conditions weren't very similar to where we stand right now.

This isn't just to howl at the moon. If I'm pessimistic, I also have a few thoughts on how we can pull back from the edge. I seem to remember that people were pretty gloomy around about 1980, and then Ronald Reagan was elected, the country rebounded, and we've enjoyed almost thirty years of that standing.

I think we can pull back from the edge, too. And I'll say more about just how to do that tomorrow.


Riddle Me This 

What do the following have in common?

:The inexplicable decision of SCOTUS to grant habeas corpus to unlawful combatants held at Gitmo and elsewhere

:The casualty numbers from Iraq for May

:Gasoline prices topping $4/gallon at the pump

:unemployment jumping last month to 5.5% (which, by the way, in historical terms, is still pretty darn low)

:Barack Obama has won the Democratic Party nomination and seems to have a slight advantage in the polls over John McCain

:the Republican-appointed head of the EPA decided a couple week back that the polar bear--all evidence to the contrary--is threatened by global warming

:John McCain has jumped on the bandwagon saying that ANWAR should be off limits and by embracing a "cap-and-trade" greenhouse emissions program

:the housing market and credit market crunches of the past year seem to show no signs of abating

Just ponder that list for 24 hours or so, and I'll tell you what I think it all means tomorrow.


Waiting For The Flat Spots 

Do you ski?

I have this theory about skiing--probably comes from me not being too good at skiing. It's like this: every once in a while, I would find myself on a run that was just a little over my head. But I don't really like just bailing out, so I would do my best, get going down the hill, KNOWING that somewhere, there's going to be a flat spot to help me out.

Lately, my life has been a lot like that.

Probably comes from not being too good at life.

I don't know, really, WHY things have been so crazy around here lately, but it does seem as if I haven't sat still in about two weeks.

Unfortunately, when you don't sit still, you don't blog.

SOO . . . what I'm trying to say is I think the worst of it is over and I'll get back to my regular postings, as soon as I can confirm that this actually IS a flat spot.

In the meantime, keep up with all the interesting things going on over at the Rocky Mountain Alliance member sites--see the blogroll to the right of here.


Quick Hits 

--McCain Seizes the Initiative

"What a welcome change it would be were Presidential candidates in our time to treat each other and the people they seek to lead with respect and courtesy as they discuss the great issues of the day, without the empty soundbites and media-filtered exchanges that dominate our elections. It is in the spirit of President Kennedy's and Senator Goldwater's agreement, in the spirit of the politics of change, and to do our country good, that I invite you to join me in participating in town hall meetings across the country to discuss the most important issues facing Americans."

This got precious little coverage on the evening news, but McCain has got to get on every Sunday program and extend the invitation and start to chide Obama "the eloquent" for his fear of an uncontrolled environment.

--You Are Known By The Company You Keep

If the inner circle is made up of an ingrate cynic, a racist, a suspended priest, and a convicted felon, does it make sense that the person in the center of the maelstrom is a middle-of-the-road uniter?

I think not. But you keep up that meme, there, Senator O.

--There's Some Courage and Leadership

Bill Ritter waited until Tuesday night--after Obama had reached the magic number--to endorse Obama for President.

Which is still better than Rep. Salazar, Sen. Salazar, and would-be Senator Udall, all of whom waited until Wednesday morning to endorse.

That's just the kind of foresight and political courage Coloradans deserve.

--Colorado Not Proving To Be Such Wonderful Hosts for Obama's Beatification

Instead of the 24 venues that were skedded to host delegations on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, delegates will boogie together in one big giant donkey-do likely inside the Colorado Convention Center.

Pardon me while I . . .

heh heh heh.


A Source Of Light: Stevie Burns 

Unfortunately, there are times when we only are able to see the brightness of the light around us once it is extinguished.

His girlfriend, Megan Voorhorse, 17, jumped from the 35- foot cliff. Kroonenberg followed her in.

Voorhorse climbed out, but Kroonenberg couldn't. She began struggling against the current.
The frigid temperatures were causing her energy to drop rapidly.

"Get down here!" Ingels yelled at Burns.

Burns jumped from the same 35-foot ledge after Kroonenberg.

"He knew he was going to get me out of there and I knew he was going to get me out of there," Kroonenberg said.

Burns handed her off to Ingels, who dragged her out of the hole.

But the current sucked Burns away from the exit point, behind the waterfall, and up against the smooth cliff wall.

His friends watched helplessly from 15 feet away as Burns struggled for nearly five minutes, then grew limp and sank into the icy churn.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."--John 15:13

No matter how stupid we may consider the decision to jump from 35-foot cliffs, or to go taking dips in the fast moving waters of the high country this time of year (and, let's face it--how many of us really have any business being alive given some of the decisions we've made before? surely not me), there can be no doubt that "Stevie" is a hero.

It is horribly sad for his family, and we reach out to them in prayer.

But we hope the word of Stevie's heroics go far and wide; and, in a perfect world, somebody who has heard his story will be inspired to such heroics of their own someday. Like Obi-Wan, in death perhaps he can be more powerful than he was in life, making others aspire to his example where they otherwise wouldn't have.


In the Meantime. . . 

Mark Udall has launched a new ad called "Worth"

Which is odd, since it's really not even as valuable as the cellulite/bytemap its printed on.

Seriously, the day Mark Udall credibly claims to "finally hunt down Osama bin Laden" is a strange day, indeed.

But, that's fine. If that's the arena he chooses to fight in, bring it on, Congressman. I suspect there is enough in the Congressional record to demonstrate the typical liberal's naivete about intelligence, the rules of engagement, and the threat we face to make this a good topic of te Schaffer campaign.

We'll just call this Udall's Little Round Top, for now. And then we'll go looking for our Joshua Chamberlain.

In the Meantime. . . 

Re: Colorado Republican Party Convention 

The state Republicans got together this weekend to make some important decisions. And--SURPRISE--Bob Schaffer is our candidate for Senate.

I know--not news.

What is news is how enthusiastic was the support he got from the room. How do I know? Not because I was there.

But because Ben, Steve, NT, and David told me so. Nice job, lads. Having been through a couple conventions, I know that for all the fun and action of important moments, there's a whole lot of other boring and mind-numbing times, so hat's off to the guys.


Legitimate Reform That Violates The PC Code 

In ways big and small, gender is playing more of a role in public education as schools explore separating the sexes in lunchrooms, classes or even entire schools.

Single-sex education has been a longtime province of private and parochial schools, but recent research and school choice are making it an attractive option for public schools despite protests from civil libertarians. [emphasis mine]

Why would they do this? What in the world would motivate schools to do such a change "despite protests from civil libertarians?

. . .a federal analysis in 2005 that examined more than 2,000 studies on single-sex classes. It revealed that a third of the studies reported a positive result for the students. The rest of the research showed mixed results or no difference for the children.

Oh. Since when did schools try to do things that showed promise, and actually had a research basis for that promise.

But, all sarcasm aside, this is very encouraging.

Boys and girls are different. Despite decades of indoctrination from "civil libertarians", there actually is no way around this fact. And it starts early--my 15 month old son is radically different than my girls, and we really haven't even had a chance to do things differently with him.

Given that they're different, wouldn't it be reasonable to teach them differently? You would think. That is, if academic achievement is your primary objective.

If social engineering is your goal, than you really would want to fight this sort of "innovation."

And do you know what the best part of this "innovation" is? Except for a marginal increase in staffing, IT SHOULDN'T COST A SCHOOL--or a taxpayer--A DIME.

That's the type of reform we like.

Odd, Stray Wisdom from Hollywood 

Every once in a while . . .

from Evan, Almighty

Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?

There's a political lesson in here somewhere for Republicans, but I'll leave it at just this for tonight.

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