Sunday, December 31, 2006

Innovation in a vaccuum

Americans have become increasingly comfortable with the idea of exporting our manufacturing jobs because, as the argument goes, the R&D side of manufacturing is staying here in the US. And, the economists tell us, R&D is where "the real money" is made, and the "well paying jobs" are.

The NYT, in a surprisingly useful article, asks the question, "can we still be the hotbed of innovation when our production capacity is gone?" As they say, it is a question infrequently asked, which is unfortunate, since we're staking our economic future on it.
Saturday, December 30, 2006

I'm speechless

According to this site, Duncan Hunter is the "Co Chair, Congressional Task Force on Bowhunting"

This is just getting too good to be true. What's next? Is he also the driving force behind the "Congressional Task Force on Increasing Cheesburger Size", the "CTF on Increasing Access to Firearms, Bourbon and Steak," and the "CTF for bringing Championships to the Mets and Jets"?

John Conyers is doing his share

The incoming House Democrat from MI, slated to become the new chair of the House Judiciary Committee, is just doing his part to help clean up the "culture of corruption" in Washington:

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) has "accepted responsibility" for possibly violating House rules by requiring his official staff to perform campaign-related work, according to a statement quietly released by the House ethics committee late Friday evening.

Seriously, the only thing worse than voters who pulled the lever for Democrats thinking they could "clean up Washington" are the members of the press who know how dirty these guys (Jefferson / Hillary / Reid / Dorgan / Kennedy / Dodd / Menendez / Hastings and now Conyers) are and only report on Republican "corruption."

Mary Jo Kopechne is still unavailable for comment.

Some more ideas on "good government"

Here is how the Dems would confront the "culture of corruption," especially if a Clinton returns to the White House:

The scandal involved a scheme by Clinton administration officials to sell seats on taxpayer-funded trade missions in exchange for campaign contributions to the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign. When Judicial Watch began investigating the scandal, Clinton administration officials deliberately concealed and destroyed records regarding the trade missions to avoid releasing them to Judicial Watch. In fact, Ms. Nolanda Hill, a business partner and confidante of then-Clinton Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, testified at a dramatic court hearing during the litigation that the Clinton White House “instructed” Brown "to delay the [Judicial Watch] case by withholding the production of documents prior to the 1996 elections, and to devise a way not to comply with the court’s orders."

Ms. Hill also testified that Brown, who was killed in a plane crash during a trade mission to Bosnia, admitted to her that Hillary Clinton conceived of the scheme to sell trade mission seats. Specifically, the court heard testimony on how Brown allegedly complained about being “Hillary’s [expletive] tour guide.”

Clinton administration misconduct was so egregious that the Commerce Department took the unprecedented step of asking that a judgment be entered against itself in order to end the lawsuit prematurely and stop further revelations. The court denied the Commerce Department’s request, ordered it to conduct a new search for trade mission records and authorized additional discovery into the illegal concealment and destruction of government records.

I guess when Ms. Hill's "confidante" died on one of Billary's fund raising trips, that was pretty much the last straw. No more Mrs. Nice Gal.

We hardly knew ye...

Apparently Chuck Hagel's presidential campaign is over before it started. While I doubt I could have been persuaded to vote him b/c of his mercurial behavior, he would have added something unique among the current crop of GOP hopefuls: a multi-lateralist, non-interventionist foreign policy voice.

In other news, he's apparently not going to run for reelection to the Senate, which is too bad. That will put another Senate seat in play for the Dems.

NBC News joins re-ups with the Idiots Parade

NewsBusters highlighted some typical MSM lunacy here. There's not really too much to add, they did the work for me.
Friday, December 29, 2006

A couple of new Hunter links

Weed through the Kucinich and Obama stuff in the 12/17/06 episode of "Road to the White House", and there's a Duncan Hunter speech in there (starts around the 25:00 mark).

Also, Chuck Yeager (!) endorsed Rep. Hunter for President.
Thursday, December 28, 2006

New addition to the blogroll

For anyone with an interest in Bourbon, check out the "Kentucky Straight Bourbon" link in the blogroll at the right.

The blogger is a refreshingly honest gentleman who doles out a lot of helpful advice. How he samples a bourbon. What he looks for in a good bourbon. How bourbon is relatively new to him, and how his tastes have changed as he's become a more experienced bourbon drinker. Then there's his "bar." He has reviews of a slew of different labels, with interesting insights into what makes each good or bad.

This site appeals to the experienced bourbon drinker, the novice, and the non-bourbon drinker with an interest in learning about bourbon.

At the starting gate

There's still plenty of time to flip affiliation, but as of now, which candidate would you support for President in '08? Give your top 3.

Fredo: Mitt (1) / Hunter (2) / Brownback (3)

Here's my guesses for the other contributors. Let me know how I do:

SHK: Mitt / Hagel / Rudy

DC: Rudy / McCain / Mitt

MB: Mitt / Hunter / McCain

This chicken tastes so...familiar

In this article, we discover the FDA is approving cloned animals for our food supply. Two questions:

1) If the animals have identifical genes, won't that make our food supply more vulnerable to disease and death?

2) Is this the Bush Administration's FDA?
Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas

While Fredo was too busy eating lasagna, cappicola, mozzarella and prosciutto with his family to post yesterday, I hope that all of you enjoyed a Merry Christmas. May our Lord, true God and true man, bless you and yours in the coming year.

Rep. Very, Very Goode

You need to use a Ted Knight inflection to say it right.

Anyway, Rep. Virgil Goode spoke like an American when he denounced the use of a Koran to swear in a new U.S. Congressman from Minnesota who is Muslim. Here's what he had to say:

"The Muslim representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Quran.

We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country.

I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped."

CNN seems to be wondering why Rep. Goode has not yet apologized. Silly, silly CNN.

BTW, if you'd like to congratulate Rep. Goode for his pro-America anti-PC stand, here's his contact info. E-mail is unavailable unless you live in his district.

Phone: (202)225-4711
Fax: (202)225-5681
Saturday, December 23, 2006

'Round the campfire liturgical music

It really, really annoys me. Distracts me from prayer most everytime I go to mass, since it has become so ubiquitous. I just came across a great essay on the topic by Thomas McFaul. Here's my favorite part:

Try to imagine what it would be like if the rest of the Church's art were dumbed-down to this degree. Paint-on-velvet say, replacing the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Or an upturned bathtub with a plastic Virgin, spray painted blue, replacing the Bernini's. Would the clergy and faithful sit by silently and endure such an insult? Is music a less important art form in the eyes of the modern church? It would seem so.
Friday, December 22, 2006

Hunter's 2nd Ad

Right Wing News has it here.
Thursday, December 21, 2006

So much for the argument that...

illegal immigrants do jobs Americans won't do.

A Revealing Exchange

For those of you interested in the AMSOL kerfuffle, it's worth checking out the blog Fumare. It frustrates me that they've taken the wrong side in the debate, b/c if it weren't for that, they seem like they'd be great guys. For one, they have a love of smoking. Two, they're extremely well versed in Catholic issues and bring a lot of interesting posts to bear on the state of the Church. Three, they're just plain funny, even when they're being insulting. And last but not least, they care about AMSOL (though maybe not as much as they care about a few of the profs they're idolizing above the school).

Probably the only problem for them is that they're right so often, they have a hard time seeing when they're wrong. In reviewing a post on the blog (about Tom Monaghan throwing his support behind Sam Brownback for President), one of the main Fumare posters, A.M., went on a bit of a rip against wealthy Catholics (sparked by his anger at T.M. and those who support him). The discussion that followed was very interesting: the poster who supported Monaghan (30-06) said he'd continue to be a booster of AMSOL regardless of how the Florida-move controversy is resolved. No such offer was forthcoming from the anti-administration set.

The entire post and comments on Fumare can be viewed here.

Below is a pared down version of what I thought were the more interesting parts of the conversation:

Run, Sam, Run!

TM to assist Sen. Brownback for a presidential run. All I can say is, "Run, Sam, Run!"

[What follows is from]

Monaghan's most important role would be delivering that message to wealthy, like-minded potential campaign donors. Most analysts say the lack of a fundraising network confines Brownback to second-tier status in a crowded GOP field. Brownback is counting on Monaghan to change that."I hope he'll help us in a number of ways, with people he knows around the country," Brownback said.A key will be Legatus, a lay group for conservative Catholic CEOsthat Monaghan founded. The organization has more than 5,000 members...."That's the blue-chip group," said William Donohue, the president ofthe Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a conservative group on whose board of advisers Monaghan sits. "In Legatus, he's got thousands of members who are all Catholics, all well-to-do. This is the cream of the Catholic community. And they all have friends. You talk about where to go for fundraising, there's a list there that's been around for a number of
[End of cite from News-Press article]

AM's Observations……2.) Legatus = "the cream of the Catholic community?" Way to go Bill…

…Note to Bill Donohue: The "cream of the Catholic community" are the moms that stay at home and raise their children, the grandmothers that attend daily Mass, the men (white and blue collar) who say the rosary with their children in the evenings--handing on their faith, the humble middle-aged woman who works at a crisis-pregnancy center and spends her day talking a teenager out of an abortion, the faithful priest who wakes in the middle of the night to anoint a dying soul, and the faithful sister who washes the floor of her convent and prays for peace…




AM writes: "The "cream of the Catholic community" are the moms that stay at home and raise their children, the grandmothers that attend daily Mass, the men (white and blue collar) who say the rosary with their children in the evenings"

No doubt. So true. Just like the wives I've met in the AMSOL community, many with large families. And the bright courageous lads and ladies who left other opportunities on the table to go to a place like AMSOL, b/c they believed in its mission. These are the same folks who stand to have the value of their degrees crushed, were the ABA to revoke AMSOL's accreditation. And who, may I ask, specifically requested the ABA to begin their fact finding mission--a mission that may end in damaging the the most valuable asset (their degree) that many of these AMSOL grads have? I know that mocking financial resources is the order of the day, but folks: these are your own peers, not mine. You might try acting like you care.

.30-06 12.18.06 - 8:41 pm #


.30-06 Point taken, but please don't make the mistake of thinking that we don't care, just because we're motivated to fight a tyrant. What you see on these pages is the public face of the opposition - you see argument, rhetoric and logic (and yes, some polemic). You do not see the compassion that truly does underly all this (at least for many of us). It breaks my heart to see my alma mater torn asunder like this.If I were the weeping kind, I would weep for the current students. I feel their plight, truly. And for alumni as well. I am one of them, currently in a job I'd like out of, and wondering if my AMSOL degree will help me or hurt me in my upcoming job
search. Nonetheless, we cannot be silent. What you're suggesting is that we stop
calling the police about our abusive patriarch for fear of what they may do to
our "happy home".Don't blame the victims, 06. Or those who would fight back to
see the abuse stopped altogether.

AMSOL_Pioneer 12.18.06 - 9:06 pm #


Well, in my judgment, the decision of what state to place a law school in is
a long way from the decision of whether to beat one's spouse. I'm not sure that
analogy really stands up. I think the best argument for those who oppose the
move to FL has been that the ABA might strip the law school of its
accreditation, injuring its long-term prospects and the livelihood of its
alumni. But for the same people who have been offering this argument to then
turn around and REQUEST the ABA inquiry is, well, hard for me to understand. I
guess its kind of like the folks who sneak knives onto airplanes to show that
our security is lax. The only difference is that the TSA is a government
agency--it can show little competency and still keep getting funded. The law
school has real competition and public embarassment has real consequences.

12.19.06 - 12:19 am #


.30-60,I'd reiterate what I said to Anonymous to you:
I believe the ABA inquiry is about CURRENT problems with the
governance/administration of the law school. The ABA requires faculty
involvement in the governance of a law school; for the last year now, faculty
concerns have been ignored. At any other law school in the country, even a whiff
of a possibility that the majority of a faculty had no confidence in their dean
would have lead to the dean's resignation... but not at AMSOL. It is the duty of
the faculty to their students to report current violations of ABA standards,
especially those violations that the faculty believe are detrimental to the
school's well-being and detrimental to the legal education of current students.
As Pholgizo said, better some fact-finding by the ABA now, instead of a
dissolution of the law school later.

Thales, Man of the Year 12.19.06 - 5:41 am#



Whether the ABA investigation is a result of the move, or rather a result of the N.C. manifesto and "current governance" does not seem to be the point: Dobranski's email indicates the ABA is coming at the request of some faculty members, and that assertion has been denied by no one (especially the ones who most likely did it) in the faculty. Sure, the Dean could be lying, but not even the most anti-Dobranski elements here seem to believe that. The risk of some negative action being taken by the ABA against the law school has been brought on by faculty action.

I understand that in their minds--and probably yours--their action is justified. More than that, perhaps an ABA investigation was inevitable. Don't know. But either way, the fact remains that they requested the ABA to take an action that could damage alums and the institution.

I guess my only point is that you folks have been slamming the Dean and T.M. for considering something that many here honestly believe would damage the Law School (move to FL). How about a little consistency when the faculty do something that could also cause some serious damage to AMSOL (request ABA presence and interference)?

I have no experience with the ABA, but if they're like the other oversight agencies I've dealt with, you never know what will happen once they get inside your four walls (how long they'll stay, whether the subject of their investigation will change, what their ultimate action will be). It was a tremendously risky move to make.

.30-06 | Homepage | 12.19.06 - 8:55 am | #


.30-60,AMSOL is a law school... as such it is involved with the ABA,
whether we like it or not. AMSOL is reliant on the ABA for its accreditation and
the ABA has oversight of the goings-on at the law school, whether we like it or
not. In order to gain ABA approval and accreditation, AMSOL represented to the
ABA financial stability, a good library, good students, good faculty, etc. If
there are fundamental problems in these areas, it would be the height of
foolishness to try to sweep them under the carpet, in the hope that the ABA
doesn't notice. Full accreditation doesn't mean that the ABA will never look at
AMSOL again. The ABA will look at AMSOL some time in the future (and they will
definitely look at AMSOL if it decides to move to Florida - with a possible
revocation of accreditation).So, ABA inquiry and interference is inevitable.
Should the ABA look into problems now, or when AMSOL reaches the
point-of-no-return and finds itself in Florida with a substantial change in
faculty?It is not an ABA inquiry that will damage the school (remember, in order
to achieve accreditation, the ABA had to make many periodic visits and inquiries
to the school). If damage comes from the ABA inquiry, it will be the result of
fundamental problems found by the ABA during the inquiry.

Thales, Man of the Year
12.19.06 - 9:41 am #


Thales,I don't disagree with some of what you're
saying here. In fact, it's similar but a little stronger than what I

"perhaps an ABA investigation was inevitable." -me

"ABA inquiry and interference is inevitable" -you

But that doesn't address the issue of timing (and while I offered the possibility, it's probably too early to say such an investigation is inevitable). Why bring the scrutiny down on yourself? It may come anyway, but there's too much to lose to court trouble.As you say, ABA oversight is a fact of life. But so is, for example, IRS oversight. Let's consider that example--I may be the most ethical guy in the world, but that doesn't mean that an IRS auditor, armed with 10,000 pages of IRC rules and regs, couldn't gin up a way to hit me with back taxes, interest, a penalty, etc. Now it may be my goal to be more in compliance with IRS rules and regs, but wouldn't it be prudent to do my best to handle that situation on my own, without inviting official sanction?

I have no doubt that the ABA has many folks in it who were anti-AMSOL from the get go, since the industry is laden with liberal secularists. Why put yourselves in their crosshairs one year, one month, or one week before you have to? And what if the BOG elects not to move? There may have been no ABA investigation (as opposed to normal ongoing oversight) at all if not for the request by the faculty.

.30-06 Homepage 12.19.06 - 10:01 am #


.30-60,Yes, it would be more prudent to handle things on your own, without
inviting official sanction. I think the position of the faculty, however, is
that they've tried to handle things on their own; they've brought concerns to
the Dean and they've brought these concerns and their concerns about the Dean
himself to the BoG... with no response.And why the ABA now and not later? I
think because the faculty think that a decision in favor of Florida is
inevitable and imminent. Up until last December BoG meeting, the Dean was saying
that the BoG might decide at the December meeting; now it sounds like the
decision will happen at the next BoG meeting in March. So the decision is
imminent. And from all evidence so far, (eg, the lack of response to the
faculty/alumni/student concerns about Florida; the Reed-White feasibility
study), it appears that the BoG will be deciding in favor of Florida. So the
faculty decided to act.

Thales, Man of the Year 12.19.06 - 10:25 am #


Thales,You write,"And why the ABA now and not later? I think because the
faculty think that a decision in favor of Florida is inevitable and

Fair enough. Unlike Newbie whom I replied to above, you're shooting
straight by writing that the move to Florida is the primary motivation for
notifying the ABA. Whether it was a justifiable action to take, in light of the
possible consequences to AMSOL staff, students and alumni, is a judgment call.
Since we've both let our judgments be known, I guess there's no sense rehashing

.30-06 Homepage 12.19.06 - 1:45 pm #


lawdog,"I am encouraged by the
number of our fellows who put aside self-interest to do what is right. Maybe you
should take notes." ...

...while you are right in asserting
that a willingness to see one's own degree devalued for "justice" to prevail is,
in a sense, selflessness, the related consequence is that the value of other
people's degrees, who may or may not agree with your struggle, is also

.30-06 Homepage 12.19.06 - 1:54 pm #


30-.06,..."If TM steps down, or bows out.... are you committed enough to help support
AMSoL in AA, or is the concept of AMSoL just attractive to you matter
what or where its future or demise may lay? To think that the struggle here is
soley a result of, or is brought on by a potential move to Florida is an insult
to the Founding Faculty, the dedicated staff, and the deserving alums who have
watched (for more than just the time this blog or NC votes have existed) the
actions of TM et al. They have had their eyes open for some time...... give them
some credit.

newbie 12.19.06 - 2:54 pm #


Newbie,You ask: "If TM steps
down, or bows out.... are you committed enough to help support AMSoL in AA, or
is the concept of AMSoL just attractive to you matter what or where its
future or demise may lay?"The answer to that question is yes. I would continue
to support AMSOL in MI or FL
. There's just no other school doing what AMSOL is
doing. I don't think my financial contribution (even if combined with 1,000 of
my closest friends) would equal T.M.'s monetary commitment, but I'd still be on
board either way.

.30-06 Homepage 12.19.06 - 4:41 pm

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

First '08 commercial I've seen

This pithy 25 second spot from Duncan Hunter neatly ties together fair trade with national security. I'm really starting to like this guy. Hope he has some San Diegans with deep pockets behind him.
Monday, December 18, 2006

Selfish portion of AMSOL faculty "out" themselves

For those of you who haven't been paying close attention from home, and want a little more background, I've written on this topic a few times: here, here and here.

Ave Maria School of Law was founded about 6 years ago due to the generosity of Tom Monaghan, former Domino's Pizza CEO and grade-A Catholic philanthropist. Through his foundation, Tom's committed upwards of $1B to Catholic causes, and education has been at the top of his list: Ave Maria College in Yspilanti, MI (which later moved to Florida and is now Ave Maria University), and the Ave Maria School of Law (AMSOL) which is now considering a move to Florida to be co-located with AMU.

The Law School's mission is unique: to integrate the rich history of Catholic teaching on natural law into the modern legal curriculum, and ground its students in the timeless truths of the Church, as well as the ins-and-outs of a legal career. I once considered attending AMSOL, but I doubt I'd have been able to stomach being around the turncoat portion of the faculty and alums who are trying (in vain) to destroy the school's promise.

[Just as an aside, one of these turncoat professors has a narcissistic pseudo-history of the Law School, in which he traces the school's origin to his (and some of his colleagues) dispute w/ the Univ. of Detroit-Mercy. Safranek, in detailing the conflict w/ UDM, alludes to just how bleak his job prospects at UDM were: "the law school began discussing how to terminate the Catholic faculty who had protested the University’s actions." Presumably, the same situation applied to Murphy, Falvey, and Myers, who are listed as fellow "protesters" in Safranek's article.

What an odd place to start a history of AMSOL, with Safranek about to be fired. Any semi-normal history of the school would rightly have started with the necessary ingredient that enabled the institution to exist: Monaghan's wealth, and his spiritual journey that led him to make that wealth available to others. Such a history would have moved on from there to discuss Tom, sitting in a board room, listening to a proposal by a bunch of down on their luck law professors, and deciding to turn their lemons into lemonade.

I have to admit, Safranek's logic is a little easier on my ego. I get to be a founder, too. After all, I've had the idea for a Catholic School of Journalism for years. It would ground its students in objective truth and shatter the AP/Reuters secular monopoly on wire services. I haven't met my committed Catholic billionaire donor yet, but since he'll be an afterthought, and someone I can vilify a few years after I get my hands on his money, I guess I'm a "founder" too.]

Well, this past week, it came out that the aggrieved faculty, who've incited all degrees of discontent over the potential Florida move, have taken the additional step of outlining their grievances to the ABA. They did so knowing full well that this would lead to an investigation of the school. The worst case scenario for AMSOL would be that the ABA revokes their full accreditation, making it harder to attract students, staff, and damaging the value of an AMSOL degree.

Basically, the faculty has taken the step of throwing overboard the livelihood of the lawyers they taught (as well as those lawyers' families) in order to get their way. They don't want to move, and No Man is going to stand in their way. Either they'll win, or they'll cause as much collateral damage as they can on the way out.

Who can get these dissidents to cease and desist for the good of the mission? Not their chaplain, Father Orsi, who has apparently been opposing the insurgents' divisiveness (why would an orthodox Catholic Law Professor feel the need to listen to a Priest?). Not their boss, the Dean, whose calm demeanor could have been used as an example to handle this dispute with class, not divisive rancor. Not the founder, whose generosity made the institution possible. Not the Board, who actually has the responsibility for making these types of decisions (after all, why have obedience to actual authority when one can stand on conscience alone?).

Yep, this past week, after years of impugning Mr. Monaghan, Dean Dobranski, and anyone who disagrees with them as "Un-Catholic", the dissident faculty members outed themselves. They're nothing but a bunch of self-serving opportunists who took advantage of Tom Monaghan when they were down on their luck, and UDM was about to cut them loose. And now they spit in his face, and the faces of the very students they taught, in order to serve their own convenience. When the school moves (which I have to imagine they will for reasons I laid out in the earlier articles), and the insurgent members of the faculty decide to resign rather than go with the school, all that will be left to say is "good riddance."

The Top of the Slippery Slope

Now that the election is over and the Democrats won big, this news about a wedge issue comes out. Healthy new-born babies may have been killed in Ukraine to feed a flourishing international trade in stem cells. Those conservatives who don't call themselves social conservatives should pay attention. Who thinks it's ok for babies to be killed in the name of science?


Some coverage of Romney in Newsweek.. Not a particularly insightful piece offering any new information, but first time I've seen him covered in Newsweek.
Friday, December 15, 2006

Are you kidding me???

This must be the definition of irony!

Fair Trade Hunter

John Hawkins of Right Wing News conducted an extremely interesting interview with Duncan Hunter here.

While the interview covered a lot of ground, his dicussion of trade policy is worthy of note. Especially since this will likely be a point of differentiation between him and the rest of the GOP field.

While even the armchair economist (like myself) is aware that free trade leads to the most efficient use of capital, the political question that confronts America at this point in time is how America should respond to nations that trade with us but do not maintain a level playing field. Most GOP politicians just parrot the party line that "free trade is better", but they rarely address the fact that free trade, as far as our government is concerned, is generally a one way street: we open our markets to foreign nations while our partners enact policies designed to create a trade surplus with the US. The tilted playing field is being created by foreign governments, and cannot merely be resolved by companies increasing efficiency or improving their products. The government needs to act and has not.

The net result is that there are areas of the country, especially the rust belt, where the loss of manufacturing jobs has devastated the economy. This can get lost in national GDP statistics, but it has a real impact in terms of people's lives and, therefore, in the nature of our political discourse. Take last month's Senate vote in OH. Mike DeWine is looking for a job right now, and that has as much to do with Sherrod Brown skillfully using the trade issue as with Iraq. While the majority of folks in flyover country are conservative in temperment (and, IMHO, lean-GOP voters), many people are simply tired of watching a continued deterioration of the job and wage situation for a large number of their neighbors. Or worse yet, for themselves. As a result, Republicans made no headway against Demcoratic incumbents in MI, and GOP seats were lost in large numbers in the industrial belt from IN (Chocola, Hostetler, Sodrel) to OH (Padget, DeWine, Blackwell) to PA (Santorum). Restoring the confidence of rust-belt working class Americans (who are socially conservative but have seen their states come on hard times) in the GOP will be essential for the future succeess of national Republican candidates.

Here's what Duncan Hunter had to say on the topic:

Duncan Hunter: Well, first, ...I'm a supporter of supply side economics and I think the general proposition that if you leave a few bucks in the pockets of American businesses rather than take it for taxes, ...(then) the tax base is actually increased and revenue is enhanced. I believe that's a valid proposition and I support that and that's been reflected in my voting record for tax cuts. So I think that's the way you supply - you increase the revenues into the federal government and you do that by encouraging growth.

Now there's one thing that I think is very, very important right now, where I diverge, I think, some from the Club For Growth...I'm a Ronald Reagan trader...let me quote you Ronald Reagan on trade. He said, "To make the international trading system work all must abide by the rules." He further said, "When governments assist their exporters in ways that violate international laws, then the playing field is no longer level and there's no longer free trade."

Right now...when we compete with China, China starts with 74 points on the scoreboard before the opening kick-off. They get a 17% their exporters; they're exporting to the US. Basically they're allowed to operate tax-free. Then they put in place a 17% penalty on our importers. That creates a 34% disparity in the world's competition. Then they de-value their currency by 40%, through currency manipulation. So they start with 74 points on the scoreboard before the opening kick-off.

That disparity is so great that you now have lots of financial advisers who are walking into the boardrooms of companies throughout America telling their people that even if they have a more efficient labor and production rate than the Chinese in their particular industry, that it makes sense from a tax and tariff standpoint to move their jobs from the US to China. So we have actually...acquiesced to a system that doesn't allow the most efficient trader to win. It allows the subsidized trader to win and the effect of that is that you have businesses which pay high wages throughout this country -- not based on labor rates but based on the way government has set the rules and set the competition in this arena called trade, that are contemplating moving to China.

...Let me give you an example. I was in South Carolina. Nucor Steel in Charleston has 800 workers. They produce as much steel as... a Chinese plant which has 17,000 workers. They beat the Chinese 20 to 1 for labor efficiency and they pay their people an average of $75,000 a year. Labor cost is not a major issue with them because they're so highly efficient and they are so leveraged with technology and yet, they see now China which is expanding its steel production this year by 130 million tons which is more than the total steel production of the US.

That's not fair; that's cheating and that causes aberrations in the trade system and it moves massive amounts of income of what otherwise would be American revenues off-shore. So I don't think you're going to be able to get the US budget deficit under control unless we have a fair trading system. So I believe very strongly in the Reagan position on trade when he said what he said to make the international trading system work, all must abide by the rules. They're not abiding by the rules and it doesn't make a lot of sense to play in a league in which all the other teams have 74 points on the scoreboard before the game begins. If they're really that efficient and really that good and they really want the rules of Adam Smith to work, then they shouldn't need the 74 points before the game starts.

That has to be a part of any attempt to balance the federal budget - and one more point, we in government do lots of things that individuals should do for themselves. I'm a conservative; I believe that the government that governs the least governs the best. There is one area where only the government can make a difference and can control the situation and that's in international trading arenas. Only the government can sign a trade deal; individuals can't sign a trade deal. So, if China insists on a trade deal that gives them 74 points on the scoreboard before the opening kick-off, the workers and management at Nucor Steel can't change that. They have to live within the rules that their government has created so that's one obligation of government which not only should be discharged by government but government is the only entity which can discharge it. So that's a difference that I have with some of my colleagues.

Tired of Your Nine-To-Five Job? Become a Professional Victim

I always say you can learn do anything by reading about it and practicing. Finally there's a guide to making yourself a victim.

Donate to the DNC...They Need More Tin Foil Hats

Unbelievable. Joy Behar of The View speculates that Tim Johnson's stroke is a Republican conspiracy. And while the liberal media's coverage of the health of Mr. Johnson is at the least in poor taste, Bob Franken of CNN says that Democrats are more sincere in their expressions of concern than Repbulicans (Newsbusters). Let's all pray for Tim Johnson and his family, and talk about the politics of the situation at a more appropriate time.
Thursday, December 14, 2006


Article by Novak suggesting "inside" support for McCain may be lining up.


Romney's position on illegals is nice and clear.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006

War on Terror

While I'm certainly not a comprehensive (or even focused) expert on this issue, this Air Force General makes a point that I figure is the most realistic assessment of the long-term situation.

New Application for the Double Standard

Will the media ever understand that they operate under a double standard? Violence in video games is fine as long as it's not violence against the anti-Christ in a Christian themed game. Read this. The bile rises from within each time I'm subjected to the MSM's bias. It's really getting ridiculous.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Interesting Brownback News

Sam Brownback, every SoCons favorite potential President--until he went soft on the illegal immigration issue--may be seeking redemption with the America First crowd (and just as a side note, does any American believe our government should serve America Second? Or Third? Or Thirty-eighth?). A recent piece in the The New Republic by Noam Scheiber offered this tantalizing tidbit:

Then there is the immigration issue, which is either a colossal political miscalculation or the policy equivalent of Catholic self-flagellation. In 2005, Brownback signed on as a co-sponsor to the relatively moderate Kennedy-McCain bill. The reaction from rank-and-file Republicans has not been kind. Steve Scheffler, the head of a conservative evangelical group in Iowa, told me, "The biggest thing [Brownback would] have to address is why did he vote for that horrendous bill?" Kensinger says Brownback's answer is simple: "The Bible says you will be judged by how you treat the widow, the orphan, the foreign among you. That's the end of it." He believes the key is how Brownback manages his position--not the position itself. But Chuck Hurley, a Brownback law school classmate who runs the influential Iowa Family Policy Center, has hinted a shift could be in the works. "I understand he's been doing some consulting about that issue," Hurley told me conspiratorially, citing an upcoming meeting with a local anti-immigration politician.

If Sen. Brownback gets back on the right side of Sens. Kyl & Cornyn on the illegal immigration issue, he would immediately grab the mantle of the best conservative option, IMHO. If he continues to support guest-worker-amnesty, not so much.
Monday, December 11, 2006

Thank you, America

Thanks so much for putting our public security in the hands of Democrats. Speaker-elect Pelosi went out of her way to ignore normal protocol, and passed over the ranking member on the Dem side when she hand-picked her new chair of the House Intelligence Committee. And what bright, shining star had grabbed the Speaker's attention, so that she was willing to pass over Rep. Harman? Rep. Silvestre Reyes of TX.

Well, he's sure hit the ground running.

Is al Qaeda a Sunni organization, or Shi'ite?

The question proved nettlesome for Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, incoming Democratic chairman of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

"Predominantly -- probably Shi'ite," he said in a recent interview with Congressional Quarterly, a periodical that covers political and legislative issues in Congress.

Unfortunately for Reyes, the al Qaeda network led by Osama bin Laden is comprehensively Sunni and subscribes to a form of Sunni Islam known for not tolerating theological deviation.

Reyes' problems in the interview didn't end with al Qaeda.

Asked to describe the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Congressional Quarterly said Reyes responded: "Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah," and then said, "Why do you ask me these questions at five o'clock?"

Why social issues are not merely "private matters"

Glenn Sacks has today's installment on the topic here:

The recent announcement from the National Center for Health Statistics that the out-of-wedlock birth rate is at an all-time high is bad news for America’s children. It would be easier to understand, perhaps, if it were naive teenage mothers who were creating this trend. However, according to the new NCHS study, the trend--which is creating 1.5 million babies a year--is being driven by adult women, many of whom are in their 30s and 40s and are choosing single motherhood. They should know better.

The rates of the four major youth pathologies--teen pregnancy, teen drug abuse, school dropouts and juvenile crime--are tightly correlated with fatherlessness, often more so than with any other socioeconomic factor, including income and race. The research is clear that children need fathers, not simply as breadwinners, but also for the valuable parenting--and fathering--they provide.

When a particular segment of society is becoming uneducated, with a greater propensity towards criminal behavior, and as a result, is sucking resources out of the community instead of contributing, it's a political issue.
Thursday, December 07, 2006

On hiatus

Work has been getting busy. Sorry for the lack of posts. The next few months are going to be really hectic for me, so posts will be on the less-occassional side. I hope to weigh in when I get the chance.

Unfortunately for me, not everyone has a tenured job where 50% of the work day can be spent ripping the boss. You know, the "Catholic" thing to do.
Monday, December 04, 2006

How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?

Bolton is stepping down as U.N. Ambassador without ever getting Congress to vote on his confirmation. Maybe McCain and the other "Republican" members of the Gang of 14 knew they were going down. Let's see if the remaining R's use the filibuster on nominations as the Dems did. And if they do, let's see if the D side of the Gang of 14 still opposes the nuclear option.
Thursday, November 23, 2006

Brit and the Boys Discuss Romney '08

Via RealClearPolitics
While they don't really break new ground, I was startled to see Fred and Mort basically saying his chances were as good anyone else's. They chalk up McCain's current lead to name recognition and the perception that he's "next in line." Fred points out that the grassroots haven't been won over by McCain and there's a real opening there, and there seemed to be unanimous sentiment that Romney's more likely than anyone else to capitalize on the opening.
Monday, November 20, 2006


Looks like Gingrich is "running" in '08.


Even though Rudy leads in early polls, this is why he won't end up winning Republican primary. Race will likely come down to McCain vs. Romney.
Friday, November 17, 2006

Liberals are more generous than conservatives... long as they're spending someone else's money. Here's the proof (hat tip:

Some pertinent quotes from the article:

Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks is about to become the darling of the religious right in America -- and it's making him nervous.

The child of academics, raised in a liberal household and educated in the liberal arts, Brooks has written a book that concludes religious conservatives donate far more money than secular liberals to all sorts of charitable activities, irrespective of income.

In the book, he cites extensive data analysis to demonstrate that values advocated by conservatives -- from church attendance and two-parent families to the Protestant work ethic and a distaste for government-funded social services -- make conservatives more generous than liberals...

When it comes to helping the needy, Brooks writes: "For too long, liberals have been claiming they are the most virtuous members of American society. Although they usually give less to charity, they have nevertheless lambasted conservatives for their callousness in the face of social injustice."


As we discussed in much earlier posts, I get discouraged when I see politicians seem to choose party over principles. This article on makes the same point we discussed in detail a while ago: "Many GOP lawmakers feel the party strayed from its conservative roots and that their leaders fostered a culture in which retaining power seemed more important than sticking with principles."

China Rising

I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but I continue to assert that China, not N.Korea, Iran or Syria, is the greatest long term threat to the U.S. Take a look at this article.
Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dems 1, Pelosi 0

Well, looks like Pelosi already lost her first battle: Hoyer over Murtha. Perhaps freshman Dems will be willing to stand up to her.

So, Karl, what cost us the election?

As I mentioned earlier, Karl Rove is apparently waging a whisper campaign, blaming House Republicans' tough stance against illegal immigration for the GOP defeat in the midterms. Pat Buchanan puts the lie to that theory:

According to NumbersUSA, while Republicans lost 11.5 percent of their House seats, or one in nine, the Immigration Caucus of Tom Tancredo, the House hawks, lost 6.7 percent of its complement, only one in 16. Among Republicans given an "F" by immigration hawks, however, fully 25 percent lost their re-election bids, a bloodbath among the open-borders-and-amnesty-now crowd...

The neocons...point to the fall-off in the Hispanic vote for the GOP, from 38 percent in 2002 to 30 percent in 2006, and attribute the drop-off to calls for a border fence. Yet far more serious was the fall-off among white voters, whose support, as Steve Sailer of points out, fell from 58 percent in 2002 to 51 percent.

The relevant truth: The GOP vote fell 7 or 8 percent among all voters. But the seven-point plunge among white voters is more ominous than the eight-point drop among Hispanics. Why?

Because the white vote in America, 80 percent of the electorate, is 13 times as large as the Hispanic vote, which accounts for only 6 percent of all voters. It is the defection of its white vote that is killing the GOP.

The Reagan Democrats are going home.

If Bush and Rove think they can win them back with amnesty and a guest-worker program that out-sources immigration policy to K Street, they will end up doing for the national party what Gov. George Pataki did for it in New York.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Trent Lott - Vote-Counting GOP Whip

Great. As if it couldn't get worse, Trent Lott has been elected to the no. 2 minority spot in the Senate. He's purported to be racially insensitive and spending-crazy. We've discussed the detrimental effect of conservatives abandoning the GOP in favor of the Conservative or Liberatian parties, but I'm finding not changing affiliation an increasingly difficult pill to swallow.

One more point on Martinez to RNC

If this was the President's way of reaching out to "disaffected Hispanic voters," as the L.A. Times says, it was a ham-handed and poorly thought out approach.

By picking someone who is so opinionated on pro-guest-worker-amnesty, perhaps the biggest dividing issue for the Republican caucus, Bush guaranteed that the many GOP politicians that want tighter immigration restrictions would fight back. As a result, hispanic voters who, according to the President, want to see an open borders policy, are being reminded that a majority of the GOP caucus is opposed to their agenda. Well played, well played.

Come quickly, '08

Fran Combs, managing editor of the Washington Times, weighs in on the decision to put Sen. Martinez in charge of the RNC. I'm in complete agreement with the WaTimes disgust.

I hate to say it, but it's official: Bush/Rove has jumped the shark. I'm just counting down the days till we're free of these two millstones. And it's not the mid-term electoral loss--it's the fact that they refuse to absorb any lessons and confront reality. On issue after issue--illegal immigration (most importantly), nation-building, failure to confront earmarks/K-street corruption, overspending (where's the VETO pen?), and the failure to open foregin markets and foster fair trade (which is killing us in the rust belt, the biggest swing region)--this President is MIA. And apparently, based on the "architect's" musings, his absence is quite intentional.

If Clinton was a "new Democrat", taking on (in rhetoric, anyway) GOP tax policy and shying away from welfare, Bush is a "New Republican." He's absorbed the Democratic way of viewing the electorate and how to get votes: pay 'em off.

To give him his due, Bush has been good on taxes, and fair on the most important issue: appointing conservative judges. But the same can be said of most any Presidential candidate the GOP has offered since Reagan. And the same will be true after '08, assuming Rudy does not win the nomination (and I'm skeptical that he can).

WaPo Delenda Est

Every once in a blue, even a liberal rag like the Washington Compost has an article that's insightful, funny, and well written.

Today is not one of those days.

However, David Ignatius did manage a first paragraph that was both insightful and funny:

In ancient Roman drama, when the plot got too convoluted to be resolved by mere humans, one of the gods would be hoisted over the stage to dispense wisdom and avert tragedy. The practice was known by a Latin term, deus ex machina, or "god from a machine.'' In our times, it is called the "Baker-Hamilton commission.''
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I'm starting to get the feeling

...that maybe Iran isn't being completely, totally honest with us.

And behind this curtain we have...

A new RNC Chair! And that's right, he's one of the driving forces behind GUEST WORKER AMNESTY!
Monday, November 13, 2006

A Real Plan for Iraq?

Paul Mirengoff does a decent job of analysis on a plan moving forward in Iraq (hat tip to Michelle Malkin). He clearly distinguishes between directed military operations and policing with a pragmatic inclusion of political sustainability.
Saturday, November 11, 2006

New Dems

Article pointing out that indeed a good number of the newly-elected Dems are conservative on many issues, so I'd be surprised if significantly liberal legislation gets sent to Bush.

The Don Speaks

Patty B has an article up on RCP about what this election really meant. And what it didn't mean. The bold/emphasis below is mine:

...the nation that rejected Bush and the Republicans did not reject conservatism. To the contrary, it seemed to want to punish the prodigal sons for abandoning the faith of their fathers.

What did America vote against?

It voted against Bush's war of democratic imperialism and the mismanagement of that war. It voted against Jack Abramoff, Duke Cunningham and Mark Foley. It voted against a party that postures as conservative while indulging in a six-year pig-out on the taxpayers' tab, the altarpiece of which was a $250 million "bridge to nowhere."

What did America not vote against? It did not vote against tax cuts or conservative judges or a security fence. How do we know? Because no Democrat in a hotly contested race said he would raise taxes, reject Supreme Court nominees like John Roberts and Samuel Alito or grant amnesty for illegal aliens.

The principal beneficiary of the election may be Nancy Pelosi, but this election was no mandate for an ultraliberal feminist who spent much of the campaign in protective custody so America would not see what they would be getting when they dumped Denny Hastert.

But if this was no mandate for a new "progressive era," as the media are trying to portray it, what was it a mandate for?

The answers are apparent.

The nation agrees with the Democratic Party that the minimum wage should be raised and a cost-benefit analysis done on Bush trade deals that leave Wal-Mart cluttered with cheap Chinese goods, while hollowing out American manufacturing and converting company towns into ghost towns.

The open-borders crowd is chortling that Randy Graf and J.D. Hayworth went down to defeat, but deliberately ignores the far more relevant fact that Arizonans voted even tougher restrictions on state benefits for illegal aliens.

In Michigan, the GOP establishment deserted Ward Connerly's principled battle to end reverse discrimination. But while the GOP went down to defeat, the Connerly ballot initiative, rooted in the idea of equal justice under law for all races, swept to a 58-42 victory. When Republicans desert Reagan Democrats, Reagan Democrats desert the GOP. Which is as it should be.

On social issues, our national division that dates to the cultural wars of the '60s, endures. Embryonic stem cell research lost a huge lead to win a slim victory in Missouri, while the toughest anti-abortion law in America went down to narrow defeat in South Dakota. But gay marriage was routed in every state where it was on the ballot, and pot for medicinal purposes was rejected in libertarian Nevada.

What Patty B charitably avoids mentioning about the pro-embryonic stem cell bill is how dishonestly it was sold to Mizzourans as an "anti-cloning bill", while it was essentially enshrining cloning as a legal mode of research.

So true about the Dems winning by going conservative on judges and taxes. From Bob Casey, to Jim Webb, to Harold "Gun totin' Jesus lover" Ford, to "Look at my flat-top not my record" Tester, to Heath Shuler, this was the approach they took during campaign season. Amazingly, less than a week after the election, their leadership is already doing an about-face. Waxman is already publicly declaring his intention to investigate Bush, and Rangel has said any new revenue sources (tax hikes) are on the table--nothing will be dismissed out of hand. With Conyers, Leahy, Rangel and Waxman runnig high profile committees, I'm pretty confident there will be a conservative backlash by '08: if the GOP heeds the message of '06 that Buchanan laid out in his column.

The first step to see if the GOP "gets it" will be if the House Caucus elects Rep. Pence as the minority leader and Rep. Shadegg as minority whip.

2008 GOP Presidential Strawpoll for Conservative Bloggers

Check it out and cast your votes.
Friday, November 10, 2006

Republicans Strike Again

Mehlman is out. Thoughts that Steele might replace him, or more likely Steele might get a position in Bush's administration next year.

If Repubs want to attract minority voters, may make more sense to make Steele RNC chair rather than Bush's cabinet. I say this b/c Bush already has put the most minorities in the highest cabinet positions of ANY U.S. president in history, but I'm not sure it's translated into votes. The irony is crushing though - Dems talk the talk about helping minorities, but it's Republicans who actually walk the walk and put them in positions of power.
Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mitt on the Election Results

Here's what's posted over at the Commonwealth PAC website:

November 8, 2006 - Americans spoke last night and Republicans are listening. Americans have not become less conservative, but they believe some Republicans have. As a party, we need to remember who we are and the principles that have always led our party and our country to success.

We must return to the common sense Reagan Republican ideals of fighting for hard working Americans, lowering taxes, shrinking government, curbing out-of-control spending, promoting the traditional values of faith, family and freedom, and providing a strong national security with all the necessary tools to protect the American people and win the War on Terror.

This country wants resolute leadership to tackle tough issues and a positive vision for a better future here at home and around the world. They want leadership that trusts the American people, keeps America strong and moves our country forward.

Americans across the country over the past year didn’t say they want higher taxes. They didn’t say they want more run-away wasteful spending or a Congress that continues irresponsible pork projects. Nobody ever said that this nation needs a bigger deficit.

Americans didn’t say they wanted more activist judges who legislate from the bench and they don’t want less secure borders.

No one said they want more rights for terrorists, nor did they ask that we stop terrorist surveillance … and nobody suggested that we should make life even harder for our brave men and women fighting terror around the world.

We didn’t hear a mandate for a more liberal direction because the Democrats didn’t present one. Americans don’t share those liberal ideas.

What voters told us is that America is stuck and Washington is broken. Voters told us to move forward by embracing our conservative convictions that Americans agree with and value – and we will.

Americans are looking for more fiscal responsibility, less government and sound traditional values. They want leadership and vision with conservative principles. You don’t develop a vision by looking backwards. I’m keeping my eyes on the horizon – where the future is, and where America is going.

Retaking the Senate '08

With a huge plagiarising hat tip to the FreeRepublic blog, here's a great post that I thought deserved reprinting. Contact Occ Obs if you guys are looking for royalties.

2008 senate elections

U.S. Senate Races Open seats

Delaware (Biden-D) - Biden announced in June of 2005 that he's going to run for president in 2008. But watch for Biden to back away from that in the shadow of Hillary.

Retirement watch

Alaska (Stevens-R) - Senator Ted Stevens is old, my friend. Born Nov. 18, 1923, Stevens will be nearly 85 years old on Election Day in 2008. Somewhat of a crybaby, Stevens frequently threatens to retire if he doesn't get his way on various votes.

Iowa (Harkin-D) - Born Nov. 19, 1939, Harkin will be nearly 69 on Election Day in 2008.

Kansas (Roberts-R) - Born April 20, 1936, Roberts will be 72 on Election Day in 2008.

Massachusetts (Kerry-D) - Born Dec. 11, 1943, Kerry appears to be preparing to run for president again in 2008.

Michigan (Levin-D) - Born June 28, 1934, Levin will be 74 on election day in 2008. Rumor has it he won't be running for re-election.

Mississippi (Cochrane-R) - Born Dec. 7, 1937, Cochrane will be nearly 71 years old on Election Day in 2008.

Nebraska (Hagel-R) - Hagel may decide to seek the presidency in 2008. He was born Oct. 4, 1946.

New Jersey (Lautenberg-D) - Born Jan. 23, 1924, Lautenberg will be 84 on Election Day in 2008. He had reluctantly come out of retirement in 2002 as a replacement candidate for the Democrats, and few expect him to serve out the whole term. Look for his announcement after the 2006 election.

New Mexico (Domenici-R) - Born May 7, 1932, Domenici will be 76 on Election Day in 2008.

North Carolina (Dole-R) - Born July 29, 1936, Dole will be 72 on Election Day in 2008.

Oklahoma (Inhofe-R) - Born Nov. 17, 1934, Inhofe will be nearly 74 on Election Day in 2008.

Tennessee (Alexander-R) - Born July 3, 1940, Alexander will be 68 on Election Day in 2008.

Virginia (Warner-R) - Born Feb. 18, 1927, Warner will be 81 years old on Election Day in 2008.

West Virginia (Rockefeller-D) - Born June 18, 1937, Rockefeller will be 71 years old on Election Day in 2008.

In Trouble???

Colorado (Allard-R) - The election doesn't happen for more than three years, but Allard already has a high-profile challenger. Rep. Mark Udall (D) passed on the 2006 governor race to take on Allard in 2008.

Georgia (Chambliss-R) - Georgia Democrats will no doubt give Chambliss a run for his money, considering the nasty 2002 campaign ads he ran in which he questioned the patriotism of Max Cleland, who lost both legs and an arm in the Viet Nam War.

Minnesota (Coleman-R) - If Air America radio talk show host Al Franken lives up to his promise to run for this seat, it could get interesting. If not, Coleman is pretty safe.

South Carolina (Graham-R) - Moderate Sen. Lindsay Graham may see a primary challenge from the right, possibly Charleston developer Thomas Ravenel, who has criticized Graham for brokering a deal with Democrats on President Bush's judicial nomination.

South Dakota (Johnson-D) - Johnson will likely be a top GOP target in 2008, considering his close victory in 2002 over John Thune (R), who later toppled Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D) in 2004.

Safe seats (for now!)

Arkansas (Pryor-D) - Born Jan. 10, 1963

Alabama (Sessions-R) - Born Dec. 24, 1946

Idaho (Craig-R) - Born July 20, 1945

Illinois (Durbin-D) - Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin was born Nov. 21, 1944.

Kentucky (McConnell-R) - Born Feb 20, 1942

Louisiana (Landrieu-D) - Born Nov. 23, 1955

Maine (Collins-R) - Born Dec. 7, 1952

Montana (Baucus-D) - A five-term senator, Baucus was born Dec. 11, 1941.

New Hampshire (Sununu-R) - Born Sept. 10, 1964

Oregon (Smith-R) - Born May 25, 1952

Rhode Island (Reed-D) - Born Nov. 12, 1949

Texas (Cornyn-R) - Born Feb. 2, 1952

Wyoming (Enzi-R) - Born Feb. 1, 1944

Not up for re-election, but may retire

Hawaii (Inouye-D) - Inouye recently coasted to re-election. Born Sept. 7, 1924, he'll be 82 years old on election day in 2006. He's up for re-election in 2010.

Iowa (Grassley-R) - Born Sept. 17, 1933, Grassley will be 73 on election day in 2006. Grassley is up for re-election in 2010.

Kentucky (Bunning-R) - Born Oct. 23, 1931, Bunning will be 77 on election day in 2008. He is up for re-election in 2010.

Maryland (Mikulski-D) - Born July 20, 1936, Mikulski will be 72 on election day in 2008. She is up for re-election in 2010.

Pennsylvania (Specter-R) - Born Feb. 12, 1930, Specter will be 78 in 2008. He's up for re-election in 2010. In Feb. 2005, Specter announced that he had Hodgkin's lympoma and underwent 26 weeks of chemotherapy. Specter appears to be doing well, but he may want to retire before his term is up.

Utah (Bennett-R) - Born Sept. 18, 1933, Bennett will be 75 on election day in 2008. He is up for re-election in 2010.


Frist has proven to be the most useless majority leader, which I've maintained for a long time. He should go. As mentioned earlier by MB, good riddance to Chafee. Repub in name only, he's not a useful vote.

I think Pelosi is going to have to temper her policies until she has a better handle on who these new Dems are. On the one hand I think in principle they are not as left wing as she is. On the other hand, as newly elected junior members of the House are they really going to risk their entire political career by going out on a limb against her whip cracking? This remains to be seen.

Here are two bills you can take to the bank within 1 month of new inaugurations. First, minimum wage will be increased. Dems have made this one of their most visible priorities, and given the overwhelming support this got as a ballot initiative in many states, I don't think Bush will have political capital to veto it. Second, illegal aliens will be granted amnesty, or at the very least (this is probably more likely) they will implement a guest worker program, whatever that means. Most Dems want it, and Bush certainly does so this can be a real "reach across the aisle" moment for them. How touching.

SCOTUS nomination will remain interesting. I think Bush does have some political capital here for two reasons. First, the country is still leaning conservative (note that conservative does NOT equal Republican). Second, one of the few things he is praised for is Alito and Roberts. So I think he might have some latitude here, but we'll see.

Thanks John McCain

why not just give me a paper cut while you're at it? As Hugh Hewitt noted according to RedState here:

Handed a large majority, the GOP frittered it away. The chief fritterer was Senator McCain and his Gang of 14 and Kennedy-McCain immigration bill, supplemented by a last minute throw down that prevented the NSA bill from progressing or the key judicial nominations from receiving a vote. His accomplice in that master stroke was Senator Graham. Together they cost their friend Mike DeWine his seat in the Senate, and all their Republican colleagues their chairmanships. Senator McCain should rethink his presidential run. Amid the ruins of the GOP's majority there is a clear culprit.

A second loser was Bill Frist. To be the Majority Leader of a majority that did not lead is lethal to his presidential ambitions. Like Senator McCain, it would be easier on everyone if he just exited the stage.

Not big on eating our own just b/c the "moderate" American voter felt like turning left this year, but I think my track record of calling out McCain's self-serving nonsense gives me a little latitude in that regard.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Beastly Rant

I've been traveling for work this week, so I have been unable to post. So here's my rant:

Like SHK and Fredo said, why did Bush wait to can Rummy? Doing it even a few days before the election could have made a big difference. Why? This might have tempered the huge protest vote.

George Allen is an idiot. He could have easily won re-election if he would have campaigned on the issues. As noted earlier, it's a good thing he's not going to mess up the '08 election now.

Many of the Dem gains in the house in red or purple states are moderate or even conservative Democrats (e.g. Heath Shuler). This was a smart move by the Dems. Republicans could learn a lesson from this and support moderate candidates in blue states. They might even be able to pick up a few seats!

As many have said many times, the GOP needs to return to its conservative base. I even heard Bill Kristol acknoledge that the majority of Americans are self-described conservatives.

Lincoln Chafee - good ridance.

Conyers is scary. Mock impeachments in the Capitol's basement?

I can't believe Massachusetts keeps re-electing Teddy Kennedy. Why won't he just go away?

The Dems also did a good job of taking on seats that the GOP thought were safe. Republicans can learn from this too.

Lieberman should send a thank you to the GOP for helping him win re-election. Will he throw his hat in for '08?

On a local topic: Brooke Ellison for NY State Sentate? Her whole campaign was, "I'm in a wheelchair. Vote for me." I have no idea about her position on anything. How does being a wheelchair have anything to do with holding public office?

And my final rant:
The change we need to make in Iraq is to untie the hands of our soldiers. Let them actually fight our enemies without having to ask permission to shoot. I was talking to a stranger at a rest stop this morning. He initiated conversation with me by commenting that we should start learning to speak Arabic based on the election results showing on the TV. During our conversation, I learned that he has a grandson in Iraq. As we talked about this issue, he said that we had the same problem in Vietnam and that it was lost here, not there. All of this COOing crap in the military has to end.

End Rant.

Lessons for '08?

Looking at some of the exit polls as well as how voting on ballot initiatives went, there may be some lessons for Republicans in '08. Here are some thoughts:

1. Scandals, and especially cover-ups, are hideously unacceptable to Americans. Americans increasingly trust politicians and CEOs less and less, and every time a new scandal breaks it just reinforces the belief that those in power are acting illegally or immorally. Moral convictions do matter, especially if you want to get out the conservative vote, but also to attract independent voters. The Republican party cannot tolerate any more Abramoff or Foley or DeLay type incidents. And before everyone starts pointing out that in many cases Democrats have done the same or worse, remember that Republicans must always hold themselves to a higher standard because of MSM bias.

2. Fiscal policy matters. If Republicans in '08 want to make sure that they get ALL of their voters out and don't leave anyone away from the polls, they must take steps to balance the budget, fix trade imbalance, and deal with looming entitlement spending disaster that is social security and medicare for baby boomers. Fiscal conservatives applaud Bush tax cuts, but without equal restraint on spending side they are barely better than tax and spend Dems.

3. The next Republican candidate for President must be far more capable of articulating and defending his policies than Bush. Bush absolutely got slaughtered in press by Dems/MSM on almost all of his policies, especially Iraq. I think that over the past year if he had better articulated why it was in the US's best long-term interests to stabilize Iraq, it would've been less of an issue. In order to also defend against attacks from those who conveniently forget that they voted for the war and now say that the only reason Iraq is in this situation is because of "Bush's" decision, I think he'd probably have to go one step further and explain why removing Saddam from power was the right decision. Since this should be a straightforward argument I'm not sure why they weren't able to do communicate this more effectively.

4. Country still seems to be leaning socially conservative, so this should play into Republican hands. Look at the results of ballot initiatives in many states.

Bottom line, I think Mitt is a homerun on all 4 of these issues. If McCain somehow gets through primary I'd guess he also wins general election b/c a lot of Dems and Indies like him. I do look forward to a very bloody Dem primary: hillary, obama, kerry, gore, etc. will be tearing each other apart.


Why is the only d-bag site to officially call Lieberman and Sanders Democrats? Everyone else, including, lists tally correctly at this point: 49 Repub, 47 Dem, 2 Ind, 2 undecided. But CNN is calling it 49 Repub, 49 Dem, 0 Ind, 2 undecided. They just want it so badly.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006

As Predictable as Death and Taxes

Democrat chicanery at the polls, that is. I'd love to say I'm clairvoyant just because I predicted this a few days ago, but I have to be honest: anyone with a pulse, who has been watching politics for more than a week, saw this one coming:

Lawyers with the Tennessee Democratic Party will file suit early this afternoon asking that voting hours be extended due to reports of infrastructure problems, a party spokesman said.

"Infrastructure problems", by the way, means that Dem precincts and GOP precincts have the same voting hours. Once Dem precincts are open longer than GOP precincts, the "infrastructure problems" will have been "corrected."

Lawyers had not yet decided whether they would ask that all polls remain open later or ask only that polls in certain regions of the state be open later.

Heh, heh. That's funny.

Pinkerton Gets It

I can't imagine how someone as thoughtful and deliberate as Jim Pinkerton ended up at Newsday. I don't always agree with his opinions, but the guy is always reasoned, measured, and more often than not, correct (by correct I mean in agreement with OccObs).

But today, in a short election-day column, he really nails it. Here's his conclusion:

The Reagan Democrats are looking for a party that takes seriously their concerns about immigration, homeland security, multiculturalism, immorality and de-industrialization, combined with a prudently hawkish foreign policy. Whichever party gets there first in addressing those problems, and then stays there to solve them - that party will be in the majority for a long time.

To Pinkerton, Reagan Democrats = the swing vote. The party that captures their votes will control the levers of power. While I might quibble with him on his perception that they prioritize dumping more resources into our monopolisitic public education infrastructure, I think he's largely right on the priorities of this swing group. By going with amnesty on immigration, Dubai Ports on homeland security, and doing nothing to protect American manufacturing (and even insulting the auto industry when there were questions of a bailout), this administration has definitely aliented this bloc.

The only thing that should keep '06 from being a total washout is the fact that the Democrats offer little in the way of constructive solutions. They are also pro-amnesty, weak on homeland security, and have largely adopted the free-trade-at-all-cost mantra that is hammering the working class in the Rust Belt. The Dems hate the Iraq war (now and not when they voted for it, conveniently), and hate the President even more, and that might be enough in '06 to capture the House or Senate. But as Pinkerton states, neither party has won the hearts of the Reagan Democrats, with the GOP squandering the inroads they made over the past 20 years. But the door is still open: if one party figures out how to capture the Reagan Dems loyalty, there is the potential to forge a governing coalition that is broad and possibly veto-proof.
Monday, November 06, 2006

The Final Countdown

The House, barring some macro-level last minute movement, appears lost. This will set back the nation for years, as the retention rate for Congressmen tends to be around 98% over time, and opportunities to swing the balance don't come along very often. Se la vie.

Of course, I'm more interested in the Senate, especially since it has a bearing on the judicial confirmation process. As the courts have done more damage to American democracy over the past 50 years than any other branch of government, my focus is here.

The Senate could still go either way. TN is leaning to the GOP right now. But that's the only good news. Allen has campaigned a sure win into a likely loss. All I can say is thank goodness it happened now. He would have had a real chance at seizing the Presidential nomination in '08 if not for being exposed this year, and that would have been a much bigger prize to fumble away.

In any case, here are the remaining "toss-up" races (assuming a Corker win in TN). We need one of them to maintain the majority. I'm listing them in order of favorability for the GOP, from most-likely GOP win to least-likely GOP win:

MO (Talent*)
MT (Burns*)
VA (Allen*)
MD (Steele)
RI (Chafee*)
NJ (Kean Jr.)
OH (DeWine*)
MI (Bouchard)
PA (Santorum*)

All we need is one of these seats to retain control in the Senate. shows the Republican trailing in every single one of these races, but the top three remain within a couple of points. Our best bet is Sen. Talent, but I'm still pessimistic.

Simple and profound

Powerline posted this article with a simple conclusion about why polling often fails to predict the correct outcome: people lie. And not just a small number of people, but an incredibly significant percentage:

Take a look at question number three in the ABC/Post poll: no fewer than 70% of those who answered the telephone said they are "absolutely certain" to vote, while another 11% said they probably will vote. That's not all: when asked about their history, the 70% who said they were absolutely certain to vote were asked whether they always, usually or sometimes vote in off-year elections. The result? 87% said they either "always" (71%) or "nearly always" (17%) vote in midterm elections.

Pity the poor pollster. An overwhelming majority of his respondents tell him they surely will vote tomorrow, and, indeed, always do. But the pollster knows that over the past twenty years, the percentage of registered voters who actually voted in a midterm election has never topped forty percent.
Sunday, November 05, 2006

Iraq War Games

Interesting article here. Apparently U.S. war games exercise in 1999 predicted that even with 400,000 troops, current situation in Iraq was to be expected.

Paul Bremer made a similar observation recently, suggesting that more troops wouldn't help. The most important thing he thought would be to have locked down Baghdad and implemented security and stability immediately after invasion. He felt that first month would've been key to demonstrate that we really had control, and establish order.

As much as I admire the job Rumsfeld et al. did during the actual invasion, I think this is yet another piece of evidence that flies in the face of his constant assertions that "no one" could've predicted what's happening on the ground in Iraq. I am hard pressed to think he is the best suited person for the job of rebuilding Iraq. Actually, in general, I'd be surprised if the same person could simultaneously have the skills to be a brilliant war/invasion strategist and tactician and also have the broad skills required to rebuild and establish the peace. For example, invasions do not (necessarily) require consideration of details such as local customs, history, etc., all of which can play a role in a prolonged rebuilding effort.

Unlike others, however, I disagree with the calls for his resignation. I think he is perfectly suited to be Secretary of Defense. I just think that once the invasion portion ended, ownership of rebuilding should have been transfered to the State Department. In fact, this effort seems to fall exactly in line with the State Department's one-line mission statement: "Create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community."

Down to stretch they go...

Senate appears to be looking good for us.
Friday, November 03, 2006

And so it begins...

"It" being the river of votes for Democrats that come from those who are dead, non-citizens, felons, imaginary, or not entitled to vote for some other reason. It's starting a few days ahead of the election this year.

Then there's the groundwork that the Dems' hacks have to do now so the troops are ready to cheat on Nov. 7.

And Harold Ford is preparing to follow his father to the dark side of the force in TN.

Remember this? How about this? Or maybe this?

After 6 years of W and moonbat hatemongering, there should be plenty of chicanery next week: a whole new generation of angry and impressionable 18 year olds willing to slash tires, forge registration cards, and plant votes early and often.

I'll give anyone out there 5:1 that when the polls close in VA, OH, TN and MO, at least one of those states will have a court-ordered voting extension to keep the machines open--and you can bet it will be a solid democrat district that will require the extra time.
Thursday, November 02, 2006

Some '08 Notes

1) George Will thinks things are breaking just right for Mitt Romney in '08. Here's his conclusion: "...the Republican field is already down to two. That is good for only one of them: Romney."

2) While Duncan Hunter's announcement that he'll seek the nomination has been basically dismissed by the MSM, I think he will be a player come primary time. Some other candidate will co-opt his border security and immigration position before all is said and done.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Reasons for Hope

Reasons for Republican optimism here.
Can you imagine the finger-pointing, despair, and destruction the Dem party will go through if they fail to win at least one chamber of Congress?

Lynne Cheney Schools Wolf Blitzer

You gotta love this.

Republican Conspiracy

As I read My Yahoo! this morning, I look at the top four headlines of Al-AP. They are as follows:

  1. North Korea agrees to nuclear talks

  2. Iraq to lift Sadr City checkpoints

  3. Wages, benefits up at 2-year best pace

  4. Saddam trial witness describes massacre

Ok. Let me see if I understand.

  1. We attempt diplomatic solutions - and we appear to be making a little progress.

  2. The Iraqi government is starting to take control of their own security.

  3. The economy is in great shape (due to the many tax cuts IMHO)

  4. The Iraqi people are trying their former despot

How will the MSM/Dems spin all of this to make Republicans look bad? Did GOP underlings hold back diplomacy with N. Korea until right before the elections? Did they collude with the Iraqi government to wait to make decisions until right before the election? The economy isn't in great shape despite every single indicator, so there's no conspiracy there.

Oh, and let's not forget that Republicans conspired to lower gas prices leading up to the election. What other horrible things like diplomacy and a strong economy can we conspire for now?
Monday, October 30, 2006


The Occasional Observer
Hmmm, potentially significant event for Steele in MD race.

Follow-up: The Real Problem with the War in Iraq

As a follow up to my earlier post The Real Problem with the War in Iraq, I'm posting a link to this Newsweek article that shows emails from a heroic soldier killed in Iraq. We need to untie our soldiers' hands and let them actually fight if we want a chance of success.

What is the Proper Response?

What should Christians do in reponse to the article referenced in this NewsBusters post?

Should we issue a Fatwah, calling for the execution of Joel Stein?
Should we burn down buildings and kill people?
Of course not. It's ok to bash Christians.



Boo hoo, no one wants to come to my birthday party :(


So there's been an unending slew of articles proclaiming that this election is a referendum on Bush, I'm sure you've all come across many of them in MSM. The subtle (or sometimes not-so-subtle!) subtext is that the author clearly expects Dem landslide in mid-terms, thereby providing "definitive" proof that the American people reject Bush and his policies.

My question is, when Dems don't get a landslide victory, will these same authors in MSM publish articles about how the election was indeed a referendum, illustrating support FOR Bush? Or will they change their tune, and suggest these types of mid-terms can never truly be a national referendum; rather, they are individual elections on a district-by-district basis.

Caught Steele vs. Cardin on MTP this weekend. Steele rolled him, I hope he catches up in that race and wins. RCP put an earlier debate between them in context, suggesting Steele took Cardin "to the woodshed"! It would also be nice to see Healy beat Patrick in MA Gov race, and Swann beat Rendell in PA, but both seem unlikely. The more I read about Swann, the more I like. Check out his website and positions..
Friday, October 27, 2006

Update your picks..

So about 5 weeks ago we voted on how the House and Senate elections would go, results here.

Does everyone still stand by their original picks or want to make any changes? I still say we keep senate but lose house.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006


As a follow-up to earlier post below about Lindsey Graham, Bush himself has come out today with similar comments. The timing of Bush's comments clearly reflects heavy pressure from Republicans in Congress facing uphill battles in upcoming election. Presumably they hope that people on the fence will hear Bush's comments and consider voting Republican if they feel that Bush agrees with them that the situation is not ideal but he wants to make the appropriate changes to head in the right direction.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Loss = Win?

Interesting article here, explaining why a loss may be good for Republican party (at least longer term). Another possible benefit is '08 presidential elections - regardless of who wins Congress in '06, I doubt any meaningful legislation will pass between now and '08. If that's the case and the public gets even more disillusion with Congress, and Congress stays Republican, there is a chance that we lose presidential election on that basis.

Just trying to find whatever silver lining there might be, longer term.
Monday, October 23, 2006

The Mouth of the South

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a.k.a., John McCain's Fluffer, offered this bit of constructive criticism of how our CIC and other military commanders have prosecuted the Iraq war:

"We're on the verge of chaos, and the current plan is not working," Sen. Lindsey Graham (news, bio, voting record), R-S.C., said in an Associated Press interview. U.S. and Iraqi officials should be held accountable for the lack of progress, said Graham, a Republican who is a frequent critic of the administration's policies.

Asked who in particular should be held accountable — Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, perhaps, or the generals leading the war — Graham said: "All of them. It's their job to come up with a game plan" to end the violence.

While the point may or may not be valid (as per this earlier post), the weasel from SC needs to be held accountable for his political betrayal. After all, his criticism is not being offered in good faith. He offers no suggestions on how to improve the situation. He's just dumping on those who are trying to deal with the tactical situation on the ground in Iraq.

And why is the Bush-slap being offered now, with only two weeks to go until a general election that, even at this late hour, could place the House and Senate in the control of either party?

My guess: as McCain's willing surrogate, he's helping the Straight Talk Express play both ends against the middle. McCain has triangulated that being "pro-war" and "anti-Bush" is his best chance in '08. And right now, with the election cycle in full swing, is when he can get the most press coverage for himself and his cronies. The majority status of the G.O.P. be damned.
Friday, October 20, 2006

The Real Problem with the War in Iraq

During a debate with a (liberal) co-worker today, he brought up the war in Iraq (big surprise). I told him that I believed that we should be fighting the war, but that I didn't like how we were doing it. This article articulates the problems well.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Barbarians Are Past the Gate

This post on Human Events is the scariest thing I've read in a long time. The fact that MSM outlets like the New York Times feel the need to expose our government's counterterrism techniques but not report on this shows just how dangerous they really are. There goes my plan to move to The Republic of Texas after the U.S. dissolves. Maybe Montana?
Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Add Google to the List

Add Google to the list of companies to boycott. See this excerpt from The American Spectator:

Google has become the single largest private corporate underwriter of MoveOn. According to sources in the Democrat National Committee, MoveOn has received more than $1 million from Google and its lobbyists in Washington to create grassroots support for the Internet regulation legislation. Some of that money has gone to an online petition drive and a letter-writing campaign, but the majority of that money is being used to fund their activities against Republicans out in the states.

Please add other companies that we should boycott to the list.

The List


Harry Reid should resign at once for his inappropriate use of funds! Or so the headlines in MSM and Dem leaders would say if Reid were a Republican. Fortunately (for him) he's a Dem so we can bury this story and instead over-inflate the next similar story about a Republican.
Monday, October 16, 2006

Cella on the Crusades

Paul Cella is, IMHO, the most perceptive, grounded and interesting political and social writer out there today. Every now and again, when I'm not having a genius inspiration of my own, I like to peruse the links on his blog to some of his older material. In doing so today, I saw a great article on the situation in the Middle East called "Why Be Partial to Israel?"

If you're interested, it's a worthy read. But the main thrust of his article is not the reason for my post: he makes a tangential point in the course of the article that is one I've never been able to express myself. At least not as concisely and powerfully as Paul does here, so I thought I'd share it:

"...I think it interesting to note how quickly commentators -- most of whom have only the most minimal acquaintance with the Middle Ages -- solemnly deplore the efforts of the Crusaders; and implicitly agree with Osama bin Laden that that period in history was among the more dishonorable for the West. Bill Clinton made some remark to that effect, I recall, just after September 11, saying that "those of who come from various European lineages" are "still paying" for the Crusades -- all of us, presumably, having descended from the Franks and all of us, presumably, being orthodox Christians. I confess that I rather feel a strange stirring in my breast when I think of men willing to uproot themselves from home and family and undertake a long journey punctuated by disease and hunger and great discomfort only to engage in ferocious warfare against alien people for the sake of a small strip of land called Holy, where their Savior lived and perished. Most people today call that insanity -- with, perhaps, a certain superficial justice; I hope I will be forgiven for calling it heroism. "

Forgiven? You should be congratulated. It's too bad the crusaders didn't have the military superiority that the West has today. Maybe the world would not have endured the continuing violence wrought by the religion of the sword--a religion that demands infidels convert, appease, or be killed.

The Dem base finally stands up

Now you know why Dem politicians want to keep their most strident supporters in the closet.

Please, please, please check out this RedState post and video. Listen to it when there are no children nearby.

How Dare They

China Erects Fence Along N. Korea Border
Oct 16 8:43 AM US/Eastern

Associated Press Writer


China has been building a massive barbed wire and concrete fence along parts of its border with North Korea in the most visible sign of Beijing's strained ties with its once-cozy communist neighbor.

Scores of soldiers have descended on farmland near the border-marking Yalu River to erect concrete barriers 8 to 15 feet tall and string barbed wire between them, farmers and visitors to the area said.

I can't believe this. They're erecting this fence, and it's the first I've heard of it? Whither all the hand-wringing? Is this fair to North Koreans who want to smuggle through China? After all, Korean smugglers are just poor people in search of a better life. The Chinese should be flattered that Korean smugglers think so highly of Chinese roads and their black market.

And what message does this "wall" send about China's ethno-superiority complex? Clearly racism against Koreans lives on.

China should forget their physical fence. They need to be seeking a "comprehensive solution." No border security until root causes have been dealt with. First China must agree to spend billions on humanitarian aid to Korea, give Korean manufacturers unbridled access to their market, increase their Korean immigration quota by 3000%, give a guest worker card to any Korean citizen who wants to work there, and put in place a structure by which any guest worker has a guaranteed path to Chinese citizenship and government benefits. Then, and only then, can they start erecting a virtual fence using cameras and loudspeakers. Anyone who puts up barbed wire could injure an innocent refugee and should be dealt with accordingly--as a war criminal.

Liberal Americans, to the barricades! Let's confront this Chinese racism and stop it in its tracks!


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