Monday, December 31, 2007

Update your predictions!

They're placing their bets over at R 4 '08, with the votes about to start getting counted!

Kavon goes through a set of possible scenarios here.

And in case there was any question as to how unsual this primary season is (we may never see another like it), check out today's Rasmussen tracking poll. With voting three days away, there is a 4-man tie with Fred still within striking distance:

John McCain 17%
Mike Huckabee 16%
Mitt Romney 16%
Rudy Giuliani 15%
Fred Thompson 12%
Ron Paul 7%

Here is my prediction, FWIW:

IA: Mitt 26, Huck 23, McCain 19, Fred 14, Paul 8, Rudy 8
NH: Mitt 33, McCain 31, Huck 12, Paul 11, Rudy 11
MI: Mitt 31, McCain 28, Huck 18, Rudy 16, Paul 5
SC: Huck 31, Mitt 26, McCain 18, Rudy 17, Paul 6
NV: Mitt 37, Rudy 28, Huck 25, Paul 8
FL: Huck 38, Mitt 32, Rudy 23, Paul 5

Followed up by Huck winning most Southern states, Mitt winning most New England, Western and Midwestern states, and Rudy taking CA and the Mid-Atlantic.

No one has a majority of the delegates. Brokered convention, baby!
Sunday, December 30, 2007

A semi-new development

If you find it surprising that, amidst the campaign din in Iowa reaching fever pitch, I've been laying back on the posting, allow me to explain. Everything that has happened over the past couple of weeks, and is happening now, is merely an amplification of storylines that I've been discussing for a year now. While the Bhutto assassination has major repercussions on the international stage, the reactions from the candidates and the way those reactions have been framed by the MSM have been a big yawner. From McCain's, "see, you need me"; to Mitt's "a CEO and governor make important decisions too, and foreign policy is no different than any other decision making process"; to Edwards's "Run, Forest, Run!"; there's not much new here.

That said, Broder has a story up in the WaPo today that could be a race-changer. I say it's semi-new because the possibility of a Bloomberg independent bid is old news. The coalition of names he's assembling for this "moderates convention" is new news and big news.

We knew of the Bloomberg-Hagel connection from last summer, when Chuck teased us with the phrase, "who'd have thought it--a Nebraska country-boy and a New York city-boy?", if I may paraphrase from memory. But the list of names continues to expand: Sam Nunn, probably the most electable of the group, from a Presidential perspective. Chuck Robb, Gary Hart, John Danforth, and Christie Todd Whitman are pretty big names as well. Where are the Concord coalition folks? You'd almost expect to see Warren Rudman and Bob Kerrey in on this effort as well (oh yeah, Bob sold out his convictions to shill for the Shrill).

Needless to say, these experienced old hands are playing their cards just right. They're not assembling to start a 3rd party bid, they say. Rather, they want to help the parties get "refocused":

"...if we don't see a refocusing of the campaign on a bipartisan approach, I would feel I would want to encourage an independent candidacy."

As I said, there are some big names in this group, and Bloomberg may have smartly determined he'd get a better ROI for his campaign dollar funding a Nunn-Hagel or Hagel-Robb ticket than he would running himself.

From the POV of the GOP, this creates a ton of new possibilities. We can assume that McCain is the only likely GOP candidate who would meet the "bipartisan approach" metric (think G14) these moderates are looking for. Any other candidate would probably cause them to blanch (Rudy is too "take-it-or-leave-it"; Mitt, Fred, and Huck too caught up in "divisive" socially conservative policy).

The bigger question is, who does the 3rd party candidacy help, and who does it hurt? After the '92 election, Republicans have such a bad taste in their mouths for a 3rd party candidacy that many assume it helps the Dems. Kavon Nikrad has argued voicferously that a Bloomberg candidacy would help the GOP, as he is a liberal on virtually every level (other than the fact that people have preconceived notions about how to define a billionaire's ideology).

Nunn and Hagel change the calculation entirely. If Bloomberg's real goal is to defeat the GOP (as I speculated over the summer), and he's willing to invest $100 million or so in that effort, bankrolling either of those two would virtually ensure it. Nunn would split away plenty of culturally conservative Southerners from the GOP, states that the Republican party can't lose and still win the election. Hagel's a die hard pro-lifer, and despite his libertarian domestic agenda and multi-lateralist foreign policy approach, he would also siphon off plenty of GOP votes. Keep in mind his ACU rating is in the same area as the John McCains and Fred Thompsons of the world.

Where's this all heading? For my peace of mind, nowhere good. After years of frustration that the GOP selected a mediocrity for President, I swore I'd support excellence over rigid ideological purity. That led me to Romney (where I got both, thanks to his idelogical contortions). Based on resume and history, I still think Mitt will make the best President of any candidate on the GOP side. In my heart, though, Huckabee and his agenda is the most inspiring to me. But I have to grudgingly admit that my mind is telling me that McCain is becoming the best option for winning the general election. He stands the best chance of uniting the party, and still drawing enough independent voters to win. The head-to-head polling at RCP certainly bolsters that premise. And while I was skeptical of that polling 3 months ago, I think it's starting to become valid now. There's a been a lot of MSM coverage and the public's perception of these candidates is starting to harden.

So, I keep wondering, could I pull the lever for the guy who I think is the best positioned to win in the general, versus the guy who I think is the most capable for the job, or the guy who says the most things I agree with (and still stands a chance of winning the nomination)?

Luckily, voters in IA, NH, SC and FL will have to do the hard work first. Before I'm put to the test, they get to fashion the landscape. Thank goodness.
Friday, December 28, 2007

Just pop it back into place, Alice

So what happens when your jaw is broken in a drunken brawl, but you're at a research station in Antarctica?

You have to get flown to New Zealand to get to a hospital.

Can't say I'm too surprised. Two guys cooped up in a small space like that. Throw in some New Year's liquor. And then maybe a comment, like, "Fancy that, are you threatening me?"
Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Huck bags a pheasant



Now that's my kind of campaigning.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas


May the Lord of all, who humbled himself for love of sinners, give his blessings to you and yours.

-the contributors at Occ Obs.
Monday, December 24, 2007

Forms are functional

Lest we think the culture war (by which traditionalists seek to retain our ability to describe our culture as Christian and see that as a good, not intolerant, thing) is merely a battle over arcane or superficial issues, G.K. Chesterton would like to remind us, particularly at this time of the year, that it is not:

"The great majority of people will go on observing forms that cannot be explained; they will keep Christmas Day with Christmas gifts and Christmas benedictions; they will continue to do it; and some day suddenly wake up and discover why."
Saturday, December 22, 2007

Just asking,

but now that race is perhaps narrowing to a McCain v Romney focus, how long until the stories start hitting that this is a "new media" vs. "old media" race?
Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mitt bouncing back?

The most recent polls in RCP indicate that Mitt may have stemmed Huck's rise in Iowa and SC and pulled even. In Iowa, one poll has Romney +3 while another has Huckabee only +1. Probably the resurgence is due in large part to the recent ads Romney has been running comparing his record to Huckabee's, and painting Huckabee as soft on crime, taxes, and illegal immigration. This sort of addresses Fredo's point that Romney needs to start being more aggressive in defending his record, although Fredo was more specifically referring to when the media attacks (I mean "interviews") Mitt. In any case it seems he would be well served to more vigorously defend himself, given the recent uptick.

If Romney pulls off a win in Iowa and follows it up in NH, I think it all but ends Huckabee's run. Huck might still win SC, although the latest Rasmussen poll has them dead even.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007

SHK on the 2nd amendment as impediment to tyranny

promoted from the comments:

...our best defense against a tyrannical government is the democratic process itself and our separation of powers. That's why I think it's worth examining the 2nd amendment in the context of the time it was written, compared to today. As we discussed a few weeks ago, a major difference between then and now is that back then, there was no standing military or military contractor companies. As such, if the government wanted to subjugate the people by force, it would need to: (1) draft willing volunteers to fight their own countrymen, (2) raise funds to support the army, and (3) start a process to provide weapons and munitions. Today, all three of those already exist, thus substantially lowering the barrier (although one could argue that you might have significant if not complete military defection if an order to violently overtake the US was given).

That said, I think the following quotes are insightful. They basically indicate that at the time of the 2nd Amendment, a well-regulated militia was seen as a more-than-reasonable counter to any federally-raised army. The question is, would those same quotes and opinions hold true today, given points (1)-(3) above are no longer valid and all the advances in weaponry? I think not.

First quote from James Madison:

Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops/

Second quote from Webster:

Another source of power in government is a military force. But this, to be efficient, must be superior to any force that exists among the people, or which they can command; for otherwise this force would be annihilated, on the first exercise of acts of oppression. Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States.

Both of these pre-suppose that points (1)-(3) are valid, yet today they clearly are not. In addition, the quotes pre-suppose that both sides (gov't and militia) are fighting with equivalent weaponry.

I thus have to believe that if the founders were drafting the 2nd amendment today (with the goal of preventing government tyranny), there would only be two possible positions. Position 1 is that we can't possibly prevent a government tyranny, so skip 2nd Amendment and hope that our democracy and separation of powers prevents such a situation. Position 2 is that the people should have the rights to the same level of arms as the government; that is, all forms of weaponry.

Now, a wholly different issue (which I think is valid) is that the 2nd amendment should also cover people's security from any threat. That is, not just from the government but also from your neighbors, or another invading country, etc. In that case, where society fails to protect you since police and army can't be in all places at all times, you have a right and mechanism to defend yourself. So I think even if the 2nd amendment is read to only refer to situations where you have a militia that is fighting a government, I think there should be an individual right to bear arms inasmuch as it allows people to defend themselves from a variety of threats.

Assault Weapons, Pt. III

I thought the thread started by MB a few weeks ago on the 2nd Amendment was interesting, so I've decided to have another go at it from a different angle today.

I'm not sure if the word "arms" was ever well-defined in other texts by the founders or the language of the day. If so, the rest of this thread is a bit null and void. However, assuming the meaning is vague, one can reasonably ask what defines an "arm", and how far do our 2nd amendment rights go? If we take the assumption that the purpose of the 2nd amendment is to give the people a legitimate defense from a tyrannical government, then it stands to reason that the "arms" must match the task. Since muskets, cannons and bayonets have been replaced by automatic machine guns, tanks, fighter/bomber jets, RPGs, missiles, etc., one can ask why our 2nd amendment rights would stop at just guns. I have to reiterate my earlier position, which is that I consider guns to be wholly inadequate to stop a "U.S. Government gone bad" situation, given all the advanced weaponry and technology at their disposal. So in that case, how can a reading of the 2nd amendment that limits the rights of the people to only guns out of all possible armament in today's world be anything other than arbitrary?

In the case that the word "arms" was reasonably well defined at the time of the Bill of Rights, one can then ask whether it needs to be updated to reflect these substantial and significant advances over the last 200 years.
Monday, December 17, 2007

Mark Levin makes the case contra-McCain...

...at the Corner:

In sum, John McCain has been weak on homeland security, joining with numerous liberal Democrats to argue for closing Guantanamo Bay, applying the Geneva Conventions to unlawful enemy combatants, extending certain constitutional rights to detainees, limiting tried and true interrogation techniques, and conferring amnesty on illegal aliens (which would include OTMs; that fact that Bush supported the same thing is no defense). He aggressively opposed the Bush tax cuts, even after they were scaled back. He is behind the McCain-Lieberman Stewardship Act, which is a Kyoto-like manifesto. His role in McCain-Feingold goes well beyond merely voting for it (he was its primary crusader). He organized the Gang of 14, which I contended at the time and still believe effectively killed Republican efforts to kill the Democrat filibustering of judicial nominees. And while he votes against unbalanced budgets, he has no problem with federal intervention in a wide range of matters that are outside the federal government's constitutional limits...

McCain has become a more attractive candidate recently, as his advantage over other Republicans in terms of electability has been repeatedly confirmed in polling. He has a strong pro-life track record, if not a strong advocacy record like, say, Huckabee. He's a legitimate hero, was right about the surge and Rumsfeld's inadequate planning, and his integrity is generally trusted by independents, unlike most GOP candidates.

It's important to remember the whole track record, though, and Levin is helping us do that.
Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mitt gets abused

Tim Russert has been, for 49 minutes at this point, eviscerating Mitt Romney and painting him as spineless opportunist. He's also bullying Romney by continually interrupting his defenses with further accusations.

What's disappointing is that, to this point, Romney has not looked Presidential. He's allowed himself to get bullied, and has not responded forcefully to (old and known) lines of attack on his character. He needs to get in Russert's face and say, "this whole interview has been shakedown. Say hi to Hillary for me."
Saturday, December 15, 2007

I know it's the silly season,

with the lagging campaigns and their spinsters getting desperate for traction. But still, this RedHot by Jeff Emanuel smacks of more desperation than usual:

Posted at 4:26am on Dec. 15, 2007

Know. Your. Audience.

By Jeff Emanuel

For example, don't pitch a national 30% sales tax to voters in a state that has no sales (or income) tax.

Here's the full version of the story, which is being picked up in the MSM echo chamber:

Earlier Friday, on another topic in Boscawen, N.H., Huckabee said eliminating federal income taxes in favor of a national sales tax would help save Social Security - an odd pitch in a state where residents pay no state income or sales taxes.

"Instead of basing our national budget off of payroll taxes for Social Security ... it means the base of funding is much broader," said Huckabee, whose shoestring campaign has surged nationally and in Iowa, which holds caucuses five days before New Hampshire's Jan. 8 primary.

The tax plan Huckabee has proposed, called the "FAIR tax," would eliminate federal income and investment taxes and replace them with a 23 percent federal sales tax. Even the backers of the tax admit it is unlikely to get through Congress, and other leading GOP candidates have been critical of the idea.

It's a tough sell in New Hampshire, where residents do not pay state income taxes or general sales taxes. Scott Sweezey, a programmer at the plant where Huckabee spoke, said he doesn't know how to make a consumption tax treat people fairly. [my emphasis]

I must've missed the part where Huckabee was pitching a New Hampshire state sales tax. Or the part where NH taxpayers didn't pay a federal income tax, the revocation of which would make Huckabee's proposal pretty attractive to this fiscally conservative state.

I presume that by this meme's logic, Huckabee would get more traction proposing an increase in the federal income tax, what with New Hampshirites being "used to it" and all. A sales tax, on the other hand, well--that's just weird wacky stuff.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007

National Review says, "Vote for Mitt"

The National Review has declared Mitt Romney their candidate, in this editorial from the editors yesterday. He is in fact their cover story. I think they lay out an excellent case for Romney, identifying many of the same reasons we have previously discussed on this blog. It will indeed be interesting to see what effect, if any, this has on the primaries.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007

All the twists and turns of riding the Scrambler while drinking

1)

Drudge screams he has an exclusive: Huckabee is the Dems dream candidate. "Top Dems" have put out the word not to damage Huck in the hope he'll get the GOP nod, since they think he has a glass chin and will be easily KO'd in the general:

"He'll easily be their McGovern, an easy kill," mocked one senior Democrat operative Tuesday morning from Washington.

"His letting out murderers because they shout 'Jesus', his wanting to put 300,000 AIDS patients and Magic Johnson into isolation, ain't even scratching the surface of what we've got on him."

B)

RCP links to a coincidentally timed Jim Pinkerton column, stating that Huck's faith will be a help, not a hinderance, in this election cycle.:

In decades past, figures as different as Martin Luther King Jr. and Jimmy Carter were widely admired for letting their faith influence their policy positions. Is Huckabee to be held to a different standard?

Indeed, in times when crime and out-of-wedlock births are again on the upsurge, when football players are murdered in their homes, when Christmas shoppers are gunned down in Heartland shopping malls, more Americans might well be thinking: John Adams was right when he said that passions need to be bridled "by morality and religion."

As a culture, as a people, we need to do something different. And everybody knows it.

III:

RCP asks, "Whose behind the Drudge attack on Huck?"

Not the Democrats, according to this response from a DNC spokesperson solicited by the intrepid Jonathan Martin:

"We always appreciate having our hard work noticed, and we know Mitt Romney likes to feel special, but the truth is we've been tracking Huckabee for over a year. The Romney campaign should take heart in the fact that the Drudge Report is buying their spin hook, line and sinker because nothing in that story came from us."


d:

RCP's whodunnit story links to GreenMountainPolitics, who points out that this story is Team Mitt hitting the "panic button" and that Drudge has a dog in the fight (Romney), and is willingly participating in the Romney campaign's shenanigans. The post concludes with this update: "Turns out the DNC doesn't have any idea what Team RomDrudge is talking about."

In conclusion:

What's actually going on here?

1. There is an extremely devious bunch of Dem operatives over at the DNC that don't want to face Huck. As a result, they want GOP voters to think they do want to face Huck, and are leaking this story to scare off undecided GOP primary voters.

2. Mitt (or some other rival campaign) is leaking a fraudulent story in hopes of slowing Huck's ascent.

3. The Dems are extremely sloppy, and someone let leak that they're hoping for a Huck win.

What's definitely NOT going on here?

The Dems have a strategy to help Huck win the GOP nod, and have decided to announce it to the world by having upper level DNC officials leak it to the guy with the widest readership of any politically-oriented blog.

This just in...

Waterboarding has indeed saved lives, so says a former CIA agent with intimate knowledge of the Abu Zubayda interrogation.

The fact that this same agent considers it torture and is against its use is a separate issue. One can argue whether certain techniques ought or ought not be used by the US. But the admission above lays to rest oft-repeated claims that no form of torture works, so now those who would argue against its use must at least do so conceding that they will not be getting full information out of detainees.

I'd also highlight the articles here and here, that indicate that Dems and Pelosi knew about waterboarding as early as '02 via CIA briefing and were unopposed, and a recent change of heart from a Newsweek journalist after talking with experts, respectively. In particular, an excerpt from the Newsweek article:

The unfortunate truth is that it may take unsavory methods to gather intelligence. It may be true that torture doesn't work well to get at the truth (on the theory that people will lie to stop the pain). But most intelligence experts will uneasily acknowledge that aggressive interrogation measures like sleeplessness—so-called "torture lite"—can work, especially when time is of the essence. The public may have to tolerate or turn a blind eye to more of the dark side if we want more actionable intelligence. I acknowledge this with reluctance and only as a last resort.

And this is why I hedge my language

In the days of the DrudgeReport and news cycles measured in minutes rather than days, one needs to be very careful of the conclusions they draw based on individual articles.

To wit, I pointed out yesterday that:

"If this case is representative of the pardons Huck was making, and the facts have not been twisted in this account, it will be a bridge too far for me."

I did so b/c it's hard to take years-old stories at face value without further vetting and confirmation. Remember, the story stated that Huckabee had "granted clemency" to a "crazed killer."

The Huckabee campaign website offers up the following rebuttal today:

On December 10, the Drudge Report linked to an article in The Arkansas Leader titled, "Why parole a monster like Green." Drudge links to the article as if it were a new story rather than an editorial 2004.

The editorial by Gary Feldman fails to mention:

--The Governor does not have the power to parole any prisoner. That responsibility lies with the parole board.

--The only action that Governor Huckabee took was to file a notice of intent to commute Glen Green's sentence.

--The commutation would have reduced Green's sentence to 181 years, 10 months, and 19 days.

--After the 30-day public hearing period ended, Governor Huckabee decided against commuting Green's sentence.

"Granted clemency" to a "crazed killer", and yet "Gov. Huckabee decided against communting Green's sentence." This is why I hedge my bets when trusting Drudge.

And more on this soon to come...
Monday, December 10, 2007

A troubling sign

As the contributors here know, I've been defending Huckabee on the Dumond case because, well, his actions were defensible. The commutation of Dumond's sentence were made by Lt. Gov. Tucker under the administration of Gov. Clinton. The parole board and parole process which actually set Dumond free during the tenure of Gov. Huckabee is not under the control of the Governor, and he has little say in the process. The fact that Gov. Huckabee apparently was comfortable with Dumond being set free was not cogent to the facts of the case.

Then there was the issue of the quantity of pardons Huckabee made. That too, was readily defensible. Given that the state criminal justice system jailed tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people during the 10 years Huck was governor there (there were nearly 14K prisoners in AK on 12/31/06), there were probably 1000 cases in which a reasonable request for clemency or pardon could be made. All that was required was assuming that the Governor was being more diligent than previous administrations in rooting out such cases, and acting accordingly.

But now we have a horse of a different color. From Drudge, I caught the link to this story of another pardon:

Gov. Huckabee probably never read the confession of a demented killer named Glen Green before he made the monster eligible for parole. Green's confession
is so depraved, its sadistic details so scary that no sane, responsible adult would consider him for parole. If the governor didn't read the confession, he is guilty of dereliction of duty. But if he read the confession and still considers Green deserving of parole, he's certainly unfit to hold office. Who would free a madman who beat an 18-year-old woman with Chinese martial-arts sticks, raped her as she barely clung to life, ran over her with his car, then dumped her in the bayou, her hand reaching up, as if begging for mercy? We're publishing the gruesome picture of Green's victim on the front page because we believe her hand is reaching up to demand justice. In usual fashion, Huckabee's office didn't even contact the victim's family about the clemency.

Although he's required to by the Constitution, the governor, as is his custom, won't say why he granted clemency to this crazed killer (over the unanimous objections of the Post-Prison Transfer Board)...

...Green, a 22-year-old sergeant, kidnapped Helen Lynette Spencer on Little Rock Air Force Base, where he beat and kicked her as he tried to rape her in a secluded area. She broke loose and ran toward the barracks' parking lot, where he caught up with her and beat her with a pair of nunchucks. He then stuffed her into the trunk of his car and left her there while he cleaned up. Several hours later, he drove down Graham Road, past Loop Road and stopped near a bridge in Lonoke County. Green told investigators he put her body in the front seat and raped her because her body was still warm. He dragged Spencer out of his vehicle and put her in front of the car and ran over her several times, going back and forth. He then collected himself long enough to dump her body in Twin Prairie Bayou...

...As he grants clemency to scores of violent criminals, Huckabee's motives are the subject of speculation: Why, people are asking, is he doing it? After studying the record for several weeks, all one can say is that his actions perhaps reflect a combination of arrogance and avarice and ignorance. While his fellow governors keep electing him to top positions in their little club, he has alienated Arkansans of both parties. They're shocked at not only the amazing number of clemencies but also at the way he ignores the suffering of the victims' families, who are always the last to know when their loved one's killer is up for parole.

If this case is representative of the pardons Huck was making, and the facts have not been twisted in this account, it will be a bridge too far for me. The author of the column quoted above doesn't hide the fact that he thinks the pardons were a result of Huckabee having sympathy on those who professed a religiously-motivated change of heart in prison, but I specifically excluded those quotes because they are mere speculation on the part of the author, without any statements from Huckabee backing them up.

One thing's for sure: if Huck's stock-in-trade in AK was not explaining his decisions, particularly to the families of the victims, that won't cut in a Presidential election. He's going to have to explain why he vacated the decisions of duly appointed juries and judges.

Waterboarding

Interesting article here, indicating that as early as '02 the CIA prepped both Repubs and Dems (including Pelosi) on waterboarding and other tactics. So did Pelosi and other Dems raise strong objections and register complaints? Far from it, they gave approval and actually asked for more. Interesting to see how the Dems actually feel about an issue when it is being decided in private behind the scenes, rather than in public as a political issue.
Sunday, December 09, 2007

Assault Weapons

A short while back I posted what I thought might be unpopular opinions. In one of them I advocated a ban on assault weapons. Fredo asked a very good question that I didn't have a chance to respond to, "what is the definition of an assault rifle?" Here's my late response.


My initial thought was that assault rifles are like pornography, I know one when I see one. But that's not good enough as it's not objective. Wikipedia has a definition here. I think that's too complicated, since I know almost nothing about guns and I don't fully understand it. To my mind the definition should be very simple. There should be a general ban on civilians owning weapons which are lethal under normal circumstances that do not require the user to pull the trigger for each shot. Given SHK's analysis of the inability of a civilian militia to stand up to the US Military, I can think of no valid reason for a civilian to own a weapon that discharges multiple rounds with one depression of the trigger. I realize this is an even broader definition that should be called fully-automatic weapons instead of assault weapons. I also realize there will be a black market for these weapons. I also acknowledge that you don't need automatic weapons to kill people (like Columbine & Virginia Tech) and I'd advocate wider weapons bans, but I don't want to get kicked off OccObs ;).

The Huck Border Security Plan

Released yesterday:


    • The Secure America Plan

      A 9-Point Strategy for Immigration Enforcement and Border Security

      Overview: Implement a broad-based strategy that commits the resources of the federal government to the enforcement of our immigration laws and results in the attrition of the illegal immigrant population.

      1. Build the Fence

      Ensure that an interlocking surveillance camera system is installed along the border by July 1, 2010.

      Ensure that the border fence construction is completed by July 1, 2010.

      2. Increase Border Patrol

      Increase the number of border patrol agents.

      Fully support all law enforcement personnel tasked with enforcing immigration law.

      3. Prevent Amnesty

      Policies that promote or tolerate amnesty will be rejected.

      Propose to provide all illegal immigrants a 120-day window to register with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services and leave the country. Those who register and return to their home country will face no penalty if they later apply to immigrate or visit; those who do not return home will be, when caught, barred from future reentry for a period of 10 years.

      4. Enforce the Law on Employers

      Employment is the chief draw for most illegal immigrants and denying them jobs is the centerpiece of an attrition strategy.

      Impose steep fines and penalties on employers that violate the law.
      Institute a universal, mandatory citizenship verification system as part of the normal hiring process.

      Prevent the IRS and the Social Security Administration from accepting fraudulent Social Security numbers or numbers that don't match the employees' names.

      5. Establish an Economic Border

      Move toward passage of the FairTax.

      The FairTax provides an extra layer of security by creating an economic disincentive to immigrate to the U.S. illegally.

      6. Empower Local Authorities

      Promote better cooperation on enforcement by supporting legislative measures such as the CLEAR Act, which aims to systematize the relationship between local law and federal immigration officials.

      Encourage immigration-law training for police. Local authorities must be provided the tools, training, and funding they need so local police can turn illegal immigrants over to the federal authorities.

      7. Ensure Document Security

      End exemptions for Mexicans and Canadians to the US-VISIT program, which tracks the arrival and departure of foreign visitors. Since these countries account for the vast majority of foreigners coming here (85 percent), such a policy clearly violates Congress' intent in mandating this check-in/check-out system.

      Reject Mexico's "matricula consular" card, which functions as an illegal-immigrant identification card.

      8. Discourage Dual Citizenship

      Inform foreign governments when their former citizens become naturalized U.S. citizens.

      Impose civil and/or criminal penalties on American citizens who illegitimately use their dual status (e.g., using a foreign passport, voting in elections in both a foreign country and the U.S.).

      9. Modernize the Process of Legal Immigration

      Eliminate the visa lottery system and the admission category for adult brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens.

      Increase visas for highly-skilled and highly-educated applicants.

      Expedite processing for those who serve honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces.

      Improve our immigration process so that those patiently and responsibly seeking to come here legally will not have to wait decades to share in the American dream.

      Governor Huckabee has always been grateful to live in a country that people are trying to break into, rather than break out of.
Saturday, December 08, 2007

It's Huck Oppo-Research Day

Now that he's flying to the fore, the opposing campaigns are obviously conducting an oppo research dump. Makes for some fun at Drudge. It's all to the good. Get it all out now. If Huck has Teflon, he'll put in the rear-view. If not, he's not the guy the GOP needs.

My guess? He's up to the challenge.

To wit:

Huck on those with AIDS ca. '92:

In 1992, Huckabee wrote, "If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague."

"It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents."


Huck called homosexuality aberrant and sinful (now there's a shocker for a minister...):

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, surging in Iowa polls in the Republican presidential race, wrote on a questionnaire while running for U.S. Senate in 1992 that homosexuality is "aberrant" and "sinful."

"I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk,"


And of course, more drum beating on the Dumond case.


UPDATE:

Huck has responded on the AIDS story. Here's a piece of what he had to say:

At the time, there was widespread concern over modes of transmission and
the possibility of epidemic. In the absence of conclusive data, my focus
was on efforts to limit the exposure of the virus, following traditional medical
practices developed from our public health experience and medical science in
dealing with tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.

We now know that the virus that causes AIDS is spread differently, with
a lower level of contact than with TB. But looking back almost 20 years, my
concern was the uncertain risk to the general population – if we got it wrong,
many people would die needlessly. My concern was safety first, political
correctness last.

My administration will be the first to have an overarching strategy for
dealing with HIV and AIDS here in the United States, with a partnership between
the public and private sectors that will provide necessary financing and a
realistic path toward our goals. We must prevent new infections and provide more
accessible care. We must do everything possible to transform the promise of a
vaccine and a cure into reality.

Huck doubles up Mitt

Assuming this poll is true (ht: Drudge), Huck has Iowa even more locked up than I previously suspected.

With Huck's numbers also soaring across the South (namely in recent SC and NC polls), Huck is beginning to look the Southern parochial choice. With IA and SC setting up for him, he's setting up a multi-state tear that would give him tons of mo' heading into the 2/5 national primary. On his current trajectory, FL could end up being in play as well (which would be devastating to Rudy).

Outside of the South, NH is still critical. While winning is probably out of the question for Huck, a strong showing (3rd or better) in NH is essential for him to be seen as someone who can win outside of the South. That would place him ahead of Rudy, Mitt or McCain in a state with a relatively small evangelical vote and a tradition of voting for libertarians.

To do so, I think it would be smart for Huck to pivot now. His numbers are surging, so the natural instinct will be "if ain't broke, don't fix it." But it's important for him to remember he's still the least known of the major candidates nationally. While the religious right has gotten the message that Huck is their guy, there are also large swaths of independent and moderate Republican voters who are still judging the man. Many are turned off by overtly "preachy" language, and campagin stops like the pastor convention he just attended are not helpful in wooing such voters.

Rather than acting on the natural instinct to shore up recent gains, I'd like to see Huck move into the mode of wooing voters outside of his core constituency. These voters are still there to be had, but with the white hot spotlight now shining directly on Huck, the opportunity won't be there long. In short order, many Americans will be deciding if Huck is a religious man who is suited to be the President of a Repbulic without an established religion, or if 4 years of Sunday Sermons will be too much to take. Time for Huck to open his big-tent wide: he's got nothing left to prove to those of us who care about social issues.

NBC forgets to put on its impartial mask

Check out the arrogance of these bastages.
Friday, December 07, 2007

More Romney Reax

First, from David Brooks at the NYT, who sums up the speech and the generally positive reactions that followed:

[Mitt] argued that beneath the differences among America’s denominations there is a common creed, a conception of a moral order described in the Declaration of Independence, and lived out during the high points in the nation’s history. He recounted Sam Adams’s plea for unity in a time of crisis, and how his own father’s commitment to the basic American creed caused him to march with Martin Luther King Jr.

From Neuhaus, Romney borrowed the conviction that faith is under assault in America — which is the unifying glue of social conservatism. He argued that the religious have a common enemy: the counter-religion of secularism.

He insisted that the faithful should stick stubbornly to their religions, as he himself sticks to the faith of his fathers. He insisted that God-talk should remain a vibrant force in the public square and that judges should be guided by the foundations of their faith. He lamented the faithlessness of Europe and linked the pro-life movement to abolition and civil rights, just as evangelicals do.

It is not always easy to blend an argument for religious liberty with an argument for religious assertiveness, but Romney did it well. Yesterday, I called around to many of America’s serious religious thinkers — including moderates like Richard Bushman of Columbia, and conservatives like Neuhaus and Robert George of Princeton. Everyone I spoke with was enthusiastic about the speech, some of them wildly so.


Here's more. First, the conservatives:

Noonan (largely positive)
Cost (mixed to negative)
Lowry (positive)
Parker (positive)

Liberals:

Kusnet, TNR (negative)
BloGlo editorial (negative: surprise, surprise)
Dionne (mixed)

Buchanan listened to Romney's religion speech...

...and he loved what he heard. I haven't heard his speech yet, only excerpts, but from what I understand it was even better than people expected it to be. We'll see how this translates in Iowa.
Thursday, December 06, 2007

Huckabee on crime

This story, that Huckabee had more commutations and pardons combined than the neighboring 6 states, might play right into Rudy's hands in particular. Rudy can play up his outspoken defense of NYPD in the face of assault after assault from liberal MSM, and then attempt to paint Huckabee as soft on crime. Not sure how much this will resonate with Republican base, though, and whether Rudy and others will be successful in suggesting that a soft record on crime will translate into a soft policy on national defense.

Update on the arrested teacher

Here's an update on the story that baffled me yesterday.

Washington County District Attorney Todd Martens said the comment left by James Buss was offensive and disgusting, but was protected speech under the state and U.S. constitutions...

Martens said he could not charge Buss with a crime because the blog was not likely to incite "imminent lawless action." He said it was unclear whether the comment advocated violence against teachers, and even if it did, its language was not likely to incite others to act...

Police had asked the district attorney to charge Buss with disorderly conduct and unlawful use of computerized communications systems. But bloggers and free speech advocates had called on him to drop the case.


Which gets back to the question of, was this a lawful arrest? I'm surprised the police would arrest someone in their home, who is not an imminent threat to anyone (a point now confirmed by the DA), in a case where it is likely that "probable cause" never existed in the first place. At a minimum, the A/O would have been wise to seek an arrest warrant just for CYA. I wouldn't be surprised to see the West Bend PD getting sued.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Matt Muggeridge is Sexy...

smart, and a man who knows how to put in a good smoking effort.

Way to go, Muggsy. Hope you enjoy watching the dissidents continue their death rattle over the next few years...

Huck moves into the lead in Rasmussen Natl

Republican Candidates

12/05/07 (since 10/5/07)
Rudy 17% (-2%)
Huck 20% (+14%)
Fred 10% (-11%)
McCn 13% (+2%)
Mitt 13% (-3%)

GOP Primary: focus on the GWOT

From the "something to do while you're bored at work" file, let's play: "YOU GUESS THE CANDIDATE"! Can you spot a dime's worth of difference?

Below are the unlabeled opinions of Huck, Rudy, McCain, Fred & Mitt, taken directly from the issues pages of their respective campaign websites. First, let's see if you can identify who is who (not sure if I could have). Then, let me know who makes the most sense to you, or if they're all exactly the same.

Quote #1:

...America faces a dedicated, focused, and intelligent foe in the war on terrorism. This enemy will probe to find America's weaknesses and strike against them. The United States cannot afford to be complacent about the threat, naive about terrorist intentions, unrealistic about their capabilities, or ignorant to our national vulnerabilities...

...As President, Candidate1 will ensure that America has the quality intelligence necessary to uncover plots before they take root, the resources to protect critical infrastructure and our borders against attack, and the capability to respond and recover from a terrorist incident swiftly.

He will ensure that the war against terrorists is fought intelligently, with patience and resolve, using all instruments of national power. Moreover, he will lead this fight with the understanding that to impinge on the rights of our own citizens or restrict the freedoms for which our nation stands would be to give terrorists the victory they seek.

Candidate1 believes that just as America must be prepared to meet and prevail against any adversary on the field of battle, we must engage and prevail against them on the battleground of ideas. In so doing, we can and must deprive terrorists of the converts they seek and teach the doctrine of hatred and despair.

As President, Candidate1 will take it as his most sacred responsibility to keep America free, safe, and strong - an abiding beacon of freedom and hope to the world.

Quote 2:

Candidate2 believes winning the war on terror is the great responsibility of our generation. America cannot afford to go back to the days of playing defense, with inconsistent responses to terrorist attacks, because weakness only encourages aggression. Americans want peace. We’re at war not because we want to be, but because the terrorists declared war on us—well before the attacks of September 11th. Candidate2 understands that freedom is going to win this war of ideas. America will win the war on terror.

Quote 3:

I believe that we are currently engaged in a world war. Radical Islamic fascists have declared war on our country and our way of life... I will fight the war on terror with the intensity and single-mindedness that it deserves.

The top priority of the president as Commander in Chief is first and foremost protecting our own citizens...

While I prefer America to be safe and secure within her own borders rather than loved and appreciated abroad, I believe we can accomplish both goals...

...As president, I will fight this war hard, but I will also fight it smart, using all our political, economic, diplomatic, and intelligence weapons as well as our military might...

...It's an enemy conducive to being tracked down and eliminated by using the CIA and the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command. We can accomplish a great deal, we can achieve tremendous bang for the buck, with swift, surgical air strikes and commando raids by our elite units, working with friendly governments, as we've done with the Ethiopians in Somalia. These operations are impossible without first-rate intelligence. When the Cold War ended, we cut back on our human intelligence, just as we cut back on our armed forces, and both have come back to haunt us. As President, I will beef up our human intelligence capacity, both the operatives who gather information and the analysts who figure out what it means...

...The long-term solution to terror is to empower moderates in the region. My goal in the Middle and Near East is to correctly calibrate a course between maintaining stability and promoting democracy... First, we have to destroy the terrorists who already exist, then we have to attack the underlying conditions that breed terror, by creating schools that offer an alternative to the extremist madrassas that take impressionable children and turn them into killers, by creating jobs and opportunity and hope, by encouraging a free press and other institutions that promote democracy...

...If I ever have to undertake a large invasion, I will follow the Powell Doctrine and use overwhelming force...

Our current armed forces aren't large enough...

Quote 4:

The first responsibility of government is to protect the American people, the homeland, and our way of life. Today we face the urgent threat of radical Islamic terrorists. Al Qaeda is committed to attacking us here at home, and wants to use weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to kill millions. We must never give them that opportunity. We must defeat the terrorists abroad, and that begins in Iraq and Afghanistan—the central fronts in this global war. We must show the world we have the will to fight and win. A weakened America - or an America that appears weaker - will only encourage further attacks. We must persevere. As Commander-in-Chief, the president must ensure the United States has the means to achieve victory. Presidential leadership requires talking to the American people about these stakes, mapping out a clear vision for success, and devising a comprehensive strategy for achieving it. I am committed to:

-A larger, more capable, and more modern military that can defeat terrorists, deter adversaries, and defend the U.S. and our interests...
-An enhanced intelligence community, with robust human-intelligence capabilities, focused on terrorism and proliferation.
-A robust approach to homeland security that will protect our nation from terrorists and WMD, regardless of where they come from.
-A strengthened system of global alliances to better combat terrorists, proliferators, and traditional threats to our interests.
-A judicial system that deals with the realities of terrorists and unlawful enemy combatants.

Quote 5:

Radical Islam has one goal: to replace all modern Islamic states with a worldwide caliphate while destroying the United States and converting all nonbelievers, forcibly if necessary, to a fundamentalist form of Islam.

Merely closing our eyes and hoping that Jihadism will go away is not an acceptable solution. U.S. military action alone cannot change the hearts and minds of hundreds of millions of Muslims. In the end, only Muslims themselves can defeat the violent radicals. But we must work with them. The consequences of ignoring this threat – such as a radicalized Islamic actor possessing nuclear weapons – are simply unacceptable.

To meet today's challenges, we must mobilize and integrate all elements of national power in unstable areas where traditional civilian agencies cannot operate effectively and traditional military power alone cannot succeed.

Create A Special Partnership Force (SPF). The SPF will integrate all elements of national power under a new force with leadership drawn from a core group of our Army Special Forces trained to work with civilian governments and intelligence personnel to form a new capability that is:

-Focused on locally-targeted efforts to win support in the community while identifying, isolating and eliminating terrorist elements.
-Highly integrated and able to mobilize all elements of national power, including humanitarian and development assistance and rule of law capacity building.
-Closely coordinated in partnership with local governments.
-Intelligence driven.
-Agile and flexible in its operations.
-A sustainable effort in contested areas and sanctuaries of Jihadist groups.

Launch A New Type Of Marshall Plan Unifying Nonmilitary Sources Of Power To Support Moderate Muslims. As President, Governor Romney will call together our Middle East allies and the major nations of the developed world to establish a "Partnership for Progress and Prosperity."

This Partnership will assemble the resources of all developed nations to assure that threatened Islamic states have public schools, micro-credit and banking, the rule of law, human rights, basic health care, and competitive economic policies. Resources would be drawn from public and private institutions, and from volunteers and NGOs.

Strengthen Global Alliances. The failure of efforts such as the United Nations Human Rights Council has given multilateralism a bad name. America’s strength is amplified when it is combined with the strength of other nations.

Finally, from Ron Paul (you'd have guessed it anyway):

The war in Iraq was sold to us with false information. The area is more dangerous now than when we entered it. We destroyed a regime hated by our direct enemies, the jihadists, and created thousands of new recruits for them. This war has cost more than 3,000 American lives, thousands of seriously wounded, and hundreds of billions of dollars. We must have new leadership in the White House to ensure this never happens again.

Both Jefferson and Washington warned us about entangling ourselves in the affairs of other nations. Today, we have troops in 130 countries. We are spread so thin that we have too few troops defending America. And now, there are new calls for a draft of our young men and women.

We can continue to fund and fight no-win police actions around the globe, or we can refocus on securing America and bring the troops home. No war should ever be fought without a declaration of war voted upon by the Congress, as required by the Constitution.

Under no circumstances should the U.S. again go to war as the result of a resolution that comes from an unelected, foreign body, such as the United Nations.

Too often we give foreign aid and intervene on behalf of governments that are despised. Then, we become despised. Too often we have supported those who turn on us, like the Kosovars who aid Islamic terrorists, or the Afghan jihadists themselves, and their friend Osama bin Laden. We armed and trained them, and now we’re paying the price.

At the same time, we must not isolate ourselves. The generosity of the American people has been felt around the globe. Many have thanked God for it, in many languages. Let us have a strong America, conducting open trade, travel, communication, and diplomacy with other nations.



Hyperlinks (don't look till you've logged your guesses):

Candidate1
Candidate2
Candidate3
Candidate4
Candidate5

I'm struggling here

Don't know if you caught this story:

Buss, a former president of the teacher's union, allegedly wrote that teacher salaries made him sick because they are lazy and work only five hours a day. He praised the teen gunmen who killed 12 students and a teacher before committing suicide in the April 1999 attack at Columbine High School.

"They knew how to deal with the overpaid teacher union thugs. One shot at a time!" he wrote, adding they should be remembered as heroes.

The comment disturbed at least one teacher, who called police in West Bend, 40 miles north of Milwaukee and home of the blog's administrator. Police traveled to arrest Buss at his home in Cudahy, south of Milwaukee, last week after the blogger gave them the anonymous poster's IP address.

After his arrest, Buss spent an hour in the Washington County jail before he was released on $350 bail. He did not return phone messages and e-mails seeking comment, and it was unclear whether he had a lawyer.

Washington County District Attorney Todd Martens is considering whether to charge Buss with disorderly conduct and unlawful use of computerized communication systems.

OK, first for my procedural beef here. Maybe it's just b/c I'm familiar with NY and not with WI procedure, but how can this guy be released on bail if there are no charges yet filed? Wouldn't he have to have been arraigned to be released on bail? Also, wouldn't the police need an arrest warrant (and hence the DA's cooperation) to arrest a man in his home when there were no exigent/emergency circumstances (i.e., the post didn't say, "I'm going to shoot those teachers in 2 hours")?

Now to the more substantive issue: what the heck? No one who knows me will confuse me with an anti-police lefty, but (I can't believe I'm saying this) this case almost makes me glad the ACLU is out there. OK, not really. Can't overlook all the other sins of the organization, but this is a truly disturbing arrest.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Rasmussen Shocker: Huck now tied for 1st nationally

In the daily national GOP tracking poll, Huckabee has caught Giuliani and is now tied for the #1 spot. Whether Huck's recent spike proves to be lasting or short lived, nobody knows. But his rise has been shocking. Especially to the Giuliani camp, who was rooting Huck on as the candidate likely to trip up Mitt and leave a wide opening for Hizzoner. Well, I'm guessing they're starting to sweat now.

For a little more context on just how important today's poll could be, and how dominant Rudy had been, let me throw a few numbers at you:

# of polls included in the RCP tracker (starting 1/1/07)for the GOP race (national): 163

# of polls showing Rudy leading: 151

# of consecutive polls Rudy had led before being tied by Huck today: 34 (dating back to 9/24/07)

# of polls showing McCain leading: 1
# of polls showing McCain/Rudy tie: 1
# of polls showing Fred leading: 8
# of polls showing a Fred/Rudy tie: 1

And now, # of polls showing a Huck/Rudy tie: 1

Huck is certainly peaking at the right time, with less than 1 month to Iowa (where he is also leading in the polls as per the RCP average).

MSM Double-Standard (Episode MCCLXVI)

And a particularly grotesque example thereof. Especially in light of the Rep. Foley and Sen. Craig scandals that took place recently and the whirlwind of attention they both received. In terms of depravity and criminality, this episode probably falls somewhere in between the previous two. Rep. Foley personally placed young adults that were in his charge into danger. Sen. Craig was involved in consensual activities with other adults, though they were depraved. He made an arse out of himself and should have had enough shame to resign.

The current case, involving Sen. Cantwell's scheduling aide Mike McHaney, are scandalous and perhaps worse than Rep. Foley's, in that it was a boy and not just a young adult involved. Of course, Maria Cantwell can say that it wasn't her, "just a staffer," which is why she won't get burned as bad as Foley.

Of course since she's a Dem, she probably won't get burned at all. No questions for the Senator that a Republican in a similar circumsatnce would get. Questions like:

"What did you know and when did you know it?"

"Did Mr. McHaney quit on Friday, 11/30, or was he fired? Isn't it a bit coincidental that his employment ceased 3 days before being arrested?"

"If your office knew of his malfeasance, why was said information not passed on to the authorities?"

Perhaps there are legitimate answers here, but if it were a Republican, you at least know the hard questions would be getting asked. Other than Drudge, I haven't seen hide nor hair of this one in the MSM. Having looked on the front pages at CNN, MSNBC, and the NY Times, and the politics page at the Slimes, I've uncovered zero mentions.
Monday, November 26, 2007

The sinking ship that is billary

Great news.
Saturday, November 24, 2007

It is time

for unpopular opinions on OccObs. I happen to know Fredo, D.C. and CaribouExpress will be hunting for a few days, so I can post controversial opinions with relative and temporary impugnity.

Opinion #1: I know that hindsight is 20-20 and that we've already created the mess in Iraq. I know that we can't leave it in the state it's in now. But, considering the budget for the war itself, the cost of proper care for the veterans returning home and all the other costs associated with this war, wouldn't we have been better off spending a fraction of this amount on defense and intelligence? What could state and local governments done with that money to root out terrorists in our midst, who are a real, local threat? What could scientists and engineers done with that money to improve profiling, facial recognition technology, biometrics, and explosive detection technology? Who's to blame? Republicans for not pushing hard enough for this money before a compelling event? Republicans for pushing too hard to go to war? Democrats for not approving/campaigning against this sort of peace-time spending? Democrats for pushing for over-zealous privacy and personal liberty legislation? Who knows?

Opinion #2: What is the problem with passing a permanent ban on personal use of assault weapons? I'm all for normal guns rights. I hope my fellow bloggers have a good time hunting deer using regular hunting rifles and shotguns. I plan on purchasing a shotgun myself in the near future. But why does Joe Public need an assault weapon? There's no legitimate (non-crazy) reason.

Opinion #3: Ron Paul makes a lot of sense a good deal of the time.

Opinion #4: The U.S. should impose tariffs equals to the tariffs imposed by countries on our goods. Duncan Hunter (my longstanding favorite) is the only candidate who seems to get this. Just try going a week without buying something made in China and you'll understand.

Opinion #5: The next time some idiot says the U.S. economy is in terrible shape, so him/her this http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/2007/07/06/135-update-on-the-gdp-map-of-the-usa/. It's a map depicting the GDP of other countries superimposed on states with similar GDPs.

(There are some other interesting maps on this site too
http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/2007/11/01/194-the-united-states-of-islam/
http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/2007/08/05/162-the-united-states-of-florida/
http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/2007/08/03/160-the-united-countries-of-baseball/)

Ok. Ok. So not all of these opinions are all that controversial. But hey, it's just me and SHK for a little while. So what say you SHK?
Sunday, November 18, 2007

This one's for DC

Saturday, November 17, 2007

There are unfortunate events,

and then there are horrors. Color me horrified:

Here's a sobering thought: Hundreds of bottles of Jack Daniel's whiskey, some of it almost 100 years old, may be unceremoniously poured down a drain because authorities suspect it was being sold by someone without a license.


The illogicalism and non-common-sensicality of the whole thing is like glass all up in my brain.

Tell them how I feel, Kyle:

"Punish the person, not the whiskey," said an outraged Kyle MacDonald, 28, a Jack Daniel's drinker from British Columbia who promotes the whiskey on his blog. "Jack never did anything wrong, and the whiskey itself is innocent."
Friday, November 16, 2007

Casting Call: Sabotage




Who should play Sir Stewart Wallace?
SHK
Fredo
DC
Caribou Express
ManBeast
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com




Who should play Cochese?
SHK
Fredo
DC
Caribou Express
ManBeast
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com




Who should play Bobby the Rookie?
SHK
Fredo
DC
Caribou Express
ManBeast
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com



Who should play "The Chief"?
SHK
Fredo
DC
Caribou Express
ManBeast
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com



Who should play Bunny?
SHK
Fredo
DC
Caribou Express
ManBeast
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Dems: Party of the Rich

John Harwood of the WSJ with more on changes in party loyalty and party "brand":

Driving her city bus through downtown Denver, Angela Williams would seem to be one of those "invisible" people Hillary Clinton and fellow Democrats appeal to. She's a Hispanic union member who earns $39,000 a year.

Jim Kelley, whose office Ms. Williams drives by, looks like one of those plutocrats whom Democrats are talking about taxing more. He buys companies for the $7 billion private-equity firm Vestar Capital Partners, with headquarters on New York's Park Avenue.

Think again. Ms. Williams, 43 years old, is a conservative Christian whose biggest political fear is that fellow Republicans might nominate abortion-rights supporter Rudy Giuliani for president. Mr. Kelley, 53, is writing big campaign checks for Barack Obama and other Democrats -- and taxes don't make his top 10 list of critical political issues.

In this newly competitive state and elsewhere, Republicans are struggling to reassure their nervous religious-right base, while Democrats are profiting from increasing support among high-income voters. And that support may be more impervious to warnings of higher taxes than some Republicans assume.

Why Politicians Suck

Sometimes I see a story that gets me so pissed off I don't even know where to begin. This is such a story. Republicans and Democrats should be embarrassed, disgusted, and sickened by themselves that they have still failed to fix the VA system and provide more-than-sufficient funding for our veterans returning home. For F's sake, can everyone just stop being so beholden to party politics for once and agree that a top priority must be providing as much care as necessary for returning soldiers? I am sickened when I read about stories like this where soldiers are not given adequate medical treatment, or that their houses are foreclosed or utilities shut down while they are overseas b/c they can't pay the bills, or that they can't get jobs or assistance when they return. I'd like to see some real leadership for once from someone to actually DO something rather than just talking up the issue. How can this still be an issue in this day and age?

McCain: Wise

ass. You've got to love the general crankiness in this story:

Moments after a news conference in Sacramento today where he urged
California to return Arizona’s water (good luck with that), Sen. John McCain
left a downtown building to enter a waiting SUV for the trip to a fund-raiser in
San Francisco.

Oops!. The SUV's hood was up. The vehicle wouldn't start.

Sabotage,” McCain muttered after conferring with an
apologetic driver Mallory Franklin. Franklin assured McCain that a replacement
vehicle would arrive within minutes. But not wanting to be late to his next
fund-raiser, McCain hailed a cab.


Sabotage? Where's Cochese when you need him? More from the same LAT article:

...unlike many presidential candidates who blow into the state to gather
California gold, and duck out without talking with reporters, McCain took time
to answer questions on a range of topics from news people, including The Times'
Dan Morain. One reporter asked how much money he had raised in the Golden
state.

“Not enough,” McCain quipped. “There's still a lot of money in
California that I need to get. It's a very rich state. They’ve stolen Arizona’s
water. At least they can pass back in some fashion. The best way, the most
effective way probably, would be to contribute to my campaign.”


PowerLine got in on the act of documenting the wise-assitude as well, with a Johnny Mac quote in this post:

Today, McCain held his more or less weekly blogger conference call. He was his usual direct, irreverent, uncompromising self. McCain began by noting that some bloggers (e.g., Paul Mirengoff) have come on board his bus "in response to my insults," and he encouraged others to do the same. He went on to apologize for the fact that there was no blogger call last week, which he attributed to "incompetent staff...these work release programs aren't what they should be."
Thursday, November 15, 2007

Get ready for a crazy stretch drive

Less than 2 months to the Hawkeye Cauc-eye, and Huckabee has, for all intents and purposes, caught Romney in the polls. The RCP average is something of a lagging indicator, but the trend is clear. For Brody's take on the most recent ARG poll, showing Mitt and Huck within two points of each other (and within the MOE), see here.

Billary

Interesting story-within-a-story to keep an eye on. While Hillary has certainly drawn a lot of heat over her recent inability to commit to a position on Spitzer's IDs for illegal immigrants policy, perhaps the bigger story behind that is that she and her people are starting to attack and alienate the very people she needs on her side: the press. First, she attacked Russert. Now they are apparently issuing veiled warnings to Wolf Blitzer. Interestingly he's not backing down:

“If she can’t handle the heat during a Democratic contest, wait until the Republicans really start going after her,” he told TV Newser. “If she’s the nominee.”

“I think Russert was doing his job,” he said.

Finally, Blitzer took issue with Bill Clinton’s complaint that six “boys” — a reference to the other Democratic presidential candidates —ganged up on one “girl,” his wife.

“Hillary Clinton is the front-runner,” Blitzer said. “No matter if it’s a boy or girl, there’s a tendency to gang up on that person. It’s a natural phenomenon.”


For a family that is supposed to be so politically deft, they have made some rookie mistakes recently.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Freddoso on NRLC & Thompson

I was going to explain the oddity of this endorsement, but it's already been done by a pro. Here's his aptly titled article, "Catch a Falling Star." Mets fans should know what that feels like.
...is Thompson more electable in the primary than, say, Mike Huckabee or Ron
Paul? There is little evidence right now that he is. The NRLC board must have
great faith in Thompson’s campaign team, because its endorsement may be the only
good news for Thompson in at least a month. After a series of unimpressive
appearances on a sparse schedule, one above-par debate performance, and a number
of policy announcements (immigration, Social Security, and expanding the size of
the military) that garnered little coverage, polls have offered Thompson nothing
but bad news since he became a candidate. Can his campaign find the groove it
has never had, or has NRLC just hitched itself to a falling star? Since his
early September debut, Thompson’s national numbers have gone in just one
direction — downward. His Real Clear Politics national poll average peaked
just below 24-percent just after he announced, and since then it has gradually
declined to its current level at 16-percent.

National Right to Life Committee-PAC Endorses Fred Thompson

From the NRLC press release: "As the first major grassroots organization to enter the Republican presidential race, National Right to Life is proud to endorse Fred Thompson," stated Wanda Franz, Ph.D., president of National Right to Life. "Our endorsement is a testament to Senator Thompson's long-standing pro-life record, his commitment to unborn children, and our belief in his ability to win."

"Unlike endorsements by single individuals, this endorsement was made by representatives of statewide pro-life organizations across America which themselves are comprised of local community chapters and grassroots activists," said Dr. Franz.

Fred responded to news of the endorsement by saying:
"I'm deeply appreciative for the past support by the National Right to Life Committee-PAC in my Senate campaigns, and today I am blessed and grateful to have received their endorsement for President of the United States.

"In supporting me, those who have worked tirelessly to defend life are supporting a consistent conservative who has stood with them yesterday, who stands with them today, and will stand with them tomorrow."

Just what I needed

Every once in a while I see something that restores my faith in humanity, and this is that story. Looks like Spitzer has been forced to withdraw his stupid plan to provide illegals with driver's licenses. I'm pleased to see that even in as strong a liberal hotbed as NY some common sense can still prevail, even though these same people elected both Hillary and Spitzer. This is my favorite part of the article:

The decision to wave the white flag was cemented as a Siena Research Institute poll released yesterday showed Spitzer with his lowest approval ratings ever - with just 25 percent of voters saying they would support his re-election if the vote were held today.

One source said Spitzer had failed because he "just tried to push [the plan] down everyone's throats."


Really? Spitzer trying to shove his idea of justice down people's throats? But that seems so unlike all of his previous actions as the AG; who among the electorate could possibly have foreseen this type of brazen power grab???
Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The State of Our Monuments

Duncan Maxwell Anderson wrote an interesting piece at The American Thinker that focuses on the scourge of anti-American equivocation, and what's worse, down right ingratitude towards those who gave their lives. Here's a chunk of it:

The Vietnam Veterans' Memorial.

Designed by college student Maya Lin, it was unveiled in Washington, D.C., on Veterans' Day 25 years ago. It's a black granite thingy - a long, plain wall that lines a big hole dug 10 feet into the ground. It lists the names of the war's 58,000 fallen Americans and . . . nothing else.

In her first proposal to build the memorial, Lin explained its purpose: "We, the living, are brought to a concrete realization of these deaths." That's it. Not to honor what they did. Just a reminder that they're dead. Thanks.

The Flight 93 National Memorial.

The National Park Service will erect the "Bowl of Embrace" in Somerset County, Pa., where United Flight 93 crashed to earth on 9/11. For their heroism in overpowering four Islamic hijackers and foiling their attempt to destroy the White House or the Capitol, the passengers will be honored with . . . an empty field.

Like the Vietnam memorial, the monument itself has no inscription honoring anyone's actions - just 1970s-style wind chimes and the names of dead people inscribed on glass cubes.

The National 9/11 Memorial.

On the spot where the World Trade Center stood, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.'s anointed designer, Michael Arad, decrees that there be . . . an American eagle? A statue of the three firemen raising the American flag over the rubble? Heck, no. Just two huge, square, "reflecting" pools. Maybe you can gaze at your navel through them.

In a complex slated to cost $1 billion, this urban swamp is called "Reflecting Absence." Absence, indeed. What these modern war memorials have in common with each other is nothing: They portray nothingness. They have no people in them, never mind men carrying guns or swords, statues of Winged Victory or even doves of peace. Just death and names - grief without glory.

Oddly enough, for structures that are purposely barren,
the promotional literature about all of them says their purpose involves
"healing." By "healing," I infer they must mean "sitting in the corner, licking
your wounds and whining pitifully."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Casting Call: LA Confidential

If you were casting L.A. Confidential, what role would you give Fredo?
Officer Bud White
Det. Lt. Edmund Exeley
Capt. Dudley Smith
Sid Hudgens
Det. Jack Vincennes
Pierce Patchett
Det. Dick Stensland
D.A. Ellis Loew
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What role would you cast ManBeast in?
White
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Smith
Hudgens
Vincennes
Patchett
Stensland
Loew
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What role would you cast Dark Comenteer in?
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What role would you cast SHK in?
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What role would you cast Caribou Express in?
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What role would you cast Beets McDogg in?
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What role would you cast Scoopy O'Gramps in?
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