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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

In which it is demonstrated that a flair for rhetoric doesn't equal eloquence or intelligence

As usual, Thomas Sowell asserts authoritative-sounding conclusions after a shallow analysis that simply ignores any facts he finds inconvenient. ("How much is something or someone really worth?" Dec. 28)

Yes, a free market will dictate its own "fair price" for goods and services. Sowell falsely assumes we have one, then denigrates our basic American ideal of equal opportunity in the marketplace.

The recent congressional election shows that most Americans understand what Sowell refuses to acknowledge: Money buys power, and power makes money. We voted to stop our slide toward corrupt Third World economic circumstances, where business and government are walled off completely from moral and ethical considerations. Sowell may condemn it as moral exhibitionism and a whiney desire to redistribute "other peoples' money," but the real question is whether it became their money equitably.

Ruth Mary Weston

Well, well, well. Look what we have here. One of the Triad's very own double-digit IQ mouthpieces has broken bad and decided to take on no less an intellect that Thomas Sowell himself.

Two huge ironies struck me in Ruth Mary's letter. The first was her accusation that Dr. Sowell had engaged in shallow analysis and had ignored inconvenient facts. Hello pot, have you met kettle? Ruth Mary appears to have skimmed over Dr. Sowell's article and found all the convenient hooks on which to hang boilerplate leftist drivel. She even managed the obligatory and gratuitous reference to Jesus and scripture.

The second irony was that Ruth Mary rebutted Dr. Sowell with the same utopian, equalitarian nonsense that he has so efficiently dismembered in nearly all of his writing on economics and social conduct. While Dr. Sowell and the Austrians are certainly not joined at the hip, he has very effectively used the writings of Hayek and Von Mises, as well as his own conclusions to break down the Marxian arguments for enforcing equality at the point of a gun. As well, and to the first irony above, Dr. Sowell masterfully exposes the shallow thinking that underlies the pronouncements of equalitarians and socialists.

I am certainly no fan of corporatism and I undoubtedly have some problems with Dr. Sowell's writing on occasion, but here he is operating within the scope of basic laissez-faire capitalism. And there is the root of the matter. Ruth Mary has less a problem with Dr. Sowell and what he has written than she does with the entire concept of laissez-faire capitalism.

Ruth Mary is probably one of those semi-literate members of the local liberal echo chamber and has likely never had a serious intellectual challenge to any of the platitudes she mouths. Look at the venue she chose. I think it safe to assume that Dr. Sowell rarely, if ever, reads the Greensboro News and Record. Ruth Mary is counting on that, and counting on the very strong probability that Dr. Sowell, or even someone of his intellectual standing is not likely to challenge her nonsense this time, either.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

RE: I'm breathing fine, Steve

Now it's my turn to ask, who peed in your Cheerios, dude?

Let me get this straight: you're the one who started this by saying, "What's the deal, Andy?" for posting this clip...

It's a question, Andy. I'm sorry, I seem to have missed the notice that said, "Asking Andy questions will make him turn into a Pit Bull in attack and demolish mode." I'll look back through the blog to see if I can find it. My bad.

Suggestion: If you're not interested in a post, don't comment on it.

Quite obviously I was interested in the post or I wouldn't have asked any questions about it.

Wow! If you were a woman, I might suspect it was that special time of the month. Pardon me for breathing.

I'm breathing fine, Steve

Steve opines: "Dang, Andy, I don't think I'm the one needing a chill pill just now... Just a suggestion, Andy, but maybe you should try the decaf."

Let me get this straight: you're the one who started this by saying, "What's the deal, Andy?" for posting this clip, and now you say I'm the one who needs a chill pill and some decaf... Ha! Suggestion: If you're not interested in a post, don't comment on it. It's not hard to do... :-)


Here's some video from Saddam's execution...

Take a deep breath, Andy

Who would have thought that the posting of this video would get your underwear in such a wad. Go back to bed and get some sleep... :-)

Dang, Andy, I don't think I'm the one needing a chill pill just now.

Some places have linked the video with a comment that implies the woman choked to death. On one website, the caption read "Liberals lost a good friend last night." We're left to wonder if they were referring to the anchor or to Saddam. I couldn't find any other mention of what was going on in the video.

Just a suggestion, Andy, but maybe you should try the decaf.

RE: RE: Anchor Choking on Live TV..MSNBC

Steve gripes: "OK, I give up. What is this video and why is it interesting?"

Matt Drudge had the video link on his site... People like to see blooper video stuff. Drudge must have found it interesting.

"So what's the deal, Andy? TV newscasters have had on-air coughing spells before. What makes this one interesting?"

Did one of your pets pee in your cereal this morning, Steve??? I didn't put a gun to your head to watch it... Who would have thought that the posting of this video would get your underwear in such a wad. Go back to bed and get some sleep... :-)

How did Colorado turn blue? Dems had a meticulous plan

By Mark Hillman
Rocky Mountain News

What a difference eight years makes - or even four, for that matter. Bill Ritter's inauguration as governor on Jan. 9 marks a milestone in a political transformation that seemed unlikely, if not virtually impossible, just a few years ago.

Hand it to Colorado Democrats: They've done a remarkable job turning our state's political landscape upside down, despite trailing Republicans in voter registration by some 170,000.

Now, activists and analysts are studying this transformation to see if the Colorado model can be exported to other states, particularly those in the West.

Saddam Hussein's Brutal Reign Ends in the Gallows

(AP) BAGHDAD, Iraq — Saddam Hussein struggled briefly after American military guards handed him over to Iraqi executioners. But as his final moments approached, he grew calm.

He clutched a Koran as he was led to the gallows, and in one final moment of defiance, refused to have a hood pulled over his head before facing the same fate he was accused of inflicting on countless thousands during a quarter-century of ruthless power.

A man whose testimony helped lead to Saddam's conviction and execution before sunrise said he was shown the body because "everybody wanted to make sure that he was really executed."

"Now, he is in the garbage of history," said Jawad Abdul-Aziz, who lost his father, three brothers and 22 cousins in the reprisal killings that followed a botched 1982 assassination attempt against Saddam in the Shiite town of Dujail.

RE: Anchor Choking on Live TV..MSNBC

OK, I give up. What is this video and why is it interesting?

I've seen the youtube video linked in a couple of places, but there is never any story accompanying it. MSNBC, Fox, and CNN have nothing about it.

So what's the deal, Andy? TV newscasters have had on-air coughing spells before. What makes this one interesting?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Anchor Choking on Live TV..MSNBC

Saddam Hussein hanged

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S.-backed Iraqi television station Al Hurra said Saddam Hussein had been executed by hanging shortly before 6 a.m. on Saturday.

Official: Saddam to Be Executed Tonight

(AP) An adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saddam would be executed before 6 a.m. Saturday, or 10 p.m. Friday EST. The time was agreed upon during a meeting between U.S. and Iraqi officials, said the adviser, who declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

The good, bad, and ugly of politics in 2006.

National Review Online

What were the best and worst political moments of 2008? National Review Online asked a group of political watchers for their nominations.


By John Podhoretz
NY Post

The year 2006 brings to mind the old British TV series "Men Behaving Badly" - except that a show about 2006 would be called "Planet Behaving Badly." This was not a very good year, not a very good year at all.

Saddam handed over to Iraqi custody

U.S. officials have transferred former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to Iraqi custody, the chief defense lawyer told Reuters on Friday in an indication that Saddam's execution may be imminent.


Baby "Siege"

Fox News

Hospitals in Germany are bracing — for what's being called a "siege" on New Year's Day — of women having babies. That's because pregnant women are trying to delay giving birth until Monday — when a new government family incentive program kicks in.

The German effort to encourage bigger families — can be worth more than $33,000 per child. Doctors are recommending avoiding red wine, stress, and physical activity to delay labor this week.

Missing Files

Fox News

The FBI is said to be missing almost a quarter of its files on investigations into recent leaks of classified information. The New York Sun reports — the Bureau says it has conducted 94 leak investigations since 2001 — and that the files for 22 of those cases — cannot be found.

The FBI has been trying—unsuccessfully — to computerize its records for a decade.

Recruiting Muslims

Fox News

Speaking of wars — the U.S. is trying to enlist more Muslim Americans — in the War on Terror. The Christian Science Monitor reports — Muslim prayer rooms have been opened at West Point — and other service academies. Muslim clerics serve as chaplains at several military bases. And some Muslim Marines have been stationed in major American cities to advise military recruiters.

The Pentagon estimates — there are 3,400 Muslims — now serving in the armed forces.

Paid in Full

Fox News

Britain today was expected to make its final payment — on World War II loans from the U.S. and Canada. This country extended $4 billion in credit in 1945. And Canada granted a loan — of more than $1 billion. The money helped Britain stave off bankruptcy after fighting the Nazis. The British have been paying back the loan ever since. Today's final payment to the U.S. treasury is $84 million.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

N.C. Bar Files Charges Against Duke D.A.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The North Carolina bar filed ethics charges Thursday against the prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case, accusing him of saying misleading and inflammatory things to the media about the athletes under suspicion.

The punishment for ethics violations can range from admonishment to disbarment. The complaint could also force District Attorney Mike Nifong off the case by creating a conflict of interest.

Saddam to be hanged by Sunday

Ex-dictator’s execution expected to be carried out by start of Eid holiday


Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, sentenced to death for his role in 148 killings in 1982, will have his sentence carried out by Sunday, NBC News reported Thursday. According to a U.S. military officer who spoke on condition of anonymity, Saddam will be hanged before the start of the Eid religious holiday, which begins at sundown Saturday.

Poor Thinking

The poverty of progressivism.

By Thomas Sowell
National Review Online

People in the media, in academia, and among the intelligentsia in general who are obsessed with “disparities” in income and wealth usually show not the slightest interest in how that income and wealth were produced in the first place.

They are hot to redistribute the existing income and wealth but seem wholly unaware that how you do that today can affect how much income and wealth will be produced tomorrow. Any number of schemes for redistributing wealth have ended up redistributing poverty in a number of countries.

“Progressives” in the media and among academics and intellectuals claim to be interested in ending poverty but the production of more output is the only way to end poverty for millions of people.

It not only can be done, it has already been done in many countries, for all countries were once very poor by today’s standards. But most self-styled “progressives” show virtually zero interest in economic history or in economics in general.

I would like to see a debate between Dr. Sowell and John Edwards... Now that would be Must See T.V. :-)

The Moderates’ Last Stand

Gerald Ford and the GOP.

By Jonathan Martin
National Review Online

Pardons and Poland aside, the 1976 election represented a turning point in American political history. President Gerald Ford was, of course, damaged by his clearing a disgraced Richard Nixon of any legal liability from the Watergate scandal and his fall-debate gaffe where he asserted that there was “no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.” And today, as we watch endless clips of the honest and honorable Ford in action, it is these images that are frequently shown to explain the political course of events that bicentennial year. But it was the competition for the Republican nomination in the winter, spring, and summer of that year that would have the more profound impact on the course of the nation. That fiercely contested battle would signal the ascendancy of conservatism and the movement’s tightening grip on the Republican party, while sounding the death knell for the liberal consensus that had shaped the country’s politics for the entirety of the postwar era.

Last lunch with a legend

Daily News Washington Bureau Chief Thomas M. DeFrank interviewed Gerald Ford more than three dozen times during the late President's retirement years. He saw Ford in November at his California home and spent more than two hours with him May 11 for this, his final interview.

THE BIG SNUB: Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to skip Ford funeral...

(AP) WASHINGTON - Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will miss the state funeral for former President Gerald Ford at the Capitol Rotunda on Saturday night, opting instead to lead a delegation to South America with an expected stop at the Machu Picchu Inca ruins.


By John Podhoretz
NY Post

In the hours since the passing of Gerald Ford, some wild claims have been offered in tribute to him. The wildest is that he basically saved the United States upon his ascension to the presidency in August 1974.

Ford was a fine man and a distinguished public servant, and he deserves to be remembered warmly. But the idea that his presidency saved America is a historical sentimentality.

Author finds inspiration in Stokes

98-year-old put dream of writing on hold during Depression in order to eat

By Lisa R. Boone
Winston-Salem Journal

Bob Carroll's favorite childhood Christmas present didn't light up, giggle when tickled or plug into a TV.

Carroll says that on a farm in Stokes County in the 1920s, he looked forward to a gift that required no batteries - a newspaper.

NASCAR driver is rebuked for Bush sticker


It’s no secret that NASCAR drivers skew Republican, which is fine with the Federal Election Commission, just so long as they don’t display their preferences where anyone can see them.

In a decision announced Tuesday, the FEC sent an “admonishment letter” to Kirk Shelmerdine Racing. Kirk Shelmerdine, a former pit boss for the late Dale Earnhardt, has been an unsuccessful, underfunded and undersponsored driver. He has never finished higher than 26th.

So back in 2004, in a move perhaps designed to draw some attention to his car, he placed a “Bush-Cheney ’04” decal on his rear quarter panel, which was otherwise unencumbered by advertising. Democratic activist Sydnor Thompson complained to the FEC, and the agency found that Shelmerdine “may have made an unreported independent expenditure or a prohibited corporate expenditure.”

Former commissioner Bradley Smith dissented in one of the case’s early votes and blogged about the result this week. He has written that in reference to the FEC’s $250 expenditure limit, “evidence is strong that the market value of Shelmerdine’s rear quarter panel was approximately $0, give or take $249.”

New Preamble to the Constitution :)

"We the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt-free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt ridden, delusional, and other liberal bed-wetters. We hold these truths to be self evident: that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim they require a Bill of NON-Rights."

ARTICLE I: You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV, or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.

ARTICLE II: You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone -- not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc.; but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.

ARTICLE III: You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful, do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.

ARTICLE IV: You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes. (This one is my pet peeve...get an education and go to work....don't expect everyone else to take care of you!)

ARTICLE V: You do not have the right to free health care. That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we're just not interested in public health care.

ARTICLE VI: You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair.

ARTICLE VII: You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat, or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you still won't have the right to a big screen color TV or a life of leisure.

ARTICLE VIII: You do not have the right to a job. All of us sure want you to have a job, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful. (AMEN!)

ARTICLE IX: You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that you have the right to PURSUE happiness, which by the way, is a lot easier if you are unencumbered by an over abundance of idiotic laws created by those of you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.

ARTICLE X: This is an English speaking country. We don't care where you are from, English is our language. Learn it or go back to wherever you came from! (lastly....)

ARTICLE XI: You do not have the right to change our country's history or heritage. This country was founded on the belief in God. And yet, you are given the freedom to believe in any religion, any faith, or no faith at all; with no fear of persecution. The phrase IN GOD WE TRUST is part of our heritage and history, and if you are uncomfortable with it, TOUGH!!!!

Now it's Official: Edwards to run for president

Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., became yesterday the third candidate to enter the 2008 presidential race - but not without a false start.

Edwards' campaign accidentally launched his presidential-campaign Web site a day early, pre-empting an orchestrated announcement planned for today in New Orleans.

The Web site was quickly taken down. But the news of Edwards' candidacy, which his campaign confirmed to the Winston-Salem Journal last night, was out.

Despite the online snafu, Edwards' run is no surprise.

He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and was chosen by the eventual nominee, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as his vice presidential running mate.

Almost from the moment that the Kerry-Edwards campaign conceded the election to President Bush in November 2004, Edwards appeared to be gearing up for another run in 2008.

He has spent the last two years raising money, visiting key states that have early primaries and running his "One America Committee," which supports Democratic candidates and advocates for such causes as raising the minimum wage.

James Romoser
Winston-Salem Journal

What's the big deal about John Edwards? He was an insignificant senator and he was an insignificant vice-presidential nominee. It sounds like he wants to be president from the state of Louisiana.

Ford was friend to Wake Forest

Former President Gerald Ford's ties to North Carolina were most pronounced when it came to Wake Forest University, where his oldest son, Mike, got a degree and has been the director of student development since 1981.

Ford and his wife, Betty, were honorary co-chairmen of the school's first Parents' Council, an advisory group started in the 1970s.

Mike Ford graduated from Wake Forest in 1972, and his wife, Gayle, graduated from the university in 1973. Gerald Ford, then still a congressman from Michigan, spoke at his son's commencement.

In the 1990s, Ford served as honorary chairman of a capital campaign for Wake Forest, school spokesman Kevin Cox said.

Winston-Salem Journal

I didn't know Pres. Ford had a son that works for Wake Forest. I also didn't know his birth name was Leslie Lynch King Jr. That's pretty neat.

Troops halp Jon Carry in Irak

On his visit to Iraq, Senator Kerry apparently got something like the silent treatment from the troops who are "stuck" there.

Trade deficit :-)

Nation's Capital Prepares Solemn Ceremony for Late President Ford

Fox News

In a state funeral for the president who only wanted to be speaker of the House, Gerald R. Ford's casket will return to the Congress he served on his historic journey to an unelected presidency.

Ford will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda, where 10 other presidents have been honored. But he also will lie in repose outside the chambers of the House -- where he honed his leadership skills -- and the Senate, where -- as vice president -- he served in his constitutional role as the chamber's president.

Ceremonies begin Friday in a California church, followed by a flight across the country Ford sought to heal after the trauma of Watergate and the resignation of his disgraced predecessor, Richard Nixon.

The mourning ends five days later with Ford's entombment on a hillside near his Grand Rapids, Mich., presidential museum.

Presidential Favorites

Fox News

The Gerald Ford Library and Museum reports— the late president was an avid stamp collector— and loved jazz— that he enjoyed golf, tennis, skiing and swimming— and as a Michigan man— was a fan of Detroit Tigers star — Al Kaline.

His favorite meal was pot roast and red cabbage — followed by a dessert of butter pecan ice cream. His hero was President Eisenhower.

And he said his most valued advice was — quote — "that which comes from my wife," Betty — with whom he held the record— as the longest-living First Couple.

Close Calls

Fox News

Ford was the target of two assassination attempts— by two women— over the course of just two weeks— in California in 1975.

Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme— a follower of mass murderer Charles Manson—pointed a gun at the President— as he greeted well-wishers outside the state Capitol in Sacramento— but no shots were fired.

17 days later, Sarah Jane Moore fired a handgun at President Ford in San Francisco, but was grabbed by former marine Oliver Sipple— who forced the shot off target.

Both women remain in prison. And Fromme has never expressed any remorse.

Ford on Impeachment

Fox News

President Ford wrestled with the issue of impeachment— before the Watergate scandal. Ford led the failed effort to impeach Supreme Court Justice William Douglas in 1970— partly over writings that appeared in a magazine— that also contained nude photographs.

Speaking on the House floor, Ford said, "an impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history."

Lasting Legacy

Fox News

President Ford's most lasting legacy may be the appointment of John Paul Stevens to the Supreme Court. The former Chicago appeals court judge— who became a strong liberal as a justice — was actually picked by Ford's Attorney General Edward Levi— who was put in charge of the selection at the suggestion of White House Chief of Staff — Donald Rumsfeld.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ford Memorial Website

Here's the link to the Gerald Ford Memorial website...

Gerald Ford, R.I.P.

Gerald R. Ford, who picked up the pieces of Richard Nixon's scandal- shattered White House as the 38th president and the only one never elected to nationwide office, has died. He was 93.

"My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather has passed away at 93 years of age," former first lady Betty Ford said in a brief statement issued from her husband's office in Rancho Mirage. "His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Just What is "the World's Wealth"?

By Thomas Sowell
Real Clear Politics

The media and academic obsessions with economic "disparities" have gone international. Recent news stories proclaim that most of "the world's wealth" belongs to a small fraction of the world's people.

Let's go back to square one. Just what is "the world's wealth"?

James Brown, R.I.P.

(AP) James Brown, the undeniable "Godfather of Soul," told friends from his hospital bed that he was looking forward to performing on New Year's Eve, even though he was sick with pneumonia. His heart gave out a few hours later, on Christmas morning.

Brown, a pompadoured dynamo with a rough-edged voice and flashy footwork whose classic singles include "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" and "I Got You (I Feel Good)" died yesterday of heart failure, said his agent, Frank Copsidas of Intrigue Music.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

GOP Turns Anger on Campaign Committee

WASHINGTON (AP) - Narrowly defeated in his bid for a fourth term, Montana Sen. Conrad Burns turned his anger on the National Republican Senatorial Committee and commercials it had run months before the election.

"The ads hurt me more than they helped. I wouldn't have spent the money," he said, his comments characteristic of the season of second-guessing now unfolding among Republicans.

President Bush's low approval ratings, the unpopular war on Iraq, voter concern about corruption and Democratic fundraising all figured in the GOP loss of Senate control in last month's elections. But among Republicans, long-hidden tensions are spilling into view, with numerous critics venting their anger at the GOP Senate campaign committee headed by North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

House might limit top job

Candidates for speaker talk about reining in the leader's influence. Some say two two-year terms are plenty

By Dan Kane
The News & Observer

Now that House Speaker Jim Black's grip on one of the most powerful positions in state government has been broken, some candidates for the job are suggesting a change that could dramatically reduce its reach.

Most of the announced candidates for speaker say they support term limits for the job, with many suggesting two two-year terms. Black served four terms and sought a record fifth before dropping out last week. Many who hope to succeed him say term limits would give more lawmakers the opportunity to grow into leadership positions and might curb the abuse of power.

Obama Runs

By Bob Novak
Chicago Sun-Times

Contrary to reports that Barack Obama is still trying to make up his mind whether to seek the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, sources close to the first-term senator say he is unequivocally committed to making the race.

Keep hat, Keep job

Fox News

And a school bus driver on Long Island who refused to take off his Santa hat after a parent complained will get to keep his job after all. 65-year-old Kenneth Mott has been wearing the hat during the holidays for five years. But this year a parent claimed her child was bothered by the hat. Mott's supervisors told him to lose it — he said no — and told the other parents he was probably going to be fired.

That's when Commack school district superintendent James Feltman said the hat could stay — since it wasn't a religious object. Mott said of the uproar, "I thought it was a big joke."

Good Cop/Bad Cop

Fox News

A Tyler, Texas cop described by one former boss as perhaps the best narcotics officer in the country is coming out with a new instructional video — on how to conceal drugs and fool police.

Barry Cooper's video is called "Never Get Busted Again." It promises to show viewers how to "conceal their stash" — "avoid narcotics profiling" — and "fool canines every time."

Cooper's former colleagues are not amused. An agent with the Tyler Drug Enforcement Agency says he plans to investigate whether the video violates any laws.

Greater Transparency?

Fox News

Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised a greater transparency when the Democrats take over next year. But she has carried on the tradition of her predecessors and denied a request by C-SPAN to use its own cameras to cover House proceedings.

Pelosi today informed C-SPAN that the House will continue to provide the cameras and control what they show — saying she wants to preserve "the dignity and decorum" of the House. C-SPAN had tried to make the case that a news organization should have independent editorial control. C-SPAN also wants the House to release individual voting records electronically as soon as voting periods end. Pelosi says she is studying that request.

Not So Wel-Fare

Fox News

There are big changes coming in the Swedish welfare state — which for the last half-century has offered cradle-to-grave benefits in exchange for the highest taxes in the Western world. Thursday the parliament approved a plan to cut unemployment benefits, increase the fees workers pay for unemployment insurance, and slash personal taxes — all in an effort to get more people working. Experts say 20 percent —- one out of every five — working-age Swedes live on some kind of state subsidy.

The landmark legislation comes after an election victory by center-right candidates. The labor unions are furious and thousands of people have taken to the streets in protest. One Stockholm businessman tells Bloomberg.com "Sweden is the only country in the world where people are scared of tax cuts."

Friday, December 22, 2006

So close, yet so far away

I think you're saying that you're okay with how the electors are chosen now, but you want all 50 states & DC to have no requirements or restrictions on how they vote.

Bingo, and, most importantly, there is no popular presidential election. Then the President stops being a de facto monarch crossed with some kind of rock star celebrity. He just goes back to being the head of the executive branch.

Doing it that way would make nearly all the states worthy of a candidate's time & attention.

You're still missing the point, and now you're adding this equalitarian nonsense in. The problem is direct democracy, you cannot fix it by adding more democracy. The popularity contest is what draws in all the corruption and tyranny. The popular election of the President has to be eliminated and the Electoral College has to operate completely independent of any large scale participatory democratic process.

...but the districts now are drawn in such a way that there's hardly any truly competitive races anymore.

Maybe so, but that has nothing to do with whether Senators should be elected by popular vote. The purpose of the Senate is not to represent the people, so more of this equalitarian silliness is completely non sequitur. The purpose of the Senate is to represent the states and their interests to the Congress. It makes no difference whether local legislatures are appointed by barons and counts or by jousting tournaments, Senators should not be elected by popular vote.

Can't we treat the symptom and attempt to fix the problem at the same time???

Oh come on, Andy. That's like offering a cough drop to a man with lung cancer. What's the point? Changing the President's term would be no simpler than reinstating the Electoral College and repealing the Seventeenth Amendment, so why waste time doing it?

Growth trends could mean power shift in Congress after 2010 Census

GOP-leaning states likely to gain seats in redistricting

By Kathy Kiely

WASHINGTON — Two weeks before Democrats take control of the U.S. House for the first time in 12 years, new Census estimates suggest they may have to battle demographic tides to keep it.

Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Texas and Utah are projected to gain seats in Congress after the 2010 Census, according to an analysis by Election Data Services. All six tilt Republican: President Bush won all in 2004, ranging from 50% of the vote in Nevada to 72% in Utah.

Even more significant, Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature and the governor's office in five of those states, which gives the party the upper hand when state elected officials redraw congressional district lines every decade. (Arizona relies on a non-partisan commission.)

Carter's about-face betrays Jews, Christians

By Mel Konner
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Christians celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. How ironic, then, that Jewish-Americans are embroiled in a grim struggle against a Christian former president who is tainting our holiday joy.

A former president whose legacy has rested on bringing about peace between Arabs and Jews has turned his back on that to become a partisan. A man whose Christian values made him see both sides in a tragic conflict has become blind to one side's suffering. A man who walked in paths of peace has now become an obstacle to peace.

Could this book be the end of Carter's career as someone on the national stage??? I still believe Carter is suffering from dementia.

Rape Charges Dropped in Duke Case

(AP) Prosecutors dropped rape charges Friday against three Duke University lacrosse players accused of attacking a stripper at a team party, but the three still face kidnapping and sexual offense charges, a defense attorney said.

District Attorney Mike Nifong is an embarrassment to the judicial system.

RE: Almost, but not quite

Steve responds: "It doesn't matter how electors are selected. They could be popularly elected, appointed by the legislature, or picked by lottery, the point is, there must be no requirement or restriction on how they vote."

In some states there isn't a requirement or restriction on how they vote. For example in 2000, Gore's people tried to get some electors from states Bush won to vote for Gore instead. I think you're saying that you're okay with how the electors are chosen now, but you want all 50 states & DC to have no requirements or restrictions on how they vote.

"Then you favor democracy in picking the executive and the end result will always be the same one we know now."

Not necessarily... Doing it that way would make nearly all the states worthy of a candidate's time & attention. For example, a Republican candidate could pick up some electoral votes in liberal states like California and New York, whereas a Democrat candidate could pick up some electoral votes in states like North Carolina and Virginia. I favor that approach over the winner-takes-all system that the majority of states have now.

"Repealing the Seventeenth Amendment would necessarily make the selection of state legislators more serious, especially in states where Presidential Electors were selected by the state's assembly."

With all things being somewhat equal, that is true, but the districts now are drawn in such a way that there's hardly any truly competitive races anymore. Today, the legislators are choosing their voters instead of voters choosing their legislators.

"That is absolutely true, but limiting the terms of elected officials is only treating the symptom, not the problem. The solution to the problem is republic, not hobbled democracy."

Can't we treat the symptom and attempt to fix the problem at the same time??? I believe we can institute term limits while we move our country to a constitutional republic that the Founders envisioned.

Almost, but not quite

I see your point but each individual state does decide now how their electors are selected... 48 of the 50 states have decided on a "winner-take-all" approach to selecting the electors...

You're confusing how electors are selected with how they are required to vote. It doesn't matter how electors are selected. They could be popularly elected, appointed by the legislature, or picked by lottery, the point is, there must be no requirement or restriction on how they vote. And if there is no popular election for President, there can be no "winner-take-all" rule.

I actually favor this method.

Then you favor democracy in picking the executive and the end result will always be the same one we know now.

...how can we repeal the 17th amendment when our state legislative districts are gerrymandered like they are?

Gerrymandering will always exist. The question is how badly gerrymandered the districts will become. One of the reasons that gerrymandering occurs at the level it does now is that the state legislatures have been reduced to junior version of the Congress. That was never the founders' intention. Repealing the Seventeenth Amendment would necessarily make the selection of state legislators more serious, especially in states where Presidential Electors were selected by the state's assembly.

In any case, both parties gerrymander, so that plays no role in whether or not Senators should be popularly elected or not. It is the same kind of minor complaint as the one used to push through the Seventeenth in the first place. Partisan politics deadlocked state legislatures and some states were going without Senate representation, sometimes for years. That is not a problem with how Senators are elected, that is a problem the people need to correct in their legislatures. If their state goes long enough without a Senator, I expect they'll empty the state legislature and get a group elected that can do the job.

At that time they weren't necessary, but I believe they are now.

Only because you have acquiesced to democracy. Term limits are not necessary in a constitutional republic. Term limits are an implicit admission that the people are not qualified to select their leaders. That is absolutely true, but limiting the terms of elected officials is only treating the symptom, not the problem. The solution to the problem is republic, not hobbled democracy.

RE: On term-limited Presidents

Steve opines: "I think it would be far more productive to return to the founders' vision of the separation of powers. The executive (a.k.a. the President) should not be elected by popular vote. We should return to the original principle of the Electoral College and reinstate all the original protections and balances that Jefferson envisioned. The states must not be allowed to turn the Electoral College into a rubber stamp for democracy. The electors can be selected in whatever manner the states wish, but there should not even be a popular election for President."

I see your point but each individual state does decide now how their electors are selected... 48 of the 50 states have decided on a "winner-take-all" approach to selecting the electors (Nebraska & Maine have a system where the winner in each district gets the elector and the winner of the popular vote in each state gets the 2 electors representing the Senate seats... I hope that makes sense. I actually favor this method.)

"The Seventeenth Amendment absolutely must be repealed. The current turmoil and madness in American politics is largely due to a group of 100 men and women forming an oligarchy to hand out goodies from the public trough. The sovereign states are no longer represented and the national government, bloated and out of control, walks over them with impunity."

I agree with your point but how can we repeal the 17th amendment when our state legislative districts are gerrymandered like they are??? I know some gerrymandering will always take place, but what's happening now is rather excessive.

"The founders didn't place term limits in their model because they weren't necessary."

At that time they weren't necessary, but I believe they are now.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

On term-limited Presidents

I think it would be far more productive to return to the founders' vision of the separation of powers. The executive (a.k.a. the President) should not be elected by popular vote. We should return to the original principle of the Electoral College and reinstate all the original protections and balances that Jefferson envisioned. The states must not be allowed to turn the Electoral College into a rubber stamp for democracy. The electors can be selected in whatever manner the states wish, but there should not even be a popular election for President.

This also gives me the opportunity to get on one of my other favorite soap boxes. The Seventeenth Amendment absolutely must be repealed. The current turmoil and madness in American politics is largely due to a group of 100 men and women forming an oligarchy to hand out goodies from the public trough. The sovereign states are no longer represented and the national government, bloated and out of control, walks over them with impunity.

The founders didn't place term limits in their model because they weren't necessary. They were building a constitutional republic, not a democracy. The forces of social democracy have been chipping away at that model ever since and its foundation is now perilously thin and weak. We can probably survive another 200 years if we do an about-face right now and head back toward the model of a constitutional republic. We can't survive another 50 years if we don't.

What is Neolibertarianism?

What is Neolibertarianism? Frankly, it's a question we've been asking at the QandO weblog since we began popularizing it last year. Often, the idea of Libertarianism has reminded me of Justice Potter Stewart's thoughts about obscenity. "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it," he declared.

That was good enough for Justice Stewart perhaps, but he was only interpreting the Constitution. We, on the other hand, are beginning publication of a journal that we hope will begin defining the fundamental intellectual and philosophical underpinnings of Neolibertarianism. If you're going to do that, then you should probably have a clear understanding of what Neolibertarianism is.

Much of what follows will be a comparison between Neolibertarianism and the more traditional sort of libertarianism, which we call Paleolibertarianism. In the interest of brevity, I'll refer to adherents to the former as Neos and the latter as Paleos.

In fact, the first principle of the Neos-or us Neos, I guess I should say-is explicitly defined by comparison between the two types of libertarianism, and can be boiled down to a single word: pragmatism.

Dale Franks

A long read, but interesting. I can't help but believe these folks are doomed to failure. Nevertheless, their effort is probably worthwhile. What Mr. Franks is describing in this long article is the classical definition of the Republican Party. As we slouch toward socialism, the GOP has become as infected and infested with power madness as the Democrats had been for decades. In order to grab the brass ring, they have succumbed to Tyler's axiom:

A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.

In short, the GOP decided on bread and circuses and the Republican ideal ceased to exist. Bush I poisoned it, Bush II gutted it like a dead fish. I imagine that if "neolibertarianism" gets enough public play, it will be a likely candidate to fill the void left by the (dying) GOP.

What dooms them is the very word they use to differentiate themselves from the "paleolibertarians." I'm a little surprised that this group of folks can be so unblinkingly naive in the face of the lesson voters gave the GOP and their continual knee-jerking to pragmatism. Pragmatic libertarianism cannot stop the juggernaut of this democracy's destruction. Tyler's dictator is someone who is on the political scene today. If there is to be a change of direction without a revolution, no less than a majority of paleolibertarians would have to be in the seats of power. You'll pardon me if I don't hold my breath.


Hey Steve: What are your thoughts about a single six-year presidential term? It appears all two-term presidents get sloppy and burned-out after six years.

Hillary's Pelosi Problem

By Jed Babbin
Real Clear Politics

Hillary Clinton has a problem. Its name is Nancy Pelosi. Clinton's run for the White House is being built - as was her husband's - on the idea of a "new democrat" who accurately triangulated between liberal and conservative well enough to shroud liberal policy with a cloak of moderation. The cloak was so tightly-woven and the media so compliant that no matter what Clinton did - from his first presidential act ("don't ask, don't tell") to the "wag the dog" episode in the impeachment days - he escaped scrutiny. But no matter how hard Mrs. Clinton clings to the Clinton Cloak, Speaker-to-be Pelosi's Animal House will be sticking its head out from every fold.

Read my lips: Taxes (again) doom Bush

By Jim Pinkerton

President Bush is willing to raise taxes. That reality was a big surprise to me 16 years ago, in 1990, when I was working in the White House. It's less of a surprise to me in 2006, when I am on the outside - because, after a while, you learn to identify the warning signs.

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush broke his word on taxes, and he broke his own presidency. In 2006, his son, President George W. Bush, seems poised to destroy what little remains of his presidency.

Yep, if Bush 43 raises taxes, that will practically be the end of his presidency.

Needed: A Governor to Launch Radical Change in Schools

By Mort Kondracke
Roll Call

What the Iraq Study Group said about the Iraq War situation - "grim and deteriorating" - has been echoed by another bipartisan commission, this one studying the state of American education.

It didn't use those exact words, but the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce warned that unless U.S. schools are improved radically, the country's standard of living will plunge over the next 20 years.

The commission, whose members included four former Cabinet officers, proposed a series of radical and most likely controversial changes designed to keep the U.S. from falling behind foreign competitors.

The reforms mainly require action at the state level, and one gutsy governor will be needed to start the process and serve as a model for the rest of the nation.


Bush looks burned-out.

Defeat will do that to you. The last President to fall apart this badly was Carter. Notice that Bush is starting a mouth "bi-partisanship" platitudes. He says he is willing to consider a tax increase and is actively offering to help raise the federal minimum wage. I would say his true colors are showing, but like his peer and political alter-ego, Bill Clinton, I don't believe Bush has any true colors.

Bush is purely and simply a product of spin. He was fine as long as he had the GOP mouthpieces in the punditry to back him and the GOP True Believers to gaze upon him with loving eyes. Now that most of them have been forced to admit that the emperor is stark naked, his cheering section is emptying out.

I don't believe the Democrats could have asked for any better situation. They will be in de facto control of the agenda for the next two years and as an added bonus, they have a lame duck scapegoat available for pinning any mistakes they might make. The skids are nicely greased for The Beast in Pants Suits to ascend to the Oval Office in 2008.

Why won't Carter debate his book?

By Alan Dershowitz
Boston Globe

You can always tell when a public figure has written an indefensible book: when he refuses to debate it in the court of public opinion. And you can always tell when he's a hypocrite to boot: when he says he wrote a book in order to stimulate a debate, and then he refuses to participate in any such debate. I'm talking about former president Jimmy Carter and his new book "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid."

Virginia Rep. Goode's Muslim Immigration Warning Draws Fire From Islamic Groups

Fox News

A Republican congressman from Virginia told FOX News he is standing by his warning that a newly elected representative's decision to use the Koran in taking the oath of office poses a danger to the traditional "values and beliefs" of Americans.

Rep. Virgil Goode Jr. made the comments in a letter sent earlier this month to hundreds of constituents who had written to him about Rep.-elect Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a Democrat and the first Muslim in Congress.

"The letter says exactly what it says. My position is that I'm using the Bible ... period," Goode, who is listed as a Baptist in congressional handbooks, told FOX News on Thursday.



By John Podhoretz

NY Post

December 21, 2006 -- Yesterday, at a press conference that was unquestionably the most dispirited performance of his presidency, President Bush implicitly answered a question many close Bush watchers had asked after the thumpin' the Republican Party took in November.

The question was this: How would Bush, who himself had only suffered electoral success since seeking higher office in 1994, handle defeat? The answer: Not well.

Bush looks burned-out. I'm beginning to believe that maybe a president should only serve one six-year term.

Labor's Man in '08?

By Robert Novak
Real Clear Politics

While Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama soak up news media attention, John Edwards has pushed for organized labor's support. No decisions have yet been made, but the former senator from North Carolina and 2004 vice presidential nominee is the front-runner for winning over the big, dynamic unions who left the AFL-CIO 18 months ago.

RE: Mogul threatens to sue 'View' star in Miss USA storm

...the hefty O'Donnell's willowy, blond lesbian lover.

My my, what a lovely mental image. I'm so glad I wasn't eating anything when I read that.

Mogul threatens to sue 'View' star in Miss USA storm

Donald Trump's last-minute reprieve for his bad-girl beauty queen sparked a pageant backlash yesterday and a battle of the bigmouths with Rosie O'Donnell.

The thrice-married mogul threatened to sue the talk-show host - and to have one of his friends steal away the hefty O'Donnell's willowy, blond lesbian lover.

NY Daily News

RE: School-board seat open in Stokes

Hey Steve: Why don't you apply for this seat and see if you can get an interview??? :-)

No thanks. I imagine spontaneous combustion would be a more pleasant experience.

School-board seat open in Stokes

By Lisa R. Boone
Winston-Salem Journal

Stokes County school officials are accepting applications to fill a seat on the board of education.

A seat opened up in November when Ernest Lankford was elected to the Stokes County Board of Commissioners.

Hey Steve: Why don't you apply for this seat and see if you can get an interview??? :-)

Human Rights?

Fox News

A report commissioned by the British government's chief scientist says that robots may have to be given human rights one day. The report called "Robo-Rights — Utopian Dream or Rise of the Machines?" says that if machines are given artificial intelligence, they could provide a tremendous boost to productivity — and might eventually pay taxes and serve in the military.

But they also may end up wanting rights of their own — such as voting, welfare, and "robo-healthcare to fix the machines over time." And it says these rights would invariably clash with the property rights of their owners.

Labor Problems

Fox News

Labor union problems in Denver are part of what forced the Democrats to delay their decision on which city will host their 2008 convention. The leader of Denver's Theatrical Stage Employees Union is refusing to sign a no-strike pledge. The head of the city's host committee says a lack of full union support is "probably a deal-breaker." Denver's City Council president says — "the irony is we are wanting to pay hundreds of union people and pay them union salaries, and we would think that's what they want."

"Modesty Patrol"

Fox News

A 50-year-old American-Israeli woman says she was viciously attacked by an ad-hoc "modesty patrol" because she refused to go to the back of a bus in Jerusalem. Miriam Shear tells the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that she was in Israel on vacation and riding a bus to the old city to pray at sunrise. Jerusalem does have some sex-segregated buses, but she was not on one. Yet a man demanded she give up her seat — and when she refused — a group of four attacked her.

Shear says she got in a few good licks of her own, however, including a punch to the face of one and a kick to the privates of another, saying, "I will never forget the look on his face." She also lost her hair covering in the attack — so she grabbed one of the men's hats and threw it down the aisle. She says the bus driver did nothing and the passengers actually said the whole thing was her fault.

Name Game

Fox News

A state lawmaker in Georgia wants to strip the name of Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney from a major highway in suburban Atlanta. Republican Len Walker says Democrat McKinney "has brought embarrassment to the state of Georgia" — and cites her run-in earlier this year with a Capitol Hill police officer and her recent bill to impeach President Bush. Walker has introduced a resolution in the state assembly to change the name of "Cynthia McKinney Parkway" to its original name — Memorial Drive — in honor of 9/11 victims.

Former McKinney campaign manager John Evans calls Walker "an idiot" and says of Walker's claim that McKinney has embarrassed Georgians: "He must be talking about white folks or uppity black folks."

McKinney lost her bid for another term when she was defeated in a primary runoff last summer.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

RE: Libertarian or Libertarian?

I disagree strongly with the premise of the previous column. The American Left generally favors government solutions to just about any social, political, or economic issue one might care to name. I can find no reason why a libertarian would be comfortable with that, even to avoid the cultural brownshirt tendencies of social conservatives.

However, he is spot-on with regard to the necessity for the demise of the Libertarian Party. LP conventions might as well be Star Trek conventions (no offense to Trekkies). Between conspiracy theorists and one-issue potheads, the Libertarian Party has attained bona fide crackpot status, and no serious libertarian could consider it as a platform for changing the political climate of this country. Since the GOP will not likely be welcoming the libertarians back any time soon, Bartlett's idea of a grassroots organization, similar to the NRA, has a lot of merit. If it represents a serious voting block, one of the two factions of our ruling political party will have to pay attention.

'I have no future' -- Jeb Bush tells reporters

MIAMI (Reuters) - The shadow of President Bush seemed to loom large over his younger brother on Wednesday, as the outgoing Florida governor ruled out any plans to return to elected office.

"No tengo futuro (I have no future)," Jeb Bush told Spanish-language reporters in Miami, when asked about any possible political ambitions after he steps down next month.

Report Says Berger Hid Archive Documents

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Clinton's national security adviser removed classified documents from the National Archives, hid them under a construction trailer and later tried to find the trash collector to retrieve them, the agency's internal watchdog said Wednesday.

The report was issued more than a year after Sandy Berger pleaded guilty and received a criminal sentence for removing the documents.

Why the networks still have Sandy Berger on the tube as a national security expert is beyond me... He should be sitting in a jail cell somewhere.

Libertarian or Libertarian?

By Bruce Bartlett
Real Clear Politics

In a recent column, I discussed the disaffection of libertarians within the conservative coalition, suggesting that many might be more at home on the political left. A number of readers wrote to say that they agreed with my analysis and had left the Republican Party for the Libertarian Party. Among these is former Republican Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia, who officially joined the Libertarians last week.

Of course, people are free to do what they want to do, and if they want to join the Libertarians, that's their business. But if their goal is to actually change policy in a libertarian direction, then they are making a big mistake, in my opinion. The Libertarian Party is worse than a waste of time. I believe it has done far more to hamper the advancement of libertarian ideas and policies than it has done to advance them. In my view, it is essential for the Libertarian Party to completely disappear before libertarian ideas will again have political currency.

This is the Time for Obama

By George Will
Real Clear Politics

New Hampshire was recently brightened by the presence of Barack Obama, 45, who, calling the fuss about him "baffling,'' made his first trip in 45 years to that state, and not under duress. Because he is young, is just two years distant from a brief career as a state legislator and has negligible national security experience, an Obama presidential candidacy could have a porcelain brittleness. But if he wants to be president -- it will not be a moral failing if he decides that he does not, at least not now -- this is the time for him to reach for the brass ring. There are four reasons why.

What Will They Ban Next?

By John Stossel
Real Clear Politics

New York City has ordered restaurants to stop selling food made with trans fat. "It is a dangerous and unnecessary ingredient," says the health commissioner. Gee, I'm all for good health, but shouldn't it be a matter of individual choice?

A New York Times headline about the ban reads: "A Model for Other Cities."

"A model for what, exactly?" asks George Mason University economist Don Boudreaux. "Petty tyranny? Or perhaps for similarly inspired bans on other voluntary activities with health risks? Clerking in convenience stores? Walking in the rain?"

RE: RE: What Would Reagan Do?

On the federal level, I favor a single 12 year term for lower court judges and Supreme Court justices. In other words, if this term limit was in effect when John Roberts was sworn-in as Chief Justice on September 29, 2005, his term as a Supreme Court Justice would end September 29, 2017. Now, I believe all current judges and justices should be grandfathered in, but once the current judges either retire, resign or die, the new judges and justices would fall under my new scenario.

Wednesday Funnies :-)

David Letterman: “Top Questions On The Macy’s Department Store Santa Application”: Do you mind checking your gun at the door?; Have you ever been accused of hiding stolen goods in your beard?; Can you pretend to be jolly making $6.25 an hour?; Would your cheeks be red without the scotch?; Are you prepared to lie about our Playstation 3 availability?; Reindeer allergies?; Can you disarm a kid who comes at you with a sharpened candy cane?; Will your lap support today’s obese children?; Do you own urine-proof pants?; Are you a cop?

Jay Leno: We are right in the middle of Hanukah [which] started last Friday. Christmas is, of course, next week. I had a Jewish friend of mine converted to Christianity last Thursday. It wasn’t for religious reasons, he just hadn’t bought his wife a gift yet and needed the extra time. “What’s the next holiday? Make me one of those.” ... Did you know that President Bush was the first U.S. president to light a menorah at the White House. Although Bill Clinton was the first president to use candles for mood lighting in the Oval Office. The aroma ones. ... President Bush’s gift list is smaller than last year. Just need to get one gift for England and that’s about it this year. ... John Kerry is going to Iraq to visit with the troops. That should boost morale. Lets hope he has some new jokes! ... Half of American consumers are buying gift cards this Christmas. The other half are women. ... I can’t decide which happy holiday movie I want to go see. It’s either “Apocalypto” or “Blood Diamond”! I can’t decide.

RE: What Would Reagan Do?

I guess I don't have a problem with term-limiting the courts, but the terms need to exceed any elected tenure so that they do not become de facto elected offices. Subjecting the federal bench to the vagaries of democracy would produce a system like the one we have here in North Carolina: degenerate, ineffectual, and political. On a federal level, a system like that would likely be even more tyrannical than the current one.

As for a Congressional veto of the Supreme Court, they already have one and Levin should know that. In fact, they have a type of veto that exists nowhere else in our system. They have a preemptive veto. Congress can vote to limit or remove the court's jurisdiction in any case it hears. It doesn't require a supermajority either. I wonder why Levin thinks that if Congress rarely ever has the will to vote to limit jurisdiction, why they would exercise a post facto veto. This is purely political maneuvering. It would allow Congress to do what it does best: knee-jerk. Congress could sit by while the courts ruled and then spring into action if there was public outcry after their decision. It is mere window-dressing to allow Congress to appear to be doing something.

Levin is supposed to be a Constitutional lawyer and scholar, but sometimes I wonder about him. He came up with some of the twisted arguments to support the obviously unconstitutional intervention of Congress in the Terry Schiavo case. He also occasionally posts on Free Republic and I find myself shaking my head at some of the things he says. It seems Levin is fine with bending the Constitution as long as it suits his political leanings.

Call Me Mom

Fox News

The anti-war movement's newest hero is a 69-year old grandmother in Bennington, Vermont who is facing 60 days in jail for blocking traffic during a protest three years ago. Rosemarie Jackowski is 4'10" and — when asked by police during her booking if she had any aliases — replied, "yes, I do. 'Mom'."

Jackowski is part of the so-called "Bennington 12" — all of whom but her pleaded guilty and enrolled in a first-offender program. Jackowski fought the charge, was convicted, had her conviction thrown out by the Vermont Supreme Court, but now faces retrial. She insists she did nothing wrong.

The city says she put public safety at risk, and blocked at least one hospital-bound ambulance. A police lieutenant says — "it's not about being a grandmother — it's about 'you broke the law and have to suffer the consequences.'"

Huge Economic Growth

Fox News

What country has seen a growth in its gross domestic project of 17 percent last year — and an estimated 13 percent this year? An increase in the number of registered companies of more than 400 percent and in salaries by 100 percent in three years? The answer — Iraq.

Newsweek magazine reports the economy in Iraq is "booming." And Newsweek acknowledges that this is getting little or no media exposure — writing — "there's a vibrancy at the grass roots that is invisible in most international coverage of Iraq." Speaking of Iraq — hundreds of people are lining up for what is becoming the hottest job opening in that country — executioner for Saddam Hussein. The Ledger reports people have sent messages through cabinet officials, government guards and clerical workers begging for the job. An advisor to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says picking a hangman will be very difficult "because so many people want revenge for the loss of their loved ones."

Another issue — where the execution will be held. One idea was to have it in Baghdad's largest sports arena. But most officials say it will probably happen at a specially built gallows at the American prison where Hussein is currently held — Camp Cropper. Hussein's death sentence is currently working its way through the appeals process.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What Would Reagan Do?

Term-Limit Justices, Let Congress Veto Court Rulings

by Mark R. Levin
Human Events

Putting term limits on justices is not a radical idea. It would actually help restore the balance the Constitution envisioned between the three branches of the federal government. With term limits, the Supreme Court would remain an independent body, but they would allow for the replacement of justices on a timely basis, rather than waiting for them to die or set their own retirement date. And if justices are going to use their positions to set policy and, in essence, participate in the political process without the benefit of standing for election, there really is no reason for them to serve for life.

Giving Congress a veto over Supreme Court decisions would also help restore the balance between the court and the legislature. If it took a two-thirds majority vote in both houses to veto a decision, such vetoes would not happen often. But it does allow the people, through their elected branches, to have the last say. For example, I believe the horrendous Kelo v. New London decision, which said local governments can seize private homes and turn them over to private developers for the purpose of raising the tax base, may have garnered the bicameral two-thirds needed for a veto. Were the court to misuse the 14th Amendment to create a right to same-sex marriage, as I suspect it might, that, too, might secure the two-thirds votes necessary for a congressional veto.

There was no greater advocate of representative, constitutional government than Ronald Reagan, and no more outspoken opponent of unbridled judicial activism. If we are to preserve the Constitution as he and the framers understood it, then the Supreme Court must be reigned in through these modest reforms that also respect the independence of the court.

Mystery Surfaces Over Apartment of Kofi Annan

NY Sun

As Secretary-General Annan prepares to leave his post at the United Nations, a mystery is surfacing surrounding his apartment on Roosevelt Island, subsidized by New York taxpayers, which is still in use by the family of his brother, Kobina Annan.

Firm designs nasal spray to fight obesity

BOSTON (Reuters) - Dieters may find some welcome assistance from a new nasal spray that could help resist the appetizing aromas of cinnamon bun stands, pizza parlors or tempting bakeries.

Compellis Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge, Massachusetts said it will begin human trials next year of a nasal spray designed to fight obesity by blocking the senses of smell and taste. It won a patent for the product this month.

Duke Case: The Worst Worsens

In his book "The Great Crash 1929," John Kenneth Galbraith said: "The worst continued to worsen." The same can be said of the Duke University "rape" case and District Attorney Michael Nifong.

Thomas Sowell

David Crawford on the UN

Mr. Crawford predictably commits all the logic errors to which partisan Democrats are generally prone.

1. OK, I'll bite

No one was fishing, David.

2. The purpose of the UN is to mediate disputes between nations. An important characteristic of mediation is that it preserves the sovereignty of all parties. The mediator is there to (dare I use this lingo) to facilitate discussion, not mandate solutions.

It generally helps, David, if you begin from reality. Your naked assertion that the UN's purpose is mediation falls flat on its presumptuous face in light of the evidence:

From the UN's charter:

We The Peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and

Lofty goal, that, but no mention of exactly how they plan to go about it. File this under "Good Intentions."

to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and

Nope, no mediation there, and more fuzzy generalization on lofty goals. This clause establishes the UN as some kind of champion of a vaguely Marxian equalitarinaism.

to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and

Justice and respect are favorite fuzzywords of the international Left. One might almost assume there was some mediation involved here, but clarity is absent.

to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

And now we start into the parts of the charter that globalists like the best. Social progress is a wonderful umbrella concept for all sorts of action that overtakes sovereignty and nationalism. Oh, and still no goal of mediation.

and for these ends

to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and

More mush, still no mediation.

to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and

Here come the blue helmets. Some globalist elements believe mediation to be the imposition of conditions that the elite have determined to be best for "the common good." That almost always happens by force, by the way.

to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and

And there are the weasel words that allow the UN elite to abandon dialog and enter into subjective force. You can file this under "anti-mediation."

to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples,

There we go, in the end they abandon any pretense and expose their globalist Marxian goals for all to see.

The UN's idea of mediation has nothing to do with maintaining sovereignty. In fact, national sovereignty is seen as an impediment to the UN's lofty (but fuzzy) goals. Read the UN's papers on international "abortion rights" and suffrage if you want a lesson on their opinion of national sovereignty. Your assertion that the UN abhors mandated solutions is specious and false.

3. The great mistake of the US dominated Security Council leading up to the current war in Iraq was the adoption of the role of enforcer. That is not its purpose nor can it ever be successful in that role.

The Security Council has always had the role of enforcer, so I don't even know what this means. The US went into Iraq over the objections of the UN. Nice try at association, though. Finally, "US dominated" is anti-American hyperbole. The US can hardly dominate the Security Council when half a dozen nations have a veto.

4. To read Mr Brenneis' thoughts, it appears that he sees no value in any alliances. That to enter into mutual agreements is to head down the proverbial slippery slope towards some form of world communism. Obviously in his view, the only way to maintain order is for the one with the biggest stick to dictate terms to everyone else. The current state of affairs shows how well this idea works. Not to mention it simply is uncivilized.

You seem to have a great deal of confidence in your skills as a psychic, David. Too bad it is unwarranted. No rational mind could possibly read any of that into any comment I have ever made here. As well, you seem to be unable to differentiate between alliance and interference. Forcefully herding national populations into global socialist structures cannot be mistaken for alliance. Alliance only occurs in the presence of mutual respect for sovereignty. The international Left harbors no such respect.

5. The recognition that differences in perspective and competing interests exist, that mutually acceptable compromises can be negotiated, and that this is an evolutionary process, is the basis for having the U.N.

So you say, David. The UN seems to have a different view. See their charter, above. Naked assertion and wishful thinking do not equal reality.

Brenneis apparently rejects each of these premises and is resigned to a world of war and distrust. That is his sour prerogative. I prefer to live with a greater level of optimism and hope for a world in which wars like the current one do not occur.

Once again, David rides his little logical bicycle off into the tall grass. David, like so many other Democrats/Liberals/Leftists, establishes his own predicates and then assigns everyone who doesn't share his world view to their results. Unfortunately for him, the evidence doesn't support his predicates and all he is left with is illogical rhetoric. David and his ilk attempt to build a utopian world where appeasement and good intentions win the day and everyone suddenly drops their own goals and desires to work for the common good. The trouble with that vision is that David and his friends wish to define the common good and find themselves bewildered when faced with a competing group having the same desire to define it. I live in a world of reality, where competing interests are a given and the road to peaceful coexistence lies parallel to that of mutual respect through mutual strength and sovereignty. If that's a sour prerogative, then so be it, but I don't find myself disappointed regularly when the world fails to conform to some grandiose illusion I have created out of nothing but good intentions.

British Lord Stings Senators Rockefeller and Snowe: 'Uphold Free Speech or Resign'

Lord Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley, has sent an open letter to Senators Rockefeller (D-WV) and Snowe (R-Maine) in response to their recent open letter telling the CEO of ExxonMobil to cease funding climate-skeptic scientists.

The full text is here (PDF).

To the Senators' comparison of ExxonMobil's funding of climate sceptics with tobacco-industry funding of research denying the link between smoking and lung cancer, Lord Monckton counters, "Your comparison of Exxon's funding of sceptical scientists and groups with the former antics of the tobacco industry is unjustifiable and unworthy of any credible elected representatives. Either withdraw that monstrous comparison forthwith, or resign so as not to pollute the office you hold."

Way to go, Lord Monckton!

Billy Graham says he and his wife are deciding on their burial site

(AP) Billy Graham said yesterday that he and his wife, Ruth, are deciding together where they will be buried, an announcement apparently prompted by a report that the family is feuding over the issue.

"That determination will not be made by our family, our organization or outsiders, but will be ours alone," Graham, 88, said in a statement from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Will They Believe Romney?

Some social conservatives in the important primary state of South Carolina are expressing skepticism about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney after reports of statements from the Massachusetts governor that were pro-choice, in favor of expansive gay rights, and dismissive of Ronald Reagan.

For some, the concern stems not from any single, disqualifying position, but rather a combination of statements from Romney's political career. "When it becomes a pattern, that's what causes people to be fearful," says Oran Smith, head of the pro-life Palmetto Family Council, who has not committed to any candidate in the race. "The Reagan thing, the abortion thing, the gay thing - if you mix all of that together, is there a pattern?"

Byron York

Byron is just illustrating what everyone who isn't a GOP cheerleader already knows: Social conservatives (and libertarians) can't be bullied into voting for political pragmatism any more with faux external threats or the shell game of "compassionate conservatism." Without those two essential components of their coalition, the GOP cannot possibly win any election of importance.

If either Romney or Giuliani is the GOP nominee, The Beast in Pants Suits will walk right into the Oval Office with hardly even a fight. Write it down.

Remembering the Gipper...

“An early American hymn sang of the Christ-child that ‘this richest babe comes poor in being, more pearled within than to the seeing.’ More than any gift or toy, ornament or tree, let us resolve that this Christmas shall be, like that first Christmas, a celebration of interior treasures. And let us resolve to share our many blessings with others now and in the year to come—from the hungry or the helpless near at hand to those in trouble or turmoil in distant lands from Africa to Asia and beyond. As we gather with our family and friends to honor Christ, we can experience the same peace and joy as the shepherds and the Magi did almost two thousand years ago. If we make that peace and joy a part of our lives, our example will serve as a guide and an inspiration for everyone we meet.”

Ronald Reagan

Obama :-)

Jimmy Carter rewrites history (badly)

The Patriot Post

Jimmy Carter has garnered a lot more respect than he deserves as an elder statesman. Much of his post-presidential career has been spent writing best-selling books and traveling the world as a so-called peace broker, which essentially means that he sticks his nose into affairs that often run contrary to American interests and its stated foreign policy. He’s been living off the glory of the 1978 Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt and believes that his role in that fleeting moment of peace in the Middle East makes him an expert on issues currently facing the region.

Bringing Them in to Keep Them Out?

Fox News

A southern California company responsible for building much of the border fence that helps keep illegal immigrants out of the country will pay nearly $5 million in fines — for hiring illegal immigrants.

The U.S. Attorney says as many as one-third of the Golden State Fence Company's workers were in the country illegally — even after the company pledged to clean house when authorities discovered illegal workers on the payroll back in 1999.

Two executives could also face jail time, but their attorney says the case merely proves that construction companies need a guest worker program.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Carter Nixes Debate With Outspoken Prof

Former President Carter turned down a request to debate Alan Dershowitz about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying the outspoken Harvard law professor "knows nothing about the situation."

Carter, author of a new book advocating "peace not apartheid" in the region, said he will not visit Brandeis University to discuss the book because the university requested he debate Dershowitz.

"I don't want to have a conversation even indirectly with Dershowitz," Carter said in Friday's Boston Globe. "There is no need ... to debate somebody who, in my opinion, knows nothing about the situation in Palestine."

Predictable. Carter isn't interested in debate or dialog. He is desperately seeking someone to take him seriously, other than the collection of thugs and bullying dictators he has endeared himself to. He has to be aware that the more of this kind of nonsense he pulls, the smaller the potential group is that will listen to him any more.

The school's debate request, Carter said, is proof that many in the United States are unwilling to hear an alternative view on the nation's most taboo foreign policy issue, Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory.

Huh? That makes no sense. A debate pretty much includes an "alternate view." I think the alternate view Carter fears is the one that proves he is both an attention whore and a useful idiot for any number of degenerate causes.

People who continue to defend Carter are doing so under one of two conditions: An agenda of their own or willful ignorance.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Pelosi Targets Grassroots Freedom of Speech

House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) has pledged to take up a lobbying reform proposal that would impose new regulations on speech by grassroots organizations, while providing a loophole in the rules for large corporations and labor unions.

The legislation would make changes to the legal definition of "grassroots lobbying" and require any organization that encourages 500 or more members of the general public to contact their elected representatives to file a report with detailed information about their organization to the government on a quarterly basis.

The report would include identifying the organization's expenditures, the issues focused on and the members of Congress and other federal officials who are the subject of the advocacy efforts. A separate report would be required for each policy issue the group is active on.

"Right now, grassroots groups don't have to report at all if they are communicating with the public," said Dick Dingman of the Free Speech Coalition, Inc. "This is an effort that would become a major attack on the 1st Amendment."

Amanda B. Carpenter

Our incoming fascist Speaker is wasting no time in bringing the hammer down. I'm sure she'll be happily abetted in this effort by her brother fascist in the Senate, John McCain. They'll note it as a "bi-partisan" effort, so it will be okay.

Under the legislation being considered, a comment by any one of us on the BP with regard to contacting a Congress-critter could require us to file a report with the government.

This is, of course, the next logical step for an oligarchy emboldened by their success with CFR. Of all the lame things Bush has done in the last six years, signing CFR into law was probably the most detrimental in the long run. Thanks, George.

Friday, December 15, 2006

RE: Kofi and U.N. 'Ideals'

The UN was a bad idea when Wilson tried to sell it as The League of Nations. We were right to have rejected it then, we were foolish to have accepted it later.

Even assuming it was not a purely Marxist or Bolshevik organization when it was formed, no one with a shred of intelligence or honesty would try to assert that it is anything else today. Global socialist forces have used the idiocy of democracy upon which it is founded to create an organization whose stated goal is the end of nations. To them, "united" means "absorbed."

The inevitable North American Union will certainly make the job of globalization easier. When China and Russia unite to form the Asian Socialist Union, absorbing all the Asian proto-Nations left behind by the British Empire, membership in the UN should quickly dwindle to seven, representatives of the seven nation-continents. Seven is an easily manageable oligarchy and makes a workable size for a politburo.

It is almost amusing to look back at ourselves and our silly notion that we had defeated soviet socialism. Some of us even thought we put lie to Vladimir Ilyanovich's notion that communism is a global inevitability.

On the day that "we the people" handed over the party of Reagan to the forces of global socialism, in the form of the Bush dynasty, our inevitable course was laid down. Now, I doubt it can be changed short of revolution.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Kofi and U.N. 'Ideals'

Rwanda, Dafur, Iraq and Oil for Food

Wall Street Journal

Sixty years ago, at the invitation of President Harry Truman, Winston Churchill delivered his historic Iron Curtain address in Fulton, Missouri, to warn Americans of the menace they faced in the Soviet Union. On Monday, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan gave his valedictory speech at the Truman Library in Independence to instruct Americans about the principles of global leadership and their need for the United Nations. The comparison says a lot about Mr. Annan's legacy and the current state of the U.N.

RE: Graham has a Solomon-like decision to make

Franklin Graham, in a telephone interview, said that no decision has been made. "Some of the board members feel the library ought to be the place," he said.

I must have missed the commandment that says, "Honor thy board members." I hope Franklin Graham does the right thing and honor his mother's wishes. Besides, the Cove outside of Asheville, NC is a beautiful place.

Supreme Farce

It might be a hilarious comedy routine to have a group of highly educated judges solemnly expounding on something that everybody knows to be utter nonsense. But it isn't nearly as funny when this solemn discourse about nonsense takes place on the Supreme Court of the United States -- and when most people are unaware of what nonsense the learned justices are talking.

The issue before the High Court is whether local authorities have the legal right to make students' race a factor in deciding which school to assign them to attend.

Thomas Sowell

The people who force this kind of thing on us aren't interested in improving anything. They are interested in power, the power to impose their own view of reality on the rest of us. If they were actually interested in improving the situation, they would stop and look at the evidence and find that it has indicated for decades that they are doing the wrong thing.

Graham has a Solomon-like decision to make

MONTREAT — It is a struggle worthy of the Old Testament, pitting brother against brother, son against mother, and leaving famous evangelist father, the Rev. Billy Graham, trapped in the middle, pondering what to do. Retired and almost blind at 88, Billy Graham is sitting in his modest log house in Western North Carolina and listening to a family friend describe where Franklin Graham, heir to his father's worldwide ministry, wants to bury his parents.
Billy Graham's wife, Ruth Bell Graham, 86, is listening too, curled up in a hospital bed on a bleak November evening. On her left sits her younger son, Ned, 48, who has taken care of her and her husband for almost four years, and Ned's wife, Christina.
Events will unfold quickly in the days after: more meetings at the house, prayers, and a notarized document produced that Ruth signed before six witnesses. But at this moment, everyone's attention is on the friend, crime novelist Patricia Cornwell, who is talking about a memorial "library" that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, or BGEA, headed by Franklin Graham, is building in Charlotte. Cornwell toured the building site and saw the proposed burial plot. She was asked by Ned Graham, who opposes Franklin Graham's choice, to come and give his father her impression.
"I was horrified by what I saw," she told Billy Graham, in the presence of a reporter invited to be there.
The building, designed in part by consultants who used to work for the Walt Disney Co., is not a library, she said, but a big barn and silo - a reminder of Billy Graham's early childhood on a dairy farm near Charlotte. Once it's completed in the spring, visitors will pass through a 40-foot-high glass entry cut in the shape of a cross and be greeted by a mechanical talking cow. They will follow a path of straw through rooms full of multimedia exhibits. At the end of the tour, they will be pointed toward a stone walk, also in the shape of a cross, that leads to a garden where the bodies of Billy and Ruth Graham could lie. Throughout the tour, there will be several opportunities for people to put their names on a mailing list.
"The whole purpose of this evangelistic experience is fund-raising," Cornwell told Billy Graham. "I know who you are and you are not that place. It's a mockery. People are going to laugh. Please don't be buried there."
Ruth Graham has told her children that she doesn't want to be buried in Charlotte. She has a burial spot picked out in the mountains where she raised five children, and she hopes that her husband will join her there. Ned Graham has been working to convince his three sisters, Gigi, Bunny and Anne, that their mother's wishes should be followed.
But six years ago, Franklin Graham, 54, took over BGEA and is trying to convince their dad of the appropriateness of the Charlotte burial site, Ned Graham and another family member say. Franklin Graham, in a telephone interview, said that no decision has been made. "Some of the board members feel the library ought to be the place," he said.
The issue threatens to tear asunder what some have called the royal family of American religion, and Billy Graham is being asked to make a Solomon-like choice between the wishes of his heir and his wife of 63 years.

Laura Sessions Stepp for the Washington Post

A mechanical talking cow at a park designed by Disney consultants hardly seems to be an appropriate prelude to viewing the grave of this humble, earnest, and beloved Christian evangelist.

On Dems :-)

Race is on to replace Black

Several Democrats appear interested in being next speaker

By James Romoser
Winston-Salem Journal


Rep. Jim Black's decision not to run for a fifth term as speaker of the N.C. House adds tumult to what was already an unpredictable race for one of the most powerful positions in state government.

With the ability to make committee appointments, to funnel campaign contributions around the state, and to decide which bills live and which die, the next speaker of the House, whoever it is, will guide the direction of the 2007 session of the General Assembly.

The speaker is chosen every two years by a vote of the 120 House members, and the personal and political wrangling it takes to get a majority is the stuff of political insiders. But the outcome affects every North Carolinian.

Say what? Black doesn't think he will be indicted?

By Scott Sexton
Winston-Salem Journal

Whatever Jim Black is drinking, he ought to consider bottling it and selling to the rest of us. Although his decision not to run in January for a fifth term as speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives doesn't come as a surprise, the statement he made after announcing his decision was.

"I have no more reason to think today that I will be indicted than I did a year ago," Black told The Associated Press after a dinner meeting in Raleigh on Tuesday.

Sen. Johnson Undergoes Surgery for Stroke-Like Symptoms

Fox News

South Dakota Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson underwent surgery for stroke-like symptoms at George Washington University hospital in Washington, D.C. Wednesday after becoming disoriented Wednesday.

There was no word on the nature of the surgery, which lasted past midnight, but a hospital official said George Washington University Hospital was preparing to announce that Johnson's condition was critical.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Lacrosse Players Tout DNA Tests

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - DNA testing in the Duke lacrosse rape case found genetic material from several males in the accuser's body and her underwear - but none from any team member, defense attorneys said in court papers Wednesday.

The papers were filed by attorneys for the three lacrosse players charged, Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans. They complained that the information about DNA from other men was not disclosed in a report prosecutors provided earlier this year to the defense.

The testing was conducted at a private laboratory for the prosecution.

RE: Sen. Johnson Suffers Possible Stroke

Fox News is reporting that Johnson is in the hospital, but that the AP report is not true. Johnson's spokesman says he did not suffer a stroke or a heart attack.

Sen. Johnson Suffers Possible Stroke

(AP) Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota suffered a possible stroke Wednesday and was taken to a Washington hospital, his office said.

Johnson became disoriented during a call with reporters at midday, stuttering in response to a question. He appeared to recover, asking if there were any additional questions before ending the call.

If he should be unable to continue to serve, it could halt the scheduled Democratic takeover of the Senate. Democrats won a 51-49 majority in the November election. South Dakota's governor, who would appoint any temporary replacement, is a Republican.