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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.

Friday, June 29, 2007

RE: Rachel Carson and a rant

OK, one little note, and then I'm pretty much done with this person. Rational thought processes are obviously not her strong suit.

Obviously DDT was good at killing the mosquitos that carry malaria. Unfortunately, it's pretty good at killing other things, too. It also has an annoying tendency to build up in the fatty tissue of the animals higher up the food chain that eat those mosquitos, like the bald eagles I talked about yesterday, or fish. It's that whole food chain thing they taught you about in 5th-grade science class. (I know how a lot of right-wing politicians struggle with basic science, so I thought I'd review.)

Well that's interesting. I'm sure zoologists everywhere will be stunned to learn that not only are Bald Eagles now indigenous to Africa, but apparently our little friend has also discovered that they consume mosquitoes. Or maybe it's only the African Bald Eagle that eschews fish, rodents, and birds in favor of an insect they probably can't even see. How ironic that she offers lessons in basic science to "right-wing politicians." I think maybe the right-wing pols are not the only ones who should have paid a little better attention in the fifth grade.

Of course in the interest of truth, it is necessary to point out that the Bald Eagle DDT myth has been debunked on numerous occasions, but then again, little left-wing enviro-wannabes have never been very good at examining evidence. Zoologists and biologists warned of Bald Eagle population problems 22 years before DDT went into production. In fact, at the time DDT went into production, the Bald Eagle population was in recovery. And just to put the icing on the cake, biologists fed large doses of DDT to Eagles for 112 days and determined that the residue had no adverse effect on the Eagles or their eggs. The Bald Eagle population problems were mostly a result of two factors. Farmers and ranchers found them to be nuisance animals and shot them whenever and wherever they saw them. The second, and more profound factor was the loss of suitable habitat. So why are they coming back? There are many reasons, but the biggest clue for you is that half the current population of Bald Eagles live in Alaska and British Columbia. Yeah, banning DDT saved the eagles.

You see it's the half-truths and full-out-nonsense spewed by over-educated and under-intellectual people like this that cause, or should I say allow, bureaucrats everywhere to act on half-baked myths and conjecture. The fools get a warm, fuzzy feeling because they "did something." Their little sunny worlds are never disturbed by the fact that their nonsense has cost people their homes, their livelihoods, and in some cases even their lives. As Thomas Sowell once put it, never before have so few worked to create so much destruction.

Sorry, this is like shooting fish in a barrel. There's no sport in it and eventually you begin to feel sorry for the barrel.

Rachel Carson and a rant

From Sara:

Just because I made a reference to this in a blog entry posted yesterday...here's an article about Rachel Carson and Silent Spring.

Remember what I said about the right wing having better marketing people? Here's great example - apparently Carson and the other conservationists who warned about the environmental dangers of DDT in 1962 are solely responsible for the existence of malaria in Africa in 2007. Yeah.

Leonard Pitts is a moron...

...which makes you wonder about people who find any intellectual value in what he writes.

Let's pick this one apart, shall we? The article, entitled It's time to rebrand the `L-word', begins thusly:

A story, probably apocryphal.

Impatient driver is waiting at intersection as pedestrian crosses in front of him. Pedestrian is slow. Driver leans from his window and yells, "Get out of the street you (bleep) liberal.''

As I said, the story -- I picked it up in a magazine somewhere -- probably didn't happen. But it sure feels true, doesn't it?

Well there's a heckuva start to an article that "uses actual facts rather than fast-talking propagandistic talking points." He read a story somewhere and it probably isn't true but it feels true. So far Lenny isn't doing too well on convincing us to rebrand the "L-word." This is classic lefty stuff.

We are, or so we have lately been told, no longer a nation of red, white and blue. Now we are simply red and blue -- squishy, effete, egg-headed, godless and liberal along the coasts; principled, tough, instinctive, God-fearing and conservative in between. It is a mantra that has been repeated to such a degree that nobody bothers to question it anymore: conservatism is triumphant, liberalism is spent.

Interestingly, Leo picks a rather hyperbolic context in which to build his thesis. I think at the talking head level of the media, and among political junkies there is a grain of truth in what he says, but among Joe Public, such dichotomies are far less distinct. But our boy is setting himself up for an easy time here. Starting out the discussion at the bug-eyed drama queen fringe makes developing an argument sounding of reason much simpler, doesn't it? The trouble with that tactic is that it does nothing to further the ideological dialog. It's just a lot of shouting.

But let's continue and see if Leo even manages to defend the center.

But what if we've been had?

Paul Waldman believes we have. He is a senior fellow of Media Matters for America, a liberal, nonprofit media watchdog group. No, he's hardly a disinterested observer. But humor him. He's here to make a rather provocative argument:

"We've been told by conservatives and by mainstream media for years that this is a conservative country but if you actually look at the facts you find that this is a myth."

Right, so Lenny wants us to put aside objectivity because his liberal friend's argument is provocative. This still isn't boding well for an argument founded on reason.

As well, I strenuously disagree with his predicate. Conservatives have only recently discovered that the country actually tends to vote their way when they grow a spine and stick to their principles. As for the mainstream media, I would like to see some evidence of Waldman's claim. Until Fox News came along, the media was all liberal, all the time. The three-letter networks have only toned that down because Fox was cleaning their clocks. But that, in and of itself is evidence that Waldman's claims are ridiculous.

Media Matters and the Campaign For America's Future, a liberal activist group, have helpfully assembled said facts in a report released earlier this month, "Thede Progressive Majority: Why A Conservative America Is A Myth." The report, at http://home.our future.org analyzes years of public opinion surveys from such respected and nonpartisan organizations as Gallup and the Pew Research Center. On issue after issue, those surveys present a picture starkly at odds with the conservative stereotype.

• Abortion? Sixty-two percent of us oppose overturning Roe v. Wade.

• Stem cells? Sixty-one percent of us support using them for research.

• Guns? Sixty percent of us would like to see more government restriction.

Oh, by all means, let's use collated data from a liberal activist group to back up a foredrawn conclusion. Objectivity? We don't need no stinking objectivity. We're liberals. If it feels right, it must be right. I fail to understand how aggregated polls taken over years are any indication whatsoever of public opinion on specific topics.

Be that as it may, the way these results are reported are incredibly skewed. On the subject of abortion, over 70% of people polled do not believe that the federal government should regulate abortion, legal or otherwise. More than two-thirds of the country believes abortion is a topic that should be left up to the states. Liberal pollsters who ask about Roe v. Wade never couch the question in terms of federalism. When asked on those terms, the overwhelming majority favor overturning it in favor of regulation at the state level.

On stem cells, the majority favor using stem cells, but once again liberal pollsters never ask the question in terms of fetal destruction. As well, most people do not favor federal funding of any kind of stem cell research and prefer that private industry pick up the tab. Once again, liberal pollsters never ask the question in those terms.

Finally, on the subject of gun control, polls are all over the place. The overwhelming trend, though, is that people in big cities (generally more liberal) favor more regulation on guns while those in the heartland (generally more conservative) do not.

By the way, nice attribution there, Sparky. Polls from such as Gallup and Pew, both of which have been exposed as pushing polls leftward on may occasions. Leaving that aside, though, without knowing who the other analogs were, it is impossible to make any assumptions on the validity of the collected information.

Please, someone tell me the difference between this and agit-prop, or as has been previously quoted, "fast-talking propagandistic talking points."

These are not exactly conservative positions. To the contrary, they bespeak a fairly liberal electorate. So how is it we've come to think of "liberal" as a bad word?

Horse manure. If that's true, then why do candidates who stand well to the left on these issues get their butts whipped in election after election? Hmmm?

An anecdote by way of answer: In teaching on college campuses, I've noticed that my young female students tend to reject being called "feminists." They happily accept the rights feminists have won for them, not least of which is the right to be college students. But the ''F-word'' itself repels them.

Typical. Some day, someone will show me a liberal who doesn't think anecdote is evidence. Or not. "On time, in band camp..." Oh, and of course everyone knows academe is exactly the same thing as real life.

Similarly, says Waldman, the GOP has managed to rebrand the "L-word" as something so repugnant you wouldn't touch it without a Haz-Mat suit, something, well . . . squishy, effete, egg-headed and godless.

So far, Lenny, your case against that isn't doing so well.

What's interesting, says Waldman, is that whether or not they accept the L-word, Americans are clearly moving further left all the time. For example, 30 years ago, conservatives and liberals sparred over whether women could do "man's" work and black people could marry white ones. To both questions, the country said yes. "What had been the radical position is now the consensus opinion." These days, we still argue race and gender, but the battle lines have moved -- left. Which is, Waldman says, what they historically do.

Holy mackerel, Lenny! Are you telling us that the definitions of "conservative" and "liberal" change over time? Stop the presses!

Every liberal in the media writes as if reality just walked into their bedroom this morning.

This is actually nothing more than a fairly cheap attempt at reinforcing the stereotype that conservatives are racists and sexists. On a side note, Lenny, we're still arguing over whether women belong in the workplace on an equal basis with men.

He sees the same dynamic at work in gay rights. "Five years ago, we weren't even talking about gay marriage. The argument was whether it was OK to discriminate against gays in housing and employment. We're not even talking about that anymore."

Right. So because the media, which is demonstrably well left of center and is populated in far disproportionate numbers by homosexuals, has a near monopoly on what will and will not be part of the political dialog in America, it is an indicator that Joe America has moved to well to the left on the topic. Causality is not one of your strong suits, is it Lenny?
As I said, Waldman has an ax to grind. But for my money, he raises a worthwhile question: By what trick, con job or bamboozlement does a nation that supports gun control, abortion rights and stem cell research believe itself to be conservative?

Public Enemy was right: Don't believe the hype.

And your ax is certainly well concealed, isn't it Lenny? Nice touch with quoting a rap outfit to make a profound political point. Or not.

Nope, Lenny has utterly failed to make his case. In point of actual fact, this entire article is exceptionally evidence-free. It is typical liberal fair: shrill screeds on what the eeevil conservatives are saying about the poor, misunderstood liberals and some wishful thinking about the American electorate.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Employee ‘Free Choice’ is dead (for now)

(The Patriot Post) - In the shadow of a heated immigration debate, labor unions and their allies were dealt another blow as S. 1041, the ridiculously misnamed “Employee Free Choice Act,” failed to attain cloture in the Senate. The legislation would have allowed union recognition once it was ascertained that a majority of employees at a place of business signed cards recognizing a union. While unions cited this as de facto proof that representation was desired, business groups charged that not allowing the secrecy of the union vote could lead to bullying and intimidation of employees to sign the union cards. According to government statistics, unions win only about three fifths of representation votes.

By maintaining near-perfect party unity and not allowing 60 votes for the measure, the minority Republicans effectively kept debate open on the bill, which forced it to be dropped. Only Sen. Arlen Specter (RINO-PA) voted with the 50 Democrats who were present for cloture. Still, Democrats vow to keep trying. “We will keep coming back [with a similar bill] year after year after year,” threatened Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). A similar bill passed the House back in March, with 13 cowardly Republicans, mostly from union states, joining all but two Democrats to back the bill.

Demos to revive ‘Fairness Doctrine’

(The Patriot Post) - Rumor has it that Senate Democrats are hoping to bring back the Fairness Doctrine, an FCC rule scrapped 20 years ago that called for broadcast licensees to give equal time to opposing viewpoints on matters of public importance. The conservative dominance of talk radio has led liberals to move toward reviving it, but don’t think for a moment this is in the interest of fairness. It is worth noting that the one medium those on the Left keep coming back to is radio. They don’t complain about newspapers, network evening news or the largest selling weekly newsmagazines, because those venues are all comfortably liberal. Yet, because the largest audiences in radio belong to conservative hosts, Demos want to create a picture that equal time is not being given to liberal viewpoints. In fact, conservative dominance of talk radio merely reflects conservative pre-eminence in the marketplace of ideas. No wonder liberals don’t get it.

The most likely outcome of the reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine is a return to the timid days of canned news and views, when government challenges to private broadcasters were enough to keep many reporters and editorialists from stirring controversy and drawing attention to politicians. A media culture such as this promotes incumbency in public office, but it does not serve the best interests of the public.

Environmentalism causes fires

(The Patriot Post) - As fires destroyed homes and charred the landscape around Lake Tahoe, California, this past week, area homeowners had no question of whom to blame. They didn’t point the finger at heat or drought—not even global warming or President Bush—but rather at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), a bi-state environmental land-use agency that oversees the area’s resources. Environmentalist-driven policies hindering the removal of dead trees have made the area a virtual tinderbox. As government agencies and environmentalists have butted heads over how to thin forests to reduce the threat of fires, the level of fuel in the Tahoe Basin crept to critical heights.

The same environmentalists who panic at global warming, fuel emissions and the evils of corporate pollution are strangely silent when it comes to disasters of their own making. In the eloquent words of one Tahoe area resident, “What a joke!”

Demand grows for Thompson announcement

(The Patriot Post) - When WSMV-TV of Nashville reported this week that Fred Thompson would be making Nashville the home of his presidential campaign headquarters, there was an assumption that he would be formally announcing his candidacy for the White House. No such luck yet, but the buzz around this simple announcement is as sure a sign as any that his entry is both imminent and highly anticipated.

When Thompson does announce, the dynamics of the race for the Republican nomination will completely change. To this point, none of the frontrunners has captured the hearts of American conservatives. In particular, John McCain may have suffered irreparable damage due to his attachment to the failed immigration-reform bill. Thompson already ranks at or near the top of several nationwide polls without having made a formal announcement of his candidacy.

Even his ex-wife and some of his old flames in politics and entertainment have pledged to campaign for him. Country singer and former girlfriend Lorrie Morgan gushed, “I couldn’t think of a bad word to say about Fred if somebody put a gun to my head. Fred is a perfect example of chivalry. He’s the kind of man little girls dream about marrying...” It’ll be interesting to see whether Monica Lewinsky exhibits an equal measure of enthusiasm for Hillary’s candidacy.

Daily Ask SAM Column

Winston-Salem Journal

In 2006, President Bush promised to immediately build hundreds of miles of new fences along the U.S.-Mexico border. At this time, how many miles of new fence have been completely built? - S.B.

A. Less than 10 miles of the promised 700-mile fence has been built, according to reports from groups monitoring the progress.

Burr is cheered by opponents of the bill when he joins those who vote to reject it

WASHINGTON (Winston-Salem Journal) - Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. said that his office has received "dozens" of threatening calls in recent weeks over the immigration bill, which he voted yesterday to kill.

Callers asked him to vote against the bill and reminded his staff that they knew where he lived, Burr said. He said he alerted Capitol Hill police to one call.

"This was a very vicious issue for a lot of people," he said.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Just call me liberal...I like it when you talk dirty

From Sara:

Two items in the paper this morning have me celebrating the fact that I'm a proud liberal.

First, there's Leonard Pitt's new column (which only ran in the Winston-Salem Journal today), a concise defense against the myth that America is a conservative nation. In fact, we're merely a nation where the right wing has better marketing people. Pitt uses actual facts rather than fast-talking propagandistic talking points, so it may not convince the most hard-core Coulterites out there...but still, I like it. I'm not for one moment suggesting that the Democratic Party is right all the time, or even right more often that the Republicans (nor does Pitt) - just that the liberal/progressive worldview is more in line both with human nature and with the American spirit.

Speaking of the American spirit, there's item #2: The American bald eagle is off the endangered species list.

That's right, thanks to those wacky latte-sipping intellectuals like that tree-hugger Rachel Carson (whose 1960s book Silent Spring called attention to the effects of DDT on the food chain) the bird that's been our national symbol since before we were a nation is baaaaaaa-ack. (I'll bet VP Cheney is just itching to blow one away, too.)

I'm no fan of changing behavior via Federal regulation, and sure, the EPA protections of bald eagles and other animals have been a pain in the ass to many a property owner over the years. But there's a wide gap between rugged individualism and being a selfish prick. When the actions of the individual affect society as a whole, that's the government's cue to step in and mediate. And yes, your corporation dumping massive amounts of poison into the atmosphere DOES affect me (and my kids, and yours), and I have a small issue with that.

So here's hoping that the most environmentally unfriendly administration in recent memory doesn't use the feel-good bald eagle news to mask its swell new plan to grind up harp seals to fuel a nuclear power plant in the Everglades or something. (Or else when President Bush gets to Heaven, he's going to find a VERY pissed off Teddy Roosevelt waiting for him...and I don't think anyone wants to see that. Except maybe Maureen Dowd.)

Supreme Court rejects school race plans

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected diversity plans in two major school districts that take race into account in assigning students but left the door open for using race in limited circumstances.

Immigration Bill Fails

WASHINGTON (Fox News) — A defiant group of senators refused to continue down the path of a widely unpopular immigration reform bill Thursday, putting up a roadblock on a procedural debate and squeezing out any time left to work on one of President Bush's top domestic priorities.

On the cloture vote — the test to end debate and move to passage — the Senate voted 46-53 not to carry the motion. Sixty votes were needed for forward progress.

Duke and Marmaduke

There is nothing so dangerous as a Southern liberal hoping to be invited to a Graydon Carter party.

As is now well-known, Durham prosecutor Mike Nifong falsely accused three white Duke lacrosse players of gang-raping a stripper, even as evidence piled up proving it never happened. In the weeks after an unstable stripper -- or, since this is not a Hollywood movie, "a stripper" -- accused the players of rape, Nifong stated on national TV: "I am convinced that there was a rape." He called the players "hooligans," contemptuously sneering that their "daddies could buy them expensive lawyers."

Envy is an emotion well-known for producing model behavior.

Revealing his own motives, Nifong said defense attorneys for the non-indicted players "were almost disappointed that their clients didn't get indicted so they could be a part of this spectacle here in Durham." Hello, Vanity Fair? Did you see where I talked about their "daddies"?

Ann Coulter

I have been told by several attorneys that prosecutors in North Carolina have been granted almost godlike authority in pursuing a case. Couple that with the fact that the only crime for which Nifong can be charged is contempt of court, and you have a situation that should worry any freedom-loving people. When you combine the Democrats' tendencies to centralize power and authority and the Republicans' tendency to blindly adore anything that looks like law-and-order, the result is a dangerous combination of tyranny and police-state achieved through bad legislation.

North Carolina needs to take a hard look at the independence and authority it grants to its attorneys. That Nifong was a rogue prosecutor and completely out of control was obvious to most of us early on in the process. The fact that there was no apparatus in place to step in and slap him down before he dragged the county and the state through the mire of a willfully false prosecution should be worrisome to everyone living in this state.

Migrant bill splits senators-- a little

When the U.S. Senate convenes this morning for a critical immigration vote, North Carolina's Republican senators will have different objectives.

Sen. Richard Burr will want to know whether sufficient safeguards have been added to the sweeping legislation to earn his support. The answer, he said Wednesday, is probably no.

Sen. Elizabeth Dole just wants to kill the thing.

For Dole and Burr, both strong supporters of President Bush, the immigration deal may be the most significant issue in recent memory on which they differ ideologically, if only by increments. Both oppose illegal immigration and want tougher border security. But while Dole has been outspoken in trying to slay a measure she labels "amnesty," Burr has been willing to have a debate.

"It's to North Carolina's benefit to figure out what we have to do as a country," Burr said in an interview Wednesday. "I think immigration is a huge, huge problem. ... We have the worst of all worlds right now."

Barbara Barrett

Sorry, I don't buy the whole circumspection routine. Richard had stars in his eyes, but I happen to know that both his Washington and Winston-Salem offices were being deluged with angry calls and emails. Sounds like he is considering the merits of the very unlikely prospect of hitching his wagon to McCain's increasingly tarnished star versus a very angry and resentful constituency back home. I'm sure Richard is well aware of how vindictive North Carolina Republicans can be.

Bush facing GOP mutiny over immigration

By Patrick O'Connor
The Politico

The bitter fight over a comprehensive immigration overhaul has pushed President Bush and his fellow Republicans to the brink of divorce -- and, for the first time, the opportunities for reconciliation appear severely limited.

Immigration Measure in Doubt Over Senate Defections

(Bloomberg) -- The fate of U.S. immigration legislation was cast into doubt when at least six senators who helped revive the proposed overhaul said they either oppose or are leaning against a move to permit a vote on final passage.

...Republicans Richard Burr of North Carolina and Christopher Bond of Missouri and Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska said they oppose permitting a vote on final passage. Virginia Democrat Jim Webb and Republicans John Ensign of Nevada and Pete Domenici of New Mexico said they were leaning that way.

It takes 60 votes, or three-fifths of the Senate, to shut off debate. Yesterday, the Senate voted 64-35 to permit debate to resume.

It seems Richard Burr finally came to his senses.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Amnesty Eight

National Review Online

The game remains the same: Pass amnesty by giving it some enforcement cover. Senators opposing amnesty or skeptical of the bill who voted yes on cloture Tuesday have blessed a ramshackle process that has the Senate considering extremely consequential and complicated legislation on the fly; allowed the bill to take a step without which it could never make it into law; and enabled all the insider gamesmanship (see the Kyl-Graham-Martinez amendment) that will be used to force it over the next set of procedural obstacles. We fear some of these senators will now try to argue that a vote against final passage is enough. It isn’t. The best remaining chance to defeat the bill is on cloture on Thursday. These senators should vote no, or be known forevermore as the Amnesty Eight: the senators who could have blocked amnesty, but didn’t.

I hope Richard Burr studies up on real estate over the next couple of years. He might need a job with his wife's real estate company after '10.

GOP preps for talk radio confrontation

By Alexander Bolton
The Hill

House Republican lawmakers are preparing to fight anticipated Democratic efforts to regulate talk radio by reviving rules requiring stations to balance conservative hosts such as Rush Limbaugh with liberals such as Al Franken.

Conservatives fear that forcing stations to make equal time for liberal talk radio would cut into profits so drastically that radio executives would opt to scale back on conservative radio programming to avoid escalating costs and interference from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Wednesday Funnies :-)

David Letterman: Top Surprising Facts About Dick Cheney: Every morning eats a case of Slim Jims; Shares three heart attack anniversaries with Larry King; Sent Paris cigarettes and nylons while she was in stir; Went bald at age 12; Banned from D. C. area IHOPs; Spends bulk of his time yelling at White House visitors to “get off the lawn!”

Jay Leno: The New York Times says Ralph Nader is thinking about running for president again. Nader says he rejects the term “spoiler.” Still a lot better than “loser.” ... Hillary Clinton has finally picked a theme song for her campaign. Now if she could just pick out a position on Iraq. That would be great. ... Hillary has picked “You and I” by Celine Dion as her campaign theme song. And in a related story, John McCain’s campaign song is also by Celine Dion—it’s the theme from “Titanic.” ... For his campaign, John Edwards has chosen a theme song from “Hair.” And Giuliani chose “All My Exes Live In Texas.” ... In a campaign ad that is a spoof of the big “Sopranos” finale Hillary Clinton plays the part of Tony Soprano in the diner. You know what the difference is between Hillary Clinton and Tony Soprano? Tony Soprano goes to the strip club to get away from his spouse. Hillary goes to the strip club to find her spouse. ... Bill Clinton appears in the ad too, along with the actor who played “Johnny Sack.” Johnny Sack, which, coincidentally, was also Clinton’s Secret Service codename. ... Congress now has a 14 percent approval rating, the lowest in the history of poll taking. You know what that means? George Bush is now the popular guy.

Burr holds out hope for bill on immigration; Dole still opposed

He says changes could improve it; she won't budge

WASHINGTON (Winston-Salem Journal) -
North Carolina’s two U.S. senators, both Republicans, remain divided about the immigration bill that was resurrected in the Senate yesterday.

Sen. Richard Burr voted to proceed with debate, while Sen. Elizabeth Dole voted against it.

Burr said he believes that keeping the bill alive could lead to legislation for immigration reform that will satisfy him, while Dole said she believes that the bill is so flawed that it shouldn’t advance at all.

Whether the bill will pass in the Senate remains unclear. Most Republicans are opposed to it, as are several Democrats. The bill got more than the 60 votes needed to proceed yesterday, but that does not ensure that it will advance.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

RE: Immigration bill advances in Senate

An important step has been completed in the progress toward the North American Union. Bush's backers will be having a party tonight.

Richard Burr voted for cloture. NC voters need to remove him from office in 2010.

Immigration bill advances in Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate voted Tuesday to jump-start a stalled immigration measure to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants.

President Bush said the bill offered a "historic opportunity for Congress to act," and appeared optimistic about its passage by week's end.

The pivotal test-vote was 64-35 to revive the divisive legislation. It still faces formidable obstacles in the Senate, including bitter opposition by GOP conservatives and attempts by some waverers in both parties to revise its key elements.

Stokes wants to expand, renovate school

Board approves plan to buy 21 acres with proceeds from lottery

DANBURY (Winston-Salem Journal) -
Lawsonville Elementary School, Stokes County’s second-most overcrowded school, is one step closer to being renovated and expanded.

The Stokes County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved last night the Stokes County Board of Education’s plans to buy about 21 acres adjacent to the elementary school. The land will cost the county $180,000. The school board plans to buy the land with proceeds from the N.C. lottery.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Remembering the Gipper...

“[E]very lesson in history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face—that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight and surrender. If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand—the ultimatum. And what then?”

Ronald Reagan

Profound thought for the day...

Heard on Free Republic:

"If cheap labor is so important to our economy, why don’t we just eliminate the minimum wage and grow some cheap labor of our own?"

Court allows issue ads near elections

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court loosened restrictions Monday on corporate- and union-funded television ads that air close to elections, weakening a key provision of a landmark campaign finance law.

McCain: 'Regrettable' decision

(The Hill) - Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Monday called the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down part of his campaign finance law “regrettable.”

Incentives considered in Stokes

$1.6 million may be granted for expansion of copper company

DANBURY (Winston-Salem Journal) -
Stokes County commissioners are considering $1.6 million in incentives for KobeWieland Copper Products LLC.

KobeWieland announced in May that it would expand its manufacturing plant in Pine Hall, investing $71 million during the next three years and adding 65 jobs.

Under the proposed deal, Stokes County will pay the incentives over five years after KobeWieland completes the expansion and installation of machinery and equipment, officials said.

Burr Soft on Cloture

Richard Burr's office is saying he is not taking a position on the cloture motion tomorrow. Elizabeth Dole's office says she is standing firm and will vote against cloture.

A vote for cloture is essentially a vote for amnesty.

The number for Burr's office is (202) 224-3154.

Senate Math: It's fuzzy

The Senate’s latest immigration proposal is another sad sign that Washington needs some remedial math classes. Not only does the amnesty bill defy common sense, but its numbers just don’t add up.

Let’s start with the bill’s pretense that the government can conduct background checks on some 12-million amnesty applicants — within the 24-hour turnaround time guaranteed for each applicant. This is the same federal bureaucracy that can’t meet a three-month deadline for processing passports for its own citizens. The Senate bill would have us believe that the government’s already-overworked immigration processors would be able to review and clear 12 million applications in a year’s time — that’s 48,000 every workday!

Ernest Istook

What I find even more laughable is that these are the same people who claim that deporting the very same 12 million illegals is "impossible." One would have to assume that processing and clearing an application involves at least one face-to-face meeting with the applicant. So the act of deporting them appears not to be a bureaucratic issue, but merely a logistic one. These kinds of logistics have been solved before.

When the fiction becomes this obvious, one has to wonder if Joe Average actually enjoys being lied to.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Bush vows permanent ban on future illegal migrants

President George W. Bush promised Saturday to permanently bar future illegal immigrants from the United States as he renewed his push for immigration reform, a centerpiece of his domestic agenda.

A revised reform package was reintroduced in the Senate this past week after its predecessor failed on June 7 to garner enough votes to cut off debate and move for final passage.

The collapse of the first proposal has prompted a personal intervention by the president, who went to Capitol Hill to plead for giving the bill a second chance.

But while he has succeeded in putting the proposal back on the Senate agenda, the legislation is facing strong opposition from both Republicans and Democrats, who argue that granting legal status to an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants will only encourage more people to sneak across the poorly guarded border.

I'm beginning to think that Bush may actually be a little mentally retarded:

"Under this bill, those caught crossing illegally will be permanently barred from returning to the United States on a work or tourist visa," the president stated.

Uh huh. So which part is it that keeps them from sneaking back over illegally? Ok, so you're going to hire more border patrol agents, but if you keep putting them in jail for doing their jobs, that doesn't mean a heckuva lot, does it? And you already put money in the budget for a fence, but it doesn't seem to be getting built, is it? And anyway, how is a few hundred miles of fence going to deter them from crossing somewhere in the hundreds and hundreds of other miles that aren't fenced, hmmmm?

This is the same mental deficiency that leads people to believe that gun control prevents crime.

The boy just reeks of stupid.

N.J. Dog Crowned World's Ugliest

PETALUMA, Calif. (AP) - Elwood, a 2-year-old Chinese Crested and Chihuahua mix, was crowned the world's ugliest dog Friday, a distinction that delighted the New Jersey mutt's owners.

Elwood, dark colored and hairless—save for a mohawk-like puff of white fur on his head—is often referred to as "Yoda," or "ET," for his resemblance to those famous science fiction characters.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Cheney Power Grab: Says White House Rules Don't Apply to Him

Vice President Dick Cheney has asserted his office is not a part of the executive branch of the U.S. government, and therefore not bound by a presidential order governing the protection of classified information by government agencies, according to a new letter from Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., to Cheney.

Bill Leonard, head of the government's Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), told Waxman's staff that Cheney's office has refused to provide his staff with details regarding classified documents or submit to a routine inspection as required by presidential order, according to Waxman.

Ok, so telling Waxman to get bent has its own merits, but I honestly have to say that the Bush Administration gets more surreal every day.

So tell us Mr. Vice President, exactly which branch of the government does your office fall under?

Judge curbs travel, bans alcohol for Black before he is sentenced

RALEIGH (AP) - A federal judge has ordered former House Speaker Jim Black to abstain from alcohol and to remain in Western North Carolina as he awaits his sentencing next month, according to a court document filed yesterday.

Black, his attorney, his probation officer and Judge Terrence Boyle of U.S. District Court signed the change to the conditions of his release. No reason for the change was given.

Dole, Burr differ on immigration bill

Dole stresses that she opposes it; Burr calls for it to be debated

WASHINGTON (Winston-Salem Journal) -
Both of North Carolina’s U.S. senators oppose the immigration bill under consideration by the Senate but they are taking different approaches to the debate.

Sen. Elizabeth Dole, a Republican, took part yesterday in a second news conference in three days to tell people that she adamantly opposes the bill.

About an hour later, Sen. Richard Burr, also a Republican, was holding court with reporters from across the country, urging his colleagues to at least let the bill come up for debate.

Legislature alters kindergarten cutoff age

Move will affect the size of classes for first two years and day-care enrollment

RALEIGH (Winston-Salem Journal) -
For all children, starting kindergarten is a big step.

Sometimes, taking that step too early - when a child is too young or too immature - can cause setbacks that affect the child’s entire educational development, education experts and state legislators say.

With that in mind, legislators voted yesterday to change the state’s cutoff date for when children can enroll in kindergarten. The change will take effect starting with the 2009-10 school year, and it will mean that fewer 4-year-olds will be attending kindergarten with 5- and 6-year-olds.

Rep. Dale Folwell, R-Forsyth, proposed the idea. He is a former member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school board, and he said he has talked with students and adults who look back and attest that starting kindergarten too early affected them for years.

On its face, the change seems minor. It moves the cutoff date back by just a month and a half. Children will now have to turn 5 years old by Aug. 31 - rather than the current date of Oct. 16 - in order to start kindergarten that school year. Parents will still be able to get exceptions for younger children who are unusually mature.

Nonprofit raised $1.3 million for Edwards, tax records show

CHAPEL HILL (Winston-Salem Journal) - John Edwards ended 2004 with a problem: how to keep alive his public profile without the benefit of a presidential campaign.

Edwards, who reported this year that he had assets of nearly $30 million, came up with a novel solution - creating a nonprofit organization to fight poverty. The Center for Promise and Opportunity raised $1.3 million in 2005, and the main beneficiary was Edwards himself, federal tax filings show.

A spokesman for Edwards yesterday defended the center as a legitimate tool against poverty.

According to experts on nonprofit foundations, Edwards pushed the boundaries of how far such organizations can venture into politics.

Bradley Smith, a former FEC chairman, said that Edwards shouldn’t face any trouble from federal regulators unless he was explicitly campaigning for the Democratic nomination.

Crying Wolf

Andy said:

It's sad in that it's to the point now that if anything good comes out of Iraq, people like yourself will automatically say it's "wishful thinking" and "junk."

Well, let's see. This is only the umpty-thirtieth time that some neocon cheerleader has breathlessly declared that we're finally winning in Iraq. Let's just start with the fact that none of these folks ever seem to bother with defining what constitutes winning.

Maybe winning means killing all the insurgents. Good luck with that one. It amounts to little more than shooting at prairie dogs. Kill one and five more pop up to take his place.

Or maybe winning means we control all the territory in Iraq. There's another fairy tale for you. We don't have enough people in our military to accomplish that. About the only way to do it would be, as has been suggested elsewhere, to export our 20 million illegal aliens to Iraq and give them a house and a year's wages. That would certainly be cheaper than what we're doing now, both in the war and in the welfare state, but I didn't see that in Mr. Peters' equation anywhere.

The more likely scenario in Peters' case is that winning means that suddenly democracy will break out in Iraq and everything will be sunshine and roses. He might as well wish for a magic winged horse to come and carry him away to paradise.

Finally, Peters uses so much conditional language in the article, it's hard to tell if he is actually reporting anything of substance.

This widespread offensive against al Qaeda in Iraq and other terrorists is part of a carefully developed, phased plan. The first step as the troop surge proceeded was to establish livable conditions in key neighborhoods of the capital.

That step was vital, but insufficient in itself. Terrorists fled, but they didn't disappear. They just sought refuge elsewhere. And while neighborhood pacification involved aggressive tactical actions, it ultimately put our forces in a defensive posture.

Give me a break, "vital, but insufficient in itself?" Could that be any more weasel-worded?

But wait, there's more:

First, it remains an open question whether we've got enough boots on the ground. While Petraeus and his team are using our forces with remarkable efficiency, there ain't no more to send.

Well hell's bells, that's a pretty freakin' big question, isn't it? I mean, if we run out of grunts, it's pretty much game over isn't it?

The second, enduring question is whether the Iraqis will finally knock off their squabbling and shoulder their share of the burden. Petraeus is giving us a lesson in skillful generalship, employing U.S. troops where he must, Iraqis where he can. But, in the end, we can't win this unless the Iraqis win it for themselves. Pious statements about "brave Iraqis" only get us so far: We're still only buying time - and no one can pretend that time isn't running out.

At least the guy is being honest here, but once again, that's a pretty big "if," don't you think? There is no evidence to suggest the Iraquis are any closer to self-defense than they were two years ago, so where's the good news in that?

Which brings us to the home front, where the war just might be lost, no matter what progress we make on the ground.

Bad news, guys, that front was lost two years ago. In fact, a strong argument could be made that the invasion of Iraq itself lost the "war on terror" on the home front. The periodic calls for us to all band together and win the war on the home front are becoming very trite. Joe average just isn't buying it any more.

Sorry, Andy, this is nothing but wishful cheerleading. There is a big difference between being an optimist and being gullible. I try to be the former and try never to be the latter.

Stokes property-tax rate stable

Commissioners approve budget that will increase fire-service tax by 1 cent

DANBURY (Winston-Salem Journal) -
The Stokes County Board of Commissioners approved a $40 million budget for fiscal year 2007-08 yesterday.

The budget, which will take effect July 1, has no increase in the property-tax rate. The rate remains 60 cents for every $100 of assessed value, meaning that the owner of a house valued at $100,000 will pay $600 in taxes.

The budget also sets aside some money for new positions and other benefits for county employees.

Fire-service taxes for residents were raised by 1 cent to keep two fire marshal’s positions that were cut in County Manager Bryan Steen’s initial budget proposal.

Daily Commute

(Fox News) - Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich makes a practice of commuting from his Chicago home to the state capital in Springfield — on a state-owned plane at taxpayer expense.

The Associated Press reports the price tag is about $5,800/day — and roughly $76,000 since late May.

Previous governors have chosen to live in the Executive Mansion in Springfield or stay there while the three-day-a-week legislature is in session.

But Blagojevich wants to go home after each work day — which the AP says averages less than five hours spent at the capitol per trip.

One Republican state senator called the travel cost "an enormous waste," and noted it amounted to more than a teacher's salary.

Blagojevich's office refused to answer questions about the subject.

9 to 1 Democrat

(Fox News) - An analysis of Federal Election Commission records by NBC indicates journalists who make political donations favor Democrats over Republicans by a margin of almost nine-to-one.

The network identified 144 media members who made contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign. 125 of those gave to Democrats or liberal causes. Only 17 gave to Republicans, with two giving to both parties.

Two of those 144 work here at the FOX News Channel. One gave to Republican candidates and the other— a researcher for Special Report— gave to a Democrat.

Watchdog Groups

(Fox News) - Groups that monitor government actions are balking at a feature of proposed new ethics legislation that would allow them to file ethics complaints — but require them to make their own donor lists public.

The Hill newspaper reports groups such as Public Citizen and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group are denouncing the plan — calling it a step backwards.

But lawmakers say watchdog organizations that demand greater transparency from Congress should be willing to submit to the same scrutiny.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had set a May 1 deadline for the ethics proposal — but the opposition from the watchdogs may continue to delay the completion of the bill.

Global Cooling

(Fox News) - The leader of a group of Canadian scientists says global warming isn't the biggest climate threat to the planet — global cooling is.

Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre director R. Timothy Patterson writes in the Financial Post that core samples from the bottom of deep western Canadian fjords indicate climate change correlates to solar cycles of varying lengths — and show little correlation between climate change and carbon dioxide levels.

Patterson writes that the sun will begin its weakest solar cycle of the past two centuries by the year 2020. He says that could lead to unusually cool conditions that could threaten agriculture in extreme northern regions.

Global cooling isn't a new idea — a famous TIME Magazine article raised the possibility of another Ice Age — back in 1974.

Embattled Duke Rape Case Prosecutor Mike Nifong Could Get Jail Time

(Fox News) - Beleaguered and disbarred District Attorney Mike Nifong, who prosecuted the Duke University lacrosse rape case, could wind up in jail if a motion is granted asking that criminal charges be filed against him, FOX News has learned.

The three Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of rape by a stripper plan to file the motion Friday against the Durham County district attorney who built the case against them.

If the motion asking for criminal sanctions against Nifong is granted, the prosecutor could land in prison.

The players are also asking for financial reimbursement.


Steve opines:

Yet another cheerleader wishing upon a star.

I read through this article actually hoping to hear something that was convincingly good news. All I got was conjecture and wishful thinking.

I wonder if the people who write this junk realize how ridiculous this all sounds.

If you know anything about Ralph Peters, you know that he doesn't write junk. It's sad in that it's to the point now that if anything good comes out of Iraq, people like yourself will automatically say it's "wishful thinking" and "junk."

Thursday, June 21, 2007



By Ralph Peters
New York Post

For the first time since Baghdad fell, our military in Iraq has a comprehensive, integrated plan to defeat our enemies.

Until now, our efforts have always been piecemeal, stop-start affairs. Even our success in the Second Battle of Fallujah in 2004 went unexploited.

Things have changed. And terrorists, not just Iraqi civilians, are dying.

A lifelong dream draws attention in Raleigh

By Scott Sexton
Winston-Salem Journal

In the sea of Cadillacs, Mercedeses, SUVs and the occasional environmentally correct hybrid, one car stands out in the parking spaces reserved for the honorables in Raleigh - the Ferrari 360 Spider that state Rep. Larry Womble, D-Forsyth, has been driving for about a week now.

The Ferrari is a sweet ride. It's silver, it's a convertible, and it's fast. The standard engine in this baby is a 32-valve, V-8 with 490 horsepower. The speedometer dials up to 220 mph.

A brand-new Ferrari Spider has a suggested retail price of $192,484. With 20 percent down and a 6.5 percent loan payable over 48 months, that comes out to a monthly nut of merely $4,000 or so.

Because Womble got a used Ferrari - it's a 2002 - he didn't quite pay that much. He's not saying how much it was, but a 2001 Ferrari 360 Spider was available yesterday at an online auction for $167,629.

"Slow day? You guys got nothing better to write about than my car?" Womble asked. "I've been driving an old 4-cylinder Corsica for 10 or 12 years, and nobody says anything about that.

"I guess (the Chevy) is just not as attractive, doesn't look as good on the street, huh?"

Even though I'm a fan of silver on vehicles, I have to say if I owned a Ferrari, it would have to be red... When I think of Ferrari, I think of the color red. Last year, I saw a yellow Ferrari at Duke Univ. and that was one ugly car.

GOP comeback in Congress?

It may be too early to make any predictions about the 2008 elections, but it's likely Republicans will win back some House seats they lost last year.

Indeed, as I noted in an earlier column, at least eight of the nine "most vulnerable" House seats are held by Democrats, according to veteran congressional elections analyst Stuart Rothenberg.

In Florida's 16th District, for example, Republicans are heavily favored to recapture the seat that Democrat Tim Mahoney narrowly won after Mark Foley resigned in disgrace in the House page scandal.

In Georgia's heavily Republican 8th District, Democrat Jim Marshall squeaked through with less than 1,800 votes. But the betting in political circles is that his seat, too, will end up in the GOP's column next year. The Republican Party is rallying behind Rick Goddard, the former commanding general at the Warner Robins Air Logistics base, who would give Mr. Marshall a very tough race.

In Texas' Republican-drawn 22nd District (formerly held by Tom DeLay), which gave President Bush 64 percent of its vote in 2004, Democrat Nick Lampson won by a thin margin, though his opponent was not on the ballot and had to run a write-in campaign. "This is probably the GOP's best opportunity to take back a district they lost last year," Mr. Rothenberg said in his latest analysis of the 2008 congressional elections.

Donald Lambro

My response to the title is, "Dream on." The situations he describes are part of the normal back-and-forth of every election cycle. I imagine there are some GOP-held seats that are in the same situation. It's amazing how often pundits attempt to make anecdote into a trend.

He did, however, recognize a trend in the article, though he failed to analyze it correctly:

The Democrats are in charge now and, apparently, the voters do not like the job they've been doing. The Democratic Congress's job approval score has sunk to 23 percent, down 8 points since April. Other polls give them even lower marks. A Rasumussen survey found "just 19 percent of American voters believe that Congress is doing a good or excellent job."

Notably, among Democratic voters, only 24 percent say Congress is doing a good job — down from 35 percent who said that a month ago.

Lambro attempts to spin this into some sort of momentum for the GOP. There is no evidence to suggest this is the case and plenty to suggest otherwise.

What I believe this indicates is that Joe Average is beginning to realize that we really do have a one party system in this country. Whether there is an impending meltdown of the two factions of that single party is another story. The time has never been better for the rise of an alternative to the elephant and the ass.

Senate OKs early vote

RALEIGH (Winston-Salem Journal) - North Carolinians would be able to register to vote and then immediately cast an early ballot up to three days before an election under a bill approved by the N.C. Senate yesterday.

Supporters said that it would increase voter turnout, but opponents contended that it could allow for more voter fraud.

Cross-country coach marries student

WILMINGTON (AP) - A 40-year-old high-school-science teacher and cross-country coach has resigned his position and married a 16-year-old student.

Brenton Wuchae coached Windy Hager at South Brunswick High School, where she recently completed her sophomore year as one of the school’s top runners.

He also lives less than two miles away from the Hagers’ home on Oak Island.

Wuchae married Hager in Brunswick County on Monday, according to a marriage license.

Annulment Reversed

(Fox News) - The Vatican has reversed its annulment of the marriage between former Democratic Congressman Joseph Kennedy II and first wife Sheila Rauch.

TIME Magazine reports Rauch only recently learned of the decision — which effectively reinstates their marriage in the eyes of the Catholic Church.

She had charged that the annulment was dishonest and only given to Kennedy because of his family's influence.

The couple divorced in 1991, and Kennedy married his second wife in a civil ceremony in 1993.
But he had sought the annulment in order to be married by a priest and continue receiving church sacraments.

TIME reports that the controversy surrounding the annulment may have contributed to Kennedy's decision in 1998 not to seek reelection.

Letters of Support

(Fox News) - During a rally in support of the Senate's immigration bill last Thursday — Senators Ted Kennedy, Mel Martinez and others frequently referred to a large stack of boxes they said contained a million letters of support for immigration reform.

But Roll Call Newspaper reports one of its photographers checked the boxes and found they were empty. And a spokesman for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus —which helped coordinate the event — confirms that is true.

Carlos Sanchez says actually bringing 310 boxes full of letters would have presented a security headache in a box-spooked world.

Election Reaction "Criminal"

(Fox News) - Jimmy Carter says the Bush administration's refusal to accept last year's Palestinian election victory by Hamas is "criminal."

Mr. Carter told a human rights conference in Ireland that the U.S., Israel and the European Union are trying to divide the Palestinian people by restoring aid to President Mahmoud Abbas's new government in the West Bank — while denying support to the Hamas government in Gaza.

He says last year's vote was "orderly and fair" and that Hamas has proven to be far more organized politically and militarily. Mr. Carter says the U.S. its allies have sought to subvert the outcome of the elections by shunning Hamas and helping Abbas stay in power.

"Culture of Bias"

(Fox News) - Just one day after an independent report accused the British Broadcasting Company of having a "culture of bias" — the BBC's Web site carried a request for people in Iraq to report troop movements to the network.

The Daily Telegraph writes the request was up for about two hours before furious protests prompted its removal.

The BBC confirms the page read — "Are you in Iraq? Have you seen any troop movements? If you have any information you would like to share with the BBC, you can do so using the form below."

The BBC acknowledged the page should not have been published — but couldn't say why the notice was posted — or if there had been any responses.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Rep. Bachus and the Intertrons

I just received the transcript to my testimony before Congress earlier this month on Internet gambling.

I thought you might enjoy one of the odder exchanges I had at the hearing. The exchange was with Rep. Spence Bachus, and I guess this was supposed to be his "gotcha" question for me. To be honest, I was so floored by the sheer ignorance of the question, I didn't quite know how to respond. To set up the exchange, one of the points of contention during the hearing was the reliability of age verification systems. Enjoy.

Radley Balko

Ah, the joys of democracy and universal suffrage. If people this stupid are running the government, is it any wonder that we find ourselves up that infamous creek without any means of motility?

Father of the Iranian revolution

By Michael D. Evans
The Jerusalem Post

We just don't get it. The Left in America is screaming to high heaven that the mess we are in in Iraq and the war on terrorism has been caused by the right-wing and that George W. Bush, the so-called "dim-witted cowboy," has created the entire mess.

The truth is the entire nightmare can be traced back to the liberal democratic policies of the leftist Jimmy Carter, who created a firestorm that destabilized our greatest ally in the Muslim world, the shah of Iran, in favor of a religious fanatic, the ayatollah Khomeini.

No to McCain-Kennedy, Yes to Border Security

Wednesday Funnies... :-)

Conan O’Brien: “Hillary Clinton has launched a new website where people can get all the latest Hillary news. In a related story, John Edwards has launched a new website where people can order his secret blend of shampoos and conditioners.”

David Letterman: “Top Little-Known Facts About Mitt Romney”: Name is short for “Mitzi”; Starts each day by wrasslin’ a gator; Made his fortune selling counterfeit Prada handbags; Won NRA endorsement by vowing to shoot twice as many old guys as Cheney; Once defeated Chuck Liddell for Ultimate Fighting Championship title; Is the model on packages of Jockey underpants; Would be the first Mitt in the White House since Mitt Quincy Adams.

Jay Leno: All of the candidates have released their financial statements. Turns out Bill Clinton made $10 million from speaking engagements last year. See that sounds glamorous, but imagine all those nights in a hotel room, Hillary half-way across the country, him sitting there by himself all lonely. ... According to a new poll, Hillary’s lead in the polls is due to her support by women. She’s bringing in the female vote. And Bill is attracting “the other woman” vote. ... Here’s the latest in the John Edwards campaign. It turns out, yes, there are two Americas and neither one of them is voting for him. ... A judge has turned down Scooter Libby’s request to delay his prison term. In fact, the judge gave him an extra three months just for having that stupid name, Scooter. ... There’s a huge problem with the Russian space station. The computers failed. The whole computer system went down. Pretty scary. But they’re hoping they can fix the problem and call tech support when they fly over India. ... Actually, two thirds of it has been fixed, although the system that controls oxygen manufacture had been down for two days. And you know what happens when astronauts don’t get enough oxygen? They drive 900 miles in a diaper to kidnap other astronauts. ... According to a new study 30 percent of Cubans are overweight. The other 70 percent are still in Cuba.... Dan Rather came out swinging this week. He said that CBS and Katie Couric are tarting up the news. Tarting up the news? As opposed to Dan, who just made up the news.

'This Is Not Right'

Cecilia Beaman is a 57-year-old grandmother, a principal at Pacific Middle School in Des Moines, and as of Sunday is also a suspected terrorist.

"This is not right," she told us. It's not right!"

This past weekend she and several other chaperones took 37 middle school students to a Heritage Festival band competition in California. The trip included two days at Disneyland.

During the stay she made sandwiches for the kids and was careful to pack the knives she used to prepare those sandwiches in her checked luggage. She says she even alerted security screeners that the knives were in her checked bags and they told her that was OK.

But Beaman says she couldn't find a third knife. It was a 5 1/2 inch bread knife with a rounded tip and a serrated edge. She thought she might have lost or misplaced it during the trip.

On the trip home, screeners with the Transportation Security Administration at Los Angeles International Airport found it deep in the outside pocket of a carry-on cooler. Beaman apologized and told them it was a mistake.

"You've committed a felony," Beaman says a security screener announced. "And you're considered a terrorist."

Beaman says she was told her name would go on a terrorist watch-list and that she would have to pay a $500 fine.

The malicious streak in me wonders if Mrs. Beaman was one of those demanding that the government protect us from terrorists, no matter what it takes, right after 9/11. Once you suspend habeas corpus, casual tyranny will be the rule of the day. Everyone seems to think they will somehow be immune to it. They also never seem to remember, while demanding more and more intrusion into their lives that government is always a one-size-fits-all solution.

Texas Crowd Kills Passenger in Vehicle That Hit Child

AUSTIN, Texas (Fox News) - A crowd attacked and killed a passenger in a vehicle that had struck and injured a child, police said Wednesday.

Police believe 2,000 to 3,000 people were in the area for a Juneteenth celebration when the attack occurred Tuesday night. The man who was killed had been trying to stop the group from attacking the vehicle's driver when the crowd turned on him, authorities said.

Location Issues

(Fox News) - If you've ever wondered how climate scientists come up with their figures to prove global warming, there is a network of 1,221 weather stations used by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration in the U.S.

But now former TV meteorologist Anthony Watts is finding some of those thermometers may not be located in places showing the most accurate readings.

The Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports a preliminary look at the system finds a weather station in Forest Grove, Oregon, 10 feet from an air conditioning exhaust vent, another in Tahoe, California, next to a drum where trash is burned and one in Roseburg, Oregon, on a rooftop near an air conditioning unit.

'Father of Scientific Climatology' Questions Global Warming

(Fox News) - The retired professor who started the meteorology department at the University of Wisconsin at Madison says there is no credible evidence that links mankind and carbon dioxide to global warming.

The Madison Capital Times says Reid Bryson is known as the "father of scientific climatology." Bryson says he takes a good amount of criticism for his bucking conventional wisdom, but counters: "There is very little truth to what is being said and an awful lot of religion... where you have to believe in (man-made) global warming or else you are nuts."

And as far as Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth," Bryson says he hasn't seen it: "Don't make me throw up. It is not science. It is not true."

France's New Terror Threat

(Fox News) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy is dealing with the possibility of a new terrorist threat — from the country's own winegrowers.

A group of seven mask-wearing winemakers produced a video threatening that "blood will flow" unless Sarkozy quickly acts to raise the price of wine.

The BBC reports several local supermarkets selling foreign wines have been attacked with small explosive devices and others have been graffitied.

Winemakers say falling prices and big cuts taken by middlemen are destroying their profits.

Is the ACLU Giving Muslims Special Treatment?

(Fox News) - The University of Michigan at Dearborn is planning to spend $25,000 to install two footbaths for Muslim students to use before prayers.

Muslim leaders had considered trying to raise funds to pay for the baths privately — until the American Civil Liberties Union said it would not oppose having the university pay for the project. The director of the Detroit ACLU called the footbaths a "reasonable accommodation" to resolve "safety and cleanliness issues."

The ACLU has a long history of opposing other activities associated with prayer and religion on public property. It sued a Louisiana school board over allowing a preacher to give out pizza at school during lunch periods, and it sued a west Texas school district over an optional Bible class.

Hillary Clinton Could Use Bill Clinton's Foreign Cash for 2008 Campaign

WASHINGTON (Fox News) — It is against the law for a candidate for federal office to take political contributions from foreigners.

But a potential "loophole" could help at least one high-profile candidate in the 2008 presidential race: It is perfectly legal for a candidate for federal office to use personal income earned in foreign countries — or personal income earned by a spouse in foreign countries.

As Hillary Clinton marches at the front of the pack of Democratic presidential contenders, she occupies a unique position among the field of candidates from both parties.

Carter: Stop favoring Fatah over Hamas


The United States, Israel and the European Union must end their policy of favoring Fatah over Hamas, or they will doom the Palestinian people to deepening conflict between the rival movements, former US President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday.

Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was addressing a conference of Irish human rights officials, said the Bush administration's refusal to accept the 2006 election victory of Hamas was "criminal."

This is embarrassing... Hamas is a Palestinian Islamist terrorist organization whose #1 purpose is the destruction of Israel, and in typical Carter fashion, he defends them. I can't believe he used to be president of the United States.

Bloomberg Quits Republican Party, Cleared For Run

Seen as Prelude to ’08, ‘Although My Plans For Future Haven’t Changed’

By Josh Benson
The New York Observer

A little past 6 p.m. on the evening of June 19, Michael Bloomberg’s press office sent out the following statement:

“I have filed papers with the New York City Board of Elections to change my status as a voter and register as unaffiliated with any political party.”

And just like that, all the theories about the Mayor’s independent candidacy for President in 2008 became not so theoretical.

Yes, that innocent-sounding statement was followed by a ritualistic denial by the Mayor about how his plans for the future hadn’t changed.

But what does that mean?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

UNC Charlotte proposes plan for shops, more near campus

CHARLOTTE (Winston-Salem Journal) - Officials at UNC Charlotte want to build a small village of shops and amenities to give its campus a college-town feel.

The university is considering using some of its land to build shops, a hotel or a conference center, similar to Franklin Street at UNC Chapel Hill.

The school has wanted to have a place within walking distance where students, faculty and staff could go to shop or eat in addition to the nearby Shoppes at University Place, which has about 80 restaurants and stores.

Though there aren’t any firm plans for the project, school officials have included it on a six-year list of proposed construction through 2012. No state money would be used for the project, which would cost $150 million, the school said.

Wife of acting leader Raul Castro of Cuba dies at 77

HAVANA (Winston-Salem Journal) — Vilma Espin Guillois, the wife of acting President Raul Castro and one of Cuba’s most politically powerful women, died yesterday, the Cuban government said. She was 77.

As Raul Castro’s wife, Espin was Cuba’s de facto first lady for years because Cuban leader Fidel Castro is divorced. Born into a wealthy family in eastern Cuba, she became a young urban rebel who battled against Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship throughout the 1950s. After the 1959 triumph of the Cuban revolution, she became Cuba’s low-key first lady as the wife of Defense Minister Raul Castro, Fidel Castro’s designated successor.

Senator wants U.S. to stop expansion of oil reserves

WASHINGTON (Winston-Salem Journal) - Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., wants to stop expansion of U.S. oil reserves for a year, saying it makes no sense when oil prices are high.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve contains 690 million barrels of oil and has a capacity of 727 million barrels. The energy law signed by President Bush in 2005 directs the government to expand that capacity to 1 billion barrels, and Bush has requested $168 million in the next budget year to begin that expansion.

Dorgan, the chairman of the subcommittee that will consider the bill, said that the legislation would put all plans for expansion on hold during the 2008 budget year.

Hands to Yourself

(Fox News) - If you want to stay out of the principal's office at Kilmer Middle School in Vienna, Virginia — outside Washington — then keep your hands to yourself. And we're not talking just about fighting.

The school has forbidden all touching — including hugs, handshakes, and even high-fives.

The Washington Post reports the principal says the students need to have their personal space protected — and many lack the maturity to understand what is acceptable or welcome.

But the father of one student who got in trouble for putting his arm around his girlfriend says they encourage hugs and handshakes at home — and don't want him to get the message that all physical contact is wrong.

Slaughter Due to Climate Change?

(Fox News) - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon says the slaughter in Darfur was triggered by global climate change — and more such conflicts may be on the horizon.

Ban wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece — "The Darfur conflict began as an ecological crisis, arising at least in part from climate change... the drying of sub-Saharan Africa derives, to some degree, from man-made global warming. It is no accident that the violence in Darfur erupted during the drought."

Ban says Sudan is not the only country with such problems. He points to Somalia, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso as African countries with what he calls "food and water insecurity."

"Culture of Bias"

(Fox News) - A year-long investigation of the British Broadcasting Company has condemned what it calls a "culture of bias" in the network including its news coverage — finding the BBC is anything but fair and balanced on issues such as climate change, poverty, race and religion.

British media say the report — which was commissioned by the BBC itself — finds the organization has been undermined by the liberal culture of its staff — with few challenging those preconceived positions. "There is a tendency to 'group think' with too many staff inhabiting a shared space and comfort zone," the report says.

It offers a 12-step program to help the BBC safeguard its impartiality — including a call for fair-minded, evidence-based judgments and discussions exploring more than one side of a given issue.

Senator Webb Fesses Up About the Gun His Aide Was Jailed for Carrying Into the Capitol

(Fox News) - Three months after his aide was arrested carrying a loaded pistol into the Senate office building — Virginia Democratic Senator Jim Webb is now acknowledging it was his gun.

Phillip Thompson was arrested in March as he tried to bring the gun and two loaded magazines into the building in a bag belonging to the senator.

But at the time Webb said he did not give Thompson the gun. He now tells a Richmond, Virginia newspaper that it was in fact his gun. But he still says he did not give Thompson the weapon or ask him to do anything with it.

Webb would not address a question about whether he felt he was above complying with the District of Columbia handgun ban. But he did say he never carries a gun into the Capitol complex.

Judge to Suspend Rogue Durham DA Mike Nifong Tuesday

DURHAM, N.C. (Fox News) — A judge said he would suspend District Attorney Mike Nifong on Tuesday after learning that the prosecutor disbarred for his handling of the Duke lacrosse rape case intended to stay in office for another month.

Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson also said Monday night he would proceed with a pending request to remove Nifong from office.

Rare Tactic May Allow Immigration Votes

WASHINGTON (AP) - Only in the arcane world of the U.S. Senate could a quirky gambit known as a "clay pigeon" make the difference between passage of an important immigration measure and its death at the hands of opponents.

Democratic leaders hope the complex maneuver - which makes use of the Senate's labyrinthine rules to insist on votes on amendments - will frustrate conservatives' attempts to derail the embattled immigration bill, instead putting it on a fast track to passage next week.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Remembering the Gipper...

“Fellow Americans, our duty is before us. Let us go forward, determined to serve selflessly a vision of man with God, government for people, and humanity at peace. For it is now our task to tend and preserve, through the darkest and coldest nights, that ‘sacred fire of liberty’ that President Washington spoke of two centuries ago, a fire that... remains a beacon to all the oppressed of the world, shining forth from this kindly, pleasant, greening land we call America.”

Ronald Reagan

Boy Scout Camper Killed by Falling Totem Pole

LOYSVILLE, Pa. (Fox News) - A 13-foot totem pole fell and struck a boy on the first day of Boy Scout camp, killing the 9-year-old, police said Monday.

Tyler O. Shope, of Shermans Dale, died of head and chest injuries Sunday afternoon, Perry County Coroner Michael Shalonis said.

The boy's parents were nearby when the pole fell, and his father helped lift it off him, Shalonis said. No one else was injured.

Campers were arriving at the Hidden Valley Boy Scout Camp near Loysville, about 25 miles northwest of Harrisburg, for a week of camping, police said.

The boy was waiting outside the camp's health lodge to have his health records reviewed at the time of the accident, officials said.

RE: Oil prices may remain high as expansion plans scaled back

Oil-industry executives no longer believe that there will be the demand for gasoline over the next 10 years to warrant the billions of dollars in refinery expansions - as much as a 10 percent increase in new refining capacity.

This is nonsense. There is no evidence to suggest that demand for gasoline will do anything but increase over the short run. Ten years is a very short horizon for strategic planning like this. Add to this the fact that they wouldn't even consider investing in a refinery expansion unless it had less than a 24 month return on investment and I have to wonder what the real truth is.

Biofuels are a shell game as far as conventional internal combustion engines are concerned. It has been repeatedly shown that ethanol, when used in sufficient quantities to make a difference, is detrimental to engine performance and longevity. I read one analysis that indicated that the fossil fuel economy achieved by biofuels would be largely offset by the increased energy use resulting in decreased engine longevity.

Who knows? Maybe this direction taken by the Bush Administration and the oil companies is a bow in the direction of the dependency relationship oil and automobile manufacturers have with one another.

AT&T Signs Three-Year Contract Renewal with RCR

ATLANTA (RCR.com) — AT&T has exercised the option in its current contract with Richard Childress Racing (RCR) by signing a contract extension that will ensure that the popular No. 31 AT&T Chevrolet remains a competitor in the NASCAR Cup Series for years to come.

At the same time, Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 31 AT&T Chevrolet, has reached agreement with RCR on a contract extension with the 10-time NASCAR championship-winning organization.

Oil prices may remain high as expansion plans scaled back

WASHINGTON (Winston-Salem Journal) - A push from Congress and the White House for huge increases in biofuels, such as ethanol, is prompting the oil industry to scale back its plans for refinery expansions. That could keep gasoline prices high, possibly for years to come.

With President Bush calling for a 20 percent drop in gasoline use and the Senate now debating legislation for huge increases in ethanol production, oil companies see growing uncertainty about future gasoline demand and little need to expand refineries or build new ones.

Oil-industry executives no longer believe that there will be the demand for gasoline over the next 10 years to warrant the billions of dollars in refinery expansions - as much as a 10 percent increase in new refining capacity.

Graham says goodbye to wife, Ruth, in a private burial ceremony

CHARLOTTE (Winston-Salem Journal) - The Rev. Billy Graham prayed then kissed a red rose and placed it on Ruth Graham’s coffin during a private burial yesterday.

Graham, 88, told his children and grandchildren that he was “looking forward to the ... next service here” when Graham, the world’s most famous evangelist, is buried next to his wife, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Ruth Graham died Thursday at 87 after a long illness. She was remembered Saturday during a public service in Montreat as a spiritual stalwart and modest mentor.

She was buried at the foot of a cross-shaped walkway in the woodsy Prayer Garden at the Billy Graham Library.

Her family sang “Amazing Grace” and heard messages from Billy Graham and two ministers, according to Graham spokesman Larry Ross, who released an account of the service.

“The Bible says the Lord has prepared a place for us, and I know He has prepared a home for her - I hope she saves a room for me,” Graham said of his wife of almost 64 years.

Ruth Graham’s coffin was adorned with a bed of lilies, a Christian symbol for resurrection.

Billy Graham, like his wife, will be buried in a birch plywood coffin built by inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La. The Graham’s son Franklin made the request after seeing the coffins on a visit to the Angola prison and being struck by their simplicity, according to a statement from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Starting today, visitors to the library can view Ruth Graham’s grave site.

Nifong appears likely to face more troubles

RALEIGH (AP) - His law license lost and his reputation in tatters, Mike Nifong, it seems, can fall no further. But the disbarred prosecutor who committed “intentional prosecutorial misconduct” in his pursuit of the Duke lacrosse rape case faces an uncertain - and probably troubled - future.

The falsely accused players and their families, having racked up millions of dollars in legal bills, are likely to file civil lawsuits against Nifong. Their attorneys want a judge to consider holding Nifong in criminal contempt for lying to the court.

Idaho Widow Sues Funeral Home for Cremating Husband's Prosthetic Leg

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (Fox News) — A northern Idaho woman says a funeral home cremated her husband without permission and in the process destroyed an artificial leg worth more than $7,000.

DeeDee Strimas also claims in a lawsuit that English Funeral Chapels & Crematory gave her the cremated remains of someone other than her husband.

She is suing for the value of the leg and for damages of more than $10,000 for "emotional and physical distress." She suffers from "headaches, depression, insomnia accompanied by nightmares, and fear that the remains are not those of her late husband," her lawsuit says.

NASCAR sues AT&T for $100 million over sponsorship deal

ATLANTA (ESPN.com) -- NASCAR filed a $100 million counter claim against AT&T Inc. on Sunday, accusing the wireless provider of interfering with its exclusive sponsorship agreement with rival wireless company Nextel.

The suit also asks that NASCAR be granted the right to kick AT&T -- and all telecommunications companies other than Nextel -- out of its top series in 2008.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Testing the political winds for a win

By Paul O'Connor
Winston-Salem Journal

For the average citizen, the 2008 elections are a long way off. The first caucuses and primaries aren’t until January. North Carolinians don’t vote until May, 11 months from now.

But for people involved in politics, those votes are right around the corner. Campaigns are up and running. Candidates are meeting key political organizers, hiring staff, raising money and retaining consultants. A lot of organization goes into a campaign well before the TV ads air.

That’s why some pundits are serious when they say that it is already too late for former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson to join the presidential race and that Democrats, without a declared candidate by now, won’t beat U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole in 2008.

Nifong to lose law license

Prosecutor calls punishment appropriate; he will not appeal



A disciplinary committee said yesterday that prosecutor Mike Nifong will be disbarred for his mishandling of the prosecution of three Duke University lacrosse players falsely accused of rape - a punishment that the veteran prosecutor said was appropriate.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Barker Says O'Donnell Could Replace Him

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Bob Barker endorsed his friend Rosie O'Donnell as a possible successor on "The Price Is Right," although the newly retired host isn't sure CBS wants a woman to take over the game show.

"I believe they're going to have a meeting with Rosie," Barker said backstage Friday night at the Daytime Emmy Awards, where he won his 19th trophy.

"She knows the show," he said. "There's no doubt in my mind she could do the show. Now, whether they want a lady host, I don't know. I've never heard that discussed. As far as I know, they've only auditioned men."

My dad would be devastated if this became so... He would have to find something else to watch.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Embattled Nifong Says He'll Resign

Raleigh (WRAL.com) — The man who once pursued rape, sexual assault and kidnapping charges against three former Duke lacrosse players who were later declared innocent by North Carolina's attorney general says he will resign.

RE: Trust for groundskeeping has grown

The pond scum that makes up the Board of Education in Stokes County has been trying to get their grubby paws on that trust for years. The Board of Education has always kept an iron grip on that money. The advisory board can propose spending it, but the board has to approve it.

Frank Sells, the former superintendent of schools, tried to get a school built elsewhere that would be called Nancy Reynolds. He apparently thought that the money was attached to the name. Frank isn't very bright.

My wife was on the advisory board for a while and during her term we managed to get some improvements to the baseball field and we started the process of getting the field lit. We also got them to spend some money on painting the gym and fixing the retaining wall that runs along NC 66.

Giving the Board of Education more control over the fund is a singularly stupid idea, first and foremost because its members are ignorant and foolish. The very fact that they serve on that particular board makes them inveterate liars and should immediately disqualify them from having any additional control over the fund.

“The main thing that people are concerned about is the county’s responsibility,” Cox said. “We want to stress that this trust is set up to be in addition to, not to replace the county money allocated for the school.

“We would still fund the needs there at that school,” she said. “We do want the community’s input and want to get their questions answered about the issue before any decision is made.”

Anyone who believes a single, solitary word Sonya Cox says deserves what they get.

Information Station

(Fox News) - Democrats who run the County Commission in Broward County, Florida want to cancel their contract with WIOD radio to serve as the "official" hurricane information outlet.

The station was originally picked because of its signal strength and its willingness to run emergency weather announcements in their entirety — with no preemptions.

But Commissioner Stacy Ritter tells the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that WIOD is out of step with area politics — because it airs Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity — and FOX News Radio.

The station says its talk show lineup has no bearing on its news coverage. Programming director Ken Charles says: "It's a shame that people would let politics get in the way of saving lives in a hurricane."

UPDATE: (Rush Limbaugh.com) - Broward County commissioners have backed down in their effort to ban emergency hurricane information on EIB Miami affiliate WIOD because the station carries Rush. The all-Democrat commission was deluged with complaints for politicizing a non-partisan issue.

UPDATE #2: (Fox News) - The Broward County commissioners in Florida have decided not to cancel their contract with the radio station that serves as the county's official hurricane information outlet — and also carries Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and FOX News Radio.

We told you yesterday that Commissioner Stacy Ritter said Tuesday she no longer wanted to support a station that carries programming she called out of step politically with area residents.

But when word got out, commissioners were deluged with complaints. Then some commissioners who were not present at Tuesday's meeting indicated they would not go along with the move to dump the station.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports by late Wednesday the commissioners had voted to renew the contract.

Trust for groundskeeping has grown

Managers want new ability to invest the Reynolds funds better to help Stokes school

By Lisa R. Boone
Winston-Salem Journal


When Kate Bitting Reynolds died in 1946, she left a modest bequest to the Stokes County school named in honor of her mother-in-law, Nancy Jane Cox Reynolds.

But there’s a hitch. The money could be used only for groundskeeping.

Her $25,000 gift has grown to more than $730,000. And now the managers of the trust say that it’s time for a change.

Administrators at Wachovia bank want to be able to invest the trust money more aggressively and also give Stokes school officials more discretion in how the money is spent.

Since two contributors on here have very strong ties to Nancy Reynolds School, I would like to hear their thoughts on this issue.

Deadly Porn

(Fox News) - Iran's parliament has voted in favor of a new law that could mean the death penalty for people working in the adult movie industry.

The bill still requires approval by Iran's Guardian Council. It would apply not only to actors but directors, producers and camera operators. And it comes in spite of the fact that Iranians can easily access pornographic programs through foreign satellite television channels that are beamed into many homes.

Minimum Wage Laws: Economics versus Ideology

In recent years Republicans have proven their unreliability as proponents of limited government, especially where Federal spending is concerned. However, Republicans have been fairly reliable when it comes to opposing minimum wage increases. The bad news is that the recent victory by House Democrats led to an increase in the national minimum wage.

Institutional factors are now against opponents of minimum wages, and President Bush has proven himself unreliable as a defender of free markets once more. The good news is that factual evidence and logic remain on our side. We can win this debate, and this is a debate worth winning. Proponents of minimum wage increases see things differently, but when you examine their arguments carefully, it is clear that we are in a very strong position. For example, law professor Ellen Dannin makes some strong, but false, claims regarding the debate over minimum wage laws.

Dannin claims that opponents to minimum wage increases practice "economics-lite" and have been bought off buy wealthy corporations in an effort to increase corporate profits. All evidence against minimum wages is, to her, fabricated by "right-wing think tanks." According to Dannin, right wingers "stretch facile and sterile ideas to fit all situations." The economics-lite of right wingers "are mere theories (in the pejorative sense of the word), and, unlike scientific theories, they have no evidence to support them." Given the contempt that Dannin exhibits towards her opponents, one would expect her to make a strong case. Examination of her arguments indicates otherwise.

D.W. MacKenzie

More from the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

Females Targeted

(Fox News) - Taliban gunmen are being accused of killing a 13-year-old girl and her female schoolteacher in Afghanistan's Logar Province — because the girl attended school.

Females were prohibited from going to school when the Taliban was in power. The London Times reports 85 teachers and students have been killed in the past year — mostly by Taliban insurgents.

Truth vs. Propaganda

(Fox News) - Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus says global warming hysteria is a prime example of what he calls the "truth versus propaganda problem."

Klaus writes in the Financial Times: "As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism."

He quotes an MIT scientist who says future generations will wonder in bemused amazement why the world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree.

Bending the Rules

(Fox News) - It appears that the federal government is not only spending taxpayer money to subsidize production of ethanol and other biofuels — but it is also bending pollution rules as well.

Cybercast News reports the Environmental Protection Agency will allow ethanol refineries to emit 150 percent more emissions than they currently do. Supporters say the old rules were discriminatory and restricted production.

But clean air advocates say the move will hurt air quality in the rural areas where most of the plants are located.

Meanwhile, Cybercast News also reports EPA records indicate 73 of the nation's 119 working ethanol refineries have been cited for environmental violations during the last three years.

Schwarzenegger to Immigrants: Avoid Spanish-Language Media

SAN FRANCISCO (Fox News) — California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's remarks that immigrants should avoid Spanish-language media if they want to learn English quickly left some Hispanic journalists shaking their heads.

Government Produces Nothing, Ever

Can government spending contribute to macroeconomic stability and the higher productivity of labor? Many people say yes, because they believe that government spending can stimulate the aggregate demand and contribute to the accumulation of capital if it finances large public investment projects.

In one of my previous articles I argued (against the still-prevalent view, largely informed by Keynesian economic theory) that government spending, far from being an appropriate means to counteract economic downturns and unemployment, always and everywhere exacerbates the very economic problems it is called upon to solve.

In another article I tried to show that it is precisely the governmentally sheltered fractional-reserve banking system (with or without the institution of central banking) that has always been the source of fluctuations in aggregate demand.

Wladimir Kraus

A lot of good points here. Every refutation of Keynesian economics seems to me to be a good thing.

This quote from von Mises bears repeating:

The conduct of government affairs is as different from the industrial processes as is prosecuting, convicting, and sentencing a murderer from the growing of corn or the manufacturing of shoes. Government efficiency and industrial efficiency are entirely different things. A factory's management cannot be improved by taking a police department for its model, and a tax collector's office cannot become more efficient by adopting the methods of a motor-car plant… [N]o reform could transform a public office into a sort of private enterprise. A government is not a profit-seeking enterprise. The conduct of its affairs cannot be checked by profit-and-loss statements. Its achievement cannot be valued in terms of money.

Senators Plan to Revive Immigration Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) - Left for dead a week ago, legislation to strengthen border security while bestowing legal status on millions of illegal immigrants is showing signs of life.

Senate leaders announced plans Thursday night to revive the White House-backed measure as early as next week, although neither Majority Leader Harry Reid nor his GOP counterpart, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, issued any predictions the bill ultimately would pass.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ex-KKK man guilty in 1964 killing

(BBC) A former Ku Klux Klan member has been convicted by a US jury of kidnapping and conspiracy in connection with the 1964 murder of two black teenagers. James Seale, 71, a former labourer and police officer, denied killing Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee. He could face life in prison for the crimes when he is sentenced in August.
The 19-year-olds were said to have been kidnapped and stuffed into a vehicle owned by Seale before being tied up and drowned in the Mississippi river. Seale was first arrested in 1964 but authorities freed him, citing lack of evidence.