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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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bitter Fruit of "Deliberation"

By John Hood
Carolina Journal

If the North Carolina General Assembly was just going to end its 2007 session with a 10 percent spending increase, hundreds of millions of dollars a year in new taxes and electricity rate hikes, and more welfare for corporations and politicians, couldn’t it at least have done its damage months ago and left Raleigh? We’d have been spared a lot of overheated rhetoric and pretense.

Leaders of the North Carolina House have long opposed limits on legislative sessions, arguing that lawmakers need time to study the important issues facing a growing state. To set firm deadlines, they say, would yield power to the bureaucrats and executive branch, and lead to decisions informed more by politics than by solid evidence and careful deliberation.

Hogwash. The 2007 session demonstrates why these arguments are specious.

Another Bad State Budget

The Daily Record

With all the scandals that have discredited the North Carolina General Assembly lately, many citizens may have come to believe that our lawmakers can't accomplish anything.

Sadly, they have proven to be all too capable of one thing: Spending our money.

Lawmakers on Saturday agreed to a $20.7 billion budget that reads like a wish list for powerful legislative bosses and Gov. Mike Easley.

The governor called it a "gutsy and aggressive budget." Translation: It spends a lot of our money.

The Breck Girl & Bee Gees Sing Together :-)

Easley signs $20.7 billion budget, praises authors' 'courage'

RALEIGH, N.C. (Rocky Mount Telegram) — Gov. Mike Easley gave the final endorsement to a $20.7 billion state budget Tuesday, saying its General Assembly authors showed courage in boosting education spending and relieving counties' Medicaid burden.

The House and Senate gave final approval Monday to their most expansive legislation of the year, with praise from majority party Democrats who said it will improve education, expand health care research and shift Medicaid costs from counties to the state by mid-2009.

FBI searches Sen. Stevens' Alaska home

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Federal agents with cameras searched the home of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens amid questions about an oil company official's involvement in a 2000 renovation project that doubled the home's size, law enforcement officials said.

Defection Protection

(Fox News) - About 200 Cuban athletes and coaches participating in the Pan American Games in Brazil have been rushed home amid fears by the Castro government that there could be a mass defection.

Media reports say the athletes were whisked to the airport before the end of the games after four participants defected — and amid rumors that many more were planning to join them.

The exodus happened so quickly that the Cuban men's volleyball team did not get to collect its bronze medals. Cuba was running second behind the U.S. in the overall team standings before leaving.

Needle Work

(Fox News) - The city of San Francisco spent $800,000 last year to hand out some two million syringes to drug users — as part of a needle-exchange plan aimed at discouraging people from sharing needles — and increasing their risk of AIDS and other diseases.

But the "exchange" part of the program isn't working out quite as planned. The San Francisco Chronicle reports Parks Department workers are finding up to 200 used needles per day discarded in Golden Gate Park. And one administrator says the city is getting back only about 70 percent of the used needles.

Democratic Mayor Gavin Newsom says this is a legitimate concern — and says the city needs to shift some of its focus from needle distribution to collection.

Hunting Season

(Fox News) - A British intelligence report says British agents were ready to give the U.S. information about the whereabouts of Usama bin Laden back in 1998 — but wanted assurances that bin Laden would not be tortured.

The Guardian newspaper writes that the report states MI6 believed it was close to finding bin Laden in Afghanistan in '98, and again the next year.

Officials signed off on sharing the information with the U.S. — on the no-torture condition. But the CIA reportedly refused to give that assurance. CIA spokesman George Little tells FOX News — "There's really no need to comment on such reports because the United States does not conduct or condone torture."

What Do Some Former Gitmo Detainees Do After They Are Released?

(Fox News) - At least 30 former detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility have gone back into action against coalition forces one way or another since being released. Pentagon spokesman Commander Jeffrey Gordon says that while in custody the detainees had falsely claimed to be ordinary civilians or low-level combatants.

Gordon says that while the U.S. does not actively track detainees after their release, the Pentagon became aware of their return to combat through intelligence sources and media reports. Gordon says some of the former detainees have been killed on the battlefield. Others have participated in propaganda efforts such as making films, writing books and public speaking.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Former N.C. speaker begins prison term

RALEIGH, N.C. (The Modesto Bee) — Former House Speaker Jim Black surrendered to federal marshals Monday to begin serving his five-year sentence for political corruption.

Remembering the Gipper...

“It’s time to clean house. Clean out the privileges and perks. Clean out the arrogance and the big egos. Clean out the scandals, the corner-cutting and the foot-dragging. What kind of job do you think they’ve done during all those years they’ve been running the Congress?... Now, just imagine what they would do if they controlled the executive branch, too!... But now we have arrived, as we always do, at the moment of truth—the serious business of selecting a president. Now is the time for choosing.”

Ronald Reagan

Socialized Medicine...

“There’s absolutely no mystery why our greatest complaints are in the arena of government-delivered services and the fewest in market-delivered services. In the market, there are the ruthless forces of profit, loss and bankruptcy that make producers accountable to us. In the arena of government-delivered services, there’s no such accountability... Our health care system is hampered by government intervention, and the solution is not more government intervention but less... Before we buy into single-payer health care systems like Canada’s and the United Kingdom’s, we might want to do a bit of research. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based Fraser Institute annually publishes ‘Waiting Your Turn.’ Its 2006 edition gives waiting times, by treatments, from a person’s referral by a general practitioner to treatment by a specialist. The shortest waiting time was for oncology (4.9 weeks). The longest waiting time was for orthopedic surgery (40.3 weeks), followed by plastic surgery (35.4 weeks) and neurosurgery (31.7 weeks). As reported in the June 28 National Center for Policy Analysis’ ‘Daily Policy Digest,’ Britain’s Department of Health recently acknowledged that one in eight patients waits more than a year for surgery. France’s failed health care system resulted in the deaths of 13,000 people, mostly of dehydration, during the heat spell of 2003. Hospitals stopped answering the phones, and ambulance attendants told people to fend for themselves. I don’t think most Americans would like more socialized medicine in our country.”

Walter Williams

Over-the-Counter Sex Pill Containing Prescription Compound Found in Cialis Recalled

(Fox News) - Batches of an over-the-counter sex-enhancing pill that can purchased over the Internet have been recalled because they contain traces of the active ingredient found in the prescription medication Cialis.

The maker of Top Gun for Men Herbal Extracts said the pills could cause "serious health consequences" because they contain a compound similar to the drug tadalafil, News.com.au and other wire services are reporting. Tadalafil is an erectile dysfunction drug sold in the U.S. under the name Cialis.

Unhappy Homemakers

(Fox News) - The passage of a House ethics bill that would bar a political campaign from employing a lawmaker's spouse is drawing plenty of complaints on Capitol Hill. The Politico reports some members will lose significant family income if they have to fire their spouses.

Texas Republican Joe Barton's wife reportedly was paid $57,000 by his campaign in the last election cycle.

He says — "I'm not apologetic. She does real work and puts out a good product. I'm tired of us acting like there's something we should be ashamed of — I'm not."

That bill still needs to go through the Senate — and Politico reports it has yet to gain traction there.

Free Speech Concerns

(Fox News) - A new report by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is warning of expanding government censorship of the Internet.

It calls online policing "a bitter reminder of the ease with which some regimes — democracies and dictatorships alike — seek to suppress speech that they disapprove of, dislike, or simply fear."

It points to questionable online restrictions in places like China, Hong Kong and Sudan. It says Malaysia is drafting laws to prosecute Web users critical of Islam.

And says Kazakhstan's information minister has vowed to purge Web sites of what the government calls "dirt" and "lies."

Meanwhile the American Foreign Policy Council reports 40 members of Iran's parliament have written a letter to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticizing his recent decision to shut down two news outlets.

But Iranian leaders aren't budging, and are in fact stepping up the filtering on the computers of parliamentary deputies.

French Twist

(Fox News) - Preliminary charges have been filed against former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin in a scandal that has rocked the Paris political scene.

Villepin is accused of taking part in a smear campaign against current President Nikolas Sarkozy several years ago. Officials say Villepin falsely accused Sarkozy and others of having secret bank accounts which were used to hold bribe money. Villepin has denied any wrongdoing.

Villepin is famous for his 2003 speech before the U.N. Security Council arguing against the U.S. led war in Iraq.

The EPA Takes Threat Against a Climate Change Skeptic Very Seriously

(Fox News) - The head of the Environmental Protection Agency says he will investigate a threatening letter sent to a global warming skeptic by the head of a group advocating the use of renewable energy.

The Washington Times reports American Council on Renewable Energy President Michael Eckhart wrote to Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis — "It is my intention to destroy your career as a liar. If you produce one more editorial against climate change, I will launch a campaign against your professional integrity."

The EPA is a member of ACORE — and so are several other government agencies. Eckhart told tthe Times he apologizes to all who were offended by his choice of words, and says the letter was a private communication in the context of what he called "personal combat and jousting."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Real-estate transfer taxes a part of old blame game

By Paul O'Connor
Winston-Salem Journal

The debate over real-estate transfer taxes is as much about political blame as about real-estate agents or economic development.

One of the overlooked political stories in Raleigh is the constant financial push and pull between the state and local governments. City councils and county boards of commissioners want the state to pay for programs so they can keep local taxes low. Legislators push in the opposite direction, trying to keep state taxes low by making the cities and counties pay more bills.

Fred Thompson's 'trophy wife' runs the show

She has sometimes been dismissed as a tanned and bleached blonde "trophy wife", only ever glimpsed in sleek and glamorous outfits on the arm of her much older spouse.

But in the past few days Jeri Thompson has suddenly emerged as the real political power behind her husband Fred's presidential campaign.

Mr Thompson, 64, a former senator and actor who is running second in most polls of Republican nominees even before he has officially declared his candidacy, last week replaced his campaign manager in a shake-up of his top team - which, it has emerged, was initiated by his wife.

Another senior aide quit after clashes with Mrs Thompson, a youthful-looking 40, who is in effect managing her husband's White House bid and has hiring and firing authority over staff, according to campaign insiders.

Philip Sherwell and Tim Shipman

This sounds all too familiar. There is still a good chance that Thompson will never actually enter the race. Even if he does, he has been exposed as yet another faux conservative, not all that different than Bush. He can't pull enough of the conservative base out to beat The Beast in Pants Suits.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Schumer to fight new Bush high court picks

The Politico

New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a powerful member of the Democratic leadership, said Friday the Senate should not confirm another U.S. Supreme Court nominee under President Bush “except in extraordinary circumstances.”...

...Earlier this week, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican, said he was persuaded by a conversation with Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who spoke with Specter at the Aspen Institute gathering in Colorado this month, to study the decisions of the Roberts Court. The term that ended in June was notable for several rulings that reversed or chipped away at several long-standing decisions, delighting conservatives but enraging liberals.

Breyer has publicly raised concerns that conservative justices were violating stare decisis, the legal doctrine that, for the sake of stability, courts should generally leave precedents undisturbed.

“It is not often in the law that so few have so quickly changed so much,” Breyer said, reading his dissent from the bench in June to a 5-4 ruling that overturned school desegregation policies in two cities.

What is so sacred about stare decisis??? I wish somebody would ask these liberals that since they are such big fans of stare decisis, one has to assume that they would have been okay with upholding racial discrimination laws that were on the books during the late 1800s into the 1900s. Those laws were on the books for years before the Supreme Court overturned them. I guess liberals would have said, "We can't overturn these laws because of stare decisis." Give me a break...

With regard to Breyer being upset that the court overturned school desegregation policies in two cities, the cases had to do with these two cities forcing parents to send their kids 90 minutes across town to go to school when they had a school a few blocks down the road from where they lived.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Black asks judge again to delay start date

He will be housed at federal prison in Pennsylvania

Former N.C. House Speaker Jim Black pleaded yesterday for an extra week before starting a five-year federal prison term on Monday, telling a judge that he needs more time to report to a Pennsylvania prison and face sentencing for another political corruption crime.

Judge Terrence Boyle of U.S. District Court ordered Black, 72, to report to prison on Monday, one day before he was to be sentenced on separate charges in state court. Through his attorneys, Black asked that he start his sentence Aug. 6.

The additional week also would allow Black to get himself to a prison in Lewisburg, Pa., where the U.S. Bureau of Prisons decided that he will serve his sentence, his lawyers said.

The judge had not issued a ruling by yesterday afternoon.

House gives 1st OK to electoral change

Bill would change method to choose votes for president

North Carolina appears headed to becoming the third state to abandon the winner-take-all method for awarding its electoral votes as the House tentatively agreed yesterday to shelve the method.

In its place, according to the bill approved on a largely party-line vote, would be a more proportional method that would reward the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each of the state’s congressional districts.

The Senate already has passed the bill, which would take effect in 2008. A final House vote could come today, then the bill would go to Gov. Mike Easley, a Democrat.

Democrats are the majority in the legislature and backed the change. The state Democratic Party also supports it.

Republicans called the change a cheap way to give Democrats, who have been shut out in North Carolina since 1980, some electoral votes.

Proposal to Expand Size of Supreme Court Draws Fire

(CNSNews.com) - The number of justices on the Supreme Court should be increased because the "current five-man [conservative] majority persists in thumbing its nose at popular values," a legal expert has proposed, sparking debate and criticism.

"When a majority of Supreme Court justices adopt a manifestly ideological agenda, it plunges the court into the vortex of American politics," Jean Edward Smith, a biographer and political science professor at Marshall University, wrote in the New York Times Thursday.

Energy Crisis

(Fox News) - A noted conservation biologist and climate researcher says the increased use of renewable energy will lead to what he calls the "rape of nature."

Jesse Ausubel of the Rockefeller University in New York writes that solar, wind and biofuel sources are "boutique fuels" that look attractive on a small scale. But he says they will require vast amounts of land for large scale production. He says generating the same energy as a 1,000 megawatt nuclear reactor would take 965-square miles of prime Midwestern farm land, or 58-square miles of solar power cells.

Ausubell tells newscientist.com — "If we want to minimize the rape of nature, the best energy solution is increased efficiency, natural gas with carbon capture, and nuclear power."

Climate models upon which those dire global warming predictions are often based use statistics from a vast array of weather stations across the world. We told you some months ago about a California meteorologist who has a volunteer network that is going to these sites and often finding they are not properly set up to take accurate measurements.

Now Anthony Watts says the National Climatic Data Center has removed the addresses of the stations from its data base — even though the research is publicly funded and the information has been available for years. Watts writes on his Web site that the timing is "suspect."

Meanwhile, he's found what he writes is the worst station yet — in Tucson. This equipment is found in the middle of a parking lot — with sensors he says are not at the standard observing height. Watts says that adds a "positive bias" to the measurements.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

No tangerines for you?

By Ben Smith
The Politico

The politics of global warming got very concrete, and oddly difficult, in a meeting with local environmentalists in the coastal town of McClellanville today, where Elizabeth Edwards raised in passing the importance of relying on locally-grown fruit.

Skip Prosser, Wake basketball coach, dies at 56

(Winston-Salem Journal) - Skip Prosser, the men's basketball coach at Wake Forest, collapsed in his office and died this afternoon at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, athletics administration officials said.

Prosser, 56, was at the Manchester Athletic Center when he collapsed. According to a source, assistant Mike Muse administered CPR until emergency-medical technicians arrived to take Prosser to Baptist Hospital.

Nifong Admits: No Crime in Lacrosse Case

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Disgraced former prosecutor Mike Nifong acknowledged Thursday there is "no credible evidence" that three Duke lacrosse players committed any of the crimes he accused them of more than a year ago, offering for the first time a complete and unqualified apology.

"We all need to heal," Nifong said. "It is my hope we can start this process today."

Astronauts Drunk Before Launch, Report Says

12-Hour 'Bottle-To-Throttle' Rule Not Followed

A report said that an independent health panel studying NASA astronauts found "heavy use of alcohol" before launch.

Aviation Week and Space Technology said the committee found that on at least two occasions, astronauts were allowed to fly despite warnings from flight surgeons and other astronauts that they were so intoxicated that they posed a flight-safety risk.

'Temporary' sales tax would go permanent under budget draft

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - House and Senate negotiators reached tentative agreements late last night on a two-year budget that would make a “temporary” sales tax increase permanent and let counties raise additional taxes for school construction and infrastructure.

The deals, which require final approval by the full House and Senate, also would transfer the counties’ share of Medicaid expenses to the state in a three-year phase-out, House and Senate Democratic leaders said.

State may fine owners

Two illegal dumps were ordered closed in Stokes

(Winston-Salem Journal) -
Investigations of two illegal dumps in southern Stokes County are continuing as state environmental officials decide whether to fine the owners of the dumps, which were ordered closed last month.

Officials with the N.C. Division of Waste Management ordered removal of all waste in the dumps and warned of possible penalties up to $5,000 a day for violations of solid-waste laws, according to letters sent last month to the owners of both dumps.

State officials began investigating the two dump sites for operating without proper permits after a complaint made in May. One site, off Payne Road just outside of Rural Hall, is owned by Randall Griffin. The other site on Slate Road in King is owned by Clyde Duggins, 85, who was Stokes County sheriff for four years in the early 1970s.

Judge denies Black request

Former legislator must begin serving his sentence next week

A federal judge ordered former House Speaker Jim Black to begin serving his five-year prison sentence Monday as scheduled, rejecting his request that it be delayed.

Clinton fundraiser set for Blowing Rock

Bonnie, Jamie Schaefer will be the hosts at spa

BLOWING ROCK (Winston-Salem Journal) -
When invitations went out for a $2,300-a-person cocktail reception for Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday at Westglow Resort & Spa, some people wondered if it was a hoax.

“We’ve got a lot of calls from the area from people who can’t believe it and say it’s wonderful,” said Blake Zeff, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign. “Yes, it’s true.” The answer to the other question that everyone seems to have, however, is no: Bill Clinton will not be with her, according to the campaign.

The private fundraiser is being held by Westglow owners Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer at the spa a few miles from downtown Blowing Rock. Bonnie Schaefer is the former co-chief executive officer of Claire’s Stores, familiar to every parent of a young girl who visits malls and goes to Claire’s to buy inexpensive jewelry and other items.

Guessing Games

(Fox News) - While environmental groups and the United Nations have predicted stronger and more frequent hurricanes in the future because of global warming — one hurricane forecaster is downgrading its predictions for this summer — because of cooler than expected water temperatures in the Atlantic.

WSI — a major forecasting service used by both FOX News and CNN — is predicting 14 named storms will produce six hurricanes — three of them major. That's down from 15 storms — eight hurricanes and four major. Last year forecasts of significant hurricane activity proved to be unfounded following the major storms of 2005.

Pants Suit

(Fox News) - The couple owning the dry cleaners that was sued by a Washington DC judge for $54 million after his pants were temporarily lost — is getting some help with their legal bills.

Groups advocating tort reform and supporters of Jin Nam Chung and Soo Chung got together for a fundraiser last night — and the famous pants were on display — complete with a security guard.

The Chungs won the lawsuit — but ended up with about $100,000 in legal bills. The fundraiser pulled in about $64,000.

Nancy Pelosi Supports Part of Alberto Gonzales' Testimony

(Fox News) - Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller Tuesday accused Attorney General Alberto Gonzales of perjury over Gonzales' testimony about a White House meeting in March of 2004 — in which a group of congressional leaders was briefed on the impending deadline to reauthorize the president's terrorist surveillance program.

Gonzales said the consensus in the room was that it should continue, despite the objections of acting Attorney General James Comey.

Rockefeller said Gonzales did not brief the leaders on the deadline, and that he was — "making something up to protect himself." He said he had no idea at the time who Comey even was. But one official who was at the meeting tells FOX News that Gonzales' account is accurate.

And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed that such a briefing had occurred, that Comey's objections had been discussed. Indeed, she said she agreed with Comey.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

McCain Campaign Is Dealt New Blow as Media Team Resigns

Wall Street Journal

Sen. John McCain's media team has resigned, an indication that a campaign shake-up two weeks ago is continuing to backfire and further imperil the Arizona Republican's presidential candidacy.

Edwards bikes with Lance Armstrong: 'The biggest problem is my butt hurts'...

From The Des Moines Register:

Dumont, Ia. — Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards squeezed into a pair of Spandex bike shorts today and pedaled on the RAGBRAI route with champion cyclist Lance Armstrong...

...To warm up for RAGBRAI, Edwards rode 22 miles on Sunday in the hills of his home state, North Carolina.

"This is actually not hard, this is fun," Edwards said as he climbed a hill on County Road T16 on a black Trek road bike he borrowed for the day. "The biggest problem is my butt hurts. Is that normal?"

"Do you want some Chamois Butt'r?" Peter Klein, of Beloit, Wisc., asked him.

"What's that?" Edwards said, as a string of riders from Team Trousermouse cruised past.

Klein, a 27-year-old with a beard and round John Lennon-style sunglasses, explained that it's a skin cream cyclists use to prevent chafing and soothe saddle sores. He handed the senator a travel-sized packet and said he hoped it helped.

Wednesday Funnies :-)

Jimmy Kimmel: “Hopeless Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich was hospitalized for food poisoning on Sunday night. He’s fine now; he’s been released from Cleveland Children’s hospital. I guess he ate out of the wrong bird feeder.”

Conan O’Brien: “Last [week] the Senate held an all-night session. Sen. Hillary Clinton gave a speech at four in the morning. It was the first time Hillary gave a speech at four in the morning that didn’t begin with, ‘Where the hell have you been?”’

Jay Leno: The U.S. Senate held an all-night session last [week], trying to get the votes needed to begin troop withdrawal from Iraq. They lost. They stayed in the Senate chamber all night long, with some of them sleeping on cots. In fact, Hillary stayed up so late, she actually saw Bill sneaking in. ... Things got a little testy at about four o’clock in the morning when a fight broke out between Senator David Vitter and 89-year-old Senator Robert Byrd over the last diaper. ... According to a new Zogby poll, the new Congress has hit another historic low—14 percent of people approve of Congress. And that’s just the hookers who work for the DC madam. ... Al Gore’s lovely daughter Sarah got married over the weekend. Critics are now bashing Al Gore for serving Chilean sea bass at his daughter’s wedding, because it is an endangered species. In his defense, whenever Al Gore picks up a knife and fork, any species is endangered. ... Next month, right here in Los Angeles, the leading Democratic presidential candidates will hold a gay debate—it will be a televised debate to discuss just gay issues. Well, how much is John Edwards going to spend on his hair for that? ... John Edwards is continuing his “Poverty Tour” around America. Today he visited with a group of people who get their hair cut at a place called “a barber shop.” He was horrified at their stories. ... John Edwards has a new TV commercial touting him as a tough guy. His wife says he has unbelievable toughness. And he is tough. Like in the ad, it says sometimes he shampoos his hair and then skips the conditioner completely and goes commando.

Jimmy Carter Offers to Mediate Between Hamas, Fatah

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - As Washington continues a policy of isolating the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas, former President Jimmy Carter reportedly has offered to mediate between Hamas and rival Palestinian faction, Fatah.

The Palestinian News Agency Ma'an reported that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh met with Scott Custer, West Bank director of the Carter Center, in Haniyeh's Gaza Strip office. Custer told Haniyeh that Carter, a Democrat, was willing to mediate between the factions. Haniyeh okayed Carter's offer, the report said.

Watch for the Union Label

(Fox News) - On any given weekday here in Washington you can see several construction sites being adorned with picketers protesting the use of non-union labor.

But the Washington Post reports many of the picketers are not even union members — but homeless people, retirees or students being paid slightly more than minimum wage — with no benefits.

The Post says carpenters unions across the country are using this tactic — which is not going over well with some of their union brethren. And advocates for the homeless say the unions are taking advantage of the unfortunate instead of helping them.

Says one shelter official — "These jobs won't pay the rent. If they're out there every day Monday through Friday, when are they looking for a job?"

Newt Unplugged

(Fox News) - Newt Gingrich says the Republican presidential field is a "pathetic" bunch of "pygmies" — and compares the debate experience to "standing like a trained seal, waiting for someone to throw me a fish." The Washington Examiner reports Gingrich told a breakfast crowd that MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who hosted a Republican debate in May is — "an utterly irrelevant shallow television celebrity (who) doesn't know anything."

He calls Al Gore "not in touch with reality" — and columnist Robert Novak "venomous."

Gingrich says he'll decide whether to join the "pygmies" in the fall — but says — "I have no interest in trying to figure out how I can go out and raise money under John McCain's insane censorship rules so I can show up and do seven minutes and twenty seconds at some debate."

Keep It Clean

(Fox News) - The increasingly nasty discourse on some web blogs has led the creator of the popular liberal site Daily Kos to warn his contributors to knock it off.

Markos Moulitsas writes his patience is wearing thin with what he calls "an alarming rise in diaries and comments that seek to impugn (without evidence) the motives of those they disagree with on various issues."

He refers to the comments as — "so damn ugly" — and says they are a serious threat to the site. Meanwhile the Wonkette blog is being taken to task for a posting that referred to "Rudy Jew-liani" in an interview with the "Jew York Times."

A rival blogger observed — "Wonkette, that foul-mouthed but titillating blogger of Washington foibles, seems to have gone anti-Semitic."

Wonkette has demanded an apology and implied legal action if one is not forthcoming.

How One Journalist Defines a 'Staunch Republican'

(Fox News) - Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jennifer Hunter is taking heat for a recent story headlined "GOP Lawyer Sold on Dems." She wrote that after watching the top Democratic presidential candidates speak —one "staunch republican" lawyer said he will not vote for anyone from the GOP in 2008.

But federal election contribution records show the so-called "staunch republican" — Philadelphia attorney Jim Ronca — actually has contributed overwhelmingly to Democrats since 1994 — giving them more than $10,000 — to $1,250 for Republicans.

Hunter — who is married to the publisher of the Sun-Times — subsequently blamed the headline writer for emphasizing the Republican lawyer angle and critical readers for making the contributions an issue.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Actual soldier's thoughts on the war...

This was sent to me by my co-worker & friend, Monica: "Here’s a guy I have been talking to in Fayetteville. He knows the real deal... My uncle is the same way. He is lifelong military and he feels the same way about any war: it's part of life and we only see what the news tells us, and of course, no one wants our soldiers to die, but it's a part of life and most of the ones who sign up do it knowing they could die and they are willing to do just that for their country."

Hmmm, my thoughts on the war.....well what war was ever a good war? It's never easy to go to war, it's like making that impossible decision you know. The one where you have to make a decision and the outcome is going to go either way. If we didn't go to war...who knows where we would be right now and that's what the public ponders over everyday. You see the public eye doesn't see the whole picture and they never will. They will never see their soldiers out there making a difference, changing lives in probably the most dreadful place on the planet. All they see is a death toll rising day in and day out. It's sad.....I lost a lot of friends because of the war. Good friends and I believe that they lost their lives for a good cause regardless of how the public sees it. I can't be indifferent about something that once had a purpose and which is now lost and left to those idiot politicians who only have one thing in mind and that's themselves and their run for the presidency or better yet re-elections. I just believe that there were mistakes made, and soldiers are definitely paying the price for them now. I've read allot about this war, and most of it is pretty much a "blame game". Everyone has their alibi and no one wants to be caught holding the sword. My opinion is that the military was never allowed to do what they knew needed to be done. They were held back by the ones making the calls (cough...Wolfowitz; cough again...Rumsfeld) but I am not going to name any names. If you really want to know about the war.....ask a soldier and ask another and another. You will begin to see that your opinion might change a little every time.

Clinton Criticizes Obama for Saying He'd Meet with Troublemaking World Leaders

(CNSNews.com) - During a presidential debate in Charleston, S.C., using questions posed through YouTube videos, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) criticized political rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for his willingness to meet with leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea - considered by the Bush administration to be troublemakers. Obama responded by citing the importance of looking for areas "where we can potentially move forward," adding that he thinks "it's a disgrace that we have not spoken to them." Clinton said meeting with such leaders could be used by them for propaganda. "Certainly, we're not going to just have our president meet with Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez and you know, the president of North Korea, Iran and Syria, until we know better what the way forward would be," she said. But a few months ago, Clinton's message appeared similar to Obama's. During a visit to Decorah, Iowa, in April, the presidential frontrunner said her approach to foreign policy would be different than President Bush's and she "would begin diplomatic discussions with those countries with whom we have differences, to try to figure out what is the depth of those differences." Speaking at Luther College in Decorah, Clinton reportedly said: "I think it is a terrible mistake for our president to say he will not talk with bad people. You don't make peace with your friends - you have to do the hard work of dealing with people you don't agree with."

'Fat' Chance

(Fox News) - A Buddhist businessman who is opening a Chinese restaurant in Durham, England has been told he cannot name it "Fat Buddha" — for fear of offending Buddhists.

The Daily Mail reports the city council's head of cultural services demanded that Eddie Fung change the name because it is "provocative." But Fung says that's nonsense: "No Buddhist is going to be offended by this," he says. "The fat Buddha is a symbol of health and happiness. It is political correctness gone mad."

And a spokesman for the Buddhist society agrees, saying: "Buddhists regard the fat Buddha as lucky. To suggest this is offensive is to misunderstand the faith."

Monday, July 23, 2007

Reid's Anti-Reform Maneuvers

By Robert D. Novak
Washington Post

When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid picked up his ball and went home after his staged all-night session last week, he saved from possible embarrassment one of the least regular members of his Democratic caucus: Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Reform Republican Tom Coburn had ready an amendment to the defense authorization bill removing Nelson's earmark funding a Nebraska-based company whose officials include Nelson's son. Such an effort became impossible when Reid pulled the bill.

That Reid's action had this effect was mere coincidence. He knew that Sen. Carl Levin's amendment to the defense bill mandating a troop withdrawal from Iraq would fall short of the 60 votes needed to cut off debate, and Reid planned from the start to pull the bill after the all-night session, designed to satisfy antiwar zealots, was completed. But Reid is also working behind the scenes with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to undermine earmark transparency and prevent open debate on spending proposals such as Nelson's.

The good done in Reynolds' name

Story is incomplete without a full telling of the legacy that grew from his passing

By Tom Lambeth
Winston-Salem Journal

In recent days, much attention has been given to the untimely death 75 years ago of Zachary Smith Reynolds, the younger son of R.J. and Katharine Smith Reynolds.

The elements of mystery and of tragedy stir the imagination. Two motion pictures, in highly fictionalized scenarios, have exploited that event in July 1932. In my high-school days, we listened to a popular song, “Written on the Wind,” that captured the background score of a movie by the same name, unaware of the history shrouded in its melody. That summer night has produced more than half a dozen books - some novels, some the work of reporters seeking to unravel the tangled threads.

While the details of Smith Reynolds’ death will forever mystify and provoke lively conjecture, to let his story stop with that kind of exercise would be to miss another story - of the daring of a young man and of a remarkable philanthropic tradition and legacy that grew out of his family’s response to his passing.

Remembering the Gipper...

“As a former Democrat, I can tell you [that]... back in 1936, Mr. Democrat himself, Al Smith, the great American, came before the American people and charged that the leadership of his party was taking the party of Jefferson, Jackson, and Cleveland down the road under the banners of Marx, Lenin, and Stalin. And he walked away from his party, and he never returned to the day he died, because to this day, the leadership of that party has been taking that party... down the road in the image of the labor socialist party of England.”

Ronald Reagan

Drew Carey to Replace Barker on 'Price'

NEW YORK (AP) - Genial comic Drew Carey was tapped Monday to replace silver-haired legend Bob Barker on the CBS daytime game show "The Price is Right." Carey confirmed the deal during a taping of the "Late Show" with David Letterman.

The selection attracted more attention than usual for a daytime show because of the prospect of replacing Barker, 83. Barker retired after 35 years in the job last month following taping of his 6,586th episode.

The opening attracted widespread interest, including from comic Rosie O'Donnell after she left "The View."

Carey, 49, spent a decade on his own ABC sitcom and also was host of the game show "Whose Line is It Anyway?," a comic improvisational show.

He will also be host of a new CBS prime-time game show, "The Power of 10," that will air first next month. He told The Associated Press that CBS officials first contacted him about "The Price is Right" immediately after he completed a pilot of the other game show this spring.

Privette resigns from Christian Action League

(Winston-Salem Journal) - Former state legislator Coy C. Privette, who faces charges related to prostitution, has resigned as president of the Christian Action League, the group said yesterday.

Privette, 74, was suspended Thursday as president of the league until the court case is resolved. He resigned Saturday, said the Rev. Mark Creech, the league’s executive director.

“Because of the nature of the allegations, I believe it is in the best interest for me to resign so that the charges will not distract from the important work of the Christian Action League,” Privette said in an e-mail sent to the league.

Privette, a Cabarrus County commissioner from Kannapolis, has also said he plans to step down from his leadership post with the State Baptist Convention of North Carolina. The retired Baptist minister is a former convention president who has been on the group’s executive committee and board of directors.

Privette, a Republican, was charged with six counts of aiding and abetting prostitution by renting a hotel room and paying for sex acts with Tiffany Denise Summers, 32, who was charged with six counts of prostitution, according to arrest warrants. The state said that all charges are misdemeanors.

Chavez to Kick Out Foreigners Critical of Him

President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that foreigners who publicly criticize him or his government while visiting Venezuela will be expelled from the country.

Chavez ordered officials to closely monitor statements made by international figures during their visits to Venezuela — and deport any outspoken critics.

"How long are we going to allow a person — from any country in the world — to come to our own house to say there's a dictatorship here, that the president is a tyrant, and nobody does anything about it?" Chavez asked during his weekly television and radio program.

You just can't make stuff like this up.

Watching and Smelling

(Fox News) - Officials in London have been testing a special kind of surveillance camera that can analyze exhaust fumes and record license plate numbers — opening up the door to fine owners of vehicles that do not meet emission standards.

The Daily Telegraph reports the cameras can scan 3,000 vehicles per hour — and could be used to enforce new pollution restrictions that go into effect next February — with fines of around $400/day for violators.

Eat Right… or Else!

(Fox News) - Researchers in Britain say a tax on foods some consider unhealthy could discourage people from eating them, make people healthier and save lives. The Oxford study suggested that extending Britain's existing tax on ice cream, snacks and drinks to dairy products, fatty meats and desserts could save up to 3,200 lives per year.

But critics in Britain and the U.S. say diet is a private matter and government should stay out. Still, New York City will start banning the use of trans-fats in restaurants beginning next year. Chicago is considering a similar ban and a bill in Maine to tax snack foods failed by just one vote this spring.

Kill Bill?

(Fox News) - Over in the Senate, West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller reportedly plans to introduce a bill that would give the Federal Communications Commission the power to regulate violent content on television. The FCC already has authority over sexual and language content, but not violence.

Cybercast News reports the Rockefeller bill would require either the FCC or Congress to work up a "definition" of television violence. It would also attempt to increase family-friendly programming —- particularly in the first hour of prime time, known as the family hour.

Critics say all of this amounts to an effort to limit free speech and they are concerned with the fact that the bill would apply not only to broadcast TV, but to cable and satellite stations as well.

John Murtha's 'Mystery' Earmark Request

(Fox News) - A follow-up on Thursday's item about that so-called "mystery" earmark request from John Murtha: the Pennsylvania Democrat was awarded $1 million for the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure — which it turns out does not exist — but is a planned part of a non-profit technology center that has received millions in Murtha earmarks over the years.

Now The Hill reports the Energy Department is denying Murtha's claim that it supports the request. A DOE spokeswoman says the earmark is not a program that meets its "mission critical" threshold and that it is "inconsistent" with its 2008 budget.

Nevertheless, the House overwhelmingly defeated a move to deny the earmark.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Remembering the "Forgotten Man"

By Suzanne Fields

John Edwards has finished his celebrated poverty tour, making obligatory stops in hurricane-ravaged neighborhoods in New Orleans, decrepit Delta towns in Mississippi and Arkansas, up through Appalachian backwaters and finally home to Washington.

Now he ought to sit down for a good read with "The Forgotten Man," a new book by the economist Amity Shlaes. She shows how he's looking through the wrong end of his binoculars, emphasizing poverty and not the prosperity expanding the economy that lifts the poor. The public seems to understand what he doesn't. He has to bring up his poverty program because no one else will.

Administration Poised to Subsidize China’s Nuclear Industry

A Japanese-owned company is building nuclear power plants for Communist China, and the Bush administration is ready to use U.S. taxpayer dollars to subsidize the deal to the tune of $5 billion. Although China’s government-owned nuclear industry has a long record of illegal nuclear deals with Iran and Pakistan, administration officials say the technology is not transferable to nuclear weapons, and that the subsidy will create 5,000 jobs in Pennsylvania.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im) is a federal agency that subsidizes U.S. exports by lending taxpayer money to foreign buyers (such as the Chinese government), or guaranteeing private loans, so that the foreign buyer can purchase U.S. goods.

Westinghouse Electric is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese company Toshiba. Westinghouse manufactures the AP 1000 -- a new model of nuclear power generator -- in Monroeville, Pa.

Timothy P. Carney

George Bush is a traitorous piece of crap, no different than Bill Clinton. He should be impeached and removed from office.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Cost to smoke might go up

WASHINGTON A key Senate committee overwhelmingly approved a bill yesterday that would raise the federal tax on a pack of cigarettes to $1 to pay for a children's health-insurance program, but the proposed bill has a long way to go before becoming law.
...Rep. Bob Etheridge, D-2nd, said he is open to a smaller increase in the tobacco tax. "To put the burden on the backs of one group of people is very difficult and unfair," he said. "If it's 61 cents, I won't vote for it."
...Under the proposal, the tax on cigars, now at most 5 cents a cigar - depending on size and price - will increase to as much as $10 tax a cigar.
"I think we ought to just shoot people that presume to smoke cigars in my presence and get it over with," Lott said. "It's ridiculous, and I don't smoke them. The ridiculousness of this just shows you what one of the many problems are with this bill," he said.

—Mary M. Shaffrey for the Winston-Salem Journal

Does the Senate plan to charge a 30-plus percent tax on every vice that we have? How about a $1 tax on every Big Mac since consuming too much McSh!t is bad for you, too?

In case you haven't noticed, Senators, virtually every American has a vice. Some smoke $3.25 packs of cigarettes, some sip on $25 bottles of wine, and others (maybe even yourselves and your peers) regularly rattle glasses of Speyside whisky on the rocks (the best priced at $2,500 a bottle). So while over-taxing the vice of an American minority may be effective in gathering money for pet government projects, it's not exactly fair. Further, do I really want rich politicians deciding what is the best vice to disproportionally tax? No, thanks. This is just one more reason why a flat percentage consumption (sales) tax based on what we buy and the elimination of the IRS would let us all play (and sin, if you will) on a level playing field.

Smoke 'em if you've got 'em.

Whose Money?

(Fox News) - Battles over congressional earmarks are heating up. Alaska Republican Don Young — known as a prolific earmarker — came a little unglued recently when his request for education funds was questioned. He referred to the funds as "my money" and warned Republicans who were challenging him — "those who bit me will be bitten back."

One of the people going against Young was North Carolina’s Virginia Foxx — who said members are — "stewards of the money that we legally steal from the people of this country."

Meanwhile Indiana Democrat Peter Visclosky allowed colleague John Murtha to slip a $1 million request into one of his bills — for something called the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure. When asked if this organization really exists — Visclosky said — "at this time I do not know."

Despite that — the House rejected a move to cut the money. The Politico reports a certificate filed with the funds says they are actually destined for a consulting firm called Concurrent Technologies Corporation — run by a Murtha campaign contributor.

Homegrown Terror

(Fox News) - FBI officials say the most dangerous domestic terror groups in the U.S. might not be Islamic extremists — but radical environmental and animal rights groups.

Recently-released excerpts of the National Intelligence Estimate say Americans can expect attacks from "single issue" groups within the next three years. In the past the FBI has said these include animal-rights and environmental groups.

Cybercast News reports a FBI counterterrorism official says actions such as the bombing of two California companies with ties to animal research in 2003 are part of "a relentless campaign of terror and intimidation." And a spokesman with the North American Animal Liberation group says the movement will use — "any means necessary" to stop animal torture — including violence.

Union Oversight

(Fox News) - While every enforcement agency in the Labor Department is due for a large budget increase — House Democrats have cut $2 million from the small office of Labor-Management Standards — which tries to ensure union dues are properly spent.

The Wall Street Journal Online reports the agency has helped secure 775 convictions of corrupt union officials since 2001 — and the restitution of $70 million.

But Labor convinced Democrats to reject the president's request for a budget increase for the agency — and instituted the cut instead. And despite a Republican effort to stop the cuts — they were retained — with the help of 16 GOP defectors.

Withdrawal Consequences

(Fox News) - John Burns of The New York Times — who is considered the best print reporter on the beat in Iraq — disagrees with Democrats and other administration critics who think a U.S. troop withdrawal would make things better in Iraq.

Burns told Charlie Rose — "It seems to me incontrovertible that the most likely outcome of an American withdrawal any time soon would be cataclysmic violence."

Burns says the Sunni minority has the most to lose. He said one senior American official told him that Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hasimi — when told of the serious possibility of a withdrawal — said — "then we will all be slaughtered."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What the... :-)

Disturbing... very, very disturbing. :-)

Duty, Honor … Reelection?

Conduct unbecoming senators.

By Alex Gallo
National Review Online

Senate Democrats led by Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the Senate floor for an all-night pajama party of antiwar slogans and calls to bring our troops back home. What’s discouraging is not the spectacle itself, but the short memory — and even shorter vision — of the senators of both parties now calling for an immediate — and dangerous — withdrawal from Iraq.

Bush vows to veto tobacco tax bill

LANDOVER, MD. (The Clarion-Ledger) — President Bush reiterated today his threat to veto Senate legislation that would substantially increase funds for children’s health insurance by levying a 61-cent-a-pack increase in the federal excise tax on cigarettes.

The tax increase would be used to subsidize health insurance for children and some adults with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid but not high enough to afford insurance on their own.

The renewal of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, is considered by many to be the most important health legislation that Congress will take up this year.

The "Evolving" Fred Thompson Saga

This may be the political version of Evolution. The New York Times is out this morning with a story about billing records that show Fred Thompson did indeed charge for his time while helping a pro-choice group. Details from the article below:

Billing records show that former Senator Fred Thompson spent nearly 20 hours working as a lobbyist on behalf of a group seeking to ease restrictive federal rules on abortion counseling in the 1990s, even though he recently said he did not recall doing any work for the organization.

According to records from Arent Fox, the law firm based in Washington where Mr. Thompson worked part-time from 1991 to 1994, he charged the organization, the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, about $5,000 for work he did in 1991 and 1992. The records show that Mr. Thompson, a probable Republican candidate for president in 2008, spent much of that time in telephone conferences with the president of the group, and on three occasions he reported lobbying administration officials on its behalf.

Mr. Thompson's work for the family planning agency has become an issue because he is positioning himself as a faithful conservative who is opposed to abortion.

David Brody

I haven't been really paying attention to how Thompson has been positioning himself on abortion. Going on things he has said to Sean Hannity and others, I would say that anyone who characterizes him as pro-life is mistaken. If he is characterizing himself in that way, he is lying, one way or the other.

RE: Deductive Reasoning

If you want to know why health care costs are so high in this country, you need look no further than here. Practitioners create some new malady or condition every day. In league with the pharmaceutical companies, they come up with some course of treatment requiring office visits and drugs. Based on the stunning success of the ADD (now ADHD) scam, behavior that was once considered simply ill-mannered or perverse is now given a high-sounding medical name and an accompanying pill bottle. We now have a couple of generations who sincerely believe life is unlivable without anti-depressants and cosmetic surgery. In fact, as this article points out, a generation has come to believe these things are their right.

The law of supply and demand is not a suggestion. Our society demands a perfect life, handed to them by the medical profession. That profession is more than happy to supply it...for a price.

Reprimand Request

(Fox News) - Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison — the only Muslim member of Congress — is backing off a comparison of President Bush's actions after 9/11 to the actions of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany following the torching of its parliament building in 1933. Ellison said both governments used the attacks as justification to greatly expand their powers.

Ellison told the Associated Press yesterday that — quote — "It was probably inappropriate to use that example, because it's a unique historical event, without really any clear parallels."

Two House Republicans have written to Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking for a reprimand for Ellison. New York Democrat Elliot Engel called Ellison's comments "outrageous" and intolerable."

And the head of the Anti-Defamation League said Ellison's statement — "demonstrates a profound lack of understanding about the horrors that Hitler and his Nazi regime perpetrated."

USA to Blame?

(Fox News) - The group that purports to be the preeminent civil rights voice for Muslims in America is blaming the Bush administration for what it calls "Islamaphobia" and says the War on Terror is just making things worse.

The Council on American Islamic Relations held a symposium at the National Press Club in Washington Tuesday. The Washington Times reports CAIR National Board Chairman Parvez Ahmed characterized Bush administration policies as driven by fear, and is irrational and divisive.

All this occurred after CAIR had banned some media outlets who allegedly had given it unfavorable coverage. A reporter from the Washington Times was thrown out after the meeting began.

Troop Withdrawal?

(Fox News) - News reports have repeatedly characterized the Reed-Levin amendment, which brought the Senate to a halt, as requiring U.S. troops to be out of Iraq by the end of next April. But the actual language of the measure does no such thing.

The amendment — which Republicans prevented from coming up for a vote — called for a "reduction in the number of United States forces in Iraq". It also provided for a "limited presence" and limited missions including training Iraqi forces and counterterrorism. It provided no numbers or any specifics on how much of a reduction in forces, or how big the limited presence would be.

But assuming the Democrats did manage to get U.S. forces out of Iraq, they admit they have no plan in the event of a sectarian bloodbath many acknowledge is likely.

House Appropriations Chairman David Obey tells the Los Angeles Times — "I wouldn't be surprised if it's horrendous. The only hope for the Iraqis is their own damned government, and there's slim hope for that."

And Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky of the "Out of Iraq" Caucus acknowledges the 70 member group has not looked beyond the end of U.S. military involvement.

The Iraq Study Group cautioned that a premature withdrawal would lead to what it called "greater human suffering, regional destabilization and a threat to the global economy."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bush Proposes Sending Transformers™ to Iraq :-)

Awards $85B Defense Contract to Hasbro

The Borowitz Report

Increasingly frustrated by the Iraqi government’s failure to meet a series of defined benchmarks, President George W. Bush today proposed sending a group of giant robots known as the Transformers™ to Iraq.

Aides to the president were vague as to when Mr. Bush arrived at his new Transformers™ strategy, but sources say that he devised the plan last week, shortly after a surprise visit to a multiplex in Bethesda, Maryland.

In announcing his new proposal, the president authorized an $85 billion defense contract to Hasbro, believed to be the largest military contract of its kind ever awarded to a toy company.

At a White House press conference, the president expressed his confidence that the Transformers™ would succeed where the Iraq government had failed.

“I’d like to see what would happen if al-Qaeda tried to attack one of our tanks, and instead the tank got up on its legs and turned out to be a robot and started shooting at them,” Mr. Bush said. “That would be so cool.”

But even as the president announced his new plan for victory in Iraq, congressional critics questioned the wisdom of dispatching Transformers™ to the war-torn nation.

“A tank that can turn into a giant robot is awesome, but it’s not an exit strategy,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

Responding to his critics, Mr. Bush said that he would announce an exit strategy later this week after consulting with his newest advisor, J.K. Rowling.

“She has experience at ending things,” Mr. Bush said.

Left could push pro-Israel voters to GOP

By Jennifer Rubin
The Politico

Support for Israel has long been a tenet of both political parties. Major Democratic and Republican 2008 presidential contenders have demonstrated their support for Israel by, among other things, attending the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington, touting their pro-Israel voting records and personally traveling to the region.

Yet pockets of anti-Israel sentiment are active in American politics and have found a home among a small group of Democratic lawmakers and leftist activists. While it's tempting to dismiss them as irrelevant, the left's views on Israel have in recent years seeped into mainstream politics.

Reason Number 147 to Hate Michael Vick

From Sara:

After months of speculation and the "experts" at ESPN.com assuring as to remain calm, all is well (a la Kevin Bacon in "Animal House"), the feds have finally indicted Michael Vick.

Wednesday Funnies :-)

Jay Leno: Another scorching day. They say this heat is either due to global warming or because it’s July. They are not quite sure. ... Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff said that he had a gut feeling that there would be another terrorist attack this summer. Now is that reliable? How do we know it’s not just bad clams? It’s like, “False alarm. It was Long John Silver, we’re gonna be fine.” ... Former President Bill Clinton said he is backing his wife because she is the most qualified and not be cause of any spousal obligation. And believe me, if there’s one guy who’s not swayed by spousal obligation, it’s Bill Clinton. ... Bill Clinton is about to publish a new book called “Giving.” “Giving?” Shouldn’t “Getting” be the name of his new book? ... Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama have all agreed to appear at the first-ever gay debate. The whole debate will only deal with gay issues. Like gay marriage and things like that... Each candidate has an appeal for gay voters. I mean, Barack Obama knows what it’s like to face intolerance; John Edwards gets $400 haircuts; and Hillary is really in need of a makeover. ... John Edwards said today that he has always supported gay rights. Edwards said the only problem he’s ever had with gays is that they charge too much for a haircut. ... Senator Ted Kennedy reported for jury duty this week, but was dismissed because of a conflict of interest. Turns out all 15 trials that day involved other Kennedys.

Democrats pledge support for wide access to abortion

WASHINGTON (Chicago Tribune) - Elizabeth Edwards said Tuesday that her husband's health-care plan would provide insurance coverage of abortion.

Speaking on behalf of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards before the family planning and abortion-rights group Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Edwards lauded her husband's health-care proposal as "a true universal health-care plan" that would cover "all reproductive health services, including pregnancy termination," referring to abortion.

Deductive Reasoning

(Fox News) - A 63-year-old Boston resident is suing the IRS because it is refusing to allow a $25,000 deduction — for a sex-change operation.

Rhiannon O'Donnabhain was a married father of three — when he underwent the operation at age 57. The IRS rejected the write-off — saying the tax code does not allow deductions for cosmetic surgery unless it is medically necessary. O'Donnabhain says the surgery follows a medical diagnosis of gender identity disorder, and advocates say it should be treated like other medical procedures. They say the IRS ruling is motivated by politics and prejudice.

O'Donnabhain's case could set a precedent for the up to 2,000 people a year who undergo sex-change surgery in the U.S.

Radical Measures

(Fox News) - Germany's interior minister is taking considerable heat over a statement that his country has to look at all possible ways of dealing with terrorism — including killing the terrorists.

Wolfgang Schauble told a German news magazine that Berlin would have to explore whether several possibilities would be legal — including Internet or mobile phone restrictions for terrorism suspects — and what he called "targeted killings."

Critics says Schauble's comments could threaten Germany's fragile coalition government. The parliamentary chief of the center-left Social Democrats said — "Human rights and the right to life are untouchable. This also goes for Usama bin Laden's life."

And some have even questioned whether the fact that Schauble is wheelchair-bound because of a failed assassination attempt has influenced his thought process.

Keeping up Appearances

(Fox News) - John Edwards isn't the only politician who spends big bucks on his appearance.

The Politico reports Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney paid $300 to a California company that describes itself as — "a mobile beauty team for hair, makeup and men's grooming and spa services." Romney's people say they actually paid $150 apiece for two sessions — but only used the company once — prior to a candidate debate in May.

The woman who actually did the makeup for Romney says he barely needs it — because he's already tan.

And it turns out Romney may have gotten a bargain. Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich is being ridiculed for spending $600 on a makeup artist prior to his annual budget speech in March. Chicago newspapers report the bill was initially covered by taxpayer funds — but now the artist is reimbursing the state.

Earmark Overload

(Fox News) - The list of requested earmarks in congressional appropriations bills this year runs to hundreds of pages, and will take the better part of an hour to download all the requests, even with a fast Internet connection.

Tucked away in this year's labor and health bill is two million dollars sought by New York Democrat, and House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel. The beneficiary would be the City College of New York to establish the "Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service." That's right — he wants us to pay for a building named in his honor.

Republicans tell opinionjournal.com they will target the request for criticism during the coming days — but it's worth noting members so far have rejected only one of the hundreds of earmark requests by politicians of both parties.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Arafat Died of AIDS, Fellow Terrorist Says

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - Former Palestine Liberation Organization and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat died of AIDS, Secretary-General of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command Ahmed Jibril said.

In an interview on Hizballah's Al-Manar television last week, Jibril said that P.A. Chairman Mahmoud Abbas [Abu Mazen] had told him that Arafat died of AIDS, according to a translation provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

Neighborhood Watch

(Fox News) - Some people who own businesses near the national campaign headquarters of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards say they are fed up following last week's bomb scare at the office near downtown Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

A box that turned out to be full of ticking watches brought out the bomb squad and shut down commerce for three hours. One restaurant manager says it cost him $1,000 in business — and a dental office had to reschedule appointments worth around $20,000. It's the third time they've had a bomb or poison scare at the location.

And by the way — neighbors say the Edwards people hog the parking spots and are not all that friendly. An Edwards spokeswoman says the campaign might change how and where the office gets its mail.

Stealth Policy

(Fox News) - Amnesty International is trying to keep secret a decision to condemn as human rights violators countries that do not provide broad abortion services or try to punish abortion providers.

The Weekly Standard writes that details of the new policy are on a members-only section of Amnesty International's Web site. "The policy will not be made public at this time," the Web site says. "There is to be no proactive external publication of the policy position or of the fact of its adoption issued."

Even though it is trying to keep a lid on the policy — the Web site offers media talking points to members — including an instruction to deny that the new policy promotes what it calls "a human right to abortion." It says Amnesty International takes no position on the legality or the morality of abortion.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Remembering the Gipper...

“The truth is, politics and morality are inseparable. And as morality’s foundation is religion, religion and politics are necessarily related. We need religion as a guide. We need it because we are imperfect, and our government needs the church, because only those humble enough to admit they’re sinners can bring to democracy the tolerance it requires in order to survive. A state is nothing more than a reflection of its citizens: The more decent the citizens, the more decent the state. If you practice a religion, whether you’re Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or guided by some other faith, then your private life will be influenced by a sense of moral obligation, and so, too, will your public life.”

Ronald Reagan

A Vision of Beauty: First lady kept America America the beautiful

By Marsha Mercer

Lady Bird Johnson would have been pleased.

On the day she died last week at 94, the national park named for her was providing grateful visitors pristine views of the nation’s capital and a peaceful escape from its cares. Not a billboard or junkyard in sight.

At green and leafy Lady Bird Johnson Park, two fishermen cast their lines into the lazy Potomac. Joggers sweated out their worries on the bike path, and tourists and residents marveled at the quiet calm, shattered only occasionally by jets roaring off from nearby Reagan National Airport.

Decades ago, Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson lingered at the same spot to admire the view.

From running the House to living in the big house

By Paul O'Connor
Winston-Salem Journal

Given the kind of Southern Connecticut neighborhood where I grew up, it would have been safe to assume that at least one of my buddies would land in prison.

Two dozen of us regularly played ball together. Of those, at least four died in motorcycle wrecks, another in Vietnam and one became a priest. Subtract them and you still had 18 guys who could have been tripped up by the gambling, petty larceny and general misbehavior rampant around Momauguin.

Remarkably, so far as I know, none landed in prison. But, that’s not what I can say about the folks with whom I “grew up,” so to speak, professionally. Sometime this year, former House Speaker Jim Black will head to federal prison for up to 63 months on corruption convictions. He will make the sixth politician I’ve regularly covered as a journalist who has landed in prison.

U.K. School Daze

(Fox News) - The new British secondary school curriculum will feature a slimmed-down study plan that cuts out several key historical figures, such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Martin Luther King Jr. and — believe it or not — Winston Churchill.

As you might imagine, that has Britons howling. Sir Winston's grandson is calling the decision "madness" and "absurd." The British History Curriculum Association says it is "appalled" by the move, that it will "promote ignorance" and is pandering to a politically correct agenda.

A spokesman for the group that came up with the new school plan sought to justify it by saying good teachers won't blindly follow the new guide and will still talk about Churchill's role in the history of Britain.

Marines vs. Murtha

(Fox News) - A Marine Corps investigator has recommended that murder charges against Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt be dropped in the killing of three Iraqis at Haditha. Now the Marine's parents say they will ask Congress to censure Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha for saying that Marines "overreacted" and killed civilians "in cold blood."

Cybercast News reports Darryl Sharratt and his wife plan to visit Murtha's office. Sharratt says Murtha "denied my son — and the other Marines involved — their constitutional rights to a fair trial and a presumption of innocence."

Murtha's office had no comment. Murtha is already being sued by another Haditha defendant who claims the congressman defamed him while discussing the incident.

Sheehan Out

(Fox News) - Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan is being kicked off the Democratic blog Daily Kos because she is considering a challenge to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Sheehan posted a goodbye message Thursday, writing: "I can't post here anymore because my potential run for Congress is not on the Democratic ticket. I know a lot of you are hostile towards my candidacy."

Sheehan said earlier this week she would mount an independent campaign against Pelosi if the speaker did not initiate impeachment proceedings against President Bush within two weeks.

Daily Kos is making no apologies. Its Web site clearly states: "It's not a liberal blog. It's a Democratic blog with one goal in mind: electoral victory" for the party.

No Apologies

(Fox News) - Charlotte, North Carolina, Republican Mayor Pat McCrory is refusing to apologize for remarks he made about African-American youth following the arrests of 169 people during Fourth of July festivities.

The Charlotte Observer reports McCrory congratulated police on their efforts during the event and wrote that: "Too many of our youth, primarily African-American, are imitating and/or participating in a gangster type of dress, attitude, behavior and action."

The head of Charlotte's branch of the NAACP called the comments "insensitive" and said they "characterized all young black people as troublemakers and gang members."

But McCrory isn't budging, saying he won't apologize "because my comments were accurate, period." And he added: "My role as mayor is to communicate what I consider to be concerns and in doing so you have to step on some toes. We can't run away from the situation and shoot the messenger."

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Robbing Paul of the Truth

Think what you will of libertarian Texas congressman Ron Paul, but I’m crying foul over this post to the Politico’s “Crypt” blog: “Ron Paul warns of staged terror attack.” Paul simply did not say that the government is planning a fake terror attack, and to say otherwise is journalistic malpractice.

My first reaction to the Politico headline — most people’s reaction, I’m sure — was that Paul should not be elected or defeated, but institutionalized. Then I read what is actually posted there, and I saw no quote from Paul about a “staged terrorist attack.” I did see a summary by Politico blogger Dan Reilly that says Paul “clearly insinuated that the administration would not be above staging an incident to revive flagging support.”

So I listened to the interview, trying to find what Reilly describes. And I listened to it again. And again. And I heard nothing of the sort.

David Freddoso

Interesting to find this kind of defense at NRO.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Rove Strategy Paper Found in Nixon Archive

New York Times

The year was 1973, and Karl Rove was looking for help — from the Nixon White House.

Tucked away inside 78,000 pages of documents from the Nixon administration, released by the National Archives earlier this week, is a little gem: a strategy memorandum from the man who would go on to become the architect of President Bush’s rise to political power.

Drug czar gives warning

The nation's top anti-drug official said people need to overcome their "reefer blindness" and see that illicit marijuana gardens are a terrorist threat to the public's health and safety, as well as to the environment.

John P. Walters, President Bush's drug czar, said the people who plant and tend the gardens are terrorists who wouldn't hesitate to help other terrorists get into the country with the aim of causing mass casualties. Walters made the comments at a Thursday press conference that provided an update on the "Operation Alesia" marijuana-eradication effort.

"Don't buy drugs. They fund violence and terror," he said.

Dylan Darling

When I saw this posted somewhere else, I thought the article was from The Onion, then I found out it wasn't. Now it looks like something out of Orwell or Rand.

You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.

-- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Friday, July 13, 2007

Remembering the Gipper...

"My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose - somehow we win out"

Ronald Reagan

The Army's New Recruiting Video: "All the Intercourse I Had as a Military Officer, Was the Best." :-)

Hillary Clinton’s deep faith

The Patriot Post

Democrats are desperate to reach out to a new constituency: Evangelical Christians. To wit, their accomplices at The New York Times recently ran a profile piece titled, “Faith Intertwines With Political Life for [Hillary] Clinton.” Obvious from the start is the implication that faith mixed with politics is fine... as long as it’s a certain kind of politics. The problem for Clinton, according to John Green of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, is that she “has a long history of involvement in religious matters and appears to be a person of deep and sincere faith, but a lot of people don’t perceive her that way.” Cue the makeover.

It is encouraging that she (says she) believes in the resurrection of Jesus, a key tenet of Christianity, but is, as The Times put it, “less sure of the doctrine that being a Christian is the only way to salvation.” (Memo to Hillary: Jesus is very clear about this: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” —John 14:6) Perhaps Hillary does have real faith. Perhaps she is simply growing more comfortable with sharing it, now that she is running for president. Color us skeptical—this religious renovation by the Clinton campaign smells of New Age social activism, not genuine Christian faith.

Pulling the Plug

(Fox News) - A British man living in China who has spent years trying to convince the west that the Chinese government is not nearly as oppressive as it is often portrayed — is now being muzzled by — you guessed it — the Chinese government.

Nick Young writes a newsletter reporting on social, civil and environmental development in the communist country. But now the government is accusing him of "conducting unauthorized surveys" and has ordered him to stop publication or be deported.

Northern Exposure

(Fox News) - North Korea is often depicted as a dark and colorless place. But it turns out North Korea has some karaoke bars and Internet cafes.

But now the government is shutting them down — saying they are a threat to society. Refugees say such places are mostly located in the northern region near the Chinese border — and are frequented by merchants that do business in both countries.

Weighty Issue

(Fox News) - Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee says filmmaker Michael Moore — whose most recent movie criticizes the U.S. health care system — is himself a poster child for inflated medical costs.

Huckabee — who has lost 110 pounds himself — says — "Michael Moore is an example of why the health care system costs so much in this country. He is clearly one of the reasons that we have a very expensive system ... I know how much more my health care cost when I didn't take care of myself than when I do take care of myself."

Moore hasn't commented yet — but the woman who produced his movie "Sicko" — says "Looks like Mike Huckabee is auditioning for some insurance company dough."

Behind the Numbers

(Fox News) - NATO and the government of Afghanistan say civilian casualty figures that follow coalition action are often exaggerated or fabricated.

The BBC reports officials say this is done by insurgents trying to put public pressure on the U.S. and its allies. They say coalition operations are often followed by false reports of as many as 200 civilian deaths.

One Afghan general says the Taliban regularly forces villagers to phone media outlets with inflated figures — under threat of beheading if they do not comply.

Nazi Comparison

(Fox News) - Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison — the first Muslim member of Congress — says Bush administration actions following 9/11 remind him of the way Adolf Hitler's government expanded its power after the burning of Berlin’s Reichstag parliament building in 1933.

Ellison told a gathering of atheists recently — "It's almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that. After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the communists for it and it put the leader of that country [Hitler] in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted. The fact is that I'm not saying [September 11] was a [U.S.] plan, or anything like that because, you know, that's how they put you in the nut-ball box — dismiss you."

Ellison later told a writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune that examples of Bush administration actions fitting his Nazi parallel include the Iraq war, certain provisions of the Patriot Act, and the commutation of Scooter Libby's prison sentence.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

In Denial: Black remains unrepentant despite guilty plea

By Scott Sexton
Winston-Salem Journal

Rather than owning up to his crimes and taking his punishment like a man, Jim Black, the former speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives, remained defiant, denying to the end yesterday that he paid bribes to another legislator so he could remain in power.

Sure, Black paid lip service to the guilty plea he entered in March to one count of accepting things of value in connection with the business of government, mumbling a half-hearted apology for his “stupid” mistakes.

But the words of Ken Bell, his expensive mouthpiece from Charlotte, uttered on his behalf later in the hearing showed his true feelings.

Bell continued to maintain that the only thing Black did wrong was accept illegal contributions and that it was “aberrant behavior.”

He moaned that the five-year, three-month sentence given to Black was too harsh for “what he actually did,” and he argued that Black should be allowed to remain free so he could run a free optometry clinic for the underprivileged.

Nice try, but no cigar.

Voter bill heads to governor

Revised proposal would allow registration at 'one-stop' sites

RALEIGH (Winston-Salem Journal) -
State legislators approved a revised version of a bill yesterday that will expand the time period during which people can register to vote.

The new version of the bill, approved by the N.C. House of Representatives and the N.C. Senate, eliminates a provision that would have restricted the use of non-English voting materials.

Voting-rights activists and most Democrats support the bill, saying that it will increase voter turnout.

Some Republicans, however, say that it could open up the state to more voter fraud.

The bill, if signed by Gov. Mike Easley, will allow people to register and then immediately cast a ballot at early, “one-stop” voting sites.

Nobel laureate calls for removal of Bush

Irish peace activist's speech at Dallas event gets standing ovation

(Dallas Morning News) -
Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams came from Ireland to Texas to declare that President Bush should be impeached.

In a keynote speech at the International Women's Peace Conference on Wednesday night, Ms. Williams told a crowd of about 1,000 that the Bush administration has been treacherous and wrong and acted unconstitutionally.

"Right now, I could kill George Bush," she said at the Adam's Mark Hotel and Conference Center in Dallas. "No, I don't mean that. How could you nonviolently kill somebody? I would love to be able to do that."

Advocates want more in Stokes

Mental health needs support, they say

DANBURY (Winston-Salem Journal) -
Stokes County advocates for the mentally ill want the county to do more to reach residents with mental illness, developmental disabilities and substance-abuse issues.

They say that CenterPoint, the public agency based in Winston-Salem that manages mental-health services in Forsyth, Stokes and Davie counties, isn’t enough for residents in rural Stokes County - yet another sign of trouble in what critics call a failing statewide mental-health system.

McCain Call Raises an Ethics Question

New York Times

About 3 p.m. Tuesday, Senator John McCain ducked off the Senate floor, entered the Republican cloakroom and took out his mobile phone. Just hours after accepting the resignation of his two top campaign aides, he was making a conference call to his top fund-raisers to urge them to keep up the fight.

The call, however, may only have exacerbated an already tough week for Mr. McCain. Senate ethics rules expressly forbid lawmakers to engage in campaign activities inside Senate facilities. If Mr. McCain solicited campaign contributions on a call from government property, that would be a violation of federal criminal law as well.

There is no evidence that Mr. McCain has made a habit of making such calls or otherwise exploiting his office for political gain, and he is hardly the first lawmaker to call a donor from under the Capitol dome. But he made the call as he was in the spotlight because of the staff shake-up, sagging poll numbers and disappointing fund-raising of his Republican presidential primary campaign.

It was the kind of technical mistake that seasoned aides — like the ones his campaign is now letting go — are supposed to prevent.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sinking Senator

The Inevitability Express never left the station.

By John J. Pitney Jr.
National Review Online

John McCain might still salvage his campaign. But to paraphrase Yogi Berra, it’s getting late early this year. How did things go so badly for him?

Wednesday Funnies :-)

David Letterman: “Top Things Overheard In Line To Buy The iPhone”: “Finally, I can talk on the phone while watching ‘Laverne & Shirley’ ”; “Can I call Mars with this thing?”; “Sorry folks, Apple just announced it’s obsolete”; “I’ll be right back, I have to go take an iLeak”; “This is why the terrorists hate us”; “It’s $499 for the 4GB model, or $599 for the deluxe which makes waffles.”

Jay Leno: Happy birthday to President Bush, who turned 61 on Friday. But since he’s the president, he had his age commuted down to 59. ... President Bush told British reporters last week he wishes he was a better speaker—at least that’s what they think he said. They’re not quite sure. ... As I’m sure you know, President Bush’s immigration bill failed to pass. It was voted down by the Senate. I wondered why the help at Wal-Mart seemed a little testy. ... In fact, some illegal aliens are so angry, they’re threatening to leave the country. ... Did you see all those doctors last week involved in that terrorist attack at the Glasgow airport? How scary was that? You thought the docs at your HMO were bad. ... Who watched that Live Earth thing? I guess they had a huge tree on stage—I thought it was a huge tree. Turns out it was just Al Gore giving a speech. ... Al Gore’s son, Al Gore III, arrested in Laguna Niguel, California. Police found marijuana in his car. Police searched the car after pulling him over for going 100mph in his Prius. When his dad found out he said, “Whew, thank God it was a Prius. That could’ve been so embarrassing.”

Former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson Dies at 94

AUSTIN, Texas (Fox News) — Lady Bird Johnson, the former first lady who championed conservation and worked tenaciously for the political career of her husband, former President Lyndon B. Johnson, died Wednesday, a family spokeswoman said. She was 94.

Lady Bird Johnson returned home late last month after a week at Seton Medical Center, where she'd been admitted for a low-grade fever. Her husband died in 1973.

She died at her Austin home of natural causes about 4:18 p.m. CDT. Elizabeth Christian, the spokeswoman, said she was surrounded by family and friends.

Jim Black sentenced to more than five years in prison

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Former state House Speaker Jim Black, once one of the most powerful men in North Carolina government, was sentenced to more than five years in prison Wednesday on federal charges he illegally took cash from chiropractors while promoting their agenda.

Giant badgers terrorise Iraqi port city

The Iraqi port city of Basra, already prey to a nasty turf war between rival militia factions, has now been gripped by a scary rumour – giant badgers are stalking the streets by night, eating humans.

The animals were allegedly released into the area by British forces.

Local farmers have caught and killed several of the beasts, but this has done nothing to dispel the rumour.

Iraqi scientists have attempted to calm things down. However, the story has spread like wildfire in the streets of the city and the villages round about.

Now there's something you don't see every day.

I would really like to see us capture a few of these. I think we should release them into the streets of New York and Los Angeles. The mental image of Rosie O'Donnell being chased down Rodeo Drive by a giant badger that is intent on having her for a late afternoon snack will keep me chuckling for days.


From John Turpin:

YVEDDI has raped and pillaged this county for years. I was the Stokes County representative for the the first two years of my term. They were shocked when I refused to accept payment for travel to drive to Boonville for the meetings. The county pays travel expenses for commissioners traveling to meetings, although I never accepted payment for travel. I wonder if YVEDDI and Stokes County are paying for a trip up to Yadkin County. I was done with YVEDDI at the first meeting; they asked for my opinion on recovering overdue fees for citizen transport. The customers were three months behind and had not responded or paid on any of the bills. My response was, "Cut the customer off and let them walk". Looking at me with a blank stare, they quickly voted to send a "real nice letter", asking them to pay again. Jimmy was appointed as my replacement in 2004. We successfully got 40% of the business took away while I was there.

John Turpin

New Orleans' Madam Says Sen. David Vitter Used Her Brothel

Fox News

Sen. David Vitter, who publicly apologized after being linked to an alleged prostitution ring in Washington, D.C., was once a client of a high-priced New Orleans brothel, a former madam said Tuesday.

Saying he was a "decent man" who appeared to be in need of company when he visited the brothel, Jeanette Maier added unexpected details to a scandal enveloping the first-term Republican.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

RE: Grant falls through for Stokes garage

“We’ve learned a lesson here,” (Commissioner Ron Carroll) continued. “If we have a venture that is truly a joint venture, we need to be involved in every aspect of it.”
No kidding... Somebody fell asleep at the switch.

Jimmy Walker, the board’s vice chairman and the county representative on the YVEDDI board, said that everything seemed on track at the YVEDDI meeting last Thursday. There was no discussion of a possibility that the deal wouldn’t go through, he said.

“It really concerns me that this opportunity that was there has slipped away,” Walker said. “I think it’s too early to unplug at this point. Is this the final answer, or is this something we can negotiate around?”
Hey Jimmy: Stick a fork in this "opportunity", it's done. Since you are the county representative on the YVEDDI board, they pretty much made you look foolish.

Stokes had bought about 2 acres for the project, costing the county about $30,000. The county had also made plans to move Stokes-Reynolds Memorial Hospital’s helicopter pad.

“I certainly would have never obligated this county for $30,000 to buy land if I’d known what I know today,” said Leon Inman, the board’s chairman.
You don't say... That's $30,000 down the drain. This could be good 'o8 election fodder to be used against Leon and Jimmy next year if somebody wants to use it.

RE: Top two aides quit McCain's 2008 campaign

McCain, once a front-runner in the Republican field, has fallen behind as his staunch backing for Bush on the unpopular Iraq war and on immigration cost him support among both moderates and conservatives.

McCain's fall from grace inside the GOP has nothing to do with his staunch support of the war. McCain's fall from grace started in 2000 when he was ripping conservatives and courting moderates and liberals to vote for him in the GOP primaries. The immigration issue was the final nail in his political coffin. To be honest, the only support he truly had was in the beltway media. Even tonight, Fred Barnes and Mort Kondracke of Fox News were saying that McCain can still come back and win the GOP nomination. Personally, I don't see it happening, but I could be wrong.

Steve opines: "Looks like Richard Burr hitched his wagon to the wrong star."

This was the biggest political mistake Richard Burr has ever made. What's sad is that people will still remember this when he runs for re-election in '10. Liddy Dole knew not to hitch her wagon to the horse from Arizona.