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Bully Pulpit

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

Friday, November 30, 2007

Evel Knievel, R.I.P.

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) - Evel Knievel, the red-white-and-blue-spangled motorcycle daredevil whose jumps over crazy obstacles including Greyhound buses, live sharks and Idaho's Snake River Canyon made him an international icon in the 1970s, died Friday. He was 69.

I've always considered Evel Knievel one of the coolest dudes on the planet... He had a cool name, cool look and a cool job. May he rest in peace...

Death, Taxes and Mrs. Clinton

Only two of them are inevitable.

By Peggy Noonan

Mrs. Clinton is acting as if she's scared. She insists to Katie Couric that she's the next president--"It will be me"--and she's back to using the language of aggression -- there's been a lot of "beat," as in they've been trying to "beat me." In the first 60 seconds of her Couric interview she used some variation on the word "attack" five times. If Mitt Romney talked like this, they'd be asking who put the Red Bull in his milkshake.

From the Left: Kennedy gets millions for memoirs

The Patriot Post

Sen. Edward Kennedy has signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Hachette Book Group USA to write his memoirs, although neither the senator nor his staff will confirm the exact amount. Kennedy, one of the longest serving members of the U.S. Senate (we’re still trying to figure out why), has been a leading voice of the socialist movement for decades, even after ducking out of responsibility for the death of Mary Jo Kopechne in 1969. The book is unlikely to go into the details of what really happened that night at Chappaquiddick or any of the myriad personal and political scandals Kennedy has been involved in over the years. Instead, we can expect a whitewash of how he has influenced American politics in the grand old liberal fashion like the gut-busting tomes of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Campaign watch: Huckabee leads in Iowa

The Patriot Post

The pro-life populist candidate for president, Mike Huckabee, is now polling ahead of Mitt Romney in Iowa. The former Arkansas governor has largely campaigned under the radar, but his recent surge in the polls has brought new attention to his record as governor from 1996-2007—and it’s not the good kind. The Club for Growth, a free-market political action group, has given poor marks to Huckabee, who retorted by calling them the “Club for Greed.” They point to his signatures on hikes in sales, gas, cigarette and even nursing-home-bed taxes as evidence of his fiscal liberalism. He also advocated for Internet taxes. Also noted, however, were his efforts to pass an $80-million tax cut and other tax cuts. Still, overall tax burdens in Arkansas were 47 percent higher after his tenure. Huckabee’s strengths are his likeability and his socially conservative positions—positions, notably, that haven’t changed from campaign to campaign—and many Christian conservatives are apparently willing to look past his mixed fiscal and immigration records and his nanny-state advocacy.

One note about the Republican debate Wednesday: Don’t ask, don’t tell was the rule. CNN managed to slip in numerous questions from faux Republicans and outright Demo activists, including a question from Keith Kerr, a homosexual former Army colonel. Kerr demanded via video, “I want to know why you think that American men and women in uniform are not professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians.” As it turns out, while Kerr claims to be a “Log Cabin Republican,” he is actually a member of a homosexual steering committee for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. CNN’s moderator Anderson Cooper contends that CNN didn’t know about that, though Kerr’s “question” was somehow selected from the 5,000 submitted. Sounds almost... Clintonesque.

Campaign watch: Fred’s flat tax

The Patriot Post

Despite the Leftmedia’s penchant for portraying Fred Thompson as a lazy latecomer and campaign slouch, his policy proposals are certainly more concrete than those of most other candidates. We have already relayed his Social Security proposal. Now Thompson has announced a bold plan for tax reform. While other candidates wax eloquent about the need for tax reform, often offering zero-sum solutions (a tax cut here must be offset by a tax hike there), Thompson proposes abolishing the death tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax altogether, with no offsets. He also wants to cut the corporate rate from 35 percent to 27 percent. The boldest idea, however, is to offer a voluntary flat tax with two rates of ten and 25 percent, while keeping the current system of deductions as an option. Families of four would receive an allowance of $39,000 and pay ten percent on income above that up to $100,000, at which point the 25-percent rate would kick in. We’re no fans of the 25-percent rate—it’s not exactly flat if there are multiple rates—but it’s a start, and the voluntary component makes it especially attractive. Of course, Ron Paul proposes abolishing the IRS, and it doesn’t get much more concrete than that.

Bush invites Nobel Winner Gore to Oval Office

The Patriot Post

Al Gore may have received his Nobel Peace Prize for spurious scientific claims of global environmental catastrophe, but that didn’t stop President Bush from being a good sport by inviting him to a traditional White House reception to recognize his “achievement” with other more legitimate American Nobel laureates last week. They met privately before a public ceremony during which the rivals of the 2000 election stood next to each other for a photo opportunity that was by all accounts a bit stilted. Neither man would comment on their private moments together, but it is unlikely that Gore showed President Bush his infamous environmental slide show, or that he changed the President’s mind on the draconian market changes he believes should be enacted to save us from ourselves.

In the House: Henry Hyde, 1924-2007

The Patriot Post

Former Illinois Republican Rep. Henry Hyde, long one of the most stalwart champions of the culture of life in the House of Representatives, died Thursday. Rep. Hyde, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom earlier this month, exerted tremendous efforts to protect the right to life of the most innocent during his 32 years in Congress. The 1976 “Hyde Amendment,” which barred the federal government from paying for abortions and has been approved every year since 1976, has saved some one million unborn babies. Hyde was also central in crafting the “Mexico City policy,” preventing international groups from performing or promoting abortion abroad as a condition of receiving U.S. taxpayer dollars. He served with integrity as House Judiciary Committee Chairman during the 1998 impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, stating at the time, “All a congressman ever gets to take with him when he leaves is the esteem of his colleagues and constituents. And we have risked that for a principle, for our duty as we have seen it.” A fitting epitaph, in his own words.

In the Senate: Trent Lott retires

The Patriot Post

Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), who returned to the GOP leadership last November after spending more than four years in the political wilderness due to his unfortunate and vastly overblown comments at Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday in 2002, announced his retirement this week. Lott pledged to be out of office by the end of the year, prompting speculation that he is looking to dodge the two-year ban on congressional lobbying by former members of Congress. He rejected the idea (we shall soon see), asserting that he ran for re-election last year only because he wanted to stay on to ensure Mississippi’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina. All things considered, we can’t say we’ll miss the former Ole Miss cheerleader.

Lott’s sudden departure has set off a race to replace him both in the Senate and its GOP leadership. Rep. Charles Pickering may be appointed by Republican Governor Haley Barbour to fill the seat until November 2008, when a Republican, again probably Pickering, is likely to win the election to fill the four remaining years of Lott’s term. It is likely that Conference Chairman Jon Kyl (AZ) will replace Lott as minority whip and that Lamar Alexander (TN) will replace Kyl as Conference Chairman.

In next November’s election, Republicans will have to defend 22 Senate seats, while the Democrats need defend only 12. Lott’s is the latest of several high-profile retirements that have handicappers speculating that senior Republicans don’t think highly of their chances to regain the Senate. Senate Democrats had $23.4 million in the bank by the end of October, compared to only $9.5 million for the Republicans. In the House, the fundraising gap is even larger, with Democrats holding a $26.44-million edge over the GOP. However, public approval of the Demo-led Congress is near a record low, and all the liberal posturing has produced little in the way of constructive legislation. A year from now, anything could happen.

News from the Swamp: Wasting time

The Patriot Post

In the Executive Branch: It’s deja vu all over again. After more or less ignoring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for most of his term in office, President George W. Bush on Tuesday opened yet another “peace process” meeting of various Middle Eastern and world leaders in Annapolis, Maryland, perhaps seeking some sort of presidential legacy as he approaches the end of his administration. With significant arm twisting by the President, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told a skeptical world that they were ready for the hard bargaining leading to a Palestinian state in the final 14 months of President Bush’s term. The President told Abbas and Olmert, “I pledge to devote my effort during my time as President to do all I can to help you achieve this ambitious goal.”

While it may be human nature, at least in the West, to be hopeful, reality must take precedent when it comes to life or death, and that is what Israel is facing. A large percentage of the Palestinian population, as well as some of Israel’s neighbors, do not want peace, but rather Israel’s destruction. Iran and Hamas have already pledged to thwart any peace deal. Israel’s negotiation with its enemies will be as fruitful as if the U.S. negotiated with the jihadis. In both cases, the goal of the other side, the destruction of Israel and the U.S. , is non-negotiable. To believe otherwise is suicidal. Until the Palestinian/Arab mindset is changed, these talks are little more than a dangerous delusion.

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: No Warrant!

You know, folks, I purposely waited a few days to see if this item would surface in any of the Democrat presidential campaigns, and it hasn't. On Monday, the Supreme Court refused -- without offering comment -- to take up a case involving government searches without warrants.

The case is Sanchez vs. San Diego; was brought by the ACLU on behalf of six families living in San Diego County. The families were stunned when investigators from the local DA's office showed up at their houses -- unannounced, without warrants -- and then conducted searches, including looking into closets and cabinets. The searches were conducted because the families applied for welfare.

Under a 10-year-old program, it's legal. Investigators don't need suspicions of wrongdoing or fraud to show up whenever they want, and search applicants' homes to confirm whether they're eligible for handouts. If applicants refuse the unannounced, warrantless search of their home -- which can last up to an hour -- they're disqualified from getting welfare.

Let's see: it's 10-year-old program... Why, folks, this is a Clinton-era program! Despite seven judges calling this an "attack on the poor," the Ninth Circus upheld the warrantless searches.

Liberal Democrats have raised hell with the President over his decision to "spy" on non-American terror suspects without warrants. Yet not a peep from any of them, when homes of Americans are searched without notice -- or warrants -- in the big, blue state of Cahl-ee-four-nya? Uh... what, may I ask, does that tell you, ladies and gentlemen? Hmm?

Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
AP: Court Won't Review San Diego Home Hunts

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Giuliani Defends Spending on His Mayoral Security

New York Times — Rudolph W. Giuliani last night called a Web site’s account of his spending a “political hit job” as his campaign struggled to explain why hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel expenses for his mayoral security detail were billed to obscure city offices instead of the Police Department.
...But neither Mr. Giuliani nor [senior Giuliani aide] Mr. Lhota explained why the travel expenses for the security detail were spread across the budgets of an array of obscure mayoral offices rather than paid out of a single account in the mayor’s office.
...Bernard B. Kerik, who was Mr. Giuliani’s police commissioner when some of the charges were billed, said in an interview yesterday that the security detail’s travel expenses would normally come out of the Police Department’s budget.
“There would be no need for anyone to conceal his detail’s travel expenses,” said Mr. Kerik, who was indicted earlier this month on unrelated federal tax fraud and corruption charges. “And I think It’s ridiculous for anyone to suggest that the mayor or his staff attempted to do so.”

Okay, Bernie. Whatever you say.

YouTube Debate Roundup

Another perspective on the YouTube debate. Again, I just don't understand why everybody didn't enjoy this one as much as I did.

Tim Dickinson, "National Affairs Daily," RollingStone.com:

All I can say is I hope the general election features one of these YouTube debates.
With gay brigadier generals and heavily armed desert rats asking the questions, I could almost stomach watching Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo’s responses. And bravo to the kid who pressed Ron Paul on the trilateral commission and the North American Union. It’s nice to see someone actually reads the candidate’s platforms.
...Romney had his worst night of the season. He’s just not a very nimble political talent. Mitt seemed to get knocked on his heels by Rudy’s goofy “sanctuary Mansion” attack. Getting tongue lashed by the former POW McCain about water boarding — about which Mitt said he’d turn to Blackwater exec Cofer Black for guidance — was one of the few must-see moments of the debate. And he really got weird in his response about whether the bible were literally true. Color me ignorant, but can the New Testament and the Book of Mormon both be 100 percent true?
Rudy took his lumps as ever on immigration and abortion but did nothing to hurt himself. And his King Kong campaign video was the best of the bunch. Today’s allegations that he misused city funds to finance his affair with Judy, however, could really sting.

CNN to Team with Google for Next GOP Debate :-)


After the success of last night’s CNN/YouTube debate, the Cable News Network today announced that for the next Republican presidential debate it would also team with YouTube’s parent company, Google, to do background research on the questioners.

“We were excited to learn about Google this morning,” said the CNN source. “We want to introduce this amazing service to the rest of America. Our viewers will be stunned to learn that you can just enter a name in a little box and press a button to get all of this information.”

Among the videos submitted by ordinary Americans for last night’s intramural GOP scrimmage were questions from supporters of Democrat presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards and from a union activist for the United Steel Workers, which has endorsed Mr. Edwards.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who moderated the debate, apologized because the network was not aware that many of the other questioners had “no legitimate connection with the Democrat National Committee or its affiliates.”

“Now that we know about Google,” said Mr. Cooper, “we can do a better job of screening to make sure that Democrats are represented more adequately.”

Why Lott Cashed It In

By Bob Novak
Washington Post

Well-connected Republicans in Mississippi were shocked by more than the unexpected nature of Trent Lott's resignation announcement Monday. They were stunned that Lott, in good health at age 66 and at the top of his game, was leaving the Senate just one year into his fourth term in order to make more money.

One of Lott's longtime political associates, who asked not to be quoted by name, put it this way to me: "Can you imagine Pat Harrison, Jim Eastland, John Stennis [past Mississippi senators] or, for that matter, Thad Cochran [the state's other senator today] quitting the U.S. Senate to go into business? I cannot."

Opponents have heels dug in too deep in fight over dirt

By Scott Sexton
Winston-Salem Journal

It’s nearly high noon for the Land Grab Showdown at the Surry County Landfill.

On one side we have Don and Faye Terrell, who could be ordered Friday off their 95-acre family farm near Mount Airy. On the other side sit elected officials who say that they had no choice but to flex governmental muscle and take the Terrells’ land.

Rather than clawing for leather and shooting it out Old West-style, the parties are handling this dispute the modern way - with lawyers. Both sides are scheduled to file into a conference room Friday for a court-ordered mediation, a last-ditch attempt to avoid the ugly spectacle of physically hauling the Terrells off their property.

“All five commissioners hate the fact that we had to exercise eminent domain on this property,” Craig Hunter, the chairman of the Surry County Board of Commissioners, said after a judge sided with the county earlier this month. “It was a very, very painful and gut-wrenching action.”

If the saga was gut-wrenching to commissioners, it’s downright stomach-turning to the Terrells.

“They just thought they weren’t going to get any flak, and that we were just simple country people who wouldn’t fuss,” Faye Terrell said.

Apple Store Coming to Greensboro

GREENSBORO, N.C. (Fox 8 News) - Greensboro will soon have its own Apple Store. According to Coolidge Porterfield Jr., the president of the Starmount Company, the store is expected to open in spring 2008 in a new building next to the BB&T bank near the Shops at Friendly Center. Apple's retail stores are known for modern decor where technophiles can play with the company's computers and peripherals like iPods and iPhones.

Digging out more CNN/YouTube plants

(Michelle Malkin) - Abortion questioner is declared Edwards supporter (and a slobbering Anderson Cooper fan); Log Cabin Republican questioner is declared Obama supporter; lead toy questioner is a prominent union activist for the Edwards-endorsing United Steelworkers

Stokes ends contract with clinic doctor

Decision was based on review of patients' charts, Campbell says

(Winston-Salem Journal) -
Stokes County has ended its contract with Dr. James Stewart Campbell, who had been working as the only doctor in the county’s two clinics until he was suspended in October.

The county ended the contract with Campbell, 63, of Pfafftown on Monday, County Manager Bryan Steen said yesterday.

Board OKs pay scale

Workers in Stokes will receive bonuses under new schedule

DANBURY (Winston-Salem Journal) -
Some Stokes County employees have gone several years without raises, but this holiday season the county’s employees will get presents from the county - bonuses and even raises for some.

None of the county’s employees have received cost-of-living raises since the 2005-06 fiscal year, said Darlene Bullins, the county’s personnel officer.

And under the incomplete salary schedule that the county has been using, each job had a starting salary, a midpoint salary and a range for high-level salary, with no rules of how to assign raises, said Commissioner Ron Carroll, who also served on the committee that recommended the new salary schedule.

Doing Lunch

(Fox News) - From "the politics makes strange bedfellows" department — President Bush's ambassador to the United Nations was seen this week having lunch with one of the administration's most ardent and influential critics. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and billionaire George Soros were spotted at a restaurant close to the United Nations. Soros is the money behind organizations such as MoveOn.org.

The two men talked for about an hour-and-a-half. Soros' office would not comment. A spokesman for Khalilzad said the ambassador meets with a number of people in both official and personal capacities. His aides declined to say if the ambassador had met with other leading Democrats.

CNN Allows Clinton Consultant to Question GOP Candidates in YouTube Debate

(Fox News) - A CNN host acknowledged the participation of a retired Army colonel linked to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in a televised Republican debate Wednesday.

Keith Kerr of Santa Rosa, Calif., who revealed himself as gay, challenged the eight candidates via video message and on stage at the CNN/YouTube debate in Florida on the right of gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military.

The broadcast, however, failed to mention that Kerr, who served as a brigadier general in the reserves, is a member of a gay and lesbian steering committee for Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Criminal Act?

(Fox News) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is accusing CNN of instigating a murder — his own. Chavez is upset about a mistake on the cable channel Monday in which his picture was shown with a graphic that read — "Who killed him?" It is believed the graphic pertained to another story. The anchor called for it to be taken down and the network apologized.

But Chavez says — "Undoubtedly it is part of the psychological warfare." Chavez has in the past accused many news organizations of biased reporting in what he says is a U.S. sponsored media campaign to destabilize the Venezuelan government.

Meanwhile Chavez's ex-wife is apologizing for publicly supporting him in the past — and is now urging defeat of this weekend's vote to eliminate presidential term limits and expand Chavez's power. Maria Isabel Rodriguez says the proposals could put even the right to life at risk.

Is the Clinton Campaign's Beef With One Pollster Blaming the Messenger?

(Fox News) - The people behind an interactive poll that showed Hillary Clinton would lose to any of the top five Republican presidential candidates — are now firing back at criticism from the Clinton camp.

The Zogby online poll of about 9,000 likely voters showed that each Republican candidate would top Senator Clinton by three to five points in a general election match-up. Clinton chief political strategist and pollster Mark Penn says — "That was Zogby's first interactive, online poll ever... It's a meaningless poll."

Zogby calls Penn's statement — "a knee-jerk reaction by a campaign under pressure coming down the stretch."

And Zogby says the idea that this was the pollster's first online poll is — "a bizarre contention .. since Penn's company has been quietly requesting the results of such polls from Zogby for years… No other campaign has made as many requests for Zogby polling data over the years than Penn has made on behalf of Clinton."

Crime and Punishment

(Fox News) - A follow-up on a story we've told you about concerning a 19-year-old Saudi rape victim sentenced to 90 lashes for being alone with a male who was not a relative — then re-sentenced to 200 lashes for talking to the media about it.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal now says the Saudi judiciary will review the case. This comes following an international outcry over the increased sentence.

Last Saturday the Saudi Justice Ministry said the woman confessed to adultery. It insisted the flogging would be carried out — and condemned foreign interference.

Henry Hyde, R.I.P.

(National Review Online) - An honorable American, statesman, and stalwart for life died this morning.

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: Merry What?

This week, on my award-winning radio program, I discussed a new trend among environmentalist wackos. An article in the UK Daily Mail focused on women opting for abortions and sterilization to save the world from global warming. One of these poor people -- Sarah, an idiot! -- agonizes over climate change; decided that "a baby would pollute the planet -- and that never having a child was the most environmentally friendly thing" she could do. (The only good about this is liberals are aborting themselves; that's another matter.)

Sane people, you see, they can't wrap their arms around this kind of thing, folks, but it's everywhere! Our own Drive-By Media, running stories about consumers who view gift-wrap as "a primary offender" [of the environment]. (I don't even believe a lot of people care about it, but these people are saying they do!) Supposedly, hordes of people looking for alternatives to throwing away wrapping paper? Because it overtaxes our already overburdened resources? Christmas lights are also bad; you idiots who use old-style "electricity-draining" lights instead of the environmentally-friendly LEDs -- you're injuring the Earth, too.

Look: it's time we face some facts here, folks. The entire Christmas season is environmentally unfriendly. Your gift-giving promotes consumption and selfishness; traveling is environmentally hostile; good cheer -- why, that's a denial of how bloody awful life is on this planet and how unhappy you really are, thanks to you rotten humans who pollute the erf with each cursed breath you take... There's only going to be peace on Earth and good will toward men when man aborts himself off the planet and the wilderness returns to a pristine state without us! Idiots!

Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
Daily Mail: Meet the Women Who Won't Have Babies -- Because They're Not Eco Friendly
AP: Meaningful Wrapping Could Make a New Holiday Tradition
AP: Column -- How to Save on Holiday Lighting

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Good Bill" vs "Bad Bill"

Associated Press

As only he can do, Bill Clinton packed campaign venues across eastern Iowa and awed Democratic voters with a compelling case for his wife's candidacy. He was unscripted, in-depth and generous.

He also was long-winded, misleading and self-absorbed.

Tar Heel Madness

Winston-Salem Journal

Somewhere in the euphoria of a 4-win-8-loss football season, UNC Chapel Hill athletics director Dick Baddour lost his judgment. He just gave the coach who led that Tar Heel team a raise that, by itself, is the equivalent of the salaries of five assistant professors.

Baddour was surely elated that first-year head coach Butch Davis led the team to one more win this year than did John Bunting, whom Baddour fired at the end of last year. But, could he have expressed it in a less obscene way?

Cheney’s Doctors Detect Signs of Heart :-)

Sudden Appearance of Major Organ Confounds Experts

The Borowitz Report

In a stunning development that has confounded medical experts around the world, doctors examining Vice President Dick Cheney said today that they have detected signs of a heart.

The vice president was rushed to the hospital over the weekend after complaining of chest pains, but no one in Mr. Cheney’s inner circle suspected that a human heart was the cause.

“We had been operating under the assumption that he didn’t have one,” said chief of staff David Addington, who said that Mr. Cheney also has not had a soul since 1995, when it was purchased by the Halliburton Company.

At George Washington University Hospital, doctors struggled to contain their excitement about what appeared to be the medical anomaly of the century: the sudden appearance of a human heart in a 66-year-old man.

“It is too early to say conclusively,” said Dr. Carol Foyler, head of the team of doctors who examined the vice president. “But so far the beating and pumping sounds we are hearing in the vice president’s chest cavity are very much consistent with his having a heart.”

Dr. Foyler stressed that if the sounds emanating from Mr. Cheney’s chest are those of a human heart, “This will contradict everything we thought we knew about Dick Cheney.”

At the White House, spokesperson Dana Perino said that the sudden appearance of a heart in Dick Cheney’s chest had motivated President Bush to schedule an MRI of his head.

Elsewhere, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass) said that writing his memoirs would be “challenging,” adding, “I can’t even remember what I did last night.”

Flat Tax Fred

Thompson's reform leads the GOP field.


Fred Thompson's Presidential campaign has been struggling, in part because of a sense that he lacks passion and an agenda. But late last week he unveiled a tax reform that is more ambitious than anything we've seen so far from the rest of the GOP field.

Mr. Thompson wants to abolish the death tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax and cut the corporate income tax rate to 27% from 35%. But his really big idea is a voluntary flat tax that would give every American the option of ditching the current code in favor of filing a simple tax return with two tax rates of 10% and 25%.

Mr. Thompson is getting aboard what has become a global bandwagon, with more than 20 nations having adopted some form of flat tax. Most--especially in Eastern Europe--have seen their economies grow and revenues increase as they've adopted low tax rates of between 13% and 25% with few exemptions.

The main political obstacle to such a reform in the U.S. has come from liberals, who favor punitive taxes for "class" reasons, and K Street corporate lobbyists who want to retain their tax-loophole empires. The housing and insurance industries, states and localities, charities, bond traders and tax preparers are all foes of low tax rates.

That's why the idea of a voluntary flat tax--introduced on these pages a dozen years ago--makes political sense. The Thompson plan would allow taxpayers to keep their mortgage and charitable deductions if they prefer, by adhering to the current tax code and rates. But it would also allow the option to abandon those credits and deductions except for a single allowance based on family size ($39,000 for a family of four). Most taxpayers would pay a 10% rate on income above that allowance, with a 25% rate kicking in at $100,000 for a couple. There would only be five lines on the tax form and most taxpayers could fill it out in minutes.

Dental Record Match :-)

Huckabee Tries to Gloss Over Ark. Record

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Mike Huckabee's presidential rivals are pointing to chinks in his record as Arkansas' governor—from ethics complaints to tax increases to illegal immigration and his support for releasing a rapist who was later convicted of killing a Missouri woman.

Crystal Ball

(Fox News) - Unsettling news for people who believe weather patterns — and global warming — can be predicted by computer models years in advance — and that climate change is fueling ever-stronger hurricanes. The Atlantic hurricane season ends Friday — and for the third straight year forecasters are being criticized for inaccurate pre-season predictions. They underestimated the intensity of the 2005 hurricanes — then went way over last year and missed on the high side again this year.

The Miami Herald reports former National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield says, "The seasonal hurricane forecasters certainly have a lot of explaining to do."

Many researchers are concerned that substantial errors in the pre-season predictions are undermining the public's faith in the real-time forecasting made as the storms are actually unfolding. One former NOAA hurricane researcher says the pre-season forecasters — "have no skill in making predictions that far in advance."

Exercise in Futility

(Fox News) - British veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan who were taking part in rehabilitation exercises in a public swimming pool in Surrey — were forced to leave after being heckled by local residents. The Daily Telegraph reports the vets were amputees — and needed to use the 25-meter pool because the one at the military hospital was not big enough.

However, two women demanded the vets be kicked out because they had not paid to swim — and had no right to close off a section of the pool. They also claimed that the vets' appearance was scaring young children. Instructors said the atmosphere became so tense that they decided to leave.

The incident has sparked widespread condemnation. One former head of the British Armed Forces says the women should be — "named and shamed."

Telling Tales?

(Fox News) - Prosecutors in Dover, New Hampshire say a Democratic congressional candidate faked a story about getting lost in the woods after a car crash — in order to boost his campaign and avoid an investigation by federal officials.

Gary Dodds told authorities that he wrecked his campaign car, became disoriented, wandered through the woods and across a river, then bedded down in a pile of leaves until rescue dogs found him 27 hours later. But prosecutors say Dodds altered the condition of his feet to back up his story — and that -believe it or not- is a felony.

They say the Federal Election commission was looking at Dodds' finances — and that he had taken out two mortgages to fund his campaign — without his wife's knowledge.

Dodds' lawyer says his client's injuries included severe frostbite, nerve damage and situational amnesia —- and are all documented. Of the prosecutors, Dodd's lawyer says — "Somebody has been watching too much CSI Miami."

Dodds came in third in a four-person primary last year.

Volunteer Work

(Fox News) - While Iran has resisted allowing independent monitors to observe its own elections — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has offered up himself — as an independent observer of next year's presidential election — here in the U.S. But The Guardian newspaper reports Ahmadinejad may not fully understand that President Bush — whom he has called 'the devil' — is not running this time.

Ahmadinejad said — "If the White House officials allow us to be present as an observer in their presidential election we will see whether people in their country are going to vote for them again or not."

NC community colleges remove option to admit illegal immigrants

RALEIGH, N.C. (Rocky Mount Telegram) — North Carolina's community colleges must admit illegal immigrants as long as they are 18 years old and high school graduates, a legal decision that reverses a 2004 rule that gave campuses the option to say no.

Leaders at 37 of the 58 community college campuses statewide already had agreed to permit these immigrants to enroll in their schools.

To the Nubs: Tree 'topping' at center goes awry

(Winston-Salem Journal) - The topping of more than 150 trees at a shopping center off University Parkway has some city officials contemplating the need for either stronger zoning rules or efforts to teach the proper way to care for trees planted in parking lots.

The trees in the parking lot at North Summit Square shopping center were topped last month. And the leaf-lined branches of oak, maple and pear trees that once reached nearly 20 feet tall were reduced to nubs.

Democrats' health plans echo Nixon's failed GOP proposal

WASHINGTON (McClatchy Newspapers) — Even before Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton unveiled her new health-care plan, Republicans attacked it as socialized medicine. They neglected to mention, however, that her plan bears a striking resemblance to changes that were proposed in 1974 — by the late President Richard M. Nixon.

Cross-dressing day sparks school exodus

A public school's "gender-bender" cross-dressing event, where boys were supposed to dress as girls and girls as boys, has prompted at least dozens, perhaps hundreds, of students to flee the tax-supported institutions in Iowa.

Many of the parents apparently are members of the Christ Apostolic Temple in Des Moines, which teaches a biblically based doctrine of rejecting the world's values.

"Christ Apostolic Temple Inc. Fellowship ... is a Bible-based organization that believes one must 'come out from among them and be ye separate.' (2 Cor. 6:14-17)," the organization's website says.

Bob Unruh

As I have said before, I couldn't possibly care less who does what with whom and calls it sex. However, none of this has anything to do with education. It is pure social engineering.

Vox Day's comment on this was spot on:

The sad thing is that their kids school could be serving cannibal lunches in the cafeteria and teaching a Red Guards curriculum straight out of the Cultural Revolution, complete with the mass murder of priests, authors and artists, and half the nominally Christian parents in America would dumbly nod their heads and say: "Well, I don't really approve of the overall direction, but my kid's school is actually pretty good. Just last year, it won an award for purging the most bourgeous elements in the faculty and at least fifty percent of the graduating seniors can actually read!"

I'll go even further. Parents who claim they are concerned about their childrens' future and their education, but who leave them in the public schools are liars. It's not like the utter failure of public education is a big secret any more.

2007 Elections Offer Little Guidance for Republicans in 2008

WASHINGTON (Fox News) — Republicans on Capitol Hill have been engaged in a re-branding exercise since losing their majorities in the House and Senate in 2006. But GOP lawmakers and strategists are divided over whether the party should espouse conservative principles or a more moderate image in light of 2007 election results.

Barbra Streisand Throws Support to Hillary Clinton

(Fox News) - Singer and Hollywood activist Barbra Streisand backed Hillary Clinton for president on Tuesday, continuing her long-running support of the Clinton clan.

Streisand, the Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Golden Globe winner and 2000 recipient of the National Medal of Arts, awarded by then-President Bill Clinton, is well-known for her fundraising efforts on behalf of both Clintons. In her endorsement, Streisand said Hillary Clinton can bring about change.

Bill Clinton Tells Iowans: I 'Opposed Iraq' From Start

MUSCATINE, Iowa (Fox News) — Showing inconsistency on an issue that has dogged his wife, former President Bill Clinton told Iowa Democrats on Tuesday that he "opposed (war in) Iraq from the beginning."

Clinton was in Iowa on the campaign trail for his wife, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

On Iraq, he told the crowd that wealthy people like he and his wife should pay more taxes in times of war. "Even though I approved of Afghanistan and opposed Iraq from the beginning, I still resent that I was not asked or given the opportunity to support those soldiers," Clinton said, according to The Washington Post.

But the former president's opposition to the war has not been clear from the start. Like his wife, Clinton has been critical of the Iraq war in recent months, but at one time he gave President Bush the benefit of the doubt.

A year later, Gap continues to censor Christmas

At Gap, the score is "holiday" 172 and "Christmas" 3

At Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, Christmas hardly exists. For these three companies, all owned by Gap, the only items listed as having anything to do with Christmas were a pair of boxer shorts and a child's sleepwear set.

Last year, when Gap also censored Christmas, we contacted the company. The company refused to change their policy of censoring Christmas. This year the company has continued their practice of censoring Christmas from their stores and promotions. The only conclusion one can reach is that Gap will continue to censor Christmas, a Christian holy day.

Donald Wildmon

Our friends at the AFA continue to provide fodder for the perpetually offended.

Here's the real meat of the matter:

Thank you for caring enough to get involved. If you feel our efforts are worthy of support, would you consider making a small tax-deductible contribution? Click here to make a donation.

I'm not quite sure why Wildmon thinks that a company run by hard-left-leaning San Franciscans that markets strongly to homosexuals would be friendly to Christmas anyway. Then again, Christmas has little to do with Christianity any more. The association was ever tenuous, at best. We might as well celebrate Yule or Weinacht.

If Christians choose to get their panties in a wad over a hijacked pagan holiday, I might suggest that they examine their priorities.

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: Astonished!

Interesting case, here, from Wisconsin. A former police officer faces deportation... for stealing his dead cousin's identity, passing himself off as a US citizen, and then joining the Milwaukee police force.

Twenty-five-year-old Oscar Ayala-Cornejo was charged in federal court last May after the Homeland Security Department received an anonymous tip about his identity theft and his illegal status. The theft was pulled off thanks to his father, who helped him assume the identity of Jose Morales -- a cousin who died as a child. Oscar got the idea in high skrool following a police department recruiting drive. So he switched high skrools, he ditched his glasses for contacts, he got braces, and he took on the new identity. Sadly, AP reports: "His father died of leukemia in 2004, before he could see his son become a [fake] police officer that December." I threw the word "fake" in there; that is unbelievable AP would write it that way!

Anyway, more than two dozen supporters packed the courtroom as Oscar was sentenced. He apologized to family, friends, the community, and the police department. Although he faced three years in prison and a fine of 250 grand, the judge handed down a sentence of... a year's probation. Afterward, Oscar admitted to being astonished at the judge's leniency. "It was more than I can ask for," he said. When -- I should say "if" -- he's deported, he'll return to Mexico to study computer science.

Mr. Cornejo, I confess: you're not the only one astonished, here -- a lot of us are shaking our heads over this one. (Tim Russert, don't ask Hillary Clinton about this... if you value your possession of your testicles.)

Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
AP: Wis. Cop Must Leave US Over Stolen ID

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Swift Kids for Truth: Hillary Clinton :-)

Ron Paul Has Won

By Patrick Ruffini
Hugh Hewitt's Blog

He won’t win the nomination. He won’t win any primaries. But for Ron Paul’s quixotic bid for the White House, it’s “Mission Accomplished.”

Tree man 'who grew roots' may be cured

(U.K. Telegraph) - An Indonesian fisherman who feared that he would be killed by tree-like growths covering his body has been given hope of recovery by an American doctor - and Vitamin A.

Man cuts off his arm to save his life

Hand was caught in machine as fire started

CAMDEN, S.C. (Winston-Salem Journal) -
A South Carolina man cut off his arm with a pocket knife when his hand got caught in a corn harvester, saving his life after the rusty machine had sparked a grass fire.

“I just told myself, ‘I’m not going to die here,’” Sampson Parker said yesterday on NBC’s Today Show.

Pitching In

(Fox News) - The nation of India is preparing to make a contribution to the fledging United Nations peacekeeping force for the embattled Darfur region of Sudan.

The French press agency reports India plans to send a group of what it calls "combat trained camels" into the area — at the request of the U.N. Indian border security forces use camels for long-range reconnaissance, including night patrols to track arms and drug smugglers.

The leader of the force's camel division says the animals are trained not to react to gunfire, and are taught to crawl and follow other "soldierly movements." He says they can go up to 50 miles with short breaks carrying a load of ammunition and two soldiers.

Glass Houses

(Fox News) - Many public and private institutions have constructed all-glass, environmentally friendly buildings in order to go green, save power, and blend in with nature. But the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports these buildings have turned into bird killers on an incredible scale. Ornithologist Daniel Klem of Muhlenberg College says that between 100 million and one billion birds die in the U.S. each year in collisions with glass.

The chief environmental officer at Atlanta's Emory University describes its glass mathematics and science center as a slaughterhouse — and refers to it as "the wall of death." Many owners are now putting black mesh netting or large drapes over the buildings — in order to save the birds.

What's In a Name?

(Fox News) - A British woman working as a private school teacher in the Islamic nation of Sudan has been arrested for letting her students name a teddy bear Muhammad. The London Times reports Gillian Gibbons could be charged with blasphemy — which could get the 54-year-old woman 40 lashes. When Gibbons was in the Khartoum police station — a group of young men gathered outside and shouted death threats.

The school project involved teaching children about animals — and 20 of Gibbons' 23 second-graders voted to name one student's teddy bear Muhammad. Now the director of the Christian-run, multi-racial school has closed it down until the first of the year because of fears of reprisals.

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: Laughing Matter?

Paul Mulshine is an unhappy man. He is a columnist -- New Jersey Star-Ledger -- and he doesn't approve of SUVs. He complains of an encounter with "the latest threat on the roads: a dimwit" -- that's you -- "with bright lights": an SUV with headlights bright enough "to announce the grand opening of a shopping center." According to Mulshine, SUV gas-guzzlers run cars off the road and block intersections. And when they're parked, "they obscure the view of cars entering the roadway."

Now, in the good old days, Mulshine enjoyed driving -- when only hunters and fishermen had four-wheel-drive vehicles and pickups were driven by people "who actually needed them to make a living." Everybody else, he writes wistfully, drove on the same level: in cars.

Mulshine's column celebrates the recent Ninth Circus Court of Appeals decision (talked about it last week), which knocked down the government's latest fuel economy standards. Among other things, the Ninth Circus ordered the Department of Transportation to drop distinctions between cars and "light trucks"; which means that, when it comes to fuel standards, a "Hummer [c]ould be treated the same as a Honda Civic." Now, if the ruling stands, Mr. Mulshine gloats, it'll effectively lead to "the end of the SUV as we know it."

Now, I remember. I remember the catcalls from you people when I warned years ago -- back in the 90s -- [that] the mission of environmentalist wackos was to ban SUVS. Some of you doubters (and you know who you are)... you laughed at me. But unless the Supreme Court jumps in, you'll only be laughing in your government-mandated lawnmower-powered vehicles. Don't doubt me.

Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
The Star-Ledger: Court Outlaws SUVs

Monday, November 26, 2007

Remembering the Gipper...

“The Founding Fathers established a system which meant a radical break from that which preceded it. A written constitution would provide a permanent form of government, limited in scope, but effective in providing both liberty and order. Government was not to be a matter of self-appointed rulers, governing by whim or harsh ideology. It was not to be government by the strongest or for the few. Our principles were revolutionary. We began as a small, weak republic. But we survived. Our example inspired others, imperfectly at times, but it inspired them nevertheless. This constitutional republic, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, prospered and grew strong. To this day, America is still the abiding alternative to tyranny. That is our purpose in the world—nothing more and nothing less.”

Ronald Reagan

Toll task eliminated, but problems remain

By Paul O'Connor
Winston-Salem Journal

The N.C. Turnpike Authority is quite proud of itself. It’s eliminated one of the biggest complaints that zealots like me have against toll roads.

Week before last, the authority decided that it would not install any toll booths on the 18-mile Triangle Expressway that may someday run across Research Triangle Park and southern Wake County. The state’s first toll road will operate exclusively with high-tech electronic monitoring and billing, the authority decided.

So, all those complaints about toll booths slowing down traffic and thus leading to accidents are now out the window. It makes no sense, authority members said, to have people stop and throw a fistful of coins into a basket when a transponder or a high-speed license-plate camera can do the billing.

That’s actually good news. Toll booths truly are dangerous and this road, if it is ever built, will be safer without them. So, good for the authority.

Now let’s talk about what’s wrong with this idea.

Now NASCAR wants in on the incentives race

By Barry Smith
Burlington Times-News

I’m a North Carolina native and have called the Tar Heel state home all my life. And yet I have never acquired a taste for one sport that many across the state love: NASCAR.

But there’s one thing that, through the years, I’ve admired about the sport. They didn’t ask the taxpayers to pay for their venues.

Bush Welcomes Gore to Oval Office

WASHINGTON (AP) - Talk about an inconvenient truth. Al Gore finally won his place in the Oval Office on Monday - right next to George W. Bush. Forever linked by the closest and craziest presidential race in history, the two men were reunited by, of all things, White House tradition.

Gore was among the 2007 Nobel Prize winners who were invited in for a photo and some chatter with the president; Gore got the recognition for his work on global warming.

Hillary's Faux Experience

By Tony Blankley
Human Events

Having spent much of my adult life in politics, it would be silly at this late date to be shocked by the discovery of insincerity and misleading statements coming from leading candidates for president. But if I have seen too much of the world to be shocked, at least I still can be appalled. And the gentle lady, the junior senator from the Empire State continues to appall.

Swift Kids for Truth: John Edwards :-)

Burr eyes SRC spot

(National Review Online) - A source close to Sen. Richard Burr (R., N.C.) says that he is...interested in a run at the Senate Republican Conference spot, should Sen. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) vacate it to become the new Republican whip. This would offer a more conservative alternative to Kay Bailey Hutchison (R., Tex.), who is already calling around seeking support for her run for SRC.

Hollywood stars mum on donations to GOP

Republican presidential candidates have been drawing support — and cash — from Hollywood celebrities, but few of the stars in super-liberal Tinseltown want to be publicly linked with the Grand Old Party.

One high-profile celebrity, when asked about her political views, even had her lawyers declare "our client's rights of privacy and other legally protectable intangible rights" and warn that she should not be labeled a Republican.

So far, just a handful of actors have come forward to support Republican hopefuls. Adam Sandler, who cast former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani in a cameo role in his 2003 movie "Anger Management," has contributed $2,100 to Mr. Giuliani's campaign. The two met recently on Mr. Sandler's movie set in New York.

Former "Frasier" star Kelsey Grammer and his wife also have tossed in $6,900 for the mayor.

But neither would comment about their support. In fact, not a single one of the dozen actors contacted for this story who have been identified as conservative leaning would comment publicly.

Joseph Curl

Mr. Curl seems to have a little problem understanding that Republican does not equal conservative. Equating Giuliani with conservatism, however obliquely, is the stuff of high comedy. Until I actually see one, as far as I am concerned, the Hollywood conservative remains a myth, like Sasquatch and the Loch Ness monster, or at best, an oxymoron.

There is a reason more support for the GOP is forthcoming from Hollywood today. Can anyone guess why? Here's a clue: The GOP's hard left lurch under George W. Bush has not gone completely unnoticed on the West Coast.

In Iowa, Clinton Intensifies Attacks

With Race Close, Obama Stresses His Electability

PERRY, Iowa (Washington Post) -
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), her status as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in jeopardy, stepped up attacks on her closest rival with fewer than six weeks until the first nominating contest.

Just weeks ago, Clinton chastised her opponents for "mudslinging." But she unapologetically pursued her main challenger, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), over the weekend, standing by her decision to mock Obama's foreign policy experience and attacking his health-care plan -- part of what her advisers described as a new phase of her campaign that will present voters with a "real choice."

'BunnyRanch' Brothel Owner Endorses Underdog GOP Candidate Ron Paul

RENO, Nevada (Fox News) — Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, an underdog Texas congressman with a libertarian streak, has picked up an endorsement from a Nevada brothel owner.

Dennis Hof, owner of the Moonlite BunnyRanch near Carson City, says he was so impressed after hearing Paul at a campaign stop in Reno last week that he decided to raise money for him.

Hof and two of his prostitutes, Brooke Taylor and a woman who goes by Air Force Amy, attended a Paul news conference.

The women say they liked Paul's message, but wanted to learn more about other candidates before making a decision.

Paul spokesman Jeff Greenspan say while Paul does not personally condone prostitution, the candidate does not think it's the role of the federal government to regulate such activity.

Greenspan says Paul is a diehard supporter of states rights who recognizes that Nevada voters and lawmakers have decided prostitution should be legal in the state.

Paul also is a devout Christian who opposes abortion.

Islamists target Arizona base

Fort Huachuca, the nation's largest intelligence-training center, changed security measures in May after being warned that Islamist terrorists, with the aid of Mexican drug cartels, were planning an attack on the facility.

Fort officials changed security measures after sources warned that possibly 60 Afghan and Iraqi terrorists were to be smuggled into the U.S. through underground tunnels with high-powered weapons to attack the Arizona Army base, according to multiple confidential law enforcement documents obtained by The Washington Times.

Sara A. Carter

It's a good thing all our troops are over in Iraq, fighting the islamonazifascistwhatchamacallums. You know, so we won't have to fight them here.

The False Conservative

Who would respond to criticism from the Club for Growth by calling the conservative, free-market campaign organization the "Club for Greed"? That sounds like Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich or John Edwards, all Democrats preaching the class struggle. In fact, the rejoinder comes from Mike Huckabee, who has broken out of the pack of second-tier Republican presidential candidates to become a serious contender -- definitely in Iowa and perhaps nationally.

Huckabee is campaigning as a conservative, but serious Republicans know that he is a high-tax, protectionist advocate of big government and a strong hand in the Oval Office directing the lives of Americans. Until now, they did not bother to expose the former governor of Arkansas as a false conservative because he seemed an underfunded, unknown nuisance candidate. Now that he has pulled even with Mitt Romney for the Iowa caucuses and might make more progress, the beleaguered Republican Party has a frightening problem.

The rise of evangelical Christians as the force that blasted the GOP out of minority status during the past generation always contained an inherent danger: What if these new Republican acolytes supported not merely a conventional conservative but one of their own? That has happened with Huckabee, a former Baptist minister educated at Ouachita Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The danger is a serious contender for the nomination who passes the litmus test of social conservatives on abortion, gay marriage and gun control but is far removed from the conservative-libertarian model of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

Robert Novak

The Huckster sounds more and more like Slick Willie every day. He recently pronounced that Saudi oil profits are "obscene" and that we are enslaved to Saudi oil. His health care plank is virtually identical to Hillary's (and Romney's for that matter).

How are you pubbies liking that big tent now?

Lott to resign by end of year

(AP) - Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, plans to resign his seat before the end of the year, congressional and White House officials said Monday.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Meet the women who won't have babies - because they're not eco friendly

Had Toni Vernelli gone ahead with her pregnancy ten years ago, she would know at first hand what it is like to cradle her own baby, to have a pair of innocent eyes gazing up at her with unconditional love, to feel a little hand slipping into hers - and a voice calling her Mummy.

But the very thought makes her shudder with horror.

Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet.

Incredibly, so determined was she that the terrible "mistake" of pregnancy should never happen again, that she begged the doctor who performed the abortion to sterilise her at the same time.

He refused, but Toni - who works for an environmental charity - "relentlessly hunted down a doctor who would perform the irreversible surgery.

Finally, eight years ago, Toni got her way.

At the age of 27 this young woman at the height of her reproductive years was sterilised to "protect the planet".

Natasha Courtenay-Smith and Morag Turner

Some people call me cynical and pessimistic. I disagree. I see this as good news. Stupidity like this will clean itself out of the gene pool in short order. I think young Toni should be given a Darwin Award. I think there is a category for people who remove themselves from the gene pool without actually having to die. She seems a prime candidate.

Ron Paul Backer Aims to Snag Travelers

From US News & World Report:

Larry Lepard, a venture capitalist and Ron Paul supporter from Massachusetts, has shelled out about $85,000 of his own money to throw what he told U.S. News is a "small hard rock at a good target": a full-page ad supporting Paul that will run in tomorrow's edition of USA Today—the nation's largest circulation daily newspaper—on the busiest travel day of the year. He noted that he bought a right-hand position in the newspaper's front section.

Ron Paul is not as scary as Mike Huckabee

As the hopeless but energetic presidential campaign of Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, builds momentum in name recognition, fundraising and cross-ideology appeal, some conservatives are beginning to attack him in earnest. A GOP consultant condemns Paul's "increasingly leftish" positions. Syndicated columnist Mona Charen calls Paul "too cozy with kooks and conspiracy theorists." Film critic and talk-radio host Michael Medved looks over Paul's supporters and finds "an imposing collection of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, Holocaust deniers, 9/11 'truthers' and other paranoid and discredited conspiracists."

For the most part, these allegations strike me as overblown and unfair. But, for argument's sake, let's say they're not. Let's even say that Paul has the passionate support of the Legion of Doom, that his campaign lunchroom looks like the "Star Wars" cantina, and that his top advisers have hooves instead of feet.

Well, I would still find him less scary than Mike Huckabee.

Jonah Goldberg

Goldberg is one of the regulars at NRO who writes less negative stories about Ron Paul. This is definitely one of those damning with faint praise examples. In the end, though, Golberg is still a hypocrite, since he seems to favor the GOP front-runners, all of whom are rank statists.

Huckabee has been called a "socialist with a bible." I think that's pretty accurate. He appears to be another Bill Clinton who just happened to register as a Republican. I have to agree with Goldberg on one point: nothing is scarier than a totalitarian who believes that God is on his side.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Mona exposes herself

In reading Mona Charen's response to Jesse Barton, she let's us see for ourselves that she's no different than her leftie counterparts:

I’m all for reforming the tax system, but at least in the debates, Paul has not said what would replace the IRS. A sales tax? A VAT? He seems to like to leave the impression that he’d eliminate taxes altogether.

I have always favored smaller government – far smaller. But I don’t think you have to be a fanatic about it and in fact, overly ambitious or incautious approaches are doomed to failure in American politics.

I have to wonder if Mona realizes that her response is only a trivially modified form of Al Gore's "risky scheme" rhetoric. I doubt it. After all, remember what Mark Twain said about journalists:

That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoemaking and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ron Paul: The Only Presidential Candidate to Challenge the American Empire

Flying under the radar of mainstream media coverage, supporters of Dr. Ron Paul, a seventy-two year old ten-term congressman and obstetrician from Texas, have staged a political revolution. Despite little publicity, they have raised over $15 million, mostly in small donations, giving Paul more money in the bank than John McCain.

In a November 5 “money bomb” (inspired by Guy Fawkes Day as depicted in the film, “V for Vendetta”) the Paul Revolutionaries raked in $4.3 million. In doing so, they set a new one-day record for all Republican candidates. In addition, Paul’s backers have spontaneously organized over 1,100 meet-up groups. That’s more than any other candidate in the race including the youthful and photogenic Barak Obama. By all indications, most of the meet-up group members, now numbering over 60,000, are under age twenty-five. Paul’s appeal can be attributed to his no-holds-barred small government, pro-liberty message as well as his consistent call to bring home the troops.

Reporters are right to emphasize the wide gap between Paul and the pro-war Republican presidential field but they should not stop there. If they dig a little deeper, they will find that his disagreements with Democrats are equally great. Paul is the only candidate in either party who wants to shut down the entire American overseas political and military Empire.

David T. Beito and Scott Horton

A little different take. There is some excellent analysis of how similar the Republican and Democrat positions are on foreign policy and the war. This is especially telling:

Although Hillary later broke with Bush on Iraq, she rejects a non-interventionist approach. She wants to leave U.S. troops behind in Iraq to fight al Qaeda as well as keep them in the region. When asked in a recent debate whether she would promise that the troops would be home from Iraq by the end of her first term, Clinton refused. Although Barak Obama opposed the war from the outset, his current views are not much different. He also intends to station U.S. forces permanently in the region and reserves the right to put them back in Iraq again in full force to stop “genocide” (a term he never defines). John Edwards advocates the same approach.

So if all you anti-war Democrats really believe the war is the most important issue of this election, Ron Paul is your man. It is a foregone conclusion that the second Clinton Administration will be little different than the second Bush Administration. As shown above, an Edwards or an Obama Administration would likely be indistinguishable from a Romney or Giuliani Administration.

Hit Parade

(Fox News) - People by the thousands are downloading a ring tone inspired by Spanish King Juan Carlos' recent putdown of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez — when the king said to Chavez — "Why don't you just shut up?" A half-million people have downloaded the ring tone — and not just in Spain. A group of Venezuelan students is also doing it — one saying — "It's a form of protest. It's something that a lot of people would like to tell the president."

The company selling the ring tone used an actor to recreate the phrase in order to avoid legal issues — and it has made more than $2 million so far.

Role Model

(Fox News) - Former longtime ABC News correspondent and anchor Carole Simpson is being accused of setting a poor example for the journalism students she now teaches at Emerson College in Boston.

Simpson took her class to a Hillary Clinton rally and then said to Clinton and the audience — "I want to tell you tonight, because I happen to be here with my students, that I endorse you for president of the United States. It's very freeing now that I'm not a journalist and I can speak my mind, and I wanted you to know I think you are the woman, and I think this is the time."

The professor who teaches the course with Simpson immediately told her the comments were inappropriate. Simpson then offered to resign, but the school declined. She now admits she made a mistake. But Simpson is considering an offer to appear at campaign events on behalf of Senator Clinton.

New Math

(Fox News) - The United Nations AIDS agency and the World Health Organization say worldwide AIDS cases have fallen by more than six million this year — but critics contend that is a correction from vastly over inflated numbers in the past. Many researchers say the U.N. previously overstated the extent of the epidemic deliberately — in order to gather more political and financial support.

Former WHO staffer Dr. Jim Chin says — "They've finally got caught with their pants down." Dr. Chin says it is difficult to tell how much of the decrease is due to new methodology — and how much reflects successes in AIDS treatment and prevention.

Interim health director brings experience to job

She will begin working in Stokes on Dec. 3, overseeing 50 full-time positions

(Winston-Salem Journal) -
Jeanette “Jenny” Kirksey Braswell says she plans to focus on improving staff morale when she takes over next month as the interim director of the Stokes County Health Department, which lost both its director and a physician last month.

“There seems to have been a general lack of leadership in that department for quite a while,” Braswell said. “The staff there is very good, so I think they just need someone to lead them along.”

For Sale

(Fox News) - Even though the former chairman of the Bill Clinton Foundation says donors to the Clinton Presidential Library were assured their names would not be revealed — ABC News is reporting that the Clinton Foundation has sold portions of the list to other foundations and non-profit groups. The names of more than 38,000 donors were sold between June of 2006 and May of this year. Mr. Clinton himself told reporters in September that the names should not be disclosed — "A lot of people gave me money with the understanding that they could give anonymously. And if they gave publicly, they would be the target for every other politician in America."

The Clinton Foundation says the list it sold included donors who gave $100 or less in response to direct mail solicitations.

Girl to have arm taken off back

(NEWS.com.au) - A girl in China is scheduled to undergo a lengthy four-stage operation to remove a "spare" arm growing from her back.

Ron Paul

I read Mona Charen’s column on Friday and I had to clear a few things up. Outside of the name-calling (“kook,” as I’m sure you remember, was the attack word of choice used by critics of Barry Goldwater), Charen was way off base.

Jesse Benton

Methinks the neocons are getting nervous. Just dismissing Dr. Paul as "unelectable" and "fringe" aren't working. In the last New Hampshire poll, Dr. Paul had twice as many votes as the GOP's celebrity darling, Fred Thompson. They have started to mount a campaign to paste Dr. Paul with as many unsavory associations as they can find. What few people take the time to mention, though, is that Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater both had many of the same associations foisted on them.

Charen's article is worth reading for the entertainment value alone. There is nothing substantive in it. It contains enough weasel-wording and evasion to make Hillary blush with envy. It also shows that the so-called right wing media is no better or much different than their leftie counterparts. They are subject to as much lying and parsing as you will find in a Molly Ivins or Susan Estrich column.

I suspect what Charen and the rest of her buddies at NRO are really afraid of is that Dr. Paul will force the issue of the war with other GOP candidates. The bevy of noeocons over there are terrified that one or more of the more "acceptable" candidates will break and go anti-war. Thompson has already made noises in that direction. Imagine the chagrin of the poor fools at NRO when they have to start beating Thompson up, calling him a kook, and associating him with the Klan.

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: Jail Break

Well, just in time for the holiday season, folks! A new report says [that] the number of Americans in jail has risen eight-fold since 1970. As usual, women and minorities are hardest hit. Women are the fastest growing population of new criminals being sent to prison. (And who says the push for equality isn't getting results?)

In 1970, there were under 200,000 criminals behind bars; today, over 1.5 million in state or federal lockups -- another 750,000 in local jails. But researchers from the JFA Institute -- a George Soros-funded group of libs -- say keeping people in jail comes at great cost to society. They recommend shorter sentences, alternative punishments, more parole, relaxed drug laws, and more help -- meaning taxpayer resources -- for criminals released from the pokey.

JFA President James Austin said this: "There is no evidence that keeping people in prison longer makes us any safer." You heard right! Absolutely no evidence, folks -- none -- that keeping criminals in prison makes us safer.

Now, this is stunning! Do you realize the enormity of this new research? Ever since humans have walked on Earth -- even when we were crawling -- there have been jails for the ne'er-do-wells among us. But thanks to George Soros and these libs, we've learned of our mistake: Criminals don't belong in jail, they belong at home -- in your home! Because we're not safer with them in jail. So let's release 'em! Give them a jail break in time for Christmas! Oh, one thing... let's send them to Mr. Austin's neighborhood/Mr. Soros' neighborhood to see how that flies, huh? Ha, ha, ha, ha.

Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
Reuters: Prison System a Costly and Harmful Failure - Report

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Remembering the Gipper...

“The gun has been called the great equalizer, meaning that a small person with a gun is equal to a large person, but it is a great equalizer in another way, too. It insures that the people are the equal of their government whenever that government forgets that it is servant and not master of the governed. When the British forgot that they got a revolution. And, as a result, we Americans got a Constitution; a Constitution that, as those who wrote it were determined, would keep men free. If we give up part of that Constitution we give up part of our freedom and increase the chance that we will lose it all. I am not ready to take that risk. I believe that the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms must not be infringed if liberty in America is to survive.”

Ronald Reagan

Former governor will run for Warner's Senate seat

Gilmore said he will stress background in military, security

Former Republican Gov. Jim Gilmore announced yesterday that he will run for the U.S. Senate seat held by retiring Republican John Warner.

Gilmore’s announcement sets up a campaign with another former governor, Democrat Mark R. Warner - a clash between two men with vastly different views about government and little affection for the other.

Gilmore, 58, made the announcement in a video e-mailed to 5,000 supporters and reporters. It was also posted on YouTube and other Web sites and announced in 70,000 letters mailed to backers Friday.

Fill would take farm

Surry residents support owners

DOBSON (Winston-Salem Journal) -
The Surry County Board of Commissioners listened last night to an outpouring of support for a family whose farmland is being condemned for the county landfill...

...More than 20 people packed the commissioners’ meeting to express their concerns about Donald and Faye Terrell, who are being ordered to leave their 95-acre farm this month to expand the county landfill.

Neighbors and relatives asked that commissioners give the Terrells more time to move. They also asked that the purchase price be more than the $653,000 the county paid for the property.

Last week, a Superior Court judge ordered the Mount Airy couple to leave by Nov. 28, ending a 10-year battle in which the Surry commissioners fought to buy the property under its eminent-domain authority.

But Donald Terrell, 69, who retired from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and used to raise cattle on the farm, has said he will not leave.

Commissioners told residents that they are still reaching out to the Terrells and trying to come up with something both sides can live with.

Cyber Terror

(Fox News) - During the late nineties media reports profiled an organization called Electronic Disturbance Theater that staged cyber attacks on the Pentagon, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and other targets. It was called "hacktivism" — and two of the group's leaders were Ricardo Dominguez and Brett Stalbaum.

Now The Wall Street Journal reports the men not only were not punished — they have obtained tenured positions at the University of California at San Diego. Dominguez is an assistant professor teaching new media art, performance art, hacktivism, artivism and nanoculture. Stalbaum is what's called "a lecturer with security of employment" — teaching new media environmental performance art.

Fearless Leader

(Fox News) - If you have ever wondered about the inspiration for those exotic publicity stunts from PETA — the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — here are some facts about its president and co-founder Ingrid Newkirk.

An HBO documentary on Newkirk and PETA reveals she is a pragmatic loner who avoids romantic relationships — and was sterilized while in her 20's over the belief that having children was selfish — given all the orphans in the world.

The documentary says Newkirk's will orders that her body parts be barbecued after she dies in order to remind people what it is like to roast animal flesh.

Got Milk?

(Fox News) - Animal rights activist Heather Mills is urging people to drink rat's milk to save the planet. The Evening Standard says Mills gave what it called a rant in London's Hyde Park — to promote a new billboard ad campaign touting vegetarianism. She suggested there are better alternatives to drinking cow's milk — "Why don't we drink rat's milk or cat's milk or dog's milk?"

And she added — "The startling truth is that animals farmed for meat and dairy are now one of the greatest threats to the planet."

By the way the story notes that Mills arrived at the event — in a gas-guzzling Mercedes four-by-four.

What Has Put Nancy Pelosi on the Opposite Side of The Salvation Army?

(Fox News) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to kill an amendment that would shield from lawsuits — employers who require their workers to speak English.

The Wall Street Journal reports one of those employers being targeted by an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit is The Salvation Army — which gives employees one year to learn English. The amendment to protect The Salvation Army and other businesses has passed both the House and Senate. But Pelosi promised to get rid of it after the House Hispanic Caucus threatened to kill a larger tax bill over the issue.

The sponsor of the amendment — Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander — told the Senate Thursday — "I cannot imagine that the framers of the 1964 Civil Rights Act intended to say that it's discrimination for a shoe shop owner to say to his or her employee, 'I want you to be able to speak America's common language on the job.'"

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: Doomed

Have a couple of items today, folks. First: hundreds (perhaps thousands, maybe even millions) of residents in and around New York City face death by the year 2050 because of greenhouse gas emissions. This warning comes from Dr. Kim Knowlton of Columbia University. She's the lead author of a study that measures the deadly consequences that will befall man- (and woman-) kind living around New York if we ignore her and the rest of the gloom-and-doom global warming crowd.

Worse-case scenario is this: a 95 percent increase in heat-related deaths by 2050. The death toll will skyrocket in New York's suburbs. Death will travel north, to Connecticut: "The urban areas, the suburbs, and even the countryside are all going to be afflicted by these hotter temperatures," warns Dr. Knowlton.

Second item. The Energy Department has issued a new report estimating that during the winter months, heating oil costs will rise 22 percent [and] natural gas prices will jump 10 percent -- even though natural gas futures prices have actually been falling. And inventories are high. Adding to the gloom, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that temperatures will be 1.3 percent colder! than last year. Even though most of the country will probably experience a milder-than-average winter.

So... here's what you do: Count the days until 2050, when you're going to die from heat. Meanwhile, bundle up [and] grab the wallet because you're going to freeze to death this year -- and pay more for the privilege. Either way, folks -- you're doomed! (But I'm not, because I don't believe it!)

Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
(Reuters: Heat May Kill Hundreds More in NYC Region By 2050)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Did Dems avoid gay candidate?

(The Charlotte Observer) - Former Wall Street investor Jim Neal of Chapel Hill announced he was running for the U.S. Senate.

N.C. Sen. Kay Hagan of Greensboro declared a week later that she was not running for the U.S. Senate.

Both are Democrats. Guess which one received a phone call from U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, who heads the Democratic Party's efforts to recruit Senate candidates?

Schumer and the national Democrats, who boast of their party's inclusiveness, effectively ignored Neal, who is openly gay. After he announced his campaign in October, he telephoned Schumer. The call wasn't returned. Neal was the first Democrat to step up to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

Instead, Schumer, of New York, called Hagan, who had taken herself out of the race, and encouraged her to jump back in. She later did.

36 Million Licensed Americans Unfit To Drive According To GMAC Insurance Study

Results from the 2007 GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test indicate that one in six drivers on the road - roughly 36 million licensed Americans - would not pass their written DMV exam if taken today. The third annual survey by GMAC Insurance gauges driver knowledge of the rules of the road by testing licensed Americans on actual questions from state DMV license exams.

According to this year's results, New York drivers ousted Rhode Island by ranking last in all 50 states and the District of Columbia on driver knowledge. Idaho, on the other hand, topped the list and dethroned Oregon's tenure at first place as the most knowledgeable drivers in the United States. While the national average score was 77.1 percent, New Yorkers had an average of 71 percent and the highest failure rates (36 percent); Idaho had an average score of 81.7 percent. In general, geographical regions ranked similarly to previous years, with Arkansas, Minnesota, Kansas and Wisconsin ranking in the top five and New Jersey, Washington, DC, Massachusetts and Rhode Island in the bottom five among all states.

If you have ever driven in Atlanta, Pennsylvania, or New Jersey, you will have no problem believing this. Of course, I'm pretty sure that a substantial percentage of that 36 million is on US 52 in Winston-Salem on most weekday mornings.

Domestic Violence

(Fox News) - Vince Hogg of Wormit, Scotland was arrested after tearing out the hair of his live-in girlfriend and slamming her against a wall. The Daily Record reports the two apparently have had a stormy relationship and he became incensed because a leaky shower was causing the carpet to get wet.

All of this has caused Hogg problems with his job, as an anger management counselor. But Hogg is still on the payroll of the National Health Service, which runs the "zero tolerance campaign" against domestic violence, where he worked. Hogg was, however, demoted and reassigned.

Crime and Punishment?

(Fox News) - A 19-year old Saudi Arabian woman who was the victim of a gang rape and was sentenced to 90 lashes for being in a car of an unrelated male — has had her sentenced changed. But not the way you think.

Wednesday, a Saudi judicial panel sentenced the teenager to 200 lashes and six months in jail — for telling her story to the press. The judges decided to punish what they called, "her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media."

Scouting Mission

(Fox News) - A Boy Scout troop in Cambridge, Massachusetts is collecting supplies for local military personnel in Iraq. So the Scouts put donation boxes at the city's 33 polling places on Election Day earlier this month.

But the election commission ordered the boxes removed after one person complained that the donation effort implied a pro-war message by the scouts. The head of the commission later said the Scouts did not have permission to put the boxes out.

But the leader of Boy Scout Troop 45 says he not only sought and received permission from the commission, but got it on two separate occasions. The Scouts removed the boxes as ordered, but the supply drive is ongoing.

CBS Fires Back at Dan Rather

(Fox News) - CBS is firing back at Dan Rather over his $70 million lawsuit alleging that the network made him a "scapegoat" after his report on President Bush's National Guard service was proved to be false. CBS filed a 30-page motion to dismiss Thursday.

It read, "We at CBS are mystified and saddened by the baseless and self-serving allegations and distortions of fact raised in his lawsuit… The lawsuit is a regrettable attempt by plaintiff Dan Rather to remain in the public eye, and to settle old scores and perceived slights, based on an array of far-fetched allegations."

CBS says Rather's complaint is based on what it calls a "bizarre scheme" to defame Rather that stretched from the White House to the network's Manhattan headquarters — allegations CBS says "bear no resemblance to reality." Rather left CBS in March of 2005.

Fox Cable Guy Edges Into the Big Pay Leagues

(Fox News) - Roger Ailes, the chairman of the Fox News Channel, calls Shepard Smith his “go-to guy,” the person he wants leading the channel’s coverage any time news breaks.

Mr. Ailes has put his network’s money where he wants its chief voice to be. Last week, Mr. Smith signed a new contract that will take him, a former local news reporter from Holly Springs, Miss., into financial territory usually occupied only by network news anchors. Although Fox did not release the exact terms of the new deal, an executive briefed on the them said that Mr. Smith, who is 43, had signed a new contract for a little more than three years at a salary of $7 million to $8 million a year.

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: No Words

Last week, Nancy Pelosi's House Democrats passed legislation requiring President Bush to effectively surrender in Iraq in order to get the funding our troops need to continue fighting and winning. Yes, these Democrats are holding our military hostage -- unless they lose.

Senate Majority Leader Dingy Harry also promises that our troops will be funded only if the Senate approves the Democrats' surrender requirements. On Friday, he couldn't muster the 60 votes needed to advance this proposal, but he killed a Republican measure to continue the funding without anti-war strings. Dingy Harry said the Democrats won't bother addressing the funding our troops need until next year. New York's Chuck Schumer declared: "The days of a free lunch are over." Free lunch! That's how Democrats define supporting American soldiers on the battlefield? "Free lunch"?

As Democrats use our military as pawns, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is directing the Army and Marine Corps to plan to lay off employees and terminate military contracts early next year. Operations at some military bases will shut down. About 100,000 defense department employees [and] 100,000 civilian contractors are expected to lose their jobs. But not to worry, folks: they're just people involved in the defense of our nation -- they make war -- so it doesn't matter to Democrats. On the other hand, Dingy Harry claims that Gates told him the military will be "fine" without the funds. Somebody is lying, here!

Now, normally, I can describe the routine treachery of today's Democrats in service of political expediency. But they have sunk so low now that, folks... there aren't any words to describe them.

Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
AP: Senate Blocks Iraq War Money
AP: Democrats Unable to Bring Troops Home

Sunday, November 18, 2007

U.S. Anti-Drug Plan Would Recast Legal System in Mexico

The Bush administration's proposed counternarcotics aid package for Mexico would set in motion a vast reengineering of the country's justice system, revamping the legal education process, creating a network of court clerks and helping to write new laws, according to two summaries obtained by The Washington Post.

The $500 million plan would also fund anti-drug and human rights campaigns and new citizen complaint centers. It would provide money for efforts to develop "centers of moral authority" and for media campaigns to create "a culture of lawfulness."

Under the plan, which has drawn criticism from some on Capitol Hill, officials from the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Federal Bureau of Prisons would conduct training sessions and military officers would provide instruction related to aircraft.

Manuel Roig-Franzia

NAU? What NAU?

This is so blatantly unconstitutional, it is an abuse of power worthy of old Slick Willy himself.

And Andy wonders why I despise Jorge Bush. No, check that, I loathe the oath-breaking, treasonous moron.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Barry Goldwater, Jr. endorses Ron Paul

Barry M. Goldwater, Jr. endorsed Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul for president.

“America is at a crossroads,” said Mr. Goldwater. “We have begun to stray from our traditions and must get back to what has made us the greatest nation on earth or we will lose much of the freedom we hold dear. Ron Paul stands above all of the other candidates in his commitment to liberty and to America.”

“Leading America is difficult, and I know Ron Paul is the man for the job,” he added.


McCain’s campaign reform

The Patriot Post

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) tangled with the regulation of free speech this week on the presidential campaign trail. McCain, as readers will recall, crafted the unconstitutional Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 as a means of getting undue money and influence out of politics. As we predicted, this ill-conceived legislation amounts to little more than incumbent protection. Now the shoe is on the other foot. The Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America ran a TV ad campaign on the senator’s behalf in South Carolina, which triggered predictable (and much-deserved) cries of hypocrisy from all corners, including Rudy Giuliani’s campaign. McCain has asked the Foundation to stop running the South Carolina ads, despite the free exercise of speech involved and despite the benefit to his struggling campaign. After all, McCain can’t have any undue influence coming from “the shadows.” Somehow, this strikes us as poetic justice.

Campaign watch: Socialist Security

The Patriot Post

Lately, Democrats have taken to showcasing the hallmark courage overflowing their party’s ranks. For instance, Senator Clinton has boldly unveiled her plan to fix the looming train wreck that is Social Security—namely, to dodge unveiling a plan to fix Social Security. Who knew? One-upping this bawdy exhibition of true grit, Senator Obama, presented his own daring strategy. His plan? “Tax the rich!” Brilliant! Of course, by “rich” he means you, through raising the payroll tax cap to get at even more of your income. How “innovative.” An added bonus: deepening the eventual crisis by reducing tax receipts, but that’s a story for another day. Looks like this is shaping up to be yet another election cycle where Democrats show up with knives to an intellectual gunfight.

In contrast, wielding a belt-fed minigun at that gunfight is former Senator Fred Thompson, whose multifaceted plan to overhaul Social Security leaves intact benefits for those currently nearing retirement (age 57 and older), while indexing benefits to inflation for younger workers. These workers would also have the opportunity to contribute up to two percent of their monthly wages into a government-matched personal retirement account (similar to a 401k plan). The idea is to give American workers at least some measure of personal control over an otherwise socialized retirement system. As for displays of courage, since Thompson is the first contender offering a detailed game plan to fix Social Security, he gets our nod for actual bravery.

Nepotism becoming the American way

The Patriot Post

The Founding Fathers were quite proud of eschewing the trappings of hereditary monarchy, but political dynasties are rather common on the American scene these days, and a fair number of voters don’t seem to mind or care. Had John and Robert Kennedy not been assassinated, it is possible that Robert also would have served in the White House. There has been either a Bush or a Dole on every GOP presidential ticket since 1976. If Hillary Clinton were to win two terms in the White House (perish the thought), America would face 28 straight years of being run by either a Bush or a Clinton.

Grover Norquist, leader of Americans for Tax Reform, is about to propose a constitutional amendment that would prevent family members from succeeding each other to elected or appointed office. Although Hillary Clinton would not be affected by this amendment if it were ratified because she is not technically succeeding her husband, it is Norquist’s intention to stir a debate about her candidacy.

From the Left: Clinton’s rough campaign week

The Patriot Post

Sen. Hillary Clinton has eclipsed her rivals for the White House in terms of earmark spending, totaling over $500 million in successful requests. She has attached her name to more spending amendments than even Joe Biden (D-DE) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT), fellow big spenders with decades of seniority over Clinton. She even outspent Barack Obama (D-IL), whose $40 million in earmarks seems a bit puzzling since his Illinois colleague and supporter Dick Durbin sits on the Appropriations Committee. Clinton’s haul comes in part from her incessant networking and involving herself in as many pieces of legislation as she can. Her being a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee doesn’t hurt either.

Hillary Clinton has other problems too: A college sophomore admitted to asking a planted question at a Clinton campaign event. The student, an undecided voter, was approached by Clinton handlers before the event and told to ask a question about the environment. The student told CNN that she was not the only person who asked a planted question. Of course, Clinton expressed shock and dismay about the arranged questions, no one in her campaign admitted to knowing about the practice and no one went on record to say that it would not happen again. Classic Clinton.

In a humorous campaign moment, as Hillary turned to leave a news conference in Iowa on Saturday, the row of U.S. flags behind her started to fall. Several staffers and the senator herself reached to grab them before they hit the ground. Clinton’s brilliant analysis was, “I think that the bases are not weighted enough.” Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh quipped, “This is either an omen for her or for us. I’m not sure which.”

New & notable legislation

The Patriot Post

Lobbyists for major drug manufacturers racked up a $19-million tab in the last 12 months, with much of that money going toward quashing legislation that would speed generic drugs to market. Currently, major drug manufacturers offer producers of generics lucrative licensing arrangements and large payoffs to keep generic drugs off the market for a time. A bill in the Senate would ban this practice, known as “reverse payments,” but the legislation is now stalled. Legislators now are trying to come up with a solution that will ban anticompetitive settlements without putting a stop to the kinds of arrangements that benefit consumers.

An energy bill has been stalled in conference over differences in how the House and Senate view ethanol. The House version taxes oil to subsidize ethanol production, while the Senate version mandates an increase in production to 30 billion gallons annually by 2020, and neither chamber likes the other’s approach. What is really a mystery, though, is why they all can’t just agree that ethanol is already wreaking havoc on corn prices and water supplies (ethanol production requires massive amounts of water). On top of that, ethanol doesn’t exactly live up to its billing for performance. For this bill to stall permanently would be a blessing.