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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, May 30, 2008

Why Would Scott McClellan Get in Bed with George Soros?

By Tammy Bruce
FOX News Political Contributor/Radio Talk Show Host

When the news about Scott McClellan’s Bush-bashing book hit the proverbial fan I noted on my radio program that the timing and content were strange enough we would inevitably learn of ‘other factors’ being involved in the creation of this book. After all, it is indeed a bizarre situation to destroy so many personal relationships with nothing more than speculation on discussions behind closed-doors; admissions of being kept out of the White House loop (but then commentary and accusation that could only come from someone in the loop) and irrelevant declarations of personal opinions about the war in Iraq and the aftermath of Katrina.

Keep in mind, I’m no fan of President Bush, but someone should remind Scott that the analysis of a mediocre White House press secretary about world events isn’t quite as relevant as the opinions of the Commander-in-Chief, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the international intelligence community and our own Congress — whether liberals like it or not.

Now, less than 24 hours after the announcement of the 300+ pages of pontifications worthy of tabloid hysteria, one of the ‘other factors’ has already been exposed. The Web site Little Green Footballs one of the world’s most widely read blogs, has uncovered the stealth publisher of McClellan’s Linda Blair moment in print— none other than leftist ideologue George Soros.

Why McClellan would get into bed with Soros is now the question.

Texans say McClellan's turn started at home with mom

(The Washington Times) - Scott McClellan's critics in Washington have speculated about his motives for writing a book bashing President Bush, but back in the former White House spokesman's home state of Texas, some chalk it up to something very simple: his gene pool.

Bush defenders and impartial observers point in particular to Mr. McClellan's mother, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, as having set a precedent for turning on former allies, while others say that his family tree had strong liberal leanings.

They also said his decision will make it hard to do what all Texans do: return home.

Bob Dole unloads on McClellan

(The Politico) - Bob Dole yesterday sent a scalding email to Scott McClellan, excoriating the former White House spokesman as a "miserable creature" who greedily betrayed his former patron for a fast buck.

In an extraordinary message obtained and authenticated by Politico, Dole uses his trademark biting wit to portray McClellan as a classic Washington opportunist.

"There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don’t have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues," Dole wrote in a message sent yesterday morning. "No, your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits, and spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique."

Michael Marshall, Dole's spokesman and colleague at the Alston Bird law firm, confirms the message came from the former senator and presidential candidate. "Yes, it is authentic," Marshall wrote in an email.

"In my nearly 36 years of public service I've known of a few like you," Dole writes, recounting his years representing Kansas in the House and Senate. "No doubt you will 'clean up' as the liberal anti-Bush press will promote your belated concerns with wild enthusiasm. When the money starts rolling in you should donate it to a worthy cause, something like, 'Biting The Hand That Fed Me.' Another thought is to weasel your way back into the White House if a Democrat is elected. That would provide a good set up for a second book deal in a few years"

Dole assures McClellan that he won't read the book -- "because if all these awful things were happening, and perhaps some may have been, you should have spoken up publicly like a man, or quit your cushy, high profile job"

"That would have taken integrity and courage but then you would have had credibility and your complaints could have been aired objectively," Dole concludes. "You’re a hot ticket now but don’t you, deep down, feel like a total ingrate?"

He signs the email simply: "BOB DOLE"

Bucking Tradition

(Fox News) - The administrators of Anglia Ruskin University outside London are asking graduating students not to throw their mortar board hats into the air when celebrating — because they might hurt someone.

A statement on its Web site said: "This not only causes damage to the hats, but it can also cause injury if the corner of the hat hits the graduate or others who may be nearby."

As you can imagine, such a warning has inspired ridicule far and wide. So a new statement on the Web site says that the school has not "banned" hat throwing, but says one student had to be hospitalized after being hit with a hat several years ago.

Mission Accomplished

(Fox News) - It has been reported that Iraqi forces were responsible for suppressing Shiite violence during a recent operation in the southern city of Basra. But that news seems to have been lost on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In an interview with the The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board, Pelosi says the military surge did not accomplish its goal and credits Iran with ending the violence in Basra.

"Some of the success of the Surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians — they decided in Basra when the fighting would end. They negotiated that cessation of hostilities — the Iranians."

In fact that cease-fire did not hold and after it broke down, Iraqi forces, with some U.S. assistance, succeeded in driving the Shiite militias which had dominated Basra out of the city or underground.

Scott McClellan's Choice Words for Former Colleagues' Tell-All Books

Critics Corner

(Fox News) -
When the departed Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill co-wrote an unflattering book about his tenure in the Bush administration, the White House spokesman said of the book: "It appears to be more about trying to justify personal views and opinions than it does about looking at the results that we are achieving on behalf of the American people."

And when former White House counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke also published an unflattering book on the Bush White House, the press secretary said: "Why, all of a sudden, if he had all these grave concerns, did he not raise these sooner? This is one-and-a-half years after he left the administration. And now, all of a sudden, he's raising these grave concerns that he claims he had."

The press spokesman who uttered both those comments about those tell-all books was none other than Scott McClellan, who has now written such a book himself.

One for the end of the road? Merry Clinton knocks back whisky on campaign plane


(Daily Mail) - Hillary Clinton took time out from her punishing campaign schedule to enjoy a glass of whiskey with a group of journalists.

The Democratic presidential hopeful was flying back from Rapid City in South Dakota, one of the few states yet to hold its primary when she decided to let her hair down a little.

Her relaxed mood may give rise to speculation she is preparing to concede to her Democratic rival Barak Obama.

Minnesota Dems Scrutinize Comedian, Senate Hopeful Franken for Racy Playboy Article

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum said that a Playboy column written by Senate candidate Al Franken eight years ago was offensive and presents a serious political problem for Democratic candidates this year. McCollum, who had supported Franken rival Mike Ciresi until he dropped out of the race, told The Associated Press on Thursday that she was worried that Minnesota Democratic congressional candidates will be running with a candidate “who has pornographic writings that are indefensible.”

“Do they spend all of their time defending him, or do they spend their time talking about issues that are important to this election?” she asked. “The whole story was a shocking surprise.”

Franken, a former “Saturday Night Live” star and best-selling author, is the Democratic front-runner to take on Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.

Isolated tribe spotted in Brazil

(BBC News) - One of South America's few remaining uncontacted indigenous tribes has been spotted and photographed on the border between Brazil and Peru.

The Brazilian government says it took the images to prove the tribe exists and help protect its land.

The pictures, taken from an aeroplane, show red-painted tribe members brandishing bows and arrows.

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: Bow Down?

In the next three months, California's supreme court will issue a ruling that could have profound impact.

Guadalupe Benitez, a lesbian, is suing a Christian medical practice over the doctors' refusal to artificially inseminate her. Ms. Benitez claims that the North Coast medical practice, the only one nearby which takes her health insurance, violated California's anti-discrimination laws when they refused to inseminate her.

Lawyers for the medical practice told the court that the doctors were up-front. And they told Ms. Benitez of their religious objections straight away and offered her referrals to other fertility specialists who didn't have religious objections. The practice even offered to pay any extra costs that she might incur by using another medical practice.

But Ms. Benitez lawyer, Jennifer Pizer, argued that while doctors are free to choose their field and offer whatever procedures are appropriate for them, they don't have the freedom to discriminate against patients.

Now, if the court sides with Ms. Benitez, doctors with religious convictions may well avoid in vitro fertilization altogether to avoid these kinds of lawsuits.

As I said at the outset, folks, this could have broad implications. Individual religious freedom -- the basis for America's founding -- was once constitutionally enshrined. But by using the courts, the left has done all they can to push God out of the public square, and now they're attempting to use the courts to attack those whose faith governs their professional lives. Let's see if the California court bows down to this one.

Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
AP: Calif. High Court Will Hear Lesbian's Insemination Lawsuit

Thursday, May 29, 2008

At Obama’s Church, Chicago Minister Says Clinton Felt ‘White’ Entitlement



(Fox News) - Another Chicago minister is causing headaches for Barack Obama after he told the Democratic candidate’s church congregation Sunday that Hillary Clinton felt entitled to the presidency because she’s white.

Catholic pastor Michael Pfleger, who is white, issued a formal apology for his sermon Thursday after Obama put out a statement saying he was “deeply disappointed” by Pfleger’s remarks at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

“I regret the words I chose on Sunday. These words are inconsistent with Senator Obama’s life and message, and I am deeply sorry if they offended Senator Clinton or anyone else who saw them,” Pfleger said.

That was after a video of his sermon was posted on YouTube.

THE QUIT-IRAQ TIME-TRAVELERS

By Ralph Peters
New York Post

Whenever retreat-now activists or their favored presidential aspirant are confronted with our progress in Iraq, their stock reply is, "Al Qaeda wasn't in Iraq in 2003."

Well, I happen to agree with Sen. Barack Obama and his supporters on that count: At most, the terrorists had a tenuous connection with Saddam's regime. But it's 2008, not 2003. And our next president will take office in 2009. It's today's reality that matters.

It's as if, in June 1944, critics had argued from facts frozen in June 1939. ("Why invade Normandy? Hitler's content with Czechoslovakia.")

Hillary’s Rhetoric vs. Obama’s Hypocrisy

By Tammy Bruce
FOX News Political Contributor/Radio talk show host

I haven’t liked the Clintons for some time now but have grown to admire Hillary Clinton’s resilience and commitment to the Democratic race in the face of ridiculous bullying to get her to quit. After all, if the nomination is in Obama’s pocket, why are his supporters frantic in their efforts to get her to quit?

That admiration, I must admit, took a hit last week when Hillary delivered her bizarre RFK assassination remark as a supposed example of Democratic primary timelines. I don’t necessarily believe her explanation, but the fire she has come under has been excessive and, frankly, when it comes to liberal complaints, ridiculous. For the past 7 years liberals have luxuriated in various death wishes for both President Bush and Vice President Cheney. And now they’re shocked, just shocked, at even just the reference to RFK’s murder?

My disappointment with what is at least Hillary’s sloppy, and tasteless rhetoric was mitigated when I heard Obama’s speech on Sunday to Wesleyan graduates. He warned the 700+ undergraduates and 120 doctoral students of the “poverty of ambition” and essentially encouraged them to not pursue the American dream...

Bush Refuses to Read McClellan's Book, Calling It 'A Book' :-)

Puts Chances of Reading Book at Zero

The Borowitz Report

On a day when Washington was abuzz with the news that former White House spokesperson Scott McClellan had published a tell-all memoir, President George W. Bush offered his personal reason for not reading it.

"I have no intention of reading Scott McClellan's book," Mr. Bush told reporters, "because it's a book."

Mr. Bush said he was "surprised" that Mr. McClellan had written a book to criticize him because "if you're trying to communicate some criticism to me, a book is pretty much the last place you'd put it."

The president said that he thought the chances of his someday reading Mr. McClellan's book were "zero," adding, "If I didn't read the Iraq Study Group's report, I really don't think I'm about to read Scott McClellan's little book."

Presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota observed that if Mr. McClellan honestly expected his memoir to somehow reach Mr. Bush's nightstand, "that demonstrates just how little he knows George W. Bush."

"Scott McClellan would have had a much better shot if he had put his memoir in Xbox 360 format and then slipped it into a package labeled 'Grand Theft Auto 5,'" he said.

For his part, Mr. Bush said that there was in fact a book published this week that had caught his eye: the new James Bond thrilled entitled "Devil May Care."

"Now, that book looks like it could be good," he said. "Maybe I'll have Laura read it to me."

Tenn. woman who spent life in iron lung dies at 61

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A woman who defied medical odds and spent nearly 60 years in an iron lung after being diagnosed with polio as a child died Wednesday after a power failure shut down the machine that kept her breathing, her family said.

Dianne Odell, 61, had been confined to the 7-foot-long metal tube since she was stricken by polio at 3 years old.

Family members were unable to get an emergency generator working after a power failure knocked out electricity to the Odell family's residence near Jackson, about 80 miles northeast of Memphis, brother-in-law Will Beyer said.

Obama Praised Wright, Criticized Traditional Black Churches on Homosexuality

(CNSNews.com) - In an Apr. 10 interview with The Advocate magazine, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said "homophobic" messages are coming from the pulpits of black churches because "most African-American churches are still fairly traditional in their interpretations of Scripture." In the same interview, Obama praised the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor and long-time spiritual adviser, for being on the right side of the homosexual debate.

"There's plenty of homophobia to go around, but you have a unique perspective into the African-American community," Kerry Eleveld, news editor of The Advocate , a homosexual publication, said to Obama, during the interview.

"I don't think it's worse than in the white community," Obama replied. "I think that the difference has to do with the fact that the African-American community is more churched and most African-American churches are still fairly traditional in their interpretations of Scripture.

Senator Obama: When will you finally visit Iraq?

Barack Potatoe Obama?

By L. Brent Bozell III
Media Research Center


Imagine that John McCain named a young running mate to campaign with him, and this national rookie suggested America had 58 states, repeatedly used the wrong names for the cities he was visiting, and honored a Memorial Day crowd by acknowledging the “fallen heroes” who were present, somehow alive and standing in the audience. How long would it take for the national media to see another Dan Quayle caricature? Let’s raise the stakes. What if it was the GOP presidential candidate making these thoroughly ridiculous comments? This scenario is very real, except it isn’t McCain. It’s the other fellow.

ABC reporter Jake Tapper follows politicians around for a living. On his blog, he suggested Barack Obama has a problem: “The man has been a one-man gaffe machine.”

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Our Collectivist Candidates

By DAVID BOAZ
Wall Street Journal

...There is a whiff of hypocrisy here. Mr. Obama, who made $4.2 million last year and lives in a $1.65 million house bought with the help of the indicted Tony Rezko – and whose "elegant suits" and "impeccable ties" made him one of Esquire's Best-Dressed Men in the World – disdains college students who might want to "chase after the big house and the nice suits." Mr. McCain, who with his wife earned more than $6 million last year and who owns at least seven homes, ridicules Mr. Romney for having built businesses.

But hypocrisy is not the biggest issue. The real issue is that Messrs. Obama and McCain are telling us Americans that our normal lives are not good enough, that pursuing our own happiness is "self-indulgence," that building a business is "chasing after our money culture," that working to provide a better life for our families is a "narrow concern."

They're wrong. Every human life counts. Your life counts. You have a right to live it as you choose, to follow your bliss. You have a right to seek satisfaction in accomplishment. And if you chase after the almighty dollar, you just might find that you are led, as if by an invisible hand, to do things that improve the lives of others.

Oil Producers Answer Calls For Action

(Sky News) - The world's leading oil producers have said it is too expensive - and they plan to increase supplies to help ease the global fuel crisis.

A source at Opec said its 13 members were uncomfortable with the current price of crude, which last week hit a record $135 a barrel.

Based on present supply and demand, he said it should be fetching $60-$70 a barrel.

Experts say oil has been driven to its present level by speculators who see it as a safer haven for their money than the weak dollar.

Former press secretary's book bashes Bush

(Yahoo News) - Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan writes in a new memoir that President Bush relied on an aggressive "political propaganda campaign" instead of the truth to sell the Iraq war, it has been reported.

The Bush White House made "a decision to turn away from candor and honesty when those qualities were most needed" — a time when the nation was on the brink of war, McClellan writes in the book entitled "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception."

The way Bush managed the Iraq issue "almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible option," the book contends, according to accounts Wednesday in The New York Times and Washington Post.

"In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating sources of public opinion to the president's advantage," McClellan writes.

The White House had no immediate comment on the book.

Might as well put them in a wood chipper

By Steve Brenneis
Ars Mens Mentis

There is a jpeg floating around the net showing a child of some age under ten giving the stink-eye to the camera. Beside the kid's picture is the following caption:

Ritalin: It's easier than parenting.

Vicious, but oh so true.

In spite of study after study showing that parents would be better off stuffing their kids into a wood chipper than giving them Ritalin, more and more of them acquiesce to pill-pushing witch doctors (a.k.a. psychologists) or worse, public school teachers, and start destroying their children with the drug.

ADD and ADHD are "disorders" invented by the psycho-chemical industry in order to create a market for their poisons. It has recently been demonstrated that sufferers of "clinical depression" are no better off taking the various anti-depressants than they would be sugar pills. Some people like to portray that as evidence of the pharmaceutical industry's ineptitude. It is more likely that, like ADD and ADHD, clinical depression simply doesn't exist. The effect is like taking aspirin for a headache you don't have.

Psychologists are the post-modern equivalent of witch doctors and shamans. They have dispensed with the rattling bones and shrunken heads, but they still issue the arcane mumbo jumbo intended to disperse demons. Because the demons now have medical-sounding names does not make them any more material. And in keeping with a society bent on instant and simple gratification, you don't have to smoke or drink the witches' brew, it comes in a neat, tidy little capsule.

So go right ahead, parents. Abrogate your responsibilities. Succumb to the whispering of the shamans with the college degrees. Addict your offspring to a drug that is going to increase their likelihood of committing suicide, falling victim a violent psychotic break, or simply ending up as sterile meat. I mean after all, your well-being and peace of mind, not to mention your uninterrupted television viewing and unimpeded self-gratification are far more important than your children's long-term prospects of surviving childhood with an intact brain. Right?

Mascot Politics

An ugly reality.

By Thomas Sowell
National Review Online

Years ago, when Jack Greenberg left the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to become a professor at Columbia University, he announced that he was going to make it a point to hire a black secretary at Columbia.

This would of course make whomever he hired be seen as a token black, rather than as someone selected on the basis of competence.

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: Unforeseen

Despite Senator Clinton's politically crude revelation that she is relying on unforeseen events -- like an assassination -- to win the Democrat Party nomination, it's a strategy that long-shot Democrat candidates have successfully used before.

In July 1896, another a long-shot candidate -- William Jennings Bryan -- addressed the Democrat National Convention in Chicago. The 36-year-old Congressman delivered a speech among the most notorious in American political history. Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold" speech was a defining one; it set Democrats on the path to embrace class envy and high taxes.

Back then, the implementation of the income tax -- which many regarded as unconstitutional -- was a raging issue. In a spirited defense of the tax, Jennings Bryan declared: "The income tax is a just law. It simply intends to put the burdens of government justly upon the backs of the people. When I find a man who is not willing to pay his share of the burden of the government which protects him, I find a man who is unworthy to enjoy the blessings of a government like ours."

Bryan's speech so wowed Democrats that the long-shot candidate won the presidential nomination. The rest, as they say, is history. Thanks to Democrats, the burden of a big and ever-expanding government is upon our backs -- and our necks -- with no end in sight.

So you see, relying on the unforeseen can be good for Democrat candidates -- even if it means the rest of us... get screwed. (Politically, of course.)

Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
PBS: William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold" Speech

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Remembering the Gipper...


“Once each May, amid the quiet hills and rolling lanes and breeze-brushed trees of Arlington National Cemetery, far above the majestic Potomac and the monuments and memorials of our Nation’s Capital just beyond, the graves of America’s military dead are decorated with the beautiful flag that in life these brave souls followed and loved. This scene is repeated across our land and around the world, wherever our defenders rest. Let us hold it our sacred duty and our inestimable privilege on this day to decorate these graves ourselves—with a fervent prayer and a pledge of true allegiance to the cause of liberty, peace, and country for which America’s own have ever served and sacrificed... Our pledge and our prayer this day are those of free men and free women who know that all we hold dear must constantly be built up, fostered, revered and guarded vigilantly from those in every age who seek its destruction. We know, as have our Nation’s defenders down through the years, that there can never be peace without its essential elements of liberty, justice and independence. Those true and only building blocks of peace were the lone and lasting cause and hope and prayer that lighted the way of those whom we honor and remember this Memorial Day. To keep faith with our hallowed dead, let us be sure, and very sure, today and every day of our lives, that we keep their cause, their hope, their prayer, forever our country’s own.”
Ronald Reagan

More Biofuelishness

By Paul Chesser
The American Spectator

With food and gas prices skyrocketing, several state climate commissions are ignoring the backlash against the suddenly antiquated policy of plant-enhanced petrol, as they hope to stop the alleged future global warming catastrophe.

Why? Because before they even get started, panelists and their hired management team (in most cases), the Center for Climate Strategies, forbid any discussion of global warming science outside the prevailing mainstream media take of the last 10 to 15 years -- that is, that carbon dioxide emissions must be curbed dramatically to stop the trend. Don't you understand that the "science is settled"?

That premise extends also to CCS's standard menu of "solutions" to climate change, but now even the MSM has turned against biofuels.

Obama-omics

Obama Fails with Big Economic Promises

By Ruben Navarrette
Real Clear Politics

SAN DIEGO - With soaring gas prices, a shaky job market and a surge in home foreclosures, many Americans say their No. 1 issue is the economy.

Unfortunately for Barack Obama, that's one area where he strikes out with regularity. In fact, in recent weeks, the Illinois senator has been one for five on major economic issues.

PELOSI REFUSES TO MOVE ON

(Washington Prowler) - With Congress returning after the Memorial recess, a focus for conservatives will be passage of the bipartisan bill that would modernize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The bill has already passed the Senate, and awaits House action, which has been held up almost exclusively by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi is holding it up largely to appease far-left groups like MoveOn.org, which have made the bill that features retroactive civil immunity to telecommunications companies who cooperated with federal law enforcement and intelligence investigations a must win for this election cycle.

"MoveOn and those groups are already running ads around the country against conservative Democrats and weakened Republican candidates on the FISA issue," says a House Democratic staffer, who works for a Democrat who would be inclined to support the bill if it were given a vote. "I don't think people understand the pressure we're under."

Passage of the FISA bill is considered imperative before the August recess, because some ongoing FISA court orders will otherwise expire, and thus leave law enforcement and intelligence agencies with limited options for monitoring suspected and known terrorists overseas.

"Democrats are essentially playing politics with the security of the American people, gambling that they will be distracted by the election and not care about this," says one Republican House leadership staffer. "We have to let the people know about the potential risks involved simply because Speaker Pelosi wants to keep the radical left of her party -- largely Obama supporters -- happy."

Wake Forest Drops SAT, ACT Requirement

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Wake Forest University will no longer require applicants to take the SAT and ACT exams, boosting a movement to lessen the importance of standardized tests in college admissions.

Sedona Soundings

THREE'S COMPANY

(Washington Prowler) -
Despite the hype around the Memorial Weekend gathering in Sedona at Sen. John McCain's ranch, only Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is being given serious consideration for the vice presidential nomination, say McCain insiders with knowledge of the ongoing vetting process. And even that serious consideration can only go so far.

"Jindal is the only one, but there seems to be general agreement that we need him to be the best governor he can be and a leader of the Republican Party more," says one McCain campaign adviser. "McCain has gotten a good look at [Mitt] Romney as a competitor and as someone who is running in support of his candidacy, and frankly he can't tell the difference. It's been a very educational process. Let's just leave it at that."

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is not considered a serious candidate, for much the same reason as Jindal.

"People shouldn't forget that great policy ideas that are the strength of the Republican Party rose from the state level back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, guys like [then Michigan Gov. John] Engler and [then Wisconsin Gov. Tommy] Thompson. Guys like Jindal and Crist, and women like [Sarah] Palin in Alaska, we need them to be the next great party leaders long after McCain is gone," says an RNC political consultant.

McCain intends to hold at least two more "Sedona Getaways" with potential McCain Administration candidates before the GOP convention at the end of August.

Thumbs Down

(Fox News) - The Saint Petersburg, Russia Communist Party is calling for a boycott of the new Indiana Jones movie, because it says the movie's portrayal of Soviet soldiers and agents is disgusting, warped and unrealistic.

The London Times reports "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" opened on a record 808 screens in Russia. But the Saint Petersburg communists say in an open letter to star Harrison Ford: "Your work in this film is an insult to the Soviet and Russian people... You have no future in Russia any more. Speaking plainly, it is better for you not to come here. You will be beaten and despised."

The Party's Central Committee says the film is an attempt to slander Soviet communists and poison young people against them. One blogger on the party's Web site said Ford and co-star Cate Blanchett are "second-rate actors serving as the running dogs of the CIA."

Something in the Air

(Fox News) - A group in Santa Fe, New Mexico says its members are allergic to wireless Internet and cellphone signals and wants wi-fi banned from public buildings. A local TV station reports the group says that putting wi-fi in public places is discrimination under the Americans With Disabilities act. One man says the signals give him chest pains that won't go away. The city attorney is checking into the group's claim of discrimination.

But Santa Fe City Councilor Ron Trujillo says, "It's not 1692, it's 2008. Santa Fe needs to embrace this technology, it's not going away."

False Pretenses

(Fox News) - Twelve-term Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman Paul Kanjorski says frustration led him to make remarks that are all over the Internet, in which he claims Democrats campaigning in 2006 deliberately misled voters that they would end the Iraq war.

The video shows Kanjorski's comments during an August 2007 town meeting: "We didn't say it, but we implied it, that we if we won the congressional elections, we could stop the war. Now anybody who was a good student of government knew that wasn't true. But you know, the temptation to want to win back the Congress, we sort of stretched the facts."

The Hill newspaper reports Republicans say Kanjorski has admitted to what they call a fraudulent agenda. Kanjorski's Republican opponent this fall says the Democrat indicted himself and his party by admitting to purposefully deceiving the voters.

The Armed Forces Get Their Marching Orders This Political Season

Secret Ballot

(Fox News) -
Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen is warning American military personnel to stay out of politics this election year. Admiral Mullen's open letter to those in uniform will appear in the upcoming issue of Joint Force Quarterly, an official military journal.

He writes, "The U.S. military must remain apolitical at all times. It is and must always be a neutral instrument of the state, no matter which party holds sway."

Mullen says military personnel should remember their sworn duty as the nation prepares to elect a new president: "Keeping our politics private is a good first step. The only things we should be wearing on our sleeves are our military insignia."

Parents decry school redistricting plan

Proposed new lines would split lifelong friends and classmates

(The Stokes News) -
A standing room only crowd filled the West Stokes Media Center on Monday night at the May meeting of the Stokes County Board of Education. As expected, the matter of redistricting brought people out to express their feelings on perhaps the most controversial issue in Stokes County right now. This was the third in a series of meetings designed to bring the school board to the community by going to local schools rather than the usual venue in Danbury.

The Era of Big Clintons May Soon Be Over

WASHINGTON (Fox News) — There’s been a Clinton running for the White House or living in it for approximately forever. Bill, it could be said, was born to run. Running became Hillary’s destiny, too.

One quarter of Americans have never known life without a Clinton trying for or having the presidency. Millions have gone from diapers to diplomas in the time of the Clintons.

When Hillary Rodham Clinton finally exits the 2008 Democratic presidential race, she will end a decades-long, power-couple streak of unique political energy, savvy ideas, colossal policy flops and raw ambition dressed in pants suits and briefs, not boxers.

Did Carter Out Israel's Nuke Weapons Arsenal?

LONDON (Fox News) — Former President Jimmy Carter caused a stir over the weekend when he claimed that Israel possesses a nuclear arsenal of 150 weapons.

While experts have long maintained Israel has a nuclear arsenal, the Jewish state has refused to confirm or deny it.

Obama says fuel prices will change car habits

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Barack Obama said on Saturday Americans would start changing the kinds of cars they drive if gasoline prices continue to climb and said he owned a hybrid vehicle, though he doesn't drive it much.

Obama, an Illinois senator and the front-runner for his party's presidential nomination, has made fighting climate change a key issue of his campaign, and as fuel prices soar, he has repeatedly called on car makers to increase fuel efficiency standards.

Without specifically telling Americans to stop buying gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles, the Illinois senator said higher fuel prices would lead to a shift.

Carter sees superdelegates prompting Clinton to quit

LONDON (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said on Sunday he expects Democratic superdelegates to reveal their choice for presidential nominee soon after the final primary in June and that Hillary Clinton will then have to quit the race.

In an interview with Sky News, Carter said he did not think Clinton was achieving anything by staying in the fight.

"I think not. But of course she has the perfect right to do so," he said while attending a literary festival in Britain.

Bill Clinton says wife is victim of a ‘cover up’

(CNN) — Former President Bill Clinton said that Democrats were more likely to lose in November if his wife Hillary Clinton is not the party’s presidential nominee, and suggested some people were trying to “cover this up” and “push and pressure and bully” superdelegates to make up their minds prematurely.

Maxine Waters Threatens to "Socialize" the Oil Industry


"And guess what this liberal would be all about? This liberal would be all about socialize -- uh, uh, would be about basically taking over and the government running all of your companies."
Maxine Waters (D-CA)

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: Blood for Oil

In Egypt, a bread shortage led to riots; at least two people dead. In other lands -- from South America to Africa, next door to us in Mexico, in the Caribbean -- rising food costs are hitting the poorest of the poor.

Parents are making hard choices -- between educating their children or feeding them. Sadly, in some cases, they can't feed them. And the hunger is real -- not like the overblown campaign slogans that Democrats here use to expand federal entitlements. American consumers are complaining loudly because our food prices are up 4 percent. But worldwide, since 2006, the cost of food has increased by an estimated 23 percent. Grain prices are up 42 percent; oils are up 50 percent. Dairy products: 80 percent worldwide. Economists say that it might be a decade before food prices stabilize.

Now, listen, folks. Look at me. You've heard me say many times: Oil is the fuel that drives the engine of freedom. Oil fuels America's economy -- and the world's. Two factors are driving world food prices higher. One is the price of oil, which impacts food distribution, and liberals ensure high prices by thwarting exploration, drilling, and refinery-building. The second factor is the stupid move toward biofuels in response to the global warming hoax. On both fronts, pandering to environmentalist wackos has unleashed economic forces that are crippling the world food economy.

In poor nations, "blood for oil" is being spilled -- and more will be spilled -- all for the sake of wacko-based liberalism.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Remembering the Gipper...


"Today, as in the past, there are problems that must be solved and challenges that must be met. We can tackle them with our full strength and creativity only because we are free to work them out in our own way. We owe this freedom of choice and action to those men and women in uniform who have served this nation and its interests in time of need. In particular, we are forever indebted to those who have given their lives that we might be free."
President Ronald Reagan (Memorial Day Message, 1983)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

HILL'S 'ASSASSIN' TALK A SHOCKER

EXCUSE FOR NOT QUITTING: HEY, RFK GOT SHOT IN JUNE!

WASHINGTON (NEW YORK POST) - Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday brought up the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy while defending her decision to stay in the race against Barack Obama - drawing a furious reaction from the front-runner's camp.

"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it," she said, dismissing calls to drop out.

Clinton made her comments at a meeting with the editorial board of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, a paper in South Dakota. She is campaigning in the state ahead of its June 3 primary.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The United States' New Pre-Emptive War

By George Will
TownHall

WASHINGTON - A preventive war worked out so well in Iraq that Washington last week launched another. The new preventive war -- the government responding forcefully against a postulated future threat -- has been declared on behalf of polar bears, the first species whose supposed jeopardy has been ascribed to global warming.

The Interior Department, bound by the Endangered Species Act, has declared polar bears a "threatened" species because they might be endangered "in the foreseeable future," meaning 45 years. (Note: 45 years ago, the now-long-forgotten global cooling menace of 35 years ago was not yet foreseen.) The bears will be threatened if the current episode of warming, if there really is one, is, unlike all the previous episodes, irreversible, and if it intensifies, and if it continues to melt sea ice vital to the bears, and if the bears, unlike in many previous warming episodes, cannot adapt.

Obama's Growing Gaffe

By Charles Krauthammer
Real Clear Politics

WASHINGTON - When the House of Representatives takes up arms against $4 gas by voting 324-84 to sue OPEC, you know that election-year discourse has gone surreal. Another unmistakable sign is when a presidential candidate makes a gaffe, then, realizing it is too egregious to take back without suffering humiliation, decides to make it a centerpiece of his foreign policy.

Before the Democratic debate of July 23, Barack Obama had never expounded upon the wisdom of meeting, without precondition, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bashar al-Assad, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il or the Castro brothers. But in that debate, he was asked about doing exactly that. Unprepared, he said sure -- then got fancy, declaring the Bush administration's refusal to do so not just "ridiculous" but "a disgrace."

After that, there was no going back. So he doubled down. What started as a gaffe became policy. By now, it has become doctrine. Yet it remains today what it was on the day he blurted it out: an absurdity.

McCain appears cancer-free, healthy

(Fox News) - Three-time melanoma survivor John McCain appears cancer-free, has a strong heart and is in otherwise general good health, according to eight years of medical records reviewed by The Associated Press.

The Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting remains at risk for developing new skin cancers, and gets a thorough check by a Mayo Clinic dermatologist every few months.

"I do not see any worrisome lesions," Dr. Suzanne Connolly concluded after McCain's most recent exam, on May 12.

Windfall Profits

(Fox News) - A provision in the farm bill vetoed by President Bush — but made law when the veto was overridden by Congress — calls for up to $16 billion more in crop subsidies than previously projected. The program is called Average Crop Revenue Election or ACRE.

The Washington Post reports it gives farmers the option of trading in their traditional subsidies for a government pledge to give them 90 percent of the difference between what they make in a given year and their usual income. The hitch is the formula for determining benefits pegs the payments to current — record — prices for grain. So if prices fall back to normal levels, huge subsidies will result.

One farming blog is urging readers to sign up for the program, calling it "lucrative beyond expectations."

Defenders of the farm bill say grain prices will not come down much in the five years the legislation is in effect — meaning food prices will stay close to their current record high levels.

Troubling Talk

(Fox News) - Britain's foreign secretary says he is concerned by anti-trade rhetoric from the two Democratic presidential candidates. The Financial Times reports David Miliband said the United Kingdom is troubled by the protectionist stance taken by Barack Obama and Senator Clinton.

Miliband says America must be committed to global trade and that the problem is not too much trade, but too little. Both candidates have promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement if elected.

NAFTA of course was created during the Bill Clinton administration in 1994.

Comparatively Speaking

(Fox News) - Hillary Clinton is comparing the uncounted primary votes in Michigan and Florida to the deadly electoral conflict in Zimbabwe.

Clinton told a crowd in Sunrise, Florida, Wednesday, "People go through the motions of an election only to have it discarded and disregarded. We're seeing that right now in Zimbabwe — tragically an election was held, the president lost, they refused to abide by the will of the people. So we can never take for granted our precious right to vote."

Dozens have died in the aftermath of elections in Zimbabwe where President Robert Mugabe lost, but the government says the margin of defeat was close enough to force a runoff.

Senator Clinton also compared the Florida and Michigan situations to the struggles for civil rights and voting rights and warned that disenfranchised Democrats might vote for John McCain in the fall.

John McCain's Military Background Comes Under Fire

(Fox News) - Iowa Democratic Senator Tom Harkin is being criticized for saying that John McCain's military background makes him dangerous.

Harkin told reporters on a conference call Friday, "He comes from a long line of just military people, so I think his whole world view, his life view, has been shaped from a military viewpoint and he has a hard time thinking beyond that and I think he's trapped in that. And I think that can be pretty dangerous."

A McCain spokesman called Harkin's remarks offensive and said they showed that Democrats are out of touch with American values.

Tony Blair's Jet Comes Within Minutes of Being Shot Down by Israeli Fighter Planes

(Fox News) - Tony Blair came within moments of being killed when two Israeli fighter aircraft threatened to shoot down a private jet taking him to a Middle East conference in the belief that it might have been staging a terrorist attack.

Break-Ins Reported In Stokes County

(WXII) - Deputies in Stokes County are investigating a series of break-ins.

N.C. Libertarians Back On Ballot In '08

RALEIGH, N.C. (WXII12.com) - Libertarian Party candidates again will be on North Carolina's ballot.

The State Board of Elections certified the Libertarians as an official party Thursday after confirming that party officials had exceeded the numerical threshold of signatures required by state law.

The certification means the party can offer a slate of candidates for president, governor, the Legislature and other races that will get on the ballot. Libertarian leaders had turned in nearly 73,000 signatures last week to the state board offices. They needed to filed at least 69,734 signatures by June 2.

The Libertarians have been on the ballot for all but one presidential election since 1976. They are currently in a lawsuit challenging what they call an unreasonably high signature requirement.

Domestic Drilling OK, Just 'Not in My State,' Senators Say

(CNSNews.com) - The United States should increase its domestic oil supply by opening up more drilling sites, several members of the Senate told Cybercast News Service Thursday, when surveyed on the issue at the U.S. Capitol. But some senators also said they are wary of allowing increased drilling in many locations - especially in their own states.

Woman Wakes After Heart Stopped, Rigor Mortis Set In

(Fox News) - Val Thomas’ doctors honestly can’t explain how she is alive today.

Thomas, who lives in West Virginia, is being called a medical miracle after she suffered two heart attacks and had no brain waves for more than 17 hours; reports NewsNet5.com.

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: Memorial One

Just before the Memorial Day weekend, AP ran a story about the soaring costs of a backyard barbecue. The price of everything from lighter fluid to food to paper plates is up, and people are "scaling down" for the grilling season.

Now, that must be sweet music to the large ears of Barack Obama, who recently scolded that "we can't drive our SUVs" or "eat as much as we want" or "keep our homes on, you know, 72 degrees all the time" -- because other countries resent our standard of living.

Almost 30 years ago, another Democrat, fool Jimmy Carter, issued a similar warning in his "malaise" speech. So many Americans were turned off by Carter's pessimistic view of America, and his incompetence, that he was driven from office.

Now, after three decades of a nonstop "blame America" pounding by the Drive-By Media, liberal academe, and the Democrat party, far too many Americans believe that hoping for less represents positive change and growth.

The "change" liberals seek is to transform America into a nation of deprivation -- all to appease our enemies and empower themselves. Theirs is an America that cannot flourish -- but would squander all that God, and those who came before us, have bequeathed. The America envisioned by our Founders -- and fought for by each successive generation -- is a land of opportunity, not limits. The chance for prosperity is freedom's birthright to those who work to achieve it in a land of bountiful natural resources, to be accessed and enjoyed as gifts from the Creator.

So grill away, folks! To hell with Obama, and to hell with AP!

Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
AP: Prices Soar for Memorial Day Fixins' for Barbecues
Townhall.com: Media Cover Up Obama's Malaise Speech

The educator rebuts...

By Steve Brenneis
Ars Mens Mentis


...this time with far less demagoguery, I applaud him for that. Once again, I will respond over
here and Andy is free to repost on The Bully Pulpit.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Oh, taxpayer, be a sport and bring my car around

By Scott Sexton
Winston-Salem Journal

The subject line in the e-mail was enough to grab anybody's attention: What would you drive if the taxpayers paid?

Good question. Certainly worth the 15 seconds it took to open the mail.

The subject line was actually the headline on a story from The New York Times about a little-known job perk available to members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Every one of them can lease a vehicle (or vehicles, plural) and send the bill to the taxpayers.

For whatever reason -- surely it's not a sense of fiscal responsibility -- U.S. senators may not do the same.

The Times looked primarily at representatives from New York and New Jersey, but it found that, overall, 125 of the 435 U.S. representatives lease vehicles.

That set reader Jim Shields to thinking.

"I wonder if any of North Carolina's members of the House avail themselves of this?" Shields wrote in that e-mail. "Do we need any further evidence government officials view taxpayers as mere ATMs to be tapped to provide for their own luxuries?"

More good questions. Certainly worth making calls to Washington and sending e-mail to the 13 offices of the representatives from North Carolina.

McCain Won't Play by Obama's Rules

By Bob Novak
Real Clear Politics

WASHINGTON, D.C. - When one of the Democratic Party's most astute strategists this week criticized John McCain for attacking Barack Obama's desire to engage Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, I asked what the Republican presidential candidate ought to talk about in this campaign. "Health care and the economy," he replied. That is a sure formula for Democratic victory, but it is one that McCain's campaign rejects.

Obama embraced that formula once it became clear that he would best Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. He began pounding McCain for seeking the third term of George W. Bush. At the same time, Obama implores McCain in the interest of "one nation" and "one people" not to attack him. The shorthand, widely repeated by the news media, is that the Republican candidate must not "Swift boat" Obama. That amounts to unilateral political disarmament by McCain.

McCain is not about to disarm. His campaign has no intention of fighting this battle on Democratic turf. During the more than five months ahead, Republicans will explore the mindset of this young man who is a stranger to most Americans. That includes his association with the Chicago leftist William Ayers, who has remained unrepentant about his violent role as a 1960s radical. This will not be popular with McCain's erstwhile admirers in the mainstream news media, but America has not heard the last of Bill Ayers in this campaign.

Court: Texas had no right to take polygamists' kids

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) - A state appellate court has ruled that child welfare
officials had no right to seize more than 400 children living at a polygamist sect's ranch.

The Third Court of Appeals in Austin ruled that the grounds for removing the children were "legally and factually insufficient" under Texas law. They did not immediately order the return of the children.

Child welfare officials removed the children on the grounds that the sect pushed underage girls into marriage and sex and trained boys to become future perpetrators.

The appellate court ruled the chaotic hearing held last month did not demonstrate the children were in any immediate danger, the only measure of taking children from their homes without court proceedings.

Madame President Clinton? Chelesa Clinton That Is

(ABC News) - Perhaps there will be a Madame President Clinton after all. No, not Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. How about former first daughter and active campaigner Chelsea Clinton?

"If you asked me (if Chelsea would run for office) before Iowa, I would have said, 'No way. She is too allergic to anything we do.' But she is really good at it," former President Bill Clinton tells PEOPLE magazine in their latest issue, hitting newsstands Friday.

In the PEOPLE exclusive, Clinton called his daughter's "emergence" the "second best thing" of the campaign, after his wife's "ability to endure in the face of all the blows that have been rained on her: outspent, dismissed, denigrated, declared dead...when I met her, I found that in her personal relationships she lacked self-confidence and was painfully shy. She is having more fun now than at the beginning. If you look at her, she seems perfectly relaxed, doesn't she?"

Can Clinton muscle to a VP nod?

(The Politico) - It is possible to muscle your way into a vice presidential nod: You have something the nominee wants, and he has to give it to you.

The question is: Does Hillary Clinton have that kind of muscle?

Ted Kennedy: I'd like wife to take seat

(NY Daily News) - Ted Kennedy has made clear to confidants that when his time is up, he wants his Senate seat to stay in the family - with his wife, Vicki.

Multiple sources in Massachusetts with close ties to the liberal lion say his wife of 16 years has long been his choice to continue carrying the family flame in the Senate. Kennedy won the seat in 1962; his brother John held it from 1953 to 1960.

"There's no question that he'd like Vicki to continue in his seat," said one Massachusetts Democrat with ties to the Camelot clan who spoke to Kennedy recently, before his health crisis.

An educator responds...

By Steve Brenneis
Ars Mens Mentis


...to my post on replacing the public schools. Most of the response is simply education blob boilerplate. He actually responded over at The Bully Pulpit but since the entry originated here, this is where I'll post my rebuttals (feel free to re-post at the BP, Andy):

Mr. Crawford begins with some of the most basic education lobby agit-prop...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wednesday Funnies :-)

Jay Leno: It was quite a weekend, politically. An estimated 75,000 people attended a Barack Obama rally on the banks of the Willamette River. And if you believe the media, listen to this: After the rally, Barack Obama fed them all with just five loaves of bread and two fish. ... The oldest serving member of Congress, former Klan member, Senator Robert Byrd, has endorsed Barack Obama for president. That’s got to make Hillary feel good, huh? Even the Klan guy is going, “I’m gonna go with the black guy.” ... Hillary Clinton is doing whatever she can to stay in the race. Yeah, things are not looking good for Hillary. In fact, today, she was thinking of changing her name to “Gas Prices” just to see her numbers go up. ... In response to climate change, Barack Obama said we can’t drive our SUVs, keep our houses at 72 degrees, and eat all we want. When Al Gore heard we can’t eat all we want, he called Obama a global warming fanatic. ... All eyes are on Al Gore now. Ooh, who’s Al Gore going to endorse? And analysts think Gore will jump on the Obama bandwagon. Have you seen the size of Al Gore lately? That could be the end of the bandwagon.

Barack Obama: Gaffe Machine

By Michelle Malkin
Human Events

All it takes is one gaffe to taint a Republican for life. The political establishment never let Dan Quayle live down his fateful misspelling of "potatoe." The New York Times distorted and misreported the first President Bush's questions about new scanner technology at a grocers' convention to brand him permanently as out of touch.

But what about Barack Obama? The guy's a perpetual gaffe machine. Let us count the ways, large and small, that his tongue has betrayed him throughout the campaign...

McCain Finds His Crisis in Global Warming

By John Stossel
Real Clear Politics


"Instead of idly debating the precise extent of global warming, ... we need to deal with the central facts of rising temperatures, rising waters, and all the endless troubles that global warming will bring. We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great. The most relevant question now is whether our own government is equal to the challenge".

With that, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain threw his support -- again -- to a complex government program to reduce carbon emissions. He claims he can do this, without causing economic hardship, by using the power of the free market.

As The Wall Street Journal commented, "His plan is 'market based' insofar as it requires an expensive, invasive government bureaucracy to interfere with the market".

Clinton may take delegate fight to convention

(Yahoo News) - Hillary Rodham Clinton says she is willing to take her fight to seat Florida and Michigan delegates to the convention if the two states want to go that far. In an interview with The Associated Press, Clinton was asked whether she would support the states if they continue the fight.

The presidential candidate said Wednesday, "Yes I will. I will, because I feel very strongly about this."

Clinton is calling for delegates from both states to be seated at the convention based on the primaries. Both states were stripped of their delegates because they voted early, violating national party rules. Clinton won both states; Barack Obama's name wasn't on the Michigan ballot.

The DNC's rules committee will hear an appeal on May 31.

Money for Nothing?

(Fox News) - Some late-night budget maneuvering in Maine's Democratic-run state legislature has preserved the $71,000 a year job of nuclear safety inspector. But, the state's only nuclear power plant was shut down in 1997, and the inspector position was eliminated by the state legislature three years ago.

The Waldo County Citizen newspaper reports Republicans say one Democratic lawmaker was actually trying to save the job of a longtime political ally who was nuclear safety adviser.

Instead, the inspector's job was saved, even though it does not officially exist. However, the man who has held that job for 30 years does not meet the original educational requirements for the position, so a new law must be written to allow him to stay on.

Blame Game

(Fox News) - While anti-Semitism flourishes in the Middle East and Europe, and racial genocide is underway in Africa, the United Nations has decided it needs to investigate racism in America.

The U.N. special rapporteur on racism, xenophobia and intolerance is in the U.S. for a three week tour that will take him to several cities. The New York Sun reports a statement from the U.N. said the investigator will look into whether racism plays a role in the presidential campaign and other unidentified issues.

The U.S. is officially welcoming the visit, but U.N. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told The Washington Post, "I think it's important for the [U.N.] Human Rights Council to spend its time on real problems and the problems of violations of human rights of countries that are notorious violators."

Tough to Swallow

(Fox News) - Democrats running this summer's national convention in Denver have told caterers who want to work the host committee's official events to have eco-friendly proposals ready.

The Denver Post reports fried foods will be forbidden, along with liquid served in individual plastic containers. Plates must be reusable, recyclable or compostable. And, the food must be local, organic or both.

That last one has caterers a bit concerned about practicality and cost, since the growing season is short and the Denver area is often arid. Organizers say caterers will need to be creative, but should still be able to make a profit.

Bad Bet?

(Fox News) - The political action committee for the nation's largest government workers union has had to take out a $1 million loan to replenish its coffers following the expenditure of more than $2 million in support of Hillary Clinton.

The Washington Times reports the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees national executive board has angered some state affiliates which have thrown their support behind Barack Obama.

The executive director of one Oregon branch says national President Gerald McEntee ignored his requests not to campaign for Clinton ahead of Tuesday's primary.

Ken Allen says, "McEntee's actions are disrespectful to our Oregon leaders, members and a waste of money. Given the status of the race at this time his efforts are probably meaningless."

But McEntee is standing by his decision, citing the national board's 23-to-10 vote to endorse Senator Clinton.

Tweetsie plan given green light

BOONE (Winston-Salem Journal) - Watauga County commissioners unanimously approved an incentives agreement yesterday to keep Tweetsie Railroad open.

The county will pay $3.15 million -- money that it will eventually recover, with interest -- to resolve a long-standing land issue that threatened to close the family-owned theme park, which is an anchor for millions of dollars in county tourism spending.

The train runs across land that the park does not own but leases. Rising property values mean that two minority owners of the leased property are no longer willing to lease land to Tweetsie when they could sell or develop it for much more money.

Obama inching ever closer to nomination

(Yahoo News) - Close to securing the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama is lavishing attention on Florida and its wreckage of a presidential primary while minding his manners with Hillary Rodham Clinton — a rival he now can afford to praise.

Obama detoured Wednesday from the campaign for the three remaining primaries — Puerto Rico, Montana, South Dakota — to rally in a state where its renegade primary was disallowed. Clinton, too, was in Florida, pressing to narrow her gap with Obama by having delegates counted from its contest in January.

Obama was just 65 delegates short of the 2,026 needed to clinch the nomination, after another superdelegate endorsement Wednesday and a pair of primaries the night before. Clinton thrashed him in Kentucky; he answered by winning Oregon.

Kennedy being released from hospital, returning to Cape Cod

(Yahoo News) - Doctors said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy would be released from the hospital on Wednesday after being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor that experts say is almost certainly fatal.

His doctors said the Massachusetts Democrat "has recovered remarkably quickly" from a biopsy conducted after he suffered a seizure last weekend at his home on Cape Cod. He will await further test results and treatment options while convalescing at his home over the Memorial Day weekend, the doctors said in a statement.

The 76-year-old senator, the last son in a famed political family, was diagnosed with a malignant glioma in his left parietal lobe — which helps govern sensation, movement and language — after suffering a seizure in his home Saturday morning.

US Senate Contends With Ill and Aging Members

(AP) - Edward M. Kennedy, Robert Byrd, Arlen Specter -- fighters and history-makers all. Their battles with age and illness are the hallmarks of the nation's oldest-ever Senate and reminders of the fragility of power.

The over-70 crowd is a caucus all its own, fond of self-deprecating humor and kindnesses that cross party lines. Ninety is the new 80, Byrd quipped recently.

There is no more forgiving place to age, as Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina could attest. He died in 2003 at 100, then the longest serving senator in history.

Still, news of the 76-year-old Kennedy's malignant brain tumor Tuesday was a heartbreaker even for this wizened group, which has seen spouses and friends fall before them.

Hamilton Jordan, Aide in Carter White House, Dies at 63

ATLANTA (Fox News) — Hamilton Jordan, a political strategist from south Georgia who helped propel Jimmy Carter to the White House and served as his chief of staff, died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer.

Jordan, 63, died at his home in Atlanta about 7:30 p.m., said Gerald Rafshoon, who was Carter's chief of communications.

"He was a great strategist. He just couldn't strategize his way out of this," Rafshoon said from his home in Washington.

A Simple Idea

By Steve Brenneis
Ars Mens Mentis

I've said it before. Public education is a broken idea. It can't be fixed. We need to engage the business/economic concept of a sunk cost and abandon it. Continuing to throw good money after bad is foolish.

Other than as an identification for Internet curmudgeons, the above is not a useful statement on its own. So what's the alternative? What should we do?

...Government-operated schools are not and never have been about education. They are about indoctrination and social engineering. Most students who actually manage to glean something of an education from public school have largely done so under their own power, especially in the last thirty years. It's time to admit that the idea, like all collectivist ideas, has the best intentions, but that it was doomed to failure to begin with. Time to move on.

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: Mercy, Mercy Me!

Original Airdate: March 6, 2008

Folks, primary bottom line: I succeeded -- Hillary isn't going away. As Democrats continue their bloody, uncivil war, we can momentarily turn our attention westward...

... To Ventura County, California. They produce a quarter of all the strawberries America consumes there. But now those berry producers are being buried by new regulations. The pesticides that farmers use to keep their crops from being destroyed by pests supposedly produce too much smog. So, in order to meet yet another Federal Clean Air Act legal mandate, the farmers must cut fumes in half -- now.

Last year, 12,000 acres of strawberries were harvested in Ventura County, with a market value of $323 million. California's Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the latest mandate will leave farmers no choice but to strip production from over 7,000 acres.

Now, this is a first -- even in California. In the past, when one pesticide was banned, others could be substituted. The new regs ban all pesticides -- leaving no option for farmers -- except leaving the ground unplanted. Some will lose their livelihood. These new regulations, by the way, will also result in higher food prices nationwide. Other crops: also affected.

Score another victory for the environmentalist wackos; another loss for the people who make this country work. As for you farmers in California, why don't you see if you can be placed on the "endangered species" list, next to the kangaroo rat or spotted owl. Maybe liberals will show you a little mercy... then.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Wondering" what happened :-)

1989 highway deal likely to hit a dead end this year

By Paul O'Connor
Winston-Salem Journal

RALEIGH - For most of us, a deal is a long-term commitment. In politics, a promise upheld for more than 10 minutes is a success.

That's why the deal that legislators, former Gov. Jim Martin and his transportation secretary, Jim Harrington, struck in 1989 has been remarkable. Their agreement to expand highway construction revenues while holding the General Fund harmless has pretty much survived intact since that day.

Alas, as an editor once said when he fired me, "All good things must come to an end." And so must the 1989 deal that gave the Highway Trust Fund claim to new and expanded taxes related to the sale of automobiles and other transportation-related products. It probably won't survive the 2008 session of the General Assembly.

North Carolina, The Laughingstock

By John Hood
Carolina Journal Online

RALEIGH – North Carolina continues to be a laughingstock in national education-reform circles – a fact that would come as a surprise to the many North Carolina politicians, journalists, and activists who live in blissful ignorance of reality.

As I have frequently noted, the state’s Blarney Tradition is one of the most debilitating impediments to our progress. Essentially, the state's political class believes its own B.S.

New push for popular vote

(Charlotte Observer) - Advocates for electing the president by popular vote are seizing on the fresh memories of candidates fawning over North Carolina's primary to push changes to the way the commander in chief is elected.

A bill that passed the state Senate last year and is awaiting action in the House would add North Carolina to a coalition of states that pledge to elect the president by national popular vote instead of the current state-by-state system.

The legislation doesn't take effect until it is passed by enough states to total 270 electoral votes, the number needed to elect a president. Once they reach that number, all of those states will award their electors as a bloc to the winner of the national popular vote.

Doctors say Sen. Edward Kennedy has a brain tumor

(Yahoo News) - Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has a malignant brain tumor. Doctors for the Massachusetts Democrat say tests conducted after Kennedy suffered a seizure this weekend show a tumor in his left parietal lobe. Preliminary results from a biopsy of the brain identified the cause of the seizure as a malignant glioma, they said.

His treatment will be decided after more tests but the usual course includes combinations of radiation and chemotherapy.

The 76-year-old senator has been hospitalized in Boston since Saturday, when he was airlifted from Cape Cod after a seizure at his home.

His wife and children have been with him each day but have made no public statements.

His doctors said in a statement released to The Associated Press that he has had no further seizures, is in good spirits and is resting comfortably.

Malignant gliomas are a type of brain cancer diagnosed in about 9,000 Americans a year — and the most common type among adults. It's a starting diagnosis: How well patients fare depends on what specific tumor type is determined by further testing.

Average survival can range from less than a year for very advanced and aggressive types — such as glioblastomas — or to about five years for different types that are slower growing.

Government Policies Drive Up Energy Costs

RALEIGH (Carolina Journal Online) – As energy costs climb in North Carolina, state lawmakers are contributing to the problem with misguided policies targeting climate change. A new John Locke Foundation Spotlight report delivers that warning.

“North Carolina policymakers regularly express concern about the costs of energy, such as high gasoline prices,” said report co-author Daren Bakst, JLF Legal and Regulatory Policy Analyst. “Yet their actions tell a different story. They would serve the state’s taxpayers and consumers more effectively by focusing on policies to ensure low-cost energy.”

Lawmakers should not ignore North Carolina’s need for low-cost energy, Bakst said. “This is not a luxury,” he said. “Low-cost energy is a requirement to fulfill our most basic needs. Energy is an input for every product we use. Higher energy prices make it more expensive to purchase all of the things we value most, including critical items such as health care, housing, and food.”

Hillary's Not Out

In answer to Robert's question:

...I'd like see if he [Steve] would explain how he sees things unfolding in the race.

First, let me say that I no longer believe Hillary is inevitable (that term is getting pretty trite, eh?), but I do still think she will be the nominee.

The thing to keep in mind is that the delegate count going in to the convention is meaningless. Of course, if Obama had an overwhelming lead, the convention would be hard pressed to override the "will of the people," but the Democrats have shown, time and time again that they will do just that. But Obama doesn't have that commanding lead. And things are getting worse for him.

Obama is disintegrating rapidly. He has utterly botched the handling of his noisy and noisesome preacher, he threw his own grandmother under the bus with his "typical white person" comment, he refuses to shut his wife up. The latter is getting more and more problematic for him. She certainly has a right to say whatever she wants to, but voters also have a right to go elsewhere when her haughty, left-wing opinions piss them off. And even worse, he is not faring well in this dust-up with McCain over her. It is showing the Democratic leadership that he may not be able to take McCain one on one.

There are hurricane-force winds blowing against the GOP right now. I predict a debacle for them that will make the Democrats' route in 1994 look like a hand slap. Amazingly enough, Obama appears to be the only Democrat who could possibly lose to McCain. He is radically left-wing, Peggy Noonan's case of the vapors notwithstanding. His wife, who appears to have at least as much influence as Hillary did in 1992, is even more radically left-wing. He is associated with radical Black separatism. On top of all of that, he doesn't even have any strong base among the anti-war crowd. McCain recently stole his thunder on that issue as well.

On the other hand, the Clintons have shown that they can effectively win elections and implement an agenda, even with a whole bus-load of skeletons hanging around their necks. Sure nobody likes Hillary, but nobody likes McCain either. The small fraction of people who are actually going to vote in this election don't seem to have personal affection for the candidates as one of their voting booth issues.

So, on balance, considering that the Democratic nomination will occur in the smoky back room, and considering that the Clintons have a proven track record of being able to march over the GOP, even when the Republicans were much stronger than they are now, and given that Obama is unraveling at an exponential rate, I just don't see how anyone could arrive at any other outcome.

Appeals Court: Paper Money Discriminates Against Blind

WASHINGTON (Fox News) — The U.S. discriminates against blind people by printing paper money that makes it impossible for them to distinguish the bills' value, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The ruling upholds a decision by a lower court in 2006. It could force the Treasury Department to redesign its money. Suggested changes have ranged from making bills different sizes to printing them with raised markings.

The U.S. acknowledges that the design hinders blind people but it argued they had adapted —some relied on store clerks for help, some used credit cards and others folded certain corners to help distinguish the bills.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-1 that such adaptations were insufficient. The government might as well argue that, since handicapped people can crawl on all fours or ask for help from strangers, there's no need to make buildings wheelchair accessible, the court said.

The court also ruled that the U.S. failed to explain why changing the money would be an undue burden. The Treasury Department has redesigned its currency several times in recent years and adding features to aid the blind would come at a relatively small cost, the court said.

Other countries have added such features, the court said, and the U.S. never explained what made its situation so unique.

Geraldine Ferraro, calling Barack Obama "sexist," may not back him

(Los Angeles Times) - Might fully one-third of the six surviving Democratic vice presidential nominees end up opposing their party's national ticket this November?

That possibility arose today based on comments Geraldine Ferraro, the 1984 Democratic veep candidate, made to The New York Times.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, who occupied the No. 2 slot for the Democrats in 2000, months ago declared for presumptive Republican White House nominee John McCain.

And Ferraro, a staunch Hillary Clinton supporter who sparked a brouhaha earlier this year over whether she made a racially dismissive remark about Barack Obama, apparently is no longer a reliable Democratic vote.

Ferraro, in the NYT story, terms Obama "terribly sexist." And, as a result, she says she may not be able to cast her ballot for him if, as anticipated, he gains the Democratic presidential nod.

On the positive side for Democrats, no signs of apostasy are emanating from the four other one-time party veep candidates still alive -- John Edwards (the '04 nominee who officially signed on with Obama last week), Al Gore (the nominee in 1992 and '96), Walter Mondale (the 1976 and 1980 nominee) and Sargent Shriver (George McGovern's running mate in 1972 -- they may have gotten trounced by the GOP's Richard Nixon/Spiro Agnew pairing, but their longevity is impressive).

Obesity fuels growing ‘boy-boob’ problem

(Times Online) - Obesity has been blamed for the growing problem of “boy-boobs” – cases of teenage boys with breasts so well developed that surgery is needed to reduce them.

Doctors at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool say that they are seeing dozens of teenagers every year with gynaecomastia, the condition in which males develop breasts.

Christian Duncan, a plastic surgeon specialising in obesity-related surgery, said that in the past 12 months he had performed at least 20 breast-reduction operations on young boys who had developed the condition.

Oil crosses $129 for first time, heads for $130

Crude oil futures pass $129 a barrel for the first time, likely headed past $130

VIENNA, Austria (AP) -
Oil prices have have spiked to a new trading high, sweeping past $129 a barrel.

The June contract for light, sweet crude traded as high as $129.31 in pre-opening trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Prices are currently being driven higher by supply concerns. This latest surge comes after OPEC's president was quoted as saying his organization won't increase its output before its next meeting in September.

The imminent expiration of the June contract is adding to the volatility. The contract will end at the close of trading Tuesday.

Republican Ghouls

By Steve Brenneis
Ars Mens Mentis

There seems to be a growing sector of the Republican faithful who are engaging in a ghoulish voting strategy. As an aside, I think voting strategies are sublimely fruitless. The power brokers love it when group-think produces one of these idiotic movements. The outcomes sought by those who strategize almost never happen and the only winners are the oligarchs. The electoral winner chuckles all the way to Washington. As always, the corollary is that the hapless strategists fall right back into the trap during the next election cycle.

This group of GOP True Believers finds itself very interested in John McCain's selection of a Vice Presidential running mate.Their hope (wish?) is that McCain will carry some "real conservative" into office with him. The ghoulish part of the strategy requires McCain to have the good grace to die, hopefully not long after he takes office. The rationale is that McCain would be the oldest person to take office as President, therefore having him kick the bucket before he can do any damage is not utter wishful thinking. Unfortunately for them, McCain genuinely seems to thrive on attention and power. I don't have any trouble visualizing an 80 year old McCain waving bye bye as he leaves office in 2017.

The point is moot, though. If McCain picks a sufficiently attractive "true conservative" to be his running mate, this sort of weird voting strategy might just bring out a few more conservatives in the fall. I don't think it will be enough to save McCain from the utter drubbing he will take at the hands of the Clinton machine, though.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Not So Special

By W. James Antle III
The American Spectator

While most political aficionados were watching the presidential campaign, another Republican lost a special congressional election. Last week Democrat Travis Childers beat Republican Greg Davis in Mississippi's First Congressional District. The seat was previously held by Republican Roger Wicker, who is now in the Senate, making this a Democratic pickup.

Score one for the Democrats. Or three, actually -- this is the third time the Democrats have won a special congressional election this year in a traditionally GOP-friendly district. Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert's seat fell to the Democrats when political neophyte Bill Foster defeated Republican Jim Oberweis in an Illinois district that voted 54 percent for George W. Bush in 2004. Democrat Don Cazayoux edged out Republican Woody Jenkins in Louisiana, picking up a seat formerly held by Republican Russell Baker in a district Bush carried with 59 percent. The district that elected Childers voted 62 percent for Bush.

Does any of this matter? In terms of the Republican brand's overall weakness, these special elections are just a drop in the bucket. Abysmal candidate recruitment and even worse fundraising are likely to make this fall's congressional elections a GOP bloodbath. Even so, those who say these three races aren't terribly representative have some solid arguments on their side.

GOP Drinking Its Bath Water

By Bob Novak
Real Clear Politics

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, at age 38 and having served less than five terms, did not leap over a dozen of his seniors to become ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee by bashing GOP leaders. But an angry Ryan last Wednesday delivered unscripted remarks on the House floor as the farm bill neared passage: "This bill is an absence of leadership. This bill shows we are not leading."

Ryan's fellow reformer, 45-year-old Jeff Flake of Arizona, in his fourth term, is less cautious about defying the leadership and has been kept off key committees. On Wednesday, he said of a $300 billion bill that raises farm subsidies and is filled with non-farm pork, "Sometimes, here in Washington, we tend to drink our own bath water and believe our own press releases."

A majority of both Senate and House Republicans voted for a bill that raises spending 44 percent above last year's, dooming chances to sustain President Bush's promised veto. GOP leaders were divided, with Bush sounding an uncertain trumpet. Today's Republican Party -- divided, drifting, demoralized -- is epitomized by the farm bill.

Remembering the Gipper...


“[W]e are currently in the midst of a re-ordering of the political realities that have shaped our time. We know today that the principles and values that lie at the heart of conservatism are shared by the majority. Despite what some in the press may say, we who are proud to call ourselves ‘conservative’ are not a minority of a minority party; we are part of the great majority of Americans of both major parties and of most of the independents as well.”
Ronald Reagan

The GOP in distress

Election Issue

By Steve Brenneis
Ars Mens Mentis

Greensboro, NC city water tastes like butt.

No, I've never actually tasted anyone's butt, but I can imagine what it would taste like if I did.

I think that one of the candidates for local office should make this an election issue. I would vote for anyone who said they would make the water taste like water, or better yet, have no taste at all. One of the candidates should run a TV ad that says, "I will make the water stop tasting like butt." I think it's a winner.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

WASHINGTON (New York Times) — When it comes time to recount the story of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s descent from inevitable nominee to defeat at the hands of Senator Barack Obama — assuming that is how this ends up — there is no shortage of mistakes by the Clinton campaign to put on the what-went-wrong list.

But without in any way discounting the travails of the Clinton organization, there have also been a series of external events in this Democratic nominating fight — events largely beyond the control of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign — that, had they gone differently, might just have resulted in a different outcome. Politics is often as much about luck as it is about skill; the Clinton campaign arguably ran short on both this year.

Here, in no particular order, are some of the factors and developments that undercut her candidacy, some self-inflicted, others inflicted upon her.

SORRY MIKE

(Washington Prowler) - Talk inside the McCain campaign is that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee isn't going to be given the high profile role in the general election campaign that he expected. "He's just not a team player and doesn't seem particularly committed to seeing John McCain win in November," says one McCain insider.

Before getting into the race himself, Huckabee famously told political supporters in Arkansas that he thought it would be a good thing for Hillary Clinton to win the presidency in 2008. On the campaign trail, Huckabee disputed that he'd made the remark, except one of the sources was one of Huckabee's ministers.

Huckabee, meanwhile, has turned down opportunities to serve as a surrogate for McCain, and instead is spending much of his time either auditioning for cable TV commentator gigs or attending fundraisers for House Republican candidates.

"Huckabee is more interested in laying the groundwork for his next campaign, not in seeing Republicans win the White House," says a House Republican. "He's looking to collect chits from us for down the road."

While the McCain campaign may have given up on Huckabee, it hasn't given up on reaching out to some of the higher profile evangelical Christian leaders, including Focus on the Family leader James Dobson.

McCain made of point of not currying favor with the evangelical community during the primary season, and now is doing what he can to tap into that important group for the general election. Dobson, according to McCain insiders, has been cool to the outreach, but not overtly dismissive.

NARAL Pro-Choice Obama

KAMALA OVER HILLARY

(Washington Prowler) -
One reason that the national board of NARAL, the pro-abortion lobbying organization, endorsed Sen. Barack Obama, and encouraged its state membership to do the same, was a series of behind the scenes conversations between the Obama campaign and NARAL.

"The message was, get on board or risk losing influence," says an Obama strategist. "We needed one of these [feminist or pro-abortion] groups to step up and walk away from Hillary. NARAL did it, and to its credit under great danger to its credibility with its membership."

NARAL has since been bombarded by its members with hate mail and threats of loss of donations for a perceived abandonment of Clinton. But as part of the conversation with NARAL, Obama advisers suggested that Obama was more likely to put in place key feminist and pro-abortion activists than Clinton. "The name that kept popping up was [San Francisco District Attorney] Kamala Harris. The campaign promised she'd become increasingly higher profile with Obama, and the women's groups love her," says another Obama strategist.

Harris is viewed as one of the most radical local elective office holders in the country, a district attorney who has refused to seek the death penalty even against cop-killers, and who has won high praise from the homosexual and pro-abortion lobbies that have strong bases in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Harris has been mentioned for high profile jobs in an Obama Administration, with some claiming she could be a dark-horse candidate for Attorney General. "She's smart, with not a lot of experience, but given where the Senate could be [with 60 Democrats], confirmation of someone this unqualified for that important a job wouldn't be far-fetched," says a San Francisco Democratic operative. "That's one reason why the campaign wants to give her a higher profile in the coming months, to test her."