Monday, January 30, 2006

Kerry's Military Filibuster

With all the political posturing of the last week by our good friend, the respected Senator from Massachusetts, I got to wondering... Whatever happened to that Form 180 that Mr. Kerry promised to sign releasing full access of his military records for public scrutiny?

It has been exactly one year since John Kerry made that promise on Meet the Press to unveil this own military records. To my knowledge, and the extent of my search engine prowess, he has not done so. While the mainstream American media seems unsure whether to laud or laugh at his efforts to filibuster the Alito confirmation, the talking heads seem blissfully unaware of Kerry's year-long filibuster of the truth about his own military service (or lack thereof).

Yes, yes, I can already hear the derision of the left that we conservatives just cannot let go of the past: instead of focusing on the evils of President Bush (who, may I remind you, won the last election), we try to distract America's attention by pulling up overblown issues from an election that is dead and gone.

But since the media has already begun salivating over another potential Kerry run in 2008, we need to maintain the watch. Who else will do it... CBS?

UPDATE: I was reminded by our friend Pat of Brainster's Blog that Kerry did in fact do a "limited release" of his records last summer:
Basically he submitted the Form to allow three media outlets (the Boston Globe and the LA Times are two, can't remember the third right now) to get the records. There is some belief though that Kerry had them scrubbed first, and the Globe and Times have not made public the information they received, just synopsized it for news articles they wrote on the subject.
Brainster wrote about it at the time, with a lot more info than I remembered having seen. Thanks, Pat!

Thanks a Million for METRO Safety

click image for larger version of the banner
Last Thursday morning, Edd Hendee told his radio audience about a banner adorning the Lee P. Brown METRO Administration Building -- a sign proclaiming "70+ Million Safe Miles." Not ten minutes later, the morning traffic reporter warned drivers to avoid a certain downtown Houston intersection that was the site of the most recent accident involving METRO's celebrated light rail train.

According to Action America, Thursday morning's light rail accident was at least the fourth just since the beginning of this year, from a light rail program that averages approximately one accident every six days since its inception in 2004. (The national average for light rail accidents in 7.5 miles of track is around 4 per year.) And only days before, a METRO bus struck a pedestrian in northeast Houston, ultimately killing her. So how can the transit authority back up its impressive claims of safety?

It took a little searching, but I came across this METRO newsletter [PDF file, see page 3] from the spring of 2005, which described the reason for the months-old banner and adds a little information to the puzzling safety record celebrations.
METRO Says "Thanks a Million!" to Elite Group of Bus Operators

METRO President & CEO Frank J. Wilson recently said "Thanks a Million!" to a group of 72 Bus Operators who have contributed the most to making METRO one of the safest transit systems in the nation. They are members of the elite Million Mile Club -- Operators who have driven on Houston roadways for 1 million miles or 25,000 consecutive vehicle hours -- without a preventable accident!
I'm not quite sure what METRO calls a "preventable" accident -- whoever defines that must also be the one to declare that only one of the over 130 confirmed light rail incidents was the fault of the train operators.

Immediately below the "Thanks a Million!" picture and announcement is another brief notice about METRO breaking their safety record again:
For the third year in a row, METRO has set a new record for safety, posting its lowest number of accidents ever per 100,000 revenue miles. ... The new figures represent a 33 percent decrease in METRO's accident rate since 2000. "Safety is no accident at METRO," said President & CEO Frank J. Wilson. "We are dedicated to being the safest system in the country."

Friday, January 27, 2006

A Little Respect for Janet Reno

This video posted by The Political Teen is just so wrong on so many levels.

Plus, in respect for Ms. Reno, a "Separated at birth?" file from the archives...

Resistance to Voter Fraud Prevention

I have to admit that I had not heard about this before, but the Independent Conservative has been keeping tabs on Georgia's recent efforts to prevent voter fraud. Apparently the "poverty pimps" are up in arms about the state's latest efforts to require all Georgian voters to show photo ID, even though the IDs will be provided for free.
So now the law has been revised, to give away voter ID cards for free to anyone. All of GA's 159 counties will have equipment to make the cards. The Governor just signed the bill. Do you think that the Poverty Pimps and Race Hustlers are yelling "free at last"? Nope! They are still crying that even a FREE FOR ALL process is discrimination against the poor, elderly and minorities. Obviously free somehow discriminates. The real reason they keep crying is because they know fraud often favors Democrats. Dead voters and other shady activity has been going on in Georgia, but some claim there is no fraud at polls on election day.
An interesting read, with some good links and background information on the state's multi-year efforts.

Like Arguing with a Liberal

Sarge Vining has been butting heads with liberals for a long time. Recently, he shared his view of liberal debate tactics:
1. SHOW UP WITH YOUR TALKING POINTS. Make sure you have something that you feel will show your opponents in a negative light, and make that the subject of the discussion.

2. DEMONIZE YOU OPPONENT. Attempt to cover them with shame, the same way you would a 4 year old that touches his pee-pee.

3. IF YOU SEE SOMEONE DOING #2 ABOVE, SUPPORT HIM IMMEDIATELY.

4. ACCUSE YOU OPPONENT OF SAYING SOMETHING HE DIDN’T. Attempt to define his statements in a negative light. Interpret them this way and state it as fact that he did actually say it. NEVER ask him…always TELL him what his meaning was.
And it gets much, much better. In true military style, the Sarge doesn't care as much about tact as about getting the point across. Read the whole post for the full list.

Kerry's Filibuster an Uphill Climb

Ever hear the name John Kerry? You know, the one that fueled two years' worth of really good blogging material during the 2004 Presidential Campaign. "Why the long face, Sen. Kerry?" Yup, that's the one.

Well, the Respected Senator from Massachusetts is in the news yet again... but not from Massachusetts. Hard at work forwarding the liberal agenda of the leftwing fringe of the Democratic Party, Sen. Kerry has announced plans to call for a filibuster on the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito. From Switzerland.
"I think it was a historic day yesterday. It was the first ever call for a filibuster from the slopes of Davos, Switzerland," [Bush spokesman Scott] McClellan said. "Maybe Senator Kerry needs to be spending more time in the United States Senate so he can refresh his memory on Senate rules. Senate rules say you have to have the votes in order to filibuster."
Republicans and even several of Kerry's fellow Democrats have played down the possibility of a filibuster, stating that Alito's supporters seemed to have at least the 60 votes needed to stop the political maneuver.
Earlier Thursay, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, who is in charge of rounding up his colleagues for key votes, also played down the possibility of a filibuster, though he said no decision had been made.

"One of the first responsibilities of someone in Congress is to learn how to count," the Illinois Democrat said. "Having made a count, I have come to the conclusion it is highly unlikely that a filibuster would succeed."
Ouch! But wait, there's more!
Democrats cringed and Republicans laughed at his gesture, which almost no one in the Senate expects to succeed.

"God Bless John Kerry," said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a member of the Judiciary Committee. "He just cinched this whole nomination. With Senator Kerry, it is Christmas every day."
(Was that Christmas in Cambodia, or just any regular old Christmas?)
Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, sounded almost apologetic about Kerry's move. "No one can complain on this matter that there hasn't been sufficient time to talk about Judge Alito, pro and con," Reid said on the Senate floor. "I hope that this matter will be resolved without too much more talking."
Political analysts speculate that Kerry's posturing may actually have more to do with hopes for another run at the presidency in the next elections:
"...This is more about Kerry positioning himself for the 2008 presidential nomination than it is about Judge Alito. Kerry's allies believe this is a golden opportunity for Kerry to whip up support among the left, liberals very concerned that the high court is now tilting far to the right. The potential problem for Kerry is that this could turn off middle-of-the-road voters who help to decide those presidential elections.
[From the CNN video clip linked to in the above article.]
With Sen. Hillary Clinton at least talking a little more like a moderate of late, Kerry has no where else to turn but to the more liberal leftwing extremists for support in the initial stages of a primary battle. Sen. Kerry himself has started the media salivating with his non-committal remarks on the subject:
Asked whether he would run again, Kerry told The Associated Press: "We'll tell you somewhere down the line." Asked whether he would not rule it out, Kerry said: "No -- I haven't."
Oh, well, at least he'll have Teddy Kennedy's support. (Hic!)


UPDATE: LST commenter SargeVining has a great take on the Switzerland angle:
I know you guys like to give John Kerry a hard time and all, but I learned yesterday that he’s at an important Economic Conference in the middle of ski season, and I know from pictures we used to see of him at Killington, Cannon Mountain and other New England ski slopes that he’s making quite a sacrifice in going to that Economic conference instead going skiing in the mountains of the Northeast like he’d really like to do. I mean, it looks like the guy is always working for us.....giving up vacations and stuff. I mean, seriously guys, he really, really, really loves to ski, and I hear the slopes in New Hampshire and Vermont are smoking this year….even the Massachusetts slopes have lots of tasty snow, so for him to be out of town at a boring old Economic Conference....I just know he’d rather be skiing...

(Ring...Ring)

Hold on second, guys..... I need to get the phone.

Hello....Yah, this is Sarge...

Oh, really? SWITZERLAND?... The conference is in SWITZERLAND? Is that the Switzerland with all the Alps, you know, the big mountains with the Olympic ski slopes, THAT Switzerland?......It IS?.......OK, Thanks.

Click

Never mind, guys.....

Thursday, January 26, 2006

More John Wayne

Apparently it's been quite a news day for John Wayne (see my previous post for more). In today's New York Daily News, columnist Richard Cohen compares today's Democrats to the legendary Hollywood cowboy, and the Dems are the ones smelling like horse manure.
The latest poll is not good for the Democrats. I am not talking here of the one showing George Bush's approval rating inching up. I'm talking about the recently released Harris Poll showing John Wayne, one of the most popular movie stars of 2005. The one thing he and the Democratic Party have in common is that they are both dead.

Wayne was the quintessential anti-Democrat. Everything he stood for - from support for the Vietnam War to antipathy to the '60s and '70s counterculture - was in consonance with GOP positions. More important, though, his iconic man-on-horseback image has been adopted by virtually the entire Republican Party.
As Mr. Cohen closes, "The Duke is still king." Long live the Duke!

The Grand Old Days of Hollywood

I was browsing the web this morning, trying to remember the name of an old John Wayne movie that I hadn't seen in forever (it was The Fighting Sea-Bees, by the way), when I came across this editorial in today's edition of a small-town newspaper from Somerville, Tennessee. The writer, Chuck Warzyn, has penned a great little piece here, an entertaining but true lament for the grand old days of Hollywood, when men weren't afraid to be men and parents weren't afraid to take their children to the movies. As Mr. Warzyn asks, "Where's John Wayne when we need him?"
This country started going downhill when Don Knotts' character, Mayberry Deputy Barney Fife, left The Andy Griffith Show. Playing with toy soldiers and cap pistols became politically incorrect; it became possible to buy peanut butter and jelly mixed together in the same jar, and professional baseball's American League created the designated hitter and no longer required pitchers to go to bat.

Things especially started going to pieces in our society when John Wayne passed on to that big ranch in the sky in 1979.

The Duke, as he was affectionately known, symbolized the gutsy, he-man aspects of this country that have helped make the United States the most powerful country in the world; one that other countries look to for guidance in areas from military might and diplomacy to health care and the arts.
...
I ask you, what sort of names are "Leonardo" and "Orlando"? Those aren't first names for manly-man movie actors. They're names for meadow fairies.
I can't say for sure, but I get the feeling Mr. Warzyn would likely join the president in not going to see Brokeback Mountin'.

That Certainly Didn't Take Long...

In spite of their tough talk and political posturing prior to Wednesday's Palestinian elections, leaders of the European Union lost no time in returning to their modus operandi of appeasement when the results indicated a victory by the anti-Israel terrorist organization Hamas.

European Union officials ... released statements that the EU will support any democratically-elected government in the Palestinian Authority (PA), showing the first sign of backing down from its anti-Hamas pre-election statements.

According to an Israel Radio report quoting senior EU officials, the EU supports any government that will work towards ending the conflict with Israel, seeking to bring peace to the region.
The "peace" angle is somewhat questionable, since the sworn objective of the Islamic extremist Hamas is the total obliteration of Israel.

The Islamist movement [Hamas], which is officially committed to the destruction of the Jewish state, is on the EU's list of banned terrorist groups after a series of suicide bombings and rocket attacks on Israel.
I'm not sure how many years of murder and bombings it takes to escalate from "a series of ... attacks" to "years of bloody terrorist attacks," but apparently in the eyes of Reuters UK that milestone is yet to be reached. (I also have to wonder exactly which terrorist groups are acceptable in Europe, if they have a specific list of the banned ones; but I digress.) But it looks like the European leaders (is France in charge this year?) have joined former US President Jimmy Carter in redefining Hamas' bloody history.

The governments of Israel and the United States have already stated that they "have ruled out dealing with Hamas in government." The EU needs to wake up and take a look around to see what is really happening in that boiling pot we call the Middle East.


UPDATE: DANEgerus has some good words (and pictures) on the subject, including a chronological listing of terrorist attacks perpetrated by Hamas. A very long list.
[Hat-tip: Brainster]

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

NG: Who's Winning in Iraq?

I just spotted this brief review on independent journalist Michael Yon's website:
National Geographic has published one of most intelligently written pieces on Iraq I have seen. I do not know the writer, Frank Viviano, or the photographer, Ed Kashi, but their collaboration entitled "Who's Winning in Iraq" is precise and cogent.
Michael has links to a preview of the article. While you are there, take a look at his new website and blog. I am sure you will be as pleased as I was, and I know you will find plenty of good reading to enjoy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Picture of the Day

Terrorists' (and liberals') worst nightmare:



Hat-tip: The Good Lieutenant

The Enemy of My Enemy Is ... a Chicken?

Last weekend's news from the Middle East has turned some liberal activists' world upside down, and thrown more than a few California blondes into a headspin. No, we're not talking about news from Iraq, or Afghanistan, or even the latest on the nuclear ambitions of Iran.

Today's Democrat Party is ruled by an unholy alliance of radical leftwing extremists. Now, I'm not talking about the rank-and-file, everyday citizen that leans a little left of center in their views and their voting habits. I'm talking about the Party, the leadership -- or more accurately, the folks who the Democrat leadership think they must appease in order to keep their power base. Within the movers and shakers of the DNC cause are groups as diverse as NOW, PETA, the NAACP, the Sierra Club, MoveOn.org, the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Council, the American-Iranian Council, the ACLU, and many others. With so many diverse goals and agendas, the main things that bind these organizations together are a common liberal philosophy and a common set of enemies: President George W. Bush-Hitler, the Nazis of the Republican Party, and the evil brown-shirt conservatives that seem to rule the American heartland with an iron thumb. Simply put, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." Or at least my political ally.

Let's take, for instance, PETA -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Dozens of celebrities -- including such big names as Playboy Bunny Pamela Anderson [PDF], comedienne Ellen Degeneris [PDF], actor Alec Baldwin, NFL bad-boy Dennis Rodman [PDF - don't look!], drummer Tommy Lee, consumer watchdog Rev. Al Sharpton, musical legend Sir Paul McCartney, and NAACP President Kwazy Mfume -- have flocked to join PETA's various causes, from vegetarianism to protesting fur and leather clothing to the recent revolt against the chicken chain KFC, who PETA charges willfully tortures chickens "in ways that would result in felony cruelty-to-animals charges if cats or dogs were the victims."

Another pet project of many Left Coast celebrities -- including Hollyweirds like Alec Baldwin, Sean Penn, Barbra Streisand, Alan Alda, Ed Asner, Mike Farrell, and many, many more -- is opposition to America's War on Terrorism and the evils of the war in Iraq. And one of the most popular recent celebrity responses to this tenet is a loud public rejection of all things American and support for the very countries who either oppose America politically (France, et al) or harbor terrorists and terrorist organizations (Iran, Syria, North Korea, etc.).

But what happens when political agendas conflict?
The U.S. flag serves as a doormat to an office and nearby merchants announce "we boycott American goods", but some Syrians can't seem to keep away from American fast food at the new KFC fried chicken restaurant.

"I oppose American politics totally, but what does food have to do with it? Politics is one thing, and food is something totally different," Tareq Mashnouk, a 26-year-old fashion designer, told Reuters.

KFC opened its first outlet in Damascus this month, becoming Syria's first fully licensed American food franchise.
Oh, what is a liberal wacko to do?

Conservatives' Secret Weapon Pays Off

In case you haven't heard the news, our frozen neighbors to the north have finally seen the light. Yep, that's right -- Canadian voters yesterday voted the Conservative Party into power in parliament, hoisting the economist and social conservative Stephen Harper to the position of Prime Minister.
Conservative Stephen Harper pledged to quickly carry out his campaign promises to cut taxes, get tough on crime and repair strained ties with Washington after his party won national elections and ended 13 years of Liberal Party rule in Canada.
Of course, the Associated Press cannot risk the appearance of giving a fair and balanced report -- that might infringe on another network's trademark, of course -- so the writer was quick to throw this in:
Monday's vote showed that Canadians are weary of the Liberal Party's broken promises and corruption scandals. They were willing to give Harper a chance to govern despite concerns that some of his social views are extreme.
Many liberals and scholars of Canadian politics are stunned at the turn of events, and some are pointing toward interference by their nosy neighbors from "the States" as the cause of this tragic defeat.

Absurd, you say? Not necessarily. American conservatives have been cackling evilly for almost a week now as their secret weapon was unleashed last Friday on the unsuspecting Canadian public. It made an important impact in the 2004 U.S. presidential elections, and now it looks like it may have been the deciding factor in the Canadian election process as well.

What is this horrible weapon, you ask? Although it seems too hideous to contemplate... [WARNING: Readers with weak stomachs or who are under the age of 18 should run away from their computers at this time, preferably screaming.] ... America's favorite leftwing wacko, Michael Moore entered the fray!

Many US conservatives give Mr. (and I use the term loosely) Moore at least some credit for America's revolt against the liberal lunacy of Howard Dean and Johns Kerry and Edwards in 2004. His off-the-wall attacks on conservatives and insane support for liberal extremism soured many undecided voters on the abilities of the Democrat Party to represent normal, everyday, thinking Americans.

And with gleeful abandon on Friday, Moore applied his oft-questioned political savvy to the defeat of conservatism in Canada. (Which, of course, assured its win.) In an open letter to Canadian voters, Michael beseeched them to come to their senses:
Oh, Canada -- you're not really going to elect a Conservative majority on Monday, are you? That's a joke, right? I know you have a great sense of humor, and certainly a well-developed sense of irony, but this is no longer funny. Maybe it's a new form of Canadian irony -- reverse irony! OK, now I get it. First, you have the courage to stand against the war in Iraq -- and then you elect a prime minister who's for it. You declare gay people have equal rights -- and then you elect a man who says they don't. You give your native peoples their own autonomy and their own territory -- and then you vote for a man who wants to cut aid to these poorest of your citizens. Wow, that is intense! Only Canadians could pull off a hat trick of humor like that. My hat's off to you.

Far be it from me, as an American, to suggest what you should do. You already have too many Americans telling you what to do. Well, actually, you've got just one American who keeps telling you to roll over and fetch and sit. I hope you don't feel this appeal of mine is too intrusive but I just couldn't sit by, as your friend, and say nothing. Yes, I agree, the Liberals have some 'splainin' to do. And yes, one party in power for more than a decade gets a little... long. But you have a parliamentary system (I'll bet you didn't know that -- see, that's why you need Americans telling you things!). There are ways at the polls to have your voices heard other than throwing the baby out with the bath water.

... Do you want to help George Bush by turning Canada into his latest conquest? Is that how you want millions of us down here to see you from now on? The next notch in the cowboy belt?
Gotta love him. Or ... no, actually, we don't.

I wonder if the Russians need any help in their next elections...

Monday, January 23, 2006

Go Back to the Farm, Mr. Carter

In his comments looking forward to Wednesday's Palestinian parliamentary elections, former US President Jimmy Carter has once again shown his total lack of understanding of this world we live in.
Former US president Jimmy Carter expressed optimism Friday over Hamas's participation in next week's Palestinian parliamentary elections.

Carter told CNN in an interview that although Hamas were "so-called terrorists," so far "there have been no complaints of corruption against [their] elected officials."
As Jonathan of GOP Bloggers states, Pres. Carter seems to have his priorities a little off-kilter:
"So-called" terrorists? Slaughtering hundreds of innocent men, women and children, blowing up buses, pizzerias, discos and other public places only makes you a "so-called terrorist?" Well, they keep their hands out of the till so that makes them acceptable. Using Carter's logic, Duke Cunningham is worse than a suicide bomber. Jimmy Carter is a so-called dignitary who is nothing more than a terrorism apologist.

SNL Goes to Washington

I long ago gave up watching Saturday Night Live on a regular basis. But it looks like I missed a doozy this past weekend, as the clowns of weekend TV rose to the occasion for a change to spoof some of my favorite subjects: New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, New York Senator Hillary Clinton, and the Reverend Jesse Jackson.

Luckily for us all, The Political Teen got it all on video for us.

Snitch on Mister Snitch

In trying (in vain) to catch up on my makeshift categories and blog index, I noticed that my original link to Mister Snitch's request for the Best Posts of 2005 has since dropped off the page. Since I hadn't heard or seen anything about the results being posted, I moseyed on over to see what I could find.

As it turns out, Snitch has been working pretty hard for almost a month now to get the compilation ready for public consumption. In the meantime, he has composed a (sort of) FAQ about the process of wading through the hundreds of submissions he received and trying to add some semblance of order and reason to it all. And if you want a little taste of what's to come, Senior Snitch has also posted a little sample of his own best posts of the past year.

I'm really looking forward to the final work (and apparently a few days' worth of reading) when it's all said and done. As soon as I hear any update, I will be sure to pass it along.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Official Guide to Terror Alert Levels

Prompted by the Associated Press's recent show of support for America's enemies, I have updated the Official Guide to Terror Alert Levels. (I haven't posted it in quite a while anyway, so...)

Official US Terror Alert Levels
The five levels of terrorism alerts as outlined by the Office of Homeland Security:
GREEN – Low risk of terrorist attacks
BLUE – Guarded condition: general risk of attacks
YELLOW – Elevated condition: significant risk of attacks
ORANGE – High risk of terrorist attacks
RED – Severe risk of terrorist attacks

US Terror Alert Levels for Dummies
Frank J's unfair, unbalanced, and (unfortunately) unmedicated guide to what the official alert levels really mean:
GREEN – Low: All evil has been destroyed. The world is now a peaceful utopia.
BLUE – Guarded: There's still the occasional pickpocket, so show a little caution.
YELLOW – Elevated: Terror lurks in the shadows; be wary.
ORANGE – High: The terrorists are out there and they are coming for YOU!
RED – Severe: The world is exploding around you. The only law is your own gun.

Unofficial White House Alert Levels
Another simple look at what they mean:
GREEN – Stupor: Limbaugh. Friends. Survivor.
BLUE – Apathy: Status quo. Navel gazing.
YELLOW – Paranoia: Sustain. Re-elect. Repeat.
ORANGE – Panic: Arabiacs at your front door.
RED – Chaos: Apocalypse now unfolding.

MSM Terror Alert Levels
Dictates how the mainstream American media should refer to Osama bin Laden:
GREEN – Saudi patriot
BLUE – former U.S. ally
YELLOW – exiled Saudi dissident
ORANGE – anti-American leader
RED – terrorist leader / Muslim extremist

French Alert Levels
Dictates how the French should respond in any given situation:
GREEN – Ignore / offend
BLUE – Run
YELLOW – Hide
ORANGE – Collaborate
RED – Surrender

Italian Threat Levels
GREEN – Eat pasta
BLUE – Shout loudly and excitedly
YELLOW – Elaborate military posturing
ORANGE – Ineffective combat operations
RED – Change sides

British Alert Levels
GREEN – Blimey
BLUE – Miffed
YELLOW – Peeved
ORANGE – Tiresome
RED – Bloody 'ell!

Bronx Alert Levels
The terrorist alert levels translated for residents of the Burroughs:
GREEN – Fuhgeddaboudit.
BLUE – How you doin'?
YELLOW – Osama this!
ORANGE – You talkin' to me?
RED – #$@% me? #$@% YOU!!

They Have Forgotten

Click here to view the full-size image
Apparently the Associated Press has now officially forgotten September 11, 2001. Yesterday the AP released this file photo (click on image above for a full-sized copy of the post from Yahoo! News) with the following caption attached:
Exiled Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden is seen in this April 1998 file photo in Afghanistan. Al-Jazeera aired an audiotape purportedly from Osama bin Laden on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2006, saying al-Qaida is making preparations for attacks in the United States but offering a truce to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan. (AP Photo)
[Emphasis added by Songbird]
"Exiled Saudi dissident"? Even when talking about possible new attacks by his terrorist organization, the American media is unwilling to label bin Laden a terrorist. I pray the reminder does not come in a similar form to the wakeup call we received four and a half years ago.

Do you remember?

Hat-tip: Little Green Footballs

UPDATE: In response to the AP's show of support for America's enemies, I have updated the Official Guide to Terror Alert Levels.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Meet the Majority Leader Candidates

Blogger John Hawkins of Right Wing News reports on a set of conference calls set up for conservative bloggers to interview the three Republican candidates vying for the position of House Majority Leader. He provides an excellent overall review of the interviews, including his own questions to the congressmen and their responses. Well worth the read, it gives a good feel for how the next majority leader might steer the House in the days to come.

His final analysis:
All 3 candidates are real conservatives, not RINOS, so it's not as if we're in danger of having a Susan Collins or an Arlen Specter takeover.

However, if you're unhappy with the performance of the House -- and most conservatives seem to be -- there is a pretty clear pecking order here. Shadegg is the guy who wants to make big changes, Boehner is more of a middle-of-the road guy, and Blunt is the guy for people who wants to give lip service to reform and leave things essentially the way they are.

UPDATE: Blogger L.Z. Bear has audio recordings of all three conference calls, as well as links to the commentaries of those bloggers who were invited to participate in the interviews. He is working on getting transcripts of the three calls as well.

Even the Whales Are Conservative

I can see it now, the newest Texas Tourism slogan: "Conservatives love Corpus Christi, where even the whales lean to the right!"

Ben Franklin on Wiretaps

Former Delaware Governor Pete du Pont points out that American patriot and founding father Benjamin Franklin likely would have sided with President Bush on the "secret wiretaps" issue:
Has President Bush exceeded his constitutional authority or acted illegally in authorizing wiretaps without a warrant on calls between American citizens in the United States and people abroad who are, or are suspected of having ties to, terrorists?

Benjamin Franklin (whose 300th birthday [was Tuesday, Jan. 17th]) would not have thought so. In 1776 he and his four colleagues on the Continental Congress's foreign affairs committee (called the Committee of Secret Correspondence) unanimously agreed that they could not tell the Congress about the covert assistance France was giving the American Revolution, because it would be harmful to America if the information leaked, and "we find by fatal experience that Congress consists of too many members to keep secrets."
A great read, and a good history lesson.

Hat-tip to LST commenter Shannon

Race-Baiting and a Return to Segregation

Not two subjects that you would expect to be reporting from MLK Day, a day set aside to honor the life and dedication of the "father of the American Civil Rights movement," Martin Luther King, Jr. But there it is, in all its racist ugliness.

And the big surprise? The culprits are liberal Democrats, and neither was called on the carpet for their comments by fellow Dems. So much for the party of inclusion and integration.

In one speech Monday supposedly paying homage to Dr. King, Senator Hillary Clinton stepped behind the pulpit of a Baptist church in Harlem and turned what should have been a celebration of King's vision and activism into a race-baiting political rally:
"When you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run, it has been run like a plantation, and you know what I'm talking about," Clinton, D-N.Y., told the crowd at the Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in Harlem.
"We have a culture of corruption, we have cronyism, we have incompetence," she said. "I predict to you that this administration will go down in history as one of the worst that has ever governed our country."
The irony of her comments was that they focused not on her own former presidential administration, shared jointly with husband Bill, but on the current administration of President George W. Bush. (A clear example of the pot calling the kettle black in the eyes of most conservatives.)

But the most egregious statement was the one comparing the Bush administration to pre-Civil War slave owners. As Harvard law student Josh Riley opines at TPMCafe (an offshoot of Talking Points Memo, which has never been accused of being a bastion of conservatism), Mrs. Clinton's words were "entirely unacceptable."
...[B]efore a predominantly black audience, Senator Clinton, in no uncertain terms, expressed her opinion that the House of Representatives was "being run like a plantation." While criticism of the House is warranted, analogizing the relationship of Republicans and Democrats to that of slave-owners and slaves is entirely unacceptable. First, these words trivialize years of racial atrocity that scarred our nation. Second, they demonstrate a willingness to use race as a political wedge where issues of racial equality should be above the fray of partisanship.
In a separate MLK event in New Orleans, Louisiana, Mayor Ray Nagin took the opportunity to advance his own vision for the rebuilding of the tattered city. A vision which seems to hold more than a touch of racism and a planned return to segregation, instead of Dr. King's dream of racial unity.
"Surely God is mad at America. He sent us hurricane after hurricane after hurricane, and it's destroyed and put stress on this country," Nagin, who is black, said as he and other city leaders marked Martin Luther King Day.

"Surely he doesn't approve of us being in Iraq under false pretenses. But surely he is upset at black America also. We're not taking care of ourselves."
...
"It's time for us to come together. It's time for us to rebuild New Orleans - the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans," the mayor said. "This city will be a majority African-American city. It's the way God wants it to be. You can't have New Orleans no other way. It wouldn't be New Orleans."
A chocolate New Orleans? It sounds like someone has their hand stuck in the candy jar, and doesn't mind letting the world know it. But this is not the dream preached by Dr. Martin Luther King. This is one thing, pure and simple: a return to the segregation of pre-Civil Rights southern life. This is what Dr. King preached against when he said, "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Almost as bad as the racism behind these remarks is the double standard by which liberals and the American media are treating them. Other attendees of the Harlem rally included the Reverence Al Sharpton (the event organizer), Clinton's fellow New York Senator Charles Schumer, and extreme left-wing activist Harry Belafonte. Not only did none of these august persons object to Mrs. Clinton's remarks, but when conservatives across the nation began protesting, the DNC dispatched the only current black member of the Senate, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, to defend the former First Lady. But if a conservative Republican politician had used the similar analogy, he would have been lambasted for his crude racial hatred.

And in case you doubt it, NewsBuster's Mark Finkelstein reminds us of a not-so-different incident with Sen. Trent Lott:
When Republican leader Trent Lott made racially insensitive remarks, the MSM was immediately flooded with speculation as to whether he could survive in his political leadership post.

But when Hillary Clinton did the same, the Today show portrayed her as going on the offense, not being on the defense.
The same double standards are being used in the case of Mayor Nagin's chocolaty remarks. Not only is there a pass by the media for his apparent direct line to knowing the mind of God -- when televangelist Pat Robertson recently declared that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was God's punishment for dividing the Holy Land, liberals and conservatives alike joined the international media in protesting his words, and rightfully so. But the outcry from Democrats and the American media was noticeably absent after Mayor Nagin proclaimed the hurricanes were sent by God to punish America for her sins in Iraq, and to punish "black America" for its violence and "political infighting." (Interesting enough, the Almighty does not appear in Mayor Nagin's world to care too much about the absolute moral and social depravity that was touted and flouted in pre-Katrina New Orleans with such things as gay and lesbian conventions, the drunken orgy called Marti Gras, etc.)

But just think of the nation's reaction if a white Republican official -- say Texas Governor Rick Perry or Congressman Tom DeLay -- were to make similar statements of racial segregation. I can just hear the heads exploding if DeLay were to proclaim a move to make Sugar Land a "vanilla" city, or if Perry announced his plans to make Austin a majority white city, because "that's the way God wants it to be." There would be burning effigies of these men thrown across every TV screen and newspaper front page in the nation, and the backlash would be overwhelming.

As blogger extraordinaire Michelle Malkin writes,
These calculated moments of Democrat demagoguery illuminate liberalism's three-decade-old moral bankruptcy on issues of race. From the party's smearing of Clarence Thomas to the bigoted attacks on Condoleezza Rice and Maryland GOP Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, to its opposition to school choice for inner-city students and denigration of California businessman Ward Connerly's campaign against government racial preferences, to its latest desperate attempts to blame racism for Hurricane Katrina and to portray Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito as a red-necked bigot, the Left has offered nothing but slime and obstructionism.

Yet, there isn't a day that goes by without Democrats effectively using the race card against their opponents in every political debate ranging from education to border security to the courts. It's time for conservatives, Republicans in Washington, and minorities with half a brain to call their bluff. Stand up. Defend your honor. Don't let it pass.
When are we going to hold our elected officials to the same standard that is expected of each and every one of us "regular people" in our everyday lives? Not just conservatives and Republicans, but all of our leaders. If we are ever to realize the Dr. King's dreams of peace and unity, we must take that step.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mr. Franklin

Apparently we lost our invite, but the celebration went on without us. Yesterday marked the 300th year anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth, and The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary pulled out all the stops to honor this American patriot.

Hat-tip: Mister Snitch, who asserts that if Mr. Franklin were alive today, he would be blogging!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Church of St. Kelo

Remember that "landmark" Supreme Court decision last summer that got the conservative talk show hosts and bloggers all in an uproar? The one where they expanded the rights of big government to use "eminent domain" to take the property of homeowners for practically any reason under the sun?

I seem to recall that the politicians were so quick to say this was a "special circumstance," and would never be used to seize private property unjustly. Guess what?
Since the Supreme Court's controversial Kelo decision last summer, eminent domain has entered a new frontier. It’s not just grandma’s house we have to worry about. Now it’s God’s house, too. “I guess saving souls isn’t as important,” says Reverend Gildon, his voice wry, “as raking in money for politicians to spend.” The town of Sand Springs, Oklahoma, has plans to take Centennial Baptist — along with two other churches, several businesses, dozens of small homes, and a school — and replace them with a new “super center,” rumored to include a Home Depot. It’s the kind of stuff that makes tax collectors salivate. It’s also the kind of project that brakes for no one, especially post-Kelo. “I had no idea this could happen in America,” says Reverend Gildon, after spending Monday morning marching in the Sand Springs Martin Luther King Day parade.
Reverend Gildon is a practical man. He’s not a firebrand, and he’s not looking for a fight. He just loves God and loves his church, and wants to continue serving his community. Unfortunately, local officials would rather have an extra parking lot for a new Bed Bath & Beyond.

It makes sense on one level. Churches don’t generate any tax revenue for the government to spend. They don’t “stimulate” the economy. They often, much to their peril, occupy prime, envied real estate. With the supercharged powers granted by Kelo, be very, very afraid.

What’s most egregious about this application of eminent domain is that there’s already plenty of room for development, even if the pesky church sticks around. Many community residents were happy to sell their property. Two other churches in the area decided to move to Tulsa. Other structures in the area were dilapidated and ready for the deal. The way things are now, Centennial Baptist Church could easily live side-by-side with new stores, houses, or businesses. Yet Centennial remains in the crosshairs -- even though two nearby national chains, a taxpaying McDonald’s and a taxpaying O’Reilly’s muffler shop, have been left alone.

Photos of the Year

Take a look at the winning photographs in the National Wildlife Federation's 35th annual competition. Outstanding work, and all by amateur photographers.

Hat-tip: Kim Komando

Friday the 13th Strikes Again

I don't know what was happening on Friday, but everything I tried to post to BlogSpot was automatically saved as a "draft copy," and no matter what I tried I was not able to get anything to post to the blog.

Whatever the problem on Friday was, it appears to be fixed. The Friday posts are now visible, if a bit outdated.

Friday, January 13, 2006

That Might Be a Problem

Well, things were looking so good for Judge Alito's confirmation... until they found this. I wonder if that will cost him the senate confirmation....

Hat-tip: Craig of Regret the Error

No Girls Allowed



Most of this week, the Democrat members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have been interrogating Judge Alito on potentially scandalous skeletons from his past. At least a day's worth of haranguing has been spent on the subject of Alito's one-time membership in CAP, the Concerned Alumni of Princeton.

Sen. Ted Kennedy led the committee Democrats in their attacks over Judge Alito's former association with CAP, which he labeled an "elitist" organization with a "repulsive anti-woman, anti-black, anti-disability, anti-gay" agenda.

However, ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper interviewed conservative author Dinesh D'Souza, an immigrant to the United States, who along with radio talk show host Laura Ingraham is a former editor of "CAP's controversial Prospect magazine."
He said a number of the Democratic attacks on Samuel Alito were based on falsehoods.

First off, D'Souza says, one of the two stories from Prospect that Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-MA, read this week at the confirmation hearings was intended as a satire.

The 183 essay "In Defense of Elitism" by Harry Crocker III included this line, read dramatically by Kennedy: "People nowadays just don't seem to know their place. Everywhere one turns blacks and Hispanics are demanding jobs simply because they're black and Hispanic..."

The essay may not have been funny, D'Souza acknowledges, but Kennedy read from it as if it had been serious instead of an attempt at humor.

"I think left-wing groups have been feeding Senator Kennedy snippets and he has been mindlessly reciting them," D'Souza said. "It was a satire."
More to the point, Alito's actual involvement in the organization seems to have been vastly overstated as well. In his opening statements before the Judicial Committee this morning, committee chairman Sen. Arlen Specter stole the foundation from under Kennedy's assertions.
Specter said committee staff members and representatives of Kennedy finished examining the files at 2 a.m. today, reviewing more than four boxes of documents concerning CAP.

"Judge Alito's name never appeared in any document," Specter said. It was not mentioned in any letters to or from the group's founder or executive director, did not appear on any canceled checks for subscriptions, was nowhere to be found on any articles, lists of board members or contributors, and was not in any minutes or attendance records from CAP meetings," Specter said.

He quoted CAP founder William Rusher as saying: "I have no recollection of Samuel Alito at all. He certainly was not very heavily involved in CAP, if at all."
Conservative blogger TigerHawk has even more details of the CAP documents review here. The whole episode kept radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt laughing throughout his Thursday interview with columnist Mark Steyn.
...[I]t became apparent that Ted Kennedy has, in fact, launched the Senate equivalent of the opening of the safe of Al Capone, when Geraldo presided over that in 1986. And yet, he made no reference to it, Kennedy did, when his questions came. It is as though his entire day yesterday had been deleted.
In light of the Democrats' concerns over extracurricular activities, though, it seems only fair to bring up a few (more) examples of hypocrisy on the issue. As Charles Hurt of the Washington Times reports, Judge Alito was not the only participant in that interrogation with a questionable club membership.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy belongs to a social club for Harvard students and alumni that was evicted from campus nearly 20 years ago after refusing to allow female members.

According to the online membership directory of the Owl Club, the Massachusetts Democrat updated his personal information ... on Sept. 7.

The club has long been reviled on campus as "sexist" and "elitist" and, in 1984, was booted from the university for violating federal anti-discrimination laws, authored by Mr. Kennedy.
And fellow blogger Fausta reminds us that even the Owl Club seems rather pedestrian when compared with the former membership of another of Kennedy's fellow Democrats:
Alito is to be hung over CAP but Robert Byrd, the senior senator from West Virginia, after being not only a member of the Ku Klux Klan, not just a Klan organizer and advocate, but the "Exalted Cyclops," the top officer in the local Klan unit, who, as a senator, opposed with other southern Democrats the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is referred to by the Washington Post as "a pillar of the Senate".

UPDATE: As reported by The Boston Herald, Sen. Kennedy announced last night that, while he is still a dues-paying member of the Owl Club, he will now be quitting the discriminating club "as fast as I can." He also admitted to the reporter "that he himself probably couldn't pass Judiciary Committee muster." (Hat-tip to Pat of Brainster's Blog for pointing out this article.) -- 01/17/2006, Songbird

The Princeton Waffle

Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt had this great bit earlier in the week about Senator Joseph Biden's recent questioning of Judge Samuel Alito. Nothing overly incriminating, but it certainly is incredibly funny!

In Tuesday's questioning of Judge Alito, Sen. Biden made a point to proclaim his overt dislike of Alito's alma mater, Princeton University. Not just once, but several times. Biden rambled:
This is just by way of ... you know, why some of us are puzzled, because if I was aware of it, and I didn't even like Princeton. No, I mean I really didn't like Princeton. ... But all kidding aside, I wasn't a big Princeton fan.
Interestingly enough, even though he labored to drive home his dislike for Alito's Princeton, Biden later told Judge Alito:
"I remain very troubled, not by anything in your personal history, so much as by your judicial views."
Now apparently Sen. Biden actually gave a speech at Princeton a couple of years ago in which he praised the university quite glowingly, as would be expected from a guest lecturer.
It's an honor to be here. It would have even been a greater honor to have gone here. I have three children who mercifully have all finally completed undergraduate and graduate school, and I tried to get all three of them to apply here.
And he continued expressing his great affection for the ivy league palace, even telling of a visit he and his son had made to Princeton as he was promoting the school's virtues.
And so I had been pushing Princeton, and this magnificently attractive, intellectually and physically, beautiful young girl, ... was showing us around, and I figured we've got a lock now. My son is going to really be interested, and I know senators aren't supposed to say things like that, but if he hadn't been interested, I would have been worried...
(So much for politically correct and the tolerance of Democrats.)

So for the listening pleasure of his audience, Mr. Hewitt combined the two. I give you the Joe Biden Princeton Waffle.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Save the Planet! Kill a Tree!

I wonder what the whacko environmentalists are going to do about this one?

Stop global warming! Kill a tree!

Hat-tip: Mister Snitch

Dutch Treat



No expense is too great to save New Orleans from another flood, so Louisiana officials are going to the experts:
Officials from Louisiana, visiting the Netherlands in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, hailed Dutch know-how on Thursday and said they still had much to learn to prevent future flood disasters.

"We feel we've benefited from centuries of expertise," said Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat who, with a group of engineers, academics and businessmen from the U.S. state, toured Dutch flood control and water management systems this week.

"Clearly, we have a lot of work ahead," she added.
A lot of work indeed, Senator. First you need to entice former residents to return to the Big Easy. Then you need to train them all to run to the levees at the first sign of disaster to watch for leaks. Find leak, insert finger, call Ray Nagin and wait for help to arrive.

His Song Will Last Forever

The music world is in mourning over last Friday's death of Lou Rawls, who just last week lost his battle against lung and brain cancer. His smooth, silky tones and soulful vocal style are known across the nation and around the world, and will be remembered fondly for years to come. His hits spanned more than four decades, and made him one of a select few artists to gain Grammy nominations in Pop, Jazz and R&B, plus one for Best Recording for Children in 1982.

But his legacy includes much more than just the music.
In 1976, Rawls became the corporate spokesman for Anheuser Busch, the world's largest brewery, which led in 1980 to that company's sponsorship of two events which have continued to this day. One was a series of concerts for American military personnel on bases around the world. The other was a telethon whose proceeds, now more than $200 million, are donated to the United Negro College Fund.

Epitomizing cool, class and soul, his humanitarian efforts have won him more than honors, more even than a street named after him in Chicago, where South Wentworth Avenue is now Lou Rawls Drive. His work for the UNCF has been the joy of a man who never went to college but has since been awarded numerous honorary doctorates. "I remember a woman came up to me once and said, 'Thank you. You made my grandson the first college grad in our family.' That makes it all worth it."
Lou Rawls made a big difference in the lives of many, many young black men and women who without him may never have had the opportunity to go to college. As one longtime friend (and the host of Mr. Rawls' official website) fondly recalled, "During his travels, nothing lit Lou's eyes more than meeting the doctors, lawyers, architects, etc., who had benefited from scholarships as a result of his telethons and other fundraising activities for the UNCF. He truly believed that 'a mind is a terrible thing to waste.'"

Family, friends and fans of Mr. Rawls will be both celebrating his life and grieving his death this Friday as he is laid to rest in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the services will likely be marred by two very unfortunate situations.

First, as reported by FOX News, there is a family feud raging between Rawls' widow Nina Inman, the 35-year-old former airline stewardess who married him only two years ago, and his adult daughter Louanna. Funeral plans are moving forward, but some seem to fear that claws will soon be bared.

The funeral service is expected to be quite an event, featuring such musical talents as Stevie Wonder, Andrae Crouch, Joan Baez and Della Reese. But our sadness is only intensified by the news that the Rev. Jesse Jackson will be officiating at Friday's services. Recent funeral performances by Jackson included that of convicted murderer Tookie Williams, where Jackson used the event to deliver...
...sharp statements about the socio-political intertwined with capital punishment in the United States, including referencing Tookie as a "healer, not a predator."
Jackson was also involved in the recent Detroit memorial service for the late Rosa Parks that turned into a leftwing political rally. In that instance, Jackson used his eulogy for that great lady as a platform to blast President Bush and his administration for supposed crimes against the black community.

Lou Rawls should be laid to rest with love and dignity, and should be remembered for all the joy he brought and the lives he enriched with his talents, service and generosity. Let us hope and pray that his family, friends and fans will be spared the circus that seems to be looming over this last goodbye.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

What's In a Name?

Well, apparently not a "Y," reports the Austin American-Statesman. We have all been a bit confused at times at the seemingly frequent name changes of Texas politician Carole Keeton Rylander Strayhorn Smith Jones Barney, but I never expected this "One Tough Grandma" to forget her own name!
Carole Keeton Strayhorn, the onetime schoolteacher hoping to oust Gov. Rick Perry in November, misspelled her last name, leaving out the Y, in her declaration of intent to run as an independent for governor.

In two parts of the one-page form, filed last week, her last name is spelled Strahorn, the Texas Secretary of State's office said today.
But what might be the most extraordinary part about this whole story is ... the lawyer took the blame!

Marion Barry Mugged

Washington DC City Councilman Marion BarryI don't know how I missed this one. Marion Barry, former DC Mayor and now a City Councilman in our nation's capital, was robbed at gunpoint in his own home last week, and blogger D. C. Thornton has the details.

As columnist Cam Edwards points out, Barry's own city-wide ban on gun ownership may be partly to blame. (Emphasis added by Songbird.)
Thirty years ago, our nation’s capitol was in the midst of a crime wave. The city council responded by banning handguns and requiring shotguns and rifles to be kept unloaded, dismantled, and locked away. The law abiding residents of Washington, D.C. had been disarmed, and the criminals took notice. Violent crime dipped slightly in the two years following the ban, although the murder rate actually continued to climb. By 1979, however, the violent crime rate was back above 1976 levels, and it has remained so ever since.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Running Out of Patience

After all the pomp and posturing -- and even threats -- we have heard lately from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, can anyone really be surprised over this latest development?
Iran removed seals on its nuclear facilities Tuesday, ending a two- year freeze on work there despite warnings from the United States and other countries concerned about Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

The United States rebuked Iran for the move, calling it a step toward creating the material for nuclear bombs. British Prime Minister Tony Blair's official spokesman said the international community was "running out of patience" with Tehran.
I was always taught that you can always return something you don't want, as long as you haven't opened it. Once you break the seal, it's yours. You can't stick it back in the box and take it back to the store. You pay the price on the tag, the deal is done, and you can't get your money back.

Somebody needs to let Mr. Mahmoud know the rules of the store. No refunds or exchanges. You broke the seal, and now you are stuck with what you get.

UPDATE: Cox & Forkum has a related cartoon and post -- 01/11/2006, Songbird

A Plea for Justice

Blogger and independent reporter Michael Yon has this story about an American family who is urging President Bush to take another firm stand in the ongoing War on Terror.
He was only 23 years-old but by any measure he was a man. A real man who stood up to the terrorists who were savagely torturing him on an airliner. Those same terrorists shot the young Navy diver and dumped his body onto the tarmac. I remember the day in 1985 that Robert Stethem was murdered.

Fast forward: More than 20 years later, one of Robert’s murderers, who was in a German prison, apparently was used by the German government as currency to pay other terrorists to release a German hostage. Requests by the U.S. government to turn over the killer were denied, and he returned safely to the Lebanese terror breeding grounds that he called home.
Please take the time to read Michael's full post, and perhaps follow up with a letter of your own.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Shaken, Not Slurred

Apparently the respected senator from Massachusetts (no, no, the other one) is once again speaking while under the influence of ... well, something stronger than the congressional cafeteria's coffee, that's for certain. In his statements this morning during the Senate confirmation hearings for SCOTUS nominee Judge Samuel Alito, Kennedy inadvertently addressed him as "Judge Alioto" (watch the video here - 435kb .WMV file).

But that is not the beginning of the good senator's dubious ramblings about the president's Supreme Court nominee. As reported across the blogosphere over the weekend, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank remembered some other recent observations by Teddy Kennedy concerning the nomination and Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Samuel Alito.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), hosting a morning roundtable with reporters, had nothing nice to say about Alito. "We here in the United States are not going to stand for monarchial tyranny," he said, protesting Alito's support for "unfettered, unlimited power of the executive." He faulted Alito for belonging to a group that was "anti-black and also anti-women." Kennedy wondered if "the average person is going to be able to get a fair shake" under Alito.

Briefly, Kennedy rewrote the outcome of the 1964 election. "This nominee was influenced by the Goldwater presidency," he said. "The Goldwater battles of those times were the battles against the civil rights laws." Only then did Kennedy acknowledge that "Judge Alito at that time was 14 years old."
Now personally, I don't remember much about the Goldwater presidency. Must have been before I was born. But I am fairly certain that, far from being "anti-black," Judge Alito has a pretty decent record on civil rights issues.

Luckily for the president's nominee, the sharp-witted senator is keeping an open mind about his decision.
A questioner pointed out that Kennedy sounded like a sure bet against Alito. "I haven't reached a final conclusion," the senator demurred.
Fortunately for the senator, he has a second career to fall back on in case the voters of Massachusetts ever get a clue, one in which sobriety is not necessarily a prerequisite.

The Greatest Terrorist in the World

As reported by ABC News, American singer, activist, and liberal blowhard Harry Belafonte is once again spewing his leftist propaganda against the president and people of his own home. This time, Belafonte and his leftwing confederates have traveled to the home of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, where he was invited to participate in socialist Chavez's weekly television and radio show to the Venezuelan public.

Belafonte led a delegation of Americans including the actor Danny Glover and the Princeton University scholar Cornel West that met the Venezuelan president for more than six hours late Saturday and attended his television and radio broadcast on Sunday.

"No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush says, we're here to tell you: Not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people ... support your revolution," Belafonte told Chavez during the broadcast.
I'm not sure where Mr. Banana-Boat learned to count, but I think he would be hard-pressed to back up that estimate of millions of Americans supporting the hard-line socialist president who has so often blamed America and President Bush for plotting his overthrow.

Hat-tip: Michelle Malkin, who also has a recap of some of Belafonte's other excursions into activism.

No Ties Between Saddam and...

For all those libs and anti-Bush hacks that continue to assert that tired old thread of "no link between Saddam Hussein and pre-9/11 al'Qaeda (in spite of findings to the contrary in the 9/11 Commission's report), here is just one more nail for your coffin:
THE FORMER IRAQI REGIME OF Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by eleven U.S. government officials.

... Many of the fighters were drawn from terrorist groups in northern Africa with close ties to al Qaeda... Some 2,000 terrorists were trained at these Iraqi camps each year from 1999 to 2002, putting the total number at or above 8,000.
"As much as we overestimated WMD, it appears we underestimated [Saddam Hussein's] support for transregional terrorists," says one intelligence official.
...
The official continued: "[Saddam] used these groups because he was interested in extending his influence and extending the influence of Iraq. There are definite and absolute ties to terrorism. The evidence is there, especially at the network level. ...To say Iraq wasn't involved in terrorism is flat wrong."
Mr. Hayes goes on to speak in depth of the mountain of documents that have been recovered from the region, and of the lack of progress the U.S. intelligence community has so far made in thoroughly examining these documents. He also outlines the reasons most of the documentation has not yet been released either to the media or even to members of Congress.

But this conclusion is rather piercing in its plain truthfulness:
The discovery of the information on jihadist training camps in Iraq would seem to have two major consequences: It exposes the flawed assumptions of the experts and U.S. intelligence officials who told us for years that a secularist like Saddam Hussein would never work with Islamic radicals, any more than such jihadists would work with an infidel like the Iraqi dictator. It also reminds us that valuable information remains buried in the mountain of documents recovered in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past four years.

Hat-tip: Brainster's Blog

Breaking News

Vice President Dick Cheney was rushed to the hospital this morning. The vice president was admitted to George Washington University Hospital around 3:00 this morning, complaining of shortness of breath.

There is as yet no word from Pat Robertson about whether this is divine will or just an overabundance of Christmas turkey leftovers.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Leaky Business

Cox & Forkum -- by far our favorite political cartoonists -- have the latest on the leak of classified information about the government's domestic spying program.

Unfortunately, this kind of political double-speak -- "it's bad when you do it, but it's okay when we do it" -- has become the norm in Washington politics (both sides, to a certain degree), and even more so with the mainstream American media. Look for much, much more of the same as the whole Jack Abramoff mess continues to unravel. The media and some Democrats are already labeling this as "yet another Republican scandal." But as CNS News reports, this refuse will eventually soil plenty of players on both sides of the aisle.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I Left My Herd in San Francisco

As much as I like to ridicule those who live their lives on the Left Coast, boasting that nothing people do out there could ever again surprise me ... this story from just outside of San Francisco shocks even me:
A married couple who got a dog sitter for their puppies but left the man's young children home alone while they vacationed in Las Vegas were arrested Wednesday, police said.
...
The couple apparently told 9-year-old Joshua to look after his 5-year-brother, Jason, who is autistic. The children spent one night alone before police found them.
With two of our own kids in fairly close proximity to those ages, I know that we would never even consider leaving them alone to care for themselves, not even for a night -- much less for five days and nights. And that is without the severe handicaps of autism thrown into the mix. (Although, for the record, I consider ages 5 thru 10 a form of mental retardation in and of itself...)

And in case the circumstances of this story are not enough to break your heart, this is the comment from the nine-year-old man of the house:
Joshua said his father and stepmother got each other puppies for Christmas, which they brought to De La Vega's mother to care for before leaving town.

"I thought they loved them more than us," Joshua told The Associated Press during an interview at his maternal grandmother's apartment.
To his credit, young Joshua apparently handled the situation very well. But this couple had better be thankful they live in a state of judicial leniency (bear in mind the cases of OJ Simpson and Michael Jackson). In the Lone Star State, they would be hard pressed to find a jury that would not ship them off to Huntsville and then throw away the key.

A Salute to France

It is not very often that I post jokes received via email to this blog, but every now and again one comes along that just begs to be the exception. This is just such a case.

Hopefully you will all enjoy this as much as we did!

------------------------------------------

France has neither winter nor summer nor morals. Apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country.

"France has usually been governed by prostitutes."
--Mark Twain

"I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me."
-- General George S. Patton

"Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion."
-- General Norman Schwarzkopf

"We can stand here like the French, or we can do something about it."
-- Marge Simpson

"As far as I'm concerned, war always means failure."
-- Jacques Chirac, President of France

"As far as France is concerned, you're right."
-- Rush Limbaugh

"The only time France wants us to go to war is when the German Army is sitting in Paris sipping coffee."
-- Regis Philbin

"The French are a smallish, monkey looking bunch and not dressed any better, on average, than the citizens of Baltimore."

"True, you can sit outside in Paris and drink little cups of coffee, but why this is more stylish than sitting inside and drinking large glasses of whisky, I don't know."
-- P.J. O'Rourke (1989)

"You know, the French remind me a little bit of an aging actress of the 1940s who was still trying to dine out on her looks but doesn't have the face for it."
-- John McCain, U.S. Senator from Arizona

"You know why the French don't want to bomb Saddam Hussein? Because he hates America, he loves mistresses, and wears a beret. He is French, people!"
-- Conan O'Brien

"I don't know why people are surprised that France won't help us get Saddam out of Iraq. After all, France wouldn't help us get Hitler out of France either."
-- Jay Leno

"The last time the French asked for 'more proof' it came marching into Paris under a German flag."
-- David Letterman

"Only thing worse than a Frenchman is a Frenchman who lives in Canada."
-- Ted Nugent

"War without France would be like ... uh, World War II."

"The favorite bumper sticker in Washington now is one that says 'First Iraq, then France.'"
-- Tom Brokaw

"What do you expect from a culture and a nation that exerted more of its national will fighting against Disney World and Big Macs than the Nazis?"
-- Dennis Miller

"It is important to remember that the French have always been there when they needed us."
-- Alan Kent

"They've taken their own precautions against al-Qa'ida. To prepare for an attack, each Frenchman is urged to keep duct tape, a white flag, and a three-day supply of mistresses in the house."
-- Argus Hamilton

"Somebody was telling me about the French Army rifle that was being advertised on eBay the other day -- the description was: 'Never shot. Dropped once.'"
-- Rep. Roy Blunt (MO)

"The French will only agree to go to war when we've proven we've found truffles in Iraq."
-- Dennis Miller

Raise your right hand if you like the French ... raise both hands if you are French.

Q. What did the mayor of Paris say to the German Army as they entered the city in WWII?
A. Table for 100,000, m'sieur?

"Do you know how many Frenchmen it takes to defend Paris? It's not known, it's never been tried."
-- Rep. R. Blount (MO)

"Do you know it only took Germany three days to conquer France in WWII? And that's because it was raining."
-- John Xereas, Manager, DC Improv

The AP and UPI reported that the French Government announced after the London bombings that it has raised its terror alert level from Run to Hide. The only two higher levels in France are Surrender and Collaborate.

The rise in the alert level was precipitated by a recent fire, which destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively disabling their military.


French Ban Fireworks at Euro Disney (AP)
Paris, France March 5, 2003

The French Government announced today that it is imposing a ban on the use of fireworks at Euro Disney. The decision comes the day after a nightly fireworks display at the park, located just 30 miles outside of Paris, caused the soldiers at a nearby French Army garrison to surrender to a group of Czech tourists.

Toy Train Update

As reported by Action America, the folks at Metro have been busier than we realized this year:
Only four days into the year, the Wham-Bam-Tram celebtated World Braille Day by striking a blind pedestrian. The blind victim was taken to Ben Taub Hospital, with head trauma. This marks at least the 124th accident for the Wham-Bam-Tram, since it began operation. (We are awaiting delivery of the final official crash numbers for 2005, which we expect will run that number up.)
Unfortunately, that report from Wednesday afternoon was quickly updated with this piece, quickly upping the count for the new year:
It turns out that the blind man who was hit by the Wham-Bam-Tram yesterday was not the first, but the second of three victims of our pathetic little tram, in the first four days of 2006. The Chronicle is now reporting that the first crash of the New Year occured at about 7:20 pm on January 3, followed by the accident involving the blind man the next day, just before noon and wrapping up the less than 24 hour crash spree with a crash in the Medical Center area at 5:50 pm that afternoon. At this rate, you are probably as likely to get hit by the Wham-Bam-Tram as by a drunk on New Year's Eve.
Of course, at last count, Metro admitted fault in only one of those 126 confirmed accidents. Give us a few more years, and maybe Houston drivers (and pedestrians) will actually be smart enough to start avoiding the thing.

Poor Reggie

In the midst of all the Texas celebrating after a very exciting Rose Bowl game last night, I feel obligated to point out one poor soul that deserves a touch of sympathy.

Poor Reggie Bush. (And I'm not being sarcastic here either. At least, not too much.)

This young man has proven his athletic skills and abilities over the past few years, steadily improving to the point of leading his outstanding team to the pinnacle of college football bowl games. He has risen above the masses, breaking school records and winning numerous awards.

And, within less than a week's time, he has had his hopes and dreams dashed not once, but twice -- and both at the hands of Texas teams. On Sunday, Mr. Bush learned that, in all likelihood, he will be beginning his once-promising NFL career playing for the worst team in years, the Houston Texans. Any hopes this young man may have harbored of NFL glories and Super Bowl fantasies were dashed in that dark night as the realization must have hit that his professional football career was basically over before it began.

And then, in a second stunning blow, Mr. Bush's USC Trojans were defeated by the University of Texas Longhorns in a wonderfully two-sided, back-and-forth game that thrilled fans of both teams. Unfortunately, for the second time in a week, Reggie Bush's dreams of victory were shattered by this quality Texas team.

No doubt Reggie is wishing he were being drafted to Austin rather than Houston.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Blindsided by Light Rail

This just in from the Houston Comical:
A blind man was transported to a hospital with head injuries this morning after he was struck by a light rail train downtown.
Apparently, he couldn't see the Wham-Bam-Tram any better than the 123+ drivers who have also had unexpected interaction with Metro's expensive toy train.

Wham-Bam-Tram Ram Counter Details

Counting today's pedestrian incident, there have been 90 reported injuries due to accidents or collisions with the Metro light rail train, which averages one collision every 7 days.

What Exactly Is a Leader?

Last week in the Washington Post, columnist Jabari Asim had an very interesting op-ed piece that raised a very interesting question: "Who Represents Black America?"

He begins with a bit of a stretch, comparing and contrasting the respected educator and statesman Booker T. Washington with the current president of the NAACP, Bruce Gordon. One of the main thrusts of Washington's message was always that black Americans, who had so recently won their freedom, should "secure their constitutional rights through their own economic and moral advancement rather than through legal and political changes." However, as Mr. Asim so aptly points out, today's so-called black leaders live in a very different world.
Gordon and his peers operate in a vastly changed landscape that includes a largely dissolute and apathetic black middle class. Still, Hurricane Katrina and its racially tinged aftermath have stirred in the poor and compassionate those feelings of gloom and discouragement so similar to the ones Washington noted long ago. And the same question remains: Can anyone speak on behalf of all African-Americans?
First and foremost, anyone attempting to do so should drop the whole "African-American" label, as very few of us have ever had anything to do with Africa. We are Americans, just as are those descended from European, Asian and/or South American ancestors.

Mr. Asim describes a recent meeting between President Bush and Mr. Gordon, who brought along a bevy of other self-acclaimed, non-elected "black community leaders." That group reportedly included:
A fine group of men and women, all unarguably leaders in their own realm. Each is a specialist, if you will, appointed (or self-appointed) as a leader of a certain group of individuals, a certain segment of the population. But as leaders of "Black America"?
It all depends, I suppose, on what your definition of "leader" is. Some of the folks in Gordon's company are elected heads of national organizations and can be said to represent a measurable constituency. But does that fact alone mean that, Rev. Shaw, for example, can address the concerns of black non-Baptists? That he even knows what those concerns are? And can Debra Lee, who runs a television network best known for its sexist, misogynist rap videos, effectively "lead" the millions of African-Americans who scorn such fare? Perhaps she can, but it is still a question worth asking.

It is a question worth asking as well to people such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who, interestingly, were not invited to the meeting. ... When non-elected African-Americans, however prominent and successful they may be, aspire to leadership, they need to be able to demonstrate who they are speaking for and how many are in that privileged group.
Of course, we can add others to that group of "aspiring leaders" who were not included. Louis Farrakhan. Quanell X. Sheila Jackson Lee. And there are many others. But as Mr. Asim points out, how can you have a leader that represents a large segment of the population without true representation of all?

So we return to the original question: Who represents black America?

Perhaps the problem is in the question itself. Why do we continue to segregate ourselves from the rest of American society, constantly labeling ourselves as "black America" or "African-Americans"? The question is not, "Who represents black America?" but, "Who represents America?" As long as black Americans, and other so-called minority segments of the United States citizenship, participate in the political and electoral process, the answers are one and the same.

Who really represents America? Our elected officials.

Or at least, they're supposed to...