April 28, 2006

Death In the Family

My grandmother passed away, so I am off to Missouri for the funeral (at least part I of the funeral) and will not be back in town until late Monday night (for the second part of the funeral). Posting will likely resume on Tuesday.

Will Kerry Run in 2008?

Some Democrats are very wary that John Kerry may run again in 2008. From Ellen Goodman of the Boston Globe:

The signs that John Kerry is going to run for president in 2008 are rising faster than the pollen count. There was the requisite New York Times op-ed -- How many days late? How many dollars short? -- on getting out of Iraq. There was the Globe op-ed that preceded the speech supporting war dissenters at Faneuil Hall to an audience of groupies yelling ''Run" and ''2008." There was Ted Kennedy's remark, ''If he runs, I'm supporting him."

And then there was his op-ed in The Manchester Union-Leader defending New Hampshire's place as first-in-the-nation primary. A true profile in courage.

All of this leads me to blurt out: ''Stop him before he kills (the Democrats' chances) again."

LOL

April 27, 2006

The "Stagnant Economy" Myth

More good economic news:

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - New home sales posted the biggest jump in 13 years in March, but sales got a boost as builders cut prices to cope with higher mortgage rates and a growing backlog of houses on the market.

The government reported new homes sold at an annual rate of 1.21 million homes in March, up 13.8 percent from a revised 1.07 million pace in February. That easily topped forecasts for a 1.1 million pace from economists surveyed by Briefing.com.

The jump, the biggest since a 16 percent rise in April 1993, came even as mortgage rates hit an average 6.32 percent last month for 30-year fixed-rate loans, according to Freddie Mac, up from 6.25 percent in February.

The mortgage rate was the second-highest for any month since 2002. Rates have risen further since, climbing to 6.53 percent in the most recent weekly survey.

With rising mortgage rates driving up the cost of financing home purchases, most economists have been looking for the real estate market to cool off in 2006 after several years of record sales.

But economist Bob Brusca said last month's drop in new home prices is a sign that the market for new homes isn't nearly as strong as the jump in sales would suggest.

Democrat Tire Slashers Get Jail Time

During the 2004 election, there were many reported instances of actual voter intimidation commited by Democrats against Republicans. In one of the more publicized instances, 25 vans, which were rented by the Republican Party to take voters to polling places, were vandalized by having their tires slashed.

Justice was served:

Tossing aside a plea agreement that called for probation, Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge Michael Brennan sentenced four Democratic Party workers today to jail for slashing the tires of 25 vans rented by Republicans to take voters to polls for the 2004 presidential election.

Calling the vandalism more than harmless hijinks, Brennan admonished the four men, including the sons of two prominent Milwaukee politicians, for disenfranchising voters. The judge said he had received letters from Milwaukee County citizens upset over the crime.

"They see you tampering with something they consider sacred and that's the ballot box," Brennan said during a two-hour sentencing this morning.

Michael Pratt, 33, and Lewis Caldwell, 29, were each sentenced to six months in jail while Lavelle Mohammad, 36, got five months and Sowande Omokunde, 26, got four months. Each was also fined $1,000. They will be eligible for work release and were allowed to surrender to begin their sentences within two weeks.

Pratt is the son of former Acting Mayor Marvin Pratt and Omokunde is the son of U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.)....At the time of the pleas, Assistant District Attorney David Feiss said that if the defendants collectively paid $5,317.45 restitution by their sentencing Wednesday - which they did - he would recommend they all get probation. Misdemeanor property damage carries a possible maximum penalty of nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine.

But Brennan said stiffer punishment was needed.

"This case has to be an example of what happens if you interfere in voters' rights," Brennan said.


Good to see that this was no slap on the wrist...

April 26, 2006

More College Campus Stupidity

From the Daily Bruin:

In order to ride a high horse for any considerable length of time without getting sore, you need a fancy saddle. A group of righteous high horse hobbyists on campus has chosen the accusation of murder as theirs.

The student group Coke-Free Campus wants to ban Coca-Cola products from UCLA because some of the casualties of the ongoing civil war in Colombia have allegedly included union leaders and Coca-Cola factory workers.

Economically, Coke has no incentive to have employees murdered by guerrillas. No workers, no Coke: no-brainer. Legally, they have been acquitted of any responsibility by two judicial inquiries. So why the persecution?....For now, private corporations are subject to the political realities of whatever government they operate under. How are they expected to provide protection in a war-ravaged country such as Colombia?

Read it all. Too funny.

Joe Wilson

Normally, I wouldn't pay too much attention to a lying media whore like Joe Wilson. But, Wuzzadem has a hilarious post that left me laughing out loud. Check it out here.

April 25, 2006

Senator Feingold's PAC Makes Anti-Bush Ad With Baseless Accusation

From FactCheck.Org:

Sen. Russ Feingold's leadership PAC sponsored an Internet video making an unfounded suggestion that President Bush is being urged to eavesdrop "on anybody who has the nerve to disagree with [him] - court order or not."

A Feingold spokesman says the ad is a parody. Funny or not, it makes an accusation for which there's no evidence.

Feingold himself says in the video that "our country hasn't stood for this kind of abuse of power in 200 years." We think he's forgetting such things as FDR's forced internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans in World War II, and Lincoln's summary jailings of Confederate sympathizers.

Classic.

Leaks and Hypocrisy

Check out Michelle Malkin's latest "Vent" over at HotAir.com.
She does a really good job of pointing out the Democrats' hypocrisy when it comes to condemning or approving of leaks.

Islamists and Gays

From Gay Patriot:


The Iranian government is executing gay and bisexual men under the cover of rape and kidnapping charges, according to a major new investigation by Simon Forbes of the UK-based gay and lesbian human rights group OutRage!

Mr Forbes’s nine-month investigation, published today by OutRage!, is based on information gathered from sources inside Iran. His research reveals:

- Lynchings by Iran’s security forces, and ‘honour killings’ by families in the south western province of Khuzestan

-Secret hangings in prison

- The method of hanging is designed to cause slow, agonising strangulation

- Internet entrapment of gay Iranians using foreign-based online gay dating agencies

- A pattern of framing gay people on charges of kidnap, rape and paedophilia, as the following five sample cases suggest:

- The Gorgan case where two men were publicly hanged for Lavaat (sodomy) in November 2005

- Details of the Kermanshah case where three men were hanged in prison in November 2005 for sodomy that was alleged to have taken the form of the kidnap and rape of a younger male

- The Arak case of two men sentenced to death for sodomy in August 2005, which also involved the alleged kidnap and rape of a younger male, the son of an officer

- Two cases of public execution for sodomy in Mashhad in December 2004 and July 2005 that involved suspiciously similar charges

- Claims of rape are sometimes made to save the family’s honour or to save the passive partner from execution, and are part of an Iranian government propaganda offensive to scapegoat and demonise gay people

- Comparisons with Saudi Arabia, where it is also suggested that bogus rape charges are levelled against gay men

- Hypocrisy of the mullah’s attitudes towards the abuse of young girls, the rape of both males and females in custody, and widespread sodomy in religious colleges

Absolutely disgusting. Kind of makes Pat Robertson and his ilk look tolerant. Yet, when I talk with my cousins, who are lesbians, George Bush and the Republicans (who they view as all members of the religious right - not true, but they will never admit it) are the only real threat to gays and lesbians.

Once again, one would think that gays and lesbians, as a group, would, at least, acknowledge that they share a common enemy in Islamists...

April 24, 2006

Bill Maher: America is "Wallowing" on 9/11

Bill Maher and Heather Higgins had an interesting exchange on the April 21, 2006 edition of Real Time. Bill Maher wants America to move on and not "wallow" on the memories of 9/11:

MAHER: They replayed the 9/11 calls from that day, they showed films of people jumping—

HIGGINS:—but they’re horrific, even if read them—

MAHER:—I know, but we remember that day, why did the jury need to see? I think everybody on the jury remembers 9/11. Why did we have to introduce this emotionalism? Because we are, we love to wallow in this country. We are—

HIGGINS:—I couldn’t disagree with you more.

MAHER: Really?

HIGGINS: I think there has become a completely absence of remembering.

MAHER: What?!?

HIGGINS: Yes.

MAHER: There’s been a complete absence of change.

HIGGINS: No.

MAHER: There’s been plenty of remembering.

HIGGINS: No. There’s not much remembering. There’s no remembering with visuals, there’s no—

MAHER:—You’ve got to be kidding?

HIGGINS: It’s been 4-and-a-half years and we’re finally getting a US flight 92 movie out.

MAHER: Right and they showed a screening and people yelled “too soon, too soon”.

HIGGINS: That was the upper west side, but for the rest of us—

MAHER:—when white people are yelling at the screen that’s something.

[laughter]

HIGGINS: I was there on 9/11. I was three days away from the World Trade Center and I saw all sorts of shit that no body has seen on television because they won’t show it. It’s really, really hideous and it makes it extremely personal. And I think understanding what happened in that cockpit and on that plane is something we should be celebrating as Americans. These are heroes and I think it’s directly relevant—

MAHER:—This is a trial, not an episode of Oprah, it is a trial. What does it have to do with the trial of this man [Moussaoui]?

HIGGINS: Because when you have a murder, the victim’s death is relevant to the trial and these are a lot of people who died who deserved the credit of being remembered.


MAHER: It’s just stoking the emotional pot.

Hat Tip: Expose the Left.

I am sure that the families of the approx. 3,000 killed on that day would like nothing more than to stop "wallowing" and forget their pain. Maybe Maher could show them how to accomplish that.

The left would like nothing more than for the American public to forget that 9/11 ever happened. Otherwise, the American public will continue to consider national security an important issue when they go to the polls... and vote Republican.
By the way, Maher does show his complete lack of understanding of the judicial process and criminal trials. The Zacharias Moussaoui trial is now in the penalty phase and, as such, the testimonials of victims and the families of the victims is highly relevant as to the impact that Moussaoui's actions have had on them. The jury is attempting to determine whether or not his crimes were heinous enough to justify the most serious of our criminal punishments.

Civillian Control of the Military

Former President, Gerald Ford, weighs in on Rumsfeld:

Ford, 92, said the decision on keeping Rumsfeld is the president's alone. "Allowing retired generals to dictate our country's policies and its leadership would be a dangerous precedent that would severely undermine our country's long tradition of civilian control of the military," Ford said.

"It would discourage civilian leaders at the (Defense) Department from having frank and candid exchanges with military officers. And, today, at a time of war, such an effort sends exactly the wrong message both to our troops deployed abroad and to our enemies who are watching for any signs of weakness or self-doubt."

Hat Tip: Blogs for Bush.

I am not a big fan of Ford, but he is right. It is good to get the opinions of these generals (who better to ask than those with first hand knowledge of the work of the Defense Secretary), however, basing the decision solely on their opinions would set a very bad precendent.

Moreover, it is nice to see a former President not actively attempting to undermine the sitting government (e.g, Carter, Clinton).

April 22, 2006

This Just In: John McCain is a Republican!!!

Some in the media are in shock that their beloved "maverick" John McCain is actually trying to gain support from actual Republicans:

As if we needed more convincing that Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) is courting the Republican establishment that scorned him in the 2000 presidential race, an invite to a May fundraiser for his Straight Talk America PAC in Dallas found its way to the Fix inbox this afternoon.

The May 15 event is two-tiered: a 5:30 p.m. reception will be held at the home of Cinda and Tom Hicks and will be followed by a 7 p.m. dinner at the home of Rita and Bill Clements. The special guest for the night will be Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman. (Mehlman has been very careful about not taking sides in the 2008 nomination fight and we have been assured nothing should be read into his agreeing to be part of this event.)

Even so, the list of Republican heavy hitters on the host committee shows the depth of work that McCain (and his political guru John Weaver) have done over the past few years to woo deep-pocketed supporters of President George W. Bush.

It is newsworthy in the sense that it can be seen as McCain beginning to build a war chest for the 2008 campaign. Sounds like smart politics to me. I just find it funny that some in the media are surprised at his targets for donors.

Democratic "Culture of Corruption"

Contrary to what the Democrats will have you belive, corruption is rampant in both parties. Need another example? Here you go:


Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (W.Va.) stepped down temporarily from his post as ranking Democrat on the House ethics committee, amid accusations that he used his congressional position to funnel money to his own home-state foundations, possibly enriching himself in the process.

As recently as Thursday, Mollohan, a 12-term lawmaker, had said he would not step aside, but he bowed to pressure yesterday from House Democratic leaders eager to pursue their campaign against what they call a "culture of corruption" in the Republican Party.

Truly priceless. Democrats are still eager to pursue their campaign against the "culture of corruption" in the Republican Party - even when it is more than evident that their own house is not in order... They don't want to divert the public's attention away from the Republicans, so they try to play down their own corruption. Hypocrisy.

April 20, 2006

In the Name of Religious Sensitivity...

This is somewhat amusing:

JAIL bosses are rebuilding toilets so Muslim inmates don’t have to use them while facing Mecca.

Thousands of pounds of taxpayers money are being spent to ensure lags are not offended. The Islamic religion prohibits Muslims from facing or turning their backs on the Kiblah — the direction of prayer — when they visit the lav. Muslim lags claimed they have had to sit sideways on prison WCs. But after pressure from faith leaders the Home Office has agreed to turn the existing toilets 90 degrees at HMP Brixton in London.

Gay Superheroes

Yeah, this is exactly what comic geeks want to see:


British actor SIR IAN MCKELLEN complained on the set of upcoming sequel X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, because he wanted his character MAGNETO to have some gay sex scenes. THE LORD OF THE RINGS star, who has been openly gay since 1988, insists a homoerotic sub-plot would have enhanced the movie. MCKellen tells Empire magazine, "He hasn't been given a love line, which I think is a pity. It would be wonderful if the camera hovered over Magneto's bed, to discover him making love to Professor X." However, MCKellen admits he needed camera trickery to help him match Magneto's muscular physique. He adds, "I'd like to see him at the gym, because in the comics he has the most amazing body. I'm the slimline version of Magneto, but of course, these days you could morph my body into something really fantastic."

Liberals at Indymedia Attempt To "Intimidate" Right Wing Bloggers

Good grief. Check this out.
Evidently, Indymedia is encouraging its readers to stalk and/or harm certain rightwing bloggers including Stephen Green, Michelle Malkin, Glenn Reynolds, Jonah Goldberg, Jeff Goldstein, Rusty Shackleford, etc. by posting their addresses and phone numbers.
Indymedia encourages its readers to "do your best to be 'nice' to all of these reichwingers", but then notes that they can use "maps.google.com to find their phone numbers and maps".
Absolutely disgusting. Can you blame me for taking a vacation from politics?
Indymedia is upset because Michelle Malkin posted a press release from some college students that were trying to get military recuriters off campus. The press release evidently included the addresses and phone numbers of the college students. More background here.
My two cents: if the students did not want their personal information disseminated to the public, why would they include it on a press release? For that matter, if they did not want the information published, why send it to members of the press? Obviously, a screw up by the students.
When people have to resport to threats and intimidation to discourage opposing view points, it is a sure sign that they have already lost the debate and are now resorting to the only device they have left - thuggery.
According to Stephen, many of the addresses are fortunately wrong. So, not only do they have no class, but they are also clueless.

End of Sabbatical

I have not published on this blog since December.
There has been no illness, no family emergencies and no other "legitimate excuses" (other than paying more attention to my work and family) for "ignoring" this blog or my "blogging duties".
To be honest, I had been incredibly busy and found that (a) the blog was taking a significant amount of my time every day - time which I desperately needed for work and (b) I was essentially "burning out".
I really enjoy blogging, yet I have been frustrated with the direction that this blog has taken and struggling with the direction I want to take on a going forward basis. Initially, I had limited this blog to being an essentially "political blog". . . i.e., a place for me to comment on and/or discuss politics. As politics have taken a much more dramatic turn towards hostility (on both sides), I became more and more disillusioned and tired of politics.
I have grown very tired of constantly re-arguing the same points with some of my more liberal readers (the alleged "Bush lie" and whether there is a "Republican culture of corruption").
As I have mentioned prevously ad nauseum, Bush may have been an advocate for war and may have viewed the available intelligence with a bias towards war, but clearly, he did not lie when presenting his case to the American people. As any leader would, Bush looked at the available intelligence, formed his own conclusions, decided on a foreign policy and then went forward to sell that foreign policy to his constituents. No President, other than maybe Bill Clinton (who I voted for twice), would have his foreign policy decided by polls.
Is there a "Republican culture of corruption"? No. There is an "American culture of corruption" that includes both Republicans and Democrats politicians. We can argue about the Abrahamoff scandal and which party benefited from Mr. Abrahamoff's efforts or we can argue about the proliferation of 527's and whether they are abuses of the campaign finance laws, but really, what would be the benefit? If you are concerned about corruption - as any American should be - then fine. Let's discuss how to make politicians more accountable. Under the "leadership" of Howard Dean, however, the Democrats have ignored an opportunity to make necessary reforms and instead made it a "Republican" issue, thus taking the focus off corruption in American politics and placing the Republicans on the defensive (all the while ignoring the corruption within the Democratic ranks). By doing so, the Democrats may have made temporary gains in public opinion polls, however, they have lost any chance of finding a bipartisan solution to America's problem. Moreover, by trying to sell the corruption issue as a Republican-only problem, the Democrats have shown, once again, true contempt or lack of respect for the American electorate. Most Americans recognize the hypocrisy. As such, Dean's crusade against "Republican corruption" has not gained any real traction.
I hate hypocrisy. I know I am not alone.
Anyways, back to the issue at hand. I have decided to continue blogging. However, I have not yet decided what direction I will take on a "going forward" basis. I will likely not limit my posts to politics only. Moreover, I have found that the blogs I enjoy the most are those that do not treat everything so serious and actually possess a sense of humor. Who knows.
I will begin regularly posting this weekend after I give it some more thought.
Thanks for all of your patience.