« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 1, 2007

Too Bad You Can't Stay

The calendar has moved to October, and that presumably meant that Larry Craig would head home to Idaho and allow a replacement appointment to take his seat. Unfortunately for the Senate Republicans, embarrassed by Craig's guilty plea to disorderly conduct in a Minneapolis airport restroom, Craig has decided to extend his tapdancing. Since he won't commit to resigning, his GOP colleagues plan on holding a public ethics hearing to shame him out of the Senate: The Senate hearing would examine the original charges in Craig's case, including the allegation of "interference with privacy," for peeping into the bathroom stall occupied by an undercover police officer. One senior Republican aide imagined "witnesses, documents, all in front of the klieg lights." The committee also could look for "a pattern of conduct" -- which means combing court records in other locales to discover whether Craig had prior arrests that haven't come to light....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Christian Conservatives For Hillary

When parties fall out of power, they tend to go through a battle between Puritans and Big Tenters. Inevitably, when Puritans control the debate, they tend to ensure a longer term in the wilderness, and when they don't, they threaten to leave. Perhaps the developments in Salt Lake City, at a meeting of the Council for National Policy, indicates that the Republican center-right has begun to take the lead in GOP politics: Alarmed at the chance that the Republican party might pick Rudolph Giuliani as its presidential nominee despite his support for abortion rights, a coalition of influential Christian conservatives is threatening to back a third-party candidate in an attempt to stop him. The group making the threat, which came together Saturday in Salt Lake City during a break-away gathering during a meeting of the secretive Council for National Policy, includes Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, who...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Combat Deaths Drop To 14-Month Low

The use of aggressive tactics and a larger footprint has resulted in a drop in combat deaths for American troops in Iraq. The number of those lost in combat operations fell to a 14-month low in September. Meanwhile, the US and Iraqi forces continue to hold the momentum, killing almost as many al-Qaeda terrorists and insurgents this weekend as American forces lost all month: Sixty-three U.S. military deaths were reported in September, the lowest monthly toll since July 2006, according to U.S. forces and a preliminary count by The Associated Press. A U.S. soldier was killed Sunday in a small-arms attack during combat operations in eastern Baghdad, the military said Monday. The soldier, whose name was withheld pending notification of relatives, was assigned to the Multi-National Division-Baghdad. In July 2006, 43 American soldiers were killed, according to an AP count. "It's still too high," military spokesman Rear Admiral Mark Fox...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Michigan Goes Smoot-Hawley In The Early Morning

The economic woes of Michigan appear ready to worsen, thanks to a budget agreement reached this morning as the state government began shutting down. Michigan residents will see their taxes increase by over a billion dollars, further burdening the decreasing purchasing power of its residents, as the legislature only sliced less than a third of that from their spending plans (via The Corner): The Legislature agreed to raise Michigan's income tax rate from 3.9 percent to 4.35 percent and expand the 6 percent sales tax to some services. Granholm signed both measures. Structural changes to state government — including the management of teacher and other public employee benefits — also are part of the package. The tax increases should erase most of a projected $1.75 billion deficit in Michigan's next budget. The final budget for the new fiscal year will include $440 million in spending cuts, Granholm said. ... Raising...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

An Orange Rebound?

The Ukrainian elections held this weekend may have returned momentum to the pro-Western parties that fueled the Orange Revolution two years ago. The slow count in the pro-Russian east of Ukraine could still dent that momentum, and already accusations of cheating have arisen from perhaps the most famous -- and fiery -- of Ukrainian politicians: Ukraine's pro-Western opposition claimed victory on Monday in an election widely seen as key to ending divisions that have stalled market reform and exacerbated tensions between a nationalist west and Russian-speaking east. With just over 60 percent of votes in Sunday's parliamentary poll counted, groups linked to President Viktor Yushchenko, swept to power in 2004 "Orange Revolution" protests, appeared strongly placed but far from certain victory. A close result would again mean long talks on forming a coalition government. Yushchenko's rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, dismissed the "orange" declaration of victory as groundless. He said...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Clarence Thomas, Unbound

Sixteen years after he castigated the Senate Judiciary Committee for conducting a “high-tech lynching,” Justice Clarence Thomas may relish the opportunity to tell his side of the story. With his new book My Grandfather’s Son: A Memoir hitting bookstores today, Thomas’ belated last word on the accusations of sexual harrassment and hypocrisy on racial preferences will undoubtedly transform his image from that of an isolated footnote to an active and powerful voice, both on the Supreme Court and in public life. He has placed himself in the unusually public place of a controversial author, seeking publicity where he and his colleagues have traditionally avoided it. Last night, I watched his interviews on CBS’ 60 Minutes, conducted with taste and objectivity by Steve Kroft. At Heading Right, I review the interview and Thomas' effectiveness. Thomas did well last night in providing the last word on the Anita Hill allegations and the...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Winning The Ponzi Endorsement

Hillary Clinton seems to attract all the right money from all the wrong people. Right on the heels of Norman Hsu, the New York Post reports that another Ponzi-scheme operator has pumped almost $30,000 in contributions to her campaign (via Michelle Malkin): A purported pyramid-scheme operator who was run out of Arkansas when Bill Clinton was governor has reinvented himself as the head of an upstate group accused of being a "cult" - and his devotees have pumped thousands into Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential run. Executives and top associates of the Albany-based NXIVM group - along with their family members - donated $29,900 to Clinton's presidential campaign, according to federal records. On March 14 and April 13, records show, more than a dozen contributions poured into Clinton's coffers from NXIVM, an executive and group-awareness training organization led by Brooklyn-born Keith Raniere, 47. ... In his previous incarnation, the Svengali-like Raniere...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Iraqi Civilian Deaths Plunge, Too

The BBC reports that the good news in Iraq isn't just limited to American troops. The number of violent civilian deaths have dropped dramatically in September to less than half of August, by far the best month of the year: The number of Iraqi civilians killed per month in bombings and shootings has fallen to the lowest level this year, the Iraqi government says. In September, 884 civilians were killed by violence, less than half the figure for August, the government said. The BBC's Jon Brain in Baghdad says the figures suggest the so-called surge involving 30,000 extra US troops is having some success. ... Additional figures released by the government indicated that the death toll had fallen by 38% compared with last year's Ramadan, according to the Muslim calendar. The number of Iraqi troops and police killed also dropped. In August, 87 security force members were killed in the...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Clarence Thomas' Book

Heading Right Radio airs in prime time tonight at 9 pm ET. I will have just left a private dinner function with Justice Clarence Thomas, and I will talk about the experience and his new book, My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir. I hope to have at least one or two more of the invitees join me on the show, and of course I'll be taking your calls. Be sure to adjust your listening schedules for the special prime-time installment! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

An Evening With Justice Thomas

Earlier this evening, I attended a two-hour dinner event at the Heritage Foundation with Justice Clarence Thomas, his wife Virginia, and a small number of other bloggers and New Media members. It confirmed for me that the media has never gotten a grasp of the man under the robes, possibly because they have not spent even the small amount of time with him that we did tonight and that Steve Kroft did with his 60 Minutes interview -- and they have missed a real story from that failure. And while the nominal reason for the evening was his book launch -- and we each received autographed copies -- it turned into a wide-ranging conversation that had little to do with the book. The evening started with Justice Thomas greeting us, taking pictures and chatting us up a bit. He asked me what I wrote about at Captain's Quarters, and I...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 2, 2007

A Slow Start?

The Los Angeles Times takes a look at Fred Thompson's fundraising in the third quarter -- a period of time in which he was an official candidate for 24 days -- and declares him "behind". Instead of looking at a fundraising rate that seems fairly impressive, Dan Morain makes the trenchant analysis that the candidate who just joined the race last month finds himself behind other candidates who have raised money for their third straight quarter: In an indication that his presidential campaign is off to a slow start financially, Republican Fred Thompson raised $8 million in the third quarter of 2007, which included his first month as a declared candidate. Combined with the money he raised while he considered joining the race, Thompson has gathered $11.5 million for the year, putting him a distant fourth in the GOP money race behind Mitt Romney, Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sen. John...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

France Keeps Pressure On Iran

The government of Nicolas Sarkozy intends to keep pressure on Iran to abandon their nuclear program, and wants to see the rest of the world follow suit. Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told a European broadcaster that Western credibility required the pursuit of tougher sanctions, as the UN continued to dither: French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said on Tuesday the West must continue to work on sanctions if it is to be taken seriously by Iran, even as talks continue to resolve a stand-off over Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Kouchner told Europe 1 radio that the situation in Iran was dangerous and that a nuclear-armed Iran would make the situation in the Middle East even more complicated. "While the European dialogue continues...we have to work on sanctions so as to be taken seriously," Kouchner said. So far, the West doesn't appear to be listening. The UN Security Council agreed on Friday to...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Maybe This Time He Means It?

Pervez Musharraf, facing a parliamentary revolt after winning his legal petitions to run for the presidency on Saturday, named his replacement as army chief of staff today. Musharraf has made promises to step down in the past, but never has gone quite so far as to name his successor: Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has named his successor to take over as army chief, the military says. The appointee is former head of intelligence Lt Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiani, military spokesman Maj Gen Waheed Arshad told the BBC. Gen Musharraf will resign as head of the army if he wins presidential elections on Saturday, his lawyers say. The choice of Kiani will reassure Musharraf's Western allies. Kiani has a reputation as a hard-core Musharraf loyalist, which will hopefully keep military policy stable in the transition to civilian government. Kiana has run the army's intelligence service, which gives him even more credibility...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Sauce For The Goose

Anita Hill takes to the pages of the New York Times to answer Justice Clarence Thomas' memoirs -- and becomes an inadvertent ironist. After waiting sixteen years to tell his side of the story, Hill accuses Thomas of throwing unsubstantiated allegations at her. Anyone who watched the Thomas confirmation process should fall into gales of laughter at this cri de coeur: In the portion of his book that addresses my role in the Senate hearings into his nomination, Justice Thomas offers a litany of unsubstantiated representations and outright smears that Republican senators made about me when I testified before the Judiciary Committee — that I was a “combative left-winger” who was “touchy” and prone to overreacting to “slights.” A number of independent authors have shown those attacks to be baseless. What’s more, their reports draw on the experiences of others who were familiar with Mr. Thomas’s behavior, and who came...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Pyongyang Summit

The leaders of the two Korean states shook hands to the cheers of thousands in Pyongyang today. The historic summit, only the second in a half-century of hostility, hopes to bridge the gulf between Koreans separated by a DMZ, and to staunch the bleeding from the catastrophic economic collapse in the North. Whether it leads to any real progress may have more to do with disarmament talks taking place elsewhere: As hundreds of thousands of North Koreans cheered and waved pink paper flowers, leaders of the two Koreas shook hands at the start of a summit that is expected to inject large amounts of money from the booming capitalist South into the struggling Stalinist North. The reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jung Il, dressed in the gray military-style jumpsuit he wears to meet the world's television cameras, looked dour as he walked with the smiling South Korean President Roh Moo...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Hair Of The Dog

Hillary Clinton’s proposal to give a $5,000 bond to every newborn has received a lot of attention, and most of it critical. Today, the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board gives it a once-over, noting the silly arguments that Democrats have used to excuse Hillary’s pandering. The Tribune advises Democrats to let Hillary’s baby boon die a natural death. At Heading Right, I take a look at the proposal that one can spend their way out of a deficit -- a notion not completely restricted to Democrats, either. This case is so blatantly transparent that other Democrats might be doing Hillary a favor if they just shut up and pretend she never said anything....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Hillary 1993: Nationalize Health Care Through The Kids

Defenders of the S-CHIP expansion refute the accusations of its critics that it amounts to a Trojan horse for nationalized health care. However, The Politico notes that a 1993 memo from Hillary Clinton's health-care task force proposed using children as a mechanism in order to take control of health-care delivery for all Americans. The revelation gives the White House new momentum for its expected veto: Back in 1993, according to an internal White House staff memo, then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s staff saw federal coverage of children as a “precursor” to universal coverage. In a section of the memo titled “Kids First,” Clinton’s staff laid out backup plans in the event the universal coverage idea failed. And one of the key options was creating a state-run health plan for children who didn’t qualify for Medicaid but were uninsured. That idea sounds a lot like the current State Children’s Health Insurance...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Has Pawlenty Kept McCain Strong In Minnesota?

John McCain shows surprising strength in the latest Star Tribune poll. Minnesota voters have him only trailing Rudy Giuliani by five points, and eight points ahead of third-place Fred Thompson. The strong showing may have its roots in the endorsement of Tim Pawlenty, who signed onto the McCain campaign early and has remained adamant in his endorsement: McCain's relative strength in Minnesota -- he trails Giuliani by just 5 percentage points among poll respondents -- could have several explanations, starting with the fact that Gov. Tim Pawlenty is his marquee Minnesota supporter, Hofrenning said. "There could definitely be a Pawlenty effect at work," he said. "But we've also got a maverick streak here, going back to strong support for Perot. And he [McCain] is the pro-war, anti-Bush candidate." In fact, the poll showed that McCain's supporters were far more likely than supporters of any other GOP candidate to disapprove of...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Pieces Falling Into Place In Pakistan

Earlier today, Pervez Musharraf named his successor as army chief of staff as he prepared to stand for election for the presidency he has held after a 1999 coup. Now he has apparently cinched a deal for the support of moderate Benazir Bhutto as the government officially granted the former Prime Minister amnesty against corruption allegations that Musharraf used as an excuse to grab power: Pakistan agreed to grant former prime minister Benazir Bhutto an amnesty on corruption charges Tuesday as President Pervez Musharraf named a new army chief just days before he seeks re-election. The day of dramatic developments came as military strongman Musharraf, a key US ally who seized power in 1999, faced growing opposition to his plan to win another five-year term in Saturday's presidential vote. The move to drop a raft of graft charges against Bhutto, who has vowed to return to Pakistan on October 18,...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

If Dems Vote For Defense Funding And The Media Misses It, Will It Make A Noise With The Netroots?

I had not realized that the Senate passed the Defense Department authorization yesterday until the Standard commented on it this morning. The spending bill passed overwhelmingly, 92-3, with only Robert Byrd, Tom Coburn, and Russ Feingold in opposition. Tellingly, the Democrats running for office from the Senate all managed to miss the vote -- Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Chrsi Dodd, and Joe Biden. Democrats had threatened to hold up the Defense appropriation until George Bush bent to their will on Iraq. Harry Reid had petulantly taken the bill off the table in July, attempting to hold it to the last minute in order to pressure Republicans to change course in Iraq. Instead, as the success of the surge became more and more apparent, Reid found the ground falling out from beneath him. Oddly, no major newspaper on my feed list bothered to report this development. The AP did generate a...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Day Off (Update: Tap Dancing My Way Home)

Due to my travel schedule today, Heading Right Radio will take a day off. Instead, I'd recommend taking a listen to last night's special prime-time broadcast recapping my dinner with Justice Clarence Thomas. Tomorrow, I'll celebrate the blog's 4th anniversary in my normal time slot of 2 pm CT! UPDATE & BUMP, 1:45 ET: I'm enjoying a layover in Charlotte, which gave me time to post another couple of entries below. It's amazing how much one airport resembles another. I had to hit the restroom, and the stall had this note: TAP DANCE 4 LOVE! It's like I never left Minneapolis .... I've gone through a third of the Clarence Thomas memoir, and so far, it's fascinating. With any luck, I'll finish it before I get home. In the meantime, Danny Glover has a roundup of reactions to Clarence Thomas, his book, Anita Hill's response, and so on. UPDATE II:...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Book Review: My Grandfathers' Son

Yesterday, Justice and Mrs. Clarence Thomas presented us with signed copies of his new memoir, My Grandfather's Son. I looked forward to reading it, and took the opportunity to read the book in its entirety today on two flights and a weather-delayed layover in Charlotte. Thanks to bad weather on the last leg of my flight, the turbulence of the flight hit just as I began reading about the turbulence of Clarence Thomas' confirmation to the Supreme Court. The book provides a fascinating and at times touching portrait of a man who had to fight against anger most of his life, and most of that within himself. He talks frequently about having to have his anger on a leash that occasionally slipped. His drinking found its source in his anger and insecurities, the frustration of segregation and racial hatred and the effect it had on his family, and anger at...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 3, 2007

Creative Accounting At 10 Downing Street?

Two days ago, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown flew to Basra to announce the withdrawal of 1,000 troops in time for Christmas. Critics claimed at the time that Brown had played up the announcement to bolster Labour for snap elections. Now, however, critics have a more substantial complaint -- that Brown far overstated the drawdown by counting troops that listened to the announcement from Britain: The Prime Minister has flown to Basra to announce that 1,000 servicemen would return home by Christmas, leaving a contingent of 4,000. The move was widely seen as an attempt to prepare the ground for a snap general election. But he faced severe criticism for alleged spin after it emerged that half of the withdrawals had previously been announced and hundreds of the troops were already home. ... Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, accused Mr Brown of treating the troops as "a political football"....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

North Korea Agrees To US Lead On Nuke Program

Kim Jong-Il has agreed to give a "complete and correct" declaration of all its nuclear programs and will allow the US to take the lead on disabling its Yongbyon reactor. The announcement, announced by representatives of North Korea and China, comes within the six-party framework and adheres to the February 13th agreement. It takes the process much closer to completion, but another issue remains open: North Korea agreed to provide a "complete and correct declaration" of its nuclear programs and will disable its facilities at its main reactor complex by Dec. 31 under an agreement reached by North Korea and five other countries released Wednesday. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei said as part of the agreement, the U.S. will take the lead in seeing that the facilities are disabled and will fund those initial activities. ... North Korea is required to disable its sole functioning reactor at Yongbyon in...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Hillary Gets Stronger, Rudy Doubles Up

The Washington Post/ABC News poll shows the national frontrunners remaining strong with just three months to go before the primaries, if we're lucky. Hillary Clinton has now attracted a majority of Democratic voters and has commanding leads on all issues over her Democratic opponents. Rudy Giuliani has not yet reached those heights, but he has double the support of his nearest rival, Fred Thompson. Clinton seems to be solidifying the perception of her inevitability: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has consolidated her place as the front-runner in the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination, outpacing her main rivals in fundraising in the most recent quarter and widening her lead in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. For the first time, Clinton (N.Y.) is drawing support from a majority of Democrats -- and has opened up a lead of 33 percentage points over Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.). Her popularity, the poll suggests,...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

They Met A Tax They Didn't Like!

Wisconsin Rep. David Obey apparently blindsided Democratic Party leadership in both chambers of Congress with his income-tax surcharge to supposedly fund the Iraq War. Featuring a graduated tax increase with a range of 2-15%, the tax would supposedly cover the costs of the ongoing deployment in Iraq and "drive the costs home" to all Americans. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid reacted as though they finally met a tax they didn't like -- and they have a good reason: Democratic leaders on Tuesday moved quickly to shift public attention to President Bush’s expected veto of a children’s health insurance program from a surtax to pay for the war in Iraq. Democrats had been reveling in their good fortune, believing they had a winning issue in legislation to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which Bush is expected to veto Wednesday. But three senior Democrats floated a proposal to impose...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Virtual Blog Row For House GOP Conference

Today, the House Republican Conference will hold a series of conference calls with bloggers to review the GOP legislative agenda and top issues facing the caucus. These will occur throughout the day, with the following members scheduled to speak: 10:15 AM – 10:30 AM EST -- Congressman Jeb Hensarling (TX-5), RSC Chairman & Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (TN-7) 11:05 AM – 11:20 AM EST -- Republican Whip Roy Blunt (MO-7) & Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor (VA-7) 2:30 PM – 2:45 PM EST -- Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (FL-12) & Congressman Mike Pence (IN-6), Former RSC Chairman 3:30 PM – 3:45 PM EST -- Republican Leader John Boehner (OH-8) & Congressman Paul Ryan, Ranking Member on the Budget Committee (WI-1) I'm going to try to broadcast the last one live during today's Heading Right Radio show. I will be blogging each of these sessions at Heading Right during the day, so...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

A Couple Fell Off The Bookshelf

Last week, I finally launched the Bookshelf, which shows the books I'm reading and/or recommend to Captain's Quarters readers. It seems that a couple of tomes inadvertently fell off the shelf during the renovation, so I'm going to feature them in this post as I add them to the Bookshelf page. Don't forget that purchasing items through my Amazon links (including anything purchased through the Search widget) gives me a few cents on the dollar, too....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Vetoland, Population: 4

President Bush increased the number of vetoes issued during his administration by 33% today, torpedoing the S-CHIP expansion and setting up a major policy battle with Congress. With the Senate passing the bill with enough votes to overturn the veto, all eyes turn to the House, where both sides have scrambled to whip their caucuses: President Bush, in a confrontation with Congress, on Wednesday vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have dramatically expanded children's health insurance. It was only the fourth veto of Bush's presidency, and one that some Republicans feared could carry steep risks for their party in next year's elections. The Senate approved the bill with enough votes to override the veto, but the margin in the House fell short of the required number. The White House sought as little attention as possible, with the president wielding his veto behind closed doors without any fanfare or news coverage....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Andy McCarthy: Run That One By Me Again

Quite frankly, the entire pseudo-controversy over Rush Limbaugh's remarks headlined the Theater of the Absurd for the past week, and apparently continues its meager run on the stage. Michelle Malkin sees the strategy for exactly what it is -- a payback for the beating that MoveOn took over calling General David Petraeus a traitor on the pages of the New York Times. Andy McCarthy practically has to pick his jaw up off the floor over the target selection of the Left: There really was a news story, generated by the mainstream media of all people, about phony soldiers — poseurs who falsely claim to have put their lives on the line in our country’s armed forces, at least some of whom engage the pretense precisely to libel real heroes as terrorists and marauders. Rush Limbaugh, one of this nation’s single-most ardent supporters of the military, was briefed on the news...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Fourth Anniversary Of Captain's Quarters

Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), I plan on celebrating the fourth anniversary of Captain's Quarters. I'd love to hear from friends in the blogosphere, so be sure to call in! We have NZ Bear from the Victory Caucus in the first half of the hour to update us on all of the developments in Iraq. I'll also try -- try, mind you -- to broadcast our Virtual Blog Row event live at 2:30 CT. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Paul Campaign Looks A Little More Serious

He's been the butt of jokes, the focus of derision, and the candidate everyone wished they could ignore. Now he's the man who outraised most of the second tier in the third quarter, and he wants some respect. Ron Paul took over $5 million in donations, the same as John McCain and much more than Mike Huckabee, who had started to make a case for himself as a first-tier candidate (via Memeorandum): Texas Congressman Ron Paul, an anti-war libertarian making his second run at the White House, will report having raised $5.08 million in the third quarter. The number, which rivals those of John McCain and Bill Richardson, was boosted thanks to last-minute online fundraising that brought in more than $1.2 million in the last week of the quarter alone. Paul has drawn himself in sharp contrast with the rest of the field, often engaging in loud exchanges with fellow...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Ruth Marcus, Cherry-Picking

Ruth Marcus picks up the cudgel left by Anita Hill's earlier rebuttal to the memoirs of Clarence Thomas and tries to score a few points in today's Washington Post. Claiming that "Clarence Thomas is no victim", Marcus underscores her belief in Hill's version of events. She points to what she sees as corroborating evidence in the testimony of three witnesses to the Judiciary Committee hearing, claiming that Thomas deliberately omitted evidence from his account (via Bench Memos): First, Hill did not wait 10 years to complain about his behavior. Susan Hoerchner, a Yale Law School classmate of Hill's, described how she complained of sexual harassment while working for Thomas, saying the EEOC chairman had "repeatedly asked her out . . . but wouldn't seem to take 'no' for an answer." Ellen Wells, a friend, said Hill had come to her, "deeply troubled and very depressed," with complaints about Thomas's inappropriate...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

NRSC Live Blog With John Ensign

Senator John Ensign joined a few bloggers to discuss current events. First, Chuck Schumer proposed today to raise taxes on the equity markets who helped raise funds for the DSCC. The more we see of the Democrats, Ensign says, the more we will see tax increases. Republicans traditionally trust families to make the best choices with their own money rather than government and calls this a fundamental difference between the two parties He also acknowledged that the NRSC will have a tough road in 2008. He thinks that the GOP has an opportunity to do fairly well. Gordon Smith doesn't have a tough opponent on the horizon. Norm Coleman also has a pair of nonentities squaring off to face him, and Democrats are nervous about Al Franken's embarrassment factor. Maine looks solid, and says Susan Collins' constituents know her very well. John Sununu will be the toughest incumbent race, probably...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 4, 2007

Another Dimension Of The Thomas Smear

I spent some time last night reviewing some of the transcripts from the "high-tech lynching" delivered by the Senate Judiciary Committee to Clarence Thomas, just to refamiliarize myself with the actual testimony and evidence. It almost felt like jumping into Peabody's Wayback Machine, only in this case the transcripts reveal the truth rather than a facile and inaccurate misrepresentation. Based on a momentary reference in Thomas' book, I reread the testimony of John Doggett, who had come to the panel to testify on behalf of Thomas -- and who ended up facing the exact same smear, from the same apparent authors. Let me set the stage for readers. Doggett, a successful black attorney who knew both Hill and Thomas, had come to testify on Thomas' behalf -- and had done so with little issue. However, Senator Howard Metzenbaum's turn came up to start asking questions, and he immediately accused Doggett...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Iran Expands Operations Against The West

It seems as though the Iranians want war with the West more than the West wants war with Iran. British military intelligence reports that the Quds Force, a unit within the Revolutionary Guards, has begun supplying the Taliban with the same kinds of terrorist bombs that have been put to use by al-Qaeda in Iraq: Iran is supplying the Taliban in Afghanistan with the same bomb-making equipment it provides to insurgents in Iraq, according to British military intelligence officers. US Army General Dan McNeill, the commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan, said that the discovery of more than 50 roadside bombs and timers in lorries crossing the border from Iran last month proves that Iran's Quds Revolutionary Guards are actively supporting the Taliban. ... "I cannot see how it is possible for at least the Iranian military, probably the Quds force, to not have known of this convoy," said Gen...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Leahy Retreats

Patrick Leahy has capitulated on scheduling confirmation hearings for Michael Mukasey's nomination as Attorney General. Originally, Leahy wanted to hold Mukasey hostage to his demands for internal memos from the White House. However, the Bush administration has apparently proven too tenacious for Leahy: Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) signaled yesterday that he will move ahead with confirmation hearings for a new attorney general later this month without reaching a deal on documents that he hoped to obtain from the White House. But Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also said that nominee Michael B. Mukasey will be confronted with a range of questions related to ongoing conflicts between Democrats and the Bush administration, including whether Mukasey would allow prosecution of White House aides for ignoring congressional subpoenas. In a letter to the nominee released yesterday, Leahy complained that "the White House has chosen not to clear the decks of...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Will The Saudi Fatwa Stop The Jihadis?

Michael Jacobson at the excellent Counterterrorism Blog reports that the most influential cleric in Wahhabist Saudi Arabia has published a fatwa ordering would-be jihadists to stay at home rather than travel for holy war. Sheikh Abdel-Aziz Al-Asheikh appears to have contradicted Saudi government insistence that their subjects have not contributed to the terrorism in Iraq, and may embarrass the royal family into making a better effort at stopping the traffic in terrorists (via Instapundit): Earlier this week, Sheikh Abdel-Aziz Al-Asheikh – the most senior Wahhabi cleric in Saudi Arabia -- released a rather surprising religious edict. In this fatwa, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia instructed Saudis not to leave the Kingdom to participate in jihad – a statement directed primarily at those considering going to Iraq. Al-Asheikh said that he decided to speak up, “after it was clear that over several years Saudis have been leaving for jihad” and...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Settlement Imposes Silence

The families of the 9/11 victims at the World Trade Center and Pentagon who sued American Airlines have settled their suits against them. American Airlines and other contractors involved in security will pay an undisclosed sum to the victims and pledge to continue improving security. However, they will also avoid having to admit any negligence, and the evidence will remain sealed -- which seems inimical to the plaintiffs' stated motives. At Heading Right, I explore why this settlement bothers me. The families of 9/11 have the right to act in their own self-interest, but their continued insistence that the truth means more to them than money seems at odds with the sealed depositions. What did they learn? How did the airline and airport fail on 9/11, if they did at all? These particular families are not the only people with standing on 9/11. If the depositions revealed failures, we should...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Real Democrats, Unfortunately

In response to the hysterical bedwetting on the Left over Rush Limbaugh's use of the phrase "phony soldiers" to describe people who lie about their service or their experiences in the war theater, my good friend Scott Johnson has started a new contest at Power Line this morning. Titled "Phony Democrats," his post asks readers to contribute quotes from Democratic officeholders that have smeared and besmirched the military and its members directly, rather than using the tortured logic that Media Matters and its propagandist ilk have used to paint Limbaugh as an anti-military demagogue. Scott started out with several examples, and Power Line readers have supplied a few more. Unfortunately, I have to disagree with Scott on his nomenclature. I wish these were phony Democrats, or even unimportant, fringe Democrats. As one reads the list, the reality of the Democratic Party hits one squarely, and that is that their leadership...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

They Followed The Money To The Golden Dome

The Iraqi Army, with Americans along as advisors, captured two high-value al-Qaeda figures on Tuesday. One of them served as AQI's banker, pushing more than $50,000 per month into the terrorist network and possibly as much as $100 million during his tenure with the network: Iraqi forces, with U.S. Special Forces as advisers, detained two individuals believed to be linked to the al-Qaeda in Iraq criminal network Oct. 2, near Baghdad. During one of the operations, Soldiers from the 6th Iraqi Army Division detained a suspected al-Qaeda financier in Kindi. The extremist financier is suspected of traveling to foreign countries to acquire financial support for terrorist activities and is suspected of supplying more than $50,000 to al-Qaeda each month. He is believed to have received $100,000,000 this summer from terrorist supporters who cross the Iraq border illegally or fly into Iraq from Italy, Syria and Egypt. The terrorist is linked...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Domenici's Departure

The Republicans have another open seat to defend in 2008, according to Chris Cillizza at The Fix and The Hill. Pete Domenici, whose tenure has recently been marred by his reported involvement in the termination of US Attorney David Yglesias, has decided not to run for re-election. The somewhat surprising decision leaves another opportunity for a Democratic pickup next year -- and a possible change in the presidential race: Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) is expected to announce Thursday that he will not run for a seventh term in 2008, according to sources close to Domenici’s office. Domenici’s retirement would make him the fourth Republican senator to bow out this cycle, joining Sens. Wayne Allard (Colo.), John Warner (Va.) and Chuck Hagel (Neb.). Competitive races in those seats are likely, and New Mexico should be no different. Domenici’s retirement also would open up a Pandora’s Box in the state’s congressional delegation,...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

No Meters On The Modems

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell takes to YouTube -- and in a few moments, Heading Right Radio -- to attack the Democratic failure to extend the moratorium on taxing Internet access. John Sununu and John McCain have joined Democrat Ron Wyden in making the federal ban on state and local taxation for Internet access permanent. McConnell issues this warning: Why would a federal ban apply? The Internet exemplifies interstate commerce, which places it under federal jurisdiction, even among the most ardent federalists. The entire intent of the Internet is to allow individuals to reach out to the global community. Oversight on tax policy that would discourage or limit that access rightly belongs to Congress. McConnell sees the Internet as an engine for growth, and says "we don't put meters on our modems". If you agree, contact your Senator or Representative and urge action before the ban expires on November 1st....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Senator Mitch McConnell, David Andelman At 3 PM CT!

Today on Heading Right Radio (Note special time: 3 pm CT), we have a great show set up. At the top of the hour, we have Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to talk about S-CHIP, Iraq, Michael Mukasey, and other hot issues. In the second half of the hour, David Andelman joins us to talk about his new book, A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today. It's a topic on which I've already done quite a bit of reading, but the executive editor of Forbes.com has a fresh look at the impact that the Great War had on the world -- and why it matters to this day. He also has an excellent website for the book, with an extra chapter for on-line readers, and a blog as well. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! Did you...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Will He Shuffle Off Stage Now? (Update: If He's Consistently Inconsistent ...)

Larry Craig has found a Minnesota judge unsympathetic to his argument that he was in the midst of a ten-week panic attack when Craig pled guilty to disorderly conduct. Judge Charles Porter denied Craig his do-over in a ruling handed down this afternoon, saying that Craig made a rational decision with his plea: A Minnesota judge on Thursday rejected Sen. Larry Craig's bid to withdraw his guilty plea in an airport sex sting, a major setback in Craig's effort to clear his name and hang on to his Senate seat. "Because the defendant's plea was accurate, voluntary and intelligent, and because the conviction is supported by the evidence ... the Defendant's motion to withdraw his guilty plea is denied," Hennepin County Judge Charles Porter wrote. Craig can appeal Porter's ruling, but it wasn't immediately clear if he would. Telephone calls and e-mails seeking comment from Craig spokesmen Sid Smith in...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Must Be A Slow News Day

Want to know when not much is going on? We get breathtaking coverage of stories like this: Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama says he no longer wears an American flag lapel pin because it has become a substitute for "true patriotism" since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He commented on the pin in a television interview Wednesday and then again on Thursday at a campaign appearance in Independence, Iowa. Noting the TV interview, he told the campaign crowd, "I said, you know what, I probably haven't worn a flag pin in a very long time. After a while I noticed people wearing a lapel pin and not acting very patriotic." "My attitude is that I'm less concerned about what you're wearing on your lapel than what's in your heart. You show your patriotism by how you treat your fellow Americans, especially those who serve. You show your patriotism by...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Photo Finish In Q3

The Republican fundraising numbers have been revealed for the third quarter, and it looks like a three-way photo finish at the top. Rudy Giuliani raised $11 million, half a million going to the general election fund. Mitt Romney raised over $18 million in primary funding -- but $8.5 million comes in the form of a personal loan, which puts his actual donations at slightly under $10 million. And Fred Thompson sandbagged just a little in his announcement earlier, pulling in $9.3 million for the quarter -- but only spending 24 days of it as an actual candidate. So who wins? It certainly looks like Fred Thompson has the momentum at the moment. He's adding dollars more quickly than the other candidates. The 24-day cycle for him would have extrapolated out to around double of what Romney and Giuliani received, and put him ahead of everyone in the race except Hillary...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 5, 2007

I Guess Children Should Be Seen And Not Heard

That seems to be the operating philosophy of Bush Derangement Syndrome sufferers in Lancaster County, PA. When George Bush passed through for a visit on Wednesday, workers from a local day-care center led three dozen children in singing songs to greet the President as he arrived. That set off the BDS contingent, who made sure no one heard the children singing: But for nearly three dozen youngsters from the U-Gro child care center, located just off the president's motorcade route on Stony Battery Road, it was all about waving hand-drawn flags, singing songs and holding banners welcoming to Lancaster one of the most powerful men in the world. "What an opportunity this is for our children," center director Liz Burkhard said while herding children ages 4 to 6 into a compact, orderly row behind the yellow police tape lining Stony Battery at Church Street. One group of protesters quickly descended...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Hamas: It's Terrorism, We Say!

Hamas has had its share of difficulties since its terrorists took over Gaza earlier this year. They have had to take responsibility for actually governing territory, and the international sanctions have forced them to sell the office furniture to meet just a fraction of its payroll obligations. Gazans have quickly lost patience with Hamas, and now they face a phenomenon that they would normally endorse, if not directed at them: Over the past two months, Fatah has organized a series of peaceful protests against Hamas in the Gaza Strip; thousands of Fatah supporters participated in open-air prayers to protest against Hamas's June "coup." The protests, which have meanwhile been suspended, led to street clashes between the two parties, seriously embarrassing the Hamas government of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Most of the alleged Fatah operations have targeted security vehicles used by Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip. Following the attacks, the...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Why Not Just Cut Other Spending?

Even though Democratic leadership has run as fast as possible from David Obey's "war tax" proposal, E.J. Dionne wants it reconsidered. In today's column, Dionne wonders why conservatives who support the war don't support using a surtax to pay for it. He suggests that fiscal responsibility would demand a "yes" vote from Republicans, but fails to recognize the hypocrisy from the other side of the aisle: But it's a shame that Democrats remain so defensive on the tax issue that they aren't willing to bring this proposal to the floor. What if the price for passing President Bush's supplemental appropriation were a tax to cover its costs? What if opponents of the war voted no because they are against Bush's policy and Republicans voted no because they think low taxes are more important than national security as they define it? That's an aggressive way to frame any such antitax "no"...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Bhutto, Musharraf Reach Deal

Pervez Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto have reached a deal on power-sharing that they will announce today. It will clear a path for both Bhutto's return and Musharraf's election as civilian president, returning Pakistan to democracy. It will also provide a stronger and more moderate alliance to face off against the radicals in Pakistan, or so the US hopes: President Pervez Musharraf and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto have reached tentative agreement on a deal that is designed to give his election more credibility and allow her to return to Pakistan without facing corruption charges, officials on both sides said Friday. The deal, which followed months of seesaw negotiations, was expected to be formally announced later Friday, the eve of a planned presidential vote in the national and provincial assemblies. .... Musharraf has the support he needs to win a new five-year term, but Bhutto's party had threatened to join other...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Columbia's Latest Guest Speaker Reiterates Call For Israel's Destruction

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad celebrated Al-Quds Day today by calling Israel's existence an "insult to human dignity". Backed by chants of "Death To America!", the Iranian president and recent guest of Columbia University challenged Europe to give land to the Jews and to oppose Israel and the United States: Millions of Iranians attended nationwide rallies Friday in support of the Palestinians, while the country's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Israel's continued existence was an "insult to human dignity." "The creation, continued existence and unlimited (Western) support for this regime is an insult to human dignity," Ahmadinejad said. "The occupation of Palestine is not limited to one land. The Zionist issue is now a global issue." ... The Iranian president once again said Palestinians should not pay any price because Europeans committed crimes against Jews in World War II. He said they could give a part of their own land in Europe or...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Labor On Jobs: Oops, Our Bad

Last month, pundits on all sides of the aisle began hyperventilating when Labor reported a decline in non-farm employment for the first time in four years. The loss of 4,000 jobs signaled an oncoming recession, an end to growth, and disaster for the Republicans in 2008. Combined with the volatility of the bond markets, it seemed that the good times had crashed to an end. Today, however, Labor announced the new numbers for September -- and a little change in August's tallies (emphases mine): Employment rose in September, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 4.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 110,000 following increases of 93,000 in July and 89,000 in August (as revised). In September, health care, food services, and professional and technical services continued to add jobs, while employment trended down in manufacturing...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Code Pink Supports The Troops In Their Own Special Way

As the Left continues its hysteria over the misrepresentation of Rush Limbaugh's remarks, one wonders when they will denounce Code Pink. In Berkeley, the anti-war contingent defaced a Marine recruiting office, calling Marines predators on children and accusing them of murdering them (via Michelle Malkin and Gateway Pundit): Marine Captain Richard Lund recruits college students and graduates as candidates for officer positions in the marines. But carrying out that job in Berkeley is not always an easy task. He has listened to a variety of complaints from members of the anti-war group Code Pink in recent weeks. "We are so shocked and horrified that the Marines have come to Berkeley to prey on our children," said Zanne Joi, a Code Pink member. Last week, the Code Pink group protested by defacing the recruiting center and calling the recruiters liars. So Rush Limbaugh supposedly calls dissenting soldiers "phony" -- he didn't,...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Selective Leaking At The New York Times: Another War At Home?

On Wednesday, I received a proof copy of Kenneth Timmerman's new book, Shadow Warriors: The Untold Story of Traitors, Saboteurs, and the Party of Surrender, which tells the tale of the alleged war against the Bush administration within the CIA and State Department. Timmerman is always a fascinating read, but I just haven't had the chance to get to the book yet. Yesterday's leak by the New York Times on confidential memos on interrogation techniques reminds me that I have to get to it, as does their follow-up today: The disclosure of secret Justice Department legal opinions on interrogation on Thursday set off a bitter round of debate over the treatment of terrorism suspects in American custody and whether Congress has been adequately informed of legal policies. Democrats on Capitol Hill demanded to see the classified memorandums, disclosed Thursday by The New York Times, that gave the Central Intelligence Agency...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: The Week In Review With Duane 'Generalissimo' Patterson!

Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson of the Hugh Hewitt Show joins us to review the week -- and what a week it was! We'll want to talk about Clarence Thomas' new book and the reaction it received, the continuing huffery over the deliberate misinterpretation of Rush Limbaugh's remarks and what that means to conservative talkers, the sharp decline in combat deaths for Iraqis and Americans and how the media mostly missed that story, and much much more! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Chickenfarmer!

I don't often do this, but I have to highlight this as the comment of the day. Tom W, responding to the inevitable "chickenhawk" ad hominem non-argument in the Code Pink thread, responded thusly: Unfortunately I don't have time to join the military. I support the police, so to be consistent I had to join the LAPD. I also support the fire department, so I became a firefighter, too. Since I drive a car, I had to become a roughneck on an offshore drilling platform, because I can't expect someone to do that dangerous work for me. I also support the building of skyscrapers, incredibly dangerous work, so I had to become an iron worker. Well, I have to go now. Since I eat vegetables, I have to go out and become a crop duster. Yes, but you eat meat, which causes the death of animals. Why aren't you working...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Patriotism Is More Than Just A Refuge For Scoundrels

Over the last two days, the question of patriotism has been debated over the blogosphere. It started with Barack Obama's tortured explanation of why he stopped wearing a lapel pin representing the American flag. He told reporters that he took it off because unnamed others had used it to cover unpatriotic behavior and that the flag had become a "substitute for true patriotism," an explanation that annoyed many more people than did the absence of the lapel pin itself. Today on Heading Right Radio, we debated another dimension of the same question. One of our callers, clearly frustrated with some Democratic Congressmen and specifically Robert Byrd, called them "traitors". Duane Patterson and I argued that being wrong does not make someone a traitor or unpatriotic. It goes to intent, as both of us argued. If one honestly believes in a set of policies, even if wrong, it does not make...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 6, 2007

Musharraf Wins, If The Court Lets Him

Pervez Musharraf took another giant step towards his transformation from a military dictator to a civilian leader today. He won his election to the presidency with little trouble from his rivals, but he has to await a ruling eleven days from now by the Supreme Court to determine whether he can take office: Pakistan's military ruler Pervez Musharraf won a landslide victory in a controversial presidential election Saturday but the Supreme Court might yet snatch another five-year term away from him. Musharraf, a key US ally who seized power in the world's only nuclear-armed Islamic country in a 1999 coup, swept to an easy win over token rivals in the vote by national and provincial parliaments. But the embattled general must now await a decision by the Supreme Court, which said Friday that the winner cannot be officially declared until at least October 17 while it hears legal challenges. It...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

It Really Was Osirak

Last month's strike by Israel on a Syrian facility didn't just resemble their strike on Osirak in 1981 in the nuclear sense. According to ABC News, the American response also struck a familiar chord, with the Bush administration attempting to hold Israel back from its strike -- and offering some very weak tea as an alternative (via Power Line): The September Israeli airstrike on a suspected nuclear site in Syria had been in the works for months, ABC News has learned, and was delayed only at the strong urging of the United States. In early July the Israelis presented the United States with satellite imagery that they said showed a nuclear facility in Syria. They had additional evidence that they said showed that some of the technology was supplied by North Korea. One U.S. official told ABC's Martha Raddatz the material was "jaw dropping" because it raised questions as to...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Another Challenger To John Kline

The Democrats have come up with yet another challenger to John Kline for Minnesota's Second Congressional District -- my district. The Hill reports that an Iraq war veteran will file campaign paperwork to run against Kline in the general election as a Democrat, and that the former Watertown mayor sees himself as a vanguard in the effort to make Minnesota go completely blue: Iraq war veteran and former Watertown Mayor Steve Sarvi just began his campaign against Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) on Thursday, but he’s already talking about not only his own victory in 13 months, but three others for the state’s Democrats as well. “We’re talking about the whole state turning blue,” Sarvi said. “It’s going to be an exciting time.” ... Sarvi, who calls himself a fiscal conservative and social centrist, believes he can take a bite out of Kline’s base. He emphasizes that he’s not running as...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Sadr Capitulates?

Moqtada al-Sadr has signed an agreement with his Shi'ite rivals in southern Iraq to end all hostilities between them. The Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, which recently signed a peace agreement with the central government and the Kurds, has now managed to put Sadr into its coalition, ending years of conflict between the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigades: Two of Iraq's most influential Shia leaders have signed a deal to try to end violence between their groups. Radical cleric Moqtada Sadr and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq, have been locked in a bitter dispute for months. The leaders have agreed to try to end further bloodshed, foster a spirit of good will and form joint committees throughout the country. The SIIC stated that the various factions of Iraq had to find ways to come together to "enhance and preserve Iraqi unity." Sadr's spokesman said...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

A Look Back At Interrogation History

The Washington Post has an article which reminds us that history continues to reveal itself even after we think the story has been told in its entirety, especially in small but intriguing ways. The veterans of PO Box 1142, a highly secret operation which interrogated high-value Nazi detainees, have just begun to speak about their experiences after honoring their commitment to silence for six decades (via Memeorandum): The veterans of P.O. Box 1142, a top-secret installation in Fairfax County that went only by its postal code name, were brought back to Fort Hunt by park rangers who are piecing together a portrait of what happened there during the war. Nearly 4,000 prisoners of war, most of them German scientists and submariners, were brought in for questioning for days, even weeks, before their presence was reported to the Red Cross, a process that did not comply with the Geneva Conventions. Many...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

NARN, The Memoir Edition

The Northern Alliance Radio Network will be on the air today, with our six-hour-long broadcast schedule starting at 11 am CT. The first two hours features Power Line's John Hinderaker and Chad and Brian from Fraters Libertas. Mitch and I hit the airwaves for the second shift from 1-3 pm CT, and King Banaian and Michael Broadkorb have The Final Word from 3-5. If you're in the Twin Cities, you can hear us on AM 1280 The Patriot, or on the station's Internet stream if you're outside of the broadcast area. Today, Mitch and I will talk about Clarence Thomas' new memoirs, John Kline's challenger, and much more. Be sure to call 651-289-4488 to join the conversation!...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 7, 2007

College Football Season Finally Started Yesterday

After Notre Dame's longest exhibition season ever, the Fighting Irish finally started their regular season with a win over the UCLA Bruins, 20-6, at the Rose Bowl. Coach Charlie Weis remarked how well his team prepared through their extended preseason engagements, pronouncing it one of the most successful decisions he's made since taking the helm at Notre Dame three years ago. Well, that's not exactly the truth, but at least Notre Dame finally won -- in their sixth regular season game. It wasn't exactly a dominating performance, but it still counts as a W: Maybe this will stop the laughing. Jimmy Clausen scored on a quarterback sneak and Maurice Crum returned a fumble 34 yards for another touchdown during a 50-second span of the third quarter as Notre Dame fought its way out of one of the worst slumps in school history with a 20-6 victory over UCLA on Saturday....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Thompson Shakes Up Iowa

Fred Thompson's entry into the race just a month ago has already made a big impact in the key battleground state of Iowa. While Mitt Romney and his excellent organization has managed to maintain the lead among likely caucus-goers at 29%, Thompson has moved into second place with 18%, significantly ahead of Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee (via Memeorandum): Mitt Romney still leads in Iowa but Fred Thompson, a relative newcomer to the presidential race, has emerged as his nearest competitor in a new Des Moines Register poll of likely Republican caucus participants. Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani are in a close fight for third place in the Iowa Poll taken over three days last week. ... Thompson, a former Tennessee senator who officially entered the race for the Republican nomination a month ago, grabs second place in the new poll at 18 percent. The poll was conducted while he...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Democrats Respond On FISA

The Democrats have proposed a different approach to FISA reform for its February renewal. The initiative they have floated would remove the requirement for individual warrants for foreign communication passing through American switches by granting a year-long "umbrella warrant". It still leaves telecom providers vulnerable to lawsuits for cooperating with the NSA, a sticking point that will create another heated debate: House Democrats plan to introduce a bill this week that would let a secret court issue one-year "umbrella" warrants to allow the government to intercept e-mails and phone calls of foreign targets and would not require that surveillance of each person be approved individually. The bill is likely to resurrect controversy that erupted this summer when Congress, under White House pressure, rushed through a temporary emergency law that expanded the government's authority to conduct foreign surveillance on U.S. soil without a warrant. The Protect America Act, which expires in...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Islamists Threaten Benazir Bhutto

Islamist extremists in Pakistan see their opening for control of the country slipping away with the new power-sharing deal between Pervez Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto. After the completion of the deal, radical Islamists have threatened to assassinate Bhutto if she returns to Pakistan, afraid of the burgeoning moderate coalition that threatens to further marginalize them: Pakistani Taliban militants vowed to launch suicide bombers against Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister, when she returns home after eight years of self-imposed exile. The path to her return was cleared when General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, last week signed into law an amnesty quashing corruption charges against her. The general swept to apparent victory yesterday in a presidential vote by federal and provincial politicians. He is likely to form an alliance with Ms Bhutto as premier after parliamentary polls in January – though his election must first be pronounced valid by the supreme...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Rightoberfest: The Conservative Leadership Conference

I am happy to announce that I will appear at the Conservative Leadership Conference this week in Reno, Nevada, both as a speaker and as an exhibitor for BlogTalkRadio. The CLC will feature many fine speakers, including BTR's Andrea Shea-King, as well as presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Duncan Hunter. The event is sponsored by the Heritage Foundation, RedState, Citizens United, and more. Over 50 speakers will appear at the convention, and it will make for some great live-blogging opportunities. It starts Thursday, October 11th, and runs through Saturday. I will conduct my normal Friday show, but I will probably have to make other arrangements for my Thursday show as I will be traveling in the morning and speaking in the afternoon. If you have the time free, why not come to Reno and see all of the speakers and exhibitors yourself? If you can't make it out there, be...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 8, 2007

The Way Primaries Work

We seem to have people who still misunderstand the primary system, both in our CapQ community and in the national political movements on the Right. Over the last couple of weeks, we have had grand ultimatums from a couple of factions which have demanded a particular type of nominee, or else the faction leaders claim they will depart the Republican Party. A few commenters have asserted the same ultimatum in the comments on this blog. It shows a lack of understanding not just of the primary process but also in how to build the necessary political coalitions that result in agendas getting addressed. First, primaries serve as a testing mechanism for the various factions that make up the major political parties. Each faction gets a chance to convince a standard-bearer to run for President (as well as Senator, Governor at the state level, and so on). Primary campaigns allow these...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Minnesotans Still Don't Want A Gas Tax

In the wake of the bridge collapse, a local television station polled Minnesotans to see whether they would support a gas tax to generate more money for roads and bridges. Despite the proximity of the collapse -- it had only been a week since the St. Anthony Bridge fell into the Mississippi, killing 13 -- 57% of Minnesotans opposed the tax increase. Two months later, Minnesotans haven't changed their minds: Minnesotans aren't clamoring for action from state leaders in the wake of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse, a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll has found, supporting neither a gas tax increase nor a new special session to fund bridge repairs. The poll found 50 percent of respondents opposed raising the gas tax, while 46 percent supported it. The gap is within the poll's margin of sampling error -- 4 percentage points, plus or minus. The poll, which surveyed 802 Minnesota...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Pakistan Attacks In Waziristan

The Pakistani Army attacked Islamist bases in Waziristan yesterday after one of their checkpoints came under fire. When the dust had settled, 58 combatants had died, and Musharraf may have sent a message about his post-election plans: At least 58 people, including 16 soldiers, have been killed in clashes between Pakistani troops and militants in the North Waziristan region. Security forces struck militant bases after a checkpoint was attacked in the Mir Ali area, the army said. ... Military spokesman Maj Gen Waheed Arshad said: "The operation is over but some clashes are still going on in other areas." Heavy artillery and helicopter gunships were used to attack militants' positions in mountains after the attack on the checkpoint near Mir Ali town. Musharraf has vacillated on pressing the point against the Islamists in the northwest over the last couple of years. Even after his truce fell apart with the tribes...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Israel Offers Concession On Jerusalem

Israel today offered support for a division of Jerusalem to address the demands of Palestinians, but only in exchange for concessions among Arab states and an end to fighting. A deputy of Ehud Olmert gave this public concession as a means to get Arab states into an American-sponsored peace conference, showing that real progress could be made on peace: A confidant of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday that his government would support a division of Jerusalem, which is reportedly a key component of an Israeli-Palestinian declaration to be made at a U.S.-sponsored Mideast peace conference next month. As part of recent negotiations between the sides, Deputy Vice Prime Minister Haim Ramon has proposed turning over many of the Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem to the Palestinians. Ramon said the Palestinians could establish the capital of a future state in the sector of the city, which Israel captured from...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

A Shield For Me, But Not The BBC

The Senate will decide who gets to be a journalist and who doesn't as part of its effort to craft a shield law for reporters. In order to protect journalists against government demands to reveal sources, lawmakers first have to decide who qualifies for that protection. The machinations have created what everyone expects of the necessarily bureaucratic approach taken by Congress -- a real mess. At Heading Right, I thank the Senate for declaring me more of a journalist than reporters of the BBC. I'd rather they recognize my overwhelming genius, but apparently I outrank them merely because the BBC gets its funding from the British government. It demonstrates the problems that arise when government has to start classifying people, and the danger of having the feds determine who qualifies as a journalist. The entire exercise seems a strange effort for government, which has a legitimate interest in securing information,...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Columbus Day And The Most Chilling Eight Words In Journalism

We heard from James Carroll five weeks ago, when he attempted to argue that "Marxism has yet to be really tried" as a Labor Day analysis, which emphasized the first two syllables. Today we celebrate Columbus Day, and since it's yet another Monday holiday, Carroll returns yet again to the pages of the Boston Globe to tell us what it means. It involves African slavery, nuclear weapons, and torture, but surprisingly, nothing about Christopher Columbus: IF COLUMBUS is the beginning of the story, and, say, Lincoln is the middle, what is the end? Each episode of the American narrative surfaced a problem, which prompted attempts to resolve it, which led in turn to a new problem. This movement from problem to resolution to new problem and ever new efforts to fix things is what makes the American story great. So Columbus arrived in 1492, but carried the European virus of...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Nuts On The Run

Amir Taheri believes that an assassination in Syria reveals how desperate al-Qaeda has become. His column in today's New York Post reviews the life of the late and unlamented Muhammad Gul Aghasi, who helped channel foreign jihadists into Iraq through Syria until his untimely demise at the hands of unknown assailants ended his distribution business for AQ (via Newsbeat1): UNKNOWN gunmen murdered Muhammad Gul Aghasi - one of the key "theologians" of al Qaeda - at a mosque in northern Syria last month. Candidates for the fiery preacher's killing include rivals within his own radical group, agents of the Americans - and his Syrian hosts. Whatever the truth, this is bad news for the already ailing al Qaeda. Born in 1973, Aghasi, who was of mixed Kurdish-Turkmen ethnic stock, studied Islamic theology in Damascus in the 1990s before traveling to Pakistan, where he established contact with the Taliban and al...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Old Scoop, Fresh Outrage

Bill Sammon belatedly discovers that Hillary Clinton has welcomed Sandy Berger to her campaign advisory panel, more than a month after Michael Hirsh at Newsweek mentioned it in passing as part of a profile on the Democratic frontrunner. While the news may not be new, the fact that Hillary continues to associate herself with a man who pled guilty to stealing national-security documents during a bipartisan investigation should continue to generate outrage: Sandy Berger, who stole highly classified terrorism documents from the National Archives, destroyed them and lied to investigators, is now an adviser to presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. Berger, who was fired from John Kerry’s presidential campaign when the scandal broke in 2004, has assumed a similar role in Clinton’s campaign, even though his security clearance has been suspended until September 2008. This is raising eyebrows even among Clinton’s admirers. “It shows poor judgment and a lack of...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

S-CHIP Expansion - The Ultimate School Voucher Program?

Last week, I scolded the Democrats for sending a 12-year-old to make their argument for S-CHIP expansion rather than making it themselves. This week, it might be the NEA protesting a new indirect voucher program. It turns out that the spokesboy for the Democrats goes to an expensive private school, lives in a 3000-square-foot house, and all of this gets subsidized by federal assistance: 1. Graeme and his sister Gemma attend the Park School, a private school that costs $20,000 per child. 2. Brown wrote that the family lives on $45,000 per year, but icwhatudo notes: "Halsey Frost has owned his own company 'Frostworks' since...1992 so he chooses to not give himself insurance. He also employed his wife as 'bookkeeper and operations management' prior to her recent 2007 hire at the 'medical publishing firm.'" 3. His business is housed in a $160,000 building -- that he owns. 4. The Frost...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: NZ Bear Exposed!

Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), we again speak with our good friend NZ Bear of the Victory Caucus. NZ has come out of the closet -- no, not on sexual orientation, but on anonymity. Rob Neppell has launched Kithbridge, his new and dynamic consulting firm, and he'll join us to talk about his new effort, as well as all of the other insight he always brings to Heading Right Radio. It's great to see Rob taking his passion to the next level -- a subject on which we have some common ground. Also, plan on some S-CHIP conversation. Should be a bit Frosty... Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Context Of The Kingdom

People have jumped all over Barack Obama for his comment, "We're going to keep on praising together. I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth." Mark Finklestein wonders, "What if a Republican Called, Like Obama, for God's 'Kingdom on Earth'?" My friend Nick Gillespie complains about "another layer of moralizing goo to the seven-layer bean dip that we've already got when it comes to sanctimonious pols telling everyone how they should live." Andrew Stuttaford links to Nick's other observation that "[e]stablishing the kingdom of heaven on earth always means rendering more to Caesar than what was originally due." Frankly, this is somewhat akin to Obama's flag pin flap -- much ado about nothing. Obama probably worded it a little inartfully, but he used that particular comment in a religious sense, not an explicitly political sense. Earlier, Obama was speaking about the lack of credibility of...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 9, 2007

Malpractice Awards Increasing?

In an earlier thread, a debate broke out about whether malpractice awards have increased so rapidly as to contribute to the rise in health care costs. I decided to take the evening to research the topic while I watched an excellent History Channel documentary on Christopher Columbus' last voyage. It turns out that the data isn't that easy to find. I spent quite a while doing Internet searches and coming up with plenty of commentary but little hard data. Finally, I came across the National Practitioner Data Bank, which takes in all reports of malpractice payouts. Since 1991, the government has directed all such payouts to be reported into a database that allows healthcare providers and patients to research physicians, nurses, and other caregiver types to see what actions have been taken against them. They have historical data prior to that year, but it's not comprehensive. It also doesn't list...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Waziristan Fighting Goes On

The fighting continues in Pakistan's Northwest Province, where radical Islamst extremists have had an easy time of it until the last three months. Over 150 Taliban and al-Qaeda militants have been killed in the last three days of fighting, and Pervez Musharraf appears to have decided to fight with everything he's got: At least 45 Pakistani soldiers and 150 pro-Taleban militants have died in three days of fierce fighting in North Waziristan, the Pakistani army says. It is the heaviest fighting in the Waziristan region, which borders Afghanistan, for many months. ... The three days of fighting is centred around the town of Mir Ali. The BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says that Mir Ali is known as a base for foreign militants with links to the Taleban and al-Qaeda. Musharraf has begun using his air power in Waziristan. The attacks near Mir Ali include helicopter gunships, in a similar...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Ernesto Is Not A New Man

Hugo Chavez has decided to direct his socialist crusade at some politically correct targets. He wants Venezuelans to emulate his New Man ideal, a socialist revolutionary ascetic, and he's using tax policy to force them to do so. Taxes on art, cars, tobacco, and liquor aim to price sin out of reach for most of his countrymen: President Hugo Chavez is on a moral crusade in Venezuela, preaching against vices from alcohol to cholesterol, vowing to curb whisky imports and ordering beer trucks off the street. His government announced increased taxes on alcohol and tobacco on Monday, and Chavez also plans steep new taxes on luxury items such as fancy cars and artwork. It's all part of Chavez's efforts to encourage Venezuelans to adopt the psyche of the "New Man," a socialist revolutionary with a monk-like purity of purpose. Chavez often cites the life of Cuba's iconic hero Ernesto "Che"...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Leak Destroys Obelisk Penetration

UPDATE: The WaPo story says that Katz sent this to the White House on 9/7, but the ABC transcript is dated 9/6. Maybe that's why ABC credited "intelligence sources" rather than "senior White House officials" in its report. Apparently, the US already had the tape before SITE offered it to the White House. (Via Hot Air) The leak of Osama bin Laden's video to the news media last month has shut down an important private penetration into al-Qaeda's communication network. SITE, run by an Israeli whose father was murdered by Saddam Hussein, shared the video with American intelligence on a confidential basis. Hours after its release to the public, observers watched as AQ shut down its Obelisk network as the terrorists realized it had been compromised: The founder of the company, the SITE Intelligence Group, says this premature disclosure tipped al-Qaeda to a security breach and destroyed a years-long surveillance...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Showtime For Fred

Fred Thompson finally makes his bones today in the presidential race, participating in his first televised debate. Thompson meets the rest of the Republican candidates in Dearborn, Michigan for the second debate moderated by Chris Matthews, potentially unfriendly territory in both senses of the venue: In an unusual political season that seems to offer up a presidential debate every week or so, the Republican debate tomorrow is expected to offer something new: Fred D. Thompson. Untested in debate against his opponents until now, Mr. Thompson, a late entrant to the race, chose to skip the last contest in favor of announcing his candidacy on “The Tonight Show” early last month — a decision for which he was roundly criticized. Many have been wondering how Mr. Thompson, a former senator from Tennessee, will do. By his own admission he is “a bit rusty” when it comes to debating, and he has...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Surrender This Time

Democrats appear willing to surrender on FISA legislation again, as noted here Sunday. The New York Times reports today that Senate Democrats have even given way on immunity for telecoms who cooperated on national security programs with the NSA. The result could be a years-long victory for the intelligence community over the civil libertarians: Two months after insisting that they would roll back broad eavesdropping powers won by the Bush administration, Democrats in Congress appear ready to make concessions that could extend some crucial powers given to the National Security Agency. Administration officials say they are confident they will win approval of the broadened authority that they secured temporarily in August as Congress rushed toward recess. Some Democratic officials concede that they may not come up with enough votes to stop approval. ... A Democratic bill to be proposed on Tuesday in the House would maintain for several years the...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Supremes To El-Masri: Tough Luck

The Supreme Court sent a message today about the use of American civil courts to attack war policy, and that message is not The Customer Is Always Right. Khaled el-Masri sued the US for what he claimed was an illegal detention and rendition that cost him five months in an Afghan jail, but the Supreme Court dismissed the case: The US Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out a lawsuit from a Lebanese-born German national who claimed he was tortured after being kidnapped and detained for several months by the CIA. The court did not give any reason for rejecting the case brought by Khaled el-Masri, an unemployed former car salesman and father of six, who says he was abducted by US agents in the Macedonian capital Skopje on December 31, 2003. He was demanding an apology from the Untied States and 75,000 dollars in compensation, alleging he was flown to...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Walberg Rejects The Smear

Tim Walberg, the staunch fiscal conservative and freshman Republican Representative from Michigan, writes about the deceitful campaign waged by Democrats on behalf of the S-CHIP expansion. From country music parodies to hiding behind 12-year-old boys, the Democrats want to paint opponents as heartless Scrooges who want to see kids go without health care. Walberg writes about the way S-CHIP gets applied in Michigan, and we find out that it's not just about kids, or even primarily about them: I support renewing S-CHIP to provide health care to children in low-income families, but I also believe we need to ensure that the children’s health program is available for children who need it, and not for adults, people who enter the country illegally, or families who already have private insurance. The Democratic legislation takes a program originally meant for children of low-income families and expands it to cover some families earning up...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Stoneridge: Legalized Fleecing Or Corporate Waterloo?

Bill Hobbs has followed the legal case of Stoneridge v. Scientific-Atlanta with his usual tenacity. The complex case pits trial lawyers seeking greater compensation for alleged corporate malfeasance towards investors against public companies already reeling from the effects of Sarbanes-Oxley. The Supreme Court will review the case this session, and the result will have a heavy impact on nearly everyone in this investor-heavy environment: The issue in Stoneridge is simple: If a company that is traded on a U.S. exchange violates American securities laws by misreporting in its financial statements a transaction of any kind, may shareholders sue the entity on the other side of that transaction for the damages that the misreporting caused—even when there is no specific reference to the transaction at issue and it is subsumed along with hundreds of thousands of other transactions in the public company’s annual financial statements? ... The issue is NOT: do...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Ted Frank On Stoneridge, Bill Paxon On The Debate

Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Ted Frank joins us to talk about the Stoneridge case, which the Supreme Court will hear this session. If you thought Sarbanes-Oxley was burdensome, wait to you see what Stoneridge could mean for American businesses. Also, former Rep. Bill Paxon joins us at the bottom of the hour to handicap today's GOP debate. The Rudy Giuliani advisor tells us what to expect from the frontrunner while all eyes remain on Fred Thompson. Today's show will end at 2:40 pm CT in order to prepare for today's debate. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Debate Live Blog!

Know how a baseball game just doesn't feel right without a hot dog? Will, it just isn't a Republican debate without a Heading Right liveblog, either! Be sure to join us as we present live analysis of the GOP Presidential debate in Dearborn, Michigan, starting promptly at 3 pm CT. At 5:30 pm CT, we'll present a post-debate roundtable at Debate Central, so make sure to tune in there as well!...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Fred Wins, Chris Loses (Update: My Prediction Comes True)

The first debate with Fred Thompson was expected to reveal whether the lanky actor had what it takes to make a national run for the office. Instead, it revealed Chris Matthews as a hack of the first order, one who tried his best to torpedo Thompson -- and failed utterly. He got so desparate that he demanded to know whether Thompson knew who the Canadian Prime Minister was -- and he did. Matthews grew so frustrated that he openly critiqued one of Thompson's answer for being too detailed, which prompted a scolding from Thompson. That was the game behind the debate, and Thompson stomped Matthews into a laughingstock. In the rest of the debate, Thompson showed that he was comfortable and prepared, even for the silly attacks from other candidates. Mitt Romney went into a long, telegraphed, and obviously gag-written punch about how the debates resemble "Law and Order" and...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 10, 2007

Isn't This Privatization?

Does anyone get the idea that Hillary Clinton has decided to toss out entitlements like sugared almonds at a Sicilian wedding as a campaign strategy? Fresh off the laugher "baby bonds" program she endorsed without much thought, she announced a new plan yesterday to boost American savings -- through more government spending. Hillary proposed spending even more money annually to open and fund 401K plans for every American: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York unveiled the second biggest domestic policy idea of her Democratic presidential campaign today, proposing to spend $20 billion to $25 billion a year to create 401(k)-style retirement accounts for all Americans and provide federal matching money of up to $1,000 to middle-income people. Under the plan, the government would give a dollar-to-dollar match for the first $1,000 saved by Americans who earn up to $60,000 annually. For those who earn $60,000 to $100,000, the government...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Prayers For Chris And Shaun

I woke up this morning a little late and read through the comments -- and didn't realize that Chris Muir had put up an announcement of a family crisis until I read Rose's comment on another thread. I don't have any news from Chris, and I don't want to bother him while he focuses on his family. I'd just ask you to keep Chris in your prayers, and to leave positive messages in the comments section for support. Chris reads the blog and the threads when he has time, and I know he'll appreciate it to see all of his friends lining up behind him. Also, please pray for Shaun Daily at BlogTalkRadio, one of my colleagues at the network. He took ill this week and had to be hospitalized. He needs to get some rest and heal up, and he could also use your prayers....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The House As Arbiter Of History

Imagine, if you will, that in the middle of World War II, Congress decided to take under consideration the blame for the famine and hundreds of thousands of deaths during the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s. Would a House Speaker with any sense of sanity allowed a measure to come to the floor which resolved that our key ally in wartime had committed a genocide and should be censured? What kind of fool would even propose that Congress should act as arbiter of history and chief blame-thrower of the world -- and direct that effort at our allies? Meet Nancy Pelosi. The House has taken under consideration a bill that would declare Turkey's guilt in the genocide of the Armenians in 1915 at the very moment we need them for our efforts in the Middle East. Even former Secretaries of State from Democratic administrations wonder what she's smoking: A...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Romney Walks Back The Tax Feud

Mitt Romney marred an otherwise fine performance in yesterday's debate by attempting to pick fights with Rudy Giuliani over tax and spending policies in New York City and Massachussetts and the line-item veto. Rudy brushed off the attack and kept focused on Hillary. This morning, Romney tried walking back a bit on the feud on the Today show, in an interview with Matt Lauer: ML: He says that as mayor of New York he lowered taxes, and he says as Governor of Massachussetts, you raised taxes. You say the opposite is true, that you lowered taxes, so only one of you can be right. How do you think that the average voter should sort this out? MR: Well, I don't think the average voter is going to be able to go through the statistics, and frankly, both of us lowered taxes, both of us tried to rein in spending. But...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

'One Strib Veteran'?

The Rake, a local alternative newspaper here in the Twin Cities, published an interesting cri de coeur from "one Strib veteran" about the direction of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The anonymous attribution wears thin in the first line of the quote: As one Strib veteran tells the Mole, "The right-wing blog voices that were bashing the paper a couple of years ago, Hugh Hewitt and the rest, have gotten pretty much everything they wanted. The GOP wanted the Minnesota Poll gone, and now it's gone. They wanted to get rid of people like [editorial board members] Jim Boyd and Susan Albright and their editorial policy, and they've succeeded at that. Now there won't be editorials about the war and global warming; they'll write about local issues like zoning conflicts in Coon Rapids instead. They wanted the paper to hire a conservative columnist, and they got that. From here on out, it...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Let's Move The S-CHIP Debate Back To Policy

The New York Times takes a look into the storm of controversy over the Frost family in the S-CHIP debate. David Herszenhorn gives a fairly balanced view of the nine-day wonder that the Frosts became, and settles some of the factual disputes that has plagued the sideshow: There have been moments when the fight between Congressional Democrats and President Bush over the State Children’s Health Insurance Program seemed to devolve into a shouting match about who loves children more. So when Democrats enlisted 12-year-old Graeme Frost, who along with a younger sister relied on the program for treatment of severe brain injuries suffered in a car crash, to give the response to Mr. Bush’s weekly radio address on Sept. 29, Republican opponents quickly accused them of exploiting the boy to score political points. Then, they wasted little time in going after him to score their own. In recent days, Graeme...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Has The FRC Backed Away From Its Third-Party Call?

Frankly, the announcement at the end of September that the Family Research Council would back the call for an independent presidential candidate surprised me. Tony Perkins and the people at the FRC normally act in a level-headed manner, even when I disagree with their stands. I expected the FRC to pursue its agenda in an energetic and assertive manner but to make a more pragmatic decision for the general election. Today, Perkins seems to have reconsidered the statement from ten days ago, as Jim Geraghty reports: On the Utah meeting: I was at that meeting it’s been misconstrued a little bit. It was not a declaration of intent, it was a declaration of principle that there is a line we will not cross. If the party chooses to break its commitment to creating a culture of life, we’re not going to go in that direction with the party. There’s only...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Atlas Shrugged At 50

The Wall Street Journal notes the golden anniversary of that great polemical novel, in Michelle Malkin's words, Atlas Shrugged. Ayn Rand's signature epic on objectivism and the moral compass of unfettered capitalism remains as topical and controversial than ever, and David Kelley explains the fascination: Businessmen are favorite villains in popular media, routinely featured as polluters, crooks and murderers in network TV dramas and first-run movies, not to mention novels. Oil company CEOs are hauled before congressional committees whenever fuel prices rise, to be harangued and publicly shamed for the sin of high profits. Genuine cases of wrongdoing like Enron set off witch hunts that drag in prominent achievers like Frank Quattrone and Martha Stewart. By contrast, the heroes in "Atlas Shrugged" are businessmen -- and women. Rand imbues them with heroic, larger-than-life stature in the Romantic mold, for their courage, integrity and ability to create wealth. They are not...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: The Post-Debate Debate

Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Jim Geraghty of National Review Online's Campaign Spot joins me as co-host to talk about last night's Republican presidential debate. We'll also talk with Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post's blog The Fix for his analysis of the debate and the post-debate spin. He lists Hillary Clinton as one of the big winners from the debate -- do you agree with that? Be sure to tune in to hear why he thinks Hillary gained credibility from the GOP's attacks on her. We may also hear from some of the campaigns as well. Don't miss the action ... UPDATE: We will have representatives from the Thompson campaign on at 2:30 and the Romney campaign at 2:40! So far, still waiting to hear from others ... Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! Did you know...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Judge Bars Government From Discovering Social Security Fraud

It's hard to imagine what Judge Charles R. Breyer had in mind when he issued a ruling that prevents the government from detecting identity fraud, but clearly it wasn't the law or the interests of the American community. The federal judge in Northern California issued an injunction against the issuance of "no-match" letters that inform employers of potential fraudulent employees, halting enforcement of employer sanctions for hiring illegal workers: A federal judge barred the Bush administration today from launching a planned crackdown on U.S. firms that hire illegal immigrants, warning of the plan's potentially "staggering" impact on law-abiding workers and companies. Issuing a firm rebuke of the White House, U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer of San Francisco granted a preliminary injunction against the government's plan to pressure employers to fire up to 8.7 million workers with suspect Social Security numbers starting this fall. ... Breyer said the plaintiffs, an...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 11, 2007

You Know How Those Sioux Loved Hockey

I'm just running through the blogs before I head to the airport this morning, and my partner Mitch noticed something amiss at the University of Minnesota. The U recently adopted the policy that they would not allow their sports teams to compete against schools that used Native American references for team names or mascots, part of the political-correctness movement in Academia that continues to aim at the most pointless targets in the US. The U has followed dutifully along, to no one's great surprise. However, one has to wonder about the priorities of the administration when reading this: A University of Minnesota policy discouraging the school's athletic teams from competing against the University of North Dakota in any sport except hockey will stand. The school's Advisory Committee on Athletics said in February that it would reconsider the policy, which was prompted by UND's Fighting Sioux nickname. Committee chairman Douglas Hartmann...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

It's Hard Work, Not Getting Much Done

When the Democrats took the majority this year, they swore to set a new tone of hard work in Congress by demanding a five-day work week while in session. This would allow both chambers to get more accomplished and impress upon everyone the responsible nature and work ethic of the Democrats. Nine months later, while overdue appropriation bills still have not seen the House floor and the 110th Congress acquiring a do-nothing appelation, Democrats have begun to rebel against the schedule: Rank-and-file members of Congress are grumbling about the five-day workweek instituted this year by House Democratic leaders, complaining that it leaves little time for campaigning and allows few weekdays to deal with business back home. “We have a long list of meetings that can’t be scheduled because I’m never back in the district,” said freshman Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.). “Part of it is related to the campaign, and part...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

New On The Bookshelf

For some reason, I received a glut of books this week, which I hope to be able to read while traveling. I'm adding them to the Bookshelf all at once, and hope to read through them in transit to and from the Conservative Leadership Conference. I'll probably focus first on Dinesh D'Souza's book, What's So Great About Christianity?, on the plane trips into and out of Reno. It comes out Monday, and it will no doubt generate controversy, as Dinesh D'Souza often does. Since I spend an inordinate amount of time in silent but fervent prayer on airplanes -- especially my last trip -- at least this goes with my thought process. Don't forget that you can shop through the Captain's Quarters Bookshelf and the Search widgets for Amazon for any product at all, and a small percentage of the sale drops into my tip jar. Thanks in advance for...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

On My Way To The CLC!

Later today, I will appear at the Conservative Leadership Conference in Reno, Nevada, both as a speaker and as an exhibitor for BlogTalkRadio. The CLC will feature many fine speakers, including BTR's Andrea Shea-King, as well as presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Duncan Hunter. The event is sponsored by the Heritage Foundation, RedState, Citizens United, and more. Over 50 speakers will appear at the convention, and it will make for some great live-blogging opportunities. In the morning, I will be traveling, and I give a talk just as soon as I hit the hotel. After that I'll put together the BlogTalkRadio exhibit, and once that's complete, I should be ready to start blogging again. I'll try to conduct a Heading Right Radio show if I can at that point, but we'll have to see how things are going at that point. Keep an eye on the blog for further updates....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

CLC First Panel: Still Defending The Blogosphere

I've had an interesting day of travel to Reno. My first plane had an O-ring failure in the hydraulic system, so we all had to shuffle over to another plane -- and then that turned into another headache, as US Airways fretted over how to make our connecting flights. They took us off the plane and sent us back on, and then they cancelled our bookings for the connecting flight to Reno, which forced us to rebook our seats. I did finally arrive in time for my panel assignment, which consisted primarily of defending the blogosphere model for Internet radio. One of the men on the panel, Brian Wilson of Clear Channel Communications, dismissed the notion of citizen broadcasters out of hand, saying that it takes training and experience to turn out a quality broadcast. He expanded that argument to the blogosphere, and while he said kind things about this...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 12, 2007

A Preview Of Friday At CLC 07

It's been a long and terrific day getting to the Conservative Leadership Conference, but tomorrow looks even more eventful. I'll be setting up the BlogTalkRadio exhibit booth to demonstrate the ease of the BTR experience, and I'm hoping to win some converts. I'll also be checking in on the speakers, and they have a raft of them on the agenda. Highlights include: 8:15 am PT: Dick Armey 11:30 - John Fund on "Why Reagan Would Tell Conservatives To Be Of Good Cheer" 12:30 - Mitt Romney That last one might prove a tough call for me. I'm scheduled to do my Week In Review show with Duane Patterson at noon PT, but I'd like to hear Romney speak. I may work some magic on the timing for tomorrow's show, so be on the lookout for any time changes. I want people around when I do the show as well, and...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Nobel For Alarmism And Hyperbole Goes To ...

Former Vice President Al Gore how has a Nobel Peace Prize to go along with his Oscar for his efforts to advance the cause of global warming by misstating data and frankly lying about its effects. At least that's the conclusion of a British court that had to rule on whether schools in the UK could use Gore's documentary as a teaching tool: The judge said that, for instance, Gore's script implies that Greenland or West Antarctica might melt in the near future, creating a sea level rise of up to 20 feet that would cause devastation from San Francisco to the Netherlands to Bangladesh. The judge called this "distinctly alarmist" and said the consensus view is that, if indeed Greenland melted, it would release this amount of water, "but only after, and over, millennia." Burton also said Gore contends that inhabitants of low-lying Pacific atolls have had to evacuate...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

AQ Breach Not 'Fatal'

Eli Lake at the New York Sun follows up today on the exposure of private efforts to penetrate al-Qaeda's global Internet network. An independent analytical group that has focused on AQ operations now says that the damage was not as bad as first thought: One of the world's foremost authorities on Al Qaeda says that last month's compromise of the intelligence community's penetration of the terrorist group's Internet communication system was a serious blow, but that, ultimately, the damage was not fatal. The head of the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University, Rohan Gunaratna, said in an interview yesterday that the damage done on September 7, when ABC News published online quotes from a transcript of Osama bin Laden's first speech in three years, was "reparable." But he also called it a "serious breach." "This has happened from time to time," Mr. Gunaratna...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Status On DHS And No-Match Letters

I just concluded an interview with DHS Deputy Press Secretary Laura Keehner on the status of no-match regulation enforcement after a federal judge slapped a temporary restraining order on DHS and the Social Security Administration to block the letters. Unfortunately, my recording equipment took a nose dive and the audio did not record properly. Instead of podcasting inaudible noise, I'll recap the conversation. Ms. Keehner took great pains to point out a couple of erroneous suppositions in the ruling. Foremost, the notion that no-match letters exert an undue burden on small businesses is nonsense. The regulation exempts businesses that employ less than 10 people, so mom & pop stores don't have to worry about it at all. No-match letters require employers to verify the proper name or SSN of the flagged employees within 90 days. Even if one just looks at work days, that means sometime in 65 separate arrivals...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

CLC 07: Dick Armey Live Blog

Former Representative Dick Armey addresses the Conservative Leadership Conference in the first event of the day. It's 8:15 in the morning here, and there isn't much of an audience for the opener. The auditorium is about one-quarter full, but people continue to stroll into the room. 8:19 PT - Armey starts off by praising Nevada as a "pretty little ol' state. It would make a fine county back in Texas ... but only western Texas." 8:20 - "I believe in individual liberty," and from that free-market economics flow. This is a key point, but he isn't choosing to follow up on that theme at the moment. 8:21 - "Politics is juvenile delinquency," focusing on short-term goals rather than long-term benefits. Armey notes that heroes always focus on policy criteria while fools and scoundrels focus on politics. 8:24 - People in public office do not naturally serve the electorate, but naturally...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Shi'ite Turn

One of the big success stories of the surge came from the disaffection between the Sunnis in western Iraq and the foreign terrorists of al-Qaeda in Iraq. The Anbar Awakening started as a tribal alliance against AQI and blossomed into a widespread movement to bring the Sunnis stability and engagement with the rest of the nation. Now it looks like the Shi'ites have tired of their sectarian militia headed by the onetime kingmaker, Moqtada al-Sadr: In a number of Shiite neighborhoods across Baghdad, residents are beginning to turn away from the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia they once saw as their only protector against Sunni militants. Now they resent it as a band of street thugs without ideology. The hardening Shiite feeling in Baghdad opens an opportunity for the American military, which has long struggled against the Mahdi Army, as American commanders rely increasingly on tribes and local leaders in...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Mitt Romney's First CLC Speech

I discovered that Romney will actually deliver two speeches here at the Nugget in Reno today. This first event appears to be sponsored by the Romney campaign, as the room is covered in Romney posters. The media has arrived in force, although they are complaining about being stuck in the back while seats remain open in the rest of the room. I've detached from the booth and set myself up fairly close to the action. I'll live-blog this speech in case we get squeezed for time on his other appearance. Keep checking back on this post ... 10:37 - Looks like we're getting underway. This is sponsored by the Republican Women's Association of Nevada. which is holding their own conference here this week. 10:40 - Women manage a large part of his life, he says to laughter, and not just his wife. He had more women in senior policy positions...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Duane Patterson, And Live Coverage Of CLC07!

Today on Heading Right Radio (Note special time: 3 pm CT), Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson of the Hugh Hewitt Show joins us to review the week and the CLC. We'll be talking about Mitt Romney's speech to the conference, and we'll meet Jodi Bridges of the Sam Adams Alliance, who will explain her group's mission and also give me a free bobblehead of Adams. We'll also talk about the week in politics. UPDATE & BUMP: We'll also speak with Horace Cooper, the senior fellow at the American Civil Rights Union, to speak about his group's mission on civil liberties. Horace will be speaking tomorrow at the CLC on issues facing us in the 2008 election. UPDATE II: Thanks to Jazz in the comments for noting that I had the wrong URL for the ACRU. I had it confused with the booth across from mine in the exhibit hall, and I...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Another Sunni Success Story

Now that the Democrats have decided to give up on forcing a surrender in Iraq, more stories about progress in Iraq have started hitting the wires. The AP focuses on another Sunni tribal chief who has decided to throw in his lot with the Americans, and the area of Youssifiyah has put violence aside: Thirteen members of Sheik Faisal Chilab's family were slain by militants. The U.S. military arrested him twice. Three of his four sons also were detained. So the sheik struck a deal with the U.S. military. The Sunni clan chief would bring 500 tribesmen to help battle al-Qaida in Iraq and Shiite militiamen in their part of a former shooting gallery dubbed the "triangle of death" south of Baghdad. In return, the Pentagon put them on a monthly payroll that's almost on par with what the Iraqi government pays entry-level policemen and army soldiers. Their alliance —...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

CLC 07: Prognostication Panel For 2008

I just finished my second panel appearance here at the Conservative Leadership Conference, which focused on looking into crystal balls for the 2008 presidential race. It was moderated by Jason Wright, author of The Wednesday Letters, who was very entertaining and engaging. The questions were very intriguing, and I think produced some interesting and surprising answers. Instead of recapping it here, however, I'm going to simply podcast it. Bear in mind that this is almost an hour long, and it's recorded from my handheld digital recorder from the dais. It's a little echo-chamberish, but still pretty clear, considering. Tonight, Alan Keyes will address the gathering during dinner. I may have another post coming up on that....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 13, 2007

CLC 07: The Talented -- And Troubling -- Dr. Keyes

As I mentioned in my previous post, the dinner for the CLC tonight featured a speech by recent presidential aspirant Dr. Alan Keyes. Keyes has operated on the fringes of the Republican Party for years, although he took on Barack Obama in 2004 as the party's nominee in an ill-considered and mostly embarrassing carpetbagging run for the Senate in Illinois. Just a few weeks ago he declared his candidacy for the GOP nomination, but has garnered little interest, and was not invited to the Dearborn presidential debate this week. I have never heard Keyes speak in person, although I have heard him on many television appearances, usually in shoutfests on cable news. Until tonight, I have never experienced the powerful oratory of a man who may well be the modern master of the form. Watching Keyes dominate the stage and thunder, whisper, muse, and cajole his message to the CLC's...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Sanchez' Message

It seems that half of the message retired General Richard Sanchez intended to deliver missed the cut at most newsrooms, and with most bloggers. Typical among the reports of his blistering oration is the front-page treatment given by the Washington Post's Josh White, the entire first half of Snachez' speech -- found in its entirety here -- gets reduced to a single paragraph at the end of the story. Why? Well, it turns out that Sanchez considered his first target the media itself, which he blames for a large part of the problems he sees in Iraq (via Power Line, reformatted by me to normal case): Almost invariably, my perception is that the sensationalistic value of these assessments is what provided the edge that you seek for self agrandizement [sic] or to advance your individual quest for getting on the front page with your stories! As I understand it, your...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Honoring America's Best

The US will award the Medal of Honor to Lt. Michael P. Murphy posthumously for his courage and determination to save the lives of his team at the expense of his own. The announcement, made Thursday, makes Murphy the first sailor to be so honored since the Vietnam War and the first recipient for action in Afghanistan. Murphy's story reveals much about how America fights the war on terror, and it demonstrates once again the courage and honor in one of America's finest and most elite fighting units: Two years after his death in Afghanistan, Lt. Michael P. Murphy, who grew up in Patchogue and joined the elite Navy SEALs after college, has been awarded the nation's highest battlefield award, the Medal of Honor, for a valiant attempt to save the lives of comrades that cost him his own. "This tells the country what we already know about Michael --...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

CLC 07 Saturday Agenda

We have an interesting set of speakers for today's Conservative Leadership Conference. It features a presidential candidate, tax activists, porkbusters, and that just gets us through lunch. The straw poll taking place here will finish today, and that should be interesting. There are a lot of Ron Paul supporters here, but a high degree of disappointment that he didn't bother to show here while Mitt Romney and Duncan Hunter did. I'm going to predict a narrow Mitt win; he generated some very positive buzz here yesterday. Here's what I'll be watching today: 8: 00 am PT - Grover Norquist 8:30 - Duncan Hunter 9:00 - Panel on the Unfairness of the Fairness Doctrine 10:00 - Issues '08: What Wins, What Loses 12:30 - Rep. John Shadegg 2:45 - J.D. Hayworth 4:30 - David Keene, ACU I will have to tend the exhibit booth during some of these presentations, but I'll...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

CLC 07: Grover Norquist

Grover Norquist has just started speaking on tax policy. The issue, Norquist says, is that tax payers want to mostly be left alone. Home schoolers want to be left alone -- they don't insist that everyone home school, but they want to make their own individual choices. Hunters want to be left alone -- they don't want to force schools to teach from a book called Heather Has Two Hunters. Most importantly, people want to be left alone in their faith. The "Leave Us Alone" coalition, Norquist says, hearkens back to the Reagan Revolution. It springs from we used to call Western conservatism -- a small-L libertarian, center-right movement that wanted to let people live their private lives and shrink the role of the federal government. It opposes the Left, which wants to extract more and more resources from individuals in order to create a larger and larger federal government...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

CLC 07: Duncan Hunter

Congressman and Presidential candidate Duncan Hunter addresses the CLC this morning. The first order of business is endorsing his son for his seat in Congress. Duncan Hunter Jr is currently serving in Afghanistan as a Marine, called back to active duty, and his father has been campaigning almost as hard for his son as he has for himself here at the CLC. Hunter talks about the "arsenal of democracy," which he can see when he flies in and out of San Diego, and reminds us that Americans make things. The retreat of the manufacturing sector puts American security at risk. He tells the story of how the Swiss cut off production of a critical component of our smart bombs because of our policy in Iraq, and we had to scramble to find a replacement. Had we retained that capability in the US, it never would have been a problem. The...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

CLC 07: John Shadegg

John Shadegg addresses the CLC after an introduction by Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV), who sat on yesterday's 2008 prognostication panel with me. Heller calls Shadegg a "true exception" to the stereotype of politicians who lose their way once they get to Washington. I met with Rep. Shadegg earlier this morning, and I found him very approachable, humble, and gracious, so that description seems particularly apt. Shadegg starts off by returning the compliment, asking the audience to keep sending Congress more Dean Hellers. He says we need more Western conservatives, more independent thinkers. He also complimented the CLC organizers for sticking to their guns and holding the conference this far outside of DC. Republicans win when they run as the party of ideas. Two basic concepts of government are in conflict. One believes that people are not bright enough to make their own decisions, take responsibility for their own lives, and...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

CLC 07: J. D. Hayworth

Former Representative JD Hayworth speaks on behalf of Citizens United, speaking on immigration, and it's kind of an inside-baseball moment. Hayworth had been criticized in the pages of the Wall Street Journal by Richard Nadler and called an "immigration loser". Hayworth responded last week in a letter to the Journal, and Nadler responded in a letter printed just this morning. Nadler is also here at the CLC -- and he's taking bows while Hayworth talks about the exchange. Hayworth remains unbowed in defeat. He thundered at Nadler that he feels that some things are more important than winning, and the national security of America is foremost among them. Hayworth at least got Nadler to quit bowing, noting that he seemed "starved for attention". He noted that George Bush and Bill Clinton lost Congressional elections, and told Nadler that he wasn't going away. Compassion, Hayworth says, has little to do with...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Can Rudy Talk The Pro-Life Crowd Into His Corner?

Fred Barnes gives Rudy Giuliani a warning and some free advice in the next edition of the Weekly Standard. The warning covers familiar ground -- his pro-choice position in a pro-life party. While some see it as a demonstration of party strength, others see it as a general-election nightmare, including Barnes: That's where the social conservatives come in. If Giuliani is the Republican nominee--and he's the frontrunner at the moment--a pro-life candidate is bound to run on a third party ticket. Richard Land, a prominent Southern Baptist leader, says the pro-life presidential effort would be "significant." The question is how significant. In 2000, Ralph Nader won only 2.74 percent of the vote nationally, but he got enough votes in Florida to keep Al Gore from taking the state and becoming president. Of course this assumes most Nader voters would have voted for Gore over George W. Bush had Nader not...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 14, 2007

A Loss In The Family

I received an e-mail from our friend Chris Muir this morning that his sister passed away yesterday. Please continue your prayers and good thoughts for Chris and his family, who will be struggling with this tragic loss. Day By Day will return, but in the meantime, he and his family need time to themselves.

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

CLC 07: The Finale

Last night, the Conservative Leadership Conference concluded with an awards banquet and yet another two excellent speakers from whom we had not heard before. The CLC created two awards for their first conference to honor those who work to advance conservative principles, named after former Reagan aide Lyn Nofziger and conservative titan Senator Barry Goldwater. Introducing the first was former Ambassador Jerry Carmen, who worked closely with Nofziger in and out of the White House. Carmen told some wonderful stories about Nofziger, how dedicated he was to Reagan, and how he always followed his own star on politics. Nofziger criticized the Reagan administration in which he served on more than one occasion, but he did so to remind people of the principles that got them into office. Former Senator Paul Laxalt gave a touching tribute on video. The CLC awarded the Nofziger to Rich Galen, former director of GOPAC and...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

WaPo: Petraeus Was Right

The Washington Post's editorial board noticed something over the last few weeks that many of us have pointed out all along. They discover that General David Petraeus told the truth about the improving situation in Iraq. They have also found out that hardly any news agency seems interested in reporting it: NEWS COVERAGE and debate about Iraq during the past couple of weeks have centered on the alleged abuses of private security firms like Blackwater USA. Getting such firms into a legal regime is vital, as we've said. But meanwhile, some seemingly important facts about the main subject of discussion last month -- whether there has been a decrease in violence in Iraq -- have gotten relatively little attention. A congressional study and several news stories in September questioned reports by the U.S. military that casualties were down. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), challenging the testimony of Gen. David H....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

CLC 07: The Poll Results, And Final Thoughts

When I first agreed to attend the CLC, I thought about how long it had been since I'd been in a Nevada casino. The last time was on my honeymoon in Lake Tahoe, almost 14 years ago, so I wondered whether I'd bother to gamble at all. I finally got a roll of quarters -- and discovered that most machines have no coin slots any more, instead using casino cards for gambling. I finally found one of the few that still accepts coins, and turned the $10 into $33. Since I'm suddenly flush, I decided to treat myself to a buffet breakfast. In some ways, the CLC has been the same kind of surprise. A first-time event usually suffers from a thin level of organizational skills and a dearth of interesting speakers. The CLC avoided both of these pitfalls, and in fact put on a very strong schedule of events....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

So Much For Diversity

George Will takes a look at the requirements for today's students of social work -- and discovers a political commissariat worthy of the Soviet Union. Universities have required pledges of loyalty to liberal political thought as a requisite for success in their social-work programs, failing students who object to being told what to think (via CapQ reader Sandeep Dath): In 1997, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) adopted a surreptitious political agenda in the form of a new code of ethics, enjoining social workers to advocate for social justice "from local to global levels." A widely used textbook -- "Direct Social Work Practice: Theory and Skill" -- declares that promoting "social and economic justice" is especially imperative as a response to "the conservative trends of the past three decades." Clearly, in the social work profession's catechism, whatever social and economic justice are, they are the opposite of conservatism. The...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Did Caragol Blow It?

For people who had hoped that oral sex and politics would see their last connection in the previous decade, a candidate for the Hialeah (Florida) city council wants to bring back an old favorite. Jose "Pepe" Caragol's campaign tried out a new campaign slogan that has some residents wondering exactly what Pepe's conception of the job might be (via Memeorandum): Live in Hialeah? Like oral sex? Then one Hialeah City Council candidate thinks he's the one who deserves your vote. As election season intensifies in the City of Progress, incumbent Jose ''Pepe'' Caragol, known for dishing out rhyming one-liners at city events, is catching criticism for a slogan he has been pitching on Spanish television. "Si te gusta el sexo oral, vote por Caragol por consejal,'' Caragol said on a March 14 taping of the America Te-Ve show Seguro Que Yes! and in subsequent radio and television appearances. The phrase,...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Oh, The Things You'll See

Apropos of nothing at all .... When I lived in Southern California and traveled through LAX, I'd usually see a celebrity of one sort or another on every pass through the airport. Living in Minneapolis and traveling mostly to DC or Orange County, though, I haven't seen any that I recall. So I was a little surprised to see Steve Tyler of Aerosmith coming through the security checkpoint with me here in Reno. It took me a couple of moments to be sure of it, but it's pretty difficult to confuse him with anyone else. Many of the women in the terminal were also pleasantly surprised to see him as well. They called out greetings to him, ignoring the woman with whom he was traveling. After a few minutes of that, I can imagine it gets old for both Tyler and his companion. He's still somewhere in my terminal as...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 15, 2007

On Tap For Monday

After my last trip to DC, I thought that I couldn't have a bumpier flight, but the trip from Vegas last night proved me wrong. Thanks to tough weather and some delays, I didn't make it home until almost 1 am this morning, so I'll be off to a slow start. Later today, we have the interview with John McCain on Heading Right Radio, and I will be blogging as normal, with just a later start. Be sure also to read Andrea Shea-King's report on Mark Sanford's speech at the CLC, too....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Is Rice Right?

Condoleezza Rice told reporters this morning that the time has arrived for a Palestinian state. She defended the launch of the latest American-sponsored peace conference by asserting that the administration had "better things to do than invite people to Annapolis for a photo op," and that the conference could make real progress towards resolving the decades-long standoff: Secretary of State Condoleezza said Monday it was "time for the establishment of a Palestinian state," and described Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts as the most serious in years. An international peace conference expected to take place in Annapolis, Md., in November has to be substantive, Rice said at a news conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. "We frankly have better things to do than invite people to Annapolis for a photo op," she said. Israelis and Palestinians, Rice added, are making their "most serious effort" in years to resolve the conflict. "Frankly, it's time...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

AQI On The Run, Not Vanquished

In a rare case where all sides appear to be displaying some sense, the military has not said that al-Qaeda in Iraq has been defeated, and a media outlet isn't hiding the fact that AQI has suffered a rout. The Washington Post reports on the delicate matter of what to make of the tremendous progress the US has made against the terrorists in western Iraq, and the likelihood that a premature declaration of victory would get used as a propaganda stunt by our enemies: The U.S. military believes it has dealt devastating and perhaps irreversible blows to al-Qaeda in Iraq in recent months, leading some generals to advocate a declaration of victory over the group, which the Bush administration has long described as the most lethal U.S. adversary in Iraq. But as the White House and its military commanders plan the next phase of the war, other officials have cautioned...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

How Many Lawyers Does It Take To Find A Captured GI?

The answer should be "none", but thanks to the FISA hiccup earlier this year, the question became very germane indeed. Charles Hurt reports at the New York Post that the restriction on communications through American telecom switches caused a ten-hour delay in NSA tracking for Corporal Alex Jimenez after his capture by terrorists in Iraq. The attorneys had to decide whether they had enough probable cause to wiretap terrorists talking abroad: A search to rescue the men was quickly launched. But it soon ground to a halt as lawyers - obeying strict U.S. laws about surveillance - cobbled together the legal grounds for wiretapping the suspected kidnappers. Starting at 10 a.m. on May 15, according to a timeline provided to Congress by the director of national intelligence, lawyers for the National Security Agency met and determined that special approval from the attorney general would be required first. For an excruciating...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

McCain Still Standing

The media does love a good narrative, and they may have one handed to them this fall. After writing off John McCain this summer, and not for altogether unrealistic reasons, the presidential candidate has proven unwilling to disappear. He has retooled his campaign and returned to the feisty and sometimes disquieting habit of speaking his mind on the stump. At Heading Right, I take a look at why Republicans may be giving McCain a second look. He still has plenty on his record to criticize, but as GOP voters have discovered, so do the other front-runners. With social conservatives threatening a revolt over Rudy, Mitt's disavowal of Ronald Reagan hitting YouTube, and Fred's stamina in question, McCain may wind up being the default candidate in the end. We'll talk with Senator McCain on today's Heading Right Radio at 2 pm CT....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The 2007 Weblog Awards

I see our good friend Kevin Aylward has once again launched the Weblog Awards, which give everyone an opportunity to find new voices in the blogosphere. Like The Anchoress, I missed the actual launch of the awards, and the nominations close today. Kevin has done an excellent job in setting up the categories and has even switched to Movable Type 4.0 for the contest blog -- which shows a lot of courage as well. Be sure to visit, nominate your favorites in the various categories, and most importantly take some time to try new sites!...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Conversation With A Suicide Bomber

Aaron Klein, author of Schmoozing With Terrorists, met with a suicide-bomber recruit in Jenin to discover what drives volunteers to kill civilians in the name of Allah. Tomorrow, WND plans to publish excerpts from the book's first chapter in which Klein relates his conversation with Ahmed, as well as with Ahmed's recruiter, Abu Ayman, the head of Islamic Jihad in Jenin. Here's a taste of what we can expect in the interview: AHMED: The will to scarify myself for Allah is the first and most major reason. It is true that the Zionists are occupying our lands and that it is our religious duty to fight them, including through suicide attacks. The goal is not the killing of the Jews, but that this is the way to reach Allah. The goal is satisfying Allah and his instructions. No money interests, nothing. No brainwash, no pressure; it is my decision. All...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Harry Reid Less Popular Than George Bush In Nevada

I just left the great state of Nevada, so the latest polling by the Las Vegas Review-Journal has a special appeal to me. Harry Reid's high-profile leadership of the Democratic Party has impressed the folks back home, but not in the way that Reid would prefer. He now scores lower favorabilty ratings than George Bush, and his negatives go higher than Hillary Clinton's (via Memeorandum): Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's appeal among Nevadans has plunged dramatically in a new Review-Journal poll, which finds him viewed unfavorably by most likely voters in his home state. ... The poll asked 625 likely voters from around the state whether they recognized a politician's name, and if so, if they had a favorable, unfavorable or neutral opinion of that person. The survey carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Reid's favorable rating was 32 percent, compared with 51 percent...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: John McCain, Special Time: 1:30 PM CT

UPDATE: Please note that today's show will start at 1:30 PM CT rather than 2 PM, as Senator McCain's schedule had a late change. I want to bring him live to HRR listeners! Today on Heading Right Radio (1:30 pm CT), Senator John McCain joins us for the first half of the show. We'll talk about the improvement seen in Iraq, the criticisms leveled by retired General Richard Sanchez, as well as his efforts in the presidential race. We'll also take your calls for Senator McCain and work the webchat, too. Don't miss it! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

McCain: Sanchez's Criticisms Never Communicated To Congress

Senator John McCain appeared on Heading Right Radio this afternoon, and as always gave our listeners a good dose of straight talk. He spoke about the pitfalls of his campaign, and how he has learned from the immigration debate that the borders have to be secured before any other decisions can be made about the illegal immigrants already in the country. McCain also felt that the recent criticisms of his fellow candidates on core issues for the party's base may give him an opening to make a case that he is the most reliable conservative in the race. However, his most explosive comments came when I asked him about the criticisms leveled by General Richard Sanchez about the politics, strategy, and reporting of the war in Iraq. Sanchez ripped the administration for strategic blunders, which came as news to Senator McCain, who had spent years making the same criticisms of...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Poll: S-CHIP Should Remain Focused On The Poor

USA Today has polled Americans on the Democratic proposal to extend S-CHIP subsidies to middle-class families -- and the results bode ill for the bill's proponents. A majority of Americans support George Bush's veto, and an even larger majority believes it will undermine private health insurance altogether: A majority of Americans trust Democrats to handle the issue of children's health insurance more than President Bush, but they agree with the president that government aid should not go to middle-income families or those with private insurance, a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows. Three days before the Democratic-controlled House attempts to override Bush's veto of a five-year, $35 billion expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), the poll shows that Americans' opinions on the issue are mixed. Of those polled, 52% said they have more confidence in Democrats to deal with the issue, compared with 32% for Bush. But majorities...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 16, 2007

'Knew' Being The Operative Word

The Washington Post has a must-read critique of the Iraq War written by veterans of the mission, similar to one written for the New York Times earlier this year. The twelve former captains of the Army write about their personal experiences and frustrations with force levels and the lack of progress. They make some good points, but the best point comes from the Post itself at the end of the piece: This column was written by 12 former Army captains: Jason Blindauer served in Babil and Baghdad in 2003 and 2005. Elizabeth Bostwick served in Salah Ad Din and An Najaf in 2004. Jeffrey Bouldin served in Al Anbar, Baghdad and Ninevah in 2006. Jason Bugajski served in Diyala in 2004. Anton Kemps served in Babil and Baghdad in 2003 and 2005. Kristy (Luken) McCormick served in Ninevah in 2003. Luis Carlos Montalván served in Anbar, Baghdad and Nineveh in...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Hillary: Surveillance For National Security? Bad. Surveillance For Election? Good.

According to a book on Hillary Clinton, she personally reviewed transcripts of cell-phone conversations illegally tapped by members of her husband's first presidential campaign in 1992. The Hill notes that the calls took place between members of opposition campaigns, and would have been as illegal then as they are now. It places Hillary in the position of demanding limitations on surveillance of terrorists while having pursued wiretaps on political opponents: In their book about Clinton’s rise to power, Her Way, Don Van Natta Jr., an investigative reporter at The New York Times, and Jeff Gerth, who spent 30 years as an investigative reporter at the paper, wrote: “Hillary’s defense activities ranged from the inspirational to the microscopic to the down and dirty. She received memos about the status of various press inquiries; she vetted senior campaign aides; and she listened to a secretly recorded audiotape of a phone conversation of...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Lame Duck? Not So Far

George Bush has turned out to be the master of misunderestimation. Following the 2006 election, Democrats crowed over President Bush's lame-duck status, insisting that they now controlled the agenda on all fronts and that Bush should commence capitulation as quickly as possible to avoid the pain of humiliation. Almost a year later, the Democrats have lost on almost every major issue, and on the one agenda item they won -- a minimum-wage increase -- they won it by attaching to their biggest loss of all, the supplemental for Iraq War spending. Now it looks like they face another fight with Bush, and this time he will likely have the nation on his side: The White House and Congress are heading for what President Bush predicts will be a "fiscal showdown" at a time when the nation's financial health has actually improved for the moment. After years of record-high deficits, both...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Democrats Blocking Permanent Ban On Internet-Access Tax

The Democratic leadership in Congress has started to work overtime in blocking a Republican attempt to permanently ban taxes on Internet access. According to Congressional Quarterly, they will instead offer a four-year extension in its place, and refusing to consider a more permanent solution: House leaders are using a looming deadline and procedural heavy-handedness to thwart the will of nearly 240 House members who support a permanent ban on Internet-access taxes, some supporters of the ban say. Democratic leaders have scheduled a vote Tuesday on a bill (HR 3678) that would extend for four years the existing ban on taxing Internet access, which is scheduled to expire Nov. 1. Although supporters of making the tax ban permanent almost certainly would have enough votes to amend the bill more to their liking, it is scheduled for consideration under suspension of the rules, a procedure that bars amendments and is usually reserved...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

India Nuclear Deal Collapsing

India may pull back from the nuclear deal negotiated two years ago with the Bush administration, a result of party politics. The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, informed President Bush directly of the "difficulties" that have arisen internally, focusing on sovereignty but also an effort by Indian Communists to keep the nation from becoming too close to the US: A controversial nuclear deal between the United States and India appears close to collapse after the Indian prime minister told President Bush yesterday that "certain difficulties" will prevent India from moving forward on the pact for the foreseeable future. The main obstacle does not involve the specific terms of the agreement but rather India's internal politics, including fears from leftist parties that India is moving too close to the United States, according to officials and experts familiar with the deal. Besieged over the past two months by growing opposition to nuclear...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Jeri Speaks

Jeri Kehn Thompson garnered a lot of attention when her husband officially was a non-candidate for President. Now that Fred Thompson has entered the race, however, the press has mostly dropped the "trophy wife" and "May-December" narratives to focus on the race itself, and Jeri seems happy to see the spotlight dim, in a rare interview at the Joliet Herald News: Q: In your interview last month with the Tennessean, you mentioned your mom and grandmother being hurt by some of the ugly aspects of political life. Was that a reference to the negative press? A: Oh sure, yeah ... I think you do get a little bit used to it, because you understand if folks think that you're a threat -- either they're running, or if you're changing a system that they're not comfortable with you changing the rules with--they're going to go after whatever they think might hurt...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Feed Readers: Which Makes The Most Sense?

Most bloggers use some sort of RSS feed reader to make their operations more efficient. For almost the entire four years I have been blogging, I have used Sharpreader, which has done a serviceable job in keeping me current with the day's news and blogger views. However, the free feedreader has caused some problems, and does not have all of the flexibility that I would like to see in this utility. After Allahpundit at Hot Air asked for suggestions on the best reader to use, I decided to start looking around at some fresh choices. First I tried just using the embedded RSS functionality of Thunderbird, which I use for my e-mail, but I couldn't get that to work at all, and it seemed to slow its overall functionality somewhat. After that, I installed NewsFox as an extension to Firefox. This actually worked reasonably well, except for two issues. One,...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Another Liberal Fantasy Hits Hard Reality

Earlier today, the port side of the blogosphere erupted in righteous indignation as reports that Air America radio host Randi Rhodes got mugged began to swirl. Many bloggers started blaming a nameless conservative mugger, and then began extending the indictment to the entire conservative movement. It served their prejudices to think that conservative meanies would lay in wait for Rhodes just to keep her from speaking Truth to Power, etc etc etc. The only fly in the ointment? Rhodes never got mugged at all (via Michelle Malkin): Air America radio host Randi Rhodes is temporarily off the air, but claims she was brutally attacked near her Manhattan apartment are bogus, her lawyer and a police source said today. Fellow host Jon Elliott claimed on the liberal radio network that Rhodes had been mugged while walking her dog, Simon, on Sunday night. Elliot, who said Rhodes lost several teeth in the...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Grover Norquist, Robert Bluey

Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), we have two great guests. Grover Norquist from Americans for Tax Reform joins us in the first half to talk about the Leave Us Alone coalition, as he describes them. I met Grover at the CLC-07 conference and he gave a great speech about limited government, and how lowering taxes can force reduction in its reach. He also noted that reduced revenue can act to split apart the liberal coalition by forcing it to fight each other over the scraps. In the second half of the show, our friend Robert Bluey from the Heritage Foundation joins us to discuss his latest column on media coverage of the war, as well as the CLC and Ron Paul's impact on it, and more on tax and spending policies that will erupt in the remainder of this session of Congress. Don't miss it! Call...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Wounded Warrior Reform: Conference Call

The White House held a conference call to talk about the new Wounded Warrior Reform. The VA disability system, they say, is not consumer friendly, which is a large understatement. It no longer reflects the constituency it serves, and hasn't really been updated since World War II. Karl Zinsmeister, Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, spent some time explaining the reform effort to a group of bloggers. We need a new system to meet the new requirements, and they want to do a "complete restructuring" of the VA disability system. They want a new focus on rehab, and they want to make sure that disabled vets can get back into the mainstream of American life. Questions: * How will this curtail bureaucratic nightmare currently in operation? The current system requires vets to navigate both Defense and VA systems in parallel, and it's exhausting. The first step will be to...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Nationalized Health Care Is Like Pulling Teeth -- Your Own

The British have had a nationalized health care system for decades, and almost as long a list of examples why it doesn't work. Three years ago, we discovered that hospitals in the UK threw out viable kidneys for lack of physicians qualified to transplant them. Now we find out that a shortage of dentists has led Britons to perform free-lance extractions to avoid an excruciating wait: A shortage of National Health Service dentists in England has led some people to pull out their own teeth — or use super glue to stick crowns back on, a study says. Many dentists abandoned Britain's publicly funded health care system after reforms backfired, leaving a growing number of Britons without access to affordable care. "I was not surprised to hear those horror stories," said Celestine Bridgeman, 41, of London. "Trying to find good NHS dentists is like trying to hit the lottery because...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 17, 2007

Genocide Resolution Losing Steam

The bill condemning Turkey for the Armenian genocide of 1915 has begun to lose support and may not have enough Democrats on board to pass. A group of Democrats will hold a press conference later today asking House leadership to table the motion in light of the disastrous impact it might have on our military efforts in Iraq and our relationship with the one Muslim democracy in the Middle East: Worried about antagonizing Turkish leaders, House members from both parties have begun to withdraw their support from a resolution supported by the Democratic leadership that would condemn as genocide the mass killings of Armenians nearly a century ago. Almost a dozen lawmakers had shifted against the measure over the last 24 hours, accelerating a sudden exodus that has cast deep doubt over the measure’s prospects. Some representatives made clear that they were heeding warnings from the White House, which has...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Bhutto Returns Tomorrow

Benazir Bhutto will defy Pervez Musharraf's request for more time and stage a very public return to Pakistan tomorrow. The former Prime Minister plans to land in Karachi, and hopes to see large crowds greet her to underscore her popularity -- and to send a message to both Musharraf and the radical Islamists, who'd like to kill them both: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has confirmed that she will end more than eight years of self-imposed exile on Thursday. President Musharraf had asked her to delay the return until the Supreme Court decides on whether he is eligible to be president for another term. ... "At this time tomorrow, we'll be on board the plane to Karachi, which is a day that I and all the people in Pakistan who love democracy and believe in fundamental human rights, have been waiting for," she said. She is planning a high-profile...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

More Nanny-Statism From Hillary

Hillary Clinton has conducted an impressive campaign to get the Left to forget her vote on the Iraq war. Over the last few weeks, she has offered a blizzard of nanny programs designed to bolster her standing with traditional liberals, including a program to give each newborn a $5,000 bond. Now she wants to have the federal government fund an expansion of the Family Leave Medical Act to the states: Speaking in New Hampshire, Senator Clinton yesterday announced a plan to expand paid family leave laws on the state and national level. "Too many Americans feel trapped between being a good parent and being a good worker," Mrs. Clinton said. "It's about time we stopped just talking about family values and started pursuing policies that truly value families." Under Mrs. Clinton's proposal, the federal government would spend more than $1 billion a year to encourage states to operate their own...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Human Rights Violations Of Today Seem Less Compelling

As the enthusiasm wanes for alienating a key ally in the war on terror, Congress seems much less interested in tweaking a nation for its current abuses of human rights and support of genocidal regimes. A proposal to boycott the China Olympics this year has attracted almost no support, nor has any other proposal condemning China for its support of Sudan's genocidal government or its repression of Tibet: While Congress seems willing to pick a fight with Turkey over the World War I-era killing of Armenians, members have been much more cautious about confronting China over next year’s Olympics in Beijing. Three House bills urging a boycott of the Olympics because of various human rights and foreign policy concerns regarding China were introduced in August, but so far the measures have struggled to find support. “They think it punishes the athletes rather than the people you want to punish,” said...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

I Thought They Hated Pigs At Woodstock

Ah, Woodstock. It’s the touchstone for the Baby Boomer generation, where hundreds of thousands gathered at the height of the counterculture movement to celebrate their independence from the Establishment. The festival had everything — sex, drugs, rock & roll … and pork? At Heading Right, I point out that the 60s was supposed to be about opposing the Establishment, not getting subsidies from it. Apparently not. The earmarked funds for this project go to a billionaire whose funding this vanity project, and the funds come out of the Education budget. That means the money goes to a billionaire (providing money so he doesn't have to do so) rather than children and classrooms. And in the meantime, the same billionaire has sent tens of thousands of dollars to Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and the DSCC, sometimes within days of receiving the earmarks. This must have been what the Sixties were all...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Harkin's Earmark For La Raza

Senator Tom Harkin must believe that Iowans have a vested interest in the agenda of the National Council of La Raza. The group, which has positioned itself on the forefront of the blanket amnesty approach to immigration and opposed to efforts to enforce the border, will get a nice $500,000 grant from Harkin, a part of the 2008 HHS appropriations bill that still hasn't found its way to the floor of the Democratic-controlled Senate. The grant funds "technical assistance on Hispanic workforce issues including capacity building. Language barriers, and health care job training”, a generic description that means anything La Raza wants it to mean. This looks like a bargain for La Raza. Its officers only contributed $1500 to Harkin's last campaign, and they got a half-million dollar grant in return. That's a 30-fold return on investment, an excellent choice of politicians in the free market of earmarking and backscratching....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

We Couldn't Possibly Be This Lucky

She follows the Truthers into thinking that the government aided the 9/11 attacks. She rails against the supposed Jewish influence on American politics. She slaps DC police for doing their job. She can't even win in her own district anymore. Why not have Cynthia McKinney run for President -- and what better party to represent? Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D), who lost her congressional seat last year after her publicized scuffle with a Capitol Hill police officer, registered to vote in California -- and is being pushed by some to run for president as a Green Party candidate, the AP reports. Despite McKinney posting a letter on her Web site last month, saying she is not interested in the Green Party nomination, a group called "Run! Cynthia! Run!" is trying to draft her as a candidate in California. McKinney and six other Green Party candidates, including Ralph Nader were nominated...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Nancy Pelosi Invasion

The Turkish Parliament authorized their government to invade northern Iraq any time during the next year in order to quell the terrorist attacks in the Kurdish regions of southern Turkey. The overwhelming vote to authorize the invasion demonstrates the declining influence of the US with its NATO partner and Middle East ally, a situation exacerbated by the Congressional effort to censure Turkey over a genocide from a century ago: The Turkish parliament Wednesday authorized cross-border military operations into northern Iraq to combat Kurdish separatist rebels as world leaders implored Turkey to delay any action. In the hours before the parliament voted by a gaping margin of 507 to 19 to give Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan permission to launch strikes any time over the next year, Iraqi and NATO officials made a flurry of cautionary, last-minute telephone calls to the country's top leaders. The vote came just moments after...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Canadians Like Conservative Government

Twenty-two months have passed since Canadians gave Liberals the heave-ho after Adscam, and apparently, Conservative government suits them well. Before the Sponsorship Programme corruption scandal brought down Paul Martin and his administration, the Liberals painted Stephen Harper as a radical with hidden agendas that would shock Canadians. Now, however, almost two-thirds of them are only shocked to find they like him: With the political battlefield of Parliament returning and with weapons drawn it would appear the largest number of Canadians (63%) believe that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has the ‘right stuff’ of leadership qualities and skills compared to all other federal party leaders. This compares with NDP Leader Jack Layton at 57% and BQ Leader Gilles Duceppe at 63% in his province of Québec (15% nationally), and Opposition and Liberal leader Stephan Dion with the lowest ratings of all of the Federal leaders at 36%. ... Given that the Liberals...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Aaron Klein, Allen Zeng

Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), we have two intriguing guests. First we talk with Aaron Klein, author of Schmoozing With Terrorists: From Hollywood to the Holy Land, Jihadists Reveal Their Global Plans to a Jew!. We're going to talk to Aaron about his remarkable interactions with suicide bomber recruits and the people who get them. In the second half of the show, we get to talk with a man who is working in the trenches for freedom in China. Allen Zeng runs the Sounds of Hope Radio Network, which "developed tools to penetrate China's firewall and bring out tens of millions of hits per day. Sound of Hope broadcasts to all over China with its 15-hour programming per day which has more coverage hours than BBC, Radio France Internationale, Deutsche Welle." We're going to find out how he does it, and what impact it has had...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Showdown On The Fairness Doctrine

With all of the attacks on conservative talk show hosts and in the aftermath of an Air America smear on the Right, it's time to make sure that the Left cannot use the government to dictate political content on broadcast networks. A group of Republicans in the House have reached the same conclusion. They announced their intention to force a floor vote on a bill that will permanently bar any attempt to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine and make government the arbiter of political speech: Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) filed a discharge petition Wednesday to force a vote on legislation to ban the so-called Fairness Doctrine. “The time has come to do away with the Fairness Doctrine once and for all,” the lawmaker said on the House floor. Pence’s legislation would require an act of Congress before the Fairness Doctrine, which would require broadcasters to give time to both sides on...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

More Ground-Up Reconciliation

As the Maliki government continues its slow pace towards legislative reform, the US has increased its efforts to bring reconciliation to Iraq, and has met with some quiet but significant success. Evolving from the surge strategy and counterinsurgency tactics of General David Petraeus, the Sunnis and Shi'ites have begun reaching out to each other as the violence continues to ebb: Aboard the 70-mile flight from Baghdad to Ramadi was a top Pentagon envoy and a leader of Iraq's biggest Shiite political party. They were paying a visit to Sunni sheiks who have joined the U.S. battle against extremists. The meeting Sunday was part of budding contacts between Iraq's rival Muslim groups that has shown promise where the nation's political leadership has stalled: trying to find common ground among Shiites and Sunnis. The exchanges — which have bypassed the stumbling government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — are supported by Washington...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Armenian Case

Over the last few days, I have criticized Congress for inexplicably deciding to enrage a key ally in the war on terror -- the nation through which our lines of communication pass to our troops in Iraq -- for a genocide that occurred almost a century ago. Putting Congressional idiocy aside for a moment, the fact is that the Armenians did suffer a terrible genocide by the Ottomans during World War I. Perhaps the best thoughts on this event unsurprisingly come from one of my best friends in the blogosphere, King Banaian at SCSU Scholars: That said, I have not stood with the placards and shouted the shouts. I have spent years with friends who are Turkish, most of whom acknowledge what happened and what we all know to be true -- many people who say they are Turkish can go back in their own family trees and find Armenians...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 18, 2007

Bhutto Gets Her Welcome

Former Prime Minister Benazie Bhutto returned to Pakistan in triumph today, with thousands of supporters cheering her arrival despite heavy security precautions in Karachi. A tearful Bhutto may not have generated the million people for which she hoped, but the turnout was nonetheless impressive: Authorities have mounted a massive security operation to protect the 54-year-old from possible attack by Islamic militants. But the precautions failed to dampen the spirit of huge crowds forming in Karachi. Hundreds of buses and other vehicles festooned with billboards welcoming her back were parked bumper-to-bumper along the boulevard from the airport to the city center. A huge red, green and black flag of her Pakistan People's Party hung from one apartment block overlooking the route. Supporters including representatives of Pakistan's minority Christian and Hindu communities and Baluch tribesmen with flowing white turbans, walked toward the airport, while groups of men performed traditional dances, beat drums...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Senate Hands Bush Victory On FISA

Hours after Democratic leadership in the House pulled their version of FISA reform off the floor in embarrassment, the Senate agreed to the White House-endorsed version. Intel committee chair Jay Rockefeller and DNI Mike McConnell agreed to full immunity for telecoms and compromised on the term of the new law, requiring renewal in six years: Senate Democrats and Republicans reached agreement with the Bush administration yesterday on the terms of new legislation to control the federal government's domestic surveillance program, which includes a highly controversial grant of legal immunity to telecommunications companies that have assisted the program, according to congressional sources. Disclosure of the deal followed a decision by House Democratic leaders to pull a competing version of the measure from the floor because they lacked the votes to prevail over Republican opponents and GOP parliamentary maneuvers. The collapse marked the first time since Democrats took control of the chamber...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Why Wasn't Management Suspended?

A Texas television station suspended a reporter after berating a 70-year-old man who had to shoot two burglars in the last three weeks. Rebecca Aguilar, who had just won an award for Hispanic journalists last week, stood over James Walton as he sat in his car, tearfully trying to answer such questions as "Are you a trigger happy kind of person? Is that what what you wanted to do? Shoot to kill?" The report created a huge backlash of anger in Texas, and via Dan Riehl, Michelle Malkin, and Instapundit, you can see it for yourself: Bear in mind that this is an old man who lives at his business, who has had to defend himself twice against intruders in the last three weeks. Prior to these two incidents, he called police forty-two times to protect him against intruders, and that strategy obviously had not paid off. In these two...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Feds Not Doing Homework On Virginia Madrassa?

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom recommends that Congress take action to shut down a notorious Saudi-financed school in Virginia for teaching hatred and intolerance. Its report notes that schools in Saudi Arabia routinely use textbooks that contain inaccurate and hostile interpretations of Judaism and Christianity, and that these same texts are used in the Virginia madrassa. But are they, and did the USCIRF bother to check before filing its report? A private Islamic school supported by the Saudi government should be shut down until the U.S. government can ensure the school is not fostering radical Islam, a federal panel recommends. In a report released Thursday, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom broadly criticized what it calls a lack of religious freedom in Saudi society and promotion of religious extremism at Saudi schools. Particular criticism is leveled at the Islamic Saudi Academy, a private school serving nearly 1,000...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Monument To Me Amendment Today

In the world of pork-barrel politics, some porkers are pikers -- compared to Charlie Rangel. Charles Rangel has built himself a name in his long years representing Harlem in Congress — and now he wants to put that name on a few buildings at taxpayer expense. Rangel has proposed earmarks to fund the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service, the Rangel Conference Center, and the Charles Rangel Library at CCNY, which amount to $2 million in self-aggrandizement. The ultimate in vanity projects might get torpedoed today by a Senate amendment, if Jim DeMint gets his way. At Heading Right, I note that DeMint will likely get a vote on an amendment today that would strip the $2 million in earmarks for Charlie's "Monument to Me". Passage of the amendment would send a message to Congress that our tax money is not meant for the self-aggrandizement of the public servants...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Myth Of The Latino Bloc?

Republicans have heard dire warnings about the impact of border-security and immigration rhetoric on the growing bloc of Latino voters. The GOP will lose the next generation of the American electorate if the party does not moderate its stance on illegal immigration, especially in the tone of the debate. The fastest-growing segment of the population will soon grow large enought to punish the Republicans and reduce them to permanent minority status. Not so fast, writes Steve Malanga in today's Los Angeles Times. Not only has the Latino bloc been overestimated, it has not given all that much support to the GOP in any case -- and immigration is nowhere near as important to Latino voters as assumed: Just days after the election, for instance, Dick Morris, a former pollster and advisor to President Clinton, declared that Latinos had elected Bush; they represented 12% of the electorate, Morris reasoned, and 45%...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Brownback To Withdraw

Aides to Senator Sam Brownback have leaked to the AP that he will withdraw from the presidential race tomorrow. Brownback has not gained any traction at all in the race despite the widely reported frustration of pro-life activists with the GOP frontrunners: Brownback, a longshot conservative contender, had trouble raising money to compete in the race. He is expected announce his withdrawal in Topeka, Kan. He raised a little more than $800,000 in the third quarter of this year, his lowest quarterly amount since entering race. He has brought in more than $4 million overall and is eligible for $2 million in federal matching funds. What more is there to say? Brownback has never really captured anyone's imagination. He hasn't moved at all since entering the race, and has never really made a case why he himself should carry the Republican banner in the 2008 election. His failure, however, calls...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

S-CHIP Override Debate: Live Blog

The debate has just begun for the S-CHIP expansion veto override in the House. At the moment, the House is not expected to override the veto; vote counters have the Democrats coming up short. 10:00 am - John Dingell has gone on about how this is "health care for America's children". It's about health insurance subsidies for middle-class children. No one proposed shutting down S-CHIP, or even curtailing it. The White House wanted a modest expansion, but not the vast expansion the Democrats want. 10:02 - Nathan Deal (R-GA) says that federal money should be limited to actual children, not childless adults. The states should fund those adults through Medicaid. He also wants the limit to go up to 250% of the federal poverty level, and that an asset cap of $1 million should be implemented. 10:04 - Charles Rangel, "in the spirit of bipartisanship, especially to my Republican colleagues",...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: David Harsanyi, Rick Calvert

Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), we welcome David Harsanyi, author of Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and other Boneheaded Bureaucrats are Turning America into a Nation of Children. I bet you can guess what this conversation will entail. We'll also talk with Rick Calvert of BlogWorldExpo, where I'll be speaking and exhibiting for BlogTalkRadio. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

That Didn't Take Long

Earlier today, I wrote about Benazir Bhutto's triumphal return to Pakistan. She traveled in a procession in Karachi to celebrate her return in defiance of an assassination threat -- and found herself in the center of a bombing that killed dozens in the crowd of 150,000 celebrants: Two explosions went off Thursday night near a truck carrying former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on her celebratory return to Pakistan after eight years in exile. Police said she was unhurt, but officials and witnesses said up to 45 people were killed and more than 100 wounded. An initial small explosion was followed by a huge blast just feet from the front of the truck carrying Bhutto during a procession through Karachi. The blast shattered windows in her vehicle. Neither Bhutto nor any of the others riding on the truck was hurt, police officer Hasib Beg said. Karachi police chief Azhar Farooqi told...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

New On The Bookshelf: Deception

Today, I received an advance copy of Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons, a new book by reporters Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark of the Guardian and the Sunday Times. It's bound to be controversial, as it asserts that the United States knew that Pakistan had developed nuclear weapons and sold the technology to North Korea, Libya, and Iran, and the US said nothing. The past five administrations, the authors tell us, continued to portray Pakistan as an ally while they sold nuclear secrets to our enemies. The book gets released at the end of the month. I'll try to get the authors onto Heading Right Radio for an interview, if possible. I've still got to pick up Shadow Warriors at some point, which I put aside for Dinesh D'Souza's What's So Great About Christianity?. I will have a review of that book, hopefully...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 19, 2007

AQ Behind The Bhutto Bombing

Pakistani security officials confirmed the obvious today, announcing that the bombings showed classic hallmarks of an al-Qaeda attack. The death toll rose to 136, making it AQ's most effective terrorist attack in years, but the failure to get Bhutto and the massive collateral damage makes it far from a success: President Gen. Pervez Musharraf labeled the attack part of a "conspiracy against democracy," reaching out to the former prime minister with whom he is trying to forge a pro-U.S., anti-militant alliance. The "signature at the blast site and the modus operandi" suggested the involvement of militants linked to warlord Baitullah Mehsud and al-Qaida, said Ghulam Muhammad Mohtarem, the head security official in the province where Mehsud is based. "We were already fearing a strike from Mehsud and his local affiliates and this were conveyed to the (Bhutto's Pakistan's) People's Party but they got carried away by political exigencies instead of...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Tone Deaf At The Border

The Department of Homeland Security has received loud criticism from border-security advocates for its snail's pace at building the wall on the southern border authorized in 2006 by Congress. Now it faces another round of criticism for the building materials the DHS bought for its construction. Instead of American steel for the reinforced border fencing, DHS imported it from China: House members allied with the domestic steel industry blasted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Thursday for building a fence on the Mexican border with Chinese steel. “By allowing the use of Chinese pipe [a type of steel], DHS is allowing the U.S. taxpayer to subsidize Chinese production at the expense of the American workers,” Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.) said at a press conference. “This is completely unacceptable.” “This is outrageous, it’s offensive and it’s unacceptable,” charged Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.). English displayed photos of a portion of the...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Government Produces Something Worthwhile

Would you happen to have a couple of million dollars in loose change around the house? If you do, you could own the letter that Harry Reid sent to Rush Limbaugh, accusing the radio host of smearing American troops. Rush has the letter up for auction at e-Bay, and with less than six hours to go, the bid is now topping $2.1 million. Not only that, Rush has pledged the proceeds to the Marine Corps - Law Enforcement Foundation -- and has pledged to match the final bid himself. Once again, Reid's machinations backfired. He and the 40 Senate Democrats who signed the letter set themselves up as defenders of the military, including Dick Durbin, who once compared the troops to Nazis and Soviets. Now Rush has challenged the 41 to do as he will and match the figure to a foundation that offers scholarships to the children of Marines...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Batting .500 On Pork

Porkbusters had a rare day yesterday, winning a vote to strip pork from an upcoming bill while losing another. Normally members of Congress close ranks to protect each other's pork from amendments to defund them, but even collegiality couldn't save the brown acid of the Woodstock Museum earmark: Community leaders in upstate New York are building a $100 million museum there and sought money from the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) attempted to defend the earmark Thursday, but he failed, surprising even some critics of the project. The Senate first rejected a motion to table the amendment, 42-52, shifting the $1 million earmark into the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant program. Five Democrats — Evan Bayh of Indiana, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Jim Webb of Virginia — joined the entire Senate...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Adam Gadahn Amendment

The Senate Intelligence Committee passed the latest version of FISA on a 13-2 vote after reaching a compromise with Republicans on amnesty for telecoms and other issues. However, a last-minute amendment adopted by the committee has the White House objecting: The Senate intelligence committee yesterday produced a new bipartisan bill governing foreign intelligence surveillance conducted inside the United States, but objections by several Democratic lawmakers to some of its provisions raised questions about how quickly it might gain passage. The bill, approved by the committee 13 to 2, would require a special surveillance court to approve the government's procedures for deciding who is to be the subject of warrantless surveillance. It also would impose more restrictions on the government than contained in an emergency six-month law passed in August, which the Bush administration wanted to make permanent. It would further give some telecommunications companies immunity from about 40 pending lawsuits...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Is Hillary More Black Than Obama?

It’s the nadir of ethnic politics and at the same time a repudiation of them, but Barack Obama somehow has managed to come across to African-American voters as less black than Hillary Clinton. CNN’s Roland Martin delivers that analysis, which scolds Obama for his emotional “detachment” and focus on policy rather than engagement in exploitative histrionics that Martin apparently believes black voters want. According to CNN’s poll, Martin has it correct that something appears to be missing from Obama’s campaign. At Heading Right, I question the entire basis for Martin's analysis. He seems to disregard entirely the notion that black voters might consider Hillary Clinton the better candidate for rational reasons unrelated to emotional appeals. Martin doesn't give these voters any credit for making rational choices, which seems doubly strange since Hillary isn't exactly a model of empathy and emotionalism on the stump, either. Perhaps Martin has a fear of...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Big, Bad Bundlers

Hillary Clinton's contributors made headlines again at the Los Angeles Times, which helped break the Norman Hsu scandal into the national media. Their investigation of Hillary's fundraising records show a lot of dishwashers and waiters sending hundreds and thousands of dollars into her campaign's accounts. The Times also can't account for a large number of these donors at their listed addresses, calling their existence and legitimacy into question (via Memeorandum): Dishwashers, waiters and others whose jobs and dilapidated home addresses seem to make them unpromising targets for political fundraisers are pouring $1,000 and $2,000 contributions into Clinton's campaign treasury. In April, a single fundraiser in an area long known for its gritty urban poverty yielded a whopping $380,000. When Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) ran for president in 2004, he received $24,000 from Chinatown. At this point in the presidential campaign cycle, Clinton has raised more money than any candidate...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

CLC 07 Podcast Interview, And Other Links

A week ago, during my appearance at the Conservative Leadership Conference, Jenn Sierra of Ft. Hard Knox interviewed me on blogging, conservative politics, and BlogTalkRadio. She has now posted the podcast of that interview, recorded by my exhibit-hall neighbor John McJunkin of Avalon Podcasting. Jenn did a fine job in this interview, and perhaps we can convince her to start her own BTR show! Also, a few more links for today: Rob Neppell -- aka NZ Bear -- made his first appearance on Fox News to talk about corporate image, blogging, and their convergence. He's also blogging from the Values Voters summit, as is Jim Geraghty. The Nose on Your Face has the New York Times journalist entrance exam. I flunked, apparently ... Jules Crittenden notes that Pakistan has been at war with itself for a while, but the press may have just discovered that. Gary Gross says something's rotten...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Harry Reid And The Letter Of Doom

Harry Reid tried his best to put the best possible spin on the Rush Limbaugh letter that just sold to a Republican philanthropist for $2.1 million dollars. Rush will put up a matching $2.1 million donation to a charity that assists the children of Marines and law-enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Reid will ... try to claim credit for it: This week, Rush Limbaugh put the original copy of that letter up for auction on e-bay. Mr. President, we didn't have time, or we could have gotten every senator to sign that letter. But he put the letter up for auction on e-bay and I think very, very constructively, left the proceeds of that it go to the Marine Corps law enforcements foundation. That provides scholarship assistance to marines and federal law enforcement personnel whose parents fall in the line of duty. What could be a more...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Week In Review With The Generalissimo!

Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson of the Hugh Hewitt Show joins us to review the week's top stories. We'll talk about the S-CHIP funding debate and the Pete Stark lunacy, the FISA bill's ups and downs, the vast vacuum left by the departure of Sam Brownback, the Armenian genocide resolution, Hippie Pork, and much much more! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 20, 2007

Harry Reid And The Senate 41 Demonstrate The Difference Between Liberals And Conservatives

Sometimes a comment gets to the heart of a matter so clearly that I find it irresistable for its own post. Yesterday, in the Harry Reid/Rush Limbaugh thread, CapQ commenter PackerBronco observed that the entire story arc of the letter and its auction showed a clear difference between liberals and conservatives: The conservative thinks of a free-market way of raising private funds to aid a worthwhile causes and backs his commitment with his own money. The liberal asks other people to donate funds, doesn't donate any of his own money, and tries to take credit for the generosity of others. Now granted, the Republicans in Congress in 2001-2006 managed to look a lot like the latter than the former, but we're hoping they learned their lesson after the last election. In terms of actual governing policy, as we have seen in this Congress, liberals don't ask for money -- they...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

E-Mail Fraud: Not Just For Nigeria Any More

Most Internet users have grown sophisticated enough to know that former princes in Nigeria don't realy need their assistance to transfer funds to the United States. They sympathize with those correspondents who have just been diagnosed with terminal illnesses but resist the widely-broadcast plea to become executors of their estates -- with the odd requirement to place large amounts of cash in escrow first. With a few exceptions, including a minister's wife who wound up murdering her husband after blowing $14,000 on an e-mail scam, Americans know better than to fall prey to the scamsters. Unfortunately, that doesn't apply to corporations. Minnesota-based Supervalu sent millions of dollars into fraudulent accounts because of an e-mail scam that the supermarket chain never bothered to confirm: Supervalu Inc., the Eden Prairie-based grocer, fell prey to an e-mail scam this year, sending more than $10 million to two fraudulent bank accounts, according to federal...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Larijani Resigns

Top Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani has resigned from the government, effective immediately. Larijani apparently had significant differences with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on strategy in dealing with the West, and his departure might signal a split in Teheran that could mean trouble for the mullahcracy and their diminutive mouthpiece: Iran's chief negotiator with the West over Tehran's nuclear programme, Ali Larijani, has resigned. A government spokesman said Mr Larijani had repeatedly offered his resignation and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had finally accepted it. Mr Larijani had differences with the president over how to proceed with the negotiations, correspondents say. ... Mr Larijani has favoured further negotiations with the West over Iran's uranium enrichment programme, as opposed to the president's more hard-line approach, our correspondent says. The resignation allows the mullahs to promote deputy foreign minister Saeed Jalili in his place. Jalili is known to be a closer associate of Ayatollah Ali Khameini,...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Whither The Evangelicals?

The Values Voters summit has all but completed, and Jim Geraghty and NZ Bear have brought us live-blog coverage of the speeches and events. The event culminated in a speech by Rudy Giuliani to the presumed-hostile Family Research Council audience, and they have responded at least warmly to the Mayor's address, as NZ Bear notes: Giuliani received a standing ovation (like every other candidate to speak thus far). No sign at all of any negative reaction, and his standing O seemed at a genuinely enthusiastic one. OK, my reaction. I think this was a truly great speech: nearly pitch-perfect for the audience and about as well received as could possibly be hoped for by the Giuliani camp. I'm about ready to declare it "brilliant", in fact. Given how potentially hostile this audience might have been, the fact that he received positive applause throughout his delivery that seemed honestly enthusiastic is...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

NARN, The Exploding Head Edition

The Northern Alliance Radio Network will be on the air today, with our six-hour-long broadcast schedule starting at 11 am CT. The first two hours features Power Line's John Hinderaker and Chad and Brian from Fraters Libertas. Mitch and I hit the airwaves for the second shift from 1-3 pm CT, and King Banaian and Michael Broadkorb have The Final Word from 3-5. If you're in the Twin Cities, you can hear us on AM 1280 The Patriot, or on the station's Internet stream if you're outside of the broadcast area. Today, Mitch and I will look at the S-CHIP debate and Pete Stark's comments about how President Bush gets amused by having the heads of American soldiers blow up. We'll also talk about General Richard Sanchez's comments and John McCain's reaction, Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan, Dinesh D'Souza's new defense of Christianity, and much, much more! Be sure to...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

What The Hollywood Writers Strike Will Mean

The Writers Guild has authorized a strike against Hollywood studios if they cannot get an acceptable contract by the end of this month. Over 90% of the voting members of the union supported a walkout over the structure of residual payments from DVD and other ancillary markets. The studios will need to rush their current productions: The strike vote is the latest development in a month that has been filled with increasingly heated rhetoric from both the WGA and the AMPTP. On Tuesday, the AMPTP offered the first olive branch in the ongoing negotiations by withdrawing a contentious proposal to revamp the way studios make residual payments to writers. Residuals are continuous payments that are issued when movies or television shows are sold in ancillary markets like DVD. Should the WGA call a strike on Nov. 1, the frantic race to make as many movies and television shows before a...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Ledeen: Victory Is At Hand

The indicators in Iraq point to a victory over terrorists and insurgents in the near future, Michael Ledeen writes in the Wall Street Journal today. Not only have the Americans overpowered al-Qaeda in Iraq throughout the western provinces, the Iraqi Army and central government have established their will in Basra and the south. Iraqi nationalism has risen significantly, and militias of all stripes have either cut deals with Baghdad or have begun melting away: Should we declare victory over al Qaeda in the battle of Iraq? The very question would have seemed proof of dementia only a few months ago, yet now some highly respected military officers, including the commander of Special Forces in Iraq, Gen. Stanley McCrystal, reportedly feel it is justified by the facts on the ground. These people are not suggesting that the battle is over. They all insist that there is a lot of fighting ahead,...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 21, 2007

Bobby Rises In Louisiana

Louisiana elected its governor on the first ballot for the first time in recent memory, and the voters sent a message to the corrupt Democratic machine at the same time. Bobby Jindal, who narrowly lost a runoff four years ago, becomes the first Indian-American governor of a state after prevailing against a desperate opposition that stooped low enough to smear Jindal over religion: Republican Bobby Jindal won election as Louisiana governor Saturday, setting a string of firsts and leaving no doubt that the state's voters strongly desire new leadership two years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Jindal, 36, will be the nation's youngest sitting governor. The son of Indian immigrants, he will also be the first Indian American governor in U.S. history, and the first nonwhite to hold the job in Louisiana since Reconstruction. The election of Jindal, who is a conservative, underscores the fast-fading fortunes of the Democratic Party...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Will: No Line-Item Veto

George Will rides to Rudy Giuliani's defense on the line-item veto issue, and in fact rides so hard he passes Rudy at full gallop. Giuliani favors a Constitutional amendment to grant the President the power to strike individual spending items from legislation, but Will argues against pursuing it at all: Forty-three governors have, and most presidents have coveted, the power to have something other than an all-or-nothing choice when presented with appropriations bills. This did not matter in 1789, when the only appropriations bill passed by the First Congress could have been typed double-space on a single sheet of paper. But 199 years later, President Ronald Reagan displayed a 43-pound, 3,296-page bill as an argument for a line-item veto. Today's gargantuan government, its 10 thumbs into everything, routinely generates elephantine appropriations bills. But were a president empowered to cancel provisions of legislation, what he would be doing would be indistinguishable...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Chinatown Dodge

Hillary Clinton keeps having problems with donations from the Asian-American community. First her biggest bundler, Norman Hsu, turns out to be a convicted con man and the donations he bundled appear to have come from families whose modest incomes do not lend themselves to the large donations he claimed. Now another set of donors from similar communities appears to have been a front for other bagmen (via Power Line): A search of Chinatown donors yesterday by The Post found several bogus addresses and some contributions that raised eyebrows. Shin K. Cheng is listed twice in federal records for giving $1,000 donations to Clinton's campaign on April 17. But the address recorded on campaign reports is a clinic for sexually transmitted diseases, hemorrhoids and skin disease. No one at the address knew of a Shin K. Cheng. Another donation came from a Shih Kan Chang on Canal Street. But the address...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Chris Muir Returns

Chris Muir sent me a short note this morning thanking us all for our thoughts and prayers, and announcing his early return to business. Day by Day will return tomorrow, I presume, as Chris starts the process of production again. Keep an eye on this space for new Day by Day cartoons, and keep Chris and his family in his prayers after the loss of his beloved sister. UPDATE: He's back today, as you can see above. If you don't see the new strip, reload the page to refresh the DBD feed....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Kosovo Card

The US has tired of NATO waffling on their commitment to Afghanistan. Robert Gates has decided to end the US participation in Kosovo if our European partners refuse to meet their obligations in Afghanistan, transferring over 1100 soldiers from the Balkans to the fight against the Taliban: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates will consider shifting U.S. troops from Kosovo to Afghanistan next year if NATO allies do not fulfill their commitments, U.S. government officials said. Gates, in Ukraine on Sunday to ask eastern European countries for help in the war, had first considered laying the threat before NATO defense ministers this week at a meeting in the Netherlands, senior U.S. officials said. But upon the advice of senior military officers, the Pentagon chief has extended the U.S. commitment to Kosovo to summer 2008. If NATO allies have not sent more troops, trainers and equipment to Afghanistan by then, Washington will...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 22, 2007

A Good Night For Republicans

Last night, the Republican candidates for President met in Florida and debated on Fox, and by all accounts, all of them acquitted themselves well. They focused on Hillary Clinton more than each other, except in the debates opening moments when the Fox News Channel questioners pushed them into some intramural criticisms. The one conclusion easily drawn from the transcript is that the second tier have begun to fade from moderator attention. The Washington Post leads with the criticisms, of course: The leading Republican presidential candidates staged their most contentious and personal debate of the long campaign season here Sunday night, clashing sharply over abortion, immigration, tort reform and their readiness to challenge Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in a general election. The debate's opening minutes included a series of personal exchanges that illustrated the growing stakes in the nominating battle and set the tone for the 90-minute encounter. Former New...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Dogma Dome

Michael Yon has grown frustrated with American and European coverage of the war in Iraq. He has experienced the vast gulf that has opened between the reality of his own observations throughout the Iraqi nation and the depictions of doom that the Western media create out of whole cloth -- and he has reached the boiling point in his latest dispatch. Yon writes of a "dogma dome" which insists that Basra has descended into chaos when it hasn't, and that Iraq has collapsed when it has actually started to coalesce into a real nation: I was at home in the United States just one day before the magnitude hit me like vertigo: America seems to be under a glass dome which allows few hard facts from the field to filter in unless they are attached to a string of false assumptions. Considering that my trip home coincided with General Petraeus’...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

What NASA Won't Tell You

NASA commissioned a study of aviation safety through thousands of interviews with the people with a bird's-eye view of the industry -- the pilots. After conducting telephone interviews with 24,000 commercial and general aviation pilots from 2001 to 2005, NASA had a good picture of the difficulties faced by the industry. Now they refuse to share that information, and have instructed their contractor to erase all the data: Anxious to avoid upsetting air travelers, NASA is withholding results from an unprecedented national survey of pilots that found safety problems like near collisions and runway interference occur far more frequently than the government previously recognized. NASA gathered the information under an $8.5 million safety project, through telephone interviews with roughly 24,000 commercial and general aviation pilots over nearly four years. Since ending the interviews at the beginning of 2005 and shutting down the project completely more than one year ago, the...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Shattered TNR

This weekend, we finally watched the movie Shattered Glass, the story of the fabulist Stephen Glass at The New Republic. The movie recounts the deception that Glass repeatedly perpetrated in placing himself as an eyewitness to events in order to write colorful and libelous articles, in one instance about young conservatives at the CPAC conference in the mid-90s. It's a good movie, although it tends to overlook the fact that a number of people publicly questioned Glass' veracity on his earlier stories before Forbes.com exploded Glass' article on a hacker convention that never took place, as Jonathan Last noted at the time. As we watched the movie, I couldn't help but be struck by the similarities and differences at The New Republic, then and now. In the Glass debacle, the staff allowed themselves to rely on Glass entirely for verification because of their personal connections to the writer. In the...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Has The Silence Begun To Crack?

Hillary Clinton's fundraising scandals have kept the blogosphere amused and certain pundits occupied, but the story has not moved much beyond the Los Angeles Times and the New York Post in the mainstream American media. However, the Washington Post editorial board has sent a small signal that her latest fundraising peccadilloes warrant more attention. At Heading Right, I note that the editorial amounts to weak tea as scoldings go. However, its appearance alone demonstrates that these scandals may have developed some legs. Democrats concerned about her already-established negatives may have to consider the effect of having Hillary as a banner-carrier in a year when they have to defend their Congress from the party base and convince independents to join their coalition....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Monks Died For ... Oil?

The Guardian reports on dropping oil production over the last two years and argues that the declines will accelerate from this point forward. That seems debatable, but the hysterical approach taken by the newspaper doesn't lend it a lot of credibility. As a consequence of production declines, the Guardian warns of terrible unrest, but uses a strange example: Global oil production is currently about 81m barrels a day - EWG expects that to fall to 39m by 2030. It also predicts significant falls in gas, coal and uranium production as those energy sources are used up. Britain's oil production peaked in 1999 and has already dropped by half to about 1.6 million barrels a day. The report presents a bleak view of the future unless a radically different approach is adopted. It quotes the British energy economist David Fleming as saying: "Anticipated supply shortages could lead easily to disturbing scenes...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Unions Got Their Money's Worth

The unions got their quid pro quo from Congressional Democrats in this session for the millions of dollars the unions spent on their election to power. The Democrats have cut back funding on a key oversight agency for unions, helping their partners to become more opaque in their political projects and to allow corruption to twist the collective bargaining for their members: Within the last several weeks, the AFL-CIO’s second-in-command sent letters to major accounting firms asking that independent auditors give a more thorough going-over of corporations’ financial disclosures and stock options grants. The unions are for disclosure, and they mean business (or would that be “anti-business”?). Yet at the same time, union-funded politicians in Congress are successfully pushing forward in their campaign to slash the budget for the Department of Labor agency responsible for overseeing how union leaders spend their members’ money. Think of this organization — the Office...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Debatefest, And More

It's going to be a busy day for me on BlogTalkRadio. First, I'll join Silvio Canto at noon CT to talk about the myth of the Latino voting bloc. Next, I talk with the boss, Alan Levy, at 1 pm CT about our efforts in building the political base at BTR. Afterwards on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), we will welcome Jim Geraghty of NRO's Campaign Spot to review yesterday's GOP debate. We will take calls from some of the campaigns during the hour, and Jim and I will have them give us their best argument for their candidate in last night's debate. Note: Dinesh D'Souza had to reschedule his appearance to tomorrow, as he is debating Christopher Hitchens tonight at King's College. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Holy Land Trial Debacle?

The trial of Muslim fundraisers accused of channeling monies to terrorists has ended in confusion and probable mistrial. Immediately after announcing an acquittal on most charges, three jurors repudiated the verdicts, creating havoc in the courtroom: Jurors found three former leaders of a group that was once the nation's largest Muslim charity not guilty of funneling illegal aid to terrorists, but the panel was sent back to deliberate on the other defendants after three jurors said the verdicts read in court were wrong. Because of the confusion, the judge has not officially accepted those verdicts, which aquitted chairman Mohammed El-Mezain on all counts and two other defendants on most: Mohammed El-Mezain, the group's New Jersey representative, and Abdulrahman Odeh; and fundraiser Mufid Abdulqader. ... When jurors came into the courtroom earlier Monday, the judge read the verdicts, but three jurors said those findings were not correct. U.S. District Judge A....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Imperialist Osama, Losing The War

According to ABC News, Osama has begun singing a different tune in his latest missive to the ummah. Bin Laden's video and audio messages usually contain plenty of triumphalism for Islamists, but in a new message to his fellow terrorists, he sounds a little more desperate about their prospects: Showing apparent signs of concern over events in Iraq, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden urged insurgents to "unite your lines into one" in an audiotape played on al Jazeera Monday. "Don't be arrogant," bin Laden warned. "Your enemies are trying to break up the jihadi groups. I urge you all to work in one united group." People familiar with bin Laden's voice say the tape appeared to be authentic, although there was no reference to any event that would indicate when it was recorded. Bin Laden's message comes at a time when U.S. strategy to split Iraqi insurgent groups from...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Did Fox Massage The Debate For The BoSox/Tribe Game?

Today on Heading Right Radio, Jim Geraghty and I spoke with a few of the campaigns in reviewing last night's Republican debate. Jon Henke joined us from the Thompson campaign and Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum spoke on behalf of Rudy Giuliani, and both covered the high points of their candidate very well. However, Mitt Romney advisor Ben Ginsberg made an observation that surprised me -- that Fox News Channel cooked the first part of the show to highlight the four frontrunners. According to Ginsberg, Fox -- which aired Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on its regular broadcast affiliates -- set up the questions to maximize the airtime of the top-tier candidates. Knowing that the first pitch would come roughly 20 minutes into the debate, Ginsberg alleged that the FNC panel focused on questions that would generate sniping between the candidates, and deliberately shut out the second-tier...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 23, 2007

The Nobel Glory Of Doris Lessing

The Nobel committee has certainly fallen on desperate times, and especially so this year. First they award a peace prize to Al Gore for his global-warming hysterics, apparently because the science committee understood the extent of his exaggerations in An Inconvenient Truth. They awarded the literature prize to British author Doris Lessing, who disqualified herself for the peace prize by claiming that Americans were just too sensitive about having 3,000 murdered by terrorists on 9/11 (via Memeorandum): Nobel laureate Doris Lessing said the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States were "not that terrible" when compared to attacks by the IRA in Britain. "September 11 was terrible, but if one goes back over the history of the IRA, what happened to the Americans wasn't that terrible," the Nobel Literature Prize winner told the leading Spanish daily El Pais. "Some Americans will think I'm crazy. Many people died, two prominent buildings...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

DR Congo About To Erupt

Human Rights Watch warns that a three-way war between Hutus, Tutsis, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo forces will erupt soon, unless the UN intervenes to avoid the catastrophe. Unfortunately for the people of the DRC, the UN has already intervened: All sides in the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo are guilty of murder, rape and forcing children to fight, Human Rights Watch says. The New York-based human rights group says the UN has been slow to react to the worsening crisis in the east which is developing into a Hutu-Tutsi war. The Congolese army has threatened an all-out offensive against both Tutsi and Hutu militias in the region. This conflict follows directly from the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The Hutus fled into the DRC after the massacres, and have tried to establish ties with the government for their own protection. The Hutus, authors of the Rwandan...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Will The US Attack The PKK?

The US has successfully held off Turkey from invading northern Iraq to pursue the PKK terrorists who have launched cross-border attacks. Despite an overwhelming vote for military action by the Turkish parliament, the Turks have begun talks with Baghdad to coordinate political and economic pressure to bring an end to the terrorist actions in southern Turkey. However, the Turks also believe that the US is about to bring its own military action against the Iraqi Kurds, in coordination with the Turks: Turkey reassured Iraq on Tuesday that it wants a diplomatic solution to the problem of Kurdish rebel rear-bases but rejected a conditional ceasefire offer made by the guerrillas. "Politics, dialogue, diplomacy, culture and economy are the measures to deal with this crisis," Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan told a joint news conference in Baghdad with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari. Obviously, the continuing diplomatic efforts between Ankara and Baghdad...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

What If Violence Fell And No One Reported It?

Yesterday, the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported on a dramatic decline in violence throughout the nation since the full complement of surge troops reached Iraq. Even in Baghdad, where the conflict has raged even with a heavier US presence, bombings have dropped by half and murders by 28%. In Anbar, violence fell by 82% since the end of June. Reuters reported this yesterday afternoon: Violence in Iraq has dropped by 70 percent since the end of June, when U.S. forces completed their build-up of 30,000 extra troops to stabilize the war-torn country, the Interior Ministry said on Monday. ... In Baghdad, considered the epicenter of the violence because of its mix of Shi'ites and Sunni Arabs, car bombs had decreased by 67 percent and roadside bombs by 40 percent, he said. There had also been a 28 percent decline in the number of bodies found dumped in the capital's streets. In...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Dems Get SCHIPpy About War Funding

The Democrats have refused to consider another supplemental funding bill for the Iraq war effort until after the first of the year. They want the extra time in order to figure out how best to force the administration into a withdrawal the Democrats don’t have the courage to initiate themselves through complete defunding. The argument even started with a non-sequitur on S-CHIP: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) derided the war funding bill as an example of "misplaced priorities," pointing to Bush's veto of a five-year, $35 billion expansion of a children's health program. "For the cost of less than 40 days in Iraq, we could provide health-care coverage to 10 million children for an entire year," she said. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) echoed that line of attack on Bush. "He repeatedly says no to health care, no to law enforcement, no to homeland security, no to stronger...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Stark Backs Down, Apologizes, Avoids Censure

Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) retreated from his stated position last week that President Bush sent American soldiers to Iraq "to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement." Reversing his position that he would not apologize, Stark offered an apology to the President, his family, and the American troops that took offense to his remarks -- and narrowly avoided a censure from his colleagues: Republicans failed in an effort Tuesday to have the House censure Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., who said in a congressional speech last week that U.S. troops are being sent to Iraq "to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement." Without debate, the House voted 196-173 to kill the proposal to censure Stark for "his despicable conduct." The vote was mostly along party lines, with all 168 Republicans on hand supporting the measure offered by Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio. Five Democrats joined them....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Book Review: What's So Great About Christianity?

BUMP: I'm bumping this to the top for today's interview with Dinesh D'Souza on Heading Right Radio. It has a great comment thread, and I hope our participants listen to the show live today at 2 pm CT! Last week, I received Dinesh D'Souza's newest book, What's So Great About Christianity?, and found it immediately intriguing. The atheist movement has gained tremendous strength and intellectual vitality in the past few decades, and now features such luminaries as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins among its rhetorical front line apologists. The apologetics of Christianity have had fewer bright lights, and certainly none as intellectually prepared as D'Souza in this comprehensive refutation of the atheist argument. It would be impossible to offer a comprehensive recapitulation of the entirety of D'Souza's argument in this space. In fact, that's what has kept me from reviewing this book until now; the sheer breadth of D'Souza's argument...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Senate Picks Pork Over Kids

The Senate just voted 68-26 to kill the amendment offered by Senator Tom Coburn that would have redirected earmarks in the Labor/HHS/Education appropriation to funding health care for children instead. The failure of the Senate to pass Amendment 3358 today shows a large disconnect between the rhetoric of the majority in Congress and their actual priorities. After castigating the Bush administration for vetoing a massive expansion of the S-CHIP program to middle-class families who largely don't need it, two-thirds of the Senate seems more interested in their own pork than in America's children. Don't expect this to get much attention from the American media. However, they will continue to report on efforts by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to contrast the S-CHIP expansion veto to war funding, as the Post reported today in its article on Bush's new supplemental funding request for the war. Democrats accuse the President of...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Redstate Bans Ron Paul Supporters

Redstate has made a mistake in dealing with the Ron Paul Internet phenomenon. Instead of dealing quietly with trolls, the excellent conservative blog has announced a blanket policy banning supporting diaries and comments for Ron Paul from the site. Leon Wolf, who had worked for Sam Brownback for a while, announced it on the site today: Effective immediately, new users may *not* shill for Ron Paul in any way shape, form or fashion. Not in comments, not in diaries, nada. If your account is less than 6 months old, you can talk about something else, you can participate in the other threads and be your zany libertarian self all you want, but you cannot pimp Ron Paul. Those with accounts more than six months old may proceed as normal. Now, I could offer a long-winded explanation for *why* this new policy is being instituted, but I'm guessing that most of...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Dinesh D'Souza, What's So Great About Christianity?

Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), we will hear from Dinesh D'Souza, author of What's So Great About Christianity. Dinesh debated Christopher Hitchens last night in an event sponsored by King's College, and he'll tell us about the debate and explain the thrust of his new apologia for theism and Christianity. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! NOTE: Newer posts may appear below this, which will stay on top until the show begins at 2 pm CT. Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Thompson Goes Wonk On Immigration

Fred Thompson has made his first foray into serious policy debate with an outline of his immigration plan. More a list of parameters than a plan, Thompson stakes out some hard-line turf in the Republican primaries, with plans for attriting out illegals through tough enforcement. He also wants to broaden legal immigration and put a rational system of management in place of the failing bureaucracy we have now: 1. No Amnesty. Do not provide legal status to illegal aliens. Amnesty undermines U.S. law and policy, rewards bad behavior, and is unfair to the millions of immigrants who follow the law and are awaiting legal entry into the United States. In some cases, those law-abiding and aspiring immigrants have been waiting for several years. 2. Attrition through Enforcement. Reduce the number of illegal aliens through increased enforcement against unauthorized alien workers and their employers. Without illegal employment opportunities available, fewer illegal...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Two Anniversaries To Forget

Today marks two significant anniversaries in American politics. Rick Moran notes that a Mercedes truck drove in front of the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut twenty-four years ago today and gave the Islamists an eventual victory in our retreat from the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon: When the bomb detonated, it may have been the largest non-nuclear explosion in history up to that time (we used the “Daisy Cutter” in Afghanistan which weighs 15,000 lbs). The entire barracks building was lifted off its foundation and when it came down, it collapsed in a heap of cinder blocks, plaster, and dust. A few seconds after the blast, another suicide truck bomber crashed into the French military headquarters detonating a similar device. All told, 241 Americans lost their lives in the blast. Another 58 French paratroopers died in the other attack that day. It was the worst day for the Marines since the...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 24, 2007

Pakistan Poised To Swat Taliban

The Pakistani Army has deployed 2500 troops to the Swat region specificially to engage a Taliban leader and his followers. Maulana Fazlullah conducts radio broadcasts from the Swat valley to organize resistance to the Pakistani government on behalf of the Taliban in an area that had been a popular tourist region until the rise of "militancy": "The deployment may cause inconvenience to local population, but it is necessary to restore law and order in Swat," the caretaker Chief Minister of North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Shamsul Mulk, told the BBC. The army says that the soldiers deployed on Tuesday were setting up checkpoints across Swat, a valley popular with tourists until an upsurge of violence earlier this year. It says that it wants to curb the activities of militant leader Maulana Fazlullah, who reportedly has used radio broadcasts to call for jihad, or holy war, against the Pakistani authorities. Maj...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Kurd President To PKK: Your Time Is Over

The president of the Kurdish region in Iraq reversed himself today and abandoned the PKK. In a statement issued by his office, Massoud Barzani demanded an end to violence by the PKK and the cessation of the use of Iraqi territory as a base for operations against "neighboring countries": The president of Iraq's northern Kurdish region on Wednesday urged the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to end its more than two-decade armed struggle against Turkey. "We call upon the PKK to eliminate violence and armed struggle as a mode of operation," said a sternly worded four-point statement issued by the office of Massud Barzani, president of the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq. "We do not accept in any way, based on our commitment to the Iraqi constitution, the use of Iraqi territories, including the territories of the Kurdistan region, as a base to threaten the security of neighbouring countries." The...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Earmarks Or Ear Infections?

Yesterday's vote to kill Senator Tom Coburn's amendment caught the notice of Dana Milbank. He details the efforts of Coburn's colleagues to drown out his speech yesterday in a torrent of babble -- the same kind of babble we hear when they promise to end pork-barrel spending and clean up government. The amendment, which would have used all of the earmark spending in the Labor/HHS/Education appopriation for children's health insurance, forced a difficult choice on the Senate, as Coburn remarked: "It seems to me the American public might want to ask why are you earmarking special money for special projects when you have a chance to make sure it will go towards children and really solving the problem?" Coburn taunted. "So this is going to be a tough vote. Kids versus my political career. Kids versus my political power. Kids versus my political earmarks. We're going to see. We're going...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The 2008 Subway Series?

The Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll released today shows the frontrunners of both parties solidifying their leads, although the Republican primary still looks wide open to Rasmussen. Both frontrunners have at least doubled up the number of their closest rival, and in Hillary Clinton's case, none of her competitors show any sign of reversing the trend She also has head-to-head leads on all of the Republicans, with Giuliani coming the closest to matching her in a general election. The news is not all good for either, however: Clinton is favored for her party's presidential nomination by almost half -- 48% -- of Democratic-leaning voters nationwide; as The Times' Peter Wallsten writes, that gives her a formidable lead in the contest. Her number is right on track with the average of her support -- 48.5% -- in several other recent national surveys, as aggregated on the RealClearPolitics Website. And trend lines could...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Myths Of Jena

Over the past month, the press and a good deal of the blogosphere has thundered over the racial motivations of the town of Jena, Louisiana, after a series of incidents supposedly showed the bigotry of its people and its government. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton called Jena the new Selma of the civil-rights movement. Activists pressured presidential candidates into making appearances in Jena and statements regarding the allegedly harsher punishments given to black students for assault and battery. The nation assumed that the South still couldn't give justice equally regardless of race. Craig Franklin of the Christian Science Monitor says that assumption comes from a national media too lazy to do any reporting on its own. He should know; he lives in Jena and his wife teaches at the high school at the center of the controversy. The media failed to learn anything from the Duke non-rape case and swallowed...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Diaper Donors

The rich may start having more children if they can use them to launder political donations. The latest demographic of political activism comes not from people who act like two-year-old but actual toddlers, as their parents look for ways in which to channel contributions: Elrick Williams's toddler niece Carlyn may be one of the youngest contributors to this year's presidential campaign. The 2-year-old gave $2,300 to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). So did her sister and brother, Imara, 13, and Ishmael, 9, and her cousins Chan and Alexis, both 13. Altogether, according to newly released campaign finance reports, the extended family of Williams, a wealthy Chicago financier, handed over nearly a dozen checks in March for the maximum allowed under federal law to Obama. Such campaign donations from young children would almost certainly run afoul of campaign finance regulations, several campaign lawyers said. But as bundlers seek to raise higher and...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Big Spender From Out West

It takes a Texan to spend big in the White House, it appears. According to McClatchy -- and to no one's surprise -- George Bush has presided over the largest expansion of federal spending since Lyndon Johnson, another Texan with a predilection for expansive spending. The rate of increase for discretionary spending in the Bush administration has outstripped that of LBJ, 5.3% to 4.6% (via Memeorandum): George W. Bush, despite all his recent bravado about being an apostle of small government and budget-slashing, is the biggest spending president since Lyndon B. Johnson. In fact, he's arguably an even bigger spender than LBJ. ... When adjusted for inflation, discretionary spending — or budget items that Congress and the president can control, including defense and domestic programs, but not entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare — shot up at an average annual rate of 5.3 percent during Bush’s first six years,...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

DREAM Act: 'Nightmare' UPDATE: DREAM Is Dead ... Again

Fred Thompson has jumped into the DREAM Act debate occuring as I write in the US Senate. Thompson, who just published his plan for immigration reform this week, calls the Dick Durbin-sponsored act a "nightmare" that will constitute a back-door amnesty. He urges its defeat: After several false starts Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) continues to push the DREAM Act. What is the DREAM Act? A nightmare. The act would allow any illegal immigrant who entered the country before the age of 16 to receive conditional residency, which could then be converted to a non-conditional residency. These illegal immigrants can apply for this form of amnesty so long as they are under 30 and they weren’t older than 16 when they came to the country. And, of course, there is no way of proving when they illegally entered our country. After all, they are undocumented. Aliens would qualify even if they...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Flying Junkets Through The Swamp

The new Democratic leadership in Congress promised to drain the swamp once they took control after the 2006 elections. They campaigned on the Jack Abramoff scandal and promised to reform government to keep lobbyists from cozying up to legislators. However, USA Today has discovered that the relationship has just grown cozier since January: Despite new House travel restrictions, lawmakers accepted free trips worth nearly $1.9 million during the first eight months of this year — more than in all of 2006, records show. ... Stung by scandals and worried about re-election, lawmakers last year drastically cut the amount of privately funded travel they took to $1.7 million, according to CQ MoneyLine, a non-partisan group. Congress also took steps to eliminate luxury trips with lobbyists, restricting — not banning — travel paid by outside groups. The House enacted travel rules in March; similar restrictions are scheduled to take effect in the...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Deception; DREAM Act

Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), we will hear from the authors of Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons. Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark of the Guardian lay out the case that the US and its allies enabled the Pakistani nuclear program through every administration since Jimmy Carter, and have a large responsibility for the proliferation that resulted. They argue that the US has ignored and altered intelligence that warned of these consequences for thirty years and has tied itself to a nation that hardly qualifies as an ally to the West. We're also going to talk with Heritage Foundation scholar Brian Darling about the DREAM Act, which is being argued today in the US Senate. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! NOTE: Newer posts may appear below this, which will stay on...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Osama's New Jihad

Osama bin Laden has decided to expand his jihad to his old hangout of Sudan, according to the latest tape from the al-Qaeda leader. He has called for a holy war against the "occupation" of Darfur by the UN, demanding that Muslims in the country attack the peacekeepers once they arrive: Osama bin Laden has issued a fresh call for a "holy war" against a new 26,000-strong peacekeeping force for Darfur, which will include British support staff. In a new audiotape, the al-Qa'eda leader also said Muslims in Sudan and its neighbours must target the Khartoum government for agreeing to the deployment. "This is a brazen occupation, and only an infidel apostate seeks it or agrees to it," bin Laden said, according to a new translation of comments made on Monday. "It is the duty of the people of Islam in the Sudan and its environs, especially the Arabian Peninsula,...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Hemingway, Under Glass (UPDATE: TNR Shut Down Beauchamp)

Matt Drudge has announced his acquisition of documents from the Army investigation into allegations of misconduct made by Private Scott Beauchamp, and they make The New Republic look like the Nixon administration for stonewalling. He provides PDFs of the documents as support as well. Beauchamp admitted to investigators that he made up most of the stories, including the most disturbing tale of troops harassing a disfigured woman, as well as running over dogs in armored personnel carriers. Why did Beauchamp tell these lies? He had literary aspirations and didn't mind libeling his comrades to achieve them: Army Investigation: Tales "Completely Fabricated," Beauchamp Wanted to be Hemingway The third document obtained by the DRUDGE REPORT is the Army's official report on the investigation into the allegations made by Private Beauchamp. The Army concluded that Beauchamp had "completely fabricated" the story of mocking a disfigured woman, that his description of a "Saddam-era...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Why Not Go With Experience?

Those darn Puritans in New York just can't let anyone have fun, even middle-school students. Can you imagine that people might have considered having strippers as volunteers at a Halloween celebration for Middle School 51 inappropriate? Why, they even volunteered for a task for which they have extensive experience: The head of New York's Puppetry Art Theatre uninvited a group of strippers from an upcoming school event in order to avoid any undue controversy. Timothy Young said that he decided to retract the erotic dancers' invitations to the Haunted Halloween Carnival Benefit due to worries that New York's Middle School 51 would cancel the annual event, the New York Daily News reported Wednesday. ... The strippers had volunteered to participate in the special holiday event, that includes a costume giveaway and a pizza party. Costume giveaways? Heck, that's their specialty! (via Power Line)...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 25, 2007

Getting It Backwards On Education

Our son and daughter-in-law both attend universities in the area, and they have worked hard for their academic success. Needless to say, both sets of parents think they're the smartest and most hard-working pair in the state, and of course we're correct. One of the joys of having them in college is the conversations we have regarding the various aspects of their experiences on campus -- including the politics of instruction. This morning, I got an e-mail from my daughter-in-law, who wanted to challenge something she heard in her education class this week: I am reading a book by Alfie Kohn [The Schools Our Children Deserve] and ran across some enlightening things I thought I should share with you. He begins to talk about how right wingers oppose standardized tests because they are federal and national and we would prefer them to be locally run. Then, a note, it goes...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Questionable Assumptions From A Questionable Poll

The Los Angeles Times reports today that their polling demonstrates that more Americans agree with the Democrats than the Republicans on how to reform health care. A slender majority want government mandates for people to carry health insurance, and a larger majority supported a mandate for employers to offer it. However, the polling sample has much more to do with the results than the Times acknowledges: Two of the main proposals advanced by Democrats received majority support in the poll. Sixty-two percent said they supported requiring large employers to help pay for coverage whereas 31% opposed it. And 51% said they favored a mandate that individuals purchase health insurance, much as drivers are required to carry auto coverage; 39% disagreed. Tax breaks to make insurance more affordable -- a leading Republican idea -- more closely divided the public, with 44% backing that approach and 45% opposing it. In one of...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Foer Still Spinning

Franklin Foer has perfected his impersonation of a gyroscope in a vacuum -- he can't stop spinning. The editor of The New Republic spoke with Howard Kurtz yesterday about the release of the transcript of his conversation with Scott Beauchamp and the Army conclusions that Beauchamp had fabricated the stories he wrote for TNR. Instead of acknowledging what everyone else knows now about Beauchamp's fabulism, Foer insists that the improbable stories his erstwhile Hemingway spun have been verified: Despite the contentious conversation, Foer continued to defend the article days later. He did so again yesterday, reiterating that other soldiers whom the magazine would not identify had confirmed the allegations. While Beauchamp "didn't stand by his stories in that conversation, he didn't recant his stories," Foer said in an interview. "He obviously was under considerable duress during that conversation, with his commanding officer in the room with him." While the discussion...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Indian Casinos A Bigger Gamble Than You Think

Gary Hoffman was a millionaire, and then he wasn't. Hoffman hit a jackpot worth over $1.5 million in a New Mexico casino on an Indian reservation, and received all sorts of congratulatory salutations on the casino floor. Once he made it to the executive conference room of the Sandia Casino, however, the tone changed from celebration to intimidation: Hoffman, a retired Albuquerque city employee, was playing a "Mystical Mermaid" slot machine on the morning of Aug. 16, 2006, when he thought he hit it big. The nickel slot said he'd won $1,597,244.10. Patrons and casino employees came to congratulate him. He even got a marriage proposal, Hoffman said. But, soon he was asked to come to an executive conference room, where he says he was told the casino refused to pay. A casino employee "became quite intimidating with me, pointed his finger in my face and said, 'You didn't win....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Curious Case Of Paul Jacob

I met Paul Jacob briefly at the Conservative Leadership Conference earlier this month, after a speech he gave regarding libertarianism, as I recall. I had heard a little about Jacob and his battle with the Oklahoma Attorney General over an issue of petition-gathering for a tax initiative that had turned ugly. Although Jacob didn't discuss the case at length with me, I asked him to send me some information so I could look at it more closely. The case looks more and more strange the deeper one looks, I discovered. Jacob had worked in Oklahoma to gather signatures for a taxpayer bill of rights that would have capped state government spending, along with other national organizations such as National Voter Outreach. Oklahoma has a state law that requires that the gatherers of such signatures be Oklahoma residents, an odd requirement that seems very insular. Most states only require that the...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Rudy Targeted By The Mob

Rudy Giuliani wins admiration from people because of his leadership in the 9/11 attacks, but that pales in comparison to his showdown with the Mafia. As a US Attorney, Giuliani led the federal effort that broke the back of the Mob in New York City, a dangerous undertaking at the time. Newsday reports just how dangerous it got: The bosses of New York's five Cosa Nostra families discussed killing then-federal prosecutor Rudy Giuliani in 1986, an informant told the FBI, according to testimony Wednesday in Brooklyn state court. But while the late Gambino crime boss John Gotti pushed the idea, he only had the support of Carmine Persico, the leader of the Colombo crime family, according to the testimony. "The Bosses of the Luchese, Bonanno and Genovese families rejected the idea, despite strong efforts to convince them otherwise by Gotti and Persico," said an FBI report of the information given...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

McCain Blogger Conference Call: 'Make 'Em Famous'

John McCain conducted another of his blogger outreach conference calls this morning, and the main topics were the DREAM Act and sanctions on Iranian Quds force. McCain had returned to the Senate to help confirm Judge Leslie Southwick to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. He derided the opposition's position that Southwick "had the appearance of intolerance." McCain said he would have opposed the DREAM Act, and that he got the message on the last round of immigration reform. He will not proceed with any other reforms until the borders are secured. On Iran, McCain says that we need other nations engaged. He saluted the French for their action in pressuring Iran, but we need a "league of democracies" to get around the Russians and the Chinese. We need Western Europe on board. He's calling from Iowa, where McCain and Mike Huckabee will engage in an AARP debate on health...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Yon: Beauchamp's Honor

Michael Yon dives into the Scott Beauchamp/New Republic fracas with a surprising and intriguing twist. Yon actually has come into contact with Beauchamp's unit, and finds the CO protective of the erstwhile Hemingway, and for good reason. As Yon explains, Beauchamp could have come home after insulting and humiliating his comrades with false stories of atrocities and bad behavior. Instead, Beauchamp decided to stay in Iraq to make amends: I was at a reconciliation meeting between Sunni and Shia in the West Rashid district of Baghdad on 24 October, and it happened by complete coincidence that I was with Beauchamp’s battalion. In fact, I was with his old company commander for much of the day, although I had no idea for most of it that I was with Beauchamp’s old company commander. At the reconciliation meeting, Beauchamp’s battalion commander, LTC George Glaze, politely introduced himself and asked who I wrote...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The New S-CHIP, The Same Ram Job

The Democrats have introduced a new version of S-CHIP that they hope can garner enough Republican support to override a presidential veto. The changes in the details limits childless adults from accessing S-CHIP and it sets a lower ceiling of 300% of the poverty line for eligibility. However, it still contains the regressive smoking tax and still does not account for full funding of the program: Just one week after failing to override President Bush's veto, House Democrats will put a new version of their $35 billion expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program to a vote today, hoping that minor changes will win enough Republicans to beat Bush this round. The new version will underscore that illegal immigrants will not have access to the expanded program. It will ease adults off the program in one year, rather than the two in the vetoed version. And it establishes a...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Paul Jacob, Michael Goldfarb, Rick Moran

NOTE: Newer posts may appear below this, which will stay on top until the show begins at 2 pm CT. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Paul Jacob joins us to talk about his felony prosecution in Oklahoma for the crime of circulating a petition to get an initiative on the ballot. Paul faces years in prison for attempting to limit the size of Oklahoma's state budget. Don't miss this curious tale to see why Jacob represents such a threat to the peace of Oklahoma -- at least according to the state AG. In the second half of the show, Michael Goldfarb of the Weekly Standard will talk about the Scott Beauchamp/TNR debacle -- how it started, how Michael and Bob Owens pressed for answers, and how TNR still refuses to stop stonewalling. BTR host Rick Moran will be my co-host today! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation!...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Update On Paul Jacob, TNR Stories

What you may have missed in the Heading Right Radio show today ... Earlier today, I wrote about the prosecution of Paul Jacob by Oklahoma for his involvement in circulating petitions for a ballot initiative. The law in question forbids anyone except Oklahoma residents from seeking signatures on political petitions. Because Jacob, as a backer of tax reform, helped organize the Taxpayer Bill of Rights initiative in Oklahoma and the petition circulators didn't meet the residency requirements (more on that in a moment), the Oklahoma AG charged Jacob and two others with a single count of conspiracy to break that law -- which carries a potential 10-year sentence. We knew that from this morning. What we didn't know, and what we found out during our interview with Jacob, is that none of the circulators have been charged with a crime. Why? It seems that residency requirements are so nebulous as...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Charlie And The Goose Egg Factory

I don't often agree with Jonathan Chait on politics, but his take on Charlie Weis and the historically bad Notre Dame Fighting Irish hits the nail on the head. The celebration of Weis as a football genius has ended in an ignominious season in which the Irish may only win the game in which they faced a walk-on quarterback. The lone highlight against UCLA came courtesy of seven turnovers in a game where the Bruins otherwise dominated, and Weis' squad has yet to show any signs of life: Weis' Fighting Irish now stand at 1-7. This record is only the faintest indicator of just how awful Notre Dame is. They have lost nine of their last 10 games, by an average of 24 points. None has been close. While Notre Dame has suffered very few injuries, three of its opponents have had to play the Irish without their starting quarterbacks....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Al-Jazeera, Tool Of The Infidel

How desperate have the Islamist terrorist nutcases become? They have flooded al-Jazeera with threats and obloquy after hearing AJ broadcast the latest tape from Osama bin Laden. They refuse to acknowledge the pleading from their leader that signals his dejection, claiming that the Arabic news agency misrepresented the message: Al-Qaida sympathizers have unleashed a torrent of anger against Al-Jazeera television, accusing it of misrepresenting Osama bin Laden's latest audiotape by airing excerpts in which he criticizes mistakes by insurgents in Iraq. Users of a leading Islamic militant Web forum posted thousands of insults against the pan-Arab station for focusing on excerpts in which bin Laden criticizes insurgents, including his followers. Analysts said the reaction highlighted militants' surprise at bin Laden's words, and their dismay at the deep divisions among al-Qaida and other Iraqi militants that he appeared to be trying to heal. "It's not about Al-Jazeera, it's about their shock...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

What's Up At TNR? Passport Design Criticism

I thought I'd take a quick look at The New Republic before dinner, just to catch up on their latest effort to respond to the Scott Beauchamp developments this week. Once again, TNR has managed to get through another day of stonewalling, obviously addressing more serious issues than its own credibility. One item at the top of today's priority list -- passport graphics: The federal government's recent efforts in the field of passport regulations have been somewhat less than wildly popular. First, new travel rules for travelers flying to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean prompted a run on the passport office: With the bureaucracy overwhelmed, furious would-be travelers saw their vacation dates come and go with no document in sight. Then, no sooner had the feds made a dent in the backlog than the next passport-change appeared on the horizon: As of January, Americans will have to show their passports...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 26, 2007

Surrender Democrats Can't Even Abide Sanctions

Iran has spent years hiding their development of nuclear weapons, followed by years of refusing to negotiate on ending their program. The EU attempted a two-year conversation with Teheran to shut down their efforts; the Russians offered to build and run nuclear power plants for Iran while controlling the fuel. All of these efforst came to nothing. Faced with an intransigent theocracy determined to build nuclear weapons while spouting genocidal rhetoric, the Bush administration has pushed for an escalating series of sanctions intended to force Iran into serious negotiations. Does he get support from the Democrats, who have complained loudly about the "rush to war" with Iraq? Not exactly: In approving far-reaching, new unilateral sanctions against Iran, President Bush signaled yesterday that he intends to pursue a strategy of gradually escalating financial, diplomatic and political pressure on Tehran, aimed not at starting a new war in the Middle East, his...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Was Johnson Really The Most Frugal President In Memory?

Investors Business Daily takes exception with the McClatchy analysis of President Bush as the biggest spender since Lyndon Johnson. McClatchy looked at the rate of increase for discretionary spending in each presidency to determine the spendthrift nature of the administrations, while IBD looks at a different measure. Oddly, IBD seems to think that LBJ ran the tightest ship: Bush is "arguably an even bigger spender than LBJ," says a story from McClatchy Newspapers on the president's fiscal record. Pretty tough words, given that LBJ conducted both a war in Vietnam and a War on Poverty simultaneously, racking up huge gains in spending over his term and a half in office. The McClatchy piece says discretionary spending under Bush has risen an inflation-adjusted 5.3% in his first six years, outstripping the 4.6% under Johnson — and way above President Reagan's meager 1.9%. By "almost any yardstick," the article continues, Bush "generally...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

It's All In The Amygdalae

Have you wondered why the Democrats seem incapable of stopping the George Bush agenda, even after taking control of both chambers of Congress? Could it be the fact that they won their majority by electing more conservative Democrats to replace some center-right Republicans? Perhaps because their agenda doesn't have the allure that Democrats thought? Or perhaps their leadership has just proven itself incompetent? According to one staffer on the Hill, none of those present the biggest problem for Democrats. They just don't tickle the amygdalae: Democrats are losing the battle for voters’ hearts because the party’s message lacks emotional appeal, according to a widely circulated critique of House Democratic communications strategy. “Our message sounds like an audit report on defense logistics,” wrote Dave Helfert, a former Appropriations spokesman who now works for Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii). “Why are we defending [the State Children’s Health Insurance Program] instead of advocating a...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

In The Valley Of Ennui

Hollywood came under criticism since 9/11 for ignoring the war on terror, going out of its way to avoid making films that tell stories of American fortitude. With a few exceptions like United 93 and World Trade Center, the cinema remained devoid of any meaningful representation of the war. That changed this year, but not for the better, as Hollywood instead began churning out politically-motivated anti-war films. Given the supposed anti-war mood of the nation, it sounded like a sure bet for financial success and a critical slap at the military and Bush administration. Fortunately, Hollywood appears to have lost its bet (via Instapundit): It doesn't matter how many Oscar winners are in front of or behind the camera — audiences are proving to be conscientious objectors when it comes to this fall's surge of antiwar and anti-Bush films. Both "In the Valley of Elah" and, more recently, "Rendition" drew...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Senate Goes 7 On Internet Tax Ban

Democratic leadership in the Senate, just as with the House, could not abide a permanent moratorium on local and state taxes on Internet access. This morning, they settled for a seven-year extension to the current ban, set to expire at the end of the month. That sets up a small showdown with the House in conference next week: The U.S. Senate has approved legislation extending a moratorium on state Internet access taxes for seven years. With only days left before the Internet tax ban was set to expire, the Senate reached a compromise between lawmakers who proposed a shorter extension and those who insisted it should be made permanent. ... The vote came about two weeks after the House of Representatives approved a four-year extension of the Internet tax ban. The two chambers will now have to work out differences between the bills. The struggle for a permanent solution to...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Pakistan Swats Fazlullah, Who Skedaddles

Two days ago, Pakistan positioned its army around the Swat stronghold of Taliban activist Maulana Fazlullah. Fazlullah gained the attention of Pervez Musharraf by calling for a jihad against the Pakistani government, and apparently gave Fazlullah the opportunity to fight one. Fazlullah has apparently declined, and instead ran away from Swat: Troops have surrounded and attacked a stronghold of a leading militant in the district of Swat in northern Pakistan, local police say. The pro-Taleban militant, Maulana Fazlullah, said earlier this week that he was leaving the area. ... He said on Wednesday that he was moving to another district, Kohistan. "The security forces attacked a building where Maulana Fazlullah had been appearing in recent days to urge his followers to target the Pakistan army, police and other security forces," a police official in the main town of Swat, Mingora, said, the Associated Press news agency reports. Profiles in Courage,...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Ron Paul's Donor Problem

The Lone Star Times has found an embarrassing donation in the Ron Paul records. The new husband of David Duke’s ex-wife Chloe and a supremacist in his own right gave $500 to Paul’s campaign, which reignited a past controversy of an earlier Paul campaign. It also calls into question just how much responsibility a candidate has for its donors. At Heading Right, I urge a little caution before leaping to a conclusion about the Paul campaign on this score. In the first place, no one has any indication that the Paul campaign even knew who David Black is when the donation came into the campaign. There is a vast difference between solicited and unsolicited donations, and until someone shows that Paul solicited the donation, holding him responsible for its appearance is a dangerous precedent -- as I explain at HR. Paul's campaign should do the right thing quickly and jettison...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Nation Takes E-Mail Way Too Seriously

The Nation's Christopher Hayes has a breaking scoop: e-mail glurge stinks and is almost entirely inaccurate. The liberal magazine somehow missed this breaking news ten or more years ago when it first became obvious, but Hayes sees a vast right-wing conspiracy behind the barrage of idiotic dreck that winds up in inboxes around the Internet. He points to several silly messages that only could appeal to the completely unintiated: On February 27, 2001, two members of the American Gold Star Mothers, an organization of women who've lost sons or daughters in combat, dropped by the temporary basement offices of the new junior senator from New York, Hillary Clinton. They didn't have an appointment, and the office, which had been up and running for barely a month, was a bit discombobulated. The two women wanted to talk to the senator about a bill pending in the Senate that would provide annuities...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

TNR Speaks

Franklin Foer has come out from underneath the Cone of Silence at The New Republic long enough to tell everyone that he still has nothing much to say about TNR's collapsing credibility regarding their Baghdad Diarist, Scott Beauchamp. Claiming that the Army has impeded their investigation and leaked information to make them look bad, Foer still can't explain why his magazine published the allegations without doing this kind of investigation first: Since our last statement on “Shock Troops,” a Diarist by Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp that we published in our July 23 issue, we have continued our investigation into the article’s veracity. On Wednesday, for a brief period, The Drudge Report posted several documents from the Army’s own investigation into Beauchamp’s claims. Among those documents was a transcript of a phone conversation that TNR Editor Franklin Foer and TNR Executive Editor J. Peter Scoblic had with Beauchamp on September 6—the...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: 90 Minutes Of Fun With The Generalissimo!

NOTE: This post will ride on top until the start of the show. Newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson of the Hugh Hewitt Show joins us to review the week's top stories. We go 90 minutes for the first time, and we have a lot to cover. Is Ron Paul attracting neo-Nazis? Will TNR ever acknowledge its fabulism and cover-up? What will Turkey do in Iraq? Will S-CHIP survive this round? All of that and much, much more, including the sneak peak at tonight's Hugh Hewitt show! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

'How Dare You!'

You won't see me say this often, but I want to thank Bill Clinton for his speech Wednesday in Minnesota. I don't agree with his policies and I certainly don't want his wife to win the White House, but Bill Clinton said something that needed to be said -- to 9/11 Truthers. A small group of them disrupted his campaign stop, and the former President got a little angry. Our local affiliate has the footage: Here's the rest of the quote: One heckler shouted that 9/11 was a fraud, and Clinton bristled. "No, it wasn't a fraud. I'll be glad to talk about it if you'll shut up and let me talk." The heckling continued, and he told another heckler "these people did not come here to hear you speak. If you don't have any self-control, we can deal with that." When a third called 9/11 an "inside job," Clinton...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

What Do Iranian Democrats Want?

We have argued in the US for outreach to Iranian activists for democracy as a means of ending the mullahcracy and stabilizing the Middle East. Many of us feel that the US has not done nearly enough to bolster the disaffected Iranian people who have more affinity to the West than most of the rest of the peoples in the region. The Bush administration has proposed sending money to those who work to end the oppression of the mullahs and their front men in the government. Not so fast, says one of the men on the front lines of the struggle. Akbar Ganji, an Iranian journalist and dissident, writes that American cash will discredit the dissidents. What they need is American moral and media support to get the truth to the Iranian people: Of course, Iran's democratic movement and civil institutions need funding. But this must come from independent Iranian...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

On The Bookshelf: A Shattered Peace

This week on Heading Right Radio, we had the pleasure of interviewing two excellent authors, and this week, I received the book by the author I interviewed three weeks ago. A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today by David Andelman promises a much closer look at the Treaty of Versailles and its responsibility for the conflicts we face in the world today. My interview with Andelman can be found at BlogTalkRadio, and it was fascinating. This week, we also spoke with Dinesh D'Souza, author of the excellent What's So Great About Christianity, and the one-hour interview is here -- one of the more intriguing interviews I've had on Heading Right Radio. Wednesday I spoke with Adrian Levy, author of Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons. That's definitely worth a listen, even with all of the New York City street noise...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 27, 2007

FEMA's Death Wish

After Katrina, FEMA has suffered under tremendous scrutiny, with some wondering whether it should get entirely disbanded and another agency formed to replace it. Its next disaster response would tell whether FEMA could survive -- and it seems to have met the test in the California wildfires, performing ably and silencing critics. At least it silenced critics until FEMA managed to pull an idiotic stunt that should cause some people to wonder when the grown-ups will return: The Federal Emergency Management Agency's No. 2 official apologized yesterday for leading a staged news conference Tuesday in which FEMA employees posed as reporters while real reporters listened on a telephone conference line and were barred from asking questions. "We are reviewing our press procedures and will make the changes necessary to ensure that all of our communications are straight forward and transparent," Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson Jr., FEMA's deputy administrator, said...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

US Nabs Shi'a Militia Leader In Diyala

Now that the US and Iraqi forces have cleared al-Qaeda in Iraq from the Diyala province, the Shi'ites may think they have an opening to exploit. Instead, the Coalition captured a breakaway Mahdi Army commander and killed two of his lieutenants. The commander has some friends in interesting places: US forces have captured a senior Shia militia leader and killed two others in a raid in the central Iraqi province of Diyala, the US military has said. The military said the men were members of the Mehdi Army militia loyal to the Shia cleric, Moqtada Sadr, who had defied his order to suspend activities. The captured man is suspected of having ties to an Iranian intelligence cell. When the US forces approached the house in which the commander hid, two men came out to engage the forces. One of them had a suicide vest, and the troops killed him before...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Edwards Wants Censorship?

John Edwards fights for social justice while ensuring that his campaign offices remain in tony neighborhoods. That formed the basis of a critique by a college student which aired on YouTube -- and started a fight between the Edwards campaign and the University of North Carolina. A UNC journalism professor now accuses the Edwards campaign of demanding the deletion of the video as a prerequisite for UNC's access to his campaign events (via Memeorandum): In this rough-and-tumble campaign season, the major presidential campaigns have sought to leave no charge unanswered from wherever it may come. Even, it now seems, if the fight takes them into the realm of student journalism. A journalism professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is accusing aides of John Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina, of demanding that he remove from YouTube a student report critical of Mr. Edwards’s Democratic presidential...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

NCA To Veterans: Drop Dead (Again)

The National Cemetery Administration has barred volunteers at veteran funerals from performing a popular ritual at the graveside when folding the American flag. Honor Detail members can no longer recite the significance of the folds during funerals, a time-honored tradition, because of a single complaint to the NCA (via Michelle Malkin): Flag-folding recitations by Memorial Honor Detail volunteers are now banned at the nation’s 125 veterans graveyards because of a complaint about the ceremony at Riverside National Cemetery. During thousands of military burials, the volunteers have folded the American flag 13 times and recited the significance of every fold to survivors. The first fold represents life, the second a belief in eternal life, and so on. The complaint revolved around the narration in the 11th fold, which celebrates Jewish war veterans and “glorifies the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” The National Cemetery Administration...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Is The Ship Sinking?

Barack Obama started strongly in his half-draft campaign for the presidency. In the first two quarters, he out-raised and out-organized Hillary Clinton despite the Clinton machine's readiness for her campaign, turning an expected coronation into a real contest. However, Obama's numbers have begun to falter in polls and fundraising, and now a member of his national committee has switched sides: A longtime Democratic fundraiser has abandoned Barack Obama's campaign to help rival Hillary Rodham Clinton win the party's presidential nomination. Bob Farmer, who was a top fundraiser for several past Democratic presidential candidates, had served on Obama's national finance committee. Farmer did not respond to a request for comment after a message was left at his home in Bal Harbour, Fla. But Kirk Wagar, Obama's Florida finance chair, said Farmer let him know he was switching sides without saying why. The Obama campaign noted that Farmer had never raised any...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right vs Heading Left Tonight!

Tonight, we will stage our first debate between Heading Right and Heading Left hosts on BlogTalkRadio at Debate Central! At 7PM Eastern/4PM Pacific, Adam Lambert and I will pit Jack Clark of Blast the Right against Jenn of Screw Liberals. Hear Jack and Jenn go head to head on the Iraq war as well as health care. Don't miss it!...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

NARN, The Cone Of Silence Edition

The Northern Alliance Radio Network will be on the air today, with our six-hour-long broadcast schedule starting at 11 am CT. The first two hours features Power Line's John Hinderaker and Chad and Brian from Fraters Libertas. Mitch and I hit the airwaves for the second shift from 1-3 pm CT, and King Banaian and Michael Broadkorb have The Final Word from 3-5. If you're in the Twin Cities, you can hear us on AM 1280 The Patriot, or on the station's Internet stream if you're outside of the broadcast area. Today, Mitch and I review The New Republic story to determine why Franklin Foer can't just admit what everyone already knows. We'll also talk about sanctions in Iran, the continued steep drop in casualties in Iraq, and the Democratic response to both. We promise to tickle your amygdalae while also stimulating your intellect! Be sure to call 651-289-4488 to...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Why Is Ron Paul's Campaign Paying Alex Jones? UPDATE: A 'Partial Refund'?

The question of what Ron Paul represents has burned through the blogosphere this week, followed shortly afterwards by a revelation about an apparently unsolicited donation from a white supremacist. Today brings a much more revealing look at the Paul campaign, as Hot Air and MVRWC have discovered a payment from Team Paul to Alex Jones -- the 9/11 Truther leader -- for $1300 in "services". Allahpundit notes: Assuming it’s the same Alex Jones, which seems a safe bet, pray tell what might that payment have been for? The likeliest explanation is that it’s some sort of service fee, either Jones doing something on behalf of the campaign or allowing the campaign to do something using his property. Either way, I’m mighty curious to know what special service might have been provided such that Paul’s people couldn’t have gone elsewhere and gotten the same deal from someone who isn’t a degenerate...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The NARN Press Conference (Update: Chertoff's Anglo-Saxon)

Our radio station has a new website, and the Northern Alliance Radio Network decided to hold a press conference to launch it. Of course, we wanted to follow the example of our open and honest FEMA representatives ... and I think you'll see that we did a pretty good job of using their template. You can listen to the podcast here. UPDATE & BUMP, 7:28 PM: Via CapQ commenter Del Dolemonte, Michael Chertoff got a chance to dust off his Anglo-Saxon, and we're not talking about the upcoming release of Beowulf: The homeland security chief on Saturday tore into his own employees for staging a phony news conference at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "I think it was one of the dumbest and most inappropriate things I've seen since I've been in government," Michael Chertoff said. "I have made unambiguously clear, in Anglo-Saxon prose, that it is not to ever...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 28, 2007

Is The Fight Against Marijuana Worth It?

The suicide of a woman who fought a painful battle against immune disease has once again brought the war on drugs to center stage. The Missoulian reports that Robin Prosser had attempted suicide three years earlier, and wound up in trouble after police discovered marijuana in her possession at that time (via Memeorandum): Robin Prosser, a Missoula woman who struggled for a quarter century to live with the pain of an immunosuppressive disorder, tried years ago to kill herself. Last week, she tried again. This time, she succeeded. After her earlier attempt failed, Prosser wound up in even more trouble after investigating police found marijuana in her home. She used the marijuana to help cope with pain. That marijuana charge was eventually dropped in an agreement with the city of Missoula, and Prosser had reason to rejoice in 2004 when Montanans passed a law allowing medical use of the drug....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Curious Issue Between Congress And Mukasey

Judge Michael Mukasey's smooth ride to confirmation as Attorney General has hit some turbulent water -- over the issue of waterboarding. Despite having Chuck Schumer's endorsement, the confirmation hearings have bogged down to the point where the White House wonders when they will end: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Saturday rejected White House criticism that his panel was moving along too slowly the nomination of Michael Mukasey, whom President Bush tapped as the next attorney general. “The Senate is evaluating this nomination fairly, thoroughly and responsibly in keeping with the way other major nominations are handled,” Leahy stated. “Judge Mukasey’s written responses to questions from Republicans and Democrats, responses which the Committee has not yet received, are critical in the consideration of his nomination.” The only issue that has tripped Mukasey, however, is whether he considers waterboarding torture. John McCain certainly does, but others disagree; the technique...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Taliban Ambush -- A New Oxymoron

The Taliban staged another ambush outside of their main remaining stronghold at Musa Qala on encircling NATO forces -- with predictable results. Once again proving that surprise doesn't guarantee success, the Taliban forces lost 80 fighters, while the Coalition casualties remained at zero: Taliban fighters opened fire on Saturday with machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades on the joint coalition and Afghan army patrol from a trench near Musa Qala in Helmand province, the most important town held by insurgents. "The combined patrol immediately returned fire, maneuvered, and employed close air support resulting in almost seven dozen Taliban fighters killed during a six hour engagement," the U.S. military statement said. Such large pitched battles are relatively rare in Afghanistan, where the Taliban prefer to "shoot and scoot" before air strikes can be called in. But analysts say the insurgents are expected to fight hard to defend Musa Qala, in the north of...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

A Complication Of Imprecision

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter -- and the State Department finally has discovered this truth. In a long-overdue act, State has forgiven the "terrorism" of the Hmong and Montagnards who fought so bravely beside us in Southeast Asia, allowing them to enter the country and allowing those already here to become legal residents. Not for the first time, imprecise language in war and government created unintended consequences: One of the trickier battles in the war on terror has been the legal identification of friends and enemies. Under current U.S. law, people who provide "material support" to terrorists are deemed terrorists themselves -- even if the groups they're helping are freedom fighters, agitating for causes that the U.S. government supports. This has caused hardships among two worthy peoples to whom the U.S. owes a debt of gratitude: Hmong refugees from Laos and Montagnards from Vietnam. The Hmong and...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Better Than Blogging

When I write a post title like that, you know I spent time with the First Mate, the Little Admiral, and my son and daughter-in-law. Last year we took our granddaughter to a pumpkin patch in Wisconsin to celebrate Halloween. This year we found another farm closer to us, Pinehaven Farm, in Wyoming, MN. It has everything to delight small children, and to wear them down in about four hours or so. She perked up when we joined Mommy and Daddy for a nice Italian dinner. It's a great way to avoid the roofers that showed up at 8:15 this morning to repair the damage we had in August .......

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 29, 2007

When The Saudis Say You're Not Serious ....

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah will arrive in Britain later today, but he helped amplify the controversy surrounding his state visit before he sets foot in London. He accused the British government of ignoring intelligence from the Saudis that could have prevented the London transit bombings in 2005, and claimed that the UK has not taken terrorism seriously: Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah accused Britain of not taking terrorism seriously enough Monday, hours before arriving in London for a controversial state visit. In a BBC interview prior to his arrival, the king said his country had given Britain information which could have prevented the 2005 London suicide bombings, in which 52 innocent people died, but the authorities had failed to act on it. ... Asked about the terrorist threat, the king told the BBC through an interpreter: "I believe most countries are not taking this issue too seriously including, unfortunately, Great Britain....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Rich Get Health Care

The British National Health Service has launched an entire new industry: surgical tourism. The Daily Mail reports that the numbers of Britons seeking an escape from the universal health-care system will exceed 70,000 this year and 200,000 by 2010, flying to all parts of the world to get medical attention, and better surgical conditions: Record numbers of Britons are travelling abroad for medical treatment to escape the NHS - with 70,000 patients expected to fly out this year. And by the end of the decade 200,000 "health tourists" will fly as far as Malaysa and South Africa for major surgery to avoid long waiting lists and the rising threat of superbugs, according to a new report. The first survey of Britons opting for treatment overseas shows that fears of hospital infections and frustration of often waiting months for operations are fuelling the increasing trend. ... India is the most popular...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Corporate Hippies Need Federal Funding

The Boston Globe tries explaining to the rest of the nation that the Woodstock Museum, which John McCain has adopted as his primary Hillary Clinton target, isn't the hippie hangout that people believe. It created jobs, allowed for music to remain at Max Yazgur's farm, and helped a county economy recover from recession. However, nowhere in this article does anyone explain why the project should receive federal funds: The emerald hill at Yasgur's Farm is quiet now, the electrified sounds of Jimi Hendrix and other performers from the Woodstock concert of 1969 long since faded. But at the hillcrest rises an extraordinary sight: a $100 million Tanglewood-style concert pavilion and an adjoining museum that soon will tell the story of the 1960s with exhibits such as "The Hippies" and "Three Days of Peace and Music." .... So Gerry's nonprofit family foundation kicked in nearly $85 million for the facility, which...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

France Back In NATO?

With Nicolas Sarkozy at the helm of government, relations between the US and France have warmed considerably. Sarkozy has adopted the American position on Iran and now leads European efforts to demand accountability from Teheran on their nuclear program. Can a French return to NATO be far behind? Not according to Ronald Asmus, who oversaw a close-run attempt ten years ago: French President Nicolas Sarkozy has indicated his willingness to bring France back into NATO. It is an offer the United States should not refuse. Earlier in my career, I was a hard-liner on France and NATO. In fact, when I stepped down from the State Department in 2000, the French ambassador to Washington was so relieved he toasted my departure at a European Union ambassadors' lunch because of my dogged pursuit of U.S. interests. (I considered it a back-handed compliment.) But times change, and so should our thinking. ......

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Rock Star Or Novelty Act?

The Los Angeles Times takes a critical look at the Barack Obama phenomenon — or rather, the apparent non-phenomenon. They headline the piece, “Polls don’t reflect Obama’s star power”, a self-contradicting statement, since popularity forms both star power and poll standing. It speaks to both a misrepresentation of Obama’s attraction from the very beginning and the media narrative that has tried mightily to keep interest in a Democratic primary that was long ago a foregone conclusion. Hey, Weird Al Yankovic has star power, too, but don't expect him to headline a Monsters of Rock concert. At Heading Right, I point out that there is a large difference between being a rock star and a novelty act. Obama has charisma but no experience, no heft, and it has shown in his campaign this year. Iowans have responded better to John Edwards than Barack Obama, and neither of them have a chance...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Tancredo Retires .... Maybe

Tom Tancredo will not run for his seat in Congress regardless of how he does in the Republican primaries for the presidential nomination. It signals the end of a long Congressional career in which Tancredo has argued for the most hard-line immigration positions, as well as suggesting that the US would bomb Mecca if an Islamist terrorist detonated a nuclear bomb in an American city (via Hot Air): Even if he loses his long-shot bid for the White House, Rep. Tom Tancredo will be leaving the U.S. House of Representatives at the end of 2008. Tancredo, 61 , waited until after the Colorado Rockies' last out of the World Series on Sunday night before announcing that he plans to retire from Congress at the end of this, his fifth term. "It's the fact that I really believe I have done all I can do in the House, especially about the...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Technology Bites

Yes, I mean that title in all its contexts. Today has been Technology Day at Captain's Quarters, and that is never -- never a good sign. First, as some of you may have discovered today, I have been working with my BlogTalkRadio player. We have had people working on the issue with player volume on autostart, and we needed to test the function on a real live blog -- and since I'm the Political Director of BTR, I get to be the one to play. We did finally solve the issue of volume, so now we can use autostart without blasting readers into oblivion with Hugh Hewitt's splendid introduction to my show. The player will not autostart on the main page, but will on most of the subpages of the blog. Part of this is monetization, and part of it is promotion. If you find yourself on the page and...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Guest Post: Senator Jim DeMint On Earmark Reform

Occasionally, Captain's Quarters features guest posts from our elected officials on issues of high interests to the readers of this blog. Today I welcome Senator Jim DeMint on the issue of earmark reform. Join the Fight to Reform Earmarks By Sen. Jim DeMint In 1987, Ronald Reagan vetoed a bill that had 121 earmarks, saying "I haven't seen this much lard since I handed out blue ribbons at the Iowa State Fair." By 2005, this corrupting system exploded as we stuffed 13,997 wasteful earmarks into spending bills, including the Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska and the Teapot Museum in North Carolina. In fact, just since 2000, Congress has spent more than $170 BILLION of your tax dollars on these pork barrel projects. Today Democrats rule Congress, Republicans have quit acting like Republicans, wasteful spending has become the norm, and our nation's capital has become a place where it seems that...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: AirCongress, Joe Gandelman

NOTE: Newer posts may appear below this, which will stay on top until the show begins at 2 pm CT. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Danny Glover of AirCongress joins us to discuss the new partnership between BlogTalkRadio and AC. We'll also look at the latest news and issues in Congress, including Senator James Inhofe's efforts to oppose the conventional wisdom on global warming, and the retirement of Tom Tancredo from the House. In the first half of the show, Joe Gandelman from The Moderate Voice joins me again to discuss the latest in the Southern California fires, the latest in the lineup at TMV, and much more! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Can We Talk? The Heading Right Challenge

That's the question Joan Rivers used to ask in her stand-up routines, but these days, it seems more appropriate to ask in a political context. After completing a fascinating hour with Danny Glover of Air Congress and Joe Gandelman of The Moderate Voice, the answer seems to be "maybe". Both men discussed with me the trials and tribulations they experience in reaching across the political divide at their sites, but how they see that as crucial to forming policy. When speaking with Danny, we talked about the echo-chamber tendencies in the blogosphere. He worries about government agencies going to friendly bloggers for outreach rather than a broader engagement, hoping to shield themselves from scrutiny, but the practice extends much more clearly to political candidates. This makes some sense, especially in the primaries, as campaign building, but it does nothing to address the differences between philosophies and parties and look for...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Is Kentucky's AG Breaking Election Law?

The Democrats have decided to put Mitch McConnell's Senate seat at the top of their wish list for the 2008 Congressional elections. Several potential candidates have already come forward to talk openly about challenging the Senate Minority Leader, and according to the Lexington Herald-Leader, McConnell may have a tough race. The senior member has a few people polling within sight of the margin of error: U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell's popularity has continued to slip, suggesting vulnerability in his 2008 re-election bid. But he would still defeat any of four potential Democratic challengers if the race ended today, a new poll shows. ... On the positive side for McConnell, the poll showed he'd have at least a 5-percentage-point lead over each of four potential Democratic challengers: U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, state Auditor Crit Luallen, Attorney General Greg Stumbo and former Marine Lt. Col. Andrew Horne -- now a Louisville lawyer. So...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Fake FEMA Presser Leads To Fake DNI Job

The man who arranged the fake FEMA press conference has found himself out of a job. Outgoing FEMA external affairs director Pat Philbin had already accepted a position as the director of public affairs for intel chief Mike McConnell and was supposed to start this week. He discovered today that the DNI has forgotten his name: The man who oversaw public affairs at the Federal Emergency Management Agency when it held a fake news conference last week will no longer be taking over as head of public relations for the director of national intelligence. Pat Philbin, FEMA's external affairs director, was scheduled to become director of public affairs for National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell on Monday. It was not immediately clear whether he offered his resignation or was fired just as he was set to begin the job. As of Sunday, officials only said that they were aware of concerns....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 30, 2007

Trench Warfare On The Hill

The year after winning majorities in both chambers of Congress, the Democrats still have little to show for its victory. The only major partisan goal they have achieved, a minimum-wage increase, had to latch onto Iraq war funding to get the votes to pass. Republicans have grown incensed by heavy-handed tactics such as Harry Reid's publicity-stunt all-nighter on Iraq in July, and the snap vote on the latest S-CHIP bill, which actually cost them one of the Republican moderates who had supported the previous bill: In a closed-door meeting before the last vote on the children’s health care bill, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer appealed for the support of about 30 wavering Republican lawmakers. What he got instead was a tongue-lashing, participants said. The GOP lawmakers, all of whom had expressed interest in a bipartisan deal on the SCHIP legislation, were furious that the Democratic leader from Maryland had...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Rudy's Brain On Foreign Policy

Quite a bit has been made of Rudy Giuliani's connection to conservative pioneer Norman Podhoretz and his hard-line approach to Iran. Giuliani's foreign policy chief, however, once worked for the UN and has a different approach to international relations, as Eli Lake reports in the Sun today. Charles Hill will start taking a more active role in the campaign in order to clarify Rudy's perspective on American foreign policy: For all the recent attention paid to the hawkish circle of foreign policy intellectuals around Mayor Giuliani, the Giuliani campaign's version of Condoleezza Rice is a retired career foreign service officer who once worked as an aide to U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali. Meet Charles Hill, the former executive assistant to Secretary of State Shultz, who is the Giuliani campaign's chief foreign policy adviser. The campaign says that in the coming days and weeks, the Yale University professor will be setting...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Project Valour-IT -- A Cause Made For The Blogosphere

The annual Project Valour-IT fundraising competition began this weekend -- and this ship forgot to leave the dock! Soldier's Angels conducts an annual drive to raise funds for a great cause, one that seems tailor-made for the blogosphere. Project Valour-IT purchases voice-activated laptops for wounded soldiers, allowing them a vital tool for productivity and self-confidence. It would be difficult to think of a better way for bloggers and their readers to provide assistance and show gratitude for the sacrifices made by our men and women in the military. Last year, Captain's Quarters joined the Marine Corps team [see update below]. This year, however, I've decided to join the Navy (and see the world!) The Navy team has gotten off to a slow start, much like this blog, so I'm hoping for fair winds and a big push from the readers. Donate what you can to a great cause! UPDATE: Apparently,...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Said The Personal-Injury Lawyer

John Edwards has decided to take a different direction in his campaign against Hillary Clinton -- and it's one Republicans might watch with more than an academic interest. Apparently frustrated by an inability to gain traction on policy, Edwards will explicitly attack Hillary's character in an attempt to stop her momentum: Democrat John Edwards is trying to turn the Democratic presidential race into a referendum on honesty and integrity, areas where polling has shown that voters are divided about Hillary Rodham Clinton. The argument marks a shift in a race where Edwards and Clinton's other Democratic opponents have criticized her stance on policy but usually have avoided taking on her character directly. In an interview Monday with The Associated Press, Edwards said Clinton is part of a corrupt Washington system. "Good people are caught up in this system, and I've given some examples of the places that I think she's...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Tobacco For Tots

A public service message on behalf of the children: And remember, flu season's coming. No time like the present to start smoking and do your part for respiratory health....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Silver's Surrender Strategy

Ron Silver joins the blogosphere at Pajamas Media today by offering what he thinks would be a winning strategy for the war on terror -- surrender. In a satirical look at making the world like America, Silver offers a six-step plan to boost our popularity by simply giving terrorists what they want: The presidential electoral cycle is upon us. That means conventions. Conventions have platforms. I propose a platform that will make the world like us again. Just like they always did. It may take 12 steps to get clean and sober, but only 6 to make the world realize just how super the U.S. can be. The strategy? Give Andalusia, aka Spain, back to the Islamists, as well as the Balkans and eastern Europe. It used to be theirs anyway, and this can be like reparations! Withdraw from the Pacific, since we just annoy the Chinese. Get rid of...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

We Built This City On Pork And Bull

The Wall Street Journal either exposes John Murtha once again as a manipulative and corrupt public official or the champion of those lucky enough to live in his district. King Jack of Pork hasn't slowed down a bit, and in fact has picked up steam since the Democrats came into power. Even with most of the budget bills still vaporware, the unrivaled earmarker already has over $190 million coming back home, more than $30 million ahead of his nearest competition: In the massive 2008 military-spending bill now before Congress -- which could go to a House-Senate conference as soon as Thursday -- Mr. Murtha has steered more taxpayer funds to his congressional district than any other member. The Democratic lawmaker is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, which will oversee more than $459 billion in military spending this year. Johnstown's good fortune has come at the expense of...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Which President-To-Be Will Attend?

David Broder has a wish for this presidential season, and that is for some serious talk about entitlement reform. A bipartisan group of legislators will meet tomorrow to see if common ground can be found for reworking Social Security and Medicare to defuse the generational time bomb that threatens to explode the federal budget in the next 10-15 years. With the baby boomers poised to enter the golden years, Broder wants to know who will take the lead for real solutions: If I had the power to summon all 16 of the people running for president to be in one place, I would want them in a Senate hearing room for a session that is taking place tomorrow morning. The hearing has been arranged by Kent Conrad of North Dakota, the Democratic chairman of the Budget Committee, and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, the Republican ranking member. They have invited...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Ceilings And Canaries

Has Hillary Clinton hit the ceiling in her bid for the presidency? The Rasmussen analysis of head-to-head general election matchups involving Hillary Clinton has created considerable buzz. She has not been able to gain a majority of voters in any of the matchups with the Republican frontrunners, although she maintains slim leads against all of them except Rudy Giuliani (46%-44% Giuliani). Does this put her in a losing position in 2008, and should the Democrats start looking elsewhere in the primaries? At Heading Right, I look at the canary in the coal mine, but caution against overanalyzing a race that hasn't really yet begun. These numbers may shift when Hillary starts speaking to more people than just the hard-Left activist base. I'll talk with Jim Geraghty about this on Heading Right Radio today at 2 pm CT....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Heading Right Radio: Atlas Shrugs, Jim Geraghty

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), we will talk with Pam from Atlas Shrugs, one of the fiery and compelling hosts at BTR. She talks about her upcoming interview with former UN ambassador John Bolton and his new book, and also about her attendance at an anti-jihadi forum in Brussels. In the second half of the show, our friend Jim Geraghty of National Review Online's Campaign Spot discusses the news in politics, including a Rasmussen poll indicating a potential problem for Hillary Clinton in the general election. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

What Drives The Skank Impulse?

Halloween will arrive tomorrow, with plenty of kids hitting doorbells looking for candy. Some of them will dress as though they want to work something out in trade, as Newsweek noted yesterday (via Instapundit): Apparently, witches aren't ugly anymore; they're sexy. So are pirates and pumpkins and princesses--traditional little girl Halloween costumes that used to say, Isn't she cute? now scream, That's hot! with an increasing array of halter tops, bare midriffs and miniskirts. Costume catalogs and Web sites, filled with images of pouty preteens modeling the latest in Halloween fashion, seem almost to verge on child pornography, and ooze with attitude. Witches are "wayward" and grammar-school pirates are "wenches." A girl isn't an Army cadet, she's a "Major Flirt," and who knew female firefighters wore fishnet stockings? Even Little Bo Peep comes with a corset, short skirt and lacy petticoat. And while complaints about "slutty" kids' costumes may seem...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

A Real Fishing Expedition

The FBI has shifted its investigation into Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), looking at legislative activity sponsored by the Alaskan that may have benefitted his son. They have focused on a number of earmarks that Stevens requested that served Alaska's fishing industry, which returned the favor by hiring Ben Stevens as a consultant. In fact, the younger Stevens sold himself as a conduit for federal pork: Federal authorities investigating Sen. Ted Stevens are trolling the Alaska fishing industry for evidence of whether the powerful Republican pushed seafood legislation that benefited his lobbyist son. So far, the most public aspect of the investigation was the FBI raid on Stevens' home in July, with agents seeking evidence of the senator's relationship with a corrupt Alaska oil contractor. But authorities have also quietly amassed evidence about fishing. ... But Victor Smith, a fisherman and critic of Ben Stevens, gave the FBI a taped phone...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

October 31, 2007

How To Tell We Have Had Too Many Debates

Perhaps the proximity of the Democratic debate to Halloween tempted the moderators at MSNBC. Maybe they have just run out of questions to ask candidates. Either way, the nadir of presidential debates came late in the show, when a mainstream media moderator felt compelled to ask about UFOs: In the weird last minutes of the debate (the period, by the way, when The Fix made it onto the basketball court in high school) Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) gave us a highlight. Asked about the statement by actress Shirley MacLaine that Kucinich had seen a UFO at her house, Kucinich said that he had. He quickly sought to clarify -- an "unidentified flying object" he said holding up his hand -- but man oh man. The big news tonight: DENNIS KUCINICH HAS SEEN A UFO. No, the big news from the debate is that MSNBC thinks UFOs are so important that...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

A Record Time For A Reversal

The charges of flip-flopping get leveled too often in politics, and usually in the wrong context. John Kerry lived with the accusation after attempting to explain a reversal on a Iraq war supplemental by saying, "I was for the $87 billion before I was against it." People extended it for use whenever a politician changed his mind on any policy or any time frame, even over a period of years and even when moving in a preferred direction, as with Mitt Romney. However, the monicker definitely applies when the reversal happens within the space of two minutes, especially when it gets televised for the nation to see: McKinney said Clinton grew testy when pressed on whether she agrees with a proposal her home state governor has to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. She first expressed support for the idea. But when Dodd objected, Clinton grew defensive and said she...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

New Terror In Southern Russia?

Russians in the car-making city of Togliatti awoke to a deadly bus bombing that has already claimed eight lives, and may claim more. The bus attack appears to be a terrorist strike, but given the nexus of crime networks in the city, the answer may wind up being more complicated: A bomb ripped through a packed passenger bus in a southern Russian city Wednesday morning, killing eight people and wounding 56, regional officials said. The bomb exploded around 8 a.m. local time at a busy intersection in the Volga River city of Togliatti, the center of Russian car-making since Soviet times. Officials said at least seven of the wounded were in grave condition and many of the victims were students on their way to university, according to the Russian news agency Interfax . "The preliminary scenario is a terrorist attack," said the regional governor Vladimir Artyakov in comments broadcast on...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Madrid Mastermind Walks

The Spanish court trying the remaining suspects in the deadly Madrid bombings convicted the actual perpetrators today, sentencing them to gaudy terms that wind up being no more than 40 years each. The man who planned the attacks, and whose voice could be heard on wiretaps bragging about it, won an acquittal: One of the accused masterminds of the 2004 Madrid terror bombings was acquitted of all charges today by a Spanish court in the culmination to a politically divisive trial over Europe's worst Islamic militant terror attack. Rabei Osman, a 35-year-old Egyptian, allegedly bragged during a wiretapped phone conversation that the attacks, which killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,800, were his idea. Twenty-eight people were charged in the attacks. Four lead defendants in the bombings were found guilty of murder and other charges, each handed sentences that stretched into the thousands of years in the day of...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Casualty Rates Drop To Lowest Level In 18 Months

The casualty rates continue to drop in Iraq across the board, according to USA Today. The number of deaths from all causes among American troops hit its lowest level since March 2006 despite aggressive tactics in fighting terrorists and insurgents in Iraq: The number of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq is headed for the lowest level in more than a year and a half and the fifth consecutive monthly decline. Twenty-seven Americans have been killed in action in October, with one day left in the month, Pentagon records show. That would be the lowest monthly level since March 2006, when 27 servicemembers died in hostile action, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Pentagon reports. The total number of U.S. deaths, including accidents, in October so far is 35, records show. A new strategy, backed up by 30,000 more U.S. servicemembers, has led to a decline in violence and weakened...

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

The Problem At #47

The British newspaper, The Telegraph, has a new series out this week on the 100 most influential conservatives and liberals in the United States. As with most lists, the inclusions and rankings make for intriguing debate. Our friends Erick Erickson at Redstate made the list in the 68th position, and Michelle Malkin placed in the 90s. Some may quibble about their placement and their inclusion, but at least they both are recognizably conservative. That cannot be said for the forty-seventh "conservative" on the list: 47. JOE LIEBERMAN Senator for Connecticut The only person to make both of our lists. It is easy to forget that Lieberman could very easily have been a Democrat vice-president today if he had not lost so narrowly with Al Gore in 2000. Instead he is a pariah for many Democrats because of his full-throated support for the Iraq war and a bellicose stance against Iran....

« September 2007 | November 2007 »

Getting Screwed Through Abstinence

What is it about Pennsylvania politicians and pork? Yesterday, we covered the ongoing story of John Murtha, King of Pork. Today, the Politico reveals that Arlen Specter wants pork for virginity, screwing taxpayers while promoting abstinence: The senator, who supports abortion rights, is turning the state into the abstinence-earmark capital of the country, directing more than $8 million into dozens of programs and, in the process, arching more than a few eyebrows. He’s done it again this year, setting aside $1 million for an Erie women’s center that provides “abortion recovery” counseling, a community group once chaired by a late supporter and 23 other school districts, hospitals and local organizations. No other member of Congress earmarks money for abstinence education. The reason Specter does it offers insight into the political machinations behind — and the abiding allure of — the narrow-interest spending requests maligned by fiscal watchdogs but desired as...