« January 2008 |

February 1, 2008

Technical Notes

I got several e-mails complaining about load times this week, and it appears the problem came from multiple appearances of both the BlogTalkRadio player for my shows, and from multiple appearances of the AOL Hot Seat Poll script. I took out all but one of each and the site appears to load faster now. I'll keep this in mind as we go along, and from now on there will be one instance only for both. Since the BTR player for Heading Right Radio sits on my sidebar, I won't post the one for my show with Nikki on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This should resolve the problem. Thanks for the feedback!...

« January 2008 |

Microsoft Looking For New Vistas

MIcrosoft apparently wants to bring all of the expertise they've displayed in their Vista operating system to the portal/search business on the Internet. They have launched a bid to buy Yahoo!, the original indispensable search engine and now multilayered service provider. It marks the most significant expansion attempt in years for Microsoft, and maybe their most aggressive bid ever: Microsoft Corp. offered to buy search engine operator Yahoo Inc. for $44.6 billion in cash and stock in a move to boost its competitive edge in the online services market. Microsoft bid $31 per share for Yahoo, representing a 62 percent premium to Yahoo's closing stock price Thursday. It looks like Microsoft may have given up on MSN. Microsoft launched their own search/portal site years ago, and tied their Windows Messenger IM product to it. It didn't exactly catch on with web surfers, who preferred the sleeker search engines of first...

« January 2008 |

Self-Funding In An Age Of BCRA

Late last night, Mitt Romney's campaign released its fourth-quarter funding figures, and as everyone expected, Romney significantly self-funded. He raised $9 million, which stacks up well against the other Republicans, but added twice as much into the kitty from his own pocket. The Politico wonders how much he's self-funding in January: Mitt Romney contributed $18 million of his own money to his campaign in the fourth quarter, more than he had put in the first three quarters combined. Romney also raised $9 million during the quarter and wound up with $2.43 million on hand. ... What is unknown is just how much Romney put in and spent during the month of January. Given the campaign's heavy TV spending, his total personal contribution is likely now at $40 million or above. John McCain raised $6.8 million for the quarter and was left with 2.9 million on hand at the end of...

« January 2008 |

Dr. McCoy To The Sidelines, Please

Star Trek fans remember the tricorder, the handy medical and scientific device that allowed both Dr. McCoy and Mr. Spock to make instant evaluations of injured crew members, hostile environments, and hurt Hortas. They were one of the ways in which plot lines could get speeded along without too much exposition, along with the "universal translator" that allowed everyone to speak in California English -- well, everyone! except! William! Shatner! In a development that ST fans might appreciate, sports physicians may be able to use something similar now to check for concussions. A new hand-held brain-scan device promises to make a clear diagnosis that will eliminate guesswork and prevent permanent damage: A startup called BrainScope is developing a tool that may help inform doctors about which injured players should stay on the sidelines—or be taken to a hospital. The Chesterfield (Mo.) company's handheld device determines the severity of concussions by...

« January 2008 |

The Scaled-Down Expectations Of The Retreat Caucus

You have to hand it to the Democrats; they do surrender well. After coming out of their annual retreat last year with an ambitious agenda to force the White House into submission, the Congressional leadership managed to lose every major engagement with the supposedly lame-duck George Bush. This year, the term "annual retreat" took on new meaning: A year ago, newly empowered House Democrats gathered here at the Kingsmill Resort for their annual retreat brimming with confidence. Before them was an ambitious legislative agenda and a determination to end or curtail the U.S. troop presence in Iraq. This time around, the hotel and golf courses are the same, but the song is markedly different. Gone is the talk of forcing President Bush to end the war, as is the impetus to pass a comprehensive immigration package and to stick to strict budget rules. Instead, Democrats are thinking smaller, much smaller....

« January 2008 |

The McCain Disconnects

Matt Welch of Reason notices a strange phenomenon in primary voting this year, one that seems highly counterintuitive. I had noticed this in New Hampshire as well, and the trend has continued. John McCain, despite his championing of the Iraq war, continues to draw pluralities in self-professed anti-war voters: It's no mystery why independents gravitate toward McCain. He's a country-first, party-second kind of guy who speaks bluntly and delights in poking fellow Republicans in the eye on issues such as campaign finance reform and global warming. But there's a bizarre disconnect in the warm embrace between McCain and the electorate's mavericks. They hate the Iraq war, while he's willing to fight it for another century. The most pro-war presidential candidate in a decade is winning the 2008 GOP nomination thanks to the antiwar vote. A full 66% of independents think that the U.S. should completely withdraw from Iraq no later...

« January 2008 |

Payroll Levels Drop In January

For the first time since August 2003, payroll levels decreased in the US in January. The loss of 17,000 jobs did not increase the unemployment rate, which remained at 4.9%, but it sends a signal to the economic markets that trouble still brews on the horizon: Nervous employers cut 17,000 jobs in January — the first such reduction in more than four years and a fresh trouble sign that the economy is in danger of stalling. The Labor Department's report, released Friday, also showed that the unemployment rate dipped slightly to 4.9 percent, from 5 percent, as the civilian labor force shrank slightly. Job losses were widespread. Manufacturers, construction firms and a variety of professional and business services eliminated jobs in January — reflecting the toll of the housing and credit debacles. The government cut jobs, too. All those cuts swamped job gains in education, health care, retailing and elsewhere....

« January 2008 |

AOL Hot Seat Show Today!

AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We'll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day's poll -- including today's: embedSWF(9, 0, 0, "widget", "recent")This content requires the most recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. Get this version below:Get Flash John Amato from Crooks & Liars will join me today to discuss the question and the results, so be sure to tune in at BlogTalkRadio -- and don't forget to cast your votes! We will also take your calls at (347) 205-9555....

« January 2008 |

Mitt Romney Conference Call

This morning, Mitt Romney held a New Media conference call to discuss the state of the race and his strategy for the Super Tuesday primaries. This is the first one of these I recall from the Romney campaign, and I hope that it won't be the last. Romney started off by saying that "it's fun to watch the Democratic race," noting that the national media hasn't called it a done deal despite having one candidate who won twice as many as the other. He and McCain have essentially tied for states, and yet the media has tried to call the GOP contest a done deal. He also mentioned the "false claim" that he had supported a troop withdrawal from Iraq. Romney also sees Mike Huckabee as drawing some votes away from Romney. Romney cast the election, in part, as a struggle for the Republican soul. He drew a comparison to...

« January 2008 |

The Despicable Nature Of Our Enemy

Baghdad got hit by two bombers today, but neither of them committed suicide. The al-Qaeda attack involved strapping remote-controlled bombs to two girls with Down's Syndrome, and detonating the devices when they walked through the market. The explosions killed 73 people in one of the deadliest days since the surge pacified most of Iraq: Remote-controlled explosives strapped to two mentally retarded women detonated in a coordinated attack on Baghdad pet bazaars Friday, Iraqi officials said, killing at least 73 people in the deadliest day since the U.S. sent 30,000 extra troops to the capital last spring. The chief Iraqi military spokesman in Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, claimed the female bombers had Down syndrome and that the explosives were detonated by remote control, indicating they may not having been willing attackers in what could be a new method by suspected Sunni insurgents to subvert stepped up security measures. U.S. Ambassador...

« January 2008 |

Has Ann Coulter Finally Jumped The Shark?

She did for me last year at CPAC, of course, when she derided John Edwards as a "faggot". At the time, a number of conservative bloggers wrote that she had embarrassed the movement and owed Edwards an apology, which she refused to offer. This year, the ACU has opted not to have her as a featured speaker, although I understand she will appear at an ancillary event at CPAC. Of course, she can then explain why she will campaign for Hillary Clinton if John McCain wins the Republican nomination: So let's walk through the logic here. John McCain gets castigated by Coulter because he aligns himself too often with the Democrats. Her solution to that is --- to campaign for the Democrats? Maybe someone can explain the thought process to me, but it sounds like a hysterical demand for extortion rather than a considered and thoughtful political position. I'm supporting...

« January 2008 |

Heading Right Radio: The Week In Review!

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson of the Hugh Hewitt Show joins us for the 90-minute week in review. We have a ton of topics to chew through today, so we'll be speeding things up to get them all in -- but we still want to take your calls! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. 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:...

« January 2008 |

Time For Specter To Get A Hobby

Arlen Specter wants to get to the bottom of an obstruction of justice that burns to the soul of America. Someone destroyed videotapes that evidenced a crime, and Specter wants an investigation. Was it the CIA who destroyed the videotapes? FBI? BATF? OMB? No -- it was the NFL: With the Super Bowl fast approaching, a senior Republican senator says he wants the NFL to explain why it destroyed evidence of the New England Patriots cheating scandal. "I am very concerned about the underlying facts on the taping, the reasons for the judgment on the limited penalties and, most of all, on the inexplicable destruction of the tapes," said Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., in a Thursday letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Specter, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the matter could put the league's antitrust exemption at risk. "Their antitrust exemption has been on my mind...

« January 2008 |

February 2, 2008

The Showdown On The Right

Do not forsake me, oh my darlin' ... February 5th has started looking less like a Super Tuesday and more like High Noon. John McCain continues to roll up endorsements from Republican Party establishment figures such as Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Charlie Crist, and newspapers like the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has conservative talk radio lining up behind him, including explicit endorsements from Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Hugh Hewitt, and the benefit of an anti-endorsement of McCain (and Huckabee) from the most influential of them all, Rush Limbaugh. The stage is set for a showdown within the GOP, but could both men be Gary Cooper? The Los Angeles Times endorsement doesn't exactly ring with delight over McCain: At a different moment in American history, we would hesitate to support a candidate for president whose social views so substantially departed from those we hold....

« January 2008 |

McCain Sits Pretty

In politics, anything can happen, and 72 hours can become an eternity. However, barring a major meltdown, it looks like John McCain has strong leads in most Super Tuesday states. Few offer the prospect of wins for Mitt Romney, and right now he has to hope that McCain fails to gain enough delegates to make the rest of the primary schedule a formality. Real Clear Politics has the latest polling data for each of the contests, and the numbers look bleak for Romney. Mitt leads handily in Massachusetts, for instance, and will take a majority of its 42 delegates. He'll get all of Utah's 36 delegates in that winner-take-all state. He should get a third or so at least of California's delegation, around 60. Missouri is close, according to Rasmussen, and so is Tennessee. If Mitt gets the breaks in both states, he could have around 200 more delegates by...

« January 2008 |

Do Blogs Matter In Presidential Politics?

Ron Klain wonders what happens when bloggers speak truth without power in his New York Times blogpost. Klain focuses on the Democratic race, where blogger favorites Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards, and Chris Dodd (whom he doesn't mention) all sank without much of a fight: The ultimate measure of this shift of influence [towards the blogs] came this summer, when virtually every Democratic candidate for president attended the YearlyKos Convention in Chicago, and skipped the annual convention of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council in Nashville. But notwithstanding this stunning success, this week’s withdrawal by John Edwards, coming a week after the departure of Dennis Kucinich, means that both of the preferred presidential candidates of the liberal blogosphere are now out of the race. Instead, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the two candidates who have drawn some of the sharpest criticism on progressive blogs, are the only ones who will make it...

« January 2008 |

The Olson Of Economic Endorsements?

When Rudy Giuliani left the race and threw his support behind John McCain, people wondered whether it would have much effect on the race. After all, the Mayor had faded badly in the Republican primaries after utilizing a strategy that made him largely irrelevant in the national media. However, Rudy brought two other endorsements that could help build bridges with disaffected conservatives if McCain wins the nomination. First came Ted Olson to provide reassurance on judicial nominations, and today Steve Forbes endorsed McCain, perhaps addressing his self-professed weakness on economics: U.S. Senator John McCain's presidential campaign today announced that Steve Forbes has endorsed John McCain for president. "More and more Americans will be impressed by John McCain's efforts to reform our convoluted, growth retarding, anti-opportunity tax code." said Mr. Forbes. "He understands that dollars and decisions are best left to hard-working Americans. John McCain's pro-growth plan to cut taxes, stop...

« January 2008 |

NARN, The Ultra-Super-Fantabulous 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 all of the week's election news. We'll talk about the debates, the Florida primaries, the departure of Rudy Giuliani and his endorsement of John McCain, and preview the upcoming Super Tuesday contest. Be sure to call 651-289-4488 to join the conversation!...

« January 2008 |

Ominous Portents In Identity Politics For Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton's campaign has fostered an eruption of identity politics in the primaries. Some question whether the strategy was intentional, but the immediate impact could be seen in Nevada and South Carolina. Black voters lined up overwhelmingly for Barack Obama, while Hillary gained women and Hispanics, and many saw the seeds of a Hillary victory through Obama's marginalization. The ground may have shifted today with an endorsement from the country's most influential Spanish-language newspaper, California's La Opinion. Questioning Hillary's character over her flip-flops on drivers licenses for illegal aliens, the paper backs Barack Obama: [W]e were disappointed with her calculated opposition to driver’s licenses for the undocumented, which contrasts markedly from the forceful argument in support made by Obama. We understand that this is an extremely controversial issue but we believe there is only one right position and it is that of the senator from Illinois. And, while both senators...

« January 2008 |

Romney Rising?

Amidst all of the stormy polling clouds, a little ray of sunshine has broken over the Romney campaign. Rasmussen shows Romney slowly climbing into a tie nationwide with John McCain in its daily tracking poll. It also shows John McCain gaining strength at the same time: In the race for the Republican Presidential Nomination, it’s John McCain at 30%, Mitt Romney at 30%, and Mike Huckabee at 21%. Ron Paul is supported by 5% of Likely Republican Primary Voters (see recent daily numbers). Romney leads by sixteen percentage points among conservatives while McCain has a two-to-one advantage among moderate Primary Voters. Today is the first day of daily tracking for the general election. McCain leads Clinton 47% to 41%. A week ago McCain had an eight point advantage. New match-ups will be added in the coming days. It seems odd, but for this week we're back to national polling. Too...

« January 2008 |

Romney Wins The Maine Caucus

Mitt Romney got a good jump on Super Tuesday tonight in Maine, where he won the state Republican caucus by a wide margin over John McCain. With two-thirds of precincts reporting, Romney won over half of the vote in a state known more for its independent streak: Mitt Romney won the presidential preference voting among Maine Republicans on Saturday in the party's municipal caucuses, which were heavily attended across the state. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, had a little over half of the vote with about two-thirds of the towns holding caucuses reporting. John McCain worked to keep his vote above 20 percent, trailed by Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee. The nonbinding votes, the first step toward electing 18 Maine delegates to the Republican National Convention, were taking place in public schools, Grange halls, fire stations and town halls across the state. The win comes at a moment when Romney...

« January 2008 |

February 3, 2008

Super Sunday

Will today's Super Bowl give us the second undefeated champion of the modern era in the New England Patriots? Or will we see the New York Giants extend their improbable ten-game road winning streak and derail perfection? Most football fans would probably be satisfied with a competitive and interesting game, but a Super Bowl would not be the spectacle it is without the subplots and the drama -- and the predictions. So here's mine: New England Patriots win, 27-20. What's yours?...

« January 2008 |

Super Bowl Live-Dip-Blogging

What better way to watch the biggest spectacle in sports than to kick back in a favorite recliner and live blog while consuming chips and dip? The Super Bowl will hopefully feature a dramatic and close game, but even if it doesn't, it will provide plenty of entertainment. The game sometimes takes a back seat to the advertising championship that takes place between the plays. I'll comment on that as well as the game, and in between, I'm going to enjoy my corn chips and guacamole, too. Keep checking back. I'll post the comments in reverse-chronological order so the latest will be on top. 9:14 - Thanks to all the CapQ readers who came along for the ride, especially Jazz in the comments, where he was as good as a co-blogger tonight. Great job, Jazz. This may have been one of the best Super Bowls I've ever watched, except for...

« January 2008 |

February 4, 2008

Because They Listened To Al Gore

China has had its hardest winter in decades, with even the southern provinces blanketed in snow, sleet, ice, and fog for the last several weeks. The lengthy winter storms and unusually cold temperatures have brought China to a standstill, as the central government got caught unprepared for it: Chinese weather experts have admitted that they were not properly prepared for the snow storms that have left hundreds of thousands stranded. The cold weather seen in recent weeks has been the worst to hit central and southern provinces in decades. Officials have blamed freak conditions, but on Monday the head of the China's meteorological office said "we did not make enough preparation". The Chinese have facilities for weather-related storm abatement in the north, where they traditionally have hard winters and have built infrastructure to handle it. It's similar to how the US prepares for winter. In Minnesota, three inches of snow...

« January 2008 |

Super Tuesday Polling: Mittmentum?

Rasmussen and Real Clear Politics have done their best to keep up with the Super Tuesday primaries across over 20 states, and the polling seems to show a slight shift in momentum for Mitt Romney, at least in California. Mitt has pulled into a tie with John McCain, whose support among moderates made this a more likely win for the Arizona Senator: In California, Republican Primary Voters are evenly divided between John McCain and Mitt Romney. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds McCain attracting 38% of the vote and Romney earning an identical 38%. Mike Huckabee is a distant third at 10%, Ron Paul picks up 6%, and 6% say they’ll vote for some other candidate. Earlier in the week, McCain had a small advantage over Romney. Since then, Giuliani dropped out of the race and endorsed McCain. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also endorsed the GOP frontrunner. While those...

« January 2008 |

Serbia Chooses The West, Barely

Serbia has re-elected pro-Western president Boris Tadic by a narrow margin. It sets up a confrontation between Tadic and Serbian prime minister Vojislav Kostunica, whose parliamentary support for a less Western-friendly course will get tested in the resolution of Kosovo's status. If the Kosovars declare independence, Serbia could find itself with a destabilizing internal battle: The West sees Tadic's victory as a sign that Serbia has turned away from the reactionary nationalism that fuelled the wars that marked the break up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Last week, the European Union signed an interim accord with Serbia covering trade and relaxation of visa rules -- an initial step towards eventual EU membership -- and on Monday the bloc welcomed Tadic's win. "The EU wishes to deepen its relationship with Serbia and to accelerate its progress towards the EU, including candidate status," the Slovenian EU presidency said in a statement. Although...

« January 2008 |

One In Five Brits Think Churchill Never Existed?

Every once in a while, some pollster comes up with a survey that shows what idiots Westerners can be. They especially like to pick on Americans and their rather insular attitude towards geography, being unable in large numbers to actually find Iraq on a globe or to identify the correct continent for Guyana (South America, in case anyone asks). Jay Leno has a running gag on the Tonight Show where he goes out in the street and asks people simple questions and films them getting the answers spectacularly wrong. So I have some sympathy with our friends in Britain this morning, who have to be slapping their heads with the results of a poll taken by a television production company that found 23% of their fellow countrymen didn't believe that Winston Churchill actually existed: Britons are losing their grip on reality, according to a poll out Monday which showed that...

« January 2008 |

Jeff Jacoby Plays Name That Conservative

With Super Tuesday less than 24 hours away, expect a great deal of hyperbole and alarmism from secondaries and surrogates in both parties and for all four major frontrunners. The press of over 20 states all conducting their contests simultaneously has increased the pressure for people to make their messages heard over the din, and it has already caused more than a few of them to lose all sense of perspective. Jeff Jacoby brings us back to earth with a simple game of Name That Conservative: Conservatives bristle at the thought of a Republican president who might raise income and payroll taxes. Or enlarge the federal government instead of shrinking it. Or appoint Supreme Court justices who are anything but strict constructionists. Or grant a blanket amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Now, I don't believe that a President McCain would do any of those things. But President Reagan did...

« January 2008 |

Family Feuds On The Left

Apparently, the pressure of the Democratic primary has begun to fracture families on the Left -- at least the political families. The Kennedys have made headlines with their competing endorsements of Hillary Clinton, but at least they're still speaking to each other. The Sanchez sisters in Congress have turned the primary into a real family feud (via Michelle Malkin and Memeorandum): Take the Sanchez sisters, whose dispute has the contours of a classic big sister-little sister fight. It started with a pact: Though both are California Democrats, neither would endorse a presidential primary candidate. But last month, after listening to her older sister praise Mrs. Clinton to a colleague, Linda T. Sanchez, 39, realized that she fervently disagreed. Swept up in excitement, she endorsed Mr. Obama — without calling her sister, who found out through aides. Hours later, Loretta Sanchez, 48, issued her own opposing endorsement. For weeks afterward the...

« January 2008 |

Is Obama Heading For A Super Tuesday Triumph?

According to Reuters, the night might belong to Barack Obama tomorrow after polls in several states now show him pulling ahead of Hillary Clinton. All Democratic contests award delegates on a proportional basis, making a decisive victory very unlikely, but a strong showing could shift momentum so significantly that Hillary may not be able to recover: Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama opened narrow leads on Hillary Clinton in California and Missouri one day before crucial "Super Tuesday" nominating contests in 24 states, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Monday. ... Obama and Clinton were deadlocked in New Jersey, and Obama enjoyed a double-digit advantage over Clinton in Georgia in two other Democratic contests on the biggest single day of voting ever in a U.S. presidential nominating campaign. Obama, an Illinois senator, and Clinton, a New York senator, have waged a bitter duel for the Democratic presidential nomination, competing for...

« January 2008 |

Fox Doublecrosses Hillary, McCain

Yesterday morning, I watched with some disbelief as Fox News Sunday managed to get John McCain and Hillary Clinton together for a brief three-way chat with Chris Wallace. Nothing much occurred, but I wondered what would have made either candidate agree to a cheery bit of Senatorial comity 48 hours before the Super Tuesday primaries. According to Howard Kurtz, they didn't: Advisers to Hillary Clinton and John McCain felt misled yesterday when "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace prodded the candidates into talking to each other after they had agreed to be interviewed separately. While McCain was being interviewed in Washington, Clinton aides grew suspicious when producers asked her to remain in the interview chair in St. Louis for 15 minutes--ostensibly so she could hear his comments--and refused to turn off her mike so she could have a private conversation. That enabled Wallace to tell McCain he was about to...

« January 2008 |

AOL Hot Seat Question Of The Day

AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We'll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day's poll -- including today's: [Poll expired.] Be sure to tune it at BlogTalkRadio -- and don't forget to cast your votes! We will also take your calls at (347) 205-9555....

« January 2008 |

In Which I Defend Jimmy Carter

I generally consider Jimmy Carter the worst president and the worst ex-president of the 20th century, and for a number of good reasons. I've written about them often enough not to repeat myself in this post; consider it stipulated. His track record is bad enough to allow conservatives merely to cite it without much argument, let alone distort it. That's what the normally reliable American Spectator does today, though, in a passage about Carter and his understanding of faith. In taking it out of the context in which Carter wrote about Satan's offer to Jesus before the crucifixion, Shawn Macomber makes it sound as though Carter wished Jesus had taken the offer: APPROPRIATELY ENOUGH, to Carter's mind, the biggest trade-off of the Crucifixion may have been gaining eternal salvation while losing a potentially great bureaucratic overlord. During a meditation on the temptation of Christ, Carter muses over the attractiveness of...

« January 2008 |

It Will All Begin In Tears

A make-or-break primary date looms within hours, and once again the focus falls on whether Hillary Clinton can blunt the momentum of the political neophyte Barack Obama. What can she do? She can fall back on the strategy that helped her to a surprise win New Hampshire by getting misty (via The Anchoress): Sen. Hillary Clinton teared up this morning at an event at the Yale Child Study Center, where she worked while in law school in the early 1970s. Penn Rhodeen, who was introducing Clinton, began to choke up, leading Clinton's eyes to fill with tears, which she wiped out of her left eye. At the time, Rhodeen was saying how proud he was that sheepskin-coat, bell-bottom-wearing young woman he met in 1972 was now running for president. "Well, I said I would not tear up; already we're not exactly on the path," Clinton said with emotion after the...

« January 2008 |

Heading Right Radio: The Calm Before The Storm

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 have a series of great guests! Liz Cheney puts in a final word for Mitt Romney, Ryan Ellis of Americans for Tax Reform goes over economics before Super Tuesday, and Dr. Steven Sauerberg talks about his push to run against Dick Durbin for the Senate. Don't miss it! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. 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:...

« January 2008 |

It Keeps Growing, And Growing, And Growing, And ....

The White House has submitted its budget request for 2009, and it gives everyone a mixed bag. It increases military spending and attempts to cut some programs and reduce others. However, its total spending puts the US above $3 trillion for the first time: President Bush submitted a federal budget of $3.1 trillion on Monday, declaring that the spending plan would keep the United States safe and prosperous and, despite its record size, would adhere to his principle of letting Americans keep as much of their own money as possible. “Thanks to the hard work of the American people and spending discipline in Washington, we are now on a path to balance the budget by 2012,” the president said in an introductory message. “Our formula for achieving a balanced budget is simple: Create the conditions for economic growth, keep taxes low and spend taxpayer dollars wisely or not at all.”...

« January 2008 |

Vigurie: Let's Make A Brokered Deal

Richard Vigurie, of all people, now wants a brokered convention. He spent most of the primary campaign flooding e-mail inboxes with missives supporting Ron Paul and complaining about the supposed media conspiracy that kept him from gaining enough support to win the nomination. Now he admits that Paul never had a prayer of getting nominated, but wants to encourage a brokered convention to find someone other than the current contenders: The discombobulated state of the Republican presidential campaign means that it is still possible for someone to jump into the race. Such a candidate could serve as a kingmaker at the Republican convention in September, or even – yes, it’s possible – could become the party’s nominee. First, let's just address the obvious: it isn't possible. Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson both proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt. Anyone jumping into the race now would not only have...

« January 2008 |

CapQ At CPAC

For the second year in a row, I'll be traveling to CPAC to join Blogger Row and to cover the excitement. I leave on Wednesday, which will mean a change in time for my Heading Right Radio show that day to 12:30 pm CT. The conference runs from Thursday, February 7th to Saturday, February 9th. I will broadcast all of my BlogTalkRadio shows live from the exhibit room floor, and I hope to line up some significant guests for both days. Of course, I'll also attend some of the presentations, check out the exhibitors, and try to talk to the candidates who will attend CPAC. Both Mitt Romney and John McCain will attend this year, as will many Congressional candidates looking for support. Last year's CPAC featured some fireworks, and undoubtedly this year's will bring even more. Just for fun, I'd like to see what CapQ readers would like to...

« January 2008 |

February 5, 2008

Forgive Me Father, For I Have Emitted

The latest in global-warming silliness comes from Great Britain, where Lent lends an opportunity for bishops to sound hip and relevant. Tomorrow being Ash Wednesday, the bishops of London and Yorkshire have a suggestion for Lenten sacrifice. Instead of alcohol or chocolate, give up carbon: Two senior bishops led calls on Tuesday for people to cut back on carbon, rather than the more traditional chocolate and alcohol, for Lent this year. Bishop of London Richard Chartres and Bishop of Liverpool James Jones have teamed up with aid agency Tearfund to invite the public to take part in a carbon fast for the next forty days. Those taking part in the drive to reduce their carbon footprint will be able to choose daily energy saving actions from a booklet. "For example, on the first day, people can take out one of their light bulbs and whenever they go to turn that...

« January 2008 |

Beijing's Gold Medal Firewall Coming Down?

China knows that the Olympic Games will bring great scrutiny this summer, and no more so than when the athletes of the world arrive. Thousands of Westerners will expect to have the same level of communications available to them, and the Beijing government will have to decide whether to suspend its tight control over Internet access. Unlike their citizens, these Western athletes, reporters, and tourists will leave China and tell their stories: China is debating whether to relax control of the Internet during the Olympics, allowing access to banned websites such as the BBC, a spokeswoman for the organising committee said Tuesday. Plans to tear down the so-called Great Firewall of China were being debated and a decision was expected soon, said Wang Hui, head of media relations for the organising committee. "We are studying this now based on suggestions of some journalists and a study of the experiences of...

« January 2008 |

Dumb Attack-McCain Meme. Part 2, As If We Needed Another

On my Saturday afternoon NARN radio show with Mitch Berg here in the Twin Cities, we discussed the upcoming Super Tuesday contest and took some calls. Most of the callers gave us rational support for their decision to back Mitt Romney or John McCain, but one in particular stood out for its weirdness. As near as Mitch and I could tell, the caller postulated that McCain had been brainwashed and turned by the Communists as a POW and was now a Manchurian Candidate -- which surpassed even the strangest arguments I'd heard about the Clintons at the peak of CDS. Both of us wondered in which paranoid delusional corner that particular notion arose. Lo and behold, we got an answer today. Dr. Jack Wheeler apparently began spreading this particular rumor just after the Florida primary, and it gets nasty: Others relate times when McCain screamed four-letter obscenities right in their...

« January 2008 |

Three-Term Bill?

Eugene Robinson once again takes a close look at the Clinton Restoration, and again decides that he can't abide it. The Washington Post columnist wonders exactly how Hillary can argue that her experience as First Lady somehow included actual governance, and then in the same breath insist that Bill will have nothing to do with running the country as First Spouse: There's no way that Hillary Clinton would go to the considerable trouble of running for president in order to let her husband make the decisions, as if the Clinton marriage were out of a 1950s sitcom. Hillary has her people -- longtime friends, supporters, aides -- just as Bill has his. If she made it to the White House, her people would be the ones with real power; if his people didn't like it, there wouldn't be much they could do but grumble. But Hillary Clinton opens the door...

« January 2008 |

The Polls Are Open ...

Around the country, or at least in 24 states, the polls have opened on the largest primary date in American history. Both parties send two viable candidates to the polls, and the GOP arguably three, as almost half the country tries to pick the eventual nominee. And thanks to the structure of the Republican primaries, one candidate could score a knockout punch: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton made a raspy appeal for support yesterday in her race against Sen. Barack Obama, even as her aides warned that the Democratic presidential contest will probably drag on for months after today's Super Tuesday voting. Republican Mitt Romney, meanwhile, predicted he would "surprise" those who were expecting Sen. John McCain to be anointed as the GOP nominee in the busiest single day of primaries and caucuses in presidential nominating history. "I am definitely the underdog," Romney declared during a final day of furious campaigning...

« January 2008 |

My Vote, Reposted

Given the importance of Super Tuesday, I'm reposting a portion of my endorsement of Mitt Romney for CapQ readers. First, I want to have someone who supports conservative values. In this, we have no perfect candidates. Fred Thompson came closest, but he quit, and I'm not going to cast my vote for someone who has already dropped out. Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, and John McCain all have some claim to a portion of the conservative mandate based on their accomplishments. Of the four, I trust Romney and Giuliani most to continue supporting conservative principles in the face of opposition -- and in fact I'd probably trust Giuliani a little more. Second, and very importantly, the Republican should have demonstrated success in executive management in both private and public sectors. This eliminates everyone except Romney and Rudy. John McCain wants to make the case that his experience as squadron leader...

« January 2008 |

Rockin' Politics And The Hot Seat!

Join me on Tuesday and Thursday mornings as I co-host Nikki Starr's "Nikki Rocks The Politics" at 9 am CT. We'll discuss politics, news, music, and join the chatizens and the callers. You can join us by calling (646) 478-4556. Later today, I'll also host the AOL HOt Seat Show .... AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We'll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day's poll -- including today's: embedSWF(9, 0, 0, "widget", "recent")This content requires the most recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. Get this version below:Get Flash Be sure to tune it at BlogTalkRadio -- and don't forget to cast your votes! We will also take...

« January 2008 |

A Reworked NIE?

Former UN Ambassador John Bolton wants DNI Michael McConnell to redo the National Intelligence Estimate to properly reflect the threat Iran poses to the region and the US. The do-over should emphasize the dual-use nature of its nuclear program, which Bolton claims got glossed over in the original (via Memeorandum): Today, Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee (and Thursday on the House side) to give the intelligence community's annual global threat analysis. These hearings are always significant, but the stakes are especially high now because of the recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iran. Criticism of the NIE's politicized, policy-oriented "key judgments" has spanned the political spectrum and caused considerable turmoil in Congress. Few seriously doubt that the NIE gravely damaged the Bush administration's diplomatic strategy. With the intelligence community's credibility and impartiality on the line, Mr. McConnell has an excellent opportunity to correct the...

« January 2008 |

Rush Endorses Romney

Well, well, well. This makes it nearly unanimous among the conservative talk-radio leaders, with only Michael Medved dissenting. Rush Limbaugh, who had long resisted direct involvement in primary politics, has gone one step further than the anti-endorsement for John McCain that he has been delivering for the past couple of weeks (via Hot Air): RUSH: I think now, based on the way the campaign has shaken out, that there probably is a candidate on our side who does embody all three legs of the conservative stool, and that’s Romney. The three stools or the three legs of the stool are national security/foreign policy, the social conservatives, and the fiscal conservatives. The social conservatives are the cultural people. The fiscal conservatives are the economic crowd: low taxes, smaller government, get out of the way. Of course, the foreign policy crowd is obviously what it is. I don’t think there’s anybody on...

« January 2008 |

Heading Right Radio: On Day One, Dan Proft, Michele Bachmann

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Mark Goldberg from the UN Foundation joins us to discuss their new On Day One project -- the effort to have people around the world suggest what the next American President should do on Day One of the new term. In the second half, Dan Proft of Human Events joins us to talk about Super Tuesday and the Republican conundrum. Later, our friend Rep. Michele Bachmann also joins us! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you...

« January 2008 |

Playing Hardball In West Virginia

Almost heaven ... West Virginia ... Mike Huckabee took the West Virginia state convention and the state's 18 delegates as John McCain's team threw him their support to defeat Mitt Romney. The state allocates delegates on a winner-take-all basis, and the late action by McCain's delegates keeps Romney from winning any of them. It closes out one of the states in which Romney could use to keep pace, but the move has some Republicans seeing a different kind of red: Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee won 18 delegates here Tuesday as backers of rival John McCain threw him their support to prevent Mitt Romney from capturing the winner-take-all GOP state convention vote. In first contest decided on Super Tuesday, Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, bested Romney on the second ballot with 51.5 percent of the 1,133 delegates attending the state GOP's first-ever presidential nominating convention. Romney was backed by 47.4...

« January 2008 |

The F7 Pledge

Patrick Ruffini could be the most tireless conservative organizer in the on-line community. He is also one of the nicest people in politics. As such, I'd be remiss not to highlight his latest effort -- to generate donations for the eventual Republican presidential nominee, whether John McCain or Mitt Romney or even Mike Huckabee takes it. Patrick is looking towards the future now. Will he have many ready to follow his lead? Perhaps not until the dust and the hard feelings of the primaries subside a bit, but eventually I think most will. I'm not sure I'm ready to hit the tipjar on February 7th, but I'm going to back the GOP nominee....

« January 2008 |

The Coming Meltdown For The Democrats

Early in the race, Republicans appeared headed to a brokered convention. GOP primary voters couldn't decide on a front-runner, and it looked like three or even four candidates could make it to the national convention with significant numbers of delegates, touching off a floor fight. It would have been 1976 all over again -- the convention that nominated Gerald Ford and left the Republicans flat. Now, however, it's the Democrats who appear to be headed to a 1976 scenario instead. Chris Bowers at Open Left describes the problem accurately: The polling picture for Super Tuesday is starting to fill out now. With only 34 hours until polls close in California, it appears virtually certain that we will have a split decision in terms of delegates. Currently, by multiplying the average polling margin by the number of delegates in each state, I arrive at an estimate of Clinton 889 delegates, Obama...

« January 2008 |

Caucus Live Blog

This turned into a more complicated evening than I first thought. The initial clue was when it took me five minutes to find a parking space. The turnout for the Republican caucus is so large, we had to park illegally in order to get into the event. Hundreds of cars had already filled the lot, and it looked like hundreds more were waiting to come into the lot. Our district had the honor of Governor Tim Pawlenty's presence. He gave a good speech to start the event, which was already in progress when we got to the gymnasium at the middle school where the caucus is being held. He cautioned everyone to give the representatives of the various candidates a fair hearing, warning that Minnesota Republicans "can't afford to throw anyone overboard ... It's not exactly a hotbed of Republicanism." You could have fooled me with the turnout. Reverse chronological...

« January 2008 |

Super Tuesday Live Blog

I've just returned from participating in our state Republican caucus, and now it's time to take a look at the results from the rest of the country. It's a good night thus far for John McCain, but Romney's won his share of delegates, too. Mike Huckabee has swept the South, it appears, and we will start seeing California results in the next few minutes. For the Democrats, it looks as though Hillary and Obama are splitting states, but Obama's winning big where he wins at all. Hillary's wins tend to be smaller. With all of the Democratic states proportionally allocating their delegates, can Obama edge Hillary for the night? Reverse chronological live-blogging below .... 11:40 - Most of the results are in now. McCain had a very good but not great night, as did Mike Huckabee, who beat expectations. Mitt Romney won a number of smaller state contests. McCain will...

« January 2008 |

February 6, 2008

Super Tuesday Results: Democrats

The Democratic primary race took an interesting twist last night. Hillary Clinton went into the massive Super Tuesday contest with twice as many wins as Barack Obama and a significant lead in pledged delegates, both normal and superdelegates. She came out of Super Tuesday in almost a dead heat among normal delegates, and losing more contests than she won -- but still technically leading the race. The Politico claims that the big-state wins gave Hillary an edge, but it ignores the structure of Democratic primaries: The clarity Democrats so desperately sought escaped them on Super Tuesday, as both candidates found cause to claim victory even as one of them cemented her front-runner status. By winning critical contested strongholds in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and – most important — California, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York showed big-state muscle and remained the putative leader. Decisive red-state victories in Oklahoma and Tennessee...

« January 2008 |

Super Tuesday Results: Republicans

John McCain dominated the Super Tuesday primaries across the nation, winning in almost every region except the South, where Mike Huckabee showed surprising resilience. Mitt Romney held onto second place in the delegate totals but fell far back, with McCain leading more than 2-1 with half of the country decided. It may not have been a knockout punch, but the combination of McCain and Huckabee gave Romney a body blow last night. McCain won nine states, including all of the major winner-take-all contests: John McCain rolled to victory in big-state primaries across the nation Tuesday, but rivals Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney notched enough wins to keep the race for the Republican nomination alive. McCain won primaries in California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Missouri, Delaware, Illinois, Oklahoma and Arizona, his home state. Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor who has appealed above all to white evangelicals, beat expectations across a...

« January 2008 |

Democrats' Identity Politics Getting More Sharply Defined

Exit polling for Super Tuesday contests show a growing trend towards division by ethnicity among Democrats. With the race as tight as it is, the identity politics that the party has fostered over the years has now become one of the points of division. If the primaries continue to deliver mixed results, this could provide some fireworks: Yesterday's primary voting laid bare a profound racial and ethnic divide among Democratic voters, with African Americans overwhelmingly preferring Sen. Barack Obama and Latinos largely favoring Sen. Hillary Clinton. The results of preliminary exit polls in nine key states indicate that Obama attracted the support of two-thirds to nine-tenths of black voters, except in Clinton's home state of New York. That pattern suggests that the first-term Illinois senator's strong appeal among African Americans -- first on display in the South Carolina primary last month -- is more widespread. It also means that Clinton...

« January 2008 |

Seed Corn

Having run out of men for terrorist activities, and apparently temporarily short on the mentally handicapped, al-Qaeda in Iraq has begun recruiting grade-school boys to conduct attacks. Children as young as 10 have received training on kidnapping and assassination in order to get past security processes and attack civilians. The US has it on tape: Videotapes seized during U.S. raids on suspected al-Qaida in Iraq hide-outs show the terror group training young boys to kidnap and assassinate civilians, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Wednesday. Footage aired for reporters showed an apparent training operation with black-masked boys — some of whom appeared to be about 10 years old — storming a house and holding guns to the heads of mock residents. Another tape showed a young boy wearing a suicide vest and posing with automatic weapons. ... The American military said some of the tapes were found in December during a...

« January 2008 |

Ronald Reagan: Tear Down This Wall

Ronald Reagan would have turned 97 today, had he not passed away in 2004 and faded from the political scene a decade earlier due to Alzheimer's. His memory gets invoked constantly by Republicans, 20 years after he left office with his sunny optimism intact and a stronger nation behind him. We'll continue arguing over his legacy, its meaning, and its heirs, but we can never argue about the impact of his leadership on history. Reagan spoke truth to massive power, and he sounded its death knell in four short words: Speaking truth wasn't enough, though, and Reagan explains that immediately after his famous Berlin declaration. We didn't beat the Soviets in a fluke. Mitch Berg and Gary Gross have Reagan remembrances today as well....

« January 2008 |

CPAC Looms Larger Than Ever

With John McCain rolling up some large delegate totals, his upcoming visit to CPAC tomorrow will be a critical point in his campaign. He has to find a way to work with the conservative activists that could help propel him to victory, and to do that he has to assure them of his own credentials as a conservative. Mark Tapscott has a suggestion for McCain's opening bid in his speech tomorrow: 1. McCain-Coburn: Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma may be the most credible politician in the GOP, thanks to his no-nonsense, bluntly honest approach to earmarks and federal spending. Coburn is already a McCain supporter. Reagan announced Schweicker ahead of the 76 GOP convention. McCain can put Coburn on the ticket and make him the McCain administration's tax and budget czar. 2. Reform McCain-Feingold: McCain should admit the First Amendment says Congress shall make NO law regarding freedom of political...

« January 2008 |

Florida Strategy Part Of Larger Giuliani Failure

Charles Hill talked to the Yale Daily News about the disappointing finish he experienced as a member of Rudy Giuliani's team, Hill, one of the policy stars Rudy attracted for his advisory boards in the presidential primary campaign, agrees with the conventional wisdom that the Florida strategy was a mistake. However, he argues convincingly that it was a secondary strategic error: The candidate’s focus on Florida — at the expense of campaigning in the early primaries — was a mistake, Hill said in an interview with the News on Friday. But it was also part of a larger failure on the part of Giuliani’s communications staff to engage the media and, through them, the American public, Hill said. Hill pointed to a foreign-policy speech Giuliani gave in September as emblematic of the campaign’s inability to draw attention to its candidate. “Giuliani gave a speech in London that was a very...

« January 2008 |

BlogTalkRadio Scheduling Notes For CPAC

With my trip to CPAC looming, I'm juggling some radio scheduling to accommodate the travel and speaker schedules. Please note the following changes: AOL Hot Seat: We will not broadcast this today, but will return to the air Thursday and Friday at the normal times of 1 pm ET. Today's poll can be found here. Heading Right Radio: Today's show airs at 12:30 pm CT. Jim Geraghty of National Review's Campaign Spot gives us his Super Tuesday Ledge Report. Who were the big winners and losers? Be sure to join us at the special time, and call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! Also, don't forget to join our chat room. This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. For CPAC, I'll have Heading Right Radio start at 3 pm CT (4 ET) on Thursday. John McCain addresses...

« January 2008 |

CPAC: Landed

I arrived at the Omni Shoreham hotel earlier tonight, a little at loose ends with not much happening until the morning. I retrieved my credentials for the conference, but then wandered the streets for a while, trying to determine what I wanted to do about dinner. Fortunately, I ran into my friends from the Sam Adams Alliance, who insisted that I join them for dinner and drinks. Of course, the subject of Paul Jacob and the Oklahoma 3 case was one of the main topics of conversation. We're going to have Paul join us again on the CPAC Channel at some point to remind us of his case and its import for the rights of Americans to petition government. And of course, tomorrow will be John McCain's big appearance here at CPAC. We'll have lots of events to cover tomorrow (all times ET): 11:00 - Vice President Dick Cheney 12:30...

« January 2008 |

February 7, 2008

A Harbinger?

Critics of John McCain complain that the Republican frontrunner for the presidential nomination attacks his friends with more vigor than his opponents. It certainly seems that way at times, especially during the debates over immigration and the BCRA. However, McCain has gone after Democrats with only the thinnest veneer of comity in the recent past -- and especially after one in particular, as CapQ reader Stefan Claypool reminds. In fact, two years ago yesterday, McCain wrote an open letter to Barack Obama regarding his participation in McCain's lobbying-reform efforts. Obama had publicly and privately assured McCain of support, but then Obama abruptly withdrew from the discussions. An incensed McCain fired this shot across the freshman's bow: I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere. When you approached...

« January 2008 |

The Definition Of Insanity ....

Pervez Musharraf has apparently learned little from his tussle with the Taliban. Reports have Pakistan entering into negotiations .... again ... with the Taliban .... again ... for another cease-fire. This time, they have even more bargaining chips, having control of the Swat region: Taliban militants declared a cease-fire Wednesday in fighting with Pakistani forces, and the government said it was preparing for peace talks with al-Qaida-linked extremists in the lawless tribal area near the border with Afghanistan. Any deal that allows armed Islamic extremists to operate on Pakistani soil would run counter to U.S. demands for the government to crack down on militants. The Bush administration contends a failed truce last year allowed al-Qaida to expand its reach into this turbulent, nuclear-armed country, and the U.S. has sounded warnings in recent days about a revival of militant strength. A spokesman for Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, a militant umbrella group, said the...

« January 2008 |

Is This What Burkle Bought?

In the beginning, everyone assumed that the Clinton machine would dominate fundraising in the Democratic primary. Although it raised prodigious sums of money, Barack Obama managed to keep pace all through 2007. Now, as Obama has also kept pace with Hillary in delegate counts, the Clinton machine appears to have begun running dry: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton announced yesterday that she had lent her campaign $5 million, a remarkable twist for a candidate who raised more than $100 million last year that came as she and Sen. Barack Obama continued to spar over which of them was the Democratic winner in coast-to-coast Super Tuesday balloting. ... At her campaign headquarters in Arlington, Clinton defended her maneuver, executed last month but kept under wraps until yesterday, to add money to her campaign coffers. News of the $5 million transfer came as a surprise to Clinton donors who had assumed her campaign,...

« January 2008 |

Delegate Math Looks Bad For Democrats

The delegate assignments have mostly shaken out from the Super Tuesday contests, and the situation looks even more grim than yesterday for the Democrats. Barack Obama now has a narrow five-delegate lead among non-superdelegates, 635-630, at roughly the halfway point. The remaining state delegates will now have to break markedly in favor of one candidate over the other in order to avoid making the superdelegates select the party nominee: The race for the Democratic presidential nomination between Senator Clinton and Senator Obama of Illinois is becoming a pitched delegate-by-delegate battle, which is likely to drag out for months and may even be unresolved heading into the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August. "It is likely that no side will gain an appreciable or significant advantage in overall delegate counts between now and March 4, past March 4, even past April because of the way our party allocates its delegates,"...

« January 2008 |

The Challenge For McCain And Conservatives At CPAC Today

John McCain meets some of his fiercest critics today at CPAC, with a 3 pm ET speech that will provide a critical moment for both the candidate and the activists. Most have focused on what McCain has to do to reach out to the conservatives, but fewer understand that the movement has a decision to make as well regarding its future and its relevance. First, let's focus on McCain. The Senator will not win an election by suddenly gainsaying everything he has done over the past eight years since his last presidential campaign. He will have to focus on the future, including the future of the badly-needed immigration reform that everyone wants but no one can define to consensus. McCain will need to commit to nominating judges to the bench that will not legislate from there. He has to end the false dichotomy of "patriotism, not profit" and the little...

« January 2008 |

CPAC Podcast:: Rob Neppell, aka NZ Bear

In our CPAC series of podcasts, the first goes to Rob "NZ Bear" Neppell, of both Truth Laid Bear and Kithbridge. Rob and I have been friends for years, and we had a great conversation about the two biggest speeches coming up today. We discussed what Mitt Romney has to do to keep his hopes alive in the primary, which might be a tall order. We also talked about what John McCain has to say -- and how he has to say it -- to overcome conservative mistrust. Do conservatives have some work to do as well? Both Rob and I say yes. Keep your browser tuned to the CPAC Channel today. Because I'm using the BlogTalkRadio Business Solution, I can launch a podcast at any time, as many times as I want....

« January 2008 |

CPAC: Dick Cheney Speech Live-Blog

Dick Cheney is giving one of the first speeches here at CPAC. He got a very warm welcome from the crowd, which is SRO. The Cheney we're seeing now is the relaxed and funny speaker that we've known from many speeches here and other places. The intros are still going on, but I'll live-blog the substance. 11:24 - Cheney just reviewed the service record of a couple of men who will speak later today, and now he's wrapping up. A good speech, well received, and unapologetic for the war effort. 11:20 - On the war policy of the Bush administration: "Would I support those same decisions today? You're damned right I would." The war won't be on the defensive, Cheney says. 11:18 - Iraq will remain a tough job, as Petraeus has said. He is highlighting the gains from the surge, nothing terribly surprising. 11:14 - Defends the interrogation of...

« January 2008 |

CPAC Podcast:: Paul Jacob

I had an opportunity to speak with Paul Jacob, the man who faces 10 years in prison for the crime of advising Oklahomans on conducting a referendum petition drive. Paul mostly talks about others, but there is no doubt that Paul is the man on the firing line. He and two others face criminal conspiracy charges for their work in collecting signatures for a Taxpayers Bill of Rights in Oklahoma. If you are interested in reading more about this case, I wrote about it in October. Also, you can read more about Paul's other issues at Ballotpedia. Keep your browser tuned to the CPAC Channel today. Because I'm using the BlogTalkRadio Business Solution, I can launch a podcast at any time, as many times as I want....

« January 2008 |

CPAC Podcast:: Iraq Vets For Congress

Will Breazeale and Keiran Lalor visited Blogger Row this morning to talk about Iraq Vets for Congress, which promotes the candidacies of 12 Republican challengers for the House. We had a great conversation with Will, a major in the Army Reserve, and Kieran, a former Marine. They're asking for $25 donations to each of the candidates to raise $100,000 for the group, and they talk about the motivation for their campaigns. We'll be speaking with Jeff Flake and Tom Coburn later today!...

« January 2008 |

CPAC: Romney To Withdraw?

We're waiting for Mitt Romney's speech to start here in a few minutes, and I'll live-blog it once it begins. However, we all have heard the report from Mark Halperin at Time that Romney will use the event to announce his withdrawal from the race. It will, ironically, now overshadow the long-awaited attempt at rapprochement from John McCain this afternoon, but I'd bet McCain would take that trade. Keep checking back. Romney will take the stage in a few minutes .... 1:17 - Mitt made the right decision, and he made the announcement in the right place. He's a good man, and I think this will allow the Republicans a lot more time to find accommodation with John McCain. 1:04 - He wants to "do whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq," and this is his reason to withdraw. He's going to back out to ensure victory. 1:03 -...

« January 2008 |

CPAC Podcast:: Roy Beck, NumbersUSA

Earlier, I caught up with Roy Beck of NumbersUSA, a conservative action group on immigration policy. We happened to speak right after Mitt Romney withdrew from the race. Roy acknowledges that this will affect his strategy. Roy actually sounds pretty optimistic despite McCain's nomination....

« January 2008 |

CPAC Podcast:: Megan Ortagus, FreedomsWatch

Megan Ortagus of FreedomsWatch talked about the mission of her organization. Megan is the Iraq Project Manager, but Freedoms Watch has a much broader conservative agenda. They're here at CPAC to expand their visibility, and they're also interviewing bloggers and other attendees and posting the videos at their website....

« January 2008 |

CPAC Podcast:: Rep. Jeff Flake

Rob Neppell and I interviewed Rep. Jeff Flake, one of the heroes of the Porkbusters. Flake gave us an update on earmark reform, including his opinion that Republicans still haven't quite figured out the advantage they would have by adopting a full-throated opposition to pork. He describes the caucus' strategy now as a "prevent defense .... when you're 20 points down." For those who called House Republican leadership to press them to appoint Flake to Appropriations, that battle can still be won. Flake told us that they have delayed the decision, and that the thousands of calls and e-mails had a big impact on their hesitancy to pull the trigger. Go to Make It Flake to continue that pressure....

« January 2008 |

John McCain Speech Live Blog

John McCain will give his long-awaited speech to the assembled conservatives at CPAC. George Allen will introduce McCain, marking his first major appearance since his loss in 2006. He opened by talking about the diversity of the conservatives at the conference. That will remain to be seen. Are they diverse enough to generate support McCain? More follows .... 3:52 - That was an excellent speech. McCain genuinely reached out to conservatives in a heartfelt manner. I'll talk more about this on the Heading Right Radio. 3:51 - Just realized I was marking the time in CT. Sorry!! 2:42 - McCain sounds energized and is commanding the room. It's one of his better speeches, and he's hitting all the right notes for the crowd. A lot of them are his supporters, but Mitt's backers easily outnumbered those at CPAC. At the least, his opponents are giving him a chance to convince...

« January 2008 |

Heading Right Radio: CPAC, McCain Speech, DeMint & Coburn

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (3 pm CT), Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn joins Rob Neppell and me after the McCain speech. We'll talk about whether McCain made the transition to nominee. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. 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:...

« January 2008 |

Alert The Media

It's been a long and eventful day, but nothing beats ending it with a few friends. I'll talk with CHQR's Rob Breakinridge for The World Tonight to discuss Mitt Romney's withdrawal and the apparent clinching of the nomination by John McCain, and what it means for Republicans and conservatives. I'm on at 10:35 pm ET, and you can catch me on CHQR's Internet stream....

« January 2008 |

February 8, 2008

The Opening

Yesterday's speech to CPAC gave John McCain an opening to rational consideration of support by conservatives, and it didn't come in the necessary phrases of rapprochement. John McCain made an offer to conservatives for access and influence. Will they take it, or will they walk away and leave McCain to make that offer to other Republicans and centrists? McCain focused the latter part of his speech on the big issues that he says will define the election -- the war, the Democratic insistence on statist policies, and entitlement reform. He concluded that part of the argument with this (emphasis mine): These are but a few of the differences that will define this election. They are very significant differences, and I promise you, I intend to contest these issues on conservative grounds and fight as hard as I can to defend the principles and positions we share, and to keep this...

« January 2008 |

CPAC: George Bush Speech Live-Blog

George Bush makes his first CPAC appearance since his election today, in the last year of his presidency. People might be surprised to hear that, but Bush has let Dick Cheney make the CPAC appearances, and with good reason. While Bush has been a stalwart on national defense and judicial nominations, he has hardly wowed conservatives on spending discipline. His remarks today marks the beginning of a valedictory cycle that will take him all the way through to January 20th of next year. 8:05 - "My spirits are up, my energy is high, and I will finish strong!" He encourages CPAC to support the Republican nominee "who will carry the conservative banner" in the next election. He never did mention John McCain, but that might be because Huckabee remains in the race. 8:04 - People start chanting "Four more years!" again, and Bush shakes his head and laughs. I think...

« January 2008 |

Bhutto Killed In Blast: Scotland Yard

Scotland Yard has concluded that Benazir Bhutto did not die from a gunshot wound, but instead died from the blast of the suicide bomber's explosion immediately afterward. The Bhutto family and her political party have rejected the findings, and they have renewed their calls for a UN investigation: Scotland Yard said in a report released Friday that Pakistan's opposition leader Benazir Bhutto died as a result of a suicide bomb blast, not a gunshot — findings that support the Pakistani government's version of the events. Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party immediately rejected the British conclusion and repeated its demand for a U.N. investigation. The party says Bhutto was shot and suspects a government cover-up because Bhutto had accused political allies of President Pervez Musharraf of plotting to kill her. The British probe also found that a single attacker both fired the shots at Bhutto and detonated the blast by blowing himself...

« January 2008 |

CPAC Podcast: Mark Mathis & 'Expelled: The Movie'

Bloggers will get a treat tonight. The sponsor of Bloggers Corner (which actually has no corners), CRC Public Relations, has arranged for a pre-release screening of Expelled: The Movie. I interviewed the producer of the movie, Mark Mathis, in my first podcast for today. Fans of Dinesh D'Souza's book and our earlier interview with D'Souza will want to hear what Mathis has to say about academia. Later this evening, I hope to live-blog the sneak peek. With Ben Stein as its tour guide and with interviews of noted athiests like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, it promises to be explosive....

« January 2008 |

Shari'a: The Borg Of Jurisprudence

The Archbishop of Canterbury has endorsed the adoption of shari'a in Britain, calling it "inevitable". Most of the British beg to differ, and Rowan Williams now finds himself at the center of a multicultural meltdown: The Archbishop of Canterbury was embroiled in a fierce political and religious row last night after he called for aspects of Islamic sharia law to be adopted in Britain. Dr Rowan Williams said that it "seems inevitable" that elements of the Muslim law, such as divorce proceedings, would be incorporated into British legislation. His comments were immediately attacked by Downing Street, religious groups and MPs from all sides. The head of the equality watchdog denounced his claims while several high-profile Muslims also criticised Dr Williams. The Archbishop forgot that Britain operates under a representative government, not a theocracy. The adoption of shari'a would obliterate that system and place the UK under the thumb of imams...

« January 2008 |

CPAC Podcast: Peggy Venable, Americans For Prosperity

Peggy Venable of Americans for Tax Prosperity in Texas dropped by to visit, and to talk about their efforts to stop Texas counties from hiring lobbyists in DC. AFP-TX will hold a summer conference in Austin to counter a netroots convention at the same time there. Listen to the podcast to hear Rob Neppell and me discuss their efforts and how they relate to porkbusting on the national level....

« January 2008 |

CPAC Podcast: JD Johannes

JD Johannes of Outside The Wire joins me to talk about his series of documentary episodes from Iraq. Tomorrow, JD will join Bill Roggio and Jeff Emanuel on a panel that will air these episodes and talk about embedded reporting for New Media in war zones. I'll be live-blogging the panel, starting at 11 am tomorrow, and it should be fascinating. They're about to start selling the episodes as part of a double-DVD set through their website. Here's a preview:...

« January 2008 |

CPAC Podcast: What Happened To Fred Thompson

Jon Henke of New Media Strategies and QandO worked on the Fred Thompson campaign for most of its run at the presidential nomination. With John McCain having all but wrapped up the prize, I asked Jon to talk about what went wrong in the campaign that had the blogosphere on fire for a brief moment. Jon gives us a little "straight talk" about the Thompson campaign....

« January 2008 |

CPAC Podcast: Pete Sepp, NTU

The NTU has done an analysis of the costs associated with the platforms of the major presidential candidates, and Pete Sepp joins me to discuss the results. Republicans may be surprised at the results of the study, which shows -- surprise! -- John McCain as the most fiscally conservative candidate still left in the race: The top-tier GOP candidates often portrayed as "conservative" (Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee) actually called for significantly larger spending hikes ($19.5 billion and $54.2 billion, respectively), than the so-called "moderate conservative" (John McCain, $6.9 billion). Among Democrats, Barack Obama, often described as ideologically more "moderate" than Hillary Clinton, actually has the larger agenda of the two ($287.0 billion vs. $218.2 billion). The entire study is available at the NTU website....

« January 2008 |

CPAC Podcast: David Bellavia

Rob Neppell and I spoke with author and Iraqi war vet David Bellavia, whose House to House provided one of the most gritty and realistic portraits of the war in Iraq. David has a lot on his mind, and he unloads on the war's opponents and their efforts to make him and his fellow vets into victims. He pulls no punches as he talks about Vets for Freedom....

« January 2008 |

CPAC Podcast: Josh Shultz, NRCC

Josh Shultz of the NRCC visited Blogger Row, and I shanghaied him into an interview. Josh talks about the challenges Republicans face in November in their efforts to win the House back, and the opportunities it also represents to reset the agenda for the GOP....

« January 2008 |

CPAC Podcast: Princella Smith

Princella Smith of American Solutions joins me for an interview. Newt Gingrich started American Solutions as a way to bypass the partisan gridlock in DC and build grassroots action for issues facing ordinary citizens. Princella and I discuss the transformative potential of Newt's vision....

« January 2008 |

Heading Right Radio: Week In Review!

We will be going with our normal schedule today! At noon central (1 pm ET), Mark Impomeni and I talk about the AOL Hot Seat question of the day. And at 2 pm CT, Heading Right Radio has its Week in Review with Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson. I'll post the normal headers in a few minutes .... Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson joins me for the Week In Review. Also joining us will be the chair of the RNC, Mike Duncan. We'll be talking about the events at CPAC and how Republicans can come together to face the Democrats in November -- at all levels of the ticket. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock...

« January 2008 |

CPAC Podcast: Governor Jim Gilmore

Governor Jim Gilmore withdrew from the Republican presidential race last summer, but he has decided to run for Virginia's Senate seat currently held by the retiring John Warner. He spoke with Rob Neppell and me just after my Heading Right Radio show, and he outlined the conservative values that he intends to uphold in continuing service to Virginia. Anyone wishing to contribute to this important race needs to visit his website, Jim Gilmore for Senate....

« January 2008 |

February 9, 2008

Expelled: The Movie

The bloggers at CPAC received an invitation to screen a new documentary on academic intolerance called Expelled: The Movie this evening. The documentary features Ben Stein on a quest to understand the near-hysteria caused by scientists who so much as broach the idea of intelligent design in papers or in research. It follows Stein as he interviews professors denied tenure, editors fired, and journalists shunned for touching the subject even at its most innocuous levels. Before discussing my feelings about the film, which is still in post-production and will not go into release until April, I should explain my approach to the ID/evolution debate. I believe evolution is demonstrably proven in enough examples to say that its effect on variation in species cannot be denied. The example I used tonight in discussing this with another viewer (certainly not the only example) is antibiotic effects on bacteria. Antibiotics that kill 99%...

« January 2008 |

Is MS-NBC Biased? Are You Kidding?

After Chris Matthews dismissed Hillary Clinton's political qualifications as limited to her husband's infidelity, her supporters roared until squeezing a very public apology from the MS-NBC talk-show host. Now David Shuster, another MS-NBC on-air personality, will cool his heels for an undetermined length of time for accusing Hillary of "pimping out" her daughter politically, and Hillary may refuse any more debates on the so-called network. Howard Kurtz has the story: In case there was any doubt, using a prostitution metaphor for the daughter of a presidential candidate is not a good career move. MSNBC suspended correspondent David Shuster yesterday for an undetermined period for making a disparaging on-air remark about Chelsea Clinton. Meanwhile, officials in her mother's campaign raised the possibility of punishing the news channel by boycotting future debates. While filling in as a host Thursday, Shuster was discussing the 27-year-old's role in Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign with two...

« January 2008 |

Buyer's Remorse

Today, Democrats in Michigan can spend the day thinking about how they could have been the center of the political universe, had they not gotten greedy for pre-Super Tuesday glory. Their primary was originally scheduled for today, but they wanted to be more relevant and move their date to the front of the line. As it worked out, they could have provided a make-or-break moment by staying put -- and kept their delegates to boot: The clever people in Michigan who decided to get into a game of chicken with New Hampshire last fall over the timing of their Democratic primary should be having second thoughts this weekend. Had Michigan Democrats not engaged in gamesmanship over the shape of the nomination calendar, they would be holding the premier contest on today's slate, by far the biggest and most influential of the events between Super Tuesday and next week's Potomac primaries,...

« January 2008 |

Bitter Enders

How are the attendees of CPAC handling the ascension of John McCain to the nomination? For the most part, I'd say fairly well. McCain hasn't generated wild enthusiasm from conservative activists, but the general sense is that he's earned an opportunity to partner with conservatives. I chatted briefly with McCain volunteers at their booth, and they say they've signed up over 200 new volunteers. That would be a significant number for any candidate at a conference with this kind of diversity. However, not everyone wants to put the divisions behind them. When I got to Blogger Row this morning, the desks had been papered by Patriot PAC. They have launched a new website, OpenGOPConvention, to urge voters to deny McCain the outright nomination. Headlined "CONTAIN MCCAIN!", they want Republicans to wait for a "real Ronald Reagan conservative" -- as if no one thought of the idea before. They also left...

« January 2008 |

CPAC Podcast: Mark Tapscott

CPAC honored my friend Mark Tapscott by naming him Conservative Journalist of the Year yesterday. Mark and I talk about the newspaper business, his attempt to move the business to the on-line model, and why my dating life resembled the 2007 Miami Dolphins. No, seriously....

« January 2008 |

CPAC Podcast: Mary Katherine Ham

Most people know her for her inventive and provocative video commentaries, and Mary Katherine Ham also gives incisive political analysis on podcasts. She joins me to discuss the temperature at CPAC. We talk about Huckabee, McCain, and the opportunities for moving forward towards unity while preserving conservative goals....

« January 2008 |

CPAC Podcast: Speaker Newt Gingrich

Rob Neppell and I interviewed former Speaker Newt Gingrich for a special CPAC Channel podcast. Gingrich talked about his efforts at American Solutions, where he is building grassroots efforts to bypass partisan roadblocks to resolving the issues ordinary Americans face. He also told us that the Republican Party can't win running a contrast campaign, but have to put forth a positive message with a real agenda for progress. I asked him about John McCain and how conservatives should approach his apparent nomination. He responded by saying that conservatives should not wed themselves to the GOP. However, he also reminds us that one can support a candidate while opposing some of their policies, and that John McCain is much better than Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Don't miss this interview!...

« January 2008 |

CPAC Podcast: Jim DeMint

Our final podcast today is with Senator Jim DeMint, who called in from Baghdad. Senator DeMint updates Rob Neppell and me on the status of our mission, the latest operation in Mosul, and the danger of early withdrawal. He also endorses John McCain for what we believe is the first time, and looks forward to an election fought in part on pork....

« January 2008 |

Huckabee Persists

For some reason, this didn't publish when I wrote it this morning. I'm posting it now instead. Governor Mike Huckabee addressed an enthusiastic crowd at CPAC this morning, despite giving his speech at the sleepy hour of 9 am on Saturday. Huckabee clearly was in fine mettle, keeping the fires going in the campaign. He spoke about the Fair Tax plan, at one point tearing up a 1040 form and throwing the pieces in the air to the delight of the crowd. Huckabee refuses to withdraw from the race. That didn't surprise anyone here, and the lack of anticipation could be seen throughout the exhibition hall. Where business came to a halt with the speeches from Mitt Romney and John McCain, most people outside the hall where Huckabee appeared gave the speech much notice at all. He wants to continue to press for the policy stands he has taken in...

« January 2008 |

February 10, 2008

Obama Sweeps Saturday, Sets Up Showdown On Superdelegates

Barack Obama swept the trio of contests in the Democratic primaries yesterday, increasing his momentum and narrowing the delegate gap even further. The Clinton campaign tried to shrug off the losses as "expected", but with the Beltway contests of DC, Virginia, and Maryland coming on Tuesday, Hillary may not see another win for a while: Sen. Barack Obama dominated Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in presidential balloting in Nebraska, Louisiana and Washington state last night, besting her by huge margins in those contests and further narrowing her slender advantage in delegates needed to claim the Democratic presidential nomination. ... Among Democrats, Obama (Ill.) won more than two-thirds of the vote in both Nebraska and Washington, and his lopsided victories gave a boost to his state-by-state strategy of methodically picking up delegates, while highlighting Clinton's struggles in caucuses. Clinton (N.Y.) is focusing her campaign on big states with dense population centers, several...

« January 2008 |

Bolton Endorses McCain

Ambassador John Bolton has long been a favorite of the conservative wing of the Republican Party. Yesterday, he threw his support behind John McCain's nomination, an attempt to help unify the GOP base around McCain: "John McCain was very active and supportive during my confirmation hearings to be the U.S. Ambassador to the UN. His belief in me at that time was a testament to his courage to fight the liberals in the Senate and vigorously advance American interests at the UN. "I whole-heartedly endorse John McCain for President because when he takes office in January 2009 he will be prepared immediately to lead us. John will not need on the job training. "American conservatives will have a President they can be proud of in John McCain." Bolton won the admiration of conservatives in his aggressive nature towards internationalists, especially during his tenure at the UN. His full-throated defense of...

« January 2008 |

CPAC Straw Poll, And Final Thoughts

Mitt Romney narrowly won the CPAC straw poll, but he did so mainly on the strength of ballots cast before his withdrawal. The final results took a back seat to the story told by the shift in voting after the first day's events: Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney narrowly beat John McCain, 35 to 34 percent, in a straw poll of conservative political activists gathered Saturday in Washington — a vote that is viewed as a barometer of support from that major GOP voting bloc. ... Roughly one-quarter of the votes in the three-day CPAC 2008 straw poll were cast before Mitt Romney dropped out of the presidential race, and three-quarters after his withdrawal. In votes cast before Romney left the race, he beat McCain 44 to 27 percent. Among votes gathered after Romney’s withdrawal, McCain led Romney 37 to 32 percent. I cast my vote on Friday, and...

« January 2008 |

Newsweek: McCain Leads Huckabee, Democrats Split

I'm at Reagan National in DC, waiting for the next two hours to fly back to sub-zero temperatures in Minneapolis. Thankfully, the airport has begun to install more electrical outlets at the gates, which allows me to conserve battery life on the laptop while I pass the time. Newsweek also helps by publishing a poll today in the all-but-finished Republican primary race, showing John McCain with a commanding national lead over Mike Huckabee after the Mitt Romney withdrawal: McCain was widely perceived to have practically sealed the Republican presidential nomination Thursday when his chief rival, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, suspended his presidential campaign. Indeed, the senator from Arizona leads the GOP race with 51 percent of registered Republican voters and those leaning toward the GOP, according to the poll, which is based on telephone interviews with 1,394 registered voters Feb. 6-7. Huckabee draws 32 percent support, followed by Rep....

« January 2008 |

February 11, 2008

Bye, Bye, Roy

Roy Scheider passed away yesterday after a lengthy bout with multiple myeloma. At seventy-five, Scheider had proven his mettle on both stage and screen, and as both leading man and character actor. He was 75 years old: Roy Scheider, a stage actor with a background in the classics who became one of the leading figures in the American film renaissance of the 1970s, died on Sunday afternoon in Little Rock, Ark. He was 75 and lived in Sag Harbor, N.Y. Mr. Scheider had suffered from multiple myeloma for several years, and died of complications from a staph infection, his wife, Brenda Seimer, said. Mr. Scheider’s rangy figure, gaunt face and emotional openness made him particularly appealing in everyman roles, most famously as the agonized police chief of “Jaws,” Steven Spielberg’s 1975 breakthrough hit, about a New England resort town haunted by the knowledge that a killer shark is preying on...

« January 2008 |

Pakistanis Capture Taliban Commander

The Dadullah family has had a string of bad luck. First, the Taliban inner circle member Mullah Dadullah got killed in a NATO attack a year ago when the Americans imposed a much more aggressive strategy in dealing with Taliban probes and ambushes. Now his brother Mansoor, a top field commander for the Taliban, finds himself a prisoner of the Pakistani Army after losing a shootout: Pakistani security forces captured a top figure in the Taliban militia fighting U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan along with four other militants Monday, a military official said. Mansoor Dadullah, brother of the Taliban's slain military commander Mullah Dadullah, was among five militants captured after a shootout near a seminary in Zhob district of southwestern Baluchistan province around 10 a.m., a local intelligence official told The Associated Press. Once again, we have a surrender from the top levels of the Taliban rather than a...

« January 2008 |

AQI Diarist: Cheated, Betrayed, Mistreated

The US military captured no prisoners on one particular raid in Balad, but instead captured the heartbreak of al-Qaeda in Iraq. The leader of the group had left behind a diary he kept through October, and the November push as part of the surge had overrun his position. The emir bitterly recounted the disintegration of his unit and the manner in which the Iraqi people had turned against them: On Nov. 3, U.S. soldiers raided a safe house of the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq near the northern city of Balad. Not a single combatant was captured, but inside the house they found something valuable: a diary and will written in neat Arabic script. "I am Abu Tariq, Emir of al-Layin and al-Mashadah Sector," it began. Over 16 pages, the al-Qaeda in Iraq leader detailed the organization's demise in his sector. He once had 600 men, but now his force...

« January 2008 |

US Forces Capture Militia Leader

US forces conducting raids in Sadr City captured a militia leader who has connections to Iran. The raids apparently prompted Moqtada al-Sadr to reaffirm the cease-fire for the Mahdi Army, and the US continued to pursue supposedly rogue elements attempting to foment violence in the capital: U.S. soldiers captured a suspected Shiite militia commander and one other suspect Monday, the latest of several days of raids in Shiite holy cities south of Baghdad. The arrests came a day after car bombs and gunmen struck new U.S. allies, police and civilians in northern Iraq, killing as many as 53 people in a spasm of violence that coincided with a visit by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates to Baghdad. The main suspect detained Monday is believed to be in charge of criminal operations for "special groups" in the Iraqi provinces of Wasit, Babil and Najaf, the U.S. military said in a statement....

« January 2008 |

Can't Anyone In Washington Handle An Election?

The Republican caucus in Washington only determines the status of 18 delegates, and they can't even get that much right. The state which saw a number of irregularities in the last presidential election produced another whopper of an error over the weekend, when the Republican Party suddenly stopped counting results and declared John McCain the winner. Mike Huckabee, only two percent behind McCain with 13% of precincts left to report, protested: The results of the state Republican caucuses were called into question today after presidential candidate Mike Huckabee challenged the party's declaration that Arizona Sen. John McCain had won the delegate count. Huckabee's campaign took issue with the fact that Washington state Republican Party Chairman Luke Esser called the race Saturday night with 87 percent of the precincts counted. At that point, McCain was ahead of Huckabee by 242 delegates out of the 13,000 counted, Esser said. The Huckabee campaign...

« January 2008 |

Should Huckabee Withdraw?

UPDATE II: We're adding the AOL Hot Seat poll to this post and bumping it to the top: [Poll expired.] AOL visitors: Welcome to Captain's Quarters. Take a look around, feel free to participate in the comments section, and bookmark this community for future visits! Also, be sure to tune into our BlogTalkRadio show at 1 pm ET that reviews the response to the poll! UPDATE III: In the post, I note that the rest of the contests are proportional-allocation states. That's not correct; Virginia and DC tomorrow are both winner-take all, with 63 and 19 delegates each. Unfortunately for Huckabee, he's trailing badly in Virginia, and also in Maryland's closed primary. Original post follows .... ========== Mike Huckabee won two of the three contests in the Republican primaries yesterday as he benefitted from the withdrawal of Mitt Romney. He took Louisiana and Kansas and narrowly lost Washington to John...

« January 2008 |

My Turn On The Hot Seat: Should Huckabee Withdraw?

AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We'll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day's poll -- including today's: [Poll moved to post below.] Be sure to tune it at BlogTalkRadio -- and don't forget to cast your votes! We will also take your calls at (347) 205-9555....

« January 2008 |

Tom Lantos, RIP

Rep Tom Lantos (D-CA) has died this morning, apparently from esophageal cancer. The 80-year-old Democrat came to the United States as a refugee of the Holocaust, becoming the only such person elected to Congress: Rep. Tom Lantos of California, the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress, has died, his spokeswoman said Monday. ... Lantos, who referred to himself as "an American by choice," was born to Jewish parents in Budapest, Hungary, and was 16 when Adolf Hitler occupied Hungary in 1944. He survived by escaping twice from a forced labor camp and coming under the protection of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who used his official status and visa-issuing powers to save thousands of Hungarian Jews. Lantos' mother and much of his family perished in the Holocaust. That background gave Lantos a moral authority unique in Congress and he used it repeatedly to speak out on foreign policy issues,...

« January 2008 |

Ted Olson Grabs His Popcorn

Rarely in life does one get to enjoy irony and karma as much as Ted Olson. Having borne the scars of the Gore v Bush lawsuits arising from the 2000 presidential election, Olson now sees a similar outcome, on similar grounds, in the exact same state. Calling it "splendid theater", the incompetent handling of Florida and Michigan likely will combine with a razor-thin delegate chase for the Democratic presidential nomination to produce litigation that will reduce the party to shreds. Don't count Olson among the mourners: How ironic. For over seven years the Democratic Party has fulminated against the Electoral College system that gave George W. Bush the presidency over popular-vote winner Al Gore in 2000. But they have designed a Rube Goldberg nominating process that could easily produce a result much like the Electoral College result in 2000: a winner of the delegate count, and thus the nominee, over...

« January 2008 |

Not Ready For Prime Time

Barack Obama appeared on 60 Minutes last night, and once again he offered change. Unfortunately, the kind of change offered appeared to be the same he accuses his opponents of offering -- waffling on the status of troops in Iraq. After cheerfully misrepresenting John McCain's "100 years" comment, he then left himself the leeway to make exactly the same kind of decision: "Well, I think, on the positive side, we've seen a reduction in violence. And I don't think anybody can deny that," Obama said. "What we haven't seen is the kind of political reconciliation or accommodation between the Sunni and the Shia and the Kurds that are required in order for Iraq to stabilize. But I completely reject the notion, you know, most forcefully presented by John McCain that we should commit ourselves to a 50-year or a 60-year or a 100-year occupation in order to assure stability in...

« January 2008 |

Heading Right Radio: Brian Faughnan

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Brian Faughnan joins me. Brian writes at the Weekly Standard and its blog, the Worldwide Standard, and spent a few days with me at CPAC. We'll review the events at the conference and talk about the future of the election cycle. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. 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:...

« January 2008 |

A Moment Of Cheer From John Podhoretz

John Podhoretz gives a brilliant and depressing analysis of the challenges facing the Republicans in 2008, not just in the presidential race but also in competing for the House and Senate. John sees the problem as being one of an exodus from the GOP of its more independent-minded voters that began in 2005 with Hurricane Katrina, and may only have recently stopped: The swift, steep decline in Republican fortunes over the past few years has induced a state of vertigo in the party’s body politic. Its elected officials, eminences grises, and rank-and-file members are all disoriented by the rapid plunge in the party’s standing with the American people—just at the moment when they have to present the best possible case that their presidential candidate, and everyone who appears with him on the Republican ballot, are the proper stewards of the country’s future. Among Republican politicians, the funk set in after...

« January 2008 |

Estrich: Who'd Have Thought The Party Of Identity Politics Has Racists?

Susan Estrich either wants to build credibility as a satirist, or her latest column provides a long-overdue look in the mirror for Democrats. Detecting more a whiff of the so-called Bradley Effect in primaries where Barack Obama holds solid polling leads only to mysteriously fall short of Hillary Clinton, Estrich diagnoses a latent racism in her party. No kidding! But, the fact is that there is a long pattern of what we in California call the "Bradley problem" in polling, after the former Los Angeles mayor who was elected governor in every poll, including the exits, except that he lost at the ballot box. Did I mention that he was African-American? That was, according to the pollsters, the problem: about 10 percent of the electorate claimed that they were going to vote for him, and in many cases even told pollsters that they did, but they lied. ... Doug Wilder,...

« January 2008 |

A Flag Obama Supporters Salute?

Oh, my. Barack Obama may want to call his new Houston office and suggest some decorating ideas. Take a look at the flag flying in the office at the moment: No, that's not a Texas state flag with a picture of Obama on it. It's the flag of the Castro-led Cuba regime, with Che Guevara's face superimposed on the side. A Fox report from Houston captured this image as it showed Obama supporters celebrating his momentum after Super Tuesday. Does Obama know his Houston supporters honor a terrorist in his campaign office? I'm sure he doesn't. However, it would behoove him to ensure that the flag gets taken down and that he renounces any affinity for Che and the Fidel Castro regime. (via Jim Geraghty) UPDATE: John Cole doesn't see anything wrong with a presidential campaign office featuring a Cuban flag with a picture of Che Guevara? Along with the...

« January 2008 |

All The World's A Stage ...

... and the smokers on it only players. At least that's what the bar owners in Minnesota have decided. They have taken a loophole in the state no-smoking law to allow their patrons to have their tobacco, even if they have to sing for their supper, so to speak: On a night when wind chills were expected to reach minus-40 or below, revelers hunkered down for a night of drinking at Barnacle's Resort, a popular winter redoubt for ice fishermen and snowmobilers on the north shore of Lake Mille Lacs. Helmets and jackets were stuffed everywhere. A plastic kiddie pool full of crushed ice held red meat, which was raffled off throughout the night. Two tables of Texas Hold 'Em were full, and someone was telling the story of the night Minnesota Vikings fullback Jim Kleinsasser sat there - right there - in that very stool. Smoke wafted through the...

« January 2008 |

February 12, 2008

Pakistani Ambassador Disappears After Dadullah Capture

The Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan has disappeared on the road between Peshawar and Kabul, and the Pakistanis suspect that the Taliban has kidnapped him. Tariq Azizuddin failed to show on schedule in Kabul, and no one has seen him or his driver since their departure. The Taliban apparently want Dadullah back: Pakistan's ambassador to Afghanistan has been abducted in a troubled tribal border region just hours after a senior Taliban commander was arrested. Tariq Azizuddin, the Pakistani envoy to Kabul, disappeared with his driver while travelling the Khyber Pass on the road between the Pakistani city of Peshawar and the Afghan border. "We know that he was coming from Peshawar to Kabul and we lost contact with him. We are trying our best to find out what happened," said a spokesman for the Pakistani embassy in Kabul. Tribal militants may have abducted the ambassador. Rasool Khan Wazir, the chief administrative...

« January 2008 |

Danes Break Cartoonist Murder Plot

Danish police conducted a series of pre-dawn raids that broke a conspiracy to murder an editorial cartoonist. Both Danish citizens and foreign nationals plotted to kill Kurt Westergaard, one of the cartoonists that created critical images of the Muslim prophet Mohammed two years ago as part of a series in defense of free speech and open criticism. The cartoons set off riots throughout the Islamic world, and produced death threats to all of the artists who participated: Danish police said Tuesday they have arrested several people suspected of plotting to kill one of the 12 cartoonists behind the Prophet Muhammad drawings that sparked a deadly uproar in the Muslim world two years ago. The arrests were made in pre-dawn raids in Aarhus, western Denmark, "to prevent a terror-related murder," the police intelligence agency said. It did not say how many people were arrested nor did it mention which cartoonist was...

« January 2008 |

Even The Gray Lady Notices Attrition Working

The New York Times has a growing reputation as a lagging indicator. Almost six months after the Arizona Republic noticed that a series of tough anti-illegal-immigration state laws had provided an incentive for noticeable attrition by illegal aliens, the Paper of Record has finally reported on the phenomenon. It's like the surge -- only on domestic policy, and it comes at an odd time: The signs of flight among Latino immigrants here are multiple: Families moving out of apartment complexes, schools reporting enrollment drops, business owners complaining about fewer clients. While it is too early to know for certain, a consensus is developing among economists, business people and immigration groups that the weakening economy coupled with recent curbs on illegal immigration are steering Hispanic immigrants out of the state. The Arizona economy, heavily dependent on growth and a Latino work force, has been slowing for months. Meanwhile, the state has...

« January 2008 |

The Texas-Ohio Firewall?

Has it come down to Texas and Ohio for Hillary Clinton? That's what the New York Times reports today, and apparently what some in her own campaign believe. Without significant wins there, Hillary will have to pull out of the Democratic primary race: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and her advisers increasingly believe that, after a series of losses, she has been boxed into a must-win position in the Ohio and Texas primaries on March 4, and she has begun reassuring anxious donors and superdelegates that the nomination is not slipping away from her, aides said on Monday. Mrs. Clinton held a buck-up-the-troops conference call on Monday with donors, superdelegates and other supporters; several said afterward that she had sounded tired and a little down, but determined about Ohio and Texas. They also said that they had not been especially soothed, and that they believed she might be on a losing...

« January 2008 |

Gore Won't Endorse This Time

For better or worse, Al Gore will not endorse anyone in the Democratic primary race. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama hoped to cash in on Gore's cachet, but the former Vice President and erstwhile presidential candidate has decided to stay above the fray: He's the most prominent Democrat yet to take a side in the presidential election, but two sources close to Al Gore tell us not to expect the former vice president to endorse either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama any time during the primary season. The sources say Gore talks with both Clinton and Obama, and is on good terms with both. But with Sen. John Kerry and Bill Clinton both aligned to a candidate, Gore has a role to serve as the neutral elder statesman in the party. This makes sense. As a party leader, he has to stay neutral if he wants to facilitate the...

« January 2008 |

AOL Hot Seat Question Of The Day

AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We'll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day's poll -- including today's: embedSWF(9, 0, 0, "widget", "recent")This content requires the most recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. Get this version below:Get Flash Be sure to tune it at BlogTalkRadio, or listen here through the player below -- and don't forget to cast your votes! We will also take your calls at (347) 205-9555....

« January 2008 |

Potomac Primary Predictions

The key Potomac primaries in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC have all begun, and right now all of them appear to favor the momentum candidates. For the Republicans, John McCain has an opportunity to provide more lift for his all-but-certain nomination. Barack Obama needs a couple of big wins in the contests to make a momentum argument into Texas and Ohio: The demographics in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia primaries suggest the senator from Illinois could pull off a political hat trick Tuesday over rival Sen. Hillary Clinton. However, the senator from New York said Obama's recent success doesn't faze her because future primaries will swing her way. On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee is coming off big wins in Kansas and Louisiana, but Sen. John McCain of Arizona scoffed at the notion that the former Arkansas governor could close the roughly 500-delegate gap that separates the two...

« January 2008 |

Senate Approves Telecom Immunity

The Senate handily defeated an attempt to strip immunity for telecommunications providers from their version of FISA reform this morning, and approved the overall legislation. The amendment to strip telecom immunity only garnered 31 votes, far short of even a simple majority. The bill now goes to the House, which has resisted the immunity provisions: The Senate voted Tuesday to shield from lawsuits telecommunications companies that helped the government eavesdrop on their customers without court permission after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. After nearly two months of stops and starts, the Senate rejected by a vote of 31 to 67 an amendment that would have stripped a grant of retroactive immunity to the companies. President Bush has promised to veto any new surveillance bill that does not protect the companies that helped the government in its warrantless wiretapping program. ... In a separate voice vote Tuesday, the Senate expanded the...

« January 2008 |

A Walk Down Terrorist Memory Lane

Debra Burlingame invites Wall Street Journal readers to take a stroll down Memory Lane, to a time when murderous terrorists gained presidential pardons instead of relentless pursuit. This didn't happen a long, long time ago in an administration far, far away, but actually less than ten years ago. In 1999, with Hillary Clinton pursuing a seat in the Senate, Bill Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 Puerto Rican separatists whose organization had committed a whopping 146 bombings and more armed robberies: On Aug. 7, 1999, the one-year anniversary of the U.S. African embassy bombings that killed 257 people and injured 5,000, President Bill Clinton reaffirmed his commitment to the victims of terrorism, vowing that he "will not rest until justice is done." Four days later, while Congress was on summer recess, the White House quietly issued a press release announcing that the president was granting clemency to 16 imprisoned members...

« January 2008 |

Ed Rendell Sees Democratic Bigots, Too

Governor Ed Rendell follows the lead of Susan Estrich in diagnosing the issues associated with Barack Obama's underperformance in some states, including his own. In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Rendell tells the editors that some Democrats in their state just can't pull the lever for an African-American (emphasis in the original): Gov. Ed "Don't Call Me 'Fast Eddie' " Rendell met with the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last week to talk about his latest budget. But before turning the meeting over to his number-crunchers, our voluble governor weighed in on the primary fight between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama and what the Illinois senator could expect from the good people of Pennsylvania at the polls: "You've got conservative whites here, and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate," he said bluntly. Our eyes only met...

« January 2008 |

Heading Right Radio: Jonah Goldberg, John Podhoretz

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 have a double dose of conservative punditry! Jonah Goldberg joins us first to talk about his best-selling and controversial look at the Left, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning. In the second half, John Podhoretz talks about his bleak assessment of the GOP's chances in November -- and how Iraq might save the day. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. 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...

« January 2008 |

More Identity Politics Fun

Who knew that Patty Solis Doyle was a Hispanic before getting the boot from the Hillary Clinton campaign? I'd wager that most people couldn't have identified "Solis" as Mexican before Hispanics complained about her termination. Now, however, her ethnic identity has overshadowed the fact that her client has good reason to be unhappy with the performance of the campaign: Two New York Hispanic leaders said they would be upset if Hillary Rodham Clinton's Hispanic campaign manager was replaced because of primary losses they believe should be blamed on former President Bill Clinton and others. Patti Solis Doyle, whose parents were Mexican immigrants, stepped down as Clinton's campaign manager this weekend as Clinton was losing five Democratic contests to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. Clinton has said Doyle's decision was a personal response to a grueling campaign, not about job performance. She added that Solis Doyle would remain a senior adviser and...

« January 2008 |

A Little Beyond A Normal Endorsement

Conservative firebrand Oliver North has a message for his peers in the movement -- don't to do John McCain what moderates did to me. In a column up this afternoon at Real Clear Politics, North doesn't just endorse McCain, he defends him from the same impulse at division that doomed his own Senatorial campaign: After I won the 1994 Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat in Virginia, I naively assumed that all in the GOP would pull together behind my conservative candidacy. I clearly don't know much about politics. If I did, I'd be writing this from my U.S. Senate office instead of my home in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. But at the trade school John McCain and I attended in Annapolis, Md., they did teach me how to count. I lost by a narrow margin in a three-way race. Some of those who were with me then are...

« January 2008 |

Potomac Primary Live Blog

Polls close in Virginia at 6 pm CT, and an hour later in Maryland and DC. Will Barack Obama complete his expected tsunami through the trio of states? Can John McCain hold off Mike Huckabee? We shall soon find out. I'll live-blog the results as they materialize, in reverse-chronological order. Keep checking back .... 8:59 - I'll wrap this up now. Obviously the night went to Obama and McCain, and the latter can start working on consolidating his support in the party. Huckabee may continue for his own reasons, but he'd have to win 90% of the vote in every single state the rest of the way to barely keep McCain from winning the nomination. Obama may have more of an argument for the superdelegates, but if anyone thinks the Clintons will just quit, they're very much mistaken. 8:53 - Obama's speech tonight shows that he's thinking about November and...

« January 2008 |

February 13, 2008

Going Out In The Appropriate Manner

Scratch one terrorist from the FBI's Most Wanted list. An explosion killed Hezbollah leader Imad Mughniyeh, one of the planners of the 1983 bombings in Beirut that killed 241 Marines and another 63 people at our embassy in Lebanon. He also took part in the 1985 TWA hijacking that resulted in the beating death of Navy diver Robert Stethem: A senior Hezbollah commander implicated in some of the most high-profile international terrorist attacks of the last 25 years has died in an explosion in Syria, Hezbollah TV said Wednesday. Imad Mughniyeh was suspected by Western intelligence agencies in the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, which killed 63 people, as well as the truck bombing that year of the U.S. Marine barracks there, an attack that killed 241 people and preceded the U.S. military withdrawal from Lebanon, according to a CNN report from 2001. The FBI listed Mughniyeh...

« January 2008 |

McCain Solidifies Lock On Nomination

In the end, the Mike Huckabee surge in Virginia fell far short of victory. John McCain swept the Potomac Primaries last night, winning by nine in Virginia and winning among conservatives in Maryland. The delegate count now makes his nomination inevitable: Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) swept Republican primaries in Virginia, Maryland and the District last night, defeating former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and adding to his vast delegate lead in the race to become his party's presidential nominee. But even as he dominated the Potomac Primary, McCain lost conservatives in Virginia, as he has across the South and parts of the Midwest -- trailing Huckabee among that group and evangelicals as he attempts to unite a fractured Republican Party behind his candidacy. Speaking to a few hundred supporters at a victory rally in Old Town Alexandria, McCain echoed Democrat Barack Obama, saying he was "fired up and ready to go."...

« January 2008 |

Clinton Ignores Losses, Gets Booed

After Barack Obama swept the Potomac Primaries last night, one might have expected Hillary Clinton to say a few words to her supporters to explain the losses. If so, the crowds that turned out for her in Texas had to manage their disappointment. They managed to let her know when they disagreed with her, however: As news of her triple defeat in the Potomac Primary sank in, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton did what has become a specialty in recent weeks: She headed someplace else. After flying from Virginia to Texas for a rally on Tuesday night, Clinton did not publicly acknowledge, even in passing, that three significant primaries had taken place that day and her campaign had not issued a statement hours after results were announced. ... When Clinton mentioned having differences with Obama over health care and the mortgage crisis, she was booed. Her comments continued past 9:30 p.m....

« January 2008 |

More Progress In Iraq

The Iraqi National Assembly passed more reform legislation today, addressing a series of concerns that had American politicians impatient for progress. They have authorized provincial elections and provided limited amnesty for mainly Sunni detainees in Iraqi custody. The bill provided the finishing touch on the legislative session: Iraq's parliament on Wednesday passed three key pieces of legislation that set a date for provincial elections, allot $48 billion for 2008 spending, and provide limited amnesty to detainees in Iraqi custody. The three measures were bundled together for one vote to satisfy the demands of minority Kurds who feared they might be double-crossed on their stand that the budget allot 17 percent to their semiautonomous regional government in the north. The vote came a day after the Sunni speaker of the fragmented parliament, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, threatened to disband the legislature, saying it was so riddled with distrust it appeared unable to adopt...

« January 2008 |

AOL Hot Seat Question Of The Day: How Long Will The Streak Last?

AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We'll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day's poll -- including today's: [Poll expired.] Be sure to tune it at BlogTalkRadio, or listen here through the player below -- and don't forget to cast your votes! We will also take your calls at (347) 205-9555....

« January 2008 |

RNC Unveils The Spendometer As They Focus On Obama

The Republican National Committee has developed a cute but effective graphic showing the expansion of federal spending that will result in the adoption of Barack Obama's agenda. Called the Spendometer, it highlights what the Republicans hope will provide an effective argument for John McCain and his call for more discipline in federal spending. It also shows that the GOP has started focusing on Obama as a likely competitor in the general election: If Obama Could Enact All Of His Campaign Proposals, Taxpayers Would Be Faced With Financing Over $850 Billion In New Spending Over One White House Term: Obama’s Health Care Plan Will Cost Up To $65 Billion A Year; Equal To $260 Billion Over Four Years. “[Obama] campaign officials estimated that the net cost of the plan to the federal government would be $50 billion to $65 billion a year, when fully phased in, and said the revenues from...

« January 2008 |

McCain Conference Call

Now that the primary campaign has just about wrapped up, John McCain's team has begun to look towards the convention and November. I received an invitation to his blogger conference call this morning, after a particularly successful night on the Potomac. He started by talking about how pleased he was about the primaries, especially in Maryland. He said a nine-point win in Virginia is "very good", but also says that Mike Huckabee has indicated to him personally that he will continue. McCain met with the Republican caucus in the House, who endorsed him. He pledged to them that he would contest all 50 states in November. He will continue his efforts to unite the party, and that it takes some time to get over the bumps and bruises of a primary campaign. McCain wants to run on taxes, regulation, and health care as the primary domestic themes. He also hailed...

« January 2008 |

BTR Schedule Changes

A couple of schedule notes -- * The AOL Hot Seat show will air at 12:30 ET/11:30 CT in order to welcome Ben Smith of The Politico to the show! Be sure to tune in as we review his question and get his thoughts on the Hillary Clinton losing streak. * My Heading Right Radio show will air at 2:00 ET/1:00 CT, an hour earlier than usual. Jim Geraghty will join me for the Ledge Report, an analysis of the Potomac Primaries, and a review of John McCain's conference call. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. 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...

« January 2008 |

Solidarity

Danish newspapers have demonstrated solidarity with Kurt Westergaard and Jyllands-Posten today. After the arrests of conspirators determined to assassinate the editorial cartoonist, the other newspapers in Denmark today have reprinted the cartoon that aroused the ire of Muslims in the first place. They want to make the point that no one can intimidate them into silence: Newspapers in Denmark Wednesday reprinted the controversial cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed that sparked worldwide protests two years ago. The move came one day after Danish authorities arrested three people who allegedly were plotting a "terror-related assassination" of Kurt Westergaard, one of the cartoonist behind the drawings. Berlingske Tidende, one of the newspapers involved in the republication, said: "We are doing this to document what is at stake in this case, and to unambiguously back and support the freedom of speech that we as a newspaper always will defend," in comments reported by The...

« January 2008 |

The Hill Is Alive In The State Of Wisconsin

Last week, the Hillary Clinton campaign argued that the month of February would belong to Barack Obama, and that they would focus on Texas and Ohio. After making a change in leadership in the campaign and watching the lopsided delegate split in Virginia and Maryland, Team Hillary has changed direction. Now they will fight for delegates in Wisconsin instead of ceding the state to Obama: Sen. Barack Obama has been lavishing attention on the historically independent voters of Wisconsin. Rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is moving belatedly to make a contest of next Tuesday's Democratic presidential primary. The senator from neighboring Illinois has spent more time in the state than the former first lady. Obama drew 4,000 people at a rally last October and beat Clinton back to Wisconsin this year. But Clinton hasn't conceded the 74 delegates at stake even though she has already begun campaigning for the larger...

« January 2008 |

Identity Politics Fun Continues For The Democrats

So far, we have seen a number of flash points in the Democratic primaries for the presidential nomination over ethnic and gender politics. Now we have racial and anti-Semitic politics in a Congressional primary -- and once again, it involves Democrats. Steve Cohen wants to run for re-election in Tennessee's 9th District, but supporters of his opponent think he's too pale -- and too much of a Joooooooo: "If you thought race was an uncomfortable issue in the Democratic presidential primary, wait 'til you get a load of what's going on in the Democratic primary in the Memphis area's 9th District of Tennessee, where a shockingly worded flier paints Jewish Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) as a Jesus hater. "Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen and the JEWS HATE Jesus," blares the flier, which Cohen himself received in the mail -- inducing gasps -- last week. Circulated by an African-American minister from Murfreesboro...

« January 2008 |

February 14, 2008

Five Years As Hostages

Five years ago yesterday, three American contractors found themselves captives of FARC, the Marxist guerrillas in Colombia. They still remain captive to the South American terrorist gang, and most of their countrymen have long forgotten about them. Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, and Thomas Howes languish in captivity while their nation has basically slept. FARC is no less a terrorist gang than al-Qaeda, if somewhat less lethal. They have numbered in the tens of thousands, but now roughly comprise about 8,000 armed guerrillas controlling about 15% of Colombian territory. Like their Islamist cousins, FARC has used the drug trade to fund its operations, and in Colombia, that can be highly lucrative. They also use protection rackets and kidnapping for both profit and political purposes. They are despicable, less so than al-Qaeda and Hezbollah and certainly less of a threat to the US -- but obviously not to the three men who...

« January 2008 |

Even The New York Times Notices Progress

Yesterday I noted the action by the Iraqi National Assembly in passing significant reform legislation, and predicted that opponents of our engagement in Iraq would shrug it off. Perhaps that was too cynical, as at least one anti-war platform has grudgingly acknowledged it as a major step forward. When the New York Times admits it, what can Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi say? Good news is rare in Iraq. ... Only if you read the New York Times. But I digress .... But after months of bitter feuding, Iraq’s Parliament has finally approved a budget, outlined the scope of provincial powers, set an Oct. 1 date for provincial elections and voted a general amnesty for detainees. All these steps are essential for national conciliation. No, all of these are indications that national conciliation has already begun. In a democracy, the conditions for these steps have to already exist before a...

« January 2008 |

Ban On Waterboarding Wins Approval

The Senate narrowly passed a ban on waterboarding as part of their intelligence bill, setting up a showdown between Congress and the White House on limitations for interrogation techniques. The bill clearly states approved and disapproved procedures, ending the ambiguity that has created much of the controversy over whether anyone has ever broken the law in interrogating terrorist suspects. And surprisingly, one of the figures at the head of the controversy opposed the bill: The Senate voted yesterday to ban waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics used by the CIA, matching a previous House vote and putting Congress on a collision course with the White House over a pivotal national security issue. In a 51 to 45 vote, the Senate approved an intelligence bill that limits the CIA to using 19 less-aggressive interrogation tactics outlined in a U.S. Army Field Manual. The measure would effectively ban the use of simulated...

« January 2008 |

Obama, Clinton Porkfest Bill: Almost A Half-Billion Dollars

In one corner, we have John McCain, who has not requested an earmark for years and who has vowed to veto any bill as President which contains them. In the other corner, still fighting between themselves, we have Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who have combined for over $430 million in earmarks just in the last session. Who says there isn't a distinction to be made in November?: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton helped secure more than $340 million worth of home-state projects in last year's spending bills, placing her among the top 10 Senate recipients of what are commonly known as earmarks, according to a new study by a nonpartisan budget watchdog group. Working with her New York colleagues in nearly every case, Clinton supported almost four times as much spending on earmarked projects as her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), whose $91 million total...

« January 2008 |

France To The Rescue?

The Canadians have performed magnificently in Afghanistan, but they need more resources. They have asked NATO, in coordination with the US, to provide more troops to their front-line position, and have threatened to withdraw entirely unless Europe starts sharing the load. Help may come from the least-likely source, according to an anonymous French military official: In American military parlance, it's gut-check time for NATO in Afghanistan, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy appears ready to answer allies' calls for more forces to fight the Taliban and al-Qaida. As early as Thursday, Sarkozy's top brass is to present him with a variety of options, from sending special forces to more trainers for Afghan troops, a French military official told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity, because the decisions will ultimately rest with Sarkozy. Sarkozy isn't expected to announce a final decision until the NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, in...

« January 2008 |

Is It A Crisis Yet?

USA Today reports that spending on senior entitlements has risen 24% after adjusting for inflation since 2000. Despite no increase in the population percentage receiving benefits, the actual dollars spent on senior benefits in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security rose from $600 billion to $952 billion. Senior care has now become Job 1 of the federal government: The cost of government benefits for seniors soared to a record $27,289 per senior in 2007, according to a USA TODAY analysis. That's a 24% increase above the inflation rate since 2000. Medical costs are the biggest reason. Last year, for the first time, health care and nursing homes cost the government more than Social Security payments for seniors age 65 and older. The average Social Security benefit per senior in 2007 was $13,184. ... The federal government spent $952 billion in 2007 on elderly benefits, up from $601 billion in 2000. It's...

« January 2008 |

Rockin' Politics And The Hot Seat!

Join me on Tuesday and Thursday mornings as I co-host Nikki Starr's "Nikki Rocks The Politics" at 9 am CT. We'll discuss politics, news, music, and join the chatizens and the callers. You can join us by calling (646) 478-4556. Later today, I'll also host the AOL HOt Seat Show .... AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We'll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day's poll -- including today's: [Poll expired.] Be sure to tune it at BlogTalkRadio -- and don't forget to cast your votes! We will also take your calls at (347) 205-9555....

« January 2008 |

The Terrorist Group Renaming Program

The House will allow the current FISA legislation to lapse rather than address the differences between the their version of the extension and the one passed by the Senate on Tuesday. Democrats wanted yet another three-week extension to kick the can down the road again, and petulantly dropped consideration when both opponents and advocates of the Senate plan refused to agree. Now they're saying the lapse in the FISA legislation will have no effect -- as long as no new terrorist groups arise (via Memeorandum): Democrats insisted that a lapse would have no real effect. The expiration of the powers “doesn’t mean we are somehow vulnerable again,” said Representative Silvestre Reyes, Democrat of Texas and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. The lapsing of the deadline would have little practical effect on intelligence gathering. Intelligence officials would be able to intercept communications from Qaeda members or other identified terrorist groups...

« January 2008 |

Can Obama Close In For The Kill?

With all of the drama on the Democratic side of the primaries, Barack Obama wants to put it to an end. He hopes to win enough of a lead in delegates so that even without a clinch by the end of the process, he has made enough of a case for his nomination that the superdelegates wouldn't dare swing to Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, Hillary has had to hustle to get organizations running in the states she claims she'll win to blunt Obama's momentum: Senator Barack Obama emerged from Tuesday’s primaries leading Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton by more than 100 delegates, a small but significant advantage that Democrats said would be difficult for Mrs. Clinton to make up in the remaining contests in the presidential nomination battle. Neither candidate is expected to win the 2,025 pledged delegates needed to claim the nomination by the time the voting ends in June. But...

« January 2008 |

Breaking: Romney To Endorse McCain

Mitt Romney will endorse John McCain in a press conference at Romney's Boston headquarters, according to an ABC report. He will release his delegates and ask them to support McCain at the convention. That would put McCain within reach of the nomination now, and almost certainly clinch it for him in March: Former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., is planning on endorsing his former Republican rival Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. A source familiar with the decision said the endorsement will take place this afternoon at Romney for President Headquarters in Boston at 3:30pmET. Romney will ask his delegates to support Senator McCain. The former governor made his decision to endorse today in the interest of helping McCain gain the 1,191 delegates he needs to secure the party nomination and unite the party for the general election against the Democrats in November. Yesterday, I asked Senator McCain when he and Romney would...

« January 2008 |

Heading Right Radio: Daniel Glover, Andrew McCarthy

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Daniel Glover, late of Beltway Blogroll and now with Eyeblast.tv and AirCongress.com, talks about his new ventures and his new openness about his political bent! National Review's Andrew McCarthy also joins us to dicuss the breaking story on the House refusal to consider the Senate FISA reform, and what that means. BREAKING: The House Republican caucus has walked off the floor, according to a Capitol Hill source, to protest the Democratic refusal to consider the FISA legislation. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo...

« January 2008 |

House GOP Walk Out Over FISA

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor blogged about the walkout here: Our intelligence agencies need the tools necessary to listen in on terrorists who threaten and plot to do harm to our country. The Senate worked together in a bipartisan fashion earlier this week to accomplish this goal, but the House Democrat Leadership refuses to do the same. It Al-Qaeda is talking, we should be able to listen. Today, House Republicans stood up and demanded that Washington work for the people again. I'll be talking with Andrew McCarthy about the FISA issue on today's Heading Right Radio. Be sure to catch it live....

« January 2008 |

Going Negative At Team Hillary

Speculation had begun this week that Hillary Clinton's campaign might start going negative on Barack Obama. She didn't have much to lose after the debacle of the Potomac Primaries, and she desperately needs to slow down his momentum. Apparently, the speculation was correct, as Hillary has begun slamming Obama's economic proposals on the stump in Ohio: Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, criticized for taking corporate special interest contributions, proposed restrictions on a wide array of industries Thursday and stepped up her assault on rival Barack Obama, casting him as the candidate more beholden to corporations. In a speech to General Motors workers and executives, Clinton trumped Obama's own economic plan from a day before and appeared to be channeling former rival John Edwards' populist anti-corporate message. ... She said she would rein in oil, insurance, credit card, student loan and Wall Street investment companies and generate $55 billion a year that...

« January 2008 |

A Second Look At McCain's Fiscal Conservatism

John McCain took a lot of heat over the last months for his supposed apostasies on tax policy. He voted against the initial Bush tax cuts, we were reminded, although he has often defended the decision as a fiscally responsible act at the time. Kevin Stach takes a close look at his record in today's Wall Street Journal, and likes what he sees: After sweeping the Potomac primary, John McCain is now the de facto Republican nominee for president. But while Mr. McCain's fight for the nomination is all but over, Mike Huckabee's strong showing in Virginia suggests that Mr. McCain's battle to unify the Republican Party is just beginning. One major task is to secure the GOP's right flank, which remains cool to Mr. McCain over issues including taxes and economics. The support of supply-siders Jack Kemp and Phil Gramm has not been enough to reassure some economic conservatives...

« January 2008 |

February 15, 2008

The Traditional Class-Warfare Valentine

The First Mate and I exchanged Valentine's Day gifts over the last couple of days, and I have to say I got the better deal in the trade. I sent her a dozen roses, which surprised her because they came on the 13th (doh!), and she gave me the second volume of Pinky and the Brain, Vol. 2. Originally a part of the Animaniacs show, Steven Spielberg's production company spun off P&TB into its own weird and wonderful show for four seasons. Even if its clever anthem gives me song poison for a week every time I hear it, I loved watching Brain's Rube Goldberg-like attempts to take over the world get tripped up by his own ego. It also has some terrifically snarky pop-culture references that kept both of us laughing last night as we watched three of the episodes. Speaking of cartoons, Bookworm has found an honest-to-goodness New...

« January 2008 |

A Fumble On Earmark Reform

I've written several posts about the opening on the House Appropriations Committee that came from Rep. Roger Wicker's (R-MS) appointment to the Senate to fill Trent Lott's open seat. The House GOP had an opportunity to ensure that their commitment to end pork-barrel spending got taken seriously by appointing a porkbuster to the post. Jeff Flake would have delivered that message, as his record on earmark reform is unmistakable. Instead, the GOP selected Jo Bonner (R-AL), a person whose record on pork reform equals that of ... Steny Hoyer, John Doolittle, and James Moran: Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) has been selected to fill the appropriations panel seat vacated by ex-Rep. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), several GOP sources said Thursday. GOP leaders faced a pool of seven House lawmakers, including the chairman of the House campaign committee who ran against two politically vulnerable members, and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who was backed...

« January 2008 |

House Democrats Leave Security On The Table

Yesterday, I interviewed former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy about the fight over FISA reform on Heading Right Radio. McCarthy, who helped put Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and several others in prison for their role in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, argued that the expiration of last year's FISA reform will put the NSA in the unusual position of having to seek warrants for communications with both endpoints outside the US, not involving American persons at all. He explains this at Human Events today: In 2007, a ruling of the court created by the ill-conceived 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) required the intelligence community to seek court permission before monitoring terrorists operating outside our country -- that is, outside the jurisdiction of United States courts. Actually, Andy and I disagreed on this; I'll come back to it in a moment. Let’s say al Qaeda operatives in Iraq...

« January 2008 |

About That Experience...

Hillary Clinton has tried to sell herself as the candidate ready on Day One to assume the responsibilities of the Presidency, at least among Democrats. She has claimed the Bill Clinton administration as her own experience, and yet she has no record of running anything during that time except the disastrous Health Care Task Force -- the records of which the Clintons have kept under wraps. Now she wants to distance herself from her supposed experience by claiming that she opposed NAFTA, one of the key pieces of legislation pushed by the Clinton administration (via Memeorandum): As the 2008 campaign shifts to economically hard-hit states like Ohio, so too do the topics of political debate. This week, Sen. Barack Obama's campaign has attacked Sen. Hillary Clinton on trade, arguing that she was once a supporter of the North American Free Trade Agreement that contributed to the loss hundreds of thousands...

« January 2008 |

The Opacity Of Obama

Barack Obama may find that overpromising and underdelivering will leave openings for political opponents to score real points, especially when the opponent has a clear record from which to punch. Obama has tried to argue that he has the most transparency between Hillary and himself on earmarking, but compared to John McCain, that sounds like damnation through faint praise: Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is on track to become the Democratic presidential nominee, and he's getting the attention his accomplishment deserves. Thursday, Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, and the Republican National Committee treated Obama like the front-runner he is and attacked him -- for not being transparent when it comes to disclosing his earmark requests. ... In the year Obama has been running for president, he has made government transparency a central campaign pledge. That was his strategic decision. But there are consequences when you campaign saying you would...

« January 2008 |

I Guess This Beats Working On National Security

While the bipartisan Senate FISA legislation languished on the desk of House Democratic leadership, Henry Waxman had his sights focused on more important issues than national security. He grilled Roger Clemens on whether he had ever had human growth hormone (HGH) injected into his buttocks. Now even Waxman says his hearings were a colossal waste of time, and blamed Clemens for it (via Michelle Malkin): A day after a dramatic, nationally televised hearing that pitted Roger Clemens against his former personal trainer and Democrats against Republicans, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said Thursday that he regretted holding the hearing in the first place. The chairman, Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, said the four-hour hearing unnecessarily embarrassed Clemens, who he thought did not tell the truth, as well as the trainer, Brian McNamee, who he thought was unfairly attacked by committee Republicans. ... “I’m...

« January 2008 |

Who Said It?

Yesterday, a member of the Senate stood and addressed his colleagues in both the upper chamber and the House in defending telecom immunity and the FISA reform legislation. Can you guess who said this? Now, let me say something more. What people have to understand around here is that the quality of the intelligence we are going to be receiving is going to be degraded. It is going to be degraded. It is already going to be degraded as telecommunications companies lose interest. Everybody tosses that around and says: Well, what do you mean? I say: Well, what are they making out of this? What is the big payoff for the telephone companies? They get paid a lot of money? No. They get paid nothing. What do they get for this? They get $40 billion worth of suits, grief, trashing, but they do it. But they don't have to do...

« January 2008 |

AOL Hot Seat Question Of The Day

Update and Bump: John Hinderaker of Power Line joins me to preview today's Hot Seat poll, which will appear shortly. Be sure to join us! AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We'll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day's poll -- including today's: embedSWF(9, 0, 0, "widget", "recent")This content requires the most recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. Get this version below:Get Flash Be sure to tune it at BlogTalkRadio -- and don't forget to cast your votes! We will also take your calls at (347) 205-9555....

« January 2008 |

John Lewis Begins March To Obama (Update: About Face?)

One of the most influential superdelegates in the Democratic Party has indicated he will likely vote for Barack Obama -- even though he endorsed Hillary Clinton four months ago. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia began his career marching for civil rights in Georgia, and now he says that he has to represent his Georgia constituents rather than his personal feelings at the convention. Note, however, some of the rationalizations he offers for his change of heart: Representative John Lewis, an elder statesman from the civil rights era and one of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s most prominent black supporters, said Thursday night that he planned to cast his vote as a superdelegate for Senator Barack Obama in hopes of preventing a fight at the Democratic convention. “In recent days, there is a sense of movement and a sense of spirit,” said Mr. Lewis, a Georgia Democrat who endorsed Mrs. Clinton last...

« January 2008 |

Heading Right Radio: The Week In Review!

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson of the Hugh Hewitt Show joins us for the 90-minute week in review. We'll also talk with Republican Representatives Thaddeus McCotter and Paul Ryan to get the lowdown on pork-barrel politics and ask about Jo Bonner's appointment to the House Appropriations Committee. Don't miss it! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. 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:...

« January 2008 |

Who Is Killing All Of The Great Jihadis Of The Ummah?

First Umad Mughniyeh takes the 72-virgin ride with a Bashar Assad Special. Now Ayman Atallah Fayed gets blasted in the most literal sense of the word. Both men were high-ranking members of terrorist groups arrayed against Israel. Coincidence? A powerful blast went off in the house of a senior Islamic Jihad activist Friday, killing him, his wife and daughter, along with three neighbors, medics and an Islamic Jihad spokesman said. Islamic Jihad claimed Israeli warplanes struck the home of Ayman Atallah Fayed. Israel denied it had launched any airstrike in the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza where Fayed lived. Hamas police said the cause of the blast was not clear. Witnesses reported seeing fragments of what looked like locally produced rockets at the scene, suggesting the house may have been used to store arms. Of course, the explosion could have something to do with the fact that Fayed had...

« January 2008 |

Two GOP Members, Two Pork Perspectives

Today I had an opportunity to speak to two members of House Republican leadership on Heading Right Radio. Thaddeus McCotter heads the Republican Policy Committee, and talked about the role of the policy committee, but also about the role of earmarks and the need for reform. He feels that Jo Bonner's appointment to Appropriations supports the GOP's efforts at earmark reform, assuring us that Bonner understands the need for reform and will provide as much leadership as Jeff Flake could have in the same role. McCotter talked at length about how we need to make policy interesting and engaging for voters. On the other hand, Paul Ryan didn't hide his disappointment over Bonner's appointment. The ranking member of the House Budget Committee thinks highly of Bonner but agrees with me that the House GOP missed a critical opportunity to establish credibility on reform. We agreed also that pork-barrel reform will...

« January 2008 |

Chris Matthews' Next Apology Coming In 5, 4, 3, 2 .... (Update & Bump For Video)

UPDATE: I posted about this earlier, but Eyeblast has the video clip. Eyeblast is a new contender in the viral-video sweepstakes and is definitely worth a close look for right-of-center videobloggers. Here's the clip: And so with that final "Screw you!" from Matthews, the original post follows .... ========== Chris Matthews has spent the primary cycle alternately opining and apologizing for his remarks about Hillary Clinton. It looks like he may have either tired of the cycle, or wants another round of YouTubed capitulation to make the blogospheric rounds. Sam Stein at the Huffington Post notes that Matthews erupted on Joe Scarborough's morning show at MS-NBC, calling Hillary's media-response team "knee-cappers": Chris Matthews fired a salvo at the Clinton campaign this morning after both he and his MSNBC colleague were privately rebuked for recent comments deemed misogynistic or inappropriate. Appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe, the Hardball host went off on...

« January 2008 |

February 16, 2008

Ode To Oy

Europe's biggest headache will become Excedrin #3 on Sunday at 2 pm UTC. Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci announced that the breakaway portion of Serbia will officially declare its independence at that time, setting in motion a potential powder keg in the Balkans -- again. The UN, which supposedly administers the cease-fire in Kosovo, has so far said nothing: Prime Minister Hashim Thaci confirmed Saturday that Kosovo would declare its independence from Serbia on Sunday, the day when the "will of the citizens of Kosovo" would be implemented. "Tomorrow will be a day of calm, of understanding, and of state engagements for the implementation of the will of the citizens of Kosovo," said Thaci after meeting religious leaders from the predominantly ethnic Albanian province. Expectations that independence would be declared on Sunday have been running high but Thaci's comments marked the first top-level confirmation that the long-awaited break with Serbia...

« January 2008 |

Blogs Should Be What?

The International Olympic Committee has deigned to allow athletes at the 2008 Beijing Olympics to blog. However, the IOC wants to make sure that athletes know the rules beforehand. They cannot post pictures, audio, or video of the events because the IOC does not recognize blogs as a form of journalism: The IOC has set out guidelines for blogging at the Beijing Games to ensure copyright agreements are not infringed. They include bans on posting any audio or visual material of action from the games themselves. ... "The IOC considers blogging... as a legitimate form of personal expression and not a form of journalism," the Olympic authority said. "Blogs should be dignified and in good taste." Dignified and in good taste? The IOC obviously hasn't spent much time reading blogs. Or, maybe they have. Since this Olympiad takes place in China, where oppression on free speech and Internet access has...

« January 2008 |

The Final Atrocity

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed planned and helped execute the 9/11 attacks that killed 3,000 Americans. He also planned the 1993 World Trade Center Attack, the attacks in Bali and Kenya that killed hundreds more, and attacks that never had the chance to take place thanks to his capture and interrogation by American intelligence agents. We know this because KSM himself openly brags about his atrocities as a point of pride. Now some have decided to help him commit his final atrocity -- by painting himself as a victim: On Monday, some six years after 9/11, military prosecutors filed charges against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, al Qaeda's foreign-operations chief, along with five of his conspirators. They will stand before a military tribunal, and if convicted they could face execution. And as if to prove that the U.S. has lost its seriousness and every sense of proportion, now we are told not that KSM...

« January 2008 |

The Coming Obama 'Theocracy'

People mocked Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney for their religious backgrounds often during the presidential campaigns, but at least they never claimed to be on a mission to save the souls of Americans through government action. Oh, people accused them of wanting to do so -- to impose Southern Baptist or Mormon theology on an America that wants relentless secularism, but in point of fact both men gave stirring speeches on how their faith informs them personally but not their governance. One campaign really has explicitly claimed to be on such a mission, however. Michelle Obama gave a speech at UCLA earlier this month in which she told supporters that her husband was the only man who could fix American souls -- if we elect him President first. Here's the transcript: In 2008, we are still a nation that is too divided. We live in isolation, and because of that...

« January 2008 |

NARN, The Save-Your-Souls 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 the FISA debate and the failure to pass the bipartisan reform legislation that the Senate approved, the state of the presidential primaries -- especially as pertains to our neighbors in Wisconsin -- and the Barack Obama Revival Movement. Be sure to call 651-289-4488 to join the conversation!...

« January 2008 |

February 17, 2008

Suicide Bomber Kills 80 At Afghan Dog Fight

The Taliban continues to step up its use of suicide bombings, and today they got more successful than they desired. The bomber killed the militia commander the Taliban targeted, but they also killed scores of civilians, which has them rattled enough to hesitate in taking credit for the attack: A suicide bombing at an outdoor dog fighting competition killed 80 people and wounded scores more Sunday, a governor said, in what appeared to be the deadliest terror attack in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Officials said the attack apparently targeted a prominent militia commander who had stood up against the Taliban. He died in the attack. Several hundred people — including Afghan militia leaders — had gathered to watch the event on the western edge of the southern city of Kandahar. Witnesses reported gunfire from bodyguards after the blast; it was not immediately clear if the...

« January 2008 |

Spitzer's Crack-Pot Tax

Governor Eliot Spitzer has already built himself quite the record in his first term running New York. He has conducted a politically-motivated investigation of his main opponent in the state legislature and then co-opted the man supposedly investigating him, and he briefly demanded that illegal immigrants get drivers licenses. Now he wants to raise taxes in order to help solve a massive deficit -- but you're not going to believe how he wants to do it: If you can't beat it, tax it. That seems to be the axiom in New York these days, where Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer (D), struggling to close a $4.4 billion budget gap, has proposed making drug dealers pay tax on their stashes of illegal drugs. The new tax would apply to cocaine, heroin and marijuana, and could be paid with pre-bought "tax stamps" affixed to the bags of dope. Some critics in the legislature...

« January 2008 |

Barack Obama, Leftist?

Two foreign newspapers introduce the notion of Barack Obama as a Leftist. The Times of London reports that Republicans intend on painting him as such in the general election, based on his voting record in the Senate and in the Illinios state legislature. La Jornada of Mexico celebrates Obama as potentially the first Leftist President in American history, and a harbinger of what awaits the hemisphere (via Memeorandum and TMV): LEADING Republicans believe they can trounce Barack Obama in the presidential election by tarring him as a shady Chicago socialist. They are increasingly confident that his campaign could collapse by the time their attack machine has finished with him. ... “It will be easy to portray him as even harder-left than Hillary,” said Norquist. “Hillary could lose the election, but Obama could collapse. People already know Hillary and she is not popular, but the disadvantage for Obama is that Republicans...

« January 2008 |

Pawlenty As Veep?

For over a year, Tim Pawlenty has supported John McCain through thick and a whole lot of thin. The two-term Minnesota governor became one of John McCain's first major endorsers in January 2007, and even at the time speculation began that Pawlenty could make a good running mate for McCain. Jonathan Martin at Politico has heard louder rumblings of consideration among the GOP base for Pawlenty, who could make a good presidential candidate anytime in the next twenty years: Even through the McCain campaign’s darkest days in 2007, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty remained a steadfast ally to the Arizona senator in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. As a result, with John McCain as the clear GOP frontrunner and insider talk turning to speculation about his possible running mate, party insiders are now buzzing about the 47-year-old, second-term governor’s vice-presidential prospects. Vin Weber, a Minnesota congressman-turned-Washington-lobbyist who is one...

« January 2008 |

Clinton Wants A Wisconsin Debate As Obama Adds The Beef

Hillary Clinton desperately wants to get Barack Obama in a one-on-one debate before the Wisconsin primary in order to pin her challenger to policy specifics. Obama, meanwhile, has dodged the debate but gotten the message, according to the New York Times: Hillary Rodham Clinton renewed her call Saturday to debate Democratic rival Barack Obama in Wisconsin before Tuesday's primary, even as she acknowledged she would cease campaigning in the state a full day before voters go to the polls. "This is what happens when you've got the kind of schedules that we're all trying to keep up with," she said. "I care deeply about what happens here in this election." ... "The best way we could have met the people is through a debate that is televised and everyone could have watched and drawn their own conclusions," Clinton said when asked why she had limited her campaign appearances in Wisconsin....

« January 2008 |

Ode To Oy, Part II

As predicted, the province of Kosovo -- under Serbian control for more than six centuries -- declared its independence today amid celebrations and condemnations. Russia has demanded and received an emergency UN Security Council meeting to stop the EU and the West from recognizing the nation of Kosovo. The UK will send the last of its reserves to Kosovo to prevent a breakdown that could start another round of ethnic cleansing: Kosovo's parliament has formally declared independence from Serbia, ending a long chapter in the violent breakup of Yugoslavia. Celebrations were underway in the Kosovan capital Pristina as an emergency parliamentary session was held to make the historic declaration. ... However the breakaway attracted immediate condemnation from Serbia's president, Boris Tadic. "Serbia will never recognise the independence of Kosovo. Serbia has reacted and will react with all peaceful, diplomatic and legal means to annul this act committed by Kosovo's institutions,"...

« January 2008 |

February 18, 2008

Presidents Day Prayers For A Former First Lady

The nation celebrates the 43 men who have led this country today, from George Washington to George W Bush on Presidents Day. However, our attention turns to a former First Lady, who had to be hospitalized yesterday after a fall. Nancy Reagan apparently broke no bones yesterday but remains hospitalized: Former first lady Nancy Reagan was hospitalized after falling in her home in Bel-Air but is doing well, her spokeswoman said. Reagan, 86, was taken to St. John's Health Center, where doctors determined she did not break a hip Sunday as feared, spokeswoman Joanne Drake said..... The former first lady is "joking and visiting in her room," Drake said. A fall at 86 is no joke, of course, and could have been catastrophic. Our prayers are with her for a full recovery. With the theme of presidents in mind in the middle of a historic campaign, perhaps a couple of...

« January 2008 |

Pakistan Goes To The Polls

The delayed parliamentary elections have begun in Pakistan today, and depending on which news source one uses, either voters have rushed to the polls or stayed home out of fear. The AP notes a large turnout in the North West Frontier Province as the secular voters want a change from Islamist control. Reuters focuses on the negative: Fears of violence kept many Pakistanis away from an election that could usher in a parliament set on driving President Pervez Musharraf from office, while Musharraf himself called for reconciliation after casting his vote. The AP headlines their report as "Pakistani voters brave poll despite fear," and give more specifics: Barely one hour after the polls opened, about 200 men were pushing and shoving for ballot papers at this polling station in a secondary school — hidden behind giant walls and a steel gate. "This is our right, and it is our chance...

« January 2008 |

How Evangelical Leaders Blew It

Dan Gilgoff does a post-mortem on how the evangelical movement managed to allow John McCain to win the Republican Party nomination over two candidates more amenable to their cause. Gilgoff focuses on their failure to back Romney, and makes it plain that religious bigotry played no small role in their inability to understand which political agenda suited them the best: As [James] Dobson warmed to Romney — the two had a getting-to-know-you session at Focus' Colorado Springs headquarters last year — he could have opened a dialogue with his millions of radio listeners about why evangelicals should feel comfortable voting for a Mormon, even if they rejected his theology. Instead, he took public swipes at Republican candidates Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and John McCain, leaving his evangelical fans to deduce his support for Romney and Huckabee by process of elimination. An online voter guide issued by Focus on the Family...

« January 2008 |

The Democratic Sell-Out

Robert Novak pulls together the politics of the Democratic refusal to call the Senate's bipartisan FISA reform bill to the House floor last week. Instead of taking a vote that Blue Dog Democrats has assured her would pass on that bill, Pelosi tried embarrassing the White House by voting for a 21-day extension to the current reform bill -- and that failed, with some Blue Dogs opposing it along with the Republicans, as well as some hard-Left Representatives that oppose FISA reform outright. Why did Pelosi tube the bill that would have easily passed and therefore extended the protections passed by a Democratic Congress last year? Lots of reasons, and they're all green: The recess by House Democrats amounts to a judgment that losing the generous support of trial lawyers, the Democratic Party's most important financial base, would be more dangerous than losing the anti-terrorist issue to Republicans. Dozens of...

« January 2008 |

Obama's Corner On Public Financing

Barack Obama has made a historic presidential run this cycle primarily on the basis of changing the political culture in Washington. His unbelievable success has ironically set a trap for a potential general-election run. Obama has to choose now between keeping his word, or conveniently breaking it and exposing himself as just another self-serving politician: A year ago, at the beginning of his bid to secure the clean-up-Washington mantle, Barack Obama made a pact with John McCain that, if the two were to be their party's nominees, each would accept public financing for the general election. That agreement sounded far-fetched: At the time, McCain was in the middle of his high-profile free-fall in the polls, while Obama trailed Hillary Clinton by wide margins in virtually every poll. Now, McCain is virtually the nominee-in-waiting. By his campaign's count, he has already surpassed the necessary threshold of delegates needed to win the...

« January 2008 |

No Progress? Withdraw. Progress? Withdraw.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board not only contradicts its previous editorials on Iraq, today's editorial contradicts itself. After pushing for withdrawal from Iraq on the basis that the US and Iraqis had made no real political progress, today they argue that we should withdraw because political progress has undeniably begun. And in conclusion, they wind up arguing for exactly the opposite: It has taken nine bloody and difficult months, but the deployment of 30,000 additional U.S. troops appears at last to have brought not just a lull in the sectarian fighting in Iraq, but the first tangible steps toward genuine political reconciliation. Last week, the parliament passed a crucial package of legislation that reflects real compromise among the many factions on three of the thorniest issues that have bedeviled Iraq. First, a law requires that provincial elections be held by Oct. 1, and requires that a law spelling out...

« January 2008 |

41 Endorses McCain

George H. W. Bush endorsed John McCain for president today, which gives an added push for Mike Huckabee to withdraw. Saying that McCain has the "right values and experience," the 41st President attempted to strike a chord with conservatives and generate unity behind McCain: Former President George H.W. Bush endorsed John McCain today as the man best prepared to succeed his son, saying the Arizona senator has the ``right values and experience to guide our nation forward.'' ``No one is better prepared to lead our nation at these trying times than Senator John McCain,'' the 41st president said at a news conference in Houston as McCain stood at his side. The former president and McCain said Republicans need to draw on a broad base of voters to keep the White House. ``We as a party must unite and move forward and attract not only members of our own party but...

« January 2008 |

AOL Hot Seat Question Of The Day

AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We'll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day's poll -- including today's: [Poll expired.] Be sure to tune it at BlogTalkRadio -- and don't forget to cast your votes! We will also take your calls at (347) 205-9555....

« January 2008 |

Is This Really Plagiarism? No

The New York Times makes a big deal about some similarities between elements in Barack Obama's speech and similar constructs in speeches given earlier by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick in 2006. While the wording appears too close for coincidence, one has to wonder how much anyone could vary the constructs in similar themes (via Memeorandum): Senator Barack Obama adapted one of his signature arguments — that his oratory amounts to more than inspiring words — from speeches given by Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts during his 2006 campaign. At a Democratic Party dinner Saturday in Wisconsin, Mr. Obama, of Illinois, responded to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who has criticized him for delivering smooth speeches but says they do not amount to solutions to the nation’s problems, by ticking through a string of historic references. “Don’t tell me words don’t matter,” Mr. Obama said, to applause. “ ‘I...

« January 2008 |

Heading Right Radio: Rob "NZ Bear" Neppell

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Rob "NZ Bear" Neppell joins me to talk about the primary campaigns, the appointment of Jo Bonner to Appropriations, and much much more! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. 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:...

« January 2008 |

Will Corporations Get The Next Bailout?

After the subprime crisis erupted and began taking a large toll on the entire credit market, the American government rushed to rescue those hardest hit. Stimulus packages and bailouts ensued, attempting to limit both the economic and political damage. Now another crisis might soon arrive, and Washington might find it more difficult to address: U.S. and European banks, already reeling from persistent losses on mortgage investments, are facing a new hit as the global financial crisis spreads to deteriorating corporate debt. UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group last week announced the write-down of a combined $400 million in the value of leveraged loans as part of their fourth-quarter earnings reports. That signals more misery right around the corner for banks that barreled into these low-rated corporate loans -- typically issued by banks and sold to investors like junk bonds -- and now are stuck holding them on their books. Leveraged...

« January 2008 |

AQI In Final Meltdown

The terrorists of al-Qaeda in Iraq want to leave the country in the same manner they've lived in it. Not only have they killed as many of their perceived enemies and non-combatants possible, now they're executing their allies as well. Coalition officials played a captured videotape of the executions, showing AQI punishing their partners for insufficient loyalty: Video provided to CNN shows an al Qaeda in Iraq firing squad executing one-time allies -- fellow Sunni extremists -- who were not loyal enough to the terror organization, coalition military analysts said. In the video provided by coalition military officials, armed men wearing masks are shown standing behind nine kneeling men, all of whom are wearing blindfolds or hoods with their hands presumably tied behind their backs. The video shows the men being executed. "Al Qaeda in Iraq, which is foreign led and foreign dominated here inside Iraq, is killing off other...

« January 2008 |

February 19, 2008

Fidel Retires

Forty-nine years after grabbing power in a revolution, Fidel Castro has decided to retire. The 81-year-old dictator is widely believed to be dying and has not been seen at official functions for most of the last year, after he needed European surgeons to save his life. He leaves the Cuban government in the control of his cronies, and most expect his brother Raul to replace him: Fidel Castro announced early Tuesday morning that he is stepping down as Cuba's president, ending his half-century rule of the island nation. "I am saying that I will neither aspire to nor accept, I repeat, I will neither aspire to nor accept the positions of President of the State Council and Commander in Chief," Castro, 81, said in a letter posted on the Web site of the state-run newspaper, Granma. The announcement ends the formal reign of a man who, after seizing power in...

« January 2008 |

Feels Like The First Time

Does a hostility about one's own country provide a good basis for a campaign? John Podhoretz notes the very strange assertion from Michelle Obama as she campaigned for her husband in Wisconsin. It comes as a piece with her exhortation at UCLA two weeks ago that she sees Barack Obama as the only person who can see that the souls of Americans are broken and that only his presidency can fix them (via Memeorandum): Michelle Obama today said that “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction.” Really proud of her country for the first time? Michelle Obama is 44 years old. She has been an adult since 1982. Can it really be there...

« January 2008 |

Musharraf Wins By Losing, Islamists Just Lose Big

The Pakistanis have rejected both Pervez Musharraf and the Islamists in their national and provincial elections yesterday, preliminary results show. Supporters of slain national leader Benazir Bhutto and returned exile Nawaz Sharif will dominate the national and provincial assemblies, and Musharraf will have to deal with a hostile but moderate Parliament: After being sidelined for more than eight years by army intervention, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) seemed headed for a shock comeback as initial partial results of Monday’s elections put a question mark over President Pervez Musharraf’s political future. The previously ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML) of the president’s loyalists and some of its allies appeared to have suffered a humiliating drubbing in the low-turnout elections for the National Assembly and four provincial assemblies despite a perceived support they got from local governments and other state agencies in what the opposition parties called pre-poll...

« January 2008 |

It Depends On How One Views Death

E.J. Dionne wonders whether John McCain may have his priorities askew in the upcoming election. By focusing on terrorism as the "transcendent challenge", McCain may misunderstand the concerns of ordinary Americans in 2008 and make himself irrelevant, Dionne argues: Whether McCain is right or wrong matters to everything the United States will do in the coming years. It is incumbent upon McCain to explain what he really means by "transcendent challenge." Presumably, he's saying that Islamic extremism is more important than everything else -- the rise of China and India as global powers, growing resistance to American influence in Europe, the weakening of America's global economic position, the disorder and poverty in large parts of Africa, the alienation of significant parts of Latin America from the United States. Is it in our national interest for all these issues to take a back seat to terrorism? McCain makes his claim even...

« January 2008 |

Shame On The LA Times

The Los Angeles Times puts itself in the unusual position of scolding John McCain over his opposition to torture, claiming that he betrayed his principles in voting against the legislation sponsored by Dianne Feinstein in the Senate last week. The editorial says McCain should be ashamed for his vote and accuses him of abetting torture, when McCain has good reason to believe that the Feinstein bill does more damage than benefit: One of John McCain's most admirable traits has been his eloquent opposition to the use of torture against suspected terrorists. During a Republican presidential debate last year in which other candidates tried to out-tough each other by endorsing "enhanced" interrogation methods, McCain recalled: "When I was in Vietnam, one of the things that sustained us as we went -- underwent torture ourselves -- is the knowledge that if we had our positions reversed and we were the captors, we...

« January 2008 |

Rockin' Politics And The Hot Seat!

Join me on Tuesday and Thursday mornings as I co-host Nikki Starr's "Nikki Rocks The Politics" at 9 am CT. We'll discuss politics, news, music, and join the chatizens and the callers. You can join us by calling (646) 478-4556. Later today, I'll also host the AOL HOt Seat Show .... AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We'll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day's poll -- including today's: [Poll expired.] Be sure to tune it at BlogTalkRadio -- and don't forget to cast your votes! We will also take your calls at (347) 205-9555....

« January 2008 |

The Silence Of The Saps

The voters in the Democratic primaries, as opposed to the caucuses, have labored under the delusion that their delegates have a commitment to follow the popular vote in their state. A little-known rule in the DNC removed the first-ballot requirement of pledged delegates to remain faithful to their state's vote. The Hillary Clinton campaign has begun strategizing to get enough of Barack Obamas' pledged delegates to flip -- and Obama himself appears ready to flip if she tries it: Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign intends to go after delegates whom Barack Obama has already won in the caucuses and primaries if she needs them to win the nomination. This strategy was confirmed to me by a high-ranking Clinton official on Monday. And I am not talking about superdelegates, those 795 party big shots who are not pledged to anybody. I am talking about getting pledged delegates to switch sides. .... Clinton...

« January 2008 |

Which Populist Can Win Wisconsin?

Today. my neighbors in Wisconsin go to the polls in what may be a pointless exercise in delegate selection. Over the last couple of weeks, the campaigns of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have flooded the state with populist rhetoric, trying to out-sell government solutions to Wisconsin voters. Who can promise enough to win the state? Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama intensified their populist appeals on Monday, responding to widespread economic anxiety and pushing the Democratic Party further from the business-friendly posture once championed by Bill Clinton. Mrs. Clinton, speaking on the eve of the Wisconsin primary but looking forward to primaries in Ohio and Texas on March 4, issued a 12-page compendium of her economic policies that emphasizes programs aiding families stressed by high oil prices, home foreclosures, costly student loans and soaring health care premiums. In public appearances here and in her economic booklet, she...

« January 2008 |

Heading Right Radio: Bye Fidel & On Wisconsin!

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 BTR hosts Rick Moran and Fausta Wertz about the retirement of Fidel Castro and the Wisconsin primaries. Don't miss it! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. 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:...

« January 2008 |

The Road Not Taken

I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Perhaps when the elections of 2008 have finished, Republicans will not have reason to ponder what might have been. They may find a voice and a message that will carry them to victory, at least in the House, where that remains possible. But as the Wall Street Journal notes, they may have occasion to consider that refrain by Robert Frost and wonder on what could have been: House Republicans have been taunting Democrats for turning down their offer to eliminate spending earmarks, and Democrats reply that the GOP isn't serious. The Republicans seem intent on proving that Democrats are right, as GOP leaders showed last week in denying Arizona's Jeff Flake a seat on the...

« January 2008 |

Early Exit Polling In Wisconsin

The AP has released its early exit polling demographics in Wisconsin, and the results offer hope to both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. They confirm that populist rhetoric has large appeal among Democrats, where 70% of their primary voters oppose globalization, and a majority felt the economy was performing poorly. Both candidates spent the last week hammering those themes and have to be encouraged that they resonated with the party base. The other numbers favor Hillary. More women than men voted on Democratic ballots, and nine in ten were white. Only about 40% were college graduates, where Obama usually holds an advantage. Obama can take heart that the AP describes the typical Democratic primary voter as "slightly younger" than the Republican counterpart. I will live-blog the results later this evening in a fresh post. The Republican race will be more or less a footnote, but that may produce a large...

« January 2008 |

Wisconsin Primary Live Blog

Will Hillary Clinton surprise everyone and win in Wisconsin? Can Barack Obama beat back Hillary's late challenge? Since my evening meeting got canceled, I'll be live blogging the Wisconsin poll results. Of course we're also looking at Washington and Hawaii, but Washington's Democratic delegates have already gone to Obama. There won't be much drama in the Republican races in Wisconsin and Washington, but we'll keep an eye on them as well. Updates will come in reverse chronological order, as normal (CST) ... 9:37 - Calling it a night. Looks like a solid win for Obama, one that will help him in two weeks in Texas and Ohio. Hillary can just about hit the panic button now. If she can't win both Texas and Ohio on March 4th, the Democratic Party will start calling for her withdrawal to avoid the convention meltdown. I'll have more tomorrow. 9:22 - The splits look...

« January 2008 |

February 20, 2008

Hillary On Her Last Legs

Hillary Clinton took an unexpected beating in Wisconsin, losing the state by a whopping seventeen points after a hard but late blitz by her campaign in the state. While it only resulted in an eleven-delegate gain by Obama, the impact of the loss goes far beyond delegate counts. She lost a state whose demographics should have favored her -- and which look very familiar to those of Ohio: Sen. Barack Obama won the Wisconsin Democratic primary decisively last night, extending his winning streak to nine consecutive contests and dealing another significant blow to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose imperiled presidential candidacy now hangs on the outcome of showdowns in Ohio and Texas in two weeks. After a week of sparring that included the first negative ads of the campaign, Obama emerged victorious in a critical general-election battleground state. For the second week in a row, the senator from Illinois made...

« January 2008 |

Abbas: No Plans To Pull A Kosovo

Mahmoud Abbas poured a little cold water on remarks his aide made a few hours earlier about the potential for the Palestinians to follow the Kosovars into independence. Yasser Abed Rabbo told reporters that "Kosovo is not better than us," and said that the Palestinian Authority could declare unilateral statehood at any time. Abbas didn't dispute that, but rejected the idea ... for 2008: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ruled out on Wednesday any unilateral declaration of statehood in the near future, responding to an aide's call to take the step if peace talks with Israel continued to falter. ... "We will pursue negotiations in order to reach a peace agreement during 2008 that includes the settlement of all final status issues including Jerusalem," Abbas said in a statement. "But if we cannot achieve that, and we reach a deadlock, we will go back to our Arab nation to take the...

« January 2008 |

Musharraf Not Quitting

Despite suffering a landslide loss in parliamentary elections, Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf has no intention to resign from office. After the successful and fair elections produced a lopsided coalition between Benazir Bhutto's PPP and Nawaz Sharif's PML-N, Sharif called for Musharraf to leave office. Sharif could make it impossible for Musharraf to stay: Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said he intends to remain in office and work with the new government, despite the trouncing that the country's parliamentary elections handed his ruling party and calls by the opposition to step down. In an interview posted on the Wall Street Journal's Web site Wednesday and in comments to CNN, Musharraf and his staff said he was not contemplating leaving office. "No, not yet," Musharraf told the Journal. "We have to move forward in a way that we bring about a stable democratic government to Pakistan." Musharraf did sound a very humble note...

« January 2008 |

An Opportunity For Change, If Not Hope

No, this isn't a post about Barack Obama, but about Cuba and the coming post-Castro era. Despite Fidel Castro's "retirement" announcement, we have yet to enter that period, but it now appears within reach. Raul Castro will not make any significant changes to Cuba's policies while his brother lives, and even after that will only make incremental changes. After Raul passes from the scene, Cuba faces tremendous choices -- and will the US be in position to influence them? Not if we continue our failed 49-year policy, as Anya Landau French argues: Fidel Castro's leaving office on his own terms is not the kind of change that successive American presidents have envisioned for Cuba. In fact, it's a sign that U.S. efforts to isolate that country and bring down its socialist government have failed. Today Venezuela, China, Canada, Spain and Brazil all have a robust presence on the island. Venezuela...

« January 2008 |

Not Buying It

Michelle Obama's comments about her pride in America have apparently put her husband on the defensive. Barack Obama tried to spin the comments made by Mrs. Obama in Milwaukee on Monday as relating only to politics, but the quote speaks for itself: Barack Obama, interviewed on WOAI radio in San Antonio, Texas, expressed frustration that his wife's comments became political fodder. "Statements like this are made and people try to take it out of context and make a great big deal out of it, and that isn't at all what she meant," Obama said. "What she meant was, this is the first time that she's been proud of the politics of America," he said. "Because she's pretty cynical about the political process, and with good reason, and she's not alone. But she has seen large numbers of people get involved in the process, and she's encouraged." In Milwaukee on Monday,...

« January 2008 |

Name That Accomplishment! (Update: Video Added)

This exchange will race through the conservative blogosphere, and probably on the pro-Hillary sites as well. Last night, Chris Matthews interviewed Texas state senator and Barack Obama supporter Kirk Watson as Obama sailed to a crushing victory in Wisconsin. Matthews asked Watson to name any significant legislative accomplishment by Obama, and the campaign surrogate got stumped: MSNBC's Chris Matthews: "You are a big Barack supporter, right, Senator?" State Sen. Watson: "I am. Yes, I am." Matthews: "Well, name some of his legislative accomplishments. No, Senator, I want you to name some of Barack Obama's legislative accomplishments tonight if you can." State Sen. Watson: "Well, you know, what I will talk about is more about what he is offering the American people right now." Matthews: "No. No. What has he accomplished, sir? You say you support him. Sir, you have to give me his accomplishments. You've supported him for president. You...

« January 2008 |

Hope-A-Dope?

Barack Obama has made an incredible run for the presidency against long odds of success. He has almost dismantled the formidable Clinton machine and exposed Hillary Clinton as a surprisingly mediocre politician, doing his party at least two very large favors. Obama has succeeded by promising hope and change, but as Robert Samuelson and Dana Milbank report, that mostly exists as rhetoric: Whatever one thinks of these ideas, they're standard goody-bag politics: something for everyone. They're so similar to many Clinton proposals that her campaign put out a news release accusing Obama of plagiarizing. With existing budget deficits and the costs of Obama's "universal health plan," the odds of enacting his full package are slim. A favorite Obama line is that he will tell "the American people not just what they want to hear but what we need to know." Well, he hasn't so far. Consider the retiring baby boomers....

« January 2008 |

An Entreaty To John Shadegg

Many conservatives and anti-pork activists were disheartened to hear of John Shadegg's decision to retire from the House. Over 140 of his Republican colleagues signed a letter asking him to reconsider and run again for his Arizona seat. Now, some of us outside of Congress want to also ask Rep. Shadegg to reconsider. If you'd like to add your voice, please contact Rep. Shadegg's office at 202-224-3121. Dear Representative Shadegg, As conservatives in the Movement and advocates for a free society, we were saddened to read of your decision to retire from service as the representative from the 3rd District of Arizona. We appreciate your sacrifice and commitment to protecting American freedom and liberty during your tenure. You have proven yourself to be an inspiring leader on critical issues facing this country such as holding the line on spending, reforming our healthcare system, and facing the growing threat of radicalism...

« January 2008 |

AOL Hot Seat Question Of The Day

AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We'll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day's poll -- including today's: [Poll expired.] Be sure to tune it at BlogTalkRadio -- and don't forget to cast your votes! We will also take your calls at (347) 205-9555....

« January 2008 |

Did McCain's Win Doom Their November Strategy?

The Washington Post reports that John McCain's unexpected rise from the politically dead has created a big problem for the Democrats. They saw an opportunity to win the presidency by turning the interior West into a blue zone, using the Hispanic vote to overwhelm the GOP in one of its traditional strongholds. McCain has thrown a wrench into those plans, and Barack Obama may also present a problem: For Democrats, 2008 was supposed to be the year of the Mountain West, when three years of relentless Republican attacks on undocumented immigrants would fuel a backlash among Hispanics that would change the playing field in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, and perhaps alter the landscape of presidential politics for a generation. But the emergence of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) as the likely standard-bearer for the GOP may have scrambled the equation, cooling a potential political revolt among Hispanics and sending...

« January 2008 |

Heading Right Radio: Jim Geraghty & The Ledge Report

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Jim Geraghty joins us to give us the weekly Ledge Report. We'll talk with him about the controversies over Michelle Obama's speeches, the John McCain strategy, and much much more! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. 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:...

« January 2008 |

The Reward For Courage: Homelessness

Last week, this blog stood in solidarity with Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and the rest of the newspapers in Denmark who reprinted his cartoon after police uncovered a conspiracy by radical Islamists to murder him. Now Westergaard has gained a reward for his courage in confronting radical Islam and demanding freedom of speech -- homelessness. Der Spiegel tells the story: Draw a picture offensive to Muslim extremists, and you might find yourself without a roof. Ask Kurt Westergaard, one of the twelve Danish cartoonists whose autumn 2005 Muhammad caricatures lead to violent protests throughout the Muslim world. He was booted from his police-protected hotel room on Feb. 15 for being "too much of a security risk." And now the 73-year-old cartoonist and his wife are without a place to live. Westergaard was forced to leave his actual residence in November after the Danish security and intelligence agency, PET, informed him...

« January 2008 |

The Establishment Reaction To Obama

It didn't take long for the Democratic Party establishment to react to Hillary Clinton's stunning loss in Wisconsin yesterday. A new 527 will raise money for a messaging onslaught in Texas and Ohio, funded by political strategists and deep-pocket donors who have ridden to Hillary's rescue: Looking to boost Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's sagging fortunes, a group of Democratic political strategists has assembled an organization that will raise money from wealthy donors and run ads promoting her views in Texas and Ohio. Called the American Leadership Project, the organization has been formed as a so-called 527 committee, which can raise unlimited amounts of money from some of Clinton's most deep-pocketed benefactors. The group is targeting Texas and Ohio, the battleground states that hold primaries on March 4 and are considered Clinton's last best chance to keep her campaign alive against a surging Barack Obama. By law, the group cannot coordinate...

« January 2008 |

On Day One: My Submission

Earlier this month, I interviewed Mark Goldberg from On Day One, a new effort from the Better World Fund, founded by Ted Turner. It gives everyone an opportunity to give suggestions to the next American President on what he or she should do on the first day in office. Today, I added my voice to the site and posted the following as my suggestion for either John McCain or Barack Obama. Our representative democracy relies on strong checks and balances to ensure accountability in government. On day 1, the new American President should make clear to the UN that we will no longer fund a multilateral organization that does not have the same level of accountability. Until we see real reform in the UN, we should ensure that our money does not go towards: * Human rights panels comprising the world's worst human-rights abusers that manipulate their work for anti-Israel...

« January 2008 |

Don't Try The Sausages At Joe Delucci's

When people go to a restaurant, they usually expect courteous service, hot and tasty food, and a reasonable bill. Clare Watkin got much more from an Italian restaurant in Staffordshire in the UK. Printed on the bill was an invitation to get to know the waiter in an up close and personal manner: First she waited 45 minutes to place her order. Then she waited more than an hour for the food. Then she saw the bill. Clare Watkin was out with a group of friends Friday at an Italian steak restaurant in the English town of Lichfield, about 125 miles north of London when she found "absolutely disgusting language" printed on her bill, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported. The BBC Web site carried what it said was a copy of the bill, with the message — a crude invitation to oral sex — printed between the cabernet sauvignon and...

« January 2008 |

Nothing To Fear But ....

Apparently, Benjamin Baines has a sense of historical irony. The man from Clearwater, Florida hollowed out a copy of the book Fear Itself, hid a boxcutter in it, and then attempted to get it onto a flight out of Tampa. He now faces ten years in prison: A 21-year-old Clearwater man was arrested at Tampa International Airport this weekend after security personnel found a box cutter in a hollowed-out book, authorities said. If convicted, Baines faces up to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine for a federal charge of attempting to board an airplane with a concealed dangerous weapon. He is currently serving a 30 day sentence after pleading guilty Monday to a state misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon. About 7:30 a.m. Sunday, airport security ran Benjamin Baines Jr.'s backpack through an X-ray machine and saw the image of a box cutter, according to...

« January 2008 |

February 21, 2008

Slimes At The Times

The New York Times launches its long-awaited smear of John McCain today, and the most impressive aspect of the smear is just how baseless it is. They basically emulate Page Six at the Post, but add in a rehash of a well-known scandal from twenty years ago to pad it out and make it look more impressive. In the end, they present absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing -- only innuendo denied by all of the principals: Early in Senator John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers. A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately...

« January 2008 |

It's Not Messaging

The Hillary Clinton campaign has cracks that have begun widening as the pressure increases for her to win a state. The Los Angeles Times reports on cracks at the very top as Hillary's top aides battled over messaging. In the end, Mark Penn won -- and Hillary kept losing: Before the Iowa caucuses, senior aides to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton fell into a heated argument during a 7:30 a.m. conference call about the basic message their candidate was delivering to voters. Mark Penn, chief strategist and pollster, liked Clinton's emphasis on her "strength and experience," and he defended the idea of her running as a quasi-incumbent best suited for the presidency. Harold Ickes and other advisors said that message was not working. A more promising strategy, they argued, would be to focus on the historic prospect of electing the first woman president. Today, as Clinton tries to revive her campaign...

« January 2008 |

The Times Already Into Stonewall Mode? (Update: A Few Points Left Out)

When a newspaper breaks a major story, the editors and the reporters usually make a media blitz to promote it. The New York Times has apparently decided to go into the bunker instead. Patrick Hynes hosts a weekly radio show called Meet the New Press (and also works for the McCain campaign), and he invited Jim Rutenberg to appear to debate their slimy attack on John McCain. Rutenberg said no, and don't bother to ask anyone else either: At 6:51 AM this morning, I e-mailed Jim Rutenberg– whom I know and have interacted with in the past–to invite him onto my radio program “Meet the New Press” on Saturday morning to discuss the sourcing of his New York Times hit piece on my client John McCain. At 7:24 AM Rutenberg declined my invitation in an e-mail and indicated—without my even asking—that no one else at the Times was likely to...

« January 2008 |

'What Is There To Debate?'

Every time we suggested dropping Ron Paul from the national debates, his supporters would go nuts. They claimed in the one instance where he did get dropped, the January 3rd debate just before Iowa, that a grand conspiracy existed to keep his message from the people and to stop the 4% revolution. They demanded boycotts of Fox and of the Iowa GOP. Paul himself complained bitterly about his exclusion, and not without some justification. Now that Paul's focus has returned to his own Congressional race, he seems much less enthusiastic about debates. After declining to hold a debate with his primary challenger, Chris Peden, Paul got asked yesterday about this seeming hypocrisy at a town-hall meeting in his district. Check out Paul's predictably hysterical response: Peden needs to debate himself first? Maybe Paul has a habit of arguing with himself, but that doesn't mean Peden needs to follow suit. It's...

« January 2008 |

A Direct Hit

UPDATE & BUMP: Eyeblast has the video of the actual hit and a portion of the Pentagon's briefing: Original post follows ... ============== Does missile defense actually work? An impromptu mission to destroy a potentially hazardous failing satellite has proven that the system in place can make a direct hit on a fast-moving target. The USS Lake Erie scored a direct hit on a spy satellite traveling in polar orbit at 17,000 mile per hour, eliminating the fuel tank that had worried the US (via Worldwide Standard): A Navy missile soaring 130 miles above the Pacific smashed a dying and potentially deadly U.S. spy satellite Wednesday and probably destroyed a tank carrying 1,000 pounds of toxic fuel, officials said. Officials had expressed cautious optimism that the missile would hit the satellite, which was the size of a school bus. But they were less certain of hitting the smaller, more problematic...

« January 2008 |

Rockin' Politics And The Hot Seat!

Join me on Tuesday and Thursday mornings as I co-host Nikki Starr's "Nikki Rocks The Politics" at 9 am CT. We'll discuss politics, news, music, and join the chatizens and the callers. You can join us by calling (646) 478-4556. Later today, I'll also host the AOL HOt Seat Show .... AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We'll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day's poll -- including today's: [Poll expired.] Be sure to tune it at BlogTalkRadio -- and don't forget to cast your votes! We will also take your calls at (347) 205-9555....

« January 2008 |

Sadr To Extend Cease-Fire?

The six-month cease-fire ordered by Moqtada al-Sadr for his Mahdi Army soons expires, and many wondered what Sadr might do. Reuters reports that Sadr has decided to keep his militants sidelined for at least another few months. Sealed envelopes have gone to key Shi'ite mosques, with instructions to open them only in time for Friday prayers (via Hot Air): Powerful Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is expected to extend a six-month ceasefire by his Mehdi Army militia, two senior officials in his movement confirmed for the first time on Thursday. They said Sadr had issued a declaration to preachers to be read during midday prayers on Friday at mosques affiliated with the cleric, whose militia was blamed for fuelling sectarian violence with minority Sunni Muslims in 2006 and 2007. U.S. officials say the ceasefire has helped to sharply reduce violence in Iraq, and an extension of the truce would be...

« January 2008 |

McCain: No Romance, No Influence, No Meetings (Update: Gray Lady Ignored Edwards Rumors)

John McCain wasted no time getting in front of the media to deny the paper-thin allegations leveled by the New York Times. He appeared at a press conference with his wife Cindy at his side, from his latest campaign stop in Toledo. He denied that anyone ever "confronted" him about his relationship with Vicki Isemen at least twice: Q. Senator, did you ever have any meeting with any of your staffers in which they would have intervened to ask you not to see Vicki Iseman or to be concerned about appearances of being too close to a lobbyist? A. No. Q. No meeting ever occurred? A., No. Q., No staffer was ever concerned about a possible romantic relationship? A. If they were, they didn't communicate that to me. Q. Did you ever have such a relationship? A. No. One can't get any plainer than this. If the Times' central support...

« January 2008 |

Today's DBD Cartoon

Chris Muir has an unusually provocative cartoon for today's Day by Day, one which has stirred up a hornet's nest here at CapQ. In it, Chris appears to equate a quote from Michelle Obama to the kind of "Arbeit mach Frei" statements of the Nazi regime. Here's the quote from Mrs. Obama: Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed. Quite frankly, I consider that statement a little creepy. Who is Obama to demand that I shed my cynicism? When dealing with government promises of Utopia, I consider cynicism very, very valuable -- and...

« January 2008 |

John Weaver Calls BS (Update: Lobbyists The Sources?)

John Weaver has issued a statement that exposes the New York Times story on John McCain as a hack job. Part of their supposed corroboration of the gossip about an allegedly budding romance between McCain and lobbyist Vicki Iseman was his alleged intervention to stop it. Weaver, who no longer works for the campaign, says he told the Times that his intervention had nothing to do with an affair: "The New York Times asked for a formal interview and I said no and asked for written questions. The Times knew of my meeting with Ms. Iseman, from sources they didn't identify to me, and asked me about that meeting. I did not inform Senator McCain that I asked for a meeting with Ms. Iseman. Her comments, which had gotten back to some of us, that she had strong ties to the Commerce Committee and his staff were wrong and harmful...

« January 2008 |

Serbs Attack American Embassy

Well, this comes as no surprise. After a rally of 150,000 Serbs turned into a riot in Belgrade, they broke into the American embassy and set it on fire (via The Corner): Serb rioters broke into the U.S. Embassy Thursday and set fire to an office after a large protest against Kosovo's independence that drew an estimated 150,000 people. Masked attackers broke into the building, which has been closed this week, and tried to throw furniture from an office. A blaze broke out but firefighters swiftly put out the flames. Authorities drove armored jeeps down the street and fired tear gas to clear the crowd. The protesters dispersed into side streets where they continued clashing with authorities. The embassy was unoccupied at the time of the attack. The rioters moved on to the Croatian embassy after getting chased out of ours, but there is no word on the extent of...

« January 2008 |

Heading Right Radio: David All & The Top 5 Dictator Movies!

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), onservative activist David All joins us to talk about Slatecard; Betty Jo Tucker brings the Top Five Dictator Movies list in honor of Fidel Castro's "retirement". Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. 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:...

« January 2008 |

Raul Disses Hugo

Are we seeing the first indications that a Raul Castro-led Cuba will want warmer relations with the US? Yesterday, Brazil's Folha de Sao Paulo reported that Raul thanked Hugo Chavez for assisting Cuba, but thinks that US-friendly Brazil makes a better dance partner for the future (via Brian Faughnan): The newspaper reports that during the January Brazilian presidential visit to Havana, Raul Castro praised Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez for having helped Cuba “in a particularly tough moment of the ongoing confrontation with the United States George W Bush administration”. Nevertheless Fidel Castro brother is quoted saying that Brazil “is a far more convenient associate than Venezuela’s Chavez”, for the transition period. .... “In the words of one of the ministers, Brazil is one of few countries in the world capable of having a dialogue with the Cuban regime, with Chavez and with the US government”. Besides “he’s far more useful...

« January 2008 |

Build Your Own Campaign At Slatecard

David All joined me today on Heading Right Radio to talk about his new effort at Slatecard. Slatecard allows bloggers to select a list of Republican candidates for national office and promote the list to their readers. The site makes it a breeze to select candidates from around the nation. I decided to focus mainly on those candidates whom I have interviewed and know to support national security, clean government, and fiscal discipline. Check it out, and consider contributing to some of these candidates:...

« January 2008 |

Welcome Back To The Fight

Earlier this week, I signed an open letter to Rep. John Shadegg along with a number of other conservatives asking the Arizona Republican to reconsider his decision to retire. A few minutes ago, I received the following statement from Shadegg's office: Ten days ago, when I announced my intention to leave Congress at the end of my current term, I said serving in the United States Congress on behalf of the people of Arizona is the single greatest privilege in my professional life. I have been blessed to follow in the tradition of the heroes of my childhood: Barry Goldwater, Paul Fannin, John Rhodes, Eldon Rudd, and others. Deciding not to run again was very difficult. My decision was based on my devotion to my family and my obligations to help them achieve their dreams and aspirations. Representing the people of Arizona in the U.S. Congress is a huge honor...

« January 2008 |

First We Smear You, Then Any Response Is War

The story of the New York Times hit piece on John McCain keeps getting stranger and stranger. First the paper puts out a story that uses two disgruntled former "associates" of McCain to allege that they wondered whether he had an inappropriate relationship with a female lobbyist. Not that he actually had an inappropriate relationship, but merely that they wondered about it. They also allege that they staged an intervention with McCain about it, one that somehow bypassed the top staffers on his campaign, and for this the newspaper offers no proof and no corroboration whatsoever. John McCain then holds a very polite and rather subdued press conference to deny all of the Times' unsubstantiated gossip. How does the New York Times report this? With unbelievable hysteria: Later in the day, one of Mr. McCain’s senior advisers leveled harsh criticism at The New York Times in what appeared to be...

« January 2008 |

Michael Needs To Meet His Match

I began blogging about Michael Larsen, a 12-year-old boy suffering from end-stage renal disease, last December. At the time, I asked readers of Captain's Quarters to consider the live-saving gift of a kidney to help save Michael's life. A good friend of the family teaches Michael at a local middle school, and she tells us what a great kid Michael is. Now, readers can see for Michael for themselves from a local Fox station's coverage of the story last night: Ask friends and teachers about Michael Larsen. They'll talk about the 12-year-old's impossibly long eyelashes and nonstop chatter; they might not even mention the fact that Michael has no kidneys. The Saint Paul sixth-grader isn't just a medical mystery, he's an inspiring story. Fox 9's Jamie Reese introduces us to the boy facing his struggle with a smile, and hoping someone, somewhere, can help give him a new lease on...

« January 2008 |

The Xerox Candidate

I'm not watching the Democratic debate, but I've followed the commentary at The Corner and at The Fix with Chris Cillizza. I hadn't anticipated putting up any commentary until after the transcript got published by CNN, but one point at The Fix made me laugh out loud. Hillary Clinton came prepared with an attack line, but apparently not a sense of irony: Asked about his lifting of lines from Gov. Deval Patrick (Mass.), Obama sought to dismiss the charges of plagiarism as the sort of politics the American public is sick of. "The notion I had plagiarized from someone who is one of my national co-chairs who gave me the line and suggested I use it I think is silly," Obama said. "This is where we get into silly season in politics and people start getting discouraged about it." Clinton, however, clearly believes this is a political weak spot for...

« January 2008 |

February 22, 2008

The Greatest Comedian

Joe Gandelman has a great post at The Moderate Voice about the greatest comedian in television history, and probably one of the most influential for modern performers, along with Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce. Jack Benny ruled the radio and television airwaves for decades with a self-deprecating and seemingly effortless style that presaged the genre of observational comedy. Along with Groucho Marx, his timing was the key part of his mastery: Jack Benny was one of the 20th century’s most beloved comedians: a star of vaudeville, the golden age of radio, movies and television. He actually invented the situation comedy on radio. And he could milk a laugh by scanning (slowly turning and looking at) the audience — extending a laugh seconds longer than any other comedian. He helped pioneer 20th century comedy that was more attitude than just setup/joke setup/joke. ... The Benny radio show was WAY before my...

« January 2008 |

Sadr Extends Cease-Fire For Six More Months

It's now official -- Moqtada al-Sadr has sidelined the Mahdi Army for another six months. Imams at Sadr-connected mosques just made the announcement for Friday prayers on the day before the previous six-month halt expired: Radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr ordered his followers to prolong their Mahdi Army militia's ceasefire for another six months Friday, after seeing a dramatic reduction in violence in Iraq. Shiite imams in mosques across south and central Iraq opened sealed letters from the Sadrist movement's leader and read his statement to supporters after Muslim weekly prayers on the half-year anniversary of the truce. The decision to maintain the ceasefire was immediately welcomed by relieved US commanders, who once saw the Mahdi Army as the greatest threat to the future of Iraq but now hope Sadr can be a stabilising influence. "I prolong the freeze in the activities of the Mahdi Army until the 15th day...

« January 2008 |

Pakistani Parliamentary Coalition Likely To Push Musharraf To Quit

Leaders of the newly-elected parliament in Pakistan will demand that Pervez Musharraf resign from the presidency. They have rejected a plea from the US to keep Musharraf in place, and they plan to reinstate the judges Musharraf purged in order to have a means to push him out of office if he does not go willingly: The Bush administration is pressing the opposition leaders who defeated Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to allow the former general to retain his position, a move that Western diplomats and U.S. officials say could trigger the very turmoil the United States seeks to avoid. U.S. officials, from President Bush on down, said this week that they think Musharraf, a longtime U.S. ally, should continue to play a role, despite his party's rout in parliamentary elections Monday and his unpopularity in the volatile, nuclear-armed nation. The U.S. is urging the Pakistani political leaders who won the...

« January 2008 |

The Irrelevancy Of Mrs. Obama's College Thesis

I have received a lot of e-mail regarding Princeton's apparent decision to embargo Michelle Obama's college thesis. A few purported quotes have begun floating through the ether, which seems surprising if the Obamas have conspired to keep the paper buried at Princeton. The messages all seem to believe that the thesis contains something explosive, especially in terms of racial politics. Maybe it does, and maybe it doesn't. Why would anyone be surprised if it did? To paraphrase one of the great lines from South Park, there's a time and a place for radical thought, and it's called college. Mrs. Obama wrote the paper 20 years ago, while living in the cocoon of academia. I doubt that it reflects her current state of mind. It's not quite as bad as going back to Barack's kindergarten essays, but it's just about as irrelevant. Most importantly, Michelle Obama isn't the candidate. Her speeches...

« January 2008 |

How The Times Helped McCain

UPDATE: Today's AOL Hot Seat poll question comes from this post: embedSWF(9, 0, 0, "widget", "recent")This content requires the most recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. Get this version below:Get Flash I have more links at the bottom from my posts yesterday on this topic. Original post follows ... ======== The New York Times may have done the impossible for the John McCain campaign and for Republicans in general. As predicted yesterday when their strange and threadbare allegations hit print, the attack united conservatives behind McCain. It also may have been an act of seppuku for the Times, as its claim objectivity and credibility have been discredited. The Los Angeles Times surveys the damage: Conservative commentators, including some who previously chastised McCain for not hewing closely to their principles, leaped to the candidate's defense. Radio personality Laura Ingraham, like other critics, noted that the newspaper had been researching the...

« January 2008 |

AOL Hot Seat Question Of The Day

AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We'll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day's poll -- including today's, which is on the post below. Be sure to tune it at BlogTalkRadio -- and don't forget to cast your votes! We will also take your calls at (347) 205-9555....

« January 2008 |

Times Doesn't Pass The Smell Test: Seattle P-I (Update: Location, Location, Location)

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer will never get mistaken as a conservative publication. It routinely editorializes in support of liberal causes and candidates, and it has come in for plenty of criticism for its decisions on publication decisions. They also routinely publish stories from their subscription to the New York Times syndication product. Today, however, David McCumber explains why he took a pass on the Times' hit piece on John McCain: Obviously, the reporters, Jim Rutenberg, Marilyn W. Thompson, David D. Kirkpatrick and Stephen Labaton, are not working for me. I have no way, other than their excellent reputations, of specifically evaluating their sourcing. That job fell to Bill Keller, the editor of The New York Times, who had held the story, citing concerns about whether the reporters had "nailed it," long enough to fatally fracture the newspaper's relationship with Thompson. She left today to go back to work for The Washington...

« January 2008 |

The Beginning Of Jihad On American Soil

When did radical Islamist terrorists first strike in the United States? Some may guess 9/11; others paying more attention would say 1993, in the first attack on the World Trade Center. The second guess comes closer, but in fact it began in Manhattan in 1990, with an assassination that has largely been forgotten. Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted the terrorists that conducted the 1993 attack, reminds us of the first Islamist terrorist attack in the US: At the time, the most radical proponent of Jewish migration to Israel was Rabbi Meir Kahane, who in the late 1960’s had founded the Jewish Defense League (JDL) in New York. The JDL had been responsible for several terrorist attacks against Soviet targets in the United States, attacks ostensibly aimed at coercing the Soviets to free Russian Jews to move to Israel. After emigrating to Israel himself, Kahane was elected to the Knesset, occupying a...

« January 2008 |

Another Refusenik, Closer To Home

Earlier today, I linked to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and its editor's essay about the journalistic defects in the New York Times hit piece on John McCain. David McCumber chose not to run the Times' article in the Seattle P-I despite having the rights to it on syndication. Andrew Malcom at the Los Angeles Times reports that another paper also killed the story -- despite being owned by the New York Times: But one interesting aspect of this combined political and professional controversy went widely unnoticed. The Boston Globe, which is wholly owned by the New York Times, chose not to publish the article produced by its parent company's reporters. Instead, the Globe published a version of the same story written by the competing Washington Post staff. That version focused almost exclusively on the pervasive presence of lobbyists in McCain's campaign and did not mention the sexual relationship that the Times...

« January 2008 |

Heading Right Radio: The Week In Review!

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson of the Hugh Hewitt Show joins us for the 90-minute week in review. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. 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:...

« January 2008 |

Why The House GOP Needs To Be Bold On Earmarks

Over the last few weeks, many of us in the conservative blogosphere have urged House Republican leadership to offer a bold agenda on earmarks and corruption. We advised them to adopt a unilateral moratorium on pork; they declined. We campaigned to get Jeff Flake, a credible reformer, onto the Appropriations Committee; they selected Jo Bonner instead. Today, Rick Renzi reminds us why the GOP needs to get bold and take big leaps instead of baby steps on reform: Republican Rep. Rick Renzi was indicted Friday on charges of extortion, wire fraud, money laundering and other matters in an Arizona land swap scam that allegedly helped him collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in payoffs. A 26-page federal indictment unsealed in Arizona accuses Renzi and two former business partners of conspiring to promote the sale of land that buyers could swap for property owned by the federal government. The sale netted...

« January 2008 |

Shaking Hands With Terrorists (Bump: The Hand Of Hillary?)

The Left has a big blind spot when it comes to the history of violence among its radicals in the 1960s. Rather than seeing it for what it was -- political terrorism -- and rejecting it completely, they continue to romanticize its use and rationalize its effects. Most of the bomb-throwers repented of their actions, but not all -- and two that remain proud of their terrorism may impact the presidential election, according to Politico's Ben Smith: In 1995, State Senator Alice Palmer introduced her chosen successor, Barack Obama, to a few of the district’s influential liberals at the home of two well known figures on the local left: William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. While Ayers and Dohrn may be thought of in Hyde Park as local activists, they’re better known nationally as two of the most notorious – and unrepentant — figures from the violent fringe of the 1960s...

« January 2008 |

Reach Out And Touch Someone, Dammit

The UN has demanded action on global warming, but perhaps they need to look inward before imposing solutions on member nations. The US Chamber of Commerce takes a look at the costs of hauling representatives to the unending stream of international conferences -- and wonders why the UN has overlooked a key technology in combating greenhouse-gas emissions: When the advocates of global-warming alarmism act as though we're in a crisis, then I'll give it some credence. Until then, talk to the hand(set)....

« January 2008 |

Bring Your No-Doz

Earlier today, I noted the irrelevance of Michelle Obama's 1985 Princeton thesis to the 2008 presidential campaign of her husband Barack. To the extent that Mrs. Obama participates in the campaign, her speeches now are certainly relevant, but her state of mind 23 years ago isn't. Dissenters said that the fact that Princeton had embargoed the paper showed that it likely held some embarrassing assertions or strident rhetoric on race. Well, I have good news for everyone. The Politico got a copy of Mrs. Obama's work from the Obama campaign and has it available to anyone who wants to read it: Michelle Obama's senior year thesis at Princeton University, obtained exclusively from the campaign by Politico, shows a document written by a young woman grappling with a society in which a black Princeton alumnus might only be allowed to remain "on the periphery." Read the full thesis here: Part 1,...

« January 2008 |

February 23, 2008

Obama, Taking It For Granted?

Last year, John McCain took a lot of criticism for skipping CPAC, the annual convention of the conservative base he now needs to woo. This year, Barack Obama may make the same kind of misstep, regretfully declining to attend the State of the Black Union forum in New Orleans, explaining that campaigning in Ohio and Texas will take priority. Hillary Clinton managed to carve out some room in her schedule to attend, however: The annual State of the Black Union forum boasts a number of famous names as it gets under way in New Orleans, but this year's event is getting much more attention for who won't be there. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, was the only major presidential candidate to accept an invitation to attend. Her rival, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, declined, as did Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain of Arizona. But it's Obama's absence that's prompted both...

« January 2008 |

Where Is The Love?

A day after insinuating that John McCain had an affair with lobbyist Vicki Iseman, all of the romance appears to have disappeared from the New York Times. Faster than one can say Roberta Flack, the flak taken by the Gray Lady has apparently resulted in a Soviet-style purge of the sexual allegations from their story. Recall this in paragraph 2 of the original article: A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity. Tom Maguire notes that now, Eastasia has never been at war with Oceania -- er, the story...

« January 2008 |

A Tale Of Two Caucuses

Two House caucuses, two members under indictment -- and both give two very different responses. John Boehner, the House Minority Leader, publicly demanded Rick Renzi's resignation from the House after his indictment on 35 charges of fraud, extortion, and other sundry corruption: House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is urging indicted Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) to resign. “I have made it clear that I will hold our members to the highest standards of ethical conduct,” Boehner said in a statement Friday. “The charges contained in this indictment are completely unacceptable for a member of Congress, and I strongly urge Rep. Renzi to seriously consider whether he can continue to effectively represent his constituents under these circumstances. I expect to meet with Rep. Renzi at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss this situation and the best option for his constituents, our Conference, and the American people.” This came a day after...

« January 2008 |

NARN, The Disappearing Affection 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 take a close look at the New York Times' attack piece on John McCain and its likely effect on the race. We'll also discuss the Democratic primaries and guess when -- and whether -- Hillary actually wins another state, and whether it matters. Be sure to call 651-289-4488 to join the conversation!...

« January 2008 |

Don't Add Rice To The Republican Presidential Recipe

For the last few years, Condoleezza Rice's name has come up in conjunction with the Vice Presidency in a number of strange ways. First, in 2004, rumors had George Bush dumping Dick Cheney to invite Rice onto his re-election ticket. When that didn't happen, the rumors persisted as late as last year that Cheney would retire for health reasons and allow Rice to be selected as the replacement VP -- and put her in position to run for President in 2008. That didn't happen, either, but it hasn't stopped the Rice advocates from pressing to make her VP. At CPAC, one could see "Condi" buttons and stickers pushing for her selection to the ticket. Yesterday, however, she threw cold water -- again -- on the effort (via Memeorandum): The secretary of State told reporters Friday she will not be a vice presidential candidate in the upcoming election. "I have always...

« January 2008 |

Sometimes A Handshake Is Just A Handshake

How crazy has the primary campaign become? Hillary Clinton now feels the need to explain shaking hands with Barack Obama at their Thursday evening debate in Austin. Despite the analysis of some pundits, she has not yet surrendered to Obama and expects to win in Texas and Ohio: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton insisted Friday that she had not meant to signal surrender when she shook hands with Sen. Barack Obama during their Democratic presidential debate in Austin the night before. It was a measure of the dire circumstances her campaign now faces that she had to explain the gesture at all. Clinton said she still expects to win the Ohio and Texas primaries, but her increasingly pessimistic advisers did nothing to rebut a remark by former president Bill Clinton that his wife must win both states to continue her candidacy. ... And on CBS's "Early Show," Clinton was asked outright...

« January 2008 |

A Look Into Fidel Castro's Cuba

Cuba freed four dissidents jailed in 2003 as a way to mollify human-rights critics. After their arrival in Spain following their release, the four explained how bad it got for them in Cuban prisons, and held out little hope that Fidel Castro's retirement would improve conditions for Cubans: Four dissidents freed this week after five years in inhumane conditions in a Cuban prison have revealed the dark side of Fidel Castro’s regime. The four - José Gabriel Ramón Castillo, Omar Pernet Hernández, Alejandro González and Pedro Pablo Álvarez - described regular beatings, humiliation and arbitrary punishment with long periods of solitary confinement in cramped cells with cement beds. Mr Castillo, 50, a journalist who wrote articles critical of the regime, told The Sunday Telegraph: "It was terrible. It was like being in a desert in which sometimes there is no water, there is no food, you are tortured and you...

« January 2008 |

February 24, 2008

Hillary Gets Better Treatment From Dems: Obama

Barack Obama issued a rather strange cri de coeur in Ohio yesterday. The Democratic front-runner claimed that Hillary Clinton has gotten preferential treatment from the Democratic Party, and that he would have been pressured to leave the race after losing 10 straight states: Hillary Clinton's campaign says it remains upbeat about the New York senator's White House chances, but rival Barack Obama said Saturday he would likely be treated differently if his campaign had suffered a similar string of losses as her's. Asked in Ohio by a reporter if he would be treated differently had he lost as many contests as Clinton, Obama said, "Yes." But Obama said he understands why the treatment is different, saying it would require a knockout blow for Clinton to quit because she's "part of the Democratic network in Washington." "Look, I'm the challenger, I'm the upstart," he said. "I'm the insurgent — she's, she's...

« January 2008 |

Clark Hoyt, Conscientious Objector

On Thursday, New York Times editor-in-chief Bill Keller hysterically accused the John McCain campaign of "wag[ing] a war" on the Gray Lady simply by issuing a clear and calm denial of Keller's smear. If that's true, then give Times public editor Clark Hoyt conscientious objector status. Hoyt wants no part of defending Keller or his journalists, which he makes clear in a stinging rebuke: The article was notable for what it did not say: It did not say what convinced the advisers that there was a romance. It did not make clear what McCain was admitting when he acknowledged behaving inappropriately — an affair or just an association with a lobbyist that could look bad. And it did not say whether Weaver, the only on-the-record source, believed there was a romance. The Times did not offer independent proof, like the text messages between Detroit’s mayor and a female aide that...

« January 2008 |

Nader An Oh-Eighter

Barack Obama can now point to someone running to his left as evidence of his moderateness. Ralph Nader has announced that he will run for President in 2008, giving Democrats another potential headache in the fall, albeit a small one: Ralph Nader has announced plans to run again for the US presidency. The anti-establishment consumer advocate made the announcement in a televised interview on Sunday. .... "I'm running for president," Mr Nader said as he announced the move on NBC's Meet the Press. He said most Americans were disenchanted with the Democratic and Republican parties - who were not discussing the urgent issues facing American voters Democrats, he said, were "complicit" and if they did not win by a "landslide" this year, "they should just close down". Nader managed to make the 2000 race a lot more interesting than anyone predicted. Although he only captured 3 million votes nationwide, he...

« January 2008 |

Pervez Gets Boogie Fever?

The Telegraph reports that Pervez Musharraf may resign his post "within days" after failing to convince his opposition to let him remain in office. The Pakistani president sees the writing on the wall and doesn't want to have a destabilizing impeachment follow the successful parliamentary elections, according to his aides: Pervez Musharraf is considering stepping down as president of Pakistan rather than waiting to be forced out by his victorious opponents, aides have told The Sunday Telegraph. One close confidante said that the president believed he had run out of options after three of the main parties who triumphed in last week's poll announced they would form a coalition government together, and also pledged to reinstate the country's chief justice and 60 other judges sacked by Mr Musharraf in November. "He has already started discussing the exit strategy for himself," a close friend said. "I think it is now just...

« January 2008 |

Why Presidents Matter

The ascent of John McCain to the apparent Republican nomination has discouraged some conservatives, who have expressed a willingness to sit out 2008 and let a Democrat win the White House. They claim, hyperbolically, that no real policy differences exist between McCain and either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, and that having a Democrat take the blame for the coming debacle will make it easier to elect Republicans later. An interesting analysis of the direction of the Supreme Court in the Washington Post should serve as a reminder of one area that will turn out very differently: The increasingly conservative court has said often of late that it is getting out of the business of finding a right to sue that is not explicitly stated in the law -- what lawyers call an "implied cause of action." Two discrimination cases that the court heard last week, both concerning retaliation, made...

« January 2008 |

Can Obama Carry The Red?

Barack Obama has raised hopes for a Democratic victory in November by winning primarily in states that normally vote Republican. He argues that this shows he can redraw the Electoral College map in the general election and force Republicans onto the defensive in normally safe areas of the country. However, Hillary Clinton has an argument by reflexion that she can safeguard the Democratic strongholds better -- and that Obama's red-state strength could be overrated: In winning Tuesday's primary in the key swing state of Wisconsin, Sen. Barack Obama drew support from tens of thousands of Republicans and independents. He pulled off the same feat in his landslide victory in the Virginia primary the week before, suggesting he could win the state in November. In South Carolina, he had more votes than the top two Republican contenders put together; in Kansas, his total topped the overall GOP turnout. All along, Obama...

« January 2008 |

The Next Revolution Will Come Sooner Than They Think

As expected, the Cuban national assembly rubber-stamped Raul Castro as his brother Fidel's replacement as dictator of the island nation. However, instead of keeping Carlos Lage in the ceremonial post of vice-president, or perhaps grooming a successor to the septuagenarian Raul, they picked a man older than Raul as his backup: Cuba's parliament named Raul Castro president on Sunday, ending nearly 50 years of rule by his brother Fidel but leaving the island's communist system unshaken. In a surprise move, officials bypassed younger candidates to name a 77-year-old revolutionary leader, Jose Ramon Machado, to Cuba's No. 2 spot — apparently assuring the old guard that no significant political changes will be made soon. The retirement of the ailing 81-year-old president caps a career in which he frustrated efforts by 10 U.S. presidents to oust him. Raul Castro, 76, stressed that his brother remains "commander in chief" even if he is...

« January 2008 |

February 25, 2008

Now Louis Farrakhan Gets Messiah Fever

The messianic rhetoric surrounding Barack Obama's presidential run just got a little stranger, although in one sense somewhat fitting. Speaking at the Nation of Islam's annual Saviour's Day event, Louis Farrakhan claimed that Obama could be the only person who could "lift America from its fall," and compared him to NoI founder Fard Mohammed (via Memeorandum): In his first major public address since a cancer crisis, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan said Sunday that presidential candidate Barack Obama is the "hope of the entire world" that the U.S. will change for the better. The 74-year-old Farrakhan, addressing an estimated crowd of 20,000 people at the annual Saviours' Day celebration, never outrightly endorsed Obama but spent most of the nearly two-hour speech praising the Illinois senator. "This young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better," he said. "This young man is...

« January 2008 |

Can You Hear Me Now? Not In Afghanistan

The Taliban has made some strange demands before, but the latest has everyone scratching their heads. They now want cell-phone networks to go dark at night, and if they refuse, the Taliban will begin blowing up cell phone offices and masts: The Taleban have threatened to blow up telephone masts across Afghanistan unless mobile phone companies agree to switch off their signals at night. They say that US and other foreign troops are using the signals to track down insurgents. The Taleban have warned the masts and offices of the mobile companies will be destroyed unless their demands are met. The Taliban want the signals shut down between 5 pm and 3 am local time. Apparently, the Taliban does not like the lower rates during evening hours, or they just can't find enough people to fill in their Friends & Neighbors plan. Maybe if they didn't keep killing them, the...

« January 2008 |

Two Potential Veeps To The Right

Byron York interviewed two of the men mentioned most often as potential running mates for John McCain, governors Tim Pawlenty and Mark Sanford. Both men enthusiastically supported McCain in the primaries, but both men have significant policy differences with McCain on the nominee's signature issues -- immigration and campaign-finance reform. How they reconcile themselves to McCain may prove instructive to the rest of the field, and may give conservatives reason for hope in both men: On Sunday, I spoke with two leading contenders for the McCain ticket, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, both in Washington for the annual meeting of the National Governors’ Association. While each expressed strong support for McCain, neither would deny differences with the candidate on two of the issues that have caused McCain the greatest trouble with the conservative base: immigration and campaign-finance reform. .... Both men praised McCain’s desire to...

« January 2008 |

Can The Dolphin Be Far Behind?

They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning, No-one you see, is smarter than he.... When Mitt Romney first appeared at CPAC in 2007 as a presidential candidate, a man in a dolphin costume began following him to highlight his "flip-flops" on policy. Flipper made an appearance at this year's CPAC as well, but found himself out of a job on the first day when Romney withdrew from the presidential race. If he reads today's Washington Post, he might find new material to extend his gig by making appearances at Barack Obama rallies instead: Top Obama Flip-Flops 1. Special interests In January, the Obama campaign described union contributions to the campaigns of Clinton and John Edwards as "special interest" money. Obama changed his tune as he began gathering his own union endorsements. He now refers respectfully to unions as the representatives of "working people" and says he is "thrilled" by...

« January 2008 |

Is This Helpful?

The ascent of Barack Obama to front-runner status has also given rise to some highly irresponsible talk in the media, mostly sotto voce, about the potential for assassination. The New York Times breaks this into the open, giving Obama more uncomfortable associations with Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy than those his soaring rhetoric had already generated: There is a hushed worry on the minds of many supporters of Senator Barack Obama, echoing in conversations from state to state, rally to rally: Will he be safe? In Colorado, two sisters say they pray daily for his safety. In New Mexico, a daughter says she persuaded her mother to still vote for Mr. Obama, even though the mother feared that winning would put him in danger. And at a rally here, a woman expressed worries that a message of hope and change, in addition to his race, made him more vulnerable...

« January 2008 |

The Ironic IAEA

Mohammed ElBaradei has issued a new IAEA finding that states Iranian explanations of its nuclear activities -- with one glaring exception --are "consistent" with the agency's own findings. Danielle Pletka and Michael Rubin slam ElBaradai in today's Wall Street Journal for his agenda in assisting Iran in hiding the true nature of its nuclear activities, and of hiding behind his Nobel Peace Prize to do so: The report represents Mr. ElBaradei's best effort to whitewash Tehran's record. Earlier this month, on Iranian television, he made clear his purpose, announcing that he expected "the issue would be solved this year." And if doing so required that he do battle against the IAEA's technical experts, reverse previous conclusions about suspect programs, and allow designees of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad an unprecedented role in crafting a "work plan" that would allow the regime to receive a cleaner bill of health from the IAEA...

« January 2008 |

Where's The Diplomatic Beef?

Benny Avni at the New York Sun looks at Barack Obama's promise to meet with America's enemies, and wonders what could come from this policy. Given that Obama doesn't discuss the goals or the potential trading points would be, Avni sees the potential for humiliation as far greater than that of progress. It also demonstrates Obama's moral relativism: For Mr. Obama, however, dangling high-end diplomatic meetings as an incentive for a change in behavior is bad policy rooted in American hubris. "If we think that meeting with the president is a privilege that has to be earned, I think that reinforces the sense that we stand above the rest of the world at this point in time," he said during the CNN/Univision debate with Senator Clinton on Thursday. His aversion to American exceptionalism aside, Mr. Obama's position evolved out of a primary debate last July, when he casually said he...

« January 2008 |

Not An Aphrodisiac

The Hillary Clinton campaign has tried just about everything that it can to derail Barack Obama's improbable rise to front-runner status in the Democratic primaries. Now it has begun circulating a photo of the young politician pandering to Muslims abroad by adopting a native costume, calling into question his commitment to Christianity and opposition to Islamist terror: Oh, hey! Wrong picture. I meant this one: Damn! Wrong one again! Let's try one more time: Dating and campaigning have something in common. The reek of desperation does not act as an aphrodisiac on potential suitors....

« January 2008 |

AOL Hot Seat Question Of The Day

AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We'll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day's poll -- including today's: [Poll expired.] Be sure to tune it at BlogTalkRadio -- and don't forget to cast your votes! We will also take your calls at (347) 205-9555....

« January 2008 |

The Road Goes Ever On

Today brings exciting news and an end to a time in my life that has proven far more successful than I ever dreamed. Beginning on March 1, I will begin working for Michelle Malkin, a friend, mentor, and writer I have long admired. She has offered me a position as writer at Hot Air, and my blogging will appear exclusively there. That means that I will close out Captain’s Quarters sometime in March. This saddens me, as it has become my ever-ready home and because of the terrific community it has generated. I hope that the CapQ community comes with me to Hot Air, and Hot Air will have open registration today for 12 hours in order to allow CapQ commenters to join me at my new digs. Michelle and I have different voices, and sometimes different points of view. Rest assured that Michelle respects these differences and wants them...

« January 2008 |

A Farewell To BlogTalkRadio

Earlier this morning, I wrote about my new position with Hot Air and the new opportunities it affords me. I didn't write about my status with BlogTalkRadio, in part because of some miscommunication on how to address it. I will leave BlogTalkRadio at the end of the week. I want to thank Alan Levy, the CEO and my boss since last April, for the wonderful opportunity I have had to work as Political Director and later as Director of Customer Relations. I have enjoyed working with Alan and the entire crew at BTR, as well as the bloggers and talk-show hosts who have created a strong conservative presence on the BTR network. Let me assure you, my departure doesn't diminish the commitment of BTR to the political channels, especially the vibrant Heading Right community I had the great fortune to build. I will do my normal schedule of shows this...

« January 2008 |

Heading Right Radio: Byron York

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Byron York of National Review joins us to talk about his essay on Tim Pawlenty and Mark Sanford as potential VP selections for John McCain. (Be sure to read Fraters Libertas for some dissenting points on Pawlenty.) Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. 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:...

« January 2008 |

USA Today: Who Pays The Bill?

So far, the lack of daylight between the agendas of the two Democratic contenders for the party's presidential nomination has kept the focus mostly on experience and campaign tactics. USA Today took a look at the actual economic policies of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and especially at the bottom line. They wonder who will pay the bill for the latest Democratic Party giveaway: In 2009, when the next president takes office, the government is expected to spend $400 billion more than it takes in, adding to a national debt that tops $9 trillion. Yet Clinton and Obama both offer a long list of new spending proposals that suggests a lack of seriousness in confronting the nation's fiscal condition. Obama has received more criticism, perhaps deservedly so, because his list is somewhat longer. But Clinton also appears to be overpromising on what she would do and underdelivering on how she...

« January 2008 |

Obama's Negatives Going Up

While Hillary Clinton has not found a way to break the consecutive primaries losing streak against Barack Obama, now at 10 or 11 depending on whether one counts the expatriate poll, she has managed to force Obama to talk a little more specifically about policy. That apparently has cost Obama some ground, according to Rasmussen, although not so much against Hillary. His negatives have risen seven points in the last month, and now are ten points higher than those of John McCain: Thirty-four percent (34%) of all voters say they will definitely vote for John McCain if he is on the ballot this November. Thirty-three percent (33%) will definitely vote against him while 29% say their support hinges on who his opponent is. Barack Obama has the same number who will definitely vote for him--34%. But, more people are committed to voting against him than McCain. Forty-three percent (43%) say...

« January 2008 |

Alert The Media, And CQ Shutdown FAQ

I will join Duane Patterson on the Hugh Hewitt show tonight at 6:40 pm CT to discuss my move to Hot Air. Hugh's on his Hugh Cruise, and Dean Barnett took suddenly ill, so Duane gets the center seat tonight. In the meantime, I want to address a few of the most asked questions in comments and e-mails today. Q. You're going to change your style. Not if Michelle and I both have our way. Michelle wants my voice at Hot Air, not for me to adopt someone else's voice. I plan on writing in the same way that I have for the last four and a half years; I doubt I could write in any other fashion. I certainly wouldn't want to. I wouldn't have taken the job if I couldn't write the way I like, and Michelle wouldn't have offered it if I did. The best I can...

« January 2008 |

February 26, 2008

Did Saddam Figure's Millions Influence Obama?

The Times of London follows the money in the journalistic tradition of Watergate and finds a strange connection between Tony Rezko, Barack Obama, and Nadhmi Auchi. The latter, one of Britain's richest men, has a long history of shady financial dealings as well as numerous connections to Saddam Hussein, who he helped to power. According to the Times, Auchi sent a lot of money to Rezko just before his wife bought property adjacent to the Obamas in a land deal that has already raised a lot of eyebrows: A British-Iraqi billionaire lent millions of dollars to Barack Obama's fundraiser just weeks before an imprudent land deal that has returned to haunt the presidential contender, an investigation by The Times discloses. The money transfer raises the question of whether funds from Nadhmi Auchi, one of Britain’s wealthiest men, helped Mr Obama buy his mock Georgian mansion in Chicago. A company related...

« January 2008 |

East German Women And Infanticide

The rate of infanticide in Germany varies widely between the regions of the former West Germany and East Germany. Der Spiegel reports that the issue has become a political hot potato, and that the suggestion by the governor of the formerly communist-run state Saxony-Anhalt that communism could be the cause has people demanding his resignation: Wolfgang Böhmer, governor of the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt, faces opposition calls to resign after he said women in the east had "a more casual approach to new life" than in the west. Böhmer, who trained as a gynaecologist, was responding to research showing that the risk of a baby being killed by its mother is three to four times higher in the east than it is in the west of Germany. Barely a month goes by in Germany without media reports of infanticide. One of the most shocking cases (more...) was that of Sabine...

« January 2008 |

CBS Polling Still As Good As Ever

CBS and the New York Times have a new poll out that looks at the Democratic primary race and at the general election. In the former, it uses a rather small sample, but in the latter the sample gets weighted -- as usual -- in favor of Democratic voters. Barack Obama has taken a lead in the national numbers for the primary, not exactly breaking news: A new CBS News/New York Times poll finds Barack Obama with a 16-point lead over rival Hillary Clinton among Democratic primary voters nationwide. Obama, coming off 11 straight primary and caucus victories, had the support of 54 percent of Democratic primary voters nationally. Clinton had 38 percent support. In a CBS News poll taken three weeks ago, shortly before Super Tuesday, Obama and Clinton were tied at 41 percent. Clinton led by 15 points nationally in January. The former first lady has lost her...

« January 2008 |

Pork Moratorium Only Mostly Dead?

House Republicans had an opportunity to take a bold stand on pork by declaring a unilateral moratorium on earmarking in 2008. Instead, they offered one in conjunction with the Democrats, who scoffed at the notion of ending the bacon ride for even a single year. Porkbusters decried the lost opportunity for Republicans in building a message of clean government and real transparency. Jim DeMint has taken up the cause in the upper chamber instead. He plans on introducing legislation that will force the moratorium on the entire Congress: Hoping to bring the House fight over earmark reform to the Senate, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) will propose a full one-year moratorium on considering bills with earmarks as part of the fiscal 2009 budget resolution, the lawmaker said Monday. DeMint, who will discuss the moratorium during today’s weekly GOP luncheon, said he believes his proposal could create the political room needed to...

« January 2008 |

It's Kitchen Sink Time

The Hillary Clinton campaign has begun to throw everything they have left in the cupboard against Barack Obama as the window of opportunity begins to close on their candidate. Mike Allen and John F. Harris at Politico report that the campaign has also begun to turn on itself in its last throes on the national stage, and as polling numbers continue to drop nationwide: With a week to go before climactic tests in Texas and Ohio, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign team has slipped into full recriminations mode. Looking backward, interviews with a cross-section of campaign aides and sympathetic outsiders suggest a team consumed with frustration and finger-pointing about the apparent failure of several recent tactical moves against Barack Obama. Looking forward, it is clear Clinton’s team has only a faint and highly improvisational strategy about what to do over the next seven days. Simply put, there is no secret weapon....

« January 2008 |

Mubarak To Assad: Lebanon Is Your Fault

Egypt's Hosni Mubarak gave an indication that he may not attend next month's Arab Summit due to the interference of Syria into Lebanon's politics. In an interview broadcast initially in Bahrain, Mubarak said that the political crisis in Lebanon had its roots in Damascus, and that Bashar Assad needs to end his interference. Otherwise, the summit would be pointless: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Syria was part of the problem in Lebanon, calling on Damascus to help resolve the 15-month crisis before hosting an Arab summit next month. "The summit will be held in Syria and Syria is linked to the Lebanese problem. Therefore I hope that Syria would solve the problem," Mubarak said in remarks aired on Al Arabiya television on Tuesday. "We should not be (in Damascus) resolving a problem that Syria is a party to," Mubarak said during a visit to Bahrain as part of tour of...

« January 2008 |

AOL Hot Seat Question Of The Day

AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We'll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day's poll -- including today's: embedSWF(9, 0, 0, "widget", "recent")This content requires the most recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. Get this version below:Get Flash Be sure to tune it at BlogTalkRadio -- and don't forget to cast your votes! We will also take your calls at (347) 205-9555....

« January 2008 |

'We Welcome Being Terrorists': 15 Years Ago

Andrew McCarthy has an excellent column today on the fifteenth anniversary of the radical Islamist declaration of war against the United States. In one hour or so, exactly fifteen years will have passed since the first attack on the World Trade Center, a truck bomb that intended to demolish the symbol and home of American economic power. It would take eight more years for the terrorists to finish the job, but their intent was clear from the beginning: Only a few weeks before the bombing, the blind sheikh, who had been in constant communication with his co-conspirators, had attracted a crowd of followers at a Brooklyn rally. “God has obliged us to perform jihad,” he thundered. “The battalions of Islam and its divisions must be in a state of continuous readiness . . . to hit their enemies with strength and power.” The “enemies at the foremost of the work...

« January 2008 |

Palin's In

As speculation increases on the VP choice for John McCain, we have begun to hear the traditional denials from the leading candidates. They want to focus on their current job, or they don't want to presume that they will be one of McCain's final options. One candidate has offered some refreshing enthusiasm: Palin would make an interesting choice. She would be the first woman on a major party ticket since Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, assuming Hillary Clinton fails to win the Democratic nomination. Palin could be the first Alaskan on a major-party ticket as well. She's young and popular in the party, and her pro-life credentials are beyond dispute. She also has a history of demanding better ethics in politics, resigning a position on a state board because of ethical lapses by fellow Republicans. However, Palin has a few drawbacks as well. She's younger than Barack Obama and has held...

« January 2008 |

Heading Right Radio: 15th Anniversary Of War

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Radical Islamists declared war on the US fifteen years ago today. Andrew McCarthy joins us to discuss the first World Trade Center attack, and Brian Faughnan of the Weekly Standard talks about the latest Democratic surrender on surrender. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. 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:...

« January 2008 |

France Getting Closer To Combat Deployment

Earlier this month, I wrote that Nicolas Sarkozy might consider showing some leadership in Europe by bolstering France's combat participation in Afghanistan. Le Monde reported earlier today that Sarkozy has all but committed the troops to the front lines: France may send hundreds of ground troops to east Afghanistan where NATO-led forces are fighting al Qaeda-backed insurgents, Le Monde newspaper reported on Tuesday. It said the move would be part of a new Afghan policy being worked out by President Nicolas Sarkozy and his advisers. France has about 1,900 soldiers under NATO's Afghan command, most of them based in relatively calm Kabul, and Le Monde said the fresh troops would be deployed outside the capital. "Their destination would be zones of potentially fierce fighting, preferably the eastern region of Afghanistan close to the tribal areas of Pakistan," it said. Early last year, France withdrew 200 special forces soldiers who had...

« January 2008 |

McCain's Sister Souljah Moment?

Apparently, John McCain doesn't like the asinine emphasis on Barack Obama's middle name any more than Obama himself. After talk-radio host Bill Cunningham introduced McCain at a Cincinnati rally, the presumptive Republican nominee apologized for the disrespectful tone taken by his emcee: McCain wasn't on stage nor in the building when Cunningham made the comments, but he quickly distanced himself from them and the talk show host after finishing his speech. McCain spoke to a couple hundred people at Memorial Hall in downtown Cincinnati. "I apologize for it," McCain told reporters, addressing the issue before they had a chance to ask the Arizona senator about Cunningham's comments. "I did not know about these remarks but I take responsibility for them. I repudiate them," he said. "My entire campaign I have treated Senator Obama and Senator (Hillary Rodham) Clinton with respect. I will continue to do that throughout this campaign. McCain...

« January 2008 |

Gray Lady Issues Correction On McCain Smear

Well, it's not what one might think. They have a correction on an irrelevant point in a completely discredited article -- but at least it's right at the top: A front-page article on Feb. 21 about Senator John McCain’s record on lobbying and ethics, including his role in the Keating Five case, described incorrectly the reprimand delivered to three other members of the Senate in 1991 for intervening with government regulators on behalf of Charles H. Keating Jr. The Senate Ethics Committee rebuked the three senators for improper behavior, but under a parliamentary agreement the full Senate did not censure them or take any other vote on the matter. Wow. That really builds the ol' credibility, doesn't it? Here we have a story that got held for months while the editors tried to build a case for their accusations. We've been told by no less an authority than Dan Rather...

« January 2008 |

February 27, 2008

The New York Times Seems To Have Missed This

Both Democratic presidential candidates keep harping on two topics in the campaign. They want to end lobbyist influence in Washington, and they want to keep foreigners from unfair competition in American markets. The latter message has generated considerable enthusiasm, and blaming lobbyists has always been a winning political message. However, both need to explain how they managed to break those same promises as Senators (via Instapundit): Both Democratic presidential candidates, who promise to curb the influence of corporate lobbyists in Washington, helped enact narrowly tailored tax breaks sought by major campaign contributors. Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign has accepted $54,350 from members of a law firm that in 2006 lobbied him to introduce a tax provision for a Japanese drug company with operations in Illinois, according to public records and interviews. The government estimates the provision, which became law in December 2006, will cost the treasury $800,000. In 2002, Sen....

« January 2008 |

McCain In Front: LA Times Poll

The Los Angeles Times has conducted a national poll for the presidency, and the results show John McCain leading both Democratic presidential contenders despite all of the attention on their primaries. Experience and wartime judgment carry McCain to leads over both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, although within the margin of error for the latter: As he emerges from a sometimes- bitter primary campaign, presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain poses a stiff challenge to either of his potential Democratic opponents in the general election, a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found. The findings underscore the difficulties ahead for Democrats as they hope to retake the White House during a time of war, with voters giving McCain far higher marks when it comes to experience, fighting terrorism and dealing with the situation in Iraq. Both Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton have made ending America's involvement in the war...

« January 2008 |

Hillary, Reduced To Satire

I guess the Hillary Clinton campaign spent a lot of time the last few days in debate prep looking for a response with the power of her "change you can Xerox" line that flopped so badly in the last event. Duane Patterson finds this gem at the 16th minute of last night's debate, which neatly coincides with Hillary's long-overdue 16th minute of her 15 minutes of fame. In this clip, she paints herself as the victim of the entire debate process ... and uses Saturday Night Live as proof. No, I'm not kidding (via Memeorandum): Hillary Clinton said she was curious about the media in the last few debates always going to her first, citing Saturday Night Live and offering to give an extra pillow to Obama to make him more comfortable. Groans and boos immediately erupted from the crowd. Want to know another signal that a campaign has come...

« January 2008 |

Israel Kept US In Tel Aviv

The location of the US embassy in Israel has generated considerable controversy here in the US. The American government has never fully recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, preferring to let that contentious point get determined in final Israeli/Palestinian peace talks. Both Bill Clinton and George W Bush promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but neither actually took the step. According to Arutz Sheva, the Israelis themselves pressed the US to remain in Tel Aviv (via Keshertalk): Former Israeli Consul General to the US Yoram Ettinger revealed at the Jerusalem Conference Wednesday that Israel prevented a move that would have relocated the US Embassy to Jerusalem. “The US Senate was ready to do away with the waiver that allows the president to defer the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem,” Ettinger said during a round-table discussion at the Jerusalem Conference. “There were over 80 senators – enough to...

« January 2008 |

Omea Bleg: Why Do Entries Get Scrambled?

A few months ago, I asked CapQ readers to suggest a replacement feedreader to Sharpreader, which I had used for a couple of years. Several suggested Omea, which I have used ever since. I limit it to just RSS feeds and the Notes function, but it has served me very well. One problem appears with some regularity, however. The content of the entries get scrambled, as though the Omea database has indexing issues. Has anyone else experienced the same issue, and is there a fix available for it?...

« January 2008 |

Superdelegates: Because The Establishment Is Smarter Than The Voters

The Democrats have discovered just how badly they have constructed their college of delegates in this cycle. They have used the superdelegate structure since the mid-1980s, but no one foresaw how that could appear when two candidates split the vote almost equally. Now one the architects of the Democratic delegate structure defends the concept in today's Washington Post by saying what no one else will -- the Establishment is smarter than the electorate: In presidential election years, Americans see the face of a political party most clearly in the personality, views and character of its presidential candidates. But a national political party is about more than just the president. Its senators and House members pass the nation's laws and budgets. Its governors lead the states. All must work together for progress in America. I chaired the 1982 Democratic Party Commission on Presidential Nominations that created certain automatic delegates to the...

« January 2008 |

William F Buckley, RIP

William F Buckley, a giant among political pundits and the man who gave modern conservatism its intellectual foundation, died today at age 82. Fittingly, he died at his desk, probably working on his next column, as his son said in his announcement (via Hot Air): William F. Buckley Jr., who marshaled polysyllabic exuberance, famously arched eyebrows and a refined, perspicacious mind to elevate conservatism to the center of American political discourse, died Wednesday at his home in Stamford, Conn. Mr Buckley, 82, suffered from diabetes and emphysema, his son Christopher said, although the exact cause of death was not immediately known. He was found at his desk in the study of his home, his son said. “He might have been working on a column,” Mr. Buckley said. Mr. Buckley’s winningly capricious personality, replete with ten-dollar words and a darting tongue writers loved to compare with an anteater’s, hosted one of...

« January 2008 |

AOL Hot Seat Question Of The Day

AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We'll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day's poll -- including today's: [Poll expired.] Be sure to tune it at BlogTalkRadio -- and don't forget to cast your votes! We will also take your calls at (347) 205-9555....

« January 2008 |

Heading Right Radio: Remembering WFB

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Jim Geraghty joins us for his weekly Ledge Report -- but the Campaign Spot blogger will also be on hand to remember the late William F. Buckley, who died today at 82. Join us, and share your own take on his legacy. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. 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:...

« January 2008 |

Sixty-Six Percent Say 'Smear!'

The New York Times marks another milestone on its journey to National Enquirer status. The Gray Lady's smear piece on John McCain got 66% of Rasmussen respondents believing that the paper deliberately trying to kneecap the Republican frontrunner. Only 22% think that the paper had clean motives in publishing the unsubstantiated gossip: The Times recently became enmeshed in controversy over an article published concerning John McCain. Sixty-five percent (65%) of the nation’s likely voters say they have followed that story at least somewhat closely. Of those who followed the story, 66% believe it was an attempt by the paper to hurt the McCain campaign. Just 22% believe the Times was simply reporting the news. Republicans, by an 87% to 9% margin, believe the paper was trying to hurt McCain’s chances of winning the White House. Democrats are evenly divided. Let's take a look at the crosstabs. Among age groups, a...

« January 2008 |

Remembering WFB

Today on Heading Right Radio, Jim Geraghty and I discussed the passing of William F. Buckley and what he meant to conservatives, the movement and its participants. We both agree that we will not see his like again soon, or perhaps ever -- but that the foundation he left us will serve us well in his absence. I recalled later that I had an opportunity to interview one of Buckley's biographers, Linda Bridges, who partnered with John R Coyne Jr to author Strictly Right. Back in September, Bridges talked about how Buckley unified conservative factions into a coherent movement. It's especially appropriate to replay that episode of Heading Right Radio today, and perhaps to revisit Bridge's book. Bonus: I have an interview with Tom Coburn in the second half....

« January 2008 |

Jesse, O'Reilly's Not On The Stump ....

Not much to add to this video from our friends at Eyeblast. Jesse Jackson gets asked to comment on Michelle Obama's assertion that she is proud of her country for the first time, and can't quite grasp the question: Mostly, the clip is fun for watching Jackson splutter. He actually makes it worse by getting it wrong twice, and then trying to avoid the real meaning by shifting to Bill O'Reilly's idiotic use of the term "lynch". Chris Matthews seems amused as well....

« January 2008 |

February 28, 2008

Obama's Sotto Voce To Canadians: I'm Demagoguing On NAFTA

Barack Obama has joined Hillary Clinton in trashing one of her husband's major economic and diplomatic achievements on the stump. He has told Americans that he rejects NAFTA, the program that created a free-trade zone out of North America, hoping to ride protectionist fever to the White House. However, the man who runs as a different kind of politician has a different kind of message to Canadians about NAFTA: Barack Obama has ratcheted up his attacks on NAFTA, but a senior member of his campaign team told a Canadian official not to take his criticisms seriously, CTV News has learned. Both Obama and Hillary Clinton have been critical of the long-standing North American Free Trade Agreement over the course of the Democratic primaries, saying that the deal has cost U.S. workers' jobs. Within the last month, a top staff member for Obama's campaign telephoned Michael Wilson, Canada's ambassador to the...

« January 2008 |

Bloomberg Shifts From King To Kingmaker

Michael Bloomberg has decided not to run for president, but he will likely decide on an endorsement in the next few weeks. The mayor of New York City opts out in today's New York Times, but he makes clear that he will remain engaged as an independent voice -- and that he's looking to see which candidate displays that kind of party-independent leadership: I believe that an independent approach to these issues is essential to governing our nation — and that an independent can win the presidency. I listened carefully to those who encouraged me to run, but I am not — and will not be — a candidate for president. I have watched this campaign unfold, and I am hopeful that the current campaigns can rise to the challenge by offering truly independent leadership. The most productive role that I can serve is to push them forward, by using...

« January 2008 |

Novak: Pawlenty Not Popular Among GOP Governors

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has a high profile when it comes to potential running-mate options for John McCain. Pawlenty endorsed McCain early and stuck with him during hard times midway through 2007, and his center-right governance of blue-state Minnesota shows some real political talent. However, even Minnesotans question his conservative mien, and Robert Novak today reports that the unease extends to some of Pawlenty's colleagues: Minnesota's Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty, carefully prepared his plan for controlling greenhouse gas emissions to present it at the annual winter meeting of governors in Washington. That effort coincided with Pawlenty's fast-rising prospects to become Sen. John McCain's choice for vice president. But behind closed doors, governors from energy-producing states complained so vigorously that Pawlenty's proposal was buried. Pawlenty's position as chairman of the National Governors Association may prove to be his undoing. While party insiders sing his praises as ideal to be McCain's running...

« January 2008 |

German Unemployment Dips ... To 8.6%

While Democrats fan out to talk about the misery of our economy and how the government has to do more to control it, the news out of Europe seems brighter. The Germans and their more-controlled economy has begun improving. In fact, their unemployment rate has dropped all the way to 8.6%: Germany's unemployment rate dipped to 8.6 percent in February as a relatively mild winter added to momentum from the country's economic upswing, government figures showed Thursday. The number of people without a job in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, fell 42,000 from January to 3.617 million, and 630,000 lower than in February last year, the Federal Labor Agency said. The unadjusted jobless rate was down from 8.7 percent in January. Last February, that rate was 10.1 percent. "Unemployment continues to fall," Labor Agency chief Frank-Juergen Weise said. "Companies' demand for labor remains at a very high level." The bad news?...

« January 2008 |

The Times Raises Another McCain Non-Issue

The staff at the New York Times has burned the midnight oil trying to find ways to derail John McCain's campaign. After endorsing him in the primary, the paper then ran an unsubstantiated smear against him as a philanderer. Now they ask whether he is eligible for the office, given his birth in the Panama Canal zone while his father served the country: The question has nagged at the parents of Americans born outside the continental United States for generations: Dare their children aspire to grow up and become president? In the case of Senator John McCain of Arizona, the issue is becoming more than a matter of parental daydreaming. Mr. McCain’s likely nomination as the Republican candidate for president and the happenstance of his birth in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 are reviving a musty debate that has surfaced periodically since the founders first set quill to parchment...

« January 2008 |

Obama Getting Bad Military Advice

Jack Jacobs at MS-NBC wonders who Barack Obama has as his military advisers. Based on his answers at the debate, Jacobs suggests replacing them at the first opportunity. No one expects a presidential candidate to be an expert on ground combat, but at the very least candidates can hire a few: But last week, during his debate with Clinton, Obama tried speaking about substance when he mentioned the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he displayed an astounding ignorance of the military instrument. He said that an anonymous U.S. Army captain told him that his infantry platoon was split and sent to different areas of operations; that they were lacking vehicles; and that they had insufficient ammunition to fight. Although problems do occur in combat situations to be sure, none of what Obama related makes any sense and is, according to people with whom I spoke, untrue. Units the size...

« January 2008 |

AOL Hot Seat Question Of The Day

AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We'll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day's poll -- including today's: [Poll expired.] Be sure to tune it at BlogTalkRadio -- and don't forget to cast your votes! We will also take your calls at (347) 205-9555....

« January 2008 |

Open Comment Registration At Hot Air Today! (Update)

UPDATE IV: Some commenters are continuing to have issues with creating a login. If for some reason you just can't get it done through the system, e-mail me your preferred user name and password to this account: "register" at "captainsquartersblog.com" (without the quotes). I will manually add you to the system -- but give me some time to get it done. BUMP: Registration is now open. It will remain open until later tonight. Link to register is here. UPDATE III, 9:30 am CT: Had a glitch with registration this morning, but it's fixed now. Earlier this week, we held a comment registration event at Hot Air to try to get as many CapQ commenters into the system as possible. Some missed the window, however, and I have received many requests to hold another open-registration event. As I reported yesterday, we have scheduled another period of open registration today, February 28th,...

« January 2008 |

Heading Right Radio: International Property Rights Index; Movie Day!

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Americans for Tax Relief affiliate group Property Rights Index released the second annual International Property Rights Index. PRA’s Executive Director Kelsey Zahourek talks about it, and Betty Jo Tucker, movie critic and host of Movie Addict Headquarters, joins us for another Top 5 movie list! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. 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:...

« January 2008 |

Geldof: The Unexpected Bush

Bob Geldof pens an unusual article for Time Magazine today, extolling the intellect and virtues of President George Bush. He starts off by noting -- as have we conservatives since early in the administration -- that Bush has no talent for marketing. Geldof instead assigns himself that task and reminds people that Bush may be the most significant President in modern times for the lives he has saved: The Most Powerful Man in the World studied the front cover. Geldof in Africa — " 'The international best seller.' You write that bit yourself?" "That's right. It's called marketing. Something you obviously have no clue about or else I wouldn't have to be here telling people your Africa story." It is some story. And I have always wondered why it was never told properly to the American people, who were paying for it. It was, for example, Bush who initiated the...

« January 2008 |

Once More, With Feeling: Registration Open at Hot Air

In case anyone lost their sanity in the Byzantine series of updates on my earlier post, comments registration has been open all day at Hot Air, with a few glitches. The link to the registration page is here. It will remain open until later tonight. However, I can also add people myself to the user database, if commenters are having problems registering. Send an e-mail to "register" at "captainsquartersblog.com" (without the quotes), and be sure to include your preferred username and password, as well as the e-mail address you want to use for your account. I can add people manually or fix earlier registrations at any time, so keep that e-mail address handy. Some have asked whether I will be cross-posting most of my material at Hot Air for the remainder of the time left at CapQ. I believe I will. With Bryan already hard at work at his great...

« January 2008 |

Democrats Want To Fund ACORN, La Raza With Stimulus Bill

The Democrats reacted in anger when Senate Republicans blocked their latest economic stimulus bill. Harry Reid said that bankers and lenders were high-fiving each other in hallways after the GOP torpedoed the bill, but perhaps a better explanation of Reid's disappointment comes from Bob Casey (D-PA). The beneficiaries of the bill turns out to be somewhat different than advertised: Here's the transcript: Mr. CASEY: “We want to do a couple of things with this legislation, which we know is the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008. Our Majority Leader, Senator Reid, and our leadership and the members of the Democratic Caucus set it out fairly specifically. A couple of basic things this legislation would have done: first of all, it would have continued what we started in the end of last year, foreclosure prevention counseling dollars, to give money to organizations around the country that are certifiably expert at this, organizations...

« January 2008 |

February 29, 2008

Black Superdelegates Get Harassed By .... Obama Supporters?

Black superdelegates report harassment, intimidation, and namecalling in attempts to get them to change their votes. Has this come from the vaunted Clinton machine, desperately attempting to pull out a miracle win? No -- it comes from affiliates of the Barack Obama campaign, which hardly needs the hard sell (via Memeorandum): African-American superdelegates said Thursday that they’ll stand up against threats, intimidation and “Uncle Tom” smears rather than switch their support from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to Sen. Barack Obama. “African-American superdelegates are being targeted, harassed and threatened,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.), a superdelegate who has supported Clinton since August. Cleaver said black superdelegates are receiving “nasty letters, phone calls, threats they’ll get an opponent, being called an Uncle Tom. “This is the politics of the 1950s,” he complained. “A lot of members are experiencing a lot of ugly stuff. They’re not going to talk about it, but...

« January 2008 |

The Economics Of Fear

The Economist takes a look at Obamanomics, and it sees William Jennings Bryan and class warfare. Instead of offering hope, Barack Obama offers the same fear- and envy-based tactics on which populism has always thrived. While Democrats have often used these tactics in primaries, the Economist worries that Obama might try to govern based on these promises: FOR a man who has placed “hope” at the centre of his campaign, Barack Obama can sound pretty darned depressing. As the battle for the Democratic nomination reaches a climax in Texas and Ohio, the front-runner's speeches have begun to paint a world in which laid-off parents compete with their children for minimum-wage jobs while corporate fat-cats mis-sell dodgy mortgages and ship jobs off to Mexico. The man who claims to be a “post-partisan” centrist seems to be channelling the spirit of William Jennings Bryan, the original American populist, who thunderously demanded to...

« January 2008 |

Turkey Made Its Point

Turkey has ended its incursion into northern Iraq, according to the Iraqi government, and its troops will return home shortly. The raid intended to wipe out PKK bases in the Zap valley, and some sources in Turkey claim that they have succeeded: Turkey wound down its major ground offensive against Kurdish PKK rebels inside northern Iraq on Friday, although it declined to confirm an Iraqi minister's statement that it had already withdrawn all its troops. Turkey sent thousands of soldiers into remote, mountainous northern Iraq on February 21 to crush rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) who use the region as a base for attacks on Turkish territory. Washington feared the incursion could destabilize an area of relative stability in Iraq.... A Turkish military source, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, confirmed only that Turkish forces had fully withdrawn from the key Zap valley in northern Iraq,...

« January 2008 |

Hillary: I Want My VRWC

What's worse in politics than being attacked? Being ignored -- and Hillary Clinton wants it to stop. She wants back into the national discourse after mostly being overlooked since the debacle of Super Tuesday: There was a time not long ago when Hillary Clinton dominated the discourse in both parties’ presidential contests. Now, she’s struggling to get her message out and remain part of the campaign conversation as the media and her remaining rivals, Barack Obama and John McCain, stampede toward a general election matchup that seems more and more likely. .... Today, though, after a post-Super Tuesday string of wins by Obama, Clinton hardly draws notice from the Republican party. The daily barrage of press releases from the Republican National Committee almost exclusively targets Obama. McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, makes almost no reference to Clinton in his campaign appearances, instead zeroing in on Obama’s record. Oddly, I had...

« January 2008 |

Israel To Gaza: Get Ready

The Israelis have sent a warning to Gaza and its Hamas leadership after the latest rocket attack on Ashkelon. If the attacks continue, Israel will invade Gaza and conduct large-scale military operations to eliminate the threat: Israeli leaders warned Friday of an approaching conflagration in the Gaza Strip as Israel activated a rocket warning system to protect Ashkelon, a city of 120,000 people, from Palestinian rockets. Ashkelon was hit by several Grad rockets fired from Gaza on Thursday, a sign of the widening scope of violence between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza. One hit an apartment building and another landed near a school, wounding a 17-year-old girl. Located 11 miles from Gaza, Ashkelon had been sporadically targeted in the past but never suffered direct hits or significant damage. "It will be sad, and difficult, but we have no other choice," Matan Vilnai, Israel's deputy defense mister, said Friday, referring...

« January 2008 |

Obama Double-Talk On NAFTA Confirmed: CTV

After reporting on Barack Obama's dance with the Canadians on NAFTA yesterday, Canadian broadcaster CTV got accused of perpetrating a smear against the Democratic front-runner. They insisted that Obama meant every word he said about overturning the free-trade treaty, and that no one had contacted the Canadian diplomatic corps to reassure them that it was mere demagoguery. CTV responded today by naming names -- and suddenly the Obama campaign has grown quiet: The Obama campaign told CTV late Thursday night that no message was passed to the Canadian government that suggests that Obama does not mean what he says about opting out of NAFTA if it is not renegotiated. However, the Obama camp did not respond to repeated questions from CTV on reports that a conversation on this matter was held between Obama's senior economic adviser -- Austan Goolsbee -- and the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago. Earlier Thursday, the...

« January 2008 |

AOL Hot Seat Question Of The Day

AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the pa