Wednesday, May 31, 2006

News Shocker: Dem Reid Likes Freebies

AP reports that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid accepted free boxing tickets worth thousands of dollars from a Nevada state agency trying to influence him on reviewing federal legislation for the sport.

Republican Senator John McCain insisted on paying for his ticket to one of the sporting events he attended with Reid. Republican Senator John Ensign accepted a free ticket, but had already recused himself from consideration on the legislation.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean called criticism of Reid's ethics "ridiculous." That's because Dean is nuts.

The Washington Post previously reported that Reid accepted $40,000 in donations from disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates -- money he has declined to return, while demanding Republicans give back money they received from Abramoff. Some estimates say Reid got as much as $60,000 from Abramoff and his Indian clients.

And yet Reid supposedly is leading the charge in the Senate on ethics reform.

Fox. Henhouse.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

No Time for Chicks

Returned my copy of Time to the publisher today. Here's the text of my letter:

To the Publisher:

I'm returning my copy of your May 29 issue, with the Dixie Chicks on the cover.

Perhaps you consider this musical group to be timely, topical, relevant and important, but I do not.

Frankly, if I were interested in the political and social views of entertainers I would subscribe to People magazine.

I'll expect that my subscription will be extended by one issue to compensate for this one. If you are unable or unwilling to do that, please let me know and I will cancel my subscription and subscribe to one of your competitors.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Antiwar Nuts: Still Wrong

Presidential advisor Peter Wehner makes an excellent case for why those opposing the war in Iraq are not only wrong on the facts, but may actually be intentionally ignoring them and trying to mislead people.

He makes a fact-based case in the WSJ today, specifically noting his sources on how:

-- The Bush Administration did not lie about WMD estimates in Iraq;

-- The intelligence community did not cook the data and was not pressured to do so;

-- Saddam did pose a threat to the U.S., the Mideast and the world, by deliberately concealing WMD capabilities and resources (which he was not allowed to have);

-- Advancing democracy in Iraq was not a post-invasion rationalization.

Read it all.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Nagin In, Jefferson Out

Proving that Lincoln was right when he said you can fool some of the people all the time, New Orleans citizens returned Mayor Ray Nagin to office yesterday, despite his pathetic performance when Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city last year.

The Chicago Tribune writes: "As the hurricane bore down on the city last Aug. 29, Nagin failed to arrange for the evacuation of the city's poor, stranding thousands when the levees burst. After the storm hit, with thousands of victims clinging to rooftops awaiting rescue, he exaggerated the death toll by a factor of 10. When the Federal Emergency Management Agency wanted to set up temporary trailer parks in the city, first Nagin said "yes," then he said "no," then he said "maybe."

Now THERE'S a man whose hand you want on the wheel.

Oh well, we ARE talking about people who live in a swamp between a river and a lake.

One fellow Democrat who couldn't make it to the victory parties though, was Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson, whose Washington offices were raided by the FBI on Saturday. He is accused of pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes.

The New York Times story on the raid said Jefferson had so much ill-gotten cash that he stuffed about $90,000 into his freezer, which was recovered by the FBI last August. That was probably his "storm fund," in case a hurricane ever hit.

Really? A Democrat? Taking bribes? Why, I thought only mean, old Republicans did that.

Does Harry Reid know about this? Oh that's right, he still hasn't given back the $60,000 HE got from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his cronies.

Nice. Only in New Orleans.

Friday, May 19, 2006

"Close Gitmo," Blows UN

A blue ribbon UN panel issued a report yesterday urging the U.S. to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, again alleging (without proof, of course) torture and abuse.

Two things to note:

-- None of the 10 members of the panel nor the five investigators assigned to the study have ever actually visited the center, relying largely on hearsay and the word of former detainees -- Al Qaeda members instructed during training to fabricate accusations of abuse if captured;

-- No one is lining up to take the terrorists and killers off the hands of the U.S.

Same goes for the antiwar nuts in the U.S. who complain about Gitmo -- can they stay at your house?


Didn't think so.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bush Border Stunt Stumps Dems, Grumps Cons

President Bush's proposal to send 6,000 National Guard troops to the Mexico border to assist the U.S. Border patrol appears to be helping to break the Congressional logjam over immigration reform, Reuters reports.

Compromise measures appear to be moving forward, as the NG deployment gives Conservatives the political cover they need to mollify their constituents who want greater security on the southern border.

A new ABC News/USA Today poll shows that four out of five Americans think that the entire border area should be turned into a giant minefield and the 101st Airborne Division should be permanently deployed there.

Okay, I totally made that up.

But public opinion has been exceptionally strong that tightening the border is essential to national security.

Problem is, without immigration reform -- specifically a guest-worker program and some reasonable method for dealing with 11-12 million illegal immigrants, whether it be immediate amnesty or some gradual path to citizenship -- not even a massive minefield and the 101st can truly make the border secure.

Conservatives grumble that the 6,000 troops aren't nearly enough to seal the border, but they'll likely grumble their way through the legislation because nobody wins if the problem doesn't get fixed.

Dems go to 11, as usual, saying that "militarizing" the border isn't solution, but their secret fear is that Bush will succeed in pushing through the very humane and rational reform measures they give lip service to, possibly costing them the fall elections.

Parties on both sides have derided the measure as a "stunt."

Both fail to understand, apparently, that it's not a stunt if it works.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Polls: For What They're Worth

There it was, tucked in at the tail-end of a NY Times story on President Bush's current poll numbers.

A story that went on for nearly two pages picking through the polling data that Bush's numbers are the lowest of the low at 31 percent for general performance as president.

Numbers driven down primiarily by gas prices and the Iraq war.

Then, in the last two paragraphs, the Times reveals that John Kerry and Al Gore -- they guys who didn't even get the job -- score even lower than Bush, at 26 and 28 percent respectively.

These guys didn't even get to bat, and they're numbers are in the toilet.

Kind of makes you wonder about the value and accuracy of polling as predicter of anything.

I suspect it reflects a general dissatisfication with politics and politicians more than anything else. And once again illustrates that while Bush and Republicans may be slipping, the Democrats are gaining no traction.

And one final thought: isn't it refreshing to have a president who doesn't base his decisions on the polls?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Mossaoui Verdict: It's A Wonderful Life

Al Qaeda member and 9/11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui will spend the rest of his life in solitary confinement in a super-maximum security prison in Colorado.

And it's a win-win for everyone.

The prosecutors got to argue for the death penalty, showing they're tough on terror, without actually turning Moussaoui into a martyr.

The families of the victims got justice, knowing that at least this terrorist will never threaten anyone ever again.

America got to demonstrate its moral superiority over the terrorists who kill the innocent.

And Moussaoui is robbed of the martyrdom he so craves. He'll spend the rest of his life alone, dropped into a oubliette, anonymous and forgotten.

Well, I guess not EVERYONE wins.

I'm good with it though.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Boycott Bust

"Monday's pro-immigrant boycott might not have changed any minds, and didn't even ding the U.S. economy, but supporters said they succeeded in a show of unity and strength," said the lede of a story in today's Journal News.

Yup, you guessed it -- nothing after the word "economy" in that sentence matters.

The story notes that those businesses that felt the impact of the boycott the most were... immigrant-owned businesses in largely immigrant communities.

Gee I dunno, where I come from, we call that...a failure.

Turns out, the second part of that sentence is not only irrelevant, it's untrue.

Participation in the protests throughout the U.S. was spotty -- large turnouts in some cities, smaller ones in others -- and even the participants are divided on whether they were successful and what their goals are, says the NY Times.

I still believe in immigration reform -- adoption of a guest-worker program, higher penalities for companies that hire illegal immigrants, path to (but not automatic) citizenship for illegals now in the country, etc.

But whether Monday's protests moved that agenda forward is doubtful at best.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Bush Prof Poll: Predictable

The majority of American college professors give President Bush a poor grade, a Siena College Research Institute pool reports.

Now's a real "earth still orbiting sun" headline for you.

The poll reports that 67 percent of the 744 professors polled would rate the current president a failure.

The only thing shocking is that they number isn't higher.

We are, after all, talking about the people who:

-- Granted walking consumer fraud Ward Churchill tenure as a full professor. Churchill, as you may recall, faked his credentials an American Indian and said those who died in the 9/11 attacks deserved it.

-- Welcomed a former Taliban mouthpiece to study at Yale University. You know, the Taliban? Those guys who wouldn't let girls go to school, tortured and executed adulterers, and played gracious host and benefactor to Al Qaeda.

Yeah, now there's a seriously credible source.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Immigration Protest: Who's Gonna Pay?

"Massive " immigration reform rallies planned across the U.S. today, with literally millions of immigrants (many of them illegal) planning to ditch work to participate.

The goal is simple: to show Americans how much of an impact it will make on their daily lives if immigrant workers don't show up for the day.

I wonder who will feel it more though -- the person who's wastebasket doesn't get emptied or who can't buy a latte at his favorite coffee shop today, or the immigrant who will miss a day's pay?

I'm betting it's the immigrant.

Which goes to illustrate the price of protest and what it can mean for the participant. Before taking to the streets, protesters should think about whether their actions will stimulate the change they want, or if they're wasting their time at their own expense.

At an extreme was the Transit Workers Union strike in NY City last winter which can only be described as a complete disaster. By striking for a week during a bitter cold December and the heart of the Christmas holiday season, they strikers earned the anger and hatred of the working New Yorkers they stranded when buses and trains stopped rolling.

And since the strike was illegal, the workers personally were fined two days pay for every day they missed. The union itself was fined $1 million a day for every day of the strike, effectively depleting its coffers within a week.

The union president was sent to jail last week for contempt of court.

And union STILL doesn't have a contract and has made no progress on the concessions it sought -- in fact, they may have lost ground.