GM's Corner
1/30/2005
 
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An Election Almost Like No Other And Kerry Makes An Ass Of Himself

Salah al-Din Rasheed / Reuters
Kurds celebrating the first election in Iraq.


The MSM is almost beside themselves. Turnout is better than expected in many areas where terrorism had promised a low turnout. People across the country proudly give the terrorists the (purple) finger.

John Kerry, loser par excellence, noted: "It is hard to say that something is legitimate when whole portions of the country can't vote and doesn't vote..." Senator, are you a total ass? If large numbers of Afrikaners in South Africa had not voted, would you have said the same thing?

Further my dear Senator Kerry, only a few percentage points over half of our citizens elected to vote and we had no insurgents, no bombings, no hindrance of any kind. So, does that make our own recent elections illegitimate? Oh, wait, you think you should have won and that you would have except for all those damn red staters.

I'm waiting for Kerry to note to a group of folk "I actually opposed the election before I supported it." What a creep! Surely the Democrats aren't going to give this man another chance (Unless of course his Teh-Ray-Zuh buys it for him). Surely, the good folk of Massachusetts aren't going to return this man to the US Senate. Surely not!

NOTE:Blogging has been slow over the last week, I'm in the process of re-designing my blog. Please visit GM's Corner at http://www.gmroper.com and see what it looks like as I find time between teaching, counseling, tax stuff and re-writing the cascading style sheets and the index to my new blog. I'll be slow, but I'll get it done as fast as I can. Thanks for bearing with me.



1/23/2005
 
The Last Honest Progressive In America
From the introduction to The Last Honest Place In America - Paradise and Perdition in the New Las Vegas:

"The panorama unfolded as a wall of purplish-brown mountains with rose-ochre skirts to our right, rippling mahogany hills to our left, and straight in front of us, the sandy desert flats of pastel beige, tangerine, and pink stretching through Ivanpah Valley and then ever deeper into Nevada. The black stripe of Interstate 15 ripped right through it's heart and on the hottest of summer days the smell of the bubbling, sticky asphalt would pour right into the cab of our red Plymouth Valiant."

I've driven that road & I've seen the colors, I've never seen it described as well. The author of the above is Marc Cooper, progressive blogger, journalist, radio host, essayist, contributing editor to The Nation, author of the best selling memoir Pinochet and Me: A Chilean Anti-Memoir and Roll Over Che Guevara: Travels of a Radical Reporter.

Cooper is that rare bird (from a conservatives point of view) an honest progressive and though I almost always disagree with his progressive points of view, I have come to like him a lot. The title of this blog entry is, as you will no doubt discern, taken from his latest book.

Cooper was raised in Los Angeles where his father was a steel salesman. His career as an author/journalist began in high school where he founded an underground newspaper. Those of us remembering the 60's know that "underground" was automatically assumed to mean "radical;" and so it was. Graduating from high school, Cooper enrolled in that great bordello of ultra liberal values The University of California System. There, he began engaging in anti-war activities and was expelled by order of Then Governor Ronald Reagan in 1971.

Cooper traveled to Chile where he became a translator for President Salvador Allende who had been elected president in 1970 by an arrangement of the Chilean Congress as per their constitution when Allende led the vote, but with only 36% of the vote. Allende was a socialist and pursued a policy of reform he called "La vía chilena al socialismo" ("The Chilean Way to Socialism"). Cooper became not only Allende's translator, but a staunch supporter of Allende's goals. Following the coup of September 11, '73, Cooper became a roving reporter, covering such diverse places as Lebanon, South Africa, Central and South America, Eastern and Western Europe. He developed also, an interest in American Politics. Norm Geras recently posted a profile on Cooper, a Must Read to understand this progressive iconoclast. Cooper states that he is an atheist, a position I find hard to believe given his intellect. I wonder how agnostics and atheists can look on the wonder of the universe, the absolute perfect beauty of dew on a spiderweb or the look of love in young folk and not be a believer. But, that is another posting.

I first came across Marc Cooper in May or June of 2004 when a blogger I have long admired Michael J. Totten recommended him. Since then, he has become one of my very favorite bloggers and I have grown quite fond of this rambunctious progressive. Cooper doesn't hesitate at all to take on the powers that be, regardless of who they are. He castigates Republicans and Conservatives (though, of course he is usually far off the mark), Democrats, liberals, other progressives, socialists, fascists, communists, castroites, trotskyites, indeed anyone he believes to be cowardly, stupid or cravenly, dishonest or not on the up and up. Cooper always explains his reasoning, usually with wit, sometimes with disdain.

Over the last few months, he has actively posted on such varying topics from the coming murder trials of Augusto Pinochet, to the idiocy of MoveOn's inability to understand that their candidate lost. Of course, as a conservative, I delight when he takes on the shibboleths of the left. Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately depending on your point of view, he doesn't spare the right either as noted here and here. In the last example however, I believe that Cooper was premature and mistaken. The genesis of his blog posting was the MSM's complaint that President Bush did nothing for three days following the tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean. Of course, we now know that the first major rescue efforts to arrive were the US military, whose Commander In Chief has to give the order for such massive effort. Too often, the left, Cooper included, mistake style for substance, as in Mr. Clinton's famous biting of his lip, abject apologies and wiping of a tear showing how compassionate he was. He didn't do much, but he had all the right moves down.

Cooper is perhaps best, when he takes on the left. This is not unusual in that we seldom see a member of the port side of the political aisle castigating their fellow believers and so when it does happen, conservatives sit up and take notice. In much the same way, the left sat up and took notice when Senator Goldwater castigated the Republican party for it's Buchannanish stance on gays. Yet, Cooper has no compunction about skewering the left when he feels the left has lost it's way or exhibit their (all to frequent) feet of clay. In a recent posting, Cooper took on Soros and the other "billionaires" who plan to donate $100,000,000.00 to helping the Democrats build a "progressive infrastructure."

Cooper has his flock of regular commenters (I include myself in that mix) from conservative (me, John Moore, PJ, Woody, DennisthePeasant) to liberal (Rosedog, reg, steve, Michael Turner). He manages them fairly well and encourages each to be respectful to each other in bandying comments. That doesn't always work of course. Yet, he seldom "bans" commenters (though he has threatened to) - (has he banned anyone yet? - ed. - I'm not sure, I don't really know) even when they are repetitious and banal. After a number of tussles with another of his posters I wrote Cooper an e-mail saying that though I would continue to read his blog, I wouldn't be posting any more comments. He wrote back and said (in his idiosyncratic spelling) "Oh no u don't.. I love ur comments." It is the rare progressive that openly welcomes conservatives into their blogs, and, truth be told, equally rare for conservatives to welcome the progressive. Cooper is seldom tacky or impolite to his commenters, but he can be, he can be.

Back in September, I asked Cooper what he thought about me starting a blog. Even though I'm conservative and obviously on a different side of the political fence, Cooper was consistently encouraging; offering suggestions, helping me look at cost (I selected the free one of course) teaching me what he knew about blog and generally being quite helpful. When I launched my blog in November, Cooper announced it on his blog and added my link to his blog roll. That is what you call nice.

I will continue to castigate progressives and the Democrats when I think it appropriate, including Marc Cooper. But, having learned from him to keep it about ideas and not personalities, I will always appreciate The Last Honest Progressive In America.



UPDATE: Welcome readers of Michael Totten's blog and of course Marc Cooper's blog. Thanks to you two guys for the nice mention.




1/22/2005
 
As Bush Is Inaugurated, The Nation Collapses
Misleading Headline? Absolutely NOT; however, it is "fake but accurate" (sorry, couldn't resist) the nation I'm talking about is not the USA but "The Nation." The lefty magazine. Now, I read The Nation Online from time to time, just to figure out what the left is saying, but this piece here has me absolutely flummoxed.

Opening Sentence:
"In the run-up to the January 30 election in Iraq, the prospects for a fair and credible outcome have steadily diminished."

Says who, the NYTimes whom they quote? The Nation? The majority of Iraqi bloggers don't think so. Tough, yes, for sure! Dangerous, you bet! Fair, why not? Everyone who gets registered gets to vote, no one is being "excluded" from voting,unless they choose not to vote. How specifically is it UNFAIR? Credible? You mean Credible like Castro's elections? Like Saddam's 99.99 percent of the vote? Credible like our own elections where almost half of the electorate is too lazy to show up to vote, let alone figure out what the issues are. Where Democrats and Republicans would rather carp at each other, call each other really vile names but NOT debate real issues with real plans and real believablity? That kind of credible?

They go on:

"The locations for the 5,776 polling places have not been announced, lest they become targets for attacks."


Seems like a good idea to me, publicize at the last minute, make sure everyone has an opportunity but cut down (not eliminate) the risk of allowing terrorists to plant bombs.

More:

"As conditions deteriorated, it became harder for the Bush Administration to spin the upcoming poll to choose an Iraq National Assembly as a major step toward restoring security. Gen. George Casey, commander of coalition forces in Iraq, predicted more violence on election day and "for some time" thereafter, while a new US intelligence estimate foresees the elections being followed by more violence and possible civil war."

Let me understand this. If the Iraqis elect a National Assembly that won't be a major step towards security because there might be civil war? MIGHT BE. Look at what the Islamo-Fascists are doing; they are attacking their own army, their own police forces, assasinating their own leaders, killing their fellow citizens in an attempt to overthrow the current Government. It IS a civil war. The dispossessed Sunni's want their power back and they are trying to disrupt the elections because they know damn well that if all Iraq votes in a solid government, the Sunni power bloc is out on their keister. The ONLY thing that is going to increase security in Iraq is a STRONG, ABLE, SOLID Central Government that has the concerns of all it's citizens (and yes, that means the Sunni's) besides that, the majority of Sunni's that oppose the election were Baathists but the majority of Sunni's are not Baathists and want a free and stable Iraq. There are a number of Sunni Moslems that do, namely Omar and Mohammad of Iraq The Model, their brother Ali of Free Iraqi. Other Iraqi blogs as noted on my blogroll also support the elections by a solid majority.

More:

"Iraq's largest mainstream Sunni Muslim party has already pulled out of the elections, saying that the violence plaguing areas north and west of Baghdad makes a free and fair vote impossible. The Kurds and the Shiites will make up the majority of voters, skewing the results and leaving the Sunni Arabs underrepresented in the new National Assembly, which will choose a temporary government and draft a constitution."

A mainstream party pulls out. Is that the same as all of the Sunni's pulling out? Don't the Sunni's have the opportunity to vote just like everyone else? They "say" they are pulling out because of the possibility of violence.. hmmm, is it the Kurds or the Shiia causing the violence? Nope, mostly the Sunni's. So, why doesn't the "largest mainstream Sunni Muslim party" tell the damn terroristic Islamo-Fascists to KNOCK IT OFF? "Leaves the Sunni's underrepresented in the new National Assembly" Gosh! Did the Sunni MINORITY give a tinker's damn when they held power and lorded it over the MAJORITY Shiia? Heck, did they even have a National Assembly?

Wait, there's more:

"An increasing number of Americans recognize the worsening situation. In a recent Gallup poll, nearly half of those responding called for either US troop reductions or complete withdrawal."

Would those possibly be the same "nearly half" of the country that voted for Mr. Kerry? Nah, The Nation wouldn't try to pull that one over on us! Would they?

One last quote from The Nation:

"The growing number of Americans who see an Administration blindly leading the nation toward more death and destruction should tell their representatives, "No more money for war!" That would be the best example of democracy we could offer the Iraqi people."

This is the absolutely end all to the whole piece. Cut off the money. Does The Nation think it will cost LESS if the Islamo-Fascists gain the ascendancy in Iraq, from which they can and will threaten the rest of the Persian Gulf area? Are they that naive or that stupid? Or, if we do pull that stunt, will the results be the same as we saw in Viet Nam when congress voted to cut off the money. Regardless of how you felt about that war, the cutting off of funds for the South Vietnamese was part and parcel of the killing that ensued afterwards. I would remind The Nation, and anyone else that needs reminding of the following:

"The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men."
Lyndon B.Johnson
I'll keep reading The Nation. My friend Marc Cooper is a contributing editor there and they often have something to add to the public discourse. But not this time. Not this time.



1/19/2005
 
Wanted: Human Shields for Iraqi Election Centers


From Lance Frizell a 2nd Lt Medical Platoon Leader with the Tennessee National Guard 278th Regimental Combat Team, currently serving in Northern Iraq. Via Glen Reynolds

Wanted: Human Shields
Back in January '03, you may remember a group of Western liberals who volunteered to go to Iraq as human shields in case the US enforced UN resolutions that Saddam violated. Key graf:

"...they are willing to put themselves in the firing line should US and British forces bomb Iraq. They plan to identify potential bombing targets such as power stations and bridges and act as human shields to protect them."

Well, I think I have just the job for these globe-travelers: Iraq Election Poll Worker. They are familiar with the terrain and people, they have a self-professed desire to help and they seem very articulate. However, their biggest asset is bravery. If they are willing to hunker down between Coalition Forces and a bridge, standing between a foreign terrorist and a polling precinct should be no big deal. Any takers?

As the indomitable Mr. Reynolds says, Heh!

 
The Far Left = New Repository of Racism
Where do I begin? A friend saw my posting on MLK early this morning and called saying how much she appreciated the retrospective on my little part of the civil rights struggle. That was nice! Sadly however, racism still infects the body politic. In the years from the late 1800's to the 60's The majority of racists were in the south (and not a few in boston as well - remember the bussing episodes?)

Today, some of that racism has infected the radical and far left. This is a new repository of racism, perhaps there for a long time, and only now surfacing. Michele Malkin has an entry on her blog quoting some of the "comments" she has received in the immediate past. I'll show you a few of them:

Hi Self hating flat nosed Filipino Bitch! As we used to refer to your kind - little brown Fucking Machines. Looks like this little LBFM learned to whore in a different way to make some pesos. How sweet.
***
Proverbs 69:69 counsels: "Like a whore who infects those she sleeps with, so doth the ultra-republican faux columnist infect her readers with lies." While you are looking in the mirror, cursing the Left because you weren't born blond, think about the above. Amen.
***
I just hope that I am still around when the karma catches up to those of you that have spread the lies and attacked the innocent. I hope your fate is somewhat similar to the women of the Phillipines when the Japanese invaded. Then Michelle you can drop the "media" from "media whore" when someone asks your occupation.
***
You're just a Manilla whore shaking your ass and waiting for the Republican fleet to come in, aren't you? You've even got the lip gloss about right. Maybe if you love sailor long time, he bring you home to big American house? I don't think so. Just like in Manilla, Honey, they'll pass you around 'til they've all shot their load in you, and then they'll try to scrub off the stench so they can sail off in their crisp, white uniforms to the land of W.A.S.P.
***
Malkin, you're a dumb fucking whore. You're a philipino piece of shit who should be wiping my ass. Go back to the massage parlor. Sucky sucky long time. How dare you thing you have any right to express any opinions in this country. You're a joke. Go back to nursing school. Whore.
***
Say, how does it feel to be a paid prostitute for the republicans? Go get some more collagen injected in your lips, it makes you look more the part.

Nice huh? In the week since this was posted 111 sites have posted track backs to her column decrying the new racism.

But, this is just the tip of the iceburg as it were in terms of the new racism. In Berkely at a pro-Israel rally, a number of "Pali's" showed up with their children.

This site JREF Forums shows photos of three children holding up signs accusing Israel of "harvesting organs" from the Palestinians. My God, isn't this some form of child abuse to engage these children in this kind of crap, teaching children to hate? Isn't it bad enough that we adults do it. This is not protesting, this is racism, pure and simple. Pictures of Palistinian children dressed up as suicide bombers, with RPG's etc. Shameful, simply shameful. Many on the left have rightly decried those on the right for expressions of racism (Trent Lott anyone?) and failed to speak out when one of their own does it (Jessie Jackson's "Hymie-Town" remark, Robert Byrd's "White Nigger" comment comes to mind). That time MUST be past, the left and the right need to stand tall and put an end to this. NOW!!!



1/18/2005
 

Pssst - Can't you see I'm trying to look MODERATE here?



Cox and Forkum have nailed it on the head. I couldn't say it any better, so I'll let them say it.

"From Financial Times: 'Furious' Abbas to meet Hamas after attack. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, has ordered an inquiry into an attack in the Gaza Strip last week that killed six Israelis and derailed his plans to reopen peace talks, security officials said on Sunday.

"Mr Abbas, elected a week ago, met his security chiefs at the weekend and told them he was "furious" about Thursday night's attack in which gunmen blasted their way though the main Gaza-Israel cargo terminal at Karni. He demanded to know how the militants succeeded in reaching the attack site without being detected, according to a senior security official. Mr Abbas is due to hold ceasefire talks with Hamas and other militants in Gaza this week. ...

Although he refuses to outlaw the militants, he won the backing of the leadership of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation yesterday in urging it to halt its attacks.

Refusing to outlaw the terrorist gangs is bad enough. But the Times article fails to mention that the "other militants" include the terrorist arm of Abbas's own Fatah Party. From a report last week: "Three Palestinian militant groups claimed joint responsibility for the attack, including Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades -- a faction of Abbas's Fatah movement -- Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees."

"And it isn't just Israelis that Fatah is murdering. The Jerusalem Post reported this weekend that Fatah vigilantes executed two Palestinians considered to be Israeli "collaborators". (Via Little Green Footballs) Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon cut ties with Abbas following the attack. Bush should do the same.

"UPDATE -- January 17: CNN reports: Abbas orders Palestinian security forces to crackdown on militants. This is a continuation of the farce. Hamas has already declared that it would not comply with the order. But here's the real indication that Abbas is merely posturing: Abbas also ordered that Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades be integrated into Palestinian security forces ...
"Did you get that? The terrorist gang that in the last few days murdered Israeli civilians and executed Palestinian "collaborators" is being made a part of the very Palestinian security forces that are supposed to be hunting down the terrorists. Some "crackdown"..

I'm not sure the leaders of the PLO or the PA want peace, because they may feel that they would be the next target of Fatah and the other islamofascists.


 
Thoughts on the Meaning of Martin Luther King's Life!

View from the Reflecting Pool, Lincoln Memorial. August 28, 1963

At the beginning of the school year in 1957 we had just moved to Beebe, Arkansas where we would be living while my dad was the Regular Army Advisor to the Arkansas National Guard.

The civil rights revolution hadn't touched us yet, we had spent the last three years in Germany and as a 6th grader, I knew little of the outside world that didn't impact playing with my friends, learning about girls and riding my bike as well as learning about the new little town that would be my home for the next three or four years.

How rude the awakening was to see the rioting in Little Rock about integration of all things. Growing up in the Army could be a blessing as well as a curse. A curse from the standpoint that we had friends we saw only occasionally when they were assigned to the same base we were, but a blessing as well. One of the really good things about my childhood was seeing and being with people of all different races and religions, cultures and mores. I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world. But Little Rock in '57 was something that I had never encountered before; blatant racism and a hostility to fellow citizens that I just couldn't understand. This Link will give you at timeline of those days.

I remember driving the 30 some miles to Little Rock to purchase new school clothes and uniforms for the Scout Troop I was joining. As we drove home we passed by a bus stop and I saw an elderly African American being screamed at by a bunch of toughs, with a police man standing by and doing nothing about it.

When I got home, I asked my dad why those people were so angry about going to school with "Negroes" the term we used at the time. Dad told me that people are afraid of what they don't understand and that the people of Little Rock, and indeed much of the south didn't understand that we were all Americans regardless of where we came from, regardless of the color of our skin and regardless of who we worshiped. Soon, Eisenhower put the Arkansas National Guard under the umbrella of the Federal Government and enforced the integration of Central High School.

In 1962 we moved to northern Virginia where my dad was assigned to the pentagon. The racism of the 50's in Arkansas seemed past. I couldn't have been more wrong. By now, I was ready to enter the 11th grade and had a much stronger sense of breaking the back of segregation as something do-able for all of America. Getting ready to enter my senior year in High School, a friend and I talked about going across the river to listen to Dr. King give an address at the Lincoln Memorial. I had been to the memorial several times over the last year, indeed, I looked up many of our national monuments and reveled in the promise that this country had, though it had yet to live up to the promise as far as civil rights was concerned. We decided to go, regardless of school.

Arriving at the Lincoln Memorial late, we were way back and because of a hearing impairment, I had some difficulty hearing the comments of the speakers in general, and Dr. King in particular. But, I edged closer and got as close as I could. And stood mesmerized, absolutely, inarguably mesmerized by his speech. Many of you, my wonderful readers have heard bits and pieces of his speech especially the "I have a dream!" part. But if you have never read the speech, take a few minutes today and read it below in it's entirety. The speech has the power to change your life if you will let it. Here it is, in it's entirety:

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free.

One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.

So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.

So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the
Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights.

The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" we can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and
tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the
veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"


I went home that evening, thinking about what I had heard, thinking about the people I stood beside, thinking about the people I met, and what could I do to make this dream come true. That was the first of many many civil rights forays, most left me feeling good, some made me very afraid. But today, Dr. King's dream is largely fulfilled, not all the way, no, but largely. Three months later, on 11/22/63 John Kennedy was assasinated in Dallas and the world changed.

During a long weekend in April 1968, my fiancee and I were driving to east Texas to meet her grandparents. All the way, my fiancee told me that her grandfather was somewhat of a bigot and that he seldom if ever talked to "new people" We arrived in east Texas listening all the way from San Antonio to details of King's assasination. When we arrived, I met all the relatives (it seemed to be thousands) and everyone left after a short time leaving me and the grandfather alone, watching TV. As we watched one of the news interruptions, He turned to me and said "Well, that's another Coon that's bit the dust."

Horrified, I turned and looked at this wizened old man and thinking I'm about to put my foot in it, said "Surely, you don't mean that, that bullet could have been aimed at you or one of your kids for Christ's Sake." He looked at me and after a moment of silence (which seemed to last for hours) said, "Well, maybe I don't. You're a brave fella ain't ya?" I'm not, but I couldn't let his comment pass without saying something. Dr. King's message was just too damn important.

Many years have passed since then, and many is the time that I've had to deal with other people's racism, both black on white as well as white on black; counselors see a lot of really nasty stuff sometimes. I kept remembering "content of their character, not the color of their skin" and it always seemed to help.

Today, almost 37 years after his death, his words still ring. His commitment to God and to non-violence the zenith of the civil rights movement, much as the violence in the ghetto and outside of the ghetto today is the nadir. We still have ethno-centrism, religious bigotry and racism withus today in these United States, though it is less entrenched, less codified into law than it was 40+ years ago. One of the major reasons this is so is because of the efforts of Dr. King and those that followed him.

Today, Dr. Bill Cosby is carrying on much of Dr. King's message, to stand tall, stand streight, to put away those behaviors and attitudes that pull you down. But mostly, to gain a sense of self-respect and to move forward so that all of Gods children, black, brown, yellow, red, white will be judged not by "the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

Someday, we will all realize the futility of thinking less of others because they are different than we are. Someday, we will all recognize the brotherhood of man. It may be a long way away, but I am an optimist.

We need someone to step up to the plate today, to carry forth Dr. King's message and in all the turmoil about war, taxes, red vs. blue etc., I'm wondering who it will be. Will it be You? You? Or perhaps You?



 
It Takes Courage To Vote When It Could Cost You Your Life

Registration in the Face of Danger

This photo, (thanks to Omar of Iraq The Model) shows Iraqi citizens lining up to register to vote in this months elections. They are doing so in the clear face of danger from the creepoids (aka by the press as "insurgents") who are doing their very best to disrupt the process and install either a baathist or mullocracy type government.

You can't call these brave people fools, you can't say they don't care about their future and you can't say they aren't doing what they can to insure a free election. How many Red or Blue staters would line up to register if doing so might cost them their lives? I would hope all of us, but I know better.



1/17/2005
 
Weather Blogging?

Snow in TROPICAL Texas? Hah!

From AOL News:

"Temperatures plummeted across the eastern half of the nation Monday, approaching an all-time record in northern Minnesota and freezing the Gulf Coast as a river of Arctic air pushed southward.

Thermometers registered a low of 54 degrees below zero at Embarrass, Minn. "You keep living, but it gets old after a while," said Christine Mackai, the town clerk for the ommunity of about 1,400 people in northeast Minnesota.

Minnesota's record is 60 below, set on Feb. 2, 1996, in Tower, about 10 miles north of Embarrass."


Now, I like a little cold as well as the next guy, but to be totally honest, one of the reasons I moved to South Texas is to be away from freezing cold weather. Anything below 70 degrees is chilly as far as I'm concerned. -54 degrees? No Way Charlie. On the other hand, as you can tell from the photo above we had snow on Christmas. So, the Red Sox won the world series and it snowed in .....! Global Warming?

UPDATE (7:15 PM CST): My friend Todd Pearson (who has a new and quite interesting blog here) left a comment stating that he lives in Minnesota and

"It was 15 below when we left home. No one complained about the cold, and it didn't stop us from spending large chunks of time outside. It really is not that bad. 54 below, however, is a different story."

When I was a kid, we lived in Bad Nauheim, Federal Republic of Germany, about a block and a hop from the smallish USA river (pronounced oosa). In the winter of 55/56 on a bitter cold day, my two younger brothers and I went sledding on the other side of the river. My youngest brother Doug, wasn't able to stop and ended up in the river breaking through the ice in a thin spot. Without thinking, my other brother and I jumped in to "save" Doug. Doug must have been in Kindergarten or 1st grade at the time. At any rate, we all ended up in icy water up to our armpits (yes, it was a smallish river) and we all got out OK and ran home. By the time we got home (remember, only a block away) our "snow-suits" were fully encrusted in ice and walking was quite difficult. To this day, as I said in the original post, anything below 70 is too damn cold! Todd, Love ya buddy, but you can keep your cold and yes, it is that bad ;-)

 
Dan Rather = Richard M. Nixon
The Big Trunk (AKA Scott Johnson) of Powerline has written a significant piece on the coverup of the CBS Rathergate affair. Johnson delves into the twisted, byzantine actions by CBS executives and the flawed "Report" by the "Panel" consisting of Richard Thornburgh and Louis Boccardi who released their report dated January 5, 2005, months after it was promised "in weeks, not months" by CBS.

My own efforts at this "scandel" was reported here, with followups here and here. Johnson is able to put the whole thing in perspective (IMHO) with these two paragraphs:
The report is more or less mysteriously silent on the inquiries, participation, knowledge or involvement of top CBS management including CBS News President Andrew Heyward and CBS President Les Moonves during the twelve-day cover-up. "Shortly" after Rather's on-camera interview of Burkett on September 18, the report (page 202) states, "Heyward determined that CBS News would issue an apology for the September 8 Segment on Monday, September 20 on the CBS evening News."

One of the eerie echoes of Watergate in the Rathergate affair is the four terminations -- of CBS News Senior Vice President Betsy West; 60 Minutes Executive Producer Josh Howard; Howard's deputy, Mary Murphy; and 60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes -- with which CBS has now sought to end the scandal. Dan Rather is not pulling the strings here; perhaps Rather himself is only a bit player like Ron Ziegler. Could it be that Moonves or Heyward, and not Rather, is playing the role of Richard Nixon in the Rathergate scandal?

There can be no doubt that the fabled MSM has a decidedly leftist tilt in spite of protestations to the contrary (Marc Cooper makes some good points) by many on the left of center. This can be confirmed by checking the number of positive stories about republicans/conservatives vs. democrats/liberals.

Did the MSM have an agenda? No doubt! Did the MSM merely take after a sitting president (regardless of who is in office), again, no doubt (see Marc Cooper's entry here -read the whole thing)! Does that mean there is no bias? No way! CBS and the rest of the MSM will survive if and only if they get away from partisan carping (regardless of which side of the aisle they support) and start reporting real news, not manufactured (Rathergate style) news.



1/13/2005
 
Coulter Lets Loose
I'm not a big fan of Ann Coulter, too loud, too cocksure and beyond the pale on a number of issues (for example, I love talking to Liberals, it's fun; and I don't need advice from Ms. Coulter on how to do it).

Having said that, this piece by Ms. Coulter is a great read. Kenneth, after you figure out what the frequency is, maybe you'd better find some bandages because this slices you up in very tiny pieces!

UPDATE (11:07 CST): Sorry folks, I forgot to attribute this to PoliPundit and I apologize to Jayson for omitting his contribution to the original idea and link to the Yahoo news source.



 
Lite Blogging for a few days
Getting ready for the spring semester which starts today. Teaching 4 classes: 1. An Introduction to Substance Abuse; 2. Family and Disability; 3. Clinical Issues in Substance Abuse and a graduate course in 4. Group Therapy: Theory and Practice. I'm looking forward to another semester of watching students grow and learn. Exciting days ahead. Cheers

1/12/2005
 
IOWA HAWK writes a Novel and It's Damn Good
This is the funniest thing I've read since I was a kid laughing my silly head off at Mad Magazine. You gotta read it. Iowa Hawk has a winner.

 
Color Me ORANGE (and just a tad bit RED)
In a post on January 2, here I argued AGAINST a revote in Washington State because I felt that it may have later, un-intended consequences. I generally accept that some voting fraud will occur no matter how many safeguards you put in place.

I also was under the impression (since then corrected~changed by events)that there were only a few votes separating the two contestants and that calling for a re-vote based on minor miscounts could have devastating effects on the body politic. Again, events have changed that attitude. I now add my voice (such as it is and being a Texan not a Washingtonian) to the call for our own ORANGE REVOLUTION.

I want to especially note the efforts of Stefan Sharkansky who, in his blog Sound Politics for has essentially rallied the populace to taking an honest look at fundamentally dishonest course of events. Sharkansky has gone after the bad guys with a vengeance and has almost single handedly brought things to a point where the courts are now taking (hopefully an honest) look at the election. Even the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a columnist making the claim that a re-vote will be substantially because of the efforts of Sharkansky.

I understand that Washington State allows for a re-vote mandated by the courts when there is evidence of fraud. Well, let's take a look at the possibility of fraud.

1. There were some 1800 (ONE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED) more votes than registered in the Democratic Bastion of King County.
2. There were some 348 (estimated) provisional ballots "accidentally" counted and there is no way to cull those votes out of the counted totals.
3. More than 8 dead people voted (I thought dead people only voted in Chicago?)
4. The Democrat "victor" won by only 129 votes.

I'm convinced of fraud that is so obvious it stinks. This is not like Gore's loss in 2000 or even Nixon's loss in '60. This stinks folks. As the Orange Revolution Proponents say in Washington State: "LET FREEDOM RING."



1/11/2005
 
Biased For And Against Bias In "Rathergate"
CBS has issued it's report (authored by Dick Thornburgh & Louis D. Boccardi) regarding Rathergate and the blogosphere is going wild. The blogosphere seems to be doing a much better job of disecting the report than the MSM is and though most of the blogosphere is biased one way or another, most also deny it. Michael J. Totten in a comment on an excellent blog entry by my good friend Marc Cooper notes:
The most insidious bias, I think, is bias which is denied. NPR is as liberal as Fox News is conservative. They both deny it, and they both insult my intelligence when they do it.

There is a bias, sometimes by the organization, sometimes by the individuals within an organization. I admit my bias is to the right, I'm a conservative (small c) and I don't deny that. Most of my postings have a decidely conservative bias. I have an occasional post that is liberal in some ways (too many ways according to some of my more conservative friends, not liberal enough by a long shot according to some of my liberal friends).

Some of the more conservative blogs are howling that the report didn't go far enough, some of the more liberal blogs are curiously silent. One exception to this "silence" is Marc Cooper. But then, Marc is a professional who doesn't mind tackling anyone on the left or right even though he is decidely on the left of the political aisle.

In his blog, Marc states,

"…those who think the 224 page report proves that a “liberal bias” infects the major networks are completely, utterly clueless. And they reveal an ideological mindset as incurable as the one they are convinced contaminates the Big Media. I've worked inside CBS News and -- believe me -- that is NOT a secret club of liberals."

Marc is 100% right about that; he is also 100% wrong in that while an organization may not be biased, some people within the organization may have a bias and their actions underscore that bias. Jim Lundgren writing in The Volokh Conspiracy states,

"The CBS Panel "does not believe that political motivations drove the September 8 Segment." Further, after mentioning political agendas and bias, the Report says: "the Panel will not level allegations for which it cannot offer adequate proof.

"Given those sentiments, the Panel is pretty quick to charge those who exposed CBS's fraudulent documents as having a political agenda. The motivation to seek and expose the truth is a pretty powerful one by itself, and motivations are complex. As I have said many times before, first you determine if the facts that someone is asserting are true or not. Only if they are false do you begin to ask why they would be putting forward false information, whether pushing false information might be the result of political bias.

"I can understand ignoring the probable political bias of people who are making substantive, rational arguments (even if mistaken), or I can understand attributing political motives to people who act recklessly, repeatedly making statements that they know to be false (such as that CBS's experts authenticated the documents or that they came from "an unimpeachable source"). What I can't understand is that the Report appears to use a double standard on whether someone has a political agenda."

The issue then is whether or not the Rathergate episode was biased, and anyone reading the Thornburgh/Boccardi report has to agree that the Wednesday 60 Minutes episode had the intent of sabotaging the Bush re-election effort and whether Mapes, Rather et al knew that that was the intent. No honest observer can say that it wasn't.

Other blog entrys range from straight reporting, Michael King of Rambling's Journal, to further questions as to bias such as entered by Lorie Byrd of PoliPolipundit and Ms. Byrd's excellent posting here.

That bias exists cannot be denied. The extent of the bias, and the direction the bias takes and who the bias is directed against can be debated extensively (and no doubt will be), but that the bias is there is a fact. Deal with it folks, deal with it!

UPDATE (11:24 CST) Mary Mapes is clueless. This woman is still defending the documents as "nothing that was false or misleading." Read the whole thing:

"I am terribly disappointed in the conclusions of the report and its effects on the four of us who will no longer work at CBS News. I am disappointed as well for the entire organization. It has been my second family and I will miss my colleagues there.

I am shocked by the vitriolic scape-goating in Les Moonves’s statement. I am very concerned that his actions are motivated by corporate and political considerations — ratings rather than journalism. Mr. Moonves’s response to the review panel’s report and the panel’s assessment of the evidence it developed in its investigation combine not only to condemn me, but to put all investigative reporting in the CBS tradition at risk.

Much has been made about the fact that these documents are photocopies and therefore cannot be trusted, but decades of investigative reporting have relied on just such copies of memos, documents and notes. In vetting these documents, we did not have ink to analyze, original signatures to compare, or paper to date. We did have context and corroboration and believed, as many journalists have before and after our story, that authenticity is not limited to original documents. Photocopies are often a basis for verified stories.

Before the Bush/Guard story aired, the newly found documents that supported it were thoroughly examined and corroborated. The contents of the new documents mesh perfectly, in large ways and small, with all previously known records. The new documents also were corroborated by retired Gen. Bobby Hodges, the late Col. Killian’s commander, who said that the documents showed Col. Killian’s true sentiments as well as his actions in the case. After the broadcast, Marian Carr Knox provided the same corroboration in her televised interview. Yet, despite the panel’s recognition of the heretofore unchalleneged integrity of my work in the past, the panel was quick to condemn me here on the basis of statements of people who told my associates and me very different versions than what they told the panel.

I cooperated fully with the review panel, provided them with more than 1,000 pages of reporting and background materials and answered each and every one of their questions completely and truthfully. To the extent that my answers differed from others’ statements, I can only emphasize my own honesty and integrity in attempting to reconstruct the details of the days leading up to the story’s airing.

It is noteworthy the panel did not conclude that these documents are false. Indeed, in the end, all that the panel did conclude was that there were many red flags that counseled against going to air quickly. I never had control of the timing of any airing of a 60 Minutes segment; that has always been a decision made by my superiors. Airing this story when it did, was also a decision made by my superiors, including Andrew Heyward. If there was a journalistic crime committed here, it was not by me. Those superiors also made the decision to give the White House little time to consider or respond to the Killian documents. Contrary to the conclusions of the panel, I vetted all aspects of the story with my editors. In fact, as I have always done with my editors, I told them everything.

I believe the segment presented to the American people facts they were free to accept or reject, and that as those facts were presented, there was nothing that was false or misleading. I am heartened to see that the panel found no political bias on my part, as indeed I have none. For 25 years, I have built a reputation as a fair, honest and thorough journalist. I have had 15 wonderful years at CBS News and four very bad months. I love and respect the people there and I wish them every good fortune."
UPDATE (11:29 CST): Rathergate.com shows that Mr. Rather himself is either clueless or so biased he cannot recognize it when he sees it. Maybe a combination of both.



1/10/2005
 
Commenting
To make it easier for you to comment on this blog and for you and/or other commenters/bloggers to trackback, I have added Haloscan.

In all, this should make commenting and maintenance a little easier for all.

1/09/2005
 
Today, I was Unprofessional
Varifrank was Unprofessional? Frankly, I thought he did a bang up job. Read the whole thing. Every word, every comment, and KNOW that he got it right the FIRST TIME.

With a tip of the Chapeau to Instapundit.

1/08/2005
 
Boxer Sheds a Tear!!!.......Why? Wha-for?
A bunch of great posts on Ms. Barbara Boxer's grandstanding protest of certifying the OHIO vote. She is disgraceful, shedding a tear no less. From the Left is the delightful (especially when he bashes Democrats.... he bashes us Republican types often enough) Marc Cooper's entry here. Also weighing in is the inestimable PoliPundit from the right. I love reading all these blogs, but I was especially struck by the following in PoliPundit's comments section.... Read PoliPundit's post, then the comments. This one from Ralph (#17 in the comments section) has a compendium of Democrat attempts to finagle elections.
"2003 CA- Democrats sue to prevent valid recall of democrat governor.

2005 NC- Democrats try to a complete redo of Agriculture race statewide as opposed to single county. (statewide gives them a chance)

2000 MO- Run a dead man for re-election based on a promise of political appointment.

2003 KY- Goes to court to remove Lt. Gov's candidate.

2004 Il- Congressman Lipsinski resigns on last day before he can be replaced. His son gets the party's nod with the congressman casting one of the committee's votes to seat him.He runs more or less unopposed and wins.

2004 nationwide-They launch 1st campaign against any Presidential candidate ballot access as it attacks Ralph Nadar.

1998 NY 7th- Congressman Manton resigns 07-21-1998 five days after filing deadline. Democratic committee chooses Joe Crowley to succeed him and therefore avoids Primary.

2004 LA 7th. State senator Cravins is the sole Black democrat running for this open seat. He is running against two republicans and a white democrat. On election day the Lousianna Democratic party helps to pay for a unity flyer that is distributed throughout the black precincts of the district. On the top of the ballot are pictures of John Kerry, Martin Luther King, and the white democrat running against Cravins. Cravins missing out making the runoff by 1500 votes with the White democrat getting into the runoff.

Of course we can add Nixon's loss to dead people voting in Chicago in '6o (although I didn't like him-it was his win... he was a good soul for not contesting it like Gore did 40 years later.) We can add Frank Lautenburg jumping into the race with the ethically challenged Robert Torricelli's backing out of the race and the Democrats putting Lautenberg in, in violation of New Jersy's Rules which the Democratic NJSC unabashedly upheld And yes, one can probably find a list of Republican shennigans also, but the Dems, Oh Them Dems!!!!!

I don't know if the Democrats are determined to "win at any cost" or they are just foolish enough to think the rest of us don't take their shenannigans into account at election time. Steadily declining governorships, congressmen, statehouses and senate seats ought to tell them something. Perhaps Thomas Nast's depiction of the Democrats as a party of Jack-Asses was spot on.

CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY) didn't buy this scene of Boxer's at all. As the NY Post had it:

"EVEN CHUCK BUCKS HILL ON BID TO NIX BUSH WIN"

The overriding theme for Democrats seems to be "Hey Everybody!!! Look at us!!! We want to be YOUR political party." Well, Democrats, we are looking; and you aren't coming close!

If the Great Mason Williams will forgive me, allow me to post the following:

How about Them Democrats,
Ain't they a bunch?
Lookin' for a vote
they face in a scrunch.

Votin' up here and votin up there
doin'nothin but bragging bout all-a they hair.
Lookin for Republicans they think they can beat
but voters think repubs are really, really neat!

How to be a Democrat?
Ain't nothin to it!
Just find an election to
screw-up and
do it, do it, do it!!!

Ok, so it's lousy poetry and there isn't much to say for it. Well, right now the Democrats have even less to say and aren't saying it near as well as my poetry did. And that ain't much folks, that ain't much.

1/04/2005
 
The Filibuster Nuclear Option
Much has been written recently of the possibility of the Republicans, via the office of the President of the Senate (VP Dick Cheney) declaring the non-filibuster filibuster un-constitutional, having a vote and thus being able to overcome the Senate Rules that allow the Majority Leader to accept from the Minority a pledge to filibuster any given nominee. The effect then is a non-filibuster filibuster.

Of course, the Democrats have threatened massive retaliation in the sense of the old Mutually Assured Destruction Doctrine to make passage of any bill impossible. The Republicans of course have traditionally had no guts to force their will on the Democrats, relying instead on getting a few Dems to vote with them in exchange for something else.

There are some new winkles in the political fabric however, namely the loss of the seat held by Senator Tom Daschle, primarily because John Thune campaigned on Daschle's obstructionism, running as a "conservative" only at election times and changing his electioneering stance from his senatorial stance on as many topics as he thought he could get away with.

This has produced some consternation in a Senate where a number of Democratic Senators are from now "Red States." Among these are Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico; Robert Byrd of West Virginia (who is probably retiring anyway); Conrad Kent of North Dakota; Ben Nelson of Nebraska; and maybe even a few Senators from states where Kerry won by only the slimmest of margins including ,Wisconsin ,Pennsylvania,Michigan, Minnesota and possibly even Oregon where Kerry won by only 4%. Can the Democrats protect these seats? Likely some of them, but are the incumbents who want to run again in 2006 sure? If they are, they need to re-think that. Bush could, with luck and hard work, make this coming off presidential election cycle another republican grab.

So what can the Republicans do between now and '06 to make sure that judicial nominees at least get an up or down vote without changing the time honored concept of filibuster? Simple, make the filibuster a real filibuster. Insist that the Democrats man the mattresses so to speak, schedule non-stop chit-chat, read from the congressional record or the newspapers (the Gray Lady would be good for this - not good for much else these days), actually filibuster.

This would have, I think, several attractive consequences. For one, the people would get to see a real filibuster, after all, we haven't had one since the Democrats filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when Richard Russell of Georgia and 18 other Southern Democrats filibustered the act for almost a year. Only when Russell capitulated to Mansfield and Humphrey did the vote finally get taken with the Civil Rights act passing by a vote of 27 against passage to 73 for. LBJ signed the Act within hours. Secondly, it would show the people that either there was clear and good reason to vote down a nominee or that the loyal opposition is really just about obstructionism.

OK, you think, that was then, this is now, a so called "gentleman's filibuster" makes it much nicer as a way to protest action in the Senate. Well, yes and no. The Gentlemens Filibuster agreement does make protest easier, but it hinders the Advice and Consent role of the Senate when it comes to Judicial Nominations. Each nominee has a hearing before the Senate Judicial Committee and that committee then sends it to the floor for a vote or, recommends that it not be sent to the floor. When a party (Democrats or Republicans) then filibuster that process, one possibility is that the filibuster actively interferes with a legal duty of the Senate.

So, what should Frist and the Republicans do? Make 'em talk till they are blue in the face. The worst that can happen is that Congress can't pass any laws for the time being, and that could be helpful to us all.

Update(1/11/05 ~ 5:34 AM CST) Excellent thoughts on the filibuster at The View From MY Right here.



1/02/2005
 
Wounded US Troops and Pay Cuts!

I seldom get really angry, but I am royally pissed off (and I seldom curse) tonight for a couple of reasons. On the NBC news tonight there was a story about a marine who lost hazardous duty pay when he shipped home from Iraq in a stretcher. I decided to blog about this as I think Vets get the shaft far too often. Then, in doing some internet research I discovered that the impetus for tonight's "news" was from a newspaper story back in October. Many then (as now) were blaming the Bush Administration for "disrespecting" the vets or talking about supporting the troops on one hand, and cutting their pay on the other.

Couple of things then I'll get to the point of this entry. 1. Loss of combat pay when you leave a combat area is not a policy of Bush and Company. It has been in place pretty much since WWII I understand 2. Troops can apply for up to a 90 day extension and 3. the griping about the Pentagon looking at cutting combat pay is bogus. Congress decides the budget and the Pentagon MUSTlook at all possibilities in allocating the dollars.



Having said that, now I'll rant... Cutting the pay for any damn reason when a soldier has been severely wounded and his wounds require removal from the theater of operations is absolutely absurd.

I propose the following and I'm hoping that bloggers everywhere will pick this up and spread the word. I'm also hoping that every reader of blogs will write his or her congressman and senator and get this or something similar done now:

  1. Maintain Combat pay for every wounded soldier until they are released from medical care and returned to active duty or discharged from the service because of their injuries.
  2. Ensure that soldiers who are partially disabled (loss of a foot say) have the ability to stay in the service if they desire and if their military occupation speciality (MOS) is needed. If not, provide additional training where appropriate and where the individuals capacity/ability do not jeopardize the mission.
  3. Figuring out how a serviceman's family is taken care of in the event of catostrophic disability or death.
  4. Pulling some really creative thinking types in on the problem including finance types, rehabilitation experts, physicians, occupational therapists etc. and taking a really solid look at their recommendations

There are those who will scream about the cost. My own response? So What! These wounded servicemen and women have given everything they have in the defense of their country. We cannot do less! We Cannot

UPDATE (12:47 PM jan 03, 2005): John Moore (http://tinyvital.com) had some interesting things to add to this, as a result I have changed the number 2 suggestion and added 3 and 4 above to reflect his thoughts. I love it when a plan comes together.


 
An Orange Revolution in Washington State?
The Orange Revolution in Ukraine is a success so far. Yushchenko survived a bungled assasination attempt, lost an election, supported a recount, got a revote and won. Good for him and good for the anti-corruption forces in Ukraine. Putin tried to force the election to his sycophant, it didn't work.

Now we have a similar problem in washington state. Democrats and Republicans are in a struggle over less than 500 votes and there is a movement underway to pull a "re-vote" to make a final determination. Those forces mostly in favor of the "re-vote" believe that the Democrats "stole" the election in a time honored way, they "found" more votes when the chips (chads?) were down. They have even adopted the "Orange" of the Ukraine's Orange Revolution as a style.

Folks, this would be an unmitigated disaster. This country has a long history of election procedures and constitutional safeguards built in. You cannot say the same for Ukraine (but I hope they develop one). Let's go back to the election of 2000 or 1960 and see what a "re-vote" would have done? In 60, without the cheating in Chicago, Nixon (shudder) would have come into office 8 years earlier with who knows what consequences (including the possibility, I admit of good consequences). In 2000, a change of the winner might have produced a Gore as Commander In Chief ("I'd like to take on those damned Taliban fellows, but I can't find any legal controlling authority.") following 9/11. - - Ok, Ok, so that is a wee bit of hyperbole - - You get my point!

Messing with the way elections and politics are done is a good way to invoke the laws of unintended consequences - Think folks, no single election in These United States is worth tampering with a "re-vote" monster. Not if you are a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent or whatever. Don't go there!

A tip of the Chapeau to PoliPundit!

 
Of Cabbages and Kings
"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax
--Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."
Lewis Carroll
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

And so the debate goes: Did Bush provide Leadership in the crisis in South Asia? Is the US "stingy?" Are we as a people unconcerned about others unless they have "white skin or oil?"

What utter and complete nonsense. I make no bones about being somewhat chauvinistic regarding my country, my government. I am unabashedly patriotic but I am also more than willing to call foul when the government or someone in the government pulls some stupid and/or dishonest stunt

The carping of the left has reached the same intellectual level of discussion as suggested by the Walrus above. Let us look at the facts.

  1. The Complaint: "Bush sits at home and does nothing/says nothing for three days following the disaster. The Fact? Some of the first relief planes to land in the stricken area were C-130's from Yokota Air Base, Japan. No, that's not a Japanese effort, but an American Air Force effort. That's right folks, AMERICAN Air Force. And does the USAF engage in massive relief effort without the OK of the Commander-In-Chief? I don't think so.
  2. The complaint: "The rich nations are stingy" in their pleges to help. The Facts? It is clear from our initial announcement $15 million as an "initial" amount until folks on the ground could assess what was needed to the raising of that to $35 million and subsequently to $350 million that the complaint is nonsense. Further, private donations from the US are rapidly approaching the $300 million range. Regarding the initial amount John Podhoretz in the New York Post says "Any rational person would have understood without having to be told what the president told the world on Wednesday morning, which is that the $35 million pledge "is only the beginning of our help."
  3. The complaint: Only the UN has the moral authority to organize relief efforts (a complaint made by former International Development Secretary Clare Short - via Michael Totten's blog): The facts? Well, Mr. Totten has said it far better than I can, the telling graf (by the way, read the whole thing):
    The UN has no moral authority. None. Zero. Nada. Zip. Zilch. But the UN still manages to pull off some decent crisis relief once in a while. If even the UN can do that, surely the US, Japan, India, and Australia can do something, too.

    "I don't know what that is about but it sounds very much, I am afraid, like the US trying to have a separate operation and not work with the rest of the world through the UN system," she added.

    Over a hundred thousand people are dead. This is not the time to seethe and whine about process. Process means absolutely nothing to people who need help and need it right now. Speed and results, Clare. Speed and results. Roll up your sleeves and stick a sock in it.

  4. The complaint: Mr. Bush, by waiting several days before making public remarks shows unconcern about others and a decided lack of world leadership in a time when the US needs to step forward. The Facts? This one is so easy, I'm almost ashamed to note it. In a previous presidency, such "leadership" was noted by words of piety, a pursed lip, a tear gently wiped away and an expression of feeling your pain. That is style, the substance was noticeably lacking in stopping the killing in Rwanda where over 800,000 people were slaughtered in 100 days. Leadership sends C-130's within hours and in less than 72 hours, those planes are landing with supplies, medicines, food and relief personnel! Style bemoans the loss but does nothing
  5. The Complaint: The UN pitched in right away, the US delays the process for many unconscionable days. The facts: From The Diplomad come this:
    Well, we're heading into Day 7 of the Asian quake/tsunami crisis. And the UN relief effort? Nowhere to be seen except at some meetings and on CNN and BBC as talking heads. In this corner of the Far Abroad, it's Yanks and Aussies doing the hard, sweaty work of saving lives.

    Check out this interview (on ghe UN's official website) with SecGen Annan and Under SecGen Egeland shows, Mr. Egeland: Our main problems now are in northern Sumatra and Aceh.

    In Aceh, today 50 trucks of relief supplies are arriving. Tomorrow, we will have eight full airplanes arriving. I discussed today with Washington whether we can draw on some assets on their side, after consultations with the Indonesian Government, to set up what we call an "air-freight handling centre" in Aceh.Tomorrow, we will have to set up a camp for relief workers, 90 of them, which is fully self-contained, with kitchen, food, lodging, everything, because they have nowhere to stay and we don't want them to be an additional burden on the people there.

    I provided this to some USAID colleagues working in Indonesia and their heads nearly exploded. The first paragraph is quite simply a lie (emphasis added by GMR). The UN is taking credit for things that hard-working, street savvy USAID folks have done. It was USAID working with their amazing network of local contacts who scrounged up trucks, drivers, and fuel; organized the convoy and sent it off to deliver critical supplies. A UN "air-freight handling centre" in Aceh? Bull! It's the Aussies and the Yanks who are running the air ops into Aceh. We have people working and sleeping on the tarmac in Aceh, surrounded by bugs, mud, stench and death, who every day bring in the US and Aussie C-130s and the US choppers; unload, load, send them off. We have no fancy aid workers' retreat -- notice the priorities of the UN? People are dying and what's the first thing the UN wants to do? Set up "a camp for relief workers" one that would be "fully self-contained, with kitchen, food, lodging, everything." The UN is a sham.


This is enough for the average intelligence to grasp, there are problems to be sure, but leadership, generosity, caring etc. on the part of our President, our efforts and our people aren't part of the problems, they are part of the solution.

That members of the left have immediately jumped on the "Jump on Bush" bandwagon says far more about their need to discredit Bush than it says about any thing else.



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