Tuesday, August 31, 2004

RNC speech round-up Nights 1 and 2

Well, I finally got caught up with the two speeches from last night and have been watching tonight's so now I can do a brief round-up of the speeches to date:
  • John McCain: good speech, especially when it comes to Michael "Disingenuous Filmmaker" Moore. Sen. McCain put him squarely in his place not once, not twice, but three times. Sadly, Mr. Moore is to oblivious to realize what McCain was saying and actually took the ribbing as a compliment, complete with a hat tip! I guess ignorance truly is bliss! A great segue and a slam dunk lead in for Rudy.
  • Rudy Giuliani: definitely the highlight of the evening. As Hugh Hewitt quoted, he hit a grant slam with his speech last night and it was right on. He energized the room with his presence and captivated it with his recounting of his 9/11 experiences and the President's visit in the days following the attack. He also helped to widen the "big tent" of the party by being a key moderate who's reaching out to the broad base of the party. Look for both he and McCain to become more prominent in the second Bush term White House.
  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: definitely the big ticket draw of the night (GW's intro of Laura excepted), and what a speech it was. If anyone out there is the epitome of success and fulfillment of the American dream, its him. His message was sound and singular: even though we all have differences and might not agree with every tenet of the GOP platform, we are all Republicans and fighting for a just cause who need to unite behind Pres. Bush. He made a genuine gesture to the centrist-right members of the party (of which he is one) to include themselves in the debate to help further the GOP agenda and defeat the JohnJohn ticket this year. His comparison of them to socialists to the 1968 Nixon/Humphrey campaign was dead-on accurate and should not be forgotten quickly. He is definitely an energizing and appealing force within today's GOP and will definitely be a prominent figure in the next Bush White House.
  • F.L. Laura Bush (& G.W. intro): A great way to end the evening on a positive note. Gave great homage to our deployed soldiers and their families (got some noise from the CO delegation on that). A good message of support with some folksy family anecdotes woven in for good measure. A great speech from an awesome First Lady.

G.W.'s live video intro was a big plus to the crowd tonight, helping to top a night of rousing speeches with some great messages. On a down note, I don't think that the Bush daughters are quite ready for prime time yet; the discourse about their grandmother and father would have been more appropriate for a family gathering at home, not on national prime time television, and the audience let them know it wasn't as humorous as the twins thought it was. I think their strategy of staying out of the limelight is a good one and they should continue to practice it, especially since they are "adults" now. Look for some soundbites from them coming from the Kerry camp tomorrow.

That's it for tonight, looking forward to V.P. Cheney's speech tomorrow. BTW, be sure to read Hugh's post that I linked to earlier, it has an interesting theory about the V.P.'s possible actions in the second term. Click here to read it again.

Quick morning news stories digest

For those who want a quick digest of the news, I suggest these two morning emails: The Washington Times Insider and Today's Headlines from The New York Times. Both require free registration and you can customize the service to send you the headlines you're interested in. They both provide a quick digest of the important headlines in each paper, and each from opposing sides of the spectrum. I find them to be invaluable, especially while traveling and trying to keep up with the campaign and blogging. And best of all, they're FREE!

Now, on to some interesting finds:
  • Bush's loose lips give Democrats more firepower (WTI): The Kerry campaign is using Pres. Bush's comments from last weeks Today show interview against him, trying to say that Bush can't win the war but JohnJohn can. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have a man in office who's demonstrated unwavering and purposeful leadership than one who'd bow to the U.N. and start acting like a French leader.
  • 9/11 showed Bush's leadership (WTI): review and analysis of McCain's and Giuliani's speeches. I'll provide my own commentary after reviewing the speeches later today.
  • Arnold represents GOP's centrists (WTI): Yes, yes he does. And while the Dem's criticize his, McCain's and other moderates appearing at the RNC, they do represent the moderate majority of the party and will be a big help in drawing centrist/moderates to help re-elect Pres. Bush in November.
  • Delegates already looking toward 2008 (WTI): Gives a good rundown of the GOP's potentials for 2008. Good strategy, especially since this election cycle is pretty much already decided, and was back in July. Any good campaign strategist recognizes that you have to think in terms of the next cycle even while the current one is underway or you become short-sighted and ineffective at winning campaigns. And party conventions give delegates to opportunity to view the rising stars and see who potential candidates are for the next cycle. This is probably the last real benefit that the conventions have, but it is the most important one.
  • Jenna, Barbara give dad a boost (WTI): This will help "de-alienate" the GOP from the youth (18-25) vote and maybe bring some back into the fold. This has been a long time coming, but the GOP still has a lot of work to do to shed its current image in favor of the "big tent party" image the leadership keeps espousing.
  • Schrock quits Virginia race, leaves GOP scrambling (WTI): I'm unsure as to why this happened, as it throws a wrench in the VA GOP's election plans. It also has potential to upset the balance of power in the House, but I feel that effect will be negated by other contests around the country. And since his district is overwhelmingly GOP, a replacement shouldn't have too much of an issue retaining the seat.
  • Procession of Speakers Invoke Bush's Leadership After 9/11 (NYT): Good review of last night's speeches, and not too much liberal slant. Great read to get the bullet points of the night.
  • Social Conservatives Wield Influence on Platform (NYT): Review of the GOP platform, and a good opportunity for some liberal slamming of the GOP agenda. Read this with a grain of salt (try a full salt shaker), but remember that not everyone (myself included) agrees with every tenet of the platform and feel that some lead to alienation from more moderate factions of the electorate. Some even embrace political zealots and that can actually help derail the efforts and goals that the GOP is trying to achieve.
  • Republican National Convention (NYT): Their coverage of the week, complete with photos and analysis. Once again, have the salt ready for the analysis but enjoy the photos.
  • Bush Cites Doubt America Can Win War on Terror (NYT): Pro-Kerry slam piece disguised (poorly) as news in the "Old Grey Lady". Compare with the WTI piece noted above. Have the can of salt ready.

That's it for my news roundup this morning. There's some interesting reading out there, so enjoy.

Live from New York, its the RNC!!!

Well all, with that reference to the welcome video shown last night at the convention, I'm starting my "coverage" of the RNC. Mind you, I'm not one of the privileged attendees or even a member of the credentialed blogger group at the RNC. No, I'm sitting at home in VA watching the events unfold live (via Tivo) and commenting on them from here.

First, what the convention is: a glorified pep rally for the party faithful, much like the DNC was for their folks. Yes, there is a lot of pomp, circumstance, excitement, excellent speakers and balloons (hopefully those will work this time), but not much more. Still, it does make for some good viewing (I do the C-SPAN thing) and you can see some rising (and falling) stars as well as some unexpected attendees (Don King and John Elway). All in all, a good time to be had.

Second, what the convention isn't: a nominating convention where the platform is decided and voted on, and the candidates are nominated in a true "battle" of delegates. The nominees have been decided months before, and the party platform has been drafted, approved and sanitized by the party leadership and the White House in the days leading up to the RNC. This leaves little room for any meaningful debate about the issues or any decisions to be made in the infamous "smoke filled rooms" of yesteryear. Ahh, the forward march of progress!

Speaking of the smoke filled rooms, those would be in direct ban of Mayor Bloomberg's city -wide indoor smoking ban. Just imagine if this had been in effect 50 years ago; can you see the decision makers out on the "smoke filled loading dock"? The visual itself is funny!

Next, the speeches: opening night is always the home of the roll call and the prime keynote speakers; last night were John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. I listened to the roll call over a late dinner with The Fetching Mrs. Morrison and then caught the start of John's speech. Since I Tivo-ed the speeches, I'll watch them later and give my thoughts this afternoon. I know, I won't get the jump on the major papers or even a lot of the Blogosphere, but then they won't have the unique perspective that only I can offer!

Now the celebrity faces: one name: Arnold! He's going to be the big draw tonight at the RNC. Granted, there are others who've come to speak, such as actor Ron Silver last night, but Arnold is going to be the big draw. And given that he (along with Giuliani and McCain) represents the centrist right majority of the party, he's one who I'm going to watch to hear his message.

Finally, the reporting: I feel that it'll be the standard fare offered by the major networks, which is why I'm switching between Fox News for commentary and C-SPAN for raw footage. Fox has been interesting, dragging out people like Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott, once the darlings of the party but now fallen from grace due to their own actions. Some even asked if Pat Buchanan was going to show up; I highly doubt that the RNC would allow him in the door since he's become a pariah in the party and is seen as the one who derailed G.H.W.'s re-election bid in '92. But then, the RNC did allow Michael Moore in the arena to report for USA Today (note: refuse free copies at hotels), so you never know who'll show up. Even if the news isn't very interesting, at least the parade of "experts" and talking heads should be.

That's it for now, off to watch Rudy's speech and review some print media for other stories of interest.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Terrorist toys?

Here's a not so funny story from CNN today: 9/11 toy found inside candy bags. Draw your own conclusions from this. Either way, its not a funny prank.

Been traveling, but now home for a while

Sorry that I haven't been keeping up as often as I should, but I've been on travel for work and haven't had as much time as I'd like for research and posting. Now that I'm back at home for a while, I'm going to pick up the pace a bit and catch up on my posting. Keep watching for my thoughts on the RNC next week and the start of the final 60 days until Nov. 2, when Pres. Buch retains the White House for a second term.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

New York Times does it again!

Once again, the "Old Grey Lady" has done the unthinkable to help forward its liberal anti-Bush agenda, according to this story on NewsMax: Times Outs Al-Queda operative. Instead of trying to help the country win the war on terrorism, all it can think about is itself and its role as the main print media flagship of the Democratic party. After this, can there be anyone left in the country who thinks that the NYT is still a balanced source for news? I sure hope not.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Kerry dishes it out, can't take it...

Looks like John Kerry can dish it out but he can’t take the same in return. In today’s Washington Times Insider (registration required), Kerry has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission about the ad being run by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. However, his strategy seems to be backfiring, as the group has received over $250,000 from over 3500 donors over the 24 hour period preceding the story’s publication. And Kerry’s complaint isn’t slowing the group down at all; in fact, they’re readying a second ad “rebuking the Democratic presidential candidate for his denunciation of American soldiers after he returned from South Vietnam in 1969”.

Good strategy, John: attack publicly and file complaints against those who speak the truth while spewing your own attacks against Pres. Bush, a man who hasn’t lied about his war record and fulfilled his military commitment. He reminds me of the kid at school who always goes around taunting and teasing everyone around him but then goes running to the teacher when he gets the same treatment back. I know about this since I speak from personal experience, but usually you learn that lesson by the fourth grade; I guess it’s taken Kerry a little longer to grow up in this way.

This just shows that the Kerry campaign is playing by the standard Democratic playbook that states if things aren’t going your way, complain, litigate and cheat in order to get your way. This is the strategy outlined in Hugh Hewitt’s book If It’s Not Close, They Can’t Cheat and it is hold true right now. Buy this book and you’ll see exactly what they’re tactics are and how to defeat them in the next two presidential elections.

Kerry thinks that his attacks will help him gain favor with other Vietnam vets and others who oppose Pres. Bush; instead, he’s alienating the majority of Vietnam vets and current members of the military. He also comes across weak and ineffective, looking to a higher power (read: U.N.) to solve ours and the world’s problems. Is this the kind of guy that we want in the White House during these troubled times? I think not. We need a strong person who’s willing to do what is necessary to protect the U.S. and eliminate threats globally and who has the respect of the military to boot.

As for the Kerry vets, the only ones who seem to be getting really vocal are some vets who are on vacation in Hanoi, of all places, and part of a group called “Americans Overseas for Kerry”. These people, in my opinion, are an affront to our country and shouldn’t be protesting Pres. Bush on foreign soil. If you’re going to protest, at least do it here at home instead of in a country whose government has been hostile to the U.S. for 30+ years. However, I feel that even these folks will not be enough to deny Pres. Bush a second term in the White House.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Teddy can't fly?

A somewhat funny story in today's New York Times (registration required) highlights Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) mis-adventures when trying to fly from D.C. to Boston earlier this year. Apparently Mr. Kennedy's name appears on a terrorist "no-fly" list that lists aliases used by terrorists; the alias is "Edward Kennedy", and several ticket agents denied him boarding until their supervisors allowed him to board the plane. And I thought that the airline was scared for the safety of their liquor allotment for the flights!

Seriously, this does expose a glaring flaw of the current screening system where people with common or famous names can be inconvenienced or denied travel due to their name being associated with terrorism. In this case, I do agree with Mr. Kennedy's statement and question to the Senate hearing panel:

At the hearing, Mr. Kennedy wondered how ordinary citizens could navigate the tangled bureaucracy if a senator had so much trouble. "How are they going to be able to get to be treated fairly and not have their rights abused?" he asked

People who are on these lists yet are legitimate travelers have an almost impossible task of getting cleared to fly due to the immense bureaucracy of the TSA and lack of proper screening techniques. Once again I have to say that we need to eliminate rules that treat grandmothers and infants as potential terrorists and implement measures that target the prime segment of the population that has a pre-disposition to commit terrorist acts for increased screening and possible denial of flight travel. Oh, did I infer racial profiling? And before someone starts crying about the "rights and sensitivities" of those being targeted, be warned that I have none of these feelings toward this target group and that they have none of these same feelings for us in general, especially when they are plotting attacks to wound or kill our citizens. I say, go for the heavy-handed screening tactics to help place fear and deterrence into the hearts of the would-be terrorists.

In any event, we need to get people off the "no-fly" list that are legitimate travelers with common names and stop inconveniencing the general flying public. Instead, let's have a list with suspected terrorists (not Sen. Kennedy, even though he could qualify at times) complete with pictures and apprehend them when they try to board a plane for any reason. This will go a long way toward making our skies safer.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Made some quick updates to the site

Haven't had much chance to blog since I've been traveling in the West, but I've made some quick changes to the site itself. Will catch up on the events of the week over the weekend.

One point: I heard on Hugh's show today that the major networks aren't going to cover the first night of the RNC, the night that Rudy Guiliani is the keynote speaker. Just what can one infer from this? A possible bias and agenda by the media to shortchange the Bush campaign its time in the spotlight and try to get Kerry elected? I'll look into this more; if you have any info on this, please send it to me.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Good piece about outsourcing

For those worried about the outsourcing of jobs, here's a great piece by Oliver North in today's Washington Times: Outsource National Defense?

I think this issue goes beyond computer work to India to try & save some money. This places our national security and global strength projection at tremendous risk and subject to whims of foreign governments who don't agree with us. And this is just the road that JohnJohn wants to lead us down, so think long and hard about this issue when you vote in November.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Air security being bolstered, marshals told how to dress

There's a follow-up article about the air marshal program in today's Washington Times about the air marshal program. Apparently they're augmenting their ranks with help from the Secret Service and other federal agencies. While this is a good move, what is also going on behind the scenes is downright silly and boggles the mind of anyone with a minimum of common sense.

Asa Hutchinson is facing fierce criticism from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) about the lack of marshal security on board planes today. He's also fighting an internal battle over dress codes and agent behavior against Thomas Quinn, the director of the air marshal service. To quote the Times article:

"A sport coat should be a minimum!!!" Thomas Quinn, director of the air-marshal service, said in a May 14, 2003, e-mail obtained by The Washington Times. "Unless [special agents in charge] on a case-by-case basis approves something different for one specific mission." After the hearing, Homeland Security spokesman Dennis Murphy told reporters that the dress code was established after pilots and flight crews complained. "The problem we had was some air marshals showing up for duty in torn-up blue jeans and unshaven ... very disheveled, and when they presented themselves to the pilots as federal air marshals, [the pilots] were like, 'Are you kidding me?' " Mr. Murphy said.

This just illustrates the bureaucratic nonsense and political warfare that is permeating our national security organization today. Instead of prioritizing issues such as airline safety, border security and immigration control, these bureaucrats are more worried about how their personnel dress and act in their daily duties. Now I agree that a level of professionalism must be maintained by the agents, and I'm sure that the agents would also. But I think that these professionals would be better able to carry out their assigned duties if they were allowed a little leeway and the ability to blend in to the crowd better rather than standing out as if they were wearing a Bozo-the-Clown outfit. I'd feel much safer knowing that they were aboard the flight but not easily identifiable, and knowing that any potential terrorist would have an equally hard time identifying them. Also, it would make everyone, terrorists included, think twice about trying anything since you'd never know who the agents were or even if they're on board. The fear of the unknown is an awesome weapon when used to your advantage.

In any event, the powers that be need to quit acting like toddlers in the sandbox crying about their toys and instead get busy working together in order to keep our planes, people and nation safe from the terrorist threat.

Border Patrol being chastized again

In today's Washington Times story, Limits sought on Border Patrol, the Dept. of Homeland Security wants to limit the arrest of illegals in the nation's interior. This is based on a raid in Southern California where 450 illegals were arrested where the Dept. is concerend that the arresting agents failed to take the "sensitivities" of the illegals into concern.

Sensitivities of the illegals? WHAT????? I think that someone forgot that these people are here ILEGALLY and are engaged in the criminal act of violating our immigration laws and labor laws by working here without proper permits. But wait, there's more to all this, and since this is Southern California, you know its bound to be sureal.

Leading this charge is none other than Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA), one of the most liberal House members and a staunch foe of tight border security; in fact, he has favored relaxing border controls in order to allow more "undocumented workers" (read: illegal aliens) into the country. And of course, Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson, has bowed to this group of security underminers faster than the French army retreating from a band of school children with slingshots. He said in a letter last week that "that in the future, Homeland Security would enforce immigration laws "in a reasonable manner" and would consider the "sensitivities" surrounding the enforcement of those laws in its interior-enforcement program."

What constitutes a reasonable manner? Walking up to a person and asking if they're illegal? Then what, asking them politely if they'd like to go to the deportation station? I don't think so. Since I'm not a big fan of illegal immigration, I don't really have a feel for the "sensitivities" of illegals and no empathy for their situation. I'd much rather see them rounded up and sent back to their native country and then try to come back legally.

Luckily, I'm not alone in this. Customs and Border Patrol commssioner Robert C. Bonner is stnading by his men, the legality of the arrests and enforcement policies, stating that the agency would"do whatever is necessary to control our nation's borders." He also has the support of the National Border Patrol Council (the agency union), who's leader, T.J. Bonner, has called for the enforcement and arrests to continue. I'm just waiting to hear from Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), who's famous stance against illegal immigration is well known around the beltway and nation.

Once again, the issue of illegal immigration and border enforcement has become one more of political chicanery and infighting rather than one of border security and national protection. In this time of heightened security and terrorist threats, we don't need to be crying about "racial profiling" and "sensitivities" of the illegals in this country. Instead, we need to be sending a message not only to the world, but to Congress and the White House that the vast majority of the population is against illegal immigration thier "rights" and for stronger border securtity, law enforcement and deportation of those here illegally. This message needs to be loud and clear because apparently its falling on lots of deaf ears inside the Beltway. Maybe we could contact Beltone for a mass airdrop of hearing aids so they can hear us better.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Air Marshals not flying the friendly skies

Just when you thought it was safe to board an airplane again, think again. The Washington Times Insider (registration required) is reporting today that fewer than five percent of all flights have air marshals on them. Also, it reports that the job of the marshals is hampered by a strict dress code and boarding requirements that make them stand out to all passengers and crew. There have even been instances where the marshals have been removed from flights for violating dress code and another where a marshal, accused of leaking "disparaging memos", has been assigned to washing government cars as punishment. To quote the article, ' "Morale is low," one air marshal said.'

Is this any way to help ensure our safety during these days of heightened threat levels? And is this any way to treat the men and women who are prepared to give their lives voluntarily in order to help combat these threats? I think not. Unfortunately, the Air Marshal program is mired in bureaucracy and stuck in the '70's as far as dress code and flexibility goes. The higher ups in the program are more concerned with how the marshals dress and covering their collective backsides than they are about passenger and airline safety.

And then there is the cost of providing air marshals for all flights in the country. Yes, the cost is high, especially with the amount of plans and flights that need to be covered. But then, that is the price of freedom. If the airlines and government are so concerned with the costs, then they have several options: either pass the increased costs along to passengers (who I think would be more than willing to pay a little extra for added safety); or have the government pony up the added costs (I'm sure they could find the extra money by cutting a few pork-barrel welfare programs) since they are the ones who are yelling the loudest for added protection.

Either way, I feel less safe now, especially since I fly routinely for my work. And in light of the recent raising of the threat level and the antics of a group of Syrians on a flight to L.A., I feel that this is a debate that shouldn't be happening. Just fund the program and get the marshals in the air. And stop "punishing" them for trying to blend in better or trying to initiate reform from within.

This is another one of those "sleeper" campaign issues that I'll be following over the next several weeks.

Edwards article hits it on the nose!

There's a great article in today's Washington Times Insider (registration required) about Sen. Edwards and his history of frivolous lawsuits that helped destroy medical practices across North Carolina. It also explains how he now wants to reign in the very legal practices that have made him a millionaire many times over.

Isn't this what I've been saying over and over in my columns here? Being the son of an excellent old-school attorney and a reformed insurance adjustor, I've seen all sides of the legal profession and can say that, without a doubt, that Sen. Edwards is the poster boy for tort and malpractice settlement reform in the country. He exemplifies all that is wrong with the modern legal system in this country when it comes to medical malpractice and personal injury law, and then has the audacity to claim that he wants to spearhead the same reforms he has fought against for years and the exploitation of which has made him extremely wealthy.

Looking for a great definition of hypocrisy? His picture could replace the written definition in the dictionary.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Hello from Sturgis, SD

I've been delinquent on posting over the past couple of days, but I've been busy with travel and work and haven't had a lot of spare time. I think that the various other blogs posted on my sidebar have been covering the Kerry "Christmas in Cambodia" story very well, and I have little to add on the subject. I'll stay abreast of the story and any others that happen to cross my radar screen, so stay tuned.

Today, however, a co-worker and I made the trip up to Sturgis, SD, home of the 64th Annual Black Hills Motorcycle Rally. All I can say is: what an amazing event it is. Never have I seen so many motorcycles and people assembled in one place, and never have I seen a more patriotic group of people that spans all levels of society and age. Everywhere you look there are American flags, POW flags, LOTS of American-made Harley's, and a crowd that helps to celebrate an event and culture that is uniquely and singly American. These are the people that make up the backbone of America, from corporate executives to construction workers and all in between, and that is what makes the event special. There's even room for a non-riding tourist like me!

This brings me to the point of this message: these are the people that both Mr. Kerry and Edwards do not understand, cannot relate to, and almost completely abhor unless they are engaged in some sort of endeavor that only benefits JohnJohn. Even though they try to portray themselves as "common men", they are nothing but shills: Mr. Kerry is an intellectual elitist that looks down his nose at these folks from his ivory tower in D.C. and flaunts his war record with blatant disrespect to the many who served valiantly in Vietnam, many of whom were at the Rally this week; Mr. Edwards is nothing more than a two-bit hustler who made his way in life by preying on the weak in their name and looting companies through frivolous lawsuits in order to line his own pockets. I contrast, the majority of the people at the Rally this week are hard working citizens who took a well-earned week of vacation and gathered in this beautiful town in order to celebrate all that is right and good about America and to have a lot of fun at the same time.

To me, these people represent the best cross-section of the American populace and the majority views of the land: more freedom; less government intrusion; hard individual work; entrepreneurship; political and fiscal conservatism; freedoms of religion, speech and gathering; respect and honoring of veterans and their sacrifices; and the pursuit of happiness. JohnJohn, on the other hand, represent the views of the left-wing, liberal, college-professor/ivory tower, Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton, ACLU, constitution gutting, legislating-from-the-bench, Hollywood elite section of the population, all of which are in the minority but manage to scream loud and often enough to make news and have people believe that their views and ideas actually mean something to the majority of Americans. Frankly, I believe that if this minority crowd packed their bags and left tomorrow, not only wouldn't they be missed, but they'd receive LOTS of help in leaving the country quickly so that we could resume out lives and continue to work for the greater good of out country.

I felt great spending a day among these great citizens of our country, and it was a fun time. I was among the people that will help keep JohnJohn out of office this November, and it was awesome. I hope that I can make it back out here, if not next year than in the near future, and on my own Harley so I can be even more a part of the Rally. This is pending spousal approval, of course!

Tomorrow is Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse memorial, can't wait to see those.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Stick with your party in Colorado

I'm sitting here at Denver International Airport reading the front page of the Rocky: "Coors-Salazar", the headline reads, tell all about the primary results from last night.

Since I moved to Virginia in the middle of this election season, I wasn't able to get involved on either side of the primary for any candidate. But from my perspective, the best candidate for the job did win, even if I do have issues with Gov. Owens supporting Bob Schaffer one night then switching his endorsement to Pete Coors the next morning (sounds Kerry-esque, doesn't it?). However, I think that this was the right move and gave us the best result: a candidate with state-wide name recognition; who's been loyal to the GOP for life; and holds the best broad-spectrum appeal for the majority of the state's party faithful. Bob Schaffer, while a qualified state legislator, is a Colorado Springs conservative, meaning that he only truly appeals to the more conservative Christian base of the party. He also is a political lightweight, with neither the experience or the financial base from which to launch an effective campaign against Ken Salazar, the left of center Democratic Attorney General (elected, not appointed under CO law).

The Dems have already targeted both this open Senate seat, being vacated by the retiring Sen. Campbell and Rep. Bob Beauprez's District 7 seat as weak, meaning that they will funnel large amounts of money and out of state volunteers in to Colorado in order to win these seats at all costs. In other words, the Dems know that these will be close races, so they're prepared to use their tried but true tactics and attempt to cheat their way to victory.

I'm reading Hugh Hewett's current book, and its a fascinating read on election strategy. More over, it's the blueprint for winning this November and keeping both of these seats Republican. Pick it up and read it now before Labor Day and get involved now. At this point, it doesn't matter if you don't agree 100% with either Pete Coors or Rep. Beauprez on the issues; what matters is winning this November and keeping control of both the White House and Congress.

To steal a Disreali quote from Hugh's book, "Damn your principles! Stick with your party!"
There are several stories in today's Washington Times today regarding the heightened levels of security in NYC, Newark and D.C., and the responses to these levels. Most responses are of the "Ho hum, here we go again" variety and are outlined in these articles:
  • The Hill locked down with no new threats: Although Capitol Hill is locked down tighter than a snare drum and has thoroughly disrupted the normal traffic flow around the Hill and upset the D.C. city council, there have been no direct threats to the Capitol itself or any members of Congress.
  • Bin Laden hints major assassination: There is evidence that a new tape is either ready to be released or is circulations that could be a trigger for an attack on U.S. soil to disrupt either our economy or the election, or both, and will be precipitated by a high-profile assassination attempt. However, the specifics have not been determined and our intelligence community doesn't have the tape in their possession for analysis or verification.
  • Virginia delegates unfazed by threat: The Virginia delegation to the RNC Convention in NYC is continuing with plans to hold its main party at the Citigroup building despite threats against the building. They are confident that the current security measures in place are adequate.

While these stories may be loosely connected, they do underline a recurring theme: that while we're getting better at intercepting Al Queda intelligence and more clearly defining their plans, we have a long way to go before we can truly get a handle on what their plans are and stopping them before implementation. Also, it outlines the true knee-jerk, panicked reactions exhibited by the various law enforcement agencies that patrol our larger cities, especially in D.C. where you have multiple overlapping layers of Federal and District law enforcement, none of whom are very good at communicating with each other. Sadly, they like it that way.

My biggest fear with raising the alert level (which, by the way, is an extremely bad system) and announcing that we have intelligence that an event could happen (but fails to answer the pressing issues: who, where, when, how) is that Americans will fall into the "crying wolf" mentality and not take these alerts seriously. That is already becoming evident in the amount of times the alert level has been raised and nothing but vague reasons have been given.

There's also the issue of lack of communication and cooperation between Federal & District law-enforcement agencies about security measures. Essentially, the Capitol Police have blocked off all the local streets around Capitol Hill and installed barriers and checkpoints for all vehicles. While this not only hampers access to the residential neighborhoods surrounding the Hill, they have also closed off several of the major streets into the District, hampering access for normal business travel throughout the D.C. area. This has angered the D.C. City Commission and the D.C. Police since they were not advised of these closings or even allowed to see the plans or comment on them. This has contributed to a rising level of animosity between the two primary agencies that are charged with protecting the safety and security of the District. Worse than that, the Capitol Police has basically refused to work with the D.C. police since the barriers went up, and are proceeding with plans to block off parts of 15th Street near the Treasury and erecting a "lovely" wall, cutting off all pedestrian access to the front of the building. Essentially, the Capitol Police (an arm of the Federal Protective Services) is bent on turning D.C., the people's city, into an armed camp with limited access to all major public buildings and landmarks with little regard for the residents and visitors to the city.

I do not agree with the unilateral response of the Capitol Police and their security measures; they are extremely disrupting to the normal flow of traffic and commerce throughout downtown D.C. I do agree with the D.C. commission that while enhanced security measures are now the rule rather than the exception, both sides of law enforcement in D.C. need to work closely together and cooperate in implementing these measures rather than stay locked in mortal combat to try and best each other. At least joint collaboration on any new future plans would be a major step forward and would enhance the both the departmental relationships and public security. Also, let's try removing both police chiefs (the Capitol Police chief used to be number two under the current D.C. chief, and there is a level of animosity between them) and replacing them with two new leaders that don't have an acrimonious history between them; this might help in moving the level of cooperation up a couple of notches and allow for some positive security enhancements instead of a turf war which is what we have now.

I also agree with the attitude of the Virginia delegation to NYC: the party must go on even in the light of the current threats. If we cancel our plans, lives and the political process, then Al Queda has succeeded in achieving their goals without firing a shot. And definitely don't want that to happen, lest we be in the same realm as Spain, the Phillipines and France. No thanks, would rather stand strong and alone than with the weak crowd of nations.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Good pick for CIA top post

President Bush today tapped Rep. Porter Goss (R-FL) to succeed former Director George Tenet as the CIA's top man, reports the Washington Times today. Pres. Bush cited Rep. Goss's experience as a former cover operative and on the House Intelligence Committee as the basis for his choice.

At this stage in the CIA's life, is is an agency without a clear mission, burdened by antiquated technology, an overwhelming bureaucracy and a Cold-War intelligence gathering model that is woefully out of date with the current needs of the nation, both domestically and abroad. With the appointment (and pending approval) of Rep. Goss to the Director position, the Agency is receiving a new chance at life for the foreseable future. Mr. Goss will have the cooperation of the current (and hopefully future) administration in order to revamp the Agency's mission and intelligence gathering apparatus at a time when the threat to America is at best fluid and at worst chaotically unpredicatable. I think this is a good move for the future of the CIA. Now if only we could get the FBI in-line and updated as well, we'd have an extremely powerful tool for combating and defeating terrorism, both at home and abroad. We'll keep waiting for that to happen.

Ben Stein's last Morton's column

Hat tip to Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) for this column from Ben Stein about heros, life and humanity. Tom, my apologies for lifting this from your blog.

How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?
As I begin to write this, I "slug" it, as we writers say, which means I put a heading on top of the document to identify it. This heading is "eonlineFINAL," and it gives me a shiver to write it.
I have been doing this column for so long that I cannot even recall when I started. I loved writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end. It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a person and the world's change have overtaken it.
On a small scale, Morton's, while better than ever, no longer attracts as many stars as it used to. It still brings in the rich people in droves and definitely some stars.
I saw Samuel L. Jackson there a few days ago, and we had a nice visit, and right before that, I saw and had a splendid talk with Warren Beatty in an elevator, in which we agreed that Splendor in the Grass was a super movie. But Morton's is not the star galaxy it once was, though it probably will be again.
Beyond that, a bigger change has happened. I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to.
How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a "star" we mean someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model?
Real stars are not riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsches or getting trained in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they have Vietnamese girls do their nails.
They can be interesting, nice people, but they are not heroes to me any longer.
A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit, Iraq. He could have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets.
Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world. A real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a road north of Baghdad. He approached it, and the bomb went off and killed him.
A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day, is the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded ordnance on a street near where he was guarding a station.
He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded. He left a family desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad.
The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists.
We put couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our magazines. The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.
I am no longer comfortable being a part of the system that has such poor values, and I do not want to perpetuate those values by pretending that who is eating at Morton's is a big subject.
There are plenty of other stars in the American firmament....the policemen and women who go off on patrol in South Central and have no idea if they will return alive, the orderlies and paramedics who bring in people who have been in terrible accidents and prepare them for surgery, the teachers and nurses who throw their whole spirits into caring for autistic children, the kind men and women who work in hospices and in cancer wards. Think of each and every fireman who was running up the stairs at the World Trade Center as the towers began to collapse.
Now you have my idea of a real hero. We are not responsible for the operation of the universe, and what happens to us is not terribly important.
God is real, not a fiction, and when we turn over our lives to Him, He takes far better care of us than we could ever do for ourselves.
In a word, we make ourselves sane when we fire ourselves as the directors of the movie of our lives and turn the power over to Him.
I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters. This is my highest and best use as a human. I can put it another way. Years ago, I realized I could never be as great an actor as Olivier or as good a comic as Steve Martin.... or Martin Mull or Fred Willard -- or as good an economist as Samuelson or Friedman or as good a writer as Fitzgerald. Or even remotely close to any of them.
But I could be a devoted father to my son, husband to my wife and, above all, a good son to the parents who had done so much for me.
This came to be my main task in life. I did it moderately well with my son, pretty well with my wife and well indeed with my parents (with my sister's help).
I cared for and paid attention to them in their declining years. I stayed with my father as he got sick, went into extremis and then into a coma and then entered immortality with my sister and me reading him the Psalms.
This was the only point at which my life touched the lives of the soldiers in Iraq or the firefighters in New York.
I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty, in return for the lavish life God has devolved upon me, to help others He has placed in my path.
This is my highest and best use as a human.
By Ben Stein
Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that God will.

Illeagals gaining/ CA rep's losing with Bush amnesty plans

Well, the immigration issue is becoming one of the most under reported stories of this election cycle. The media is more obsessed with reporting Kerry's "war hero" record in Vietnam and covering up his twenty years in the Senate as Ted "Big Nose" Kennedy's protege. However, the immigration amnesty and guest worker plan is becoming one of the hot button issues in the border states in the Southwest, one that could possibly cost some Republican Congressmen and maybe even President Bush their jobs in November, and is not sitting well with veterans, according to a Washington Times article today.

Any one who's familiar with the immigration debate currently raging is familiar with Rep. Tom Tancredo's (R-CO) stand on the issue, one that has placed him on the opposite side of the issue from the Bush Administration and has even earned him some pointed words from them, such as "Get behind us on this", "This could ruin your career", and "Shut up already, you're making us look bad!".

However, his fight has nothing on what's happening out in L.A. on KFI-640's John and Ken Show, where they're playing "Political Human sacrifice". The website has the full info, but here's the synopsis: due to the opposition of the guest worker/amnesty plan, John & Ken have targeted five prominent Republican Congressmen in a phone in survey to see who the audience wants ousted in November. The "winner" will be announced after Labor Day and then John & Ken will work to have that person voted out of office on Nov. 2 to "send a message" that enough is enough and that the current administration is out of touch with national sentiment on this issue. This is a race that no one wants to win, yet Rep. David Drier is winning with 52% of the vote as of this writing.

Now I don't agree with the Bush Administration's plan for amnesty & guest workers; I'm for rounding them all up and shipping them back to the land whence they came, allowing our low-skilled/low-wage earning citizens have a chance at earning a living again. And guest worker programs are a sham; look how well they've worked in Europe (Germany, France, Spain, etc.) and you get the idea of just how bad this would be for our economy. In fact, Mexican nationals were very pleased when the plan was announced in January, according to an article on the VDare.com website. The plan itself is nothing more that shallow election year pandering to the Hispanic minority in order to secure their votes; hard to do when lot's of them are here ILLEGALLY (hint: THEY CAN'T VOTE!!!!!). Even Sen. Kerry has his own version of the same bad idea, outlined in the same Washington Times article today.

But I digress. As I said, I don't agree with the Bush or Kerry plans. But I also don't agree with what John & Ken are doing as a way to affect change. The right way is to petition their Representatives/Senators to review the plan and oppose it for the benefit of our domestic industries and workers. When President Bush sees that there is staunch opposition from Congress (the "by the people" part of the system), maybe he'll drop this ridiculous idea to try and win a minority of votes during this cycle. Targeting good Republican Congressmen and women, thus jeopardizing our control of either house, is not a good plan for supporting the President after November 2 or controlling Mr. Kerry should he win this year. Instead, they should rally these five to their side for tightening border security and against the Bush plan for legalizing the trespassers on our soil.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Its been a quiet weekend in Ashburn, VA

I've been very low key out here the past several days. Spent some time with The Fetching Mrs. Morrison and out on the Eastern Shore of MD visiting friends, so no blogging over the weekend. Not much happened this weekend either, so it was a good break. Travling to Rapid City, SD this week, so will do some blogging from the heart of the Sturgis Bike Rally while I'm there, and maybe some news about John Thune's campaign to oust Sen. Daschle from office.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Colorado schools not good enough for Owens's son?

This is a bit off topic, but I find it interesting: if Bill Owens is so commited to Colorado, its citizens and institutions, then why is he in Texas right now enrolling his eldest son in a univeristy there and not at CU or CSU?

Are these schools not good enough for the governor's son? Wait, I think I might have the answer: he wants his son to actually have an EDUCATION, not learn how to drink, smoke pot, burn couches, and generally become bums and other non-contributory members of society while using daddy's money doing it. I personally think that Gov. Owens should have sent his son to one of the many fine institutions located here in Virginia so that he could have exposed his son to the way politics and education are handled here in the East. Either way, I think that his son will benefit from attending a college that wasn't ranked number one for parties for three years running!

Thursday, August 05, 2004

New Yorker article hits it on the head

Here's a link to the New Yorker article on terrorism that has been sweeping the blogosphere since Tuesday. I just read it and all I can say is, "Wow!". What an enlightening article and a look at just how serious Al Queda and the other terror networks are about destabilizing our government and to what lengths they will go to achieve victory. It also shows why we must be more vigilant and wary of our surroundings these days, especially during the final 90 day stretch until the elections.

After reading this, I don't know who would feel safer with Sens. Kerry and Edwards in office. Talk about pandering, JohnJohn would be right up there in front, acquiescing to the terrorists demands even as bombs were going off in the streets. I, for one, would feel much safer with President Bush, Knowing that a policy of shooting first and questioning later works very well against this type of threat.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Ten Commandments in the spotlight again

Once again, the ACLU is allying itself with the vocal "oppressed" minority in fighting to have a large stone tablet of the Ten Commandments removed from the Everett, WA, police station grounds, reports Fox News Online today.

Wouldn't this man be shocked to learn that the reason this country was founded was for religious tolerance and freedom of worship? And once again, he's misinterpreting the Constitution, which states that the government shall establish a state religion, NOT that there should be a separation of church & state. (I see he learned a lot in the Everett public school system!) He's taken this part of the Constitution and twisted it (with the ACLU's help, of course) to fit his own private beef with the city council.

Look, if you're offended by something, you do have the right (and unique privilege) to voice your opinion, complain, vote and yes, sue to try and eliviate your issues. I will even defend to the death your right to do just that (paraphase of Voltare). But I won't support it when you are trying to force your minority views upon the vast majority of people who disagree with you and don't really care about your opinion. And I believe that using the courts to advance such a frivolous cause as this is absurd and an extreme waste of taxpayer money. So, in the end, my advice to this guy is, if you don't like it, don't look at it or think about how it "offends" you; rather, why don't you go back to school or read a book about our history, our moral & ethical value systems, our government and maybe even the Bible to understand the significance of this monument and the Ten Commandments to the majority of our citizens. But whatever you do, quit trying to change the world in a negative way since all you're doing is upsetting people and qualifying you in the publics' eyes as a extremely unproductive and useless member of the community.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Moore woos Castro with film...

...and he might lose his Oscar eligibility for it. Apparently Fahrenheit 9/11 is now being shown on Cuban national television. (This was on the Fox News ticker but not on their website yet.) In fact, he has won the admiration of Argentinean film director Fernando "Pino" Solanas in this article from Radio Caden Agramonte: ' "I like what Moore does," Solanas said, "because it has a great media impact. His weapons are insolence, bravery, humor, ingenuity, and craftsmanship. I think we should thank him for his denounce against the Bush clan." '

While this must delight Mr. Moore and his anti-America disciples, it doesn't sit to well with the Motion Picture Academy, which has threatened to yank Oscar eligibility for "one of the most critically acclaimed documentaries". Apparently, Academy rules state that a film can be disqualified if it is broadcast on TV or released within nine months of its theatrical release.

Hmm, who here will be sad to miss Michael Moore standing up on stage and launching into another anti-Bush diatribe as he did at last year's awards show for "Bowling for Columbine"? I, for one, won't, but then I don't pay much attention or give much credit to events such as the Oscars since all it does is to help swell the self-important egos of the Hollywood elite and delude them into thinking that they are more important to the American public than the really are.

Maybe if the Oscar eligibility is revoked, Moore can make another "documentary" about how Bush conspired with Castro to stop him from winning another Oscar. Gosh, I hope not.

Already, the cheating is beginning

Now that the Dems have finished their campaign, they're launching their grand plan to cheat their way into the White House. Take a look at this article in the Rocky Mountain News this morning. It shows how far the Dems will go to will the election through cheating and incrementalism. However, Governor Owens is standing up to the cheaters and has vowed to fight this effort to split the electoral college vote to the end.

What's even more interesting about this is that the leaders of this petition drive are doing everything in their power to win, including threatening petition workers, forging signatures and changing dates to make the signatures valid. This just goes to prove that this once great party has stooped to smear tactics and flagrant cheating in order to secure their return to power. One has to wonder just how much lower they'll sink before Nov. 2. The party is showing plenty of signs indicating imminent collapse and implosion; all we have to do is wait and watch it happen.