Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hutchison Points to Perry's Folly

A recent op-ed penned by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in The Austin American-Statesman points to the reality of the political bluster of Governor Rick Perry that does not match the facts. Perry, running for re-election and Senator Hutchison, who will announce her official candidacy for the office in August, are in a tense primary battle for the Republican nomination. Perry recently made much of the fact that he didn't intend to bow to the wishes of the Obama administration as it relates to the spending/stimulus package passed as Obama took office.

Perry did the whole drama of pretending he would rather have Texas secede than be under the thumb of Washington, D.C. He said he would not take stimulus money from the federal government. The Controller for the State of Texas, Susan Combs, directly disputed that as nonsense. She has put the expenditures and receipts of the State of Texas online for all to see. She has the amount of money from the federal government, including stimulus monies, online and holding recipients accountable.

As Senator Hutchison pointed out, she voted against the stimulus spending this year. She has done her best to guarantee Texas receives its share of tax dollars. Otherwise, our tax money from Texas taxpayers goes to the residents of other states instead of being returned to Texas.

The fact is that Perry balanced the state budget by accepting 97 percent of federal stimulus money. Plus, Texas used a higher percentage - $12.1 billion - towards the state deficit. There is now a problem with the state's 2006 margins tax, according to Hutchison (a former Controller of the State of Texas and the one credited with keeping Texas state income tax free), and Perry has to now beg for a $643 million loan to keep Texas' unemployment fund solvent. Where will he have to go for that loan? Washington, D.C.

Instead of working to cut the strings attached to unemployment monies from the federal stimulus package offered to states, as Senator Hutchison would have done, Perry went dramatic and acted as though he was making a big, principled stand for states rights against the federal government. Makes for good re-election press. However, the drama was at the expense of Texas voters.

Maybe those supporting Perry on the grounds of sound fiscal leadership and strong states rights will re-think what he is really doing to the state. He is not the solid leader we need.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Republicans: Follow Senator Graham's Lead

Today in the Senate Judicial Committee a vote will be held on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Once out of the committee, she will be allowed a vote on the Senate floor. So far on the committee, only Senator Lindsey Graham, (R-SC) has stated he will vote for Sotomayor. Senator Cornyn (R-TX) did say, however, that he will vote for her in committee if his vote was needed for her to get to the vote on the Senate floor. He doesn't support voting for her on the final vote.

I want to thank Senator Graham and other Republicans who have come out to say they will vote for Sotomayor's confirmation. Senators Snowe, Collins, Martinez and Lugar have all stated they will vote for her.

To the other Republicans I would say this: vote for her. I understand the inclination to vote against her. She was very slippery in her hearing. She stated opinions one way and her record shows differently. Even some liberal columnists, like the Washington Post's Richard Cohen, have written that she is not the brightest bulb in the box. Many others were more qualifed, more intelligent, more suited for judicial temperment but she is the president's choice.

The Democrats like to push the fact that Sotomayor has so many years on the Federal bench. It's true but that doesn't mean she is the best choice. And, yes, she is an affirmative action choice. She has benefited by affirmative action through out her life, as she is the first to state. She admitted her grades were not truly good enough to be accepted into the college she was given the scholarship to attend but she was given it due to her ethnic background. She is the president's choice.

Here's the thing - in the past it was the process that allowed the president his choice on nominees if that nominee was qualified and of good moral character. This was the accepted way of conducting business. Then, as the Republicans took control of Congress for the first time in 40 years, the Democrats threw that out the window. They are very sore losers and truly mean spirited politicians. Even though Republicans voted unamiously for Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a far left liberal, the Democrats decided to vote against the two nominees of President George W. Bush. John Roberts and Samuel Alito were subjected to nasty campaigns of personal destruction. Democrat special interest groups, led by Teddy (the swimmer) Kennedy and Patrick Leahy (the Democrat kicked off the Senate Intelligence Committee for leaking national security secrets to the press) and their vile actions included trying to unseal the adoption records of Justice Roberts' two young children. Samuel Alito's wife was reduced to tears during his hearing as Kennedy demanded to know why Alito was so racist. He wasn't,of course, but the truth doesn't much matter to liberal Democrats if it gets in the way of their goal.

President Obama, as Senator Obama, voted against Roberts and Alito. He fell in line with fellow liberal Democrats. He never bucked the party on any liberal issue. He was never a post partisan politician, despite his claims. He even was in favor of filibustering Alito when it was discussed within a meeting of other liberal Democrats on the committee.

So, Repubicans must rise above the fray as we always do. We must lead the politicians back to the commonly held ways of civility in poitics. We cannot criticize Democrats for their nasty methods if we do the same. We must lead by example.

Senator Graham gets it. I know that the purists in the Republican party and those who consider themselves conservative will be once again screaming about this. That is a pity. They do not get it any more than liberals who proceed with unhelpful ways.

Sotomayor is qualified. She is of good moral character.

Elections have consequences. Maybe next time all those who were so "pure" as to not vote for the conservative candidate and stayed home instead of voting will remember that. McCain is conservative. He is conservative on social and fiscal issues. But, because he works with the other side, as he is elected to do to move issues forward, he is demeaned by "purists".

We lost. Elections have consequences. Move on.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hillary Clinton on Meet the Press

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the sole guest on Meet the Press this morning. The entire hour was spent on her updates on world matters. It was an interesting show, to be sure.

I listened and jotted down a few notes. Lately I have been feeling almost sorry for Clinton as it seems she has been shut out of the decision making in the Oval Office. It appears that Joe Biden isn't so willing to step aside and let Hillary do the foreign policy stuff. Biden is said to have been put on the Obama ticket due to his age, years in office and foreign relations experience. The fact that Biden has proven to be on the wrong side of history in his votes was not a problem to the Obama people. With Democrats, it is usually appearance over substance.

Clinton is happy with the U.N. Security Council's Resolution 1874 which is strongly worded against North Korea and in support of stronger sanctions. She says that North Korea must change its behavior and that the international community has sent the message. She claims North Korea will not be rewarded as in the past for bad behavior. I still have visions of Madeleine Albright doing the macarena and sipping champagne while watching the parade during the Communist Day celebrations in No Korea with the leadership there. No mention of Hillary popping the cork in the near future.

She credited the Bush administration with making progress in relations with India. She said she is building on their progress. She didn't, however, credit the Bush administration in recognizing the importance of the 6 party talks with No Korea and insisting they continue - while receiving criticism from the Democrats in Congress. She only said that China is a productive partner in talks with No Korea.

She spoke of the ridiculous 'reset' button exercise with Russia. She didn't talk about the embarrassing presentation of the button and the incorrect language used then. She didn't talk about the generally blaise reception she received there. She was talking sunshine and lollipops.

She spoke of the new strategy in Afghanistan. She didn't say it was the surge strategy that proved successful in Iraq, though, that is being implemented there. You know, the one she and Obama ridiculed to General Petraeus while in the Senate. The one both of them said would never work.

She spoke of Israel's right to sovereignty but not to the "meddling" done by President Obama so freely in the settlement issue. He's feeling free to meddle in Israel, the only democratic country in the region but not so free to meddle in Hondurus or Iran. Interesting.

Clinton doesn't agree with the statement that the Obama administration is carrying on with the foreign policies of George W. Bush. She denies the truth of that. It's her job, I suppose.

One question I wish that David Gregory had asked was about this: in a recent AP report from Afghanistan, Obama's special envoy to Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, was asked about the upcoming presidential election. He was asked about the honesty of the election. Holbrooke was in central Afghan as Hamid Karzai's first election rally in Kabul was occurring. "Karzai praised the role of foreign troops but promised that rules governing their presence will change if he wins re-election." That from the AP account.

Then, Holbrooke said on a military base, "Elections here will be imperfect. But I am an American who lived through an imperfect election eight years ago. I am not going to hold Afghanistan to standards which even the United States does not achieve.'

I would have liked Gregory to ask if Hillary supported such statements from an envoy representing America on foreign soil - in a country where we have soldiers on the ground. She wouldn't understand the problem, I'm sure, but it would be good to highlight the continued tin ear of the far left to the decorum necessary on foreign soil. They simply do not get it. The 2000 election worked as it was supposed to in America. The process was followed. Every far left newspaper in the country sent teams to Florida to re-count votes. The fact has been shown that Bush did win Florida. It just wasn't the outcome Holbrooke wanted. He thought he would be Secretary of State for President Al Gore and is bitter he was denied his time in the sun. He was gleeful to be a criticizing pundit of all things Bush over the last eight years, thinking he'd be Hillary's Secretary of State. Now he is back to being an envoy for Obama.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Obama's Post Racial World

The first red flag should have been that the President prefaced his remarks with "I haven't seen the report" and "I don't know all the facts" of the incident, as he waded into the matter of the arrest of Harvard Professor "Skip" Gates. The President chose to defend his long time friend and publicly denounce the Cambridge, Massachusetts police officer as "acting stupidly".

Think about that for a moment. The leader of the free world trashes the police department of a college town - one in which he is personally familiar from his years at Harvard - and does so during a press conference with the nation and even the world watching. And, then he feigns surprise that the remarks are so controversial and newsworthy. He should never have answered the reporter's question. He should have responded that Gates is a personal friend and that he, Obama, would not make public comment while the matter was ongoing.

President Obama ran on a platform of a post-racial America. American voters were told to ignore the fact that Obama and his family were members of a church in Chicago that preached black liberation at the expense of white America for 20 years. American voters were told to ignore the undertones of racial hostility that allowed Obama to use straw men that were racist on the campaign trail - those referenced in his remarks that "some" would say Obama didn't "look like those other Presidents" on our paper money, etc. American voters were told it was wrong to criticize Michelle Obama when saying Obama could be shot just going to the gas station in Chicago as a black man or that for the first time in her life she is proud of America since her husband was running for President. American voters were told it was silly to criticize Obama for throwing his white grandmother under the bus as he delivered a speech on race.

And, American voters ignored the obvious signs of Obama's own struggles with racial issues, even to the point of liberal white Americans not being honest enough with themselves they were voting for the candidate simply for his race.

It simply does not ring true that President Obama does not understand the impact his comments have as the leader of the free world. We are told, daily, what a intellectual guy he is though we have no way of proving that as his school records were never produced. He has not distinguished himself as a thoughtful statesman or leader. During his time in the Illinois Legislature he was known for his long record of voting "present" on difficult votes instead of taking a stand and in the U.S. Senate he was known as voting the party line and not a member who worked with the other side of the aisle.

So, the President inserts himself into the arrest of his old pal, "Skip" Gates, the renowned Harvard professor who has made his career out of the racial issues within our country. Just last week, as The Wall Street Journal cites, Obama addressed the NAACP and stated he "believes there is less racial discrimination in America today than ever in our history." Yet, Gates in his upscale neighborhood found himself locked out upon returning from vacation. While gone, his home was in fact broken in to, according to police reports. So, when neighbors reported two men trying to force open the front door of the house, the police were called. Upon arrival, Gates showed his identification and "exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior"towards the officer.

Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct. As the police officer was leaving, Gates followed him out onto the porch and by his own admission inserted race into the matter. The professor made a statement about the officer's "mama", according to Sgt James Crowley. Seven people on the sidewalk in front of the house as Gates claimed he was being mistreated because he was a black man. Obama stated Gates was arrested inside his own home, which is not the truth.

There are audio tapes of the whole incident and the Cambridge Police union will release them. They are said to vindicate Sgt Crowley. Sgt Crowley has an exemplary record and in recent years has been teaching a class to rookies about racial profiling, as a matter of fact. The Cambridge Police are convening a panel to look into all the facts of the case.

So, while Gov Deval Patrick, also a close friend of Barack Obama, weighs in as Governor of Massachusetts, saying it is "every black man's nightmare" and the President weighs in on the case before he knows all the facts, one lesson should be learned: Even Harvard professors are not above the law. The President went on to say the arrest brought up "a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately." Why did Obama toss in Latinos into the comment? As always, it is all about politics to him.

Black commentators like Juan Williams say Obama should never have gotten involved. Police officers put their lives on the line every day. They must be respected as they issue orders to those they are questioning, regardless of skin color.

And, the President should remember he is no longer the community organizer. He is the President of the United States. All of the country - not just black America.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rep Culberson Provides Press Conference Distraction

Thanks to the phone call from my U.S. Representative, John Culberson, I had a perfect distraction from the non-event that was the President's nationally televised press conference. The tv was on in the background as I answered the phone call inviting me to join in on the teleconference underway with Rep. Culberson. The tv was then muted and I could read the remarks on the screen as I listened to the conversation on the telephone.


Culberson is known as a techo-savvy member of Congress. He was 'multi-tasking' last night as he answered questions from the telephone, Twitter, and Facebook. He was using U-Stream for those on computers. This was conducted from his office in Washington.

Culberson voiced concern that the health care legislation as presented by the House so far will destroy the good work in the development of new treatments for cancer at institutions such as M.D. Anderson here in Houston. These developments are not encouraged or being tested in countries with socialized health care, using England and Canada as examples.

Culberson noted that the Democrats in the House defeated an amendment for Congress to automatically be enrolled in whatever new plan is produced and signed into law automatically upon the signing instead of the health care now available to them as members of Congress. In other words, what's good for the country in the eyes of President Obama is not good enough for the Democrats in Congress for their own health care coverage. Plus, the members of Congress will automatically be 'sucked' into the Federal program, according to Culberson, when a member's policy changes.

Any change in plan from a private insurance plan to any American will automatically bounce the policy holder into the Federal plan. Premium going up? Adding a new baby to your policy? Dropping an adult child? All viewed as changes that would put you into the larger plan.

Culberson offers some alternative ideas: First do no harm. Do not tie the hands of medical institutions to develop and test new treatments.

Tort reform is needed at the national level, much like the tort reform Culberson worked on as a co-author in the Texas Legislature.

The current law needs to give small business owners the same bargaining power as large companies and corporations.

All good and common sense ideas. He also mentioned that border security would not only help to fight crime in our state, for example, but also reduce the pressure on emergency rooms to serve those here illegally.

CBO has determined the current bill under discussion would drive the debt up, particularly after the President leaves office several years down the road and will increase health care costs. The CBO director is a Democrat and appointed by Democrats so it is not a question of partisan politics in his office.

The bill is 1038 pages. Culberson has put it online at his web site. He has filed legislation to make it mandatory for the administration to put the legislation online for all to read 72 hours ahead of a final vote.

After the press conference, I was struck by what I was reading online by those who did watch. Both conservative and liberal commenters were talking that nothing was cleared up or accomplished. The President looked off his best effort and didn't answer questions on the legislation. He used a lot of traditionally conservative language - words like waste, competition and government inefficiency.

Juan Williams, NPR and Fox News Channel contributor as well as Obama supporter, said that the August deadline is out of reach due to Democrat opposition not from Republican opposition and that the press conference was a lost opportunity since Obama was not able to communicate effectively what the goals are in his bill. He is not familiar himself with what the Congress is ramming through.

Charles Krauthammer, a conservative syndicated writer and Fox News Channel contributor said that the President denied reality with aplomb. He called the President's performance "amazing" due to the denial. However, due to the usual softball questions asked by the press to him, "no questions nicked him." He called Obama "elegant and deceptive, as always."

So, thank you Rep. Culberson for a timely distraction from the press conference. It was good to listen to common sense solutions and frank talk from Washington.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Partisan in the Oval Office

"The time for talk is through." That was the stellar tidbit given to liberal bloggers from President Obama as he gave them marching orders today. Go forward, he told them, and blog about health care reform. He told them to talk of the urgency and that the debate was over. It is time to act. Right now. And then I have a vision of him stamping his foot and spinning around as he left the room.

The problem with a President having a very big agenda with virtually no executive experience to guide him is that nothing really gets accomplished as he envisioned. This president is trying to remain above the fray. He is allowing the far left - Nancy Pelosi and her flying monkeys - to define the agenda of reform. He only steps in as it collapses.

Think back to the stimulus/spending bill. The President went before the American people time and time again after Pelosi botched it up. We were told there would be absolutely no frivolous spending, no pork. We were told if this wasn't rammed through rightthisminute, then unemployment would hit 8%. We were told we'd be going to hell in a hand basket.

And, it was all George W. Bush's fault. Never mind that the Democrats have controlled Congress since 2007.

Well, unemployment is at 9.5% right now and expected to reach upwards of 11% before it gets better. There was pork galore in the spending bill that was to be a stimulus to our sinking economy and only less than 10% has been spent. All those 'shovel ready' projects we were told were just waiting for the go-ahead weren't really so shovel ready after all.

No one had the time to read the bill before the vote. And, we're still going to hell in a hand basket.

Candidate Obama promised a new dawn of post-partisan politics. Those of us with more than a room temperature IQ knew the politician from the Chicago machine was full of it but we were told we were wrong. This guy is different. Seems that only six months into his four year term, fully supported by the media in this country, President Obama sees the wheels coming off his aggressive approach to reform.

He has failed, to date, to pass cap and trade - except in the House under Pelosi, of course - because fiscally conservative Democrats are not stupid. He has accepted that card check is out of the question in this environment, despite his heavy mortgage to the Unions for their political support; and now it is health care reform that is slipping away.

President Obama knows that his popularity will never be higher than in his first few months in office. He begins to wear thin. Even partisan members of the unbiased media - sarcasm there - are noticing the constant campaign mode of governing. He is doing all that he criticized the previous presidents on - Executive signing statements, war spending, tardy budget reports, the transparency pledges have never materialized into action, and he aligns with the liberal blogging community in daily talking point briefings.

If his big programs are having troubles now, imagine the difficulty in later months. The polls show a distinct drop in his popularity as a leader on economic and social programs. The biggest opposition the president has today is not from Republicans but from the conservative Democrats ushered into office in 2006 and 2008. The Blue Dog Democrats. He has Rahm Emanuel to thank for that. Rahmbo led the recruitment of them and knew the Democratic party would grow with conservative, not liberal, candidates.

So, here we are. The President is tinkering with a social experiment that will disrupt 1/6 of our economy. Republicans are being used, again, as the evil straw men in his speeches. Republicans, however, are not the enemy. We have alternative plans. The problem is that this President and his majority controlled Congress do not see the benefit of a true bi-partisan effort. The American voter will, however, come election time. His own HHS Secretary and budget guru cannot answer questions on what is being presented in the legislation. They both simply stress that it must be done rightthisminute.

Quick. Before more Americans realize those in charge are clueless.

In today's Wall Street Journal, William McGurn writes: "Yet far from stating the obvious - that sitting in the Oval Office is a very partisan president - the press corps is allowing Mr. Obama to evade the issue by coming up with novel redefinitions. The redefinition started during the stimulus debate, but it really picked up steam late last month with David Axelrod's appearance on ABC's "This Week." There the president's chief strategist explained that a bill didn't need Republican votes to be "bipartisan"; it was enough if Republican "ideas" were included. A few days earlier, Rahm Emanuel had offered reporters another redefinition, suggesting that a bill was bipartisan if people merely "saw the president trying" to get Republicans on board."

"The president himself endorsed this redefinition during Rose Garden remarks delivered after a Senate committee passed a health-care bill on a strictly party-line vote."

It is much like the "jobs saved or created" numbers. Pulled out of thin air, it would seem. And no more real.

Conservative pundit Peggy Noonan said, "An administration about everything is an administration about nothing" of this pursuit from the administration. Colin Powell, a last minute official Obama supporter last fall after donating and supporting John McCain, said, "I think one of the cautions that has to be given to the president - and I've talked to some of his people about this - is that you can't have so many things on the table that you can't absorb it all." What? No direct meeting with President Obama? I thought he was so honored to have Powell on his side. And, Powell swore it wasn't a vote cast on race. Karma.

Matt Bai, in The New York Times, called "Obama the nation's first shuffle president". "He's telling lots of stories at once, and in no particular order. His agenda is fully downloadable. If what you care about is health care, then you can jump right to that. If global warming gets you going, then click over there. It's not especially realistic to imagine that politics could cling to a linear way of rendering stories while the rest of American culture adapts to a more customized form of consumption." While pointing to the fact that younger voters may appreciate the approach, older voters would note the peril. "Random play may popularize your music in the aggregate, but it doesn't foster the same kind of investment in the songs themselves."

"Too much comes at us now, too devoid of context, for an one thing to matter as much as it probably should. In a society on shuffle, we're always left to wonder what's next."

Slowing down a bit and accepting a bi-partisan approach, a true bi-partisan effort as we were promised, is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength.

Demand your legislators read any bill before a vote. Especially the huge ones. It is their job.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Carville Advises Karzai Opponent

The people of Afghanistan will vote on August 20 on a poll that may or may not unseat Hamid Karzai. Karzai is not very popular within his country, this administration known to be quite corrupt, but with such a large field running against him, he very well may remain in his position.

There are reportedly 41 candidates for the job. According to a recent article in Times Online, most diplomats expect Karzai to win. Karzai and President Obama have one governing strategy in common - they bring into their administration a number of potential rivals.

A tidbit in a different news blurb caught my attention about the upcoming election. James Carville, the uber nasty Democratic strategist - who hit the big time with Bill and Hillary Clinton - is assisting a candidate in the race and it's not Karzai. "This is probably the most important election held int he world in a long time," he said. Leave it to a Democrat to go to the drama.

Carville is supporting Ashraf Ghani, a former finance minister who worked on the Afghan economy in recovery after the fall of the Taliban. He is the current chair of the Institute of Sate Effectiveness, which promotes the ability of states to serve their citizens.

He returned to Afghanistan in December, 2001 after 24 years out of the country. He became chief adviser to Karzai. He worked at the World Bank before returning to his country. He is an academic, a former Fulbright Scholar and was educated in America.

Karzai has reached out to all factions of Afghanistan. He told Times Online that "Military operations are no longer enough. We have to rethink the way we do things --without that there won't be an improvement." He noted the death of British and coalition soldiers this month - the deadliest month for troops to date.

Karzai calls on talks to begin with the Taliban. "I don't think the increase in troops will address the problem. We need to concentrate on finding other avenues of defeating terrorism and seeking peace." "We must engage in negotiations, bring back those Taliban who are willing to return, who have been driven out by fear and coercion and the mistakes we've all made. They are part of this country and must be called back."

Karzai was encouraged by a recent speech made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She extended an olive branch to Taliban militants who renounce violence. It may be the only way forward for Afghanistan. The people and country, so undeveloped and uneducated, essentially mostly in the Bronze Age, is a tribal nation. Until the tribal nature of the country is fully understood there will be no solution. Military operations have been only temporary stop gaps for decades there. The poppy crop is up again and the increased number of troops has not solved that problem.

Karzai is pleased to have reassurance from American military leaders that more caution will be taken concerning civilian casualities. "Afghan people want the international community to stay here but that contract has to be renewed and certain issues corrected."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cronkite Dead At 92

Walter Cronkite, dead at the age of 92. I am sorry for the loss to his family and friends. It means, however, very little to me and I am having difficultly even being particularly moved by the man's death.

Yes, I remember Cronkite from my childhood. He was frequently a guest in our home, reading the news of the day. There was little choice in those days. There were only three channels. In our home, my parents watched the Huntley-Brinkley Report as often as Cronkite. There was not special love of Cronkite and I certainly never heard the "Uncle Walter" nonsense from them. My parents were sensible mid-westerners, bless them, and I am lucky for that fate of birth. They no more thought reverently of a news anchor any more than they thought any particular politician was worthy of worship. Matter of fact, the very name of JFK set them to cringing. Kennedy fortune was the fruit of rum running and my father was in the distillery biz. And there was no way my mother thought Jackie was special. She was thought to be fake and a social climber of the worst kind.

Cronkite is not beloved by my husband, that is for sure. My husband is a veteran of the Vietnam War. Cronkite betrayed this country and our military when he took it upon himself, after a trip to the war zone, to force his own political view on America. He stated that the Tet Offensive was a failure and that is also how the other journalists reported it at the time. History proved them wrong and the military members overseas at the time did not forget Cronkite's arrogance or treachery. In later years Cronkite was asked if he regretted making the claim that the war was not winnable and he said no he didn't. In fact, Cronkite was key in our loss. He was not the only element, from JFK committing us to the war to decisions LBJ and his people made, there were many to place blame upon. He certainly had a big part in shifting public opinion.

In recent years, Cronkite took it upon himself to enlighten us with his political opinions whenever the opportunity arose. He was certain the Iraq war was lost - like Harry Reid, he stated so, too. Both said so pre-surge and both were on the wrong side of history. Again. Any apologies to our troops? No.

Cronkite was well aware of his power to shape public opinion. He was good at the aw-shucks demeanor but he was hardly the ordinary man. He was wealthy, powerful and one of the elites of New York and Washington D.C. society. He lived a wealthy man's life. He ushered in the current death of journalism.

Cronkite brought journalism in as a pro and left as a political hack. That was unfortunate. He paved the way for the likes of Dan Rather, a nasty partisan reporter; and up to today's group of celebrity obsessed and cocooned anchors. Why would anyone take Katie Couric seriously?

Cronkite lived a long, luxurious life. Good on him. He was reported to be a good family man. Good, too. He was the one for whom the term "anchor" was tailored in the news business. He reported admirably from the invasion at Normandy. Give credit where credit is due.

People on television are not a part of our families. The confusion is dangerous. None of them should be given power for reading news to us.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Black Republicans Today

Recently here in Houston, a billboard has caused a commotion over both Republicans and Democrats claiming Martin Luther King, Jr as one of their own. The Democrats, so very comfortable in taking the black vote for granted, have a difficult time believing that MLK was indeed a Republican, as was his father. Most blacks were Republican in the South at that time in our nation's history.

In my lifetime I have witnessed some remarkable events. I am a Baby Boomer, born in 1955 in Biloxi, Mississippi. The Deep South, as it was called. Our home was in Ocean Springs, just a drive across a drawbridge from Biloxi on the beach of the Gulf of Mexico. Ocean Springs was a small community and did not have a hospital. Today it is hard to imagine such a statement if you take a drive through Ocean Springs.

My parents came to Ocean Springs from neighboring small towns in southern Indiana. They married young and moved South when my father inherited a dry cleaning business from an Uncle in Ocean Springs. Several years later, I was born there as was my sister who is 16 months younger than me. My father decided the dry cleaning business was not for him and we moved to New Orleans when I was three. I grew up in Louisiana, the majority of my youth in Shreveport. My youngest sister was born there in 1962. It was during my graduation from junior high into high school that desegregation was implemented in our school system.

When my parents moved to Mississippi, the Democrats ruled the South. My mother was told she would not be able to register as a Republican. It is simply how things were. She was 20 years old.

There is no need to repeat all the claims by both parties of the history of the black voter. Yes, it is a bit ironic that Abe Lincoln, a Republican president noted for signing the Emancipation Proclamation is so frequently quoted by our first bi-racial President. It is most interesting, however, that in today's political atmosphere, more black Americans are coming forward and becoming politically active as Republicans. Here in Houston we know it has struck a nerve as it has received media attention that a billboard proclaiming MLK was a Republican was put up during the July 4th weekend. The placement of the billboard, at Loop 610 and MLK Blvd, is in a heavily traveled spot. The billboard was the project of a local radio talk show host, Apostle Claver T. Kamau-Imani. He is a conservative working to educate black Houstonians of the history of the Republican party as it relates to them. His web site is Raging and carries the subtitle of "leading America's 2nd Emancipation". After a press conference, spotlighting Apostle Claver standing firm up against the local leader of the New Black Panther Party when the demand was made to take the billboard down, more press attention was brought to the local newspaper. One columnist, a young woman who is known to rail against Republicans and conservatives in general, wrote three columns about it. Three. She was in total denial of the history of the Republican party. To be expected, I suppose, given her age.

And, yes, the billboard owner took down the billboard after a couple of days, due to political pressure. See, free speech is only for black Democrats, not black Republicans.

For far too long, Republicans have not fought back against the re-writing of history. It is good to see progress being made. Slow but sure. Democrats are such hypocrites and take the black vote for granted. This will change, too. Just this past week, Sen Barbara Boxer insulted the head of the Black Chamber of Commerce, Harry Alford, by assuming he agreed with her positions simply because she was a Democrat and he was black. She was very wrong. He struck back but could have been even stronger in his objections to how he was being spoken to by her. He was too polite. It will take less politeness from Republicans in today's political atmosphere, I believe. Democrats are too arrogant. And, the likes of Barbara Boxer are no rocket scientists either. Yesterday, Sen Dick "Gulag" Durbin said the reason Washington D.C. has such a high abortion rate is that the majority of its citizens are black. Wow. Imagine if a Republican had said such a stupid statement. Both Democrats have shown their racist true natures.

My city is fortunate to have many emerging black conservative leaders. My state is showing positive signs, too. Michael Williams, Texas Railroad Commissioner (an agency misnamed) is running for the U.S. Senate seat soon to be vacated by Sen Kay Bailey Hutchison. I proudly support his candidacy.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sotomayor Hearing, Day Four

The fourth and final day of the Sotomayor judicial hearing brought panels with those speaking for and against her ascension to the Supreme Court. These panels are the most interesting to me because they are people with strong opinions and not politicians questioning her with the undercurrents of politics as usual.

What struck me is the constant droning on and on about Sotomayor's 'compelling life story'. What I kept thinking, each time I heard that phrase, was well, most everyone has a compelling life story. The stories of people, biographies, are about my favorite classification of reading material. People fascinate me. What makes each of us tick? Why do we make one decision over another option? How does the human mind work?

I would argue that most everyone has a compelling life story. We are all different and we all face adversities and challenges in our lives. Even those who would present a perfect life to the outside world have tragedy to handle. I don't think minority groups or gender solely dictate a compelling life story. This is why conservatives so resent liberals who are all about identity politics and victimization as political gain. It's wrong. It's not in the best interest of American society.

Here is a name that kept popping up: Miguel Estrada. Many would say, including me, that his life story is more compelling that Ms. Sotomayor. He didn't even speak English until the age of 10. He achieved as much, if not more, than Ms. Sotomayor except he was denied a seat as a Federal Judge. By whom? The Democrats. All about politics of identity.

Miguel Estrada. Harvard graduate, appellate court judge who was denied a hearing on his Federal Court nomination by President George W. Bush for 480 days. Estrada withdrew his name and got on with his life. While unserious men like Sen Pat Leahy, now the Chairman of the Senate Judicial Committee - the one in charge of the hearings - continue to state that Republicans didn't have a hearing for Estrada while they were in charge, he conveniently doesn't say that the Republicans were only in charge for 14 days from the time of the nomination to the defection from the Republican party by Sen Jim Jeffords, which put the majority into the hands of the Democrats. So, 480 versus 14 days doesn't seem like much of a comparison. Even when Republicans reclaimed a small majority in 2003, the Democrats filibustered Estrada's nomination. The New York Times even called the filibuster "extraordinary".

Later some memos surfaced that were written by the Democratic staff of the Judicial Committee which called Estrada "extremely dangerous" since he was Latino and "The White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment." The memo was written by a staffer for Sen Dick Durbin. You may have noticed his snide questions to Linda Chavez today about her objections to the nomination of Sotomayor.

See, the only good Hispanic nominations are the ones by Democrats. And the constant reference to the fact that President G.H.W. Bush nominated Sotomayor to her first Senate confirmable judgeship? Remember that was a deal struck with Patrick Monyihan so that the blockade on Bush nominees would be broken and the Democrats were allowed 2 choices for the 7 open seats to fill. And, as we see, Democrats were willing to be tools of their own ideology instead of allow a Hispanic to be put on the Federal bench by a Republican president. It was all about the Hispanic vote in future elections.

Despite the mandatory braying of the left on those mean ole Republicans on the Judicial Committee who actually tried to get some information from the nominee, it was all a breeze for her compared to Estrada. Or Robert Bork. Or John Roberts. Or Sam Alito. Or Clarence Thomas. All Republicans.

Sotomayor will be confirmed. I would not support a filibuster or any efforts to block her appointment. She will not affect the balance of the Supreme Court. She will replace another liberal. The liberal outside interest groups did the predictable. They ran campaigns to slur the Republican Senators on the Judicial Committee who did their job. Senator Sessions, Ranking Member and a man who was denied a Federal Judgeship by a Democrat controlled Senate 20 years ago himself, was a prime target for the hateful, unserious crowd. No hope for change in Washington when the same tactics revolve in circles. The Democrats continue to ramp it all up.

I am proud of the civil discourse while doing the job presented to them that the Republican Senators did during the confirmation hearing of Sonia Sotomayor. I await the day when a Republican nominee is treated with dignity and respect.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sotomayor Hearing, Day Three

I've learned Sonia Sotomayor and I have a similar taste in childhood entertainment. We both were big fans of Nancy Drew mystery books and of the Perry Mason Show. And, I, too once considered a career in the law biz.

I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one here. If, however, I apply the standards that then candidate Obama placed on his qualifications to be President of the United States with so little experience on a national level of politics - that he took a foreign relations course in his lower school days - then I can use my pre-law courses from my college days as qualification to write about law stuff. Seems fair, right?

Legalese fascinates me, just as political speech does. Both take words and put them into sentences that mean absolutely nothing at all or have earth shaking consequences. These days of the nomination hearing for Sonia Sotomayor are interesting like that. A whole lot of nothing, of going over the same areas ad nausea and very little new is learned. Yet there is always the possibility that something, an answer or statement, pops up and ears perk up in the audience.

Senator John Cornyn, D-TX, told Jim Geraghty of National Review that "We don't know if we're going to get Sonia Sotomayor the speech-giver or Sonia Sotomayor the judge. Once she's on the Supreme Court, she can say anything she wants with no chance of reversal. The lack of clarity is creating some problems." He also said, "we don't have the numbers to effect a filibuster, even if we were so inclined."

No one thinks Sotomayor should be filibustered, except maybe some hard right folks. She is qualified. She is smart. She is experienced. She is not exceptional in any of those descriptions, though, and she does appear to be contradicting her own record in the confirmation hearing questioning. She claims some statements made in speeches around the country were misunderstood. The over-questioned 'wise Latina woman' phrase being one. Then she dragged Sandra Day O'Connor into the mix by saying she was making a similar statement of one made by her. And by Justice Alito. It is all odd.

At reasononline, Damon W. Root writes that "Georgetown University law professor Randy Barnett catches Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor misstating constitutional law during today's confirmation hearings." Barnett claims Sotomayor is wrong to state that "a right is "fundamental" if it is "incorporated" against the states via the 14th Amendment rather than that a right is incorporated against the states if it is fundamental. She then claimed that Supreme Court precedent established that that the Second Amendment is not incorporated. This too is inaccurate." "Judge Sotomayor's panel in the Second Circuit said nothing about the merits of the claim that the individual right to bear arms meets the modern test for identifying a fundamental right."

Despite contradictions and questions arising about her level of honesty in her answers to the Judicial Committee, she will be confirmed. Ruth Marcus wrote of if Sotomayor wasn't confirmed, however, it would be the fault of President Obama, due to his actions as a U.S. Senator. As a Senator, Obama voted against John Roberts and Samuel Alito purely on ideology. Both were highly qualified, highest recommendations on character and judicial demeanor, and both had the 'compelling life story' aspect to their stories. Since both are Republicans nominated by a Republican President Bush, their stories were just yawn worthy to the Democrats hell bent to damage these men as much as possible. All politics at the lowest form. As Marcus writes, "You don't have to be cynical to think politics was at play, too; in fact, you just have to read the Washington Post, which reported that Obama's Senate chief of staff, Pete Rouse, warned him that a vote for Roberts could cripple his presidential ambitions." "As Graham told Sotomayor, "I can assure you that if I applied Sen. Obama's standard to your nomination, I wouldn't vote for you, because the standard that he articulated would make it impossible for anybody with my view of the law and society to vote for someone with your activism and background when it comes to lawyering and judging."

Marcus ends with this: "Judging from the tone so far, the more likely outcome is a near party-line vote. In that case, the prescient won't have only himself to blame - but he will have himself to blame in part."

What goes around, comes around.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sotomayor Hearing, Day Two

Today the business of Congress - voting - was concluded by 2:00 pm so that the members could watch the All Star baseball game. One vote not taken was the one on funding the military, which included a raise in pay for the service men and women fighting for our freedom to partake in activities like baseball games. Your tax dollars at work.

Meanwhile, it was day two for Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judicial Committee. Eleven of the nineteen committee members asked questions and Sotomayor answered. Well, for some of the questions she provided vague, ring around the Rosie answers. But, that is to be expected for the process. There was a whole lot of backing away from her previous 'wise Latina woman' statement that was uttered not in a single instance, but in multiple speeches. Plural. That phrase, uttered in innocent passing or not, does not sit well with the Heartland of America. The average American doesn't think one group should be singled out as wiser than another, for whatever reasons.

Some legal analysts expressed concern that Sotomayor presented contradictory remarks when compared to her actual record. A record as long as Sotomayor's - heralded over and over by the Democrats as the greatest, lengthiest record since the beginning of time - was certain to have some pitfalls. Wendy Long, in National Review Online points out "She has tried to erase her long history of statements that a judge's personal background and views can be brought to bear on a case and indeed used to make "law" and affect "the facts that I choose to see" by now claiming that all she meant was her background and views just help her to see all sides of a case impartially. If that is what she really meant all these years, she could have said ti. It is not what she said."

A contentious item is her former membership in the PRLDEF - Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. She was a member for 12 years - four as Director, two on the Board of Directors. It is a controversial group, much like the ACLU to many. Some wonder why her membership in this organization and active participation in it should be off limits. Especially after during the previous judicial nominee hearing of Justice Alito his membership in college in the Concerned Alumni of Princeton was so scrutinized - to the point of members such as Teddy (the swimmer) Kennedy calling Alito a racist. The fact was that Alito was only a member in name and not an active participant in the organization. He signed up in college and didn't pursue any action on the membership. Alito's wife was brought to tears as the Democrats beat up on him over this. Senator Graham rehabilitated him in questioning and the hearing went on.

The Republicans are conducting themselves, as the minority, in a much more dignified manner. As usual. It was the Democrats like Kennedy who brought the process into the gutter, over 20 years ago. Republicans confirmed Ruth Bader Ginsburg unanimously, though they all disagree with her judicial philosophy. Why? A President is entitled to his nominee as long as the person is qualified and exhibits good character. Simple as that.

Questioning the nominees is the task of the opposition. Those in support of the nominee provide the hearts and flowery speeches. Dianne Feinstein could not slobber more if she tried. Feinstein is not an attorney yet she plays one during these hearings.

Ranking member Jeff Sessions did a solid job in his questioning. Senator Graham was one of the last of the day and his job performance was admirable, too. Republicans did not bring Sotomayor to tears, or any of her family sitting behind her.

Chairman Leahy said he didn't learn anything new about Sotomayor today. That fairly well sums it all up.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sotomayor Hearing, Day One

Little was accomplished this first day of the Sonia Sotomayor confirmation hearing to become U.S. Supreme Court justice. The day was filled with each and every Senate judicial committee person delivering a prepared speech explaining how each would proceed with an open mind and civil discourse. Democrats did their best to make Sotomayor's life story the lead and Republicans did their best to acknowledge her life story yet remind all that it is the rule of law that is important.

Sunlight Foundation has some good information concerning the transparency of the process. Judicial Committee chair Pat Leahy (D-VT) made of point to assert this is the most transparent hearing ever of a judicial nominee. Unfortunately, when someone does that type of bragging it usually turns out that the opposite is the truth, but time will tell.

Sonia Sotomayor will be confirmed. The Democrats have control of Congress and in the Senate they have a big enough majority that they are filibuster proof. As Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) stated to her unless she has some kind of totally unexpected meltdown, she will be confirmed. He stopped short of announcing he would vote for her, though. He did talk briefly about the past history of confirmations and that they were done in a far more civil manner. It used to be that the nominee was voted into the position by members of both parties as long as he or she was shown to be qualified and of good character. Republicans still try to uphold that decorum.

It used to be, back in the day or up until 20 years ago, that a nominee would be voted favorably by both parties as a nod to the truth that a President is entitled to his/her nominees. That all stopped with the Bork hearing. And, the country can hold Senator Teddy (the swimmer) Kennedy responsible for the current day discourse. Kennedy introduced personal political ideology into the confirmation process and this must never be forgotten. It is a big part of the Kennedy legacy.

Let's remember it was Senator Barack Obama who voted against the nominations of Justice Roberts and Alito. He even was on record of supporting a filibuster against Alito. In the case of Obama, karma reigns. Roberts swore Obama in as President. And, now when Democrats mention anything about Republicans being less than door mats, Obama is a prime example of how their side treated Republican nominees.

Senator Orrin Hatch voiced a good summary of recent history, including then-Senator Barack Obama's reasoning for voting against the appeals court nomination of Janice Rogers Brown, a black woman with a compelling life story who was a Justice on the Supreme Ct of California. Obama used his liberal political ideology to thwart the nomination of a highly qualified black woman who happened to be Republican.

The Obama administration project that Sotomayor is qualified above reproach. However, her judicial temperament reputation has been sullied by colleagues and she has some troubling speeches on the record. She has much to be proud of in the way of personal accomplishments. Her story is a purely American one. However, she is not the first nor the last to have such a life story. Interesting that the Democrats, while praising Sandra Day O'Connor and her early life out West, had no such praise for the life story of Justice Thomas. Remember how Kennedy, Leahy and the rest treated that good man?

Today Sandra Day O'Connor is held in high regard from the left. During her career, however, she was just another Republican to be mocked. Towards the end of her career, she mellowed a bit and voted as a swing vote on the Supreme Court. Suddenly, the Democrats thought she was dandy.

As Sotomayor's years of experience throughout her judicial career is pointed to as a reason she should be confirmed, wasn't it President Obama that we were told, as candidate Obama, that experience wasn't what it was cracked up to be in a candidate? Weren't we just supposed to hope for change with him? That guy running against him with all the experience, well, he was just old and out of touch.

As Senator Graham said, "No Republican would have chosen you. We would have chosen Miguel Estrada." The life story of Estrada is even more compelling than that of Sotomayor, yet Estrada made the mistake of being a Republican. The Democrats would not even allow him a hearing for his nomination. He withdrew after almost the two year mark of waiting in limbo. The Democrats wanted to assure their side nominate the first Hispanic for that all important future Hispanic vote. How cynical. How tragic for our country.

Ted Cruz Reaps Wide Range of Support

Ted Cruz, running for Texas Attorney General, has reaped the praises of a wide coalition of support. Cruz was the youngest Solicitor General in America. He authored more than 70 U.S. Supreme Court briefs and argued eight times at the U.S. Supreme Court. All of this is impressive at any age but Ted Cruz is still a young man with a promising future in office.

Whether at the grassroots level or noted national conservative leaders, Cruz inspires confidence. He has earned the support of Tim Lambert, President of Texas Home School Coalition; Kelly Shackelford, President of Free Market Foundation; Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice; Hon. Dick Thornburgh, former Atty General of the U.S. and former Governor of PA; Hon. C. Boyden Gray; Hon. Edwin Meese,III; Hon. Ted Olson; George P. Bush; and on across the spectrum.

The web site for the campaign:

Congrats to Ted Cruz for his early success on the campaign trail. Keep up the good work.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Shame On You, Young Republicans

Let me get this straight. The RNC has a black chairman. He is very visible and doing a good job of fulfilling his mission - to raise money for the Republican party. The city of Houston is the latest to have a billboard in a very visible section of town with a large black population that proclaims "MLK was a Republican". It has been the subject of a column by a local liberal writer at the Houston Chronicle who delights in bashing Conservatives and Republicans at every opportunity so I know it has struck a nerve and is doing its job. Our local tea parties have been quite successful and received lots of media attention. They have attracted a bi-partisan crowd, much to the disappointment of the braying critics.

So, what does today bring? The Young Republicans were meeting in Indianapolis and what did they do? They elected a racist, by all accounts, 38 year old woman as their leader. Unreal.

The woman, Audra Shay, is an Army veteran and a mom. She is from Louisiana. She works as an events planner and she was the current Vice-Chairman at Large for the Young Republicans. According to The Daily Beast, which has run several articles related to this race in Indianapolis, Shay's platform was "Restore, Revitalize, Reinforce" and she was active in social media, such as Twitter and Facebook to get her message out. That social media, turns out, was also her downfall.

On her Facebook page, Shay voiced her disapproval of WalMart's decision to endorse part of President Obama's health care reform agenda. She did so in a rather crude manner. It produced even more crude comments on her Facebook 'wall'. Racist remarks spewed from one commenter in specific and instead of slapping him down and stating that she doesn't condone racist remarks about the President or anyone else, she let it stand and even encouraged him. That is until a sane commenter questioned why Shay would condone such remarks. Then Shay took the comments down. In the meantime the controversy hit such sites as The Daily Beast which did some digging into Ms. Shay's history on Facebook and other sites. They discovered a troubling pattern of speech from her. Shay finally issued a statement that she does not allow racist remarks on her wall.

Other candidates were good alternatives to Shay. Shay was urged to withdraw from the race. She declined and launched a smear campaign against her strongest competition, according to others. She launched attacks on Rachel Hoff, the current Young Republicans' Director of Media Relations. The attacks implied Hoff was gay. This feeds into the intolerance issue, the hate agenda and layers on the race issue. A trifecta for Shay.

Shay was endorsed by Bobby Jindal, her governor.

Hoff was endorsed by George P. Bush and by Sarah Huckabee, daughter of Mike. She ran on a platform of emphasizing education, technology and community outreach. All vital for building up interest in the Republican for young as well as older voters. She tried to bring in her thoughts on civil unions as gay rights but was quickly attacked for her idea by those lead by Shay.

Shay won with a 50 vote margin. It is hard to believe as so many of us are trying to work to grow the party and encourage those with more tunneled vision to do the same that the younger of our party is shooting us in the foot. A 38 year old woman is not the right image for the Republican to have leading the Young Republicans anyway. A sharp, articulate, media savvy twenty-something would have been the way to go. And certainly someone who understands the need for a big tent approach to grow the party. Someone who understands a political party is not a private club for a bunch of good ole boys and girls who use message of hate to attack those with a more mature message.

What agenda exactly is Shay 'restoring, revitalizing and reinforcing'? From where I sit it is the last thing we need. Every political writer out there will have a field day with headlines and stories over this debacle.

The Young Republicans made a huge mistake.

Friday, July 10, 2009

What Will Malia Wear to Meet the Pope? And Other Nonsense

The family Obama, not so keen at displaying acts of class and dignity, seem to be ushering in the next generation of malcontents. First Daughter, Malia, made international headlines as she sported a t-shirt design of a big ole peace symbol while strolling the streets of Rome. The t-shirt, plain but for the huge black Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament symbol was obviously worn because of the design. Nothing but the huge symbol. No funky tie dyed Woodstocky peace signs, no peace signs of pink or girly colors. Nope. Just a big ole stark black peace sign.

And, I don't think it is Malia's nod to the 40th anniversary of Woodstock.

Maybe her mother, the second coming of Jackie Kennedy ( who didn't brag of shopping at Target or J. Crew), can give the girl some tips. The day before it was the tidbit that Sasha wore a trench coat while touring Moscow. How edgy! But age appropriate and cute.

It's a reminder of the days of Amy Carter in the White House. Wonder what Malia will wear to meet the Pope with her family? Now, remember - the family is off limits. Except when they are deliberately used as props.

The next generation of Obamas doesn't quite get what should be done as overseas protocol or decorum, being raised by their parents and grandmother after all.

To say that the G8 has been a standard waste of time would be accurate. What came out of it? A non-binding agreement for reducing carbon emissions by the year 2050 that doesn't include China and India. A to-be-drawn-up-later agreement with Russia on nuclear weapons. Maybe. A speaking opportunity for Obama to parrot the line that global warming is settled science, even as the number grows of scientists disputing a large part of the premises of the 'settled' science. It is beginning to go the path of Kyoto. And, for the kicker, Obama arrives late for the G8 final photo with the other leaders. Nothing but class.

Don't misunderstand, I think summits like the G8 has their place. It is good for everyone to come together in a more relaxed environment and chew the fat. But to think that any real progress on issues at hand is the outcome is folly. Remember how President Bush was mocked because he didn't take the summits for anything more serious? Now today Obama says there are too many summits and they can be streamlined. Suddenly that is a refreshing idea!

Obama needs to figure out if he is Jimmy Carter or George W. Bush. He has already gone the way of Bill Clinton on the matter of grace - besides habitual tardiness, he missed an opportunity to shake the outstretched hand of Berlusconi, his host, and the cameras caught that. As the cameras caught Obama eyeing the behind of a young brunette woman as Sarkozy looked on, quite amused.

On the home front, the administration announced the web site tasked with tracking the economy recovery efforts will be re-vamped to the tune of $18 million. The web design group chosen, Smartronix, touts no web design experience on their own site. Maybe it is just a coincidence that the company is a big contributor of House Majority Whip, Steny Hoyer.

All this change and transparency is great, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

White House and Reid BackTrack On Stances

Today brings us a quote from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of interest to those of us who actually expect our elected officials to do the job they were sent to Congress to do - "If every member pledged to not vote for it if they hadn't read it in its entirely, I think we would have very few votes." Hoyer told that to at his weekly news conference. What was Hoyer referring to, you may ask? He was talking about the health care reform bill now working its way around Congress.

Think about the arrogance of Hoyer's statement. He even was reported to find the question about members of Congress reading the bills on which they vote humorous. "...laughing as he responded to the question. 'I'm laughing because a)I don't know how long this bill is going to be, but it's going to be a very long bill,' he said. OK then. Don't break a sweat there, Leader Hoyer.

Voters already know that the stimulus/spending bill, that is proving to be a failure, wasn't read before the vote. Instead of being shamed into reading legislation, Hoyer thinks it's a funny notion. This is what happens with the mentality encouraged in Congress by the Democratic leadership is to ram through hastily written legislation before anyone really checks it and the consequences it will bring.

The Democrats are relying on President Obama's continued decent polling numbers to hurry through the agenda of the big ideas before he begins to have to answer questions or his numbers fall. A few in the press are beginning to notice the problem. But, only a very few so far.

Harry Reid today met with a few Republicans Senators in order to smooth any ruffled feathers from his declaration to Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus that the GOP should not be considered in the health care legislation. Turns out Reid realized he doesn't have the votes on his side of the aisle to rush through the bill without Republican support. Senator Hatch said, "I think he understand we can't meet the time table he has set, but he doesn't want to give up trying." Reid is sticking to the bogus timeline of the White House, all for purely political reasoning.

From, "But a senior Democratic aide to a member in the negotiations tells Fox, "The tax is gone." That on the tax proposed to be levied on health insurance benefits. "Another senior Finance Cmte source tells Fox a 'tax on millionaires polls way higher.' Same old Democrat playbook. It never works but they always go back to that train of thought. Remember, to Democrats, success must be taxed (punished), even though the pool is limited.

Then, one the idea being floated that there will be a second stimulus package, the White House denies even thinking about that. Right. The first has not performed as advertised and the goalposts continue to move. Unemployment is up, not down. Only 10% of the money allotted has been distributed and then the recipients are not using the monies as stipulated. States in need are using the money to boost their state budgets and not put it into projects. Government is not efficient or speedy. News flash. Government doesn't create jobs, unless they are government jobs. The President and his people continue to talk of 'saving' jobs, which is nonsense. Just ask those folks at Caterpillar that were used as props as Obama went around the country looking for business support. That business owner now says he was played for a fool. Someone may also want to clue him in on the existence, or not, of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

The problem is that this president is not a deep thinker or a policy wonk either. He just wants the wins. He already said he doesn't' care what exactly is in the health care legislation, he just wants to sign something. He did the same on the stimulus. He started out giving guidance of $600 billion or up to $800 billion and then left the details to Nancy Pelosi. Harry Reid played along. Obama likes to say Republicans simply didn't want to do anything. That is a load of crazy and he knows it. Republicans were shut out of the process and not allowed to bring in amendments. So, none of them voted on the train wreck that resulted.

Money distributed by the government takes a long time to reach its destination. By the time the rest of the money is out the door, the recession will be over. The jobs created by the stimulus, scarce as they are, average out to costing taxpayers $380,000 per job, according to GAO's own numbers.

VP Biden, the one put in charge of overseeing the stimulus money distribution, said the administration 'misread' the economy. What they did was willingly depend on the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to write the bill. This is the gang that can't shoot straight. Mixed messages rule the day. Despite the tendency to still 'blame Bush' for the 'inherited' economy, as Hoyer even still uttered on a Sunday talk show, it is Obama's economy now. There comes a time when a new administration has to start taking responsibility. That happened when Obama signed the stimulus/spending bill, whether he admits that or not.

Re-direction of the stimulus money would take Congress' approval. We know the Democrats will not allow that. They must try to save face, even to the peril of our economy. They should be structuring tax cuts and re-vamping tax rates, two proven winning strategies, but they won't. That would be common sense.

Still hoping for some common sense, for a change. Waiting for some leadership out of President Obama instead of perpetual campaigning.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

About That Public Option Plan in Health Care Reform

The government run option for health care is the sticking point of many in Congress as far as legislative reform goes. There are many Democrats who oppose it as well as Republicans. Seems the Senate Majority Leader has taken a cue from House Majority Leader Pelosi and decided to go it alone. Now that Democrats control virtually everything in Washington, they don't need no stinkin' Republican votes, if the Democrats fall in line.

Roll Call reports "Reid told Baucus that taxing health benefits and failing to include a strong government-run insurance option of some sort in his bill would cost 10 to 15 Democratic votes. Reid told Baucus that several in the Conference had serious concerns and that it wasn't worth securing the support of Grassley and at best a few additional Republicans."

Max Baucus, Finance Chairman (D-MT), has received some credit recently for working with Grassley as an honest partner on the verbiage of the legislation. Well, at least Reid has dropped the pretense of wanting bi-partisan legislation now. Drop dead, Republicans.

This comes at the same time as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel stating, according to The Wall Street Journal, that the public option plan would require a 'trigger', which means only put into place if the private sector doesn't lower costs. The Republicans did this when the massive Medicare prescription drug benefit was put into place.

Jake Tapper of ABC News reports that Senator Chuck Schumer, D-NY, was surprised to learn of such a trigger proposal. He expects the legislation to go directly to the public option. And now, MoveOn was taken exception with Emanuel. They have launched a massive e-mail campaign - 3 million members - alerting them to Emanuel's proposal. They are instructed to call the White House switchboard about it.

Next, President Obama released a statement - or a minion did as he is traveling in Russia and Italy this week - proclaiming he is pleased with the progress being made in Congress and that the public plan is essential to whack the knees of the evil insurance companies. Or something along those lines. The President is enjoying the White House doublespeak and his 'adviser' is quoted by Slate's John Dickinson as saying "mission accomplished", when the talking out of both sides of his mouth was pointed out.

Well, Obama is the consummate politician, after all. Chicago style. And, MoveOn's early support of his presidential campaign was crucial to his path to the White House.

That kind of top dollar support doesn't come cheap. They expect results. Wonder if those so gullible to candidate Obama's campaign promises thought the 'change' he offered was more of the same old politics but all ramped up?

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sarah Palin Resigns

I've waited to write about Sarah Palin's resignation as Governor of Alaska intentionally. I thought maybe I was just missing something. Turns out, I don't think I did.

Her announcement to the Alaskan press, which seemed to be quite at-the-last-minute, was rambling and now well crafted at all. It was, frankly, one hot mess.

I like Sarah Palin as a human being, a strong professional woman, a feisty politician, a committed wife and mom. She loves her family, her extended family and her country. All of that is perfectly clear to those of us who do not know her personally, only from reading about her and her press appearances. I blogged about Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska and rising Republican star, last summer before she was picked as John McCain's running mate. I thought she would be a long shot choice but a good one because she is an expert on energy policy and has executive experience in office - something none of the three men in the last campaign possessed. She was wildly popular in Alaska and she had this close family, including a newborn baby son with Down Syndrome. All very impressive.

And, her husband the First Dude? He rocks.

The expected reaction happened. She had more elected office experience than the candidate offered up by the Democrats but that didn't matter. She was a real person that voters could relate to and that simply would not stand. The mainstream media made it their mission to present her in the worst light possible. They brought gotcha politics to a new low. And the McCain campaign was so horribly inept in managing her on the trail.

Liberals hate Palin with a passion and that makes her even more attractive.

Then, when she lost in her bid to be the Vice President, the war against Sarah Palin continued as though the campaign continued. Her critics in Alaska filed ethical complaint after ethical complaint against her, causing her to rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal debt. All of the charges have been tossed out but she still has the legal bills to cover. She mentioned in her speech or statement or whatever it was Friday, that her legal bills are in the $500,000 range now.

Her resignation makes no sense. Her whole reasoning about being a lame duck and not able to do as much as she could as a private citizen is nonsense. 'Lame duck' politicians do good work every year. Ronald Reagan did, for example. So, ok, it was for selfish reasons.

Maybe she simply wants to devote her time to writing the book she has a deal to produce and make speeches to retire her debts. That would be understandable. She is a woman who bragged that she and her husband were not in the habit of living above their means and were not living in debt before she hit the trail as the VP candidate. Maybe she is just freaked out at the level of debt that has incurred and wants to take care of that.

Maybe there is a more personal reason and none of our business. A health problem, something along those lines that must be dealt with and she will focus on that.

Whatever it is, I just don't need to know. I'm not into the whole game of 'stay tuned' and more announcements will appear on Twitter or Facebook. Please. Knock it off. That is not the way to be taken seriously.

Some die hard supporters are insisting this is a brilliant move. A big risky gamble that will reap benefits in the future as she runs for President, maybe in 2016. She's young yet and has plenty of time. The fact is, though, she won't be taken any more seriously then either. Maybe even less so. She quit her day job. The job she asked for and the voters gave her. She had the honor of running the state of Alaska, the position that brought her onto the national stage and she just walked away. Not risky. Not brilliant. She said she wasn't a quitter and then she quit.

I think she would have made a good vice president. I wasn't voting for her to be president. I wanted John McCain for that. She certainly would have been better than Joe Biden. And, Barack Obama, for that matter, as it turns out. I don't see her on the ticket again, though. She didn't do what was needed for that. Go back to Alaska, be the best Governor she could be, move her agenda forward and bone up on foreign policy issues. She went back to Alaska instead and allowed herself to be dragged into the news whenever she was being attacked and played into the hands of the media. I completely understand defending her daughters and her sweet baby son as they were viciously attacked by people old enough to know better yet attacked the kids anyway. Liberals are a classless bunch.

Conservatives will be outraged at any criticism or honesty about Sarah Palin. That, too, is part of Palin's problem. That enables her to cry victim. Politics is tough stuff. Her skin is not tough enough. For mere mortals, skin not so tough is not a problem. For a politician it is the end.

I wish her well.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Is Michelle Obama Proud of America Yet?

Do you think First Lady Michelle Obama is proud of America yet? Do you think she has learned more about her own country than she realized as candidate Obama's wife, speaking on the campaign stump admitting to an audience that she had never "really felt proud" of America until her husband became the candidate for President?

Are you proud of such a self-absorbed, arrogant, hypocrite as your First Lady?

Her statement pops into my mind on days like this. I was shocked as I first heard such a tone deaf statement come from the mouth of a woman of privilege. Yes, privilege, even before she was in her current position. She grew up in a home in Chicago where her father worked for the City of Chicago, so he didn't have to worry about employment. She may have had a "humble" upbringing but she didn't go to bed hungry or on the streets. She was best friends with a daughter of Jesse Jackson, so she was politically connected. She received scholarships to obtain an Ivy League education. She went to law school. She landed a good job in Chicago. She became the wife of a State Senator, then U.S. Senator. While she enjoys talking about shopping at Target and J.Crew, she long ago stopped being 'ordinary', and certainly no victim.

Do you think today, as she celebrates the birthday of her older daughter at Camp David with other members of her immediate family tagging along, she feels any remorse for her utterly stupid remark on the campaign trail?

Or is it because she grew up in the church of Reverend Wright and the Black Liberation philosophy that claims she is still a victim of the white man in our country? Is this upbringing the root of her inability to appreciate the greatness of our country and the price paid by so many for our greatness?

On July 1, 1776 in Philadelphia a debate began on the final language of the Declaration of Independence. John Adams led the charge that the time was upon them to stake out independence from England. The debate lasted 9 hours. It was agreed a final vote would be taken the following morning. As the British fleet approached New York, a quick vote was taken on July 2 and the language was set.

The document was printed. The final signing was set for the next month. Contrary to popular thought, the Declaration of Independence was not signed by the majority until later in August. John Hancock and Charles Thompson did sign it when it was printed, before the others.

Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Adams last words are reported to have been, "Thomas Jefferson still lives", though, in fact, Jefferson had died earlier in the day.

I do not understand Americans who do not feel pride in our country. I do not understand politicians who feel the need to go overseas and 'apologize' for our country's actions of the past. And, I certainly do not understand a sitting President of the United States who bows to the Saudi King as he greets him.

The irony is that those whining the loudest are so blind to the fact that this is the only country on earth where such opportunity exists, no matter who you are or where you come from.

Our Founding Fathers would be so disappointed.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

How Cap And Trade Hits Texas

There is an interesting and informative series of articles on the website of Michael Williams, Texas Railroad Commissioner about the consequences of the recently passed cap and trade legislation in the House of Representatives for the state of Texas.

Michael Williams is running for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison as she runs for governor. He is sharp, ambitious, articulate and from all indications, a good guy. I fully support his run for the U.S. Senate.

Williams points out that the National Black Chamber of Commerce, The Brookings Institution and the Heritage Foundation state that cap and trade will reduce national GDP, eliminate jobs and cost families a lot of money.

Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller, estimates "the typical Texas family (3.4 members) could expect to spend up to an additional $1,136 on medicine, food, clothes and other household goods and services over the next year if cap and trade passes. The price of everything from cell phones, diapers, aspirin and lipstick will rise because of increased production costs. As a regressive tax, this will disproportionately affect single moms, the poor and minorities."

An additional $1,136 is a hefty chunk of change for a family struggling to make ends meet in today's difficult economic times.

Texas, the second most populous state, is the energy capital of the country. Combs says, "the current plan to implement mandatory emissions caps will weigh far more on Texas than other regions of the country." Perhaps President Obama privately enjoys the slap to the very red state of Texas.

On agriculture, Texas ranks third for agricultural exporting, providing 1.7 million jobs. Cash receipts in 2007 totaled $19.9 billion with the end result of $100 billion to the state's economy. The cap and trade, as passed by the House of Representatives, will impact 3,800 Texas farms, 28,000 beef cattle operations and 640 diaries. According to the Williams web site: "For Texas cotton gins alone, the estimated cost of permitting is pegged at more than $8.5 million for 248 relatively small facilities. CO2 regulations will also increase outlays for all Texas farms, producers and processors for things like equipment installations, irrigation, fertilizer and electricity. The regulations will also have a negative impact on the rural communities in which many of these businesses operate."

Encourage your Senators, strongly, to say no to cap and trade legislation as it is now presented.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Obama Declares Only Republicans Are Fear Mongers

So, are the forty-four Democrats that voted against the cap-and-trade bill 'fear mongering' out of touch, living in the past, politicians 'scaring the bejesus out of people'? That is how President Obama has described Republicans voicing opposition to the bill.

Jennifer Rubin in Commentary writes, "The president got himself tied up in knots discussing the cap-and-trade bill. The New York Times reports that he sympathized with the large number of Democratic defectors who can't look their constituents in the eye and tell them home state industries are going to take a big hit: "I think those 44 Democrats are sensitive to the immediate political climate of uncertainty around this issue," Mr. Obama said. "They've got to run every two years, and I completely understand that." Many of them represent districts that rely heavily on coal for power generation or that are home to industries vulnerable to international competition. Mr. Obama said the House bill contained transitional assistance for these regions."

First, how does anyone know what was really in this bill? This piece of legislation was over 1300 pages long and no one admits to actually having read the thing. The fact that elected officials, sent to Washington to be the voice of the American people, continue to vote of bills that are not read much less understood is horrifying to me, especially as this new administration marches on in its desire to completely overhaul our way of life.

Second, this bill did pass, barely, with the help of six Republicans. There is no excuse for this action. I hope the voters in their districts agree and find worthy candidates to run against them in the next primary. Apparently, these six Republicans haven't heard the voice of their people. Stop the madness in Washington, D.C.

Obama said of the Republicans opposing the bill that they "are 16 years behind the times" as he compared the opposition to the energy and health care debates of the Clinton years.

So, if your district's member of the House is a Democrat and voted against the bill, that is understandable because it is all about the next election. If, however, your district's member is a Republican and voted against the bill on the principle that it is a bad bill, a huge tax on every living member of the country and a huge job killer, then that elected official is a fear monger. All this rhetoric from the man who promised to stop the demonization of those who disagree with his policies, to bring back true bi-partisan approaches to Washington.

The president "delayed the start of a Sunday golf game to speak to a small group of reporters in the Oval Office", according to The New York Times. He wanted to explain why he felt comfortable taxing American companies while giving foreign trading partners a pass. "At a time when the economy worldwide is still deep in recession and we've seen a significant drop in global trade, I think we have to be very careful about sending any protectionist signals out there."

Are you a Republican? Are you a business owner? Well, too bad for you. President Obama intends to penalize you and shower the goodies to others.

And, if you are an employee of the EPA and do not march in lockstep with the rest of the global climate change alarmists, well, you will be silenced by the administration of the man who accused the former administration of succumbing to junk science. Obama and his fellow Democrats enjoyed accusing the Bush administration of silencing opposition from the scientific community of their environmental policies, yet we see the same playing out now.

"Alan Carlin, the primary author of the 98-page EPA report, told in a telephone interview on Friday that his boss, McGartland, was being pressured himself. "It was his view that he either lost his job or he got me working on something else," Carlin said. "That was obviously coming from higher levels." The report "warned against making hasty 'decisions based on a scientific hypothesis that does not appear to explain most of the available data.'

Carlin is a 38 year veteran of the EPA. He has no negative marks on his career record. There is no reason to believe he would author anything but truthful findings in his report.

Those in this administration's hierarchy reigning over the EPA are many former Clinton people. Carol Browner was a protege of Al Gore. She left the Clinton administration after the 2000 elections and joined a socialist organization with the mission of international laws to be put in place concerning restrictions and regulations on business and industry.

The fact that most claims in Al Gore's award winning PowerPoint presentation billed as a documentary have been de-bunk seems not to matter. Global climate change is no longer the most important issues on the minds of Americans. It ranks far down the line. Democrats want to continue to state that the issue is no longer open to debate.

The facts are not on the alarmists' side. Yes, climate change is real. No, man is not solely responsible nor capable of stopping the changes in the climate. How arrogant. Mother nature governs the world in cycles. We can be good stewards to the earth in our own small ways but not with massive effects.

Democrats are intent on squashing business and our way of life. They sound, at times, as though success looks like the pre-Industrial Revolution days. This is insane.

The change I am still hoping for in Washington? The return of common sense.