Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Interviewing Officers and a Judge

"I thought they really had moved very slowly to the left, and I also thought that when they had the chance to clarify to the fact that they were not moving to the left, they didn't do so." That, according to NewsBusters, is a quote from retired Col. Ken Allard. Allard was a military analyst for NBC News and resigned last February. He originally said the network was undergoing a "precipitous retreat from journalistic and ethical standards."

When Bob Simon interviewed an Israeli Air Force pilot, Captain Omri, on CBS's "60 Minutes", the discussion was on air strikes in the Gaza strip. Simon actually said to Omri, "But I must tell you, your face, your manners, your demeanor, you don't look like a killer. And yet what you do a lot of the time when you're over Gaza, you're killing." The pilot responded: "I agree. I don't think I'm a killer. When I look at my face in the mirror, I don't see a killer." This, too, from NewsBusters. So, in Bob Simon's world, military pilots are simply killers. And, he's shocked he doesn't look any different than anyone else, apparently.

Also on "60 Minutes" Sunday, Leslie Stahl interviewed Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. She is as clueless as Bob Simon. I watched as much of the interview as I could stomach, then I printed out the transcript from the web site. I couldn't believe her unabashed ignorance in interviewing a Conservative legal professional.

Stahl was so surprised that, for instance, Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are very good friends. This is an indication that in the world of Leslie Stahl, the world of the swells in Manhattan, only liberal thinking people are allowed. No straying from the script for her circle of friends. How quaint. How can you possibly disagree with someone and still be friends? And, liberals are the first to blast conservatives for marching in lock step, the implication quite clear.

From the transcript: "In spending time with him, we found something we hadn't expected: a person so unpretentious and down to earth, you could easily forget he sits on the Supreme Court. But what stands out is his sharp intelligence, and his street-fighter personality which he developed growing up in New York City."

"He met his wife Maureen in Cambridge when she was a senior at Radcliffe and he was in his last year at Harvard Law School. They have been married for 48 years and rarely disagree, they say. They have 9 children and 28 grandchildren. All their children are grown up now. The Scalia children range in age from 27 to 46, are all conservative, all successful, including two lawyers, a major in the Army, a poet, and a priest."

So, who's the out of touch snob, Leslie?

Leslie and her fellow interviewers. Any wonder why the old networks are losing audiences?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Close But No Cigar

In the April 25 column for the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer said, "...Obama understands that the real threat to his candidacy is less Hillary Clinton and John McCain than his own character and cultural attitudes. He came out of nowhere with his autobiography already written, then saw it embellished daily by the hagiographic coverage and kid-gloves questioning of a supine press. (Which is why those "Saturday Night Live" parodies were so devastatingly effective.) Then came the three amigos: Tony Rezko, indicted fixer; Jeremiah Wright, the racist reverend; William Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist. And then Obama's own anthropological observation that "bitter" working-class whites cling to guns and religion because they misapprehend their real class interests."

That was before the raging storm over the weekend brought on by the rehabilitation tour of Rev. Wright.

Today Senator Obama, after giving a tepid response on a tarmac yesterday to Wright's bombastic, ego-stoked performance at the National Press Club, made a formal kind of statement of his opinion of Wright's remarks and had a bit of a q&a with some reporters from his podium.

Let me preface this with complete honesty: there is absolutely nothing that Senator Obama could say that would make me sympathetic to him as a Presidential candidate. I support Senator McCain. A match-up between these two men in November is one I heartily anticipate. The contrast could not be more stark.

The problem for Obama remains the same as when all of this over his associations began. It is a simple matter of judgement. As a political rookie, with very little to show for his only full year in the U.S. Senate before deciding he was ready for the Oval Office after a stint in the Illinois State Senate, he has asked the voters to trust him. As Michelle famously said, "just feel, don't think." So, he invites the voter to trust his judgement, that he would make sound decisions in office.

Personal associations speak to this very request. We are known by the company we keep. To say now, now that so much is public knowledge, that he is shocked and disgusted by some of the utterances from Rev. Wright just do not seem honest. Obama is a product of the southside of Chicago, the political machine there. That is why his whole premise of being a new kind of candidate, a post-partisan, post-racial candidate was so unbelievable to any observer of national politics. Come on. Young voters are gullible, though, and he has benefited by the enthusiasm and turnout of large campaign crowds. More public involvement is terrific in the political process. Kudos to him on that. But now what does he tell them?

He said he didn't "vet my pastor before I decided to run for the presidency." That's simply a lie. He disinvited Wright to be with him as he announced for the presidency in Springfield. Wright prayed with the family in the basement before they went out for the announcement. Wright was asked to stay behind, as Obama admitted he knew Wright's presence would be controversial.

Now he denounces the remarks most offensive to the non-church member. The church is one of Black Liberation Theology. Obama says, "I'm not a theologian." Well, ok. But he is to be considered a decent human being and those not subscribing to the radical agenda of Black Liberation Theology would not sit for 20 years in those church pews, contribute $25,000 the past year alone, be married by the pastor, and have his children baptised and raised in the church. To be expected to think otherwise is ridiculous.

Obama now says Wright was never his "spiritual advisor". He says he is only his pastor, the one who brought him to Christ as an adult. He was, though, listed by the campaign as a spiritual advisor team member. Wright is a man Obama said he considered like family. Wright mentions him by name from the pulpit. Obama credits him with the title of his last book.

Just be honest.

Obama seemed most upset that Wright referred to him as just a politician saying what needs to be said to get elected. So, again, it isn't the remarks that are racially divisive and bash our country that were so bad. It was the calling of Obama a politician. Which he is, isn't he? He's a U.S. Senator. He's running for President. That makes him a politician by definition. And, no, he is not a different kind. Unless you take into consideration that he was pronounced the most liberal Senator by the National Journal. And his church is the most liberal of black churches, according to Juan Williams. Williams is a black, liberal, NPR correspondent and author of a book on black families in today's world. Williams said only about 10% of today's black churches are this radical. So, yes, that makes him a different political but I don't think that is what Obama meant.

That is what continues to trouble me. I visited black churches as a young person. I was born and raised in what is referred to as the "deep South" and the black church is very prominent and important. Obama said today that he thought some of the problem was that people seeing and listening to Wright were put off by his loud voice, his yelling during his presentations. No, that wasn't the problem as far as I could see. Who doesn't know that church services can be exciting and raucous even? It's what black churches are known for and it's what makes them special. No. The problem is what Wright was screaming, not that he was screaming to begin with. Obama knows that.

Obama said he is still a member of the church and that the new pastor is a wonderful young preacher. Otis Moss has been shown in video clips praising Wright and defending him to the public. He is a protege of Wright and his rhetoric is the same high octane stuff. We are told that this is the rhetoric of Black Liberation Theology.

Obama said the remarks by Wright that Farrakhan is a good person, doing good work, were wrong. Obama, however, knew his church and Wright presented a lifetime achievement award to Farrakhan recently. The Nation of Islam is providing security for Wright now.

So, I am left thinking all of this would never have been acknowledged if the sermons were not sold at the church gift shop and those in the media purchased them and aired them. I think Obama hoped to keep Wright in the background while crediting him with guiding him on his spiritual journey. I think it is not credible to expect regular Americans, even 'typical white women' to believe that the most liberal Senator in the Senate today and a member of the most radical wing of the black church is anything other than extreme in politics and religious thought. Where is the evidence otherwise?

Had Obama not based his candidacy on the premise that he is different. He is black but post-racial. He is far left liberal but post-partisan. He is just a member of a church on the south side of Chicago. All of this may have played out differently. He would have been able to come out right away and denounce Wright and leave the church. But, as a character judgement, that is not possible for him. To leave the church now, the church he joined to give him access to the community he wanted to serve, would cause him a huge hit to his credibility in that very community. He threw Grandma under the bus, and now Wright, but how can he do that to the 8,000 church members, potential voters.

I am not saying that Obama believes every nutbag remark Wright makes. I do not believe that to be true. If Obama had done all this even during The Speech in Philadelphia on race, which fell short by most opinions other than the media quacks like Chris Matthews, then it would be over and done. As it is now, this will continue to be an issue until November. The questions of character and judgement remain. There is no way any but the most ardent supporter will believe that Obama sat in that church for 20 years, used it as a springboard for his political career, and didn't know exactly what was being preached.

Too little, too late. Close but no cigar.

Monday, April 28, 2008

It All Circles Around

From a very funny monologue Saturday night at the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner : "Sen. McCain's not here, Bush said of GOP nominee - in - waiting John McCain. He probably wanted to distance himself from me a little bit. You know, he's not alone. Jenna's moving out, too. Hillary Clinton couldn't get in because of sniper fire and Senator Obama's at church." Craig Ferguson, also very funny. He became a U.S. citizen 3 months ago and is very proud of that. Imagine that. The best part of the televised evening? President Bush conducting the U.S. Marine Band. The president and the baton, sweeping moves and wiggles. Too good.

Meghan McCain on the red carpet before the dinner? Glamorous looking like a movie star. Holy mackerel.

Senator Obama climbed down off his high horse and sullied himself long enough to be on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. After his campaign prefaced his appearance Friday by saying Obama will 'bring it' to Fox and all that junk, the netroots went ballistic after the segment aired. They were sorely disappointed. Wallace, as usual, was fair and asking reasonable questions. Obama was amiable, yet didn't take the opportunity to state his policy positions that will make him attractive to voters in November. This is why he is a weaker candidate than Hillary. Hillary is incredibly well-disciplined when it comes to getting her message out. And, she realized many months ago that more than just Republicans watch Fox News. If you are presenting yourself as a unifier, you have to actually act like one.

Obama said, "the fact he's (Wright) my former pastor, makes it a legitimate political issue." Yes it is. He said Republicans have better ideas on business regulation, education as far as charter schools, etc., and merit pay for teachers. But he is still spouting the cheap misrepresentations. He ridiculed McCain for now saying the Bush tax cuts should be permanent. Obama knows McCain originally didn't vote for them because the spending cuts weren't there. Obama said he will vote to confirm General Petraeus as Commander of CentCom. But, then he said when he's president he'll set military strategy, not the commanders on the ground, and set timetables. And, he said he'll have to talk to McCain about the agreement he took part in over public financing of the general election. Obama wants to back out of giving his word as agreement to it, back before he knew how much money he could raise as a candidate.

And, he said he won't lose the election due to his race. It'll be for missteps, just like other candidates. Note to Michelle: did you get that memo?

Obama justified his comparison of Senator Coburn along with his friendship with William Ayers as not really meaning to compare the two and said he has apologized to Senator Coburn. He said he wasn't a part of the Gang of 14 or any other unifying coalitions in his one year in the Senate before he ran for president but that he defended Democrats who voted for John Roberts for Supreme Court justice. Obama voted against Roberts, though. Huh?

Rev. Wright, Obama's pastor for 20 years, his spiritual advisor, the pastor that married him and Michelle and baptised his two daughters, who lead the church that the Obamas contributed over $25,000 the last two years, has been on a rehabilitation tour for disparaging remarks made public from his 'preaching' in services.

Rev. Wright was on the PBS show with Bill Moyers, which was a love fest. Two peas in a pod. There was the speech to the NAACP in Detroit. This morning it was the speech to the National Press Club, where the media were banished to the balcony and the 'Diversity Conference' attendees from black churches were at the tables on the main floor, hooting and hollering for the good reverend. Quite the show. Wright took the opportunity to advertise his upcoming two day symposium for religious leaders. And the theme this morning is that the attacks on his speeches are not attacks on him, but on the black churches in this country.

In an amazing display of political speech, as he continued to claim he is only a preacher, not a politician, he bashed the working press for reporting on his 'sermons'. He said Black Liberation Theology is from the vantage point of the oppressed. He bashed the Iraq war by saying the administration sent "over 4,000 to die over a lie". Said his 6 years of military service was patriotic but that Cheney didn't serve. Said if Obama is elected, "I'm coming after you because you'll represent policy that grinds down people." He said several times that Obama spoke about against Wright's remarks because he's a politician and knows what he has to say to get elected. When questioned about the chickens coming home to roost remark he delivered in church less than one week after 9/11, he said a country being a terrorist has to expect terrorism. He was visibly hostile to the National Press Club member who was reading questions from the audience that had been submitted in writing.

Rev. Wright did no favors for the Obama campaign. Just when the controversies of this man's comments were fading from the national conversation, here he is. He makes it clear to the observer that it is all about Wright's ego. He is a nasty, mean-spirited man. Doesn't matter if he's a minister and a veteran. His is a divisive, hateful message. He is of the Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton school of continual victimhood. White man holding down the black man. Rich man abusing poor man.

David Axelrod, it was reported in the Chicago Sun-Times, hired a public relations firm - pro bono- to manage the message of Wright. How's that working out?

Too bad for the Obama campaign that Wright didn't take them up on the sabbatical for a few months they dangled before him. It's no wonder regular American voters now question Obama's campaign premise that he's a different kind of politician. He's been in his church for 20 years. If he doesn't also believe, like Wright, in the speeches that are not uplifting, not unifying, not 'post-racial', then he should have firmly said so by now.

Oh yeah, did you hear Wright has a book coming out soon? More outlandish comments to come, you can be sure of that.

Tough break for Obama. Just like Obama threw grandma under the bus, as a 'typical white person', Wright is throwing him under the bus as 'a politician'. Karma.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Origins of the Straight Talk Express

From an interesting article in National Journal Magazine, "I count his time as the liaison among the seminal experiences of his life," says Mark Salter, McCain's longtime chief of staff." "Adds Robert Timberg, who has written two biographies of McCain, "The Senate liaison job opened up a whole fresh new world for him." In an interview with National Journal, McCain sums it up simply: "A great opportunity -to travel, meet people, and to learn."

This is an article about the three years of John McCain's life often overlooked and it explains a lot of who the man is today in traditional politics. No, McCain is not a traditional politician. Those crying for 'change' should find him very appealing come November. Today's polling of toss-ups between McCain and Obama or McCain and Clinton have McCain leading in all categories of most importance to the average American voter. In some categories he leads either Democrat candidate by up to 10 points. That is good news for Republicans. If Obama is the candidate, several categories like national security, taxes, 'trust' issues, and of course, experience, are strong winners for the Republicans. Independent voters are moving towards McCain, not Obama. The longer Obama is the front runner, the more he is shown to be just another far left Democrat. Also good news for Republicans.

This article tells the story of how John McCain transitioned from the military into a political career. The year was 1977. John McCain was 40 years old. He was back from spending 5 1/2 years as a prisoner at the Hanoi Hilton. His rehab was long and painful yet he was still hoping to return to flying for the Navy. As it became clear that this was not an option for him, he was placed commanding a squadron in Jacksonville, Florida. He was credited with successfully bringing several "broken-down" jets back into service.

Next, the higher-ups sent McCain to Washington to be a Navy liaison to the Senate. McCain called himself "the Navy's lobbyist", though the Navy isn't technically allowed to lobby. The job was demanding and often demeaning, described by William Bader the then staff director for the Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as "a glorified concierge and bag carrier, and soother of senatorial egos and demands." His primary responsibility was to manage travel logistics and handle senators' military constituents having problems with pay or pensions.

His three years in the Senate were a turning point for him. He was eager to learn and during his first year home from the war, he went to the National War College and immersed himself in the study of Vietnam, including the policies that led the U.S. to fight then pull out. Three years later he was watching policy being made. Pete Lakeland, Republican staff director for the Foreign Relations Committee at the time, said,"He was very interested in learning as much as he could about substance and foreign policy."

Former Senator Gary Hart, D-CO, said,"McCain was just a fascinating character. He had a great sense of humor. He was smart and funny to be around." Lakeland said, "McCain had been in solitary confinement for two years, and he really wanted to catch up on life. He didn't like to be alone. He wanted to sit around and talk." Still does today, doesn't he? His bus tours where everyone gets to climb aboard and talk to the candidate prove that.

"Senior senators began asking the Navy to detail McCain to their committees for trips to China, the Soviet Union, South Korea, Oman, Israel, and other destinations. His job was to hand logistics: organize transportation, make sure the luggage was handled properly, and manage the needs and demands of senators' spouses. McCain carried out his duties with good cheer, according to those who worked with him. He did not complain about menial tasks, Lakeland says. "He was very conscious of protocol and rank." I don't think anyone heard him whine about getting to eat his waffle.

"He formed a bond with some of the senators. Bader believes that many were drawn to the former POW because they hoped he could help them work through their own feelings about the Vietnam War. He recalls the scene aboard one charter flight to China, when he watched several senators approach McCain, who was sitting quietly in the last row. "One after one, for hours, they came back to the back of the plane, one at a time, to make their peace with John McCain. Many of the senators had opposed the Vietnam War. But here was someone who was the epitome of the symbol of what is valiant and patriotic. It was clear these politicians, as politicians and Americans, wanted to make their peace with this man." "They did not treat him as a concierge. They treated him with respect."

McCain was particularly impressed with the late Senator Henry (Scoop) Jackson, D-Wash, whom McCain described as "one of the country's leading hawks" at a time when most Democrats were anti-war. McCain devoted several pages of his autobiography, Worth the Fighting For, to Jackson, who, he wrote, "suffered the disdain of elites who mistook fashion for wisdom." "Thank God for Scoop Jackson, for his willingness to stand apart from the new conventions of his party." McCain told National Journal, "Political courage in practice is the resolve to do what's right whatever the personal consequences one must suffer." Today McCain is known to say he'd rather win the war in Iraq than another election. The senator walks the walk. We also see his convictions in his close friendship with Senator Joe Lieberman, another who puts doing the right thing for his country above party politics. You'll notice the people of his state responded to real courage by re-electing Lieberman as an Independent to the Senate.

All elections are about change. The rhetoric must meet the goals, though. Empty suits delivering pretty speeches read off teleprompters will be popular for awhile. Then character and substance, along with personal judgement takes over.

More from the National Journal: "As he traveled, attended Senate hearings, and joined in after-hours bull sessions, McCain absorbed lessons of foreign policy." "He cites a lesson he learned on a trip to South Korea with a Senate delegation in 1979. President Carter was determined to fulfill his pledge to begin withdrawing American troops from the country. But Democrats Sam Nunn of Georgia, John Glenn of Ohio, and Hart, along with the GOP's Cohen (former Sen.Wm.Cohen - ed.), came away from their trip convinced that removing the troops would threaten South Korea's security. They pressured Carter to back away from his plan, which he eventually did. "What did I learn from that?"McCain wonders aloud. "There are policies that presidents can impose, but there are also times when the Congress, and especially members of their own party, can override a president's ambitions or policy wishes."

"Cohen also credits McCain with giving senators important advice as they tried to sort through the views of the White House, the Pentagon, and the service branches. "I would turn to John and say, 'Give us the straight talk'. We put a lot of faith in his judgement on military matters." Ah, the origin of the Straight Talk Express.

When McCain married Cindy, Cohen was his best man and Hart was a groomsman.

In 1982, McCain won the 1st District near Phoenix, putting him in the House of Representatives. Then, four years later won the Senate seat of retiring Senator Barry Goldwater.

The rest is history.

Friday, April 25, 2008

World Malaria Day 2008


Well, I'm not known for doing things half-way, so here is the button announcing today as World Malaria Day 2008.

Not given media play here, as the U.S. is not a part of the Five Coalitions - two in Europe, France and UK; three in Africa, Cameroon, Ethiopia and Mozambique. Belgium is working on setting up a coalition and a new Coalition will be set up this year in Benin.

First Lady Laura Bush and both Jenna and Barbara Bush have taken many trips to Africa and worked very hard on an initiative to donate net bed tents, and medicine, so that Africans will not be infected as they sleep. The Coalitions formed so far are set up differently in terms of organizational structure and decision making processes. This according to the web site:

I hope you will check it out. The problem is completely curable and I hope the U.S. will be even more active in support.

The Malaria Consortium is the umbrella under which Mobilising for Malaria works. It is an advocacy programme receiving most of its support from GlaxoSmithKline's African Malaria Partnership. Yeah, Big Pharma. The evil profiteers the far left would like to punish for success.
Imagine that.

"UNICEF welcomes the opportunity to join in celebrating World Malaria Day 2008. Malaria is a global problem, affecting child health and survival across the world. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, it kills around 800,000 children every year. Greater global awareness of malaria has contributed to a significant increase in resources and as a result coverage of effective interventions is increasing. Country successes in malaria prevention and control have largely been the result of increasing integration of malaria services as a component of comprehensive Maternal and Child Health services. Further scale- up and integration of malaria prevention and control is required, alongside sustained financing, community involvement and leadership, and stronger global, regional and national partnerships". - Ann M. Veneman, Exec Director, UNICEF

"On World Malaria Day, it's important to recognize that the innovation and creativity of business is a critical component in the fight against malaria. Malaria is one of the greatest threats to global health and economic welfare - and it's easy and inexpensive to prevent. We have all the tools at our disposal needed to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease. By working in concert with public health agencies and civil society, the private sector is poised to broaden the reach and effectiveness of these critical malaria interventions and defeat this deadly global epidemic once and for all." - John Tedstrom, Exec Director, Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.

"Although physical height is very useful in basketball, the stature that counts in life is the quality of our service and of our relationship to humanity. Africa is suffering and touched by an unacceptable high burden of disease; especially form a few communicable diseases know as diseases of the poor. These are HIV and AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. Not only do these disease cause untold levels of human suffering and unnecessary deaths, but there is a terrible economic toll it is taking in Africa. Malaria continues to be a killer, particularly of children in Africa. Malaria alone has been responsible for a loss of up to 20% of GDP in Sub-Sahara Africa between 1983 and 1998." - Dikembe Mutombo, NBA All Star for the Houston Rockets and founder of Dikembe Mutombo Foundation. Mutombo is a native of Congo.

"I know from personal experience how important it is for Malaria sufferers to receive urgent medical attention. Alas, not everyone affected is so lucky, so I support any initiative that raises awareness." - Dame Judi Dench, British Actress

"Around half a billion people a year contract malaria - a preventable infection that today still kills on child every thirty seconds. No disease in human history has caused more sickness or loss of life. This year we have launched the MDG Call to Action, bringing together governments, NGOs, businesses, faith groups and civil societies from across the world to get the Millennium Development Goals back on track. And to achieve this we must redouble our efforts to tackle the global development emergency, including the devastation of lives and communities that is the shameful legacy of malaria even in 2008. Only by being bold and ambitious in our approach can we combat and ultimately eradicate this disease." - The Rt Hon Gordon Brown, Prime Minister, the United Kingdom.

"Anyone who has visited countries afflicted by malaria will know just how important the fight against this disease is. With the right education, prevention and treatment, the fact is that every malaria death is avoidable. In large part this is about resources. That is why the Conservative Party is pledged to spend a minimum of L500 million or $1bn- a year tackling malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa, every year until the Millennium Development Goals on malaria have been met. I hope other countries will follow suit. Recognising "World Malaria Day" is a vital step i the work of raising awareness of this disease and prompting action so we can win this fight against malaria in our generation". - David Cameron MP, Leader of the UK Conservative Party.

Senseless, preventable, devastating human loss. The numbers of children dying is heartbreaking. Let's hope the work and interest continues until the job is done.

Read This Post

This morning I am directing you over to Heidianne's blog for a really informative post about the history of Barack Obama and his family. It is well researched and written. It is a bit long but worth the time to go through the timeline. Let her know what a terrific job she's done.

Knowledge is power.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Honors Well Deserved

Two American men were honored yesterday. One, Dr. Michael DeBakey, a pioneer in the medical field and the other, Gen. David Petraeus, a pioneer in the field of military counterintelligence to fight global terrorism.

"His truest legacy is not inscribed on a medal or etched into stone. It is written on the human heart. His legacy is the un-lost hours with family and friends who are still with us because of his healing touch. His legacy is grandparents who lived to see their grandchildren." That, a quote from President Bush as Dr. Debakey was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. The 99 year old Houston cardiac surgeon told Congress to over the Medicare and Medicaid systems by using the model established by the Veterans Administration's medical system. Dr. DeBakey helped to set up the system after WWII.

Two years ago Dr. DeBakey had aortic repair surgery, performed by a surgeon trained by him, and has sufficiently recovered enough to trade his wheelchair for his motorized scooter at the reception at the Library of Congress honoring him. He and his wife made it clear to those around him that he intends to remain active. He said he looked forward to returning to Houston and driving around in his black Porsche. He has operated on more than 60,000 patients during his carer and trained thousands of doctors. "His legacy is holding the fragile and sacred gift of human life in his hands and returning it unbroken," Bush said.

He is a pioneer in the workings of blood pumps and for his contributions to developing MASH units for battlefield casualties. As the article in today's Houston Chronicle points out, DeBakey's work led to the first successful coronary bypass surgery in 1964.

In 1969, President Johnson honored DeBakey with a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

General Petraeus was named chief of U.S. Central Command which is tasked with overseeing operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, besides Iraq, by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. As far as a new administration coming in soon, Conrad Crane, director of the U.S. Army Military History Institute said, "He will give his best advice about what he thinks is the right strategy. He won't shape any recommendations based on the political winds. He will make his recommendations based on the reality on the ground."

Good to know who will be in command. General Petraeus is an American hero and deserving of the promotion. Sweet, in light of the personal attacks lodged against him by the defeatist far left in today's political world.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stop the Presses

At last, Time Magazine's managing Editor Richard Stengel unplugged. In a moment of moral honesty, Stengel said during his speech at the University of Mississippi, "I didn't go to journalism school. But this notion that journalism is objective, or must be objective is something that has always bothered me - because the notion about objectivity is in some ways a fantasy. I don't know that there is such a thing as objectivity."

Did you get that?

He claims the role of a journalist is to answer questions, not ask them. From, Stengel continues to justify the cover of the April 21 issue of the magazine as a "point of view." Needless to say, WWII veterans are not of the same point of view as to the appropriateness of using the image of Marines at Iwo Jima raising the American flag to push the agenda of climate change. He is arrogantly claiming that climate change will take the kind of effort as of the Marines in battle.

So, it makes sense, doesn't it, to have Stengel admit what most readers have come to understand about publications like Time. The are in the agenda pushing business, not the news reporting business. They intend to answer questions for the reader, not pose questions and hear what others have to say.

Typical baby boomer editor - it's all about him and his agenda. Professional and ethical behavior? Not so much.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mentors and Kooks

Mentoring is important in the lives of those benefiting from the experience and knowledge of others. My son and I stopped at a drive-in we like on the way home this afternoon. We ordered our slushies and his mozarella sticks and proceeded to the drive-thru window instead of using the park and carhop service. Today it seemed the service was slow. I made a joke about it to my son as we waited. When we were home and he took his food out of the bag, he showed me a note that was included. "Packaged Especially for You by Special Services Students of a LIFE Skills Class", then named the high school participating in the program. My son said, "You feel guilty for joking now, don't you?" Yes, I did. Note to self: patience is a virtue.

I came across an article on Investor's Business Daily's website, "Another Odd Guru", introducing a mentor of Barack Obama's described as a "trendy left-wing law school teacher who doubles as cybergeek." The article suggests current Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig may be Justice Lawrence Lessig in an Obama administration.

The two were colleagues at the University of Chicago Law School. Today he is an undefined member of Team Obama, having campaigned for Obama in Pennsylvania (where Lessig grew up and went to college)and he explains Obama's positions on Internet law to the press. According to the article, on Lessig's own Web site is a nine-page campaign document detailing Obama's technology policy. A former Harvard Law School professor, Lessig is leading the charge for what is known as "free culture movement" which "insists that the age of the Internet should mean the abolition of intellectual property rights."

"British-American Silicon Valley entrepreneur and "Cult of the Amateur" author Andrew Keen has called Lessig an "intellectual property communist." Lessig says piracy of copyrighted material is a "concept that has at its extraordinary idea that is almost certainly wrong." Yet, Lessig says the age of the Internet has made stealing as a wrong act obsolete. Lessig sees ownership as a constriction imposed on the masses, according to the article. Lessig's goal is to replace a "permission culture" with "remix culture", rejecting the existence of copyrights and intellectual property.

The article claims appointing Lessig to the Supreme Court or even a lower federal court would help make a "Marxism of the Internet". It would have destructive consequences for the U.S. and global economies.

Oh yeah. The article begins by describing a short video Lessig likes to show audiences, which in the past have caused audience members to leave in disgust. Lip-syncing to Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive", Jesus Christ strips down to a diaper and struts along a city street, "effeminately", before getting run over by a speeding bus. While doing the keynote address at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San Francisco in 2006, he showed the film and audience members exited in disgust. Recently he showed the video to Google employees.

Now, that's entertainment.

A First Lady in Waiting

In recent days, I've read a couple of really interesting articles on Cindy McCain. I didn't know all that much about her as a person and, since I am fascinated by the stories of peoples' lives, I am happy to read up on her.

One article by Jill Zuckman from the Chicago Tribune wrote about Cindy McCain's trip to Kosovo during Easter week. She was there to visit schools where children affected by landmines are taught. She also was there to assess the landmine situation with HALO Trust. HALO Trust is an international group that removes mines from post-conflict countries, according to the article. This trip was described as more comfortable than the typical overseas trip for Mrs. McCain. "She has camped out in rural Angola, was once left stranded when an overbearing African minister of education commandeered her charter plane, and witnessed a boy get blown up by a mine in Kuwait."

She is 53 years old and the mother of four. She worries about her son in Iraq and the one graduating from the Naval Academy this year and facing deployment himself. She has only one child left at home now, her Bangladeshi adopted daughter still in high school in Phoenix. She and Senator McCain adopted their daughter from Mother Teresa's orphanage when Cindy realized she couldn't leave the infant behind after the tour of the orphanage. And she is working on staying as healthy as possible after a stroke suffered four years ago. She does so by focusing on a healthy diet, exercise and trying to reduce stress. She took a fall in the grocery store a few months ago and had knee replacement surgery.

She's a trooper. She doesn't whine.

When approached with the thought of her husband running again for President this time around, after having a family meeting with the children on Christmas day in 2006 when they were all able to be together, she was rightfully hesitant. Cindy recounted nasty personal attacks about the adopted daughter they have, about the mental health of her former POW husband, and her recovery from an abuse of painkillers prescribed after back surgery.

Cindy McCain came to realize "with two sons in the military and a nation at war, she said she couldn't say no. "It was not only something he wanted to do badly, but we needed him for the country, " she said.

She cherishes her personal quiet time. As a busy working woman now on the campaign trail there is little of that to go around. She, as an only child, inherited one of the largest beer distributorships from her father. An Anheuser-Busch franchise. I smiled a bit about that as I, too, was raised in the adult libation world. Not beer but hard liquor and imported liqueurs.

She and Senator McCain have been married for 28 years. She was raised in Phoenix where she was her high school's rodeo queen and went on to earn education degrees at the University of Southern California, after which she became a special needs teacher. She met McCain while vacationing in Hawaii with her parents. He was separated from his first wife and they had a daughter plus McCain adopted his first wife's two sons. After the divorce was final, McCain and Cindy were married in 1980. He signed a pre-nup that Cindy's assets would remain separate. He left the Navy and went to work for her father as a public relations manager.

The McCain children remained in Arizona with Cindy as McCain continued on to Washington and a political career in 1982. They thought it important for the children to grow up outside of Washington and keep some kind of normal life.

Cindy's father died in 2000 and she didn't sell his company, as many expected at the time. "I want the employees and their families to know that I will take care of them the way my dad has. I'm not going to sell just because he died," she said at the time. She took over the strategic issues and big budget items, delegating the every day operations to upper management already in place. "I have good people in place...I trust them and I love them. I'm the ultimate person who makes the large decisions; major changes, growth decisions." The distributorship has nearly doubled under her guidance since her father's death. With 700 employees and an annual revenue of $300 million, Cindy has brought sales last year to 23 million cases of beer.

Alcohol sales are measured in cases. I still have a plaque awarded to my father for his first million case year. He was VP of sales and marketing for the distillery.

Cindy McCain owns a private jet and the McCain campaign pays to use it on the trail, according to the article in The Wall Street Journal by Monica Langley. She is an advocate for children's causes through a family foundation she began, with Senator McCain donating some of his speaking fees and book proceeds to do his part.

In 1991, during the Keating Five scandal, Senator McCain was one of five senators probed for ties with a thrift executive. McCain was never charged with any ethics violations, the only one of the five. He was represented by Bob Bennett, later of Bill Clinton impeachment trial fame and Paula Jones lawsuit. Bennett has recently published a book on his law career and has a chapter in it where he pronounces the absolute innocence of McCain. Bennett, a Democrat, recounts the completely bogus investigation with it boiling down to McCain being in the wrong place at the wrong time. McCain has apologized for the appearance of impropriety. I am quite sure he is ready for the haters in this campaign season to dredge it all up again, as though he was found guilty of anything.

During this time, Cindy had two back surgeries and he problems with addiction to painkillers began. She took drugs from her medical charity which she managed herself. In 1994 the Drug Enforcement Administration began an investigation of her and she had to agree to close the medical charity. She paid a fine, performed community service in a soup kitchen and joined Narcotics Anonymous. "I've never been secretive about it at all, because talking about addiction is part of the recovery process," Mrs. McCain said. "It's part of my life; it has made me a better person and certainly made me a better mother." Think any of those open minded 'progressives' will try to attack her husband through this? Think she's in for the Rush Limbaugh treatment from the haters?

Today Mrs. McCain is active in charities specializing in war-ravaged and developing countries. From The Wall Street Journal article, "this summer, Mrs. McCain will join an overseas mission of Operation Smile, a charity she has long supported that travels the world to perform corrective surgery on children's faces."

Cindy McCain will be another First Lady of whom we will be proud.

Monday, April 21, 2008

You Are Known By The Company You Keep

Finally, John McCain has stated the obvious. When questioned on "This Week" Sunday morning, George Stephanopoulos asked whether or not "Obama shares his sense of patriotism", according to McCain answered, "I'm sure he's very patriotic. But his relationship with Mr. Ayers is open to question." Thank you for some common sense injected into this dialogue, Senator McCain.

William Ayers is a former member of the Weather Underground, a terrorist group from the days of my youth. I clearly remember the stories of this group's destruction to buildings such as the Pentagon and courthouses, all in the name of 'protest'. They were terrorists. They killed innocent people in their self-indulgent violent acts. They were an example of the worst of the baby boomers. There was nothing noble or just in the violence.

Ayers' wife is also a former member of the Weather Underground. Her name is Bernadine Dohrn. As recently as in 2001, Ayers has lamented that the group didn't do more bombing. He makes no apologies for his activities.

Ayers has a friend in Barack Obama. He is a neighbor in Chicago. He serves on the same boards as Obama, such as the Woods Group. He held a fundraiser in his home for Obama in 1995 when he ran for State Senate.

"He became friends with him and spent time with him while the guy was unrepentant over his activities as a member of a terrorist organization, the Weatherman", McCain said. "Does he condemn them? Would he condemn someone who says they're unrepentant and wished that they had bombed more?"

Obama tried to brush aside any questions on this relationship during the last televised debate with Senator Clinton. "This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis. And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense."

Then, Obama went on to make a comparison with Senator Tom Coburn, a conservative Republican senator from Oklahoma and an Ob-Gyn who still practices. "The fact is, is that I'm also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who during his campaign once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions. Do I need to apologize for Mr. Coburn's statements? Because I certainly don't agree with those either."

Well, Senator Obama, Senator Coburn never advocated bombing abortionists' houses or clinics.

"To compare him with Dr. Coburn, who spends so much of his life bringing babies into this world, that in my view is really - borders on outrageous," McCain said.

Where was Obama's righteous indignation when Republicans running for President have spoken at Bob Jones University, for example, and are promptly criticized as mean, racist homophobes for simply delivering a speech? Not that they were members of the Bob Jones church family as Obama has with Rev. Wright's for 20 years.

This is still a center-right country. It is not just troubling that Obama arrogantly dismisses his connection - it's that he doesn't understand the concern in the first place by regular American voters. He is in his latte-fueled arrogant mode of 'how dare you question me'? Comparing Sen. Coburn with William Ayers was completely off base. That Obama doesn't see the difference is breathtaking.

First it was Tony Rezko, then Rev. Wright, now William Ayers. All of these relationships are deserving of scrutiny. To think otherwise is ridiculous.

As Michael Barone stated, in U.S. News and World Report, "Obama's choices to associate with Wright and Ayers tend to undercut his appealing message -- very appealing after 15 years of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush -- that we must strive to overcome the racial and cultural and ideological divisions which have dominated our politics. They are something that voters are entitled to weigh as they make their decisions."

William Ayers would still be in jail today if it were not for the technicality in the justice system concerning gathering evidence against him. Obama's full scrutiny of his association with Tony Rezko hasn't begun. Rezko is just now on trial and already Obama's name has come up in court.

Obama did not fare well in the last debate. He acted truly surprised that any of his relationships were questioned. His inexperience was showing. To think he can just brush the questions aside by saying he was a child as the violence was happening, or that he wasn't in church that day, or that he didn't realize his chief fundraiser who helped him purchase his new McMansion in Hyde Park was a crook will only last so long before the voters begin to see the pattern.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Outsourcing Petty Politics

A pattern develops with the speeches and appearances of Senator Obama as he runs for the highest office in the land. He, who claims to be above petty politics and standard gotcha politics, has a habit of letting his campaign surrogates do the dirty work for him.

The first full on assault of Senator McCain, falsely stated by Obama, was the selective quoting of his answer to a question at a town hall meeting concerning the U.S. involvement in Iraq. McCain was asked how long our troops were to be in Iraq and McCain said it would be ok with him if it was 50 years, or even 100 years for that matter, as long as American soldiers were not being killed and warfare was non-existent. As a security detail, such as in Germany, Japan or South Korea, an American presence in Iraq would be perfectly acceptable.

To hear Obama tell the story, McCain expects the U.S. forces to be fighting for 100 years. It was completely dishonest on the side of Obama and it was only for an opportunity for Obama to say once again that he would have voted against the Iraq War. Easy enough for him to say, as he was in the Illinois Senate at the time, not the U.S. Senate in D.C. For a guy with a penchant for voting 'present' on the tough issues, or walking off the Senate floor as a difficult vote is being taken, he sure does talk a big game.

Now Obama has decided to chide McCain as a dunce on the economy. Never mind that McCain has been the chairman or the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, the largest committee in the Senate, for all these years. Obama may want to look at the committee's mission. Obama claims McCain will be more of the Bush economic policy years. He claims the average American household income has gone down $1,000. Problem is according to the most recent Census Bureau data, over the last six years, the increase is $6,052 for the average household. He claims America has lost 1.8 million jobs. According to the Labor Department, there has been a greater than 5.2 million increase. Not to mention the longest consecutive job growth, per month, of any recorded history since World War II. All of these attacks have been spoon fed by the DNC for Obama to repeat. No new politics there either.

The truth of McCain's fiscal record in office is an even bigger problem for Obama. McCain has never requested or brought home an earmark. Not so Obama. McCain voted against the tax cuts of 2001 because the spending increases weren't cut to counteract the tax cuts. This goes to the character of the man, not the political opportunist.

According to MSNBC's First Read, a blog of the liberal cable station, Obama said, "Now, that's what's going on here, but I don't need to tell you this, it's going on all across the country. John McCain yesterday said that we are, that, that during George Bush's tenure, the economy actually made great progress. That's his quote." According to First Read, 'However, the attack, like the one earlier today parsed McCain's comments, quoting him on saying that the economy had grown but not including the fact that McCain acknowledged job losses and had said that the economic statistics brought "no comfort" to those suffering the most from the recent downturn."

Change? No petty politics?

From Slate, an article by John Dickerson on the campaign trail with Obama in Pennsylvania. "On his train tour Saturday, Senator Obama continued to condemn the petty distractions that keep Americans from focusing on real issues. He decried Clinton's "tactics of Washington," in which she attacks him with every possible weapon. While the candidate was denouncing the distractions, his aides were promoting them. Three veterans of the Bosnia conflict joined for a conference call to explain just how crucial this particular distraction was, and why we should ignore Senator Obama's guidance and get obsessed with this issue." "Shortly after the conference call ended, Senator Obama's train pulled into Downington and he worked the crowd into a frenzy denouncing the scourge of petty distracting attack politics."

"Obama campaign aides scheduled the call to talk about Hillary Clinton's fantastical story about her breakneck race to shelter under sniper fire during a visit to Bosnia. You might think this would be the last story the Obama campaign would be pushing, because in Wednesday's debate the Senator mistakenly suggested his campaign had only discussed the issue because reporters had brought it up, not because they were trying to take advantage of Clinton's extended work of fiction. To push the story again now would make Obama look even more insincere about that claim."

Interesting. Obama's own personal style of job outsourcing.

Wonder if those bitter, gun-toting, Bible clutching, beer drinking small town Pennsylvanians will vote for the Obama style of change.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Reaping the Rewards of a Former President

Sundown today ushers in Passover. For those celebrating, Happy Passover.

An early Passover attack from Hamas began about 7 a.m. according to the Jerusalem Post. Hamas gunmen claimed the attack that coordinated heavy gunfire, mortar shell barrages and two car bombs. Two IDF soldiers were moderately wounded and eleven others were lightly wounded, according to the article. The attack took place at Kerem Shalom crossing, on the Israeli side, in the southern Gaza Strip.

"The attack began close to 7 a.m. when two vehicles arrived at the crossing under the cover of heavy fog and one of them detonated near army forces, wounding the 13 soldiers. The second booby-trapped car was spotted by troops after the initial explosion and didn't not go off, the army said. Immediately afterwards, an armored car- which may have once belonged to Fatah security forces- arrived at the scene, and its occupants began firing at the soldiers, backed by heavy mortar shell barrages. Four gunmen, including the driver of the car bomb, were believed to have been killed in the explosion and the exchanges of fire that ensued. Forces then entered Gaza in order to search for remaining members of the cell."

How'd that meeting with Hamas work out for Israel, Jimmy Carter? I realize Carter hates Jews and still to this day holds the absurd opinion that Jewish support for Teddy Kennedy in Carter's re-election bid was why he lost the election, not the fact that he was overwhelmingly incompetent as President, and now delights in acts that will "make the Jews pay" as he promised at the time. But, a person would think Carter would have a glimmer of conscience. His trip to have tea and hugs with Hamas was solely for his own ego. He has no power of foreign policy decisions and he directly violated current foreign policy by trying to 'negotiate' with the terrorist organization. Jimmy Carter, who gave us today's IslamoFascist threats, still doesn't' have the clue that appeasement doesn't work. He is still dangerously ignorant.

Former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has accused the Olmert government of "failing the people of Israel by tolerating the relentless attacks out of Gaza, and said the IDF knew exactly how to counter the violence but was being prevented from doing so by a failure of political leadership."

"If the Olmert government did not know how to stop the Gaza attacks, he urged, let them clear the way for people who can do it a lot better. It's unacceptable what is happening in Gaza. The government might think this is the best possible government. Tell it to the residents of Ashkelon, Sderot, soon of Ashdod. Most Israelis understand this is unacceptable, and most foreign governments I talk to can't begin to fathom why Israel is not using the vast power it has to stop it." That from his interview with the Jerusalem Post.

As Israel prepares to celebrate the state's 60th anniversary, the threat to its very existance remains.

Friday, April 18, 2008

When World Views Clash

"Let me thank you most of all for your leadership. The world owes President George Bush a huge debt of gratitude for leading the world in our determination to root out terrorism, and to ensure that there is no safe haven for terrorism and no hiding place for terrorists."

"It's my profound belief that over many decades, no international partnership has served the world better than the special relationship between our two countries, the United States and the United Kingdom. And following our excellent meeting, I'm able to report that the bond between our two countries is stronger than ever."

"From the darkest days of the Second World War, when the strongest transatlantic partnership was forged to defend freedom, to the challenges we face together against terrorism in every part of the world, our alliance will remain strong and steadfast in standing for freedom and for justice. And we will continue to work together with the strenuous efforts we are making together in Iraq and Afghanistan."

That from the speech of Prime Minister Gordon Brown made at the press conference with President Bush in the Rose Garden at the White House yesterday. I know the press there was having a major heartburn moment, listening to Prime Minister Brown praise the president. He went on to speak about other agreements with the president, such as those on free trade, working with the World Bank to increase food supply and dealing with the housing market.

"And let me acknowledge the pioneering work of President Bush's administration in tackling on the African continent HIV/AIDS and addressing the scandal of avoidable deaths from malaria."

Brown was pressed by the partisan Democrat media covering the event as to which of the three current Presidential candidates he felt most comfortable with, which one he may support above the others. He met with all three yesterday. "It is for Americans to decide who their President will be." And, of course, no clue in the press for what an inappropriate question that was to pose to the Prime Minister in the first place. I guess they assumed he was in the tank for their man Obama, too. What losers.

Prime Minister Brown pointed out the progress in Iraq - that the world should be proud of the infant democracy there now, the training of the Iraqis in foreign affairs and security and the slow but sure political solutions coming to fruition. Again, disappointing the loser press.

And then this: from Power Line: "On WABC radio Sunday, Ahmed Yousef, chief political adviser to the Prime Minister of Hamas, was interviewed. Yousef said, "We like Mr. Obama and we hope he will win the election." "He has a vision to change America."

And, Yousef describes Jimmy Carter as "this noble man" who "did an excellent job as President."

World view is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Ticket to Ride

"For well over a century, the United States of America has played an important role in the international community. On Friday, God willing, I will have the honor of addressing the United Nations Organization, where I hope to encourage the efforts under way to make that institution an ever more effective voice for the legitmate aspirations of the world's peoples. On this, the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the need for global solidarity is as urgent as ever. If all people are to live in a way worthy of their dignity - as brothers and sisters dwelling in the same house and around that table which God's bounty has set for all his children. America has traditionally shown herself generous in meeting immediate human needs, fostering development and offering relief to the victims of natural catastrophes. I am confident that this concern for the greater human family will continue to find expression in support for the patient efforts of international diplomacy to resolve conflicts and promote progress. In this way, coming generations will be able to live in a world where truth, freedom and justice can flourish - a world where the God-given dignity and rights of every man, woman and child are cherished, protected and effectively advanced." That from the text of Pope Benedict's speech yesterday delivered at the White House before 10,000 invited guests.

The Pope was welcomed to the White House in grand fashion. Fife and Drum Corp of the U.S. Army performed in all of their uniformed greatness. Love the hats. The President tapped his heel as they played. The President's remarks began with a quote from St. Augustine, "Peace be with you." Kathleen Battle sang The Lord's Prayer. As the Pope began to speak, the crowd spontaneously broke out in Happy Birthday, acknowledging his 81st birthday.

The U.S. Army Chorus sang The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Kathleen Battle ended the ceremony by leading the crowd in Happy Birthday.

The weather was perfect.

The Popemobile is one pimped out ride. My son and I decided we'd like a spin in that vehicle. It is one of two and this one is a white Mercedes SUV, modified for his needs. It is bullet proof and bomb proof, too, a nod to our times.

The Pope met with the President before the ceremony. He didn't attend the dinner in his honor last night at the White House, or the one at the Italian embassy. His spokesman said the Pope rarely eats in public. He wanted to meet with his Bishops and did so.

Today he conducts Mass at National Stadium in D.C., the first non-sports event in the new stadium.

I'd like a ride.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Elitism As I See It

The Obamas speak as though their humble or middle class beginnings discredit them from being elitists. The arrogance of elitism has nothing to do with upbringing for everyone presenting that behavior. So, Barack came from humble beginnings, raised by his mother, abandoned by her and raised by his grandmother in Hawaii. He went to private school on scholarship? So? Still the world of private schools. I would think that was quite encouraging of his personal attitude.

Michelle sounds like a whiner. That's harsh but it is how she sounds to Obama's opposition. She had a perfectly respectable upbringing from the accounts I've read. She was taught right from wrong and her mother is now helping care for the two young daughters so Michelle can hit the campaign trail. Fine. Then you hear Michelle's speeches or read her thesis from Princeton. You would think that the woman hasn't benefited from her opportunities. She has student loans? So? Took her and Barack a long time to pay them back? So? That's a part of the elite lifestyle she chose for her educational path. A state college in Illinois would have been easier to finance. The point is she was free to choose and did so. Then we hear her say America is a mean country, and she just now finished paying back those loans, and she was waiting on Barack's trust fund to show up. "Where's the money?" she said in a speech, relaying a conversation with him.

Barack has a posture where he holds his head at an angle that appears as though he is looking down at the listener. He's practiced his stance, one used in debates to intimidate the opponent. No big deal but it's there and when he tells Hillary "you're likable enough" in a debate, the voters in the next primary let him know how he came off to them. She won New Hampshire after that and a few tears.

Their elitist attitude is self-made. It has nothing to do with background. It has everything to do with attitude and choices made. I don't begrudge them taking opportunities as they arise. Anyone would. They just lost the humility along the way. Barack can put on the bowling shoes and drink the local beer but then he goes out and relaxes with the ones he is truly most comfortable with, the swells in San Francisco. He was caught and now can't understand why the regular folks were troubled by his behavior. He tries to 'explain' those folks back in small town Pennsylvania. And, they just nod along and agree. It's how they think, too.

His elitist attitude shows in his church. He goes to a church validating black supremacy. Supremacy. We are told how prevalent this kind of cursing and yelling is in black churches. Political screeds from the pulpit. Maybe. But, if so, it's time to amend the tax free status of churches. The few black churches I visited as a child were in the South and there was joyous, loud music and singing but no swearing and political speeches condemning the President and others of a different political party. This church is racist and anti-Semitic.

The last Democrat President, Bill Clinton, was also raised by a single woman, had an alcoholic step-father, influenced by his grandparents and educated in the Ivy League and at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He was the same in rural America as he was on either coast. He could make me cringe when he wasn't the most mannered person on television but we knew who he was. The same with the current President. They are who they are. They aren't trying to be all things to all people.

John McCain? I think he is a very humble man. He had a privileged life as the son of an Admiral, the grandson of an Admiral. The old school military kind of privileged life. He's the first to say he hasn't led a perfect life. But, when called upon, he makes the right decisions. And, he doesn't use the military service of his two sons with Cindy for his political gain. Or the fact that he adopted a child orphaned in Bangladesh, a black child they named Bridgette. His daughter Meghan is on the campaign trail with him and Cindy, now that she has graduated from Columbia University and does a blog on campaign life in photos and some verbiage. He is mocked for his age yet points to his very active, vibrant 96 year old mother on the campaign trail with him. I feel really good about his candidacy.

Hillary? Sociopath. Habitual liar. Self-aggrandising. Huge sense of entitlement. But, I don't think she's getting the nomination so I find myself sticking up for her when that is the last thing I thought I'd ever do. I can't stand the woman.

Long political season.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Pope Does D.C. and NYC, Too.

The Pope arrives in D.C. today and Jimmy has met with and embraced the leader of Hamas. Sounds like we definitely got the better end of that exchange.

I watched the welcoming of the Pope at Andrews Air Force Base. For the first time a sitting President welcomed the Pope there. He will be the second Pope to speak at the White House. The welcome was terrific to watch, but I am prone to enjoy that sort of thing. I love ceremony, pomp and circumstance. I appreciate shows of respect for others. Laura Bush accompanied the President, as did Jenna Bush. I commented to my son that Jenna has turned out to be such a lovely young woman. Quite a different picture than the days of drinking and being young in Austin, at University of Texas. It must kill the press to have to be complimentary to her now.

Pope Benedict will celebrate his 81st birthday tomorrow. As he passed by the onlookers at Andrews, the school children sang Happy Birthday to him, with enthusiasm. Lots of flags representing the Vatican and the U.S. waving. Moments of history.

The Monseigneur commenting on television said the President and the Pope have a warm relationship. He was asked why the Pope decided to visit now and the answer was that the Pope wanted to do it before the political season got any further along and before this President left office.

There will be a big formal ceremony at the White House tomorrow, the Pope will speak to the General Assembly at the U.N. Friday and then go to Ground Zero Sunday. He'll conduct Mass from National Stadium; Yankee Stadium. Quite a strenuous schedule for a man his age.

What I like about this Pope, as a non-Catholic, is that he is characterized as a German academic. He loves policy and is a wonk. Cool. He caused quite a stir during his first major public speech when he dove right into the threats of IslamoFasicism in today's world. Good for him.

The man makes someone like Jimmy Carter look the fool that he is. The older Carter gets, the more ridiculous he seems. He was a failure as a President, after running the state of Georgia into the ground, as I lived there then, and now he is simply an embarrassment as a former President. He chooses terrorists, like Hamas, over Israel every time and doesn't bat an eye over it. He never met a dictator he didn't like, either. The leadership in Israel has refused to meet with him and who can blame them for that? He made up a story that he will try to mediate a release of Galed Shalit, held hostage by Palestinians all this long time, but everyone denies any knowledge of this mediation.

Maybe he'll ask about Hamas MP and Cleric Yunis Al-Astal, who it was reported on Jihad Watch, said during a Friday Sermon: "We will conquer Rome, and from there continue to conquer the two Americas and Eastern Europe." "Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and has planted the brothers of apes and pigs in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam - this capital of theirs will be an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread through Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, and even Eastern Europe."

Nice. The religion of peace.

Never mind that former President Carter ushered in our current day Islamic threats back when he was President and just as clueless as he is now.

Good job, Jimmy.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Chameleon Candidate

As a McCain supporter, I receive an e-mail from my new best friend, Rick Davis every day or so. Rick Davis is the Campaign Manager for the McCain campaign. Today's letter came in the form of a donation request, as they all do. This one focuses on the big ole faux pas Senator Obama made out there in San Francisco that came to light over the weekend.

The silver lining of this long, long, long campaign season is that the junior senator from Illinois is under more scrutiny than he has faced in previous runs for office. This time around it's a national campaign and he has strong contenders. In previous elections, we have learned, he did away with competition for his seat in Illinois state government by technical maneuvers, as reported in the Houston Press article, and then for his seat in the Senate his only challenger was a last minute run by Alan Keyes. Talk about having it handed to him.

The national press, while working hard to put him in the White House, has now been embarrassed into actually doing some reporting on Senator Obama. Not so much his background, which would be helpful, but at least finally some reporting on real time events. Obama was narced on by, of all places, the Huffington Post and a blog entry about the fund raising event in San Francisco with the millionaire and billionaire swells on what is known as Billionaire's Row. Being the chameleon that he is, Obama was all about being one of them. Which, technically he is, with the more than million dollars made since he's been a published author.

Obama said, "You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the job have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them." "And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." Also quoted by Mayhill Fowler at the Huffington Post, Obama "revealed his previously unknown college sojourn to Pakistan". Well, now. Take that you fancy people.

So, not only are the citizens in small towns in Pennsylvania bitter, unemployed, church-going, gun-toting people, they probably haven't been to Pakistan either. Mon Dieu.

There was no press at this private event. I'm sure Obama felt safe in exposing himself to his crowd. Too bad it wasn't the same self he has so carefully been crafting on the campaign trail.

The people in Pennsylvania, like most of America, except on the coasts of America, are not bitter people. They are optimistic, can-do people. They go to church out of joy and faith, not clinging to faith with bitterness. They believe in the Second Amendment. And, yes, jobs have actually been created in Pennsylvania over the past 25 years.

After the Clinton and McCain campaigns chided Obama on his elitist opinions, it was also pointed out that most Americans do not think those living in the middle of the country, flyover country, are anything but regular people.

Most Americans have nothing against immigration, but are not accepting of illegal immigration. Most Americans are not racist. Most Americans are welcoming, giving people. We are a generous and optimistic people. It seems only in Obama's world that he dwells in the negative, or he would not have remained a member of his church, for example. He married Michelle, who wrote a thesis at Princeton about not wanting to think about "further integration and/or assimilation into a white cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant." She has always been a full participant, as far as I read. Ivy League educated, lawyer, generously salaried VP at Univ of Chicago Hospital system, million dollar home, children in private school and after school enrichment cultural programs, Senate wife and now a speaker to large audiences. We should all be so downtrodden.

Obama chided Hillary for drinking in Crown Point, Indiana. She was in video coverage doing a shot of whiskey and then chasing it with a beer. Obama said she was "throwing back a shot and a beer." Well, Senator Obama, in Indiana that is called a boilermaker. See, the average people there know that and it is very common in bars. Has been forever. He was the one, after all, shown drinking a brew in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, home of the beer with that name.

And, for the gun reference Obama chided Hillary with today? OK, call her Annie Oakley. That was easy. But then, mixing up lines written to make a joke of it all, I'm sure, he joked that he didn't believe she was in a duck blind with a six-shooter. Yeah, I would hope not. So, his botched joke further proved the out of touch point.

If we are not to judge Obama by the people with whom he associates, maybe we should just listen to him.

Most of my relatives are living in small towns in Indiana. Not many have lived the kind of life afforded to Barack and Michelle Obama. Yet, they are not bitter, racist, hostile to immigrants, or despondent. Many didn't go to college. All are working that want to do so. Some drink boilermakers and bowl. Others shop at Whole Foods and buy arugula, like Barack and Michelle. The point is that they all are regular Americans. And none of them feel the need to speak to one group of fellow Americans any differently than to others.

Today, John McCain put out this statement: "During the Great Depression, with many millions of Americans out of work and the country suffering the worst economic crisis in our history, there rose from small towns, rural communities, inner cities, a generation of Americans who fought to save the world from despotism and mass murder, and came home to build the wealthiest, strongest and most generous nation on earth. They suffered the worst during the Depression, but it did not shake their faith in, and fidelity to, America. They did not turn to their religious faith and cultural traditions out of resentment and a feeling of powerlessness to affect the course of government or pursue prosperity. On the contrary, their faith had given generations of their families' purpose and meaning, as it does today."

The very people Obama insulted, intentionally or not, are the very backbone of this country. They get up and go to work and school and take care of their families and communities every day, whether it is an election year or not. America is not "just downright mean", as Michelle said in a speech.

Obama was raised in Hawaii and attended private school there. He was briefly a resident in Indonesia and attended religious school there. He graduated from Harvard, editor of the Law Review. He was hired by a corporate law firm in Chicago, as was Michelle. He chose politics and every three years has sought higher office. He should just accept who he is and stop with the chameleon act. It'll trip him up every time. Press present or not.

Listen. They tell you who they really are.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Six Word Memoir and A Senseless Tragedy

What a day.

That wacky woman, Wordnerd, tagged me for a meme where you write a 6 word memoir for yourself. Six words. If you read my blog, you know I am a wordy person and 6 words? Well. Not easy pour moi. Here's what I finally came up with after a few of my self-imposed Type A episodes of putting together just the right ones:

Coffee loving, chocoholic, opinionated Southern woman.

I don't know. I adore my Wordnerd, so I gave it a shot.

Now, I link back to her for tagging me and to the original tag spot.

You are all free to play along as I am not up to tagging the standard 5 bloggers and linking back to them this evening.

I am a bit down and distracted this evening. I went to pick up my son at school, as usual, this afternoon and parked in the student parking lot, as usual. I didn't go to the carpool line as the son was to stay a bit after school to meet with his Dean. I was off to the side that is by the Field House. I was reading to pass the time, as usual, when I noticed two coaches come running out of the Field House. Normally the adults on campus don't run as it causes alarm. One was talking in his walkie-talkie as he ran. A few minutes later I see flashing lights and notice a fire truck pull up in the teacher's parking lot across the field, past the tennis courts. Then an EMT parks at the door of the natatorium. Then 2 emergency vehicles, Suburbans park next to the fire truck. A helicopter circles in the sky. Then another helicopter appears. News crews. I see a stretcher go in, then come back out. Oh, no, I thought. That's not good if no one is being rushed off. Then a tank of oxygen is brought in by an EMT. Teachers are placing themselves to re-direct the students that will soon be streaming out of the buildings. One teacher has a bull horn.

Really surreal.

I hear the loudspeaker announcement that all students must leave the building at dismissal and not linger. So, I knew my son's meeting would be cancelled.

My son came out. I asked what was going on. He said a kid that couldn't swim jumped in the swimming pool during physics class. The physics class had a project where they build boats out of cardboard and duct tape. They were in the last class period of the day, in my son's case it was Environmental Science class, and one of my son's classmates said he got a text message saying, "Dude, a kid just drowned." I think my heart stopped at that point. My son didn't know anything else other than the student couldn't swim and had jumped in after his project finished in the water.

On a local news station's web site it was reported that the student was transported to a hospital. It seemed he survived. Then about 5:00 we got a taped message from school that the student died. So very sad. Counselors will be on campus in the morning.

On the 6:00 broadcast of local news it was reported that he jumped into the deep end with 4 other classmates. He was under water for 3 minutes, according to the report.

Senseless. He was 17 years old.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Listen to Them. They Tell You Who They Are

I'm not watching the House committees and the testimony of Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker today. Yesterday's sessions of the Senate committees were enough. The fact that the Senators demanding defeat in Iraq are mere nothings compared to these two men is never more clear. General Petraeus has been active in the war on terror since 9/11, wrote the book on the counterintelligence being used now and Ambassador Crocker has been stationed in nothing but bad places for most of his career, the last assignment before Iraq being Pakistan. These two men, unlike the whining Senators, are professional and courteous under the strongest of criticisms. They make me proud.

It was John McCain's day. No surprise there considering his story. He asked some tough questions and allowed complete answers. He asked what was being done about recent attacks in the Green Zone, obviously executed for publicity as the General and Ambassador were preparing to come to D.C. Yes, Dorothy, the bad guys are that savvy. Duh. That is why it is so important to remember that they listen to everything said in this country, then use it against us.

Senator Obama may want to remember that.

The other two candidates running for President did the best they could, I suppose. Hillary Clinton looked tired and pessimistic. She couldn't, however, this time get off her line about the willing suspension of disbelief concerning the successes of the surge. She just looked insincere in her questioning by referencing the fact that the surge is a one year plan and here we are at six months and, what? Oh yeah, it's working.

Obama was in the second panel, on the Foreign Relations committee. For a Harvard trained lawyer, he was lame. No smoothly asked questions from him. He could take lessons from Senator Lindsey Graham, who is on the Armed Services committee and a member of JAG corps. Graham was my second winner yesterday. He asked concise, sequential questions and didn't interrupt for his own attention grab. Obama was nothing but interruptions and his penchant of 'look at me', enough about you, let's talk about me moments. Obama even referred back to questioning by Barbara Boxer. If that's the best he's got, to use that nasty little woman as a prop, then shame on him. I know he's the most liberal in the Senate.

Rich Galen writes an Internet column, Mullings, three times a week. He had a good summary of the questioning yesterday. He, too, was struck by Obama's rambling, incoherent questions. "Should we be successful in Mosul, should you continue, General, with the effective operations that you've been engaged in, assuming that in that narrow military effort we are successful, do we anticipate that there ever comes a time where al Queda in Iraq could not reconstitute itself"?


Then Obama goes on to insist we have to dumb down our expectations to slap a success sticker on the mission and bring everyone home. Yeah, pandering for the teacher union vote again, I see. Ambassador Crocker patiently explained to Obama that it is not feasable to leave the status quo on the ground now and consider the Iraqis ready to take over completely.

Those committee hearings are different than reading a teleprompter. I don't care how well you deliver a written speech. Questioning shows real knowledge.

Senator Carl Levin, D-MI, chair of the Armed Services committee started the initial questioning by asking "Admiral" Petraeus to begin his statement. What an old fool.

Senator Joe Lieberman was the third most outstanding on the Armed Services committee. No surprise. He had to leave his own party to live his beliefs. The left. So deranged with hatred.

Senator Evan Bayh, D-IN, a Clinton supporter when it looked like Hillary was going to be the candidate, shooting for a VP slot, showed his non-cred as a questioner, too. He was all about whining about most focus on Iraq now and not Afghanistan. General Petraeus had to do a bit of educating young Evan. Bayh doesn't seem to understand OBL when he says that Iraq will be his base in the Middle East when the coalition is defeated there. Bayh, a grad of Indiana University in my husband's hometown, is an interesting portrait in son trying to live up to his daddy's career. Now that Bayh is a politician and doing the family man charade with the wife and twin boys, well, sure is different than his lifestyle choices in Bloomington. Bayh, too, was asking for 'rough estimates' for withdrawal in Iraq.

The bad guys are listening, Senator Bayh. Wake up.

Both Petraeus and Crocker drove home the point of Iran's interference in Iraq. The Dems were sticking their fingers in their ears, though. La la la, can't hear you.

Then, at the end of the day we learn of the unbelievable quote from an interview with Senator Jay Rockefeller, D-WVA, an Obama supporter, on Sen. McCain: "McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit. What happened when they (the missiles) get to the ground? He doesn't know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues." WOW. So, McCain is a warmonger and fighter pilots are killing willy nilly. Hey, Rockefeller supports the troops. Why would you question that? The Senate is suppose to be the more mature of the two bodies of Congress, more like the eighth grade than the third grade in the House. Rockefeller is the Chair of the Senate Select Intelligence committee. He had to apologize to McCain. He ran over to him on the Senate floor during a vote as the news broke to make nice. "I have profound respect and appreciate his dedication to our country, and I regret my very poor choice of words.", he said.

Some critics say there were no laser guided missiles in Vietnam. My husband, an Air Force veteran from Vietnam service, told me that the experimentation period began just after McCain was shot down. Experimentation with the laser guided missiles began around 1969, 1970, from his memory. And, Senator Rockefeller may want to remember that McCain was shot down. So, he would remember what the ground looked like after a bombing. You know, before he got the crap beat out of him when he was captured.

No, Rockefeller's sorry he was caught.

Listen to them all. They are telling you who they are.

Obama has quite a pattern going here. The surrogates are spewing hate and Obama hangs back and then says he doesn't agree with it.

Listen to them. They are telling you who they are. Actions are loudest of all.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Medal of Honor

Today the 4th Medal of Honor was awarded to a hero of the War on Terror. Petty Officer Michael Monsoor received the award posthumously today from President Bush. His parents wiped away tears and thanked the President for the award. His fellow Navy teammates wiped away tears as the commendation was read and as President Bush told Petty Officer Monsoor's story. The President was choked up at the end of the story and barely finished. I was wiping away the tears streaming down my face. To say the ceremony was moving is an understatement. Senator John McCain was in the front row, paying his respects to the family.

From Matt at Blackfive: "He received his award for actions in Ar Ramadi, Iraq on Sept.29, 2006. On that day, Monsoor was part of a sniper overwatch security position with three other SEALs and eight Iraqi Army (IA) soldiers. An insurgent closed in and threw a fragmentation grenade into the overwatch position. The grenade hit Monsoor in the chest before falling to the ground. Positioned next to the single exit, Monsoor was the only one who could have escaped harm. Instead, he dropped onto the grenade to shield the others from the blast. Monsoor died approximately 30 minutes later from wounds sustained from the blast. Because of Petty Officer Monsoor's actions, he saved the lives of his 3 teammates and the IA soldiers."

Makes all the petty nonsense with General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker today on the Senate side of Capitol Hill seem just stupid. As Senator Joe Lieberman said, the continuing theme for those determined to serve up defeat in Iraq, they see no progress in Iraq, they hear no progress in Iraq and they speak no progress in Iraq.

But, they support the troops.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Free Trade and Respectful Language

Not long ago I mentioned in a post that I thought it unproductive, at the very least, for the Democrats to continue with their obstruction of the free trade agreement with Colombia. The two Democrat Presidential candidates are opposed to the agreement to pander to labor unions. No surprise there in a political season. President Bush is finally sending a bill to Congress to push the agreement along. Needless to say, if he waited for the do-nothing Congress, nothing would be done.

My mention of the free trade agreement in a previous post was in relationship to the police in that country rounding up and foiling a future terror plot with a group in possession of all the ingredients for a 'dirty' bomb. The group taking credit for the developing plot, FARC, is a well-known narco-terrorist group in Latin and South America. You may recognize the group in connection to former President Clinton's last minute pardons of some Puerto Rican members of the gang as Hillary ramped up her first run for New York Senator. Pandering to the Puerto Rican voters in New York as a bit of a reward for Hillary's saving his bacon on Capitol Hill during impeachment time.

Hillary and Obama are both on record as opposed to the free trade agreement with Columbia, our strongest friend in South America. Colombia has done yeoman's work the past 10 years to clean up corruption and violence in the nation. Doesn't warrant any reward by the Democrats in this country, though. What isn't being said is that both candidates have sent representatives to Colombia to be advised on the situation. Hillary's guy, Mark Penn, is now out of a campaign position due to the conflict of interest between his campaign strategist gig and that of working for the Colombian government to get the agreement pushed through.

Penn, though not paid by the campaign, his firm Burson-Marsteller, was being paid a $300,000 contract by the Colombian government to promote free trade. After the story broke about his conflict of interest and Hillary's anger over it all, Penn resigned as chief strategist and advisor. His firm will still conduct polling for the campaign, however. Frankly, I'm surprised he lasted this long. Never mind the conflict of interest, the guy was not the best of strategists. By insisting on holding on to the strategy that Hillary was the experienced, inevitable candidate, there was no plan after Super Duper Tuesday. The campaign arrogantly presumed it would be all over and she would have the nomination wrapped up.

The really interesting story not so widely reported, though, is that the former head of President Clinton's National Economic Council, Gene Sperling, now Hillary's closest economic advisor, has a new book out. In "The Pro-Growth Progressive", Sperling argues in favor of free trade and NAFTA. Hillary's claims that she was always against NAFTA fall false in light of her appointment schedules released recently during her First Lady days. Sperling also claims credit in the recently released book for clearing the way for China to join the World Trade Organization.

A frequent criticism of the Dems about John McCain is his knowledge of economics. McCain admits the economy is less his strong suit than, say, foreign policy or military issues. McCain is the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, as well as former chair for many years of the Senate Committee for Commerce, Science and Transportation. The latter being the Senate's largest committee. So, it's not like he has no knowledge of the economy.

Alan Greenspan has now endorsed McCain. Not Hillary or Obama, both of whom spoke favorably of Greenspan in comments on the trail when they each thought it would bolster a remark.

Remember on the campaign trail in Ohio when conservative radio talk show host Bill Cunningham was warming up a rally crowd for McCain and he used Obama's full name? He used the middle name, Hussein, that everyone is so touchy about? What did McCain do? Though he was not on stage at the time, he was backstage talking with others, he did hear about the introduction and promptly told the crowd that he apologized for the use of Obama's full name and didn't condone derogatory remarks. He did that immediately, before he even began his speech.

Fast forward to a fundraiser in Fargo, North Dakota Friday for Obama. Liberal radio talk show host Ed Schultz introduced Obama to the audience, along with introductions by the state's three Democrats in Congress. As McCain wasn't at the time of his introduction, Obama was not in the room. Schultz referred to John McCain as a "warmonger". Obama, on stage, thanked Schultz and called him "the voice of progressive radio." Then, on Saturday, Obama's campaign repudiated the comment. A day later and not by the candidate but by a statement from his campaign. Quite telling in my book.

The candidate of change, the candidate holding himself up as someone of higher character than the average politician, a new kind of politician, falls far short. Again.

John McCain rightly called for an apology. From : "It's a free country and we have freedom of speech in America and Mr. Schultz is entitled to his views. I would hope that in keeping with his commitment that...Sen. Obama would condemn such language since it was part of his campaign," Mr. McCain told reporters in Prescott, Ariz. "That kind of thing I don't think is necessary at all in this campaign. I've made very clear how I feel about war and my experiences with it."

McCain continues to call for a 'respectful' campaign season.