Monday, June 30, 2008

Yes, Wesley Clark is a Weasel

"I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president." That was said by former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark. Clark, after being a Hillary supporter and stage prop, is now an Obama adviser and supporter. His fingers are crossed so tightly for a top position in an Obama administration that it appears the blood has stopped traveling up to his head. The Obama surrogate is now going on Sunday chat shows and pronouncing the unworthiness of John McCain for President.

This from a man who was fired by the Clinton administration after Clark consistently had troubles with the chain of command as he conducted the administration's war in Kosovo. It is said Clark crossed a line, that he went around the chain of command when disagreements occurred and went straight to Sandy Berger and Madeline Albright. "This chain of command was to the secretary of defense and to the chariman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. That was the loyalty issue and the integrity issue. His job should have been to convince his U.S. military leaders the value of going into Kosovo...That's where he lost an awful lot of respect," said retired General Thomas McInerney.

Jim Geraghty writes in a piece on National Review Online about the criticism of Clark's Kosovo war management by RAND research institute report. The report is called "NATO's Air War for Kosovo: A Strategic and Operational Assessment."

"The majority of the combat sorties that SACEUR (Clark) insisted be devoted to finding and attacking enemy forces in the Kosovo Engagement Zone arguably entailed a waste of munitions and other valuable assets."

Clark loves to brag about being the NATO Commander. He doesn't, however, follow through with the fact that he was fired by the Clinton administration. You may recall that when Clark decided to run for the Democrat nomination in 2004 for President, he stressed his strongest qualification was being a strong leader who knew how to manage a war.

This criticism of McCain's war experience seems to be a loosely organized effort. Clark is the seventh Democrat to publicly call into question McCain's qualifications and use his military experience to do so. So far the public has heard from George McGovern, Jay Rockefeller, Tom Harkin, Bill Gillespie, Ed Schultz, Tony McPeak and now Clark.

Not a peep out of Clark in criticism of the General "Betrayus" ads during the Iraq war surge. Weasels on the left, like Clark, think they can protect themselves by saying they think McCain is a war hero. Then with the other side of their mouths, they bash him. It is despicable.

To the character of the McCain critic, Clark, there is this from a profile of him in 2004 by Jim Geraghty, "Interviews with a wide variety of current and retired military officials reveal that Clark was disliked by only three groups: Those whom ranked above him in the chain of command whom he ignored, his peers at the same rank whom he lied to, and those serving beneath him whom he micromanaged. Other than that, everyone likes him."

The far left blogs have begun the McCain military record bashing, too. Clark is among a stellar group of people. There is Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink, "In 23 bombing sorties, there must have been civilians that were killed and there's no heroism to that." Noam Chomsky said via email "Americans should question the relevance of McCain's torture in an unjust war to his campaign." He continued, "The questions could scarcely even be understood within the reigning intellectual and moral culture - though I don't doubt that much of the population would understand."

These are the supporters of Barack Obama. He sends out surrogates and let's them do his nasty comments. He does this from his wife Michelle, all the way down to old has-beens like Chomsky. He is a politician in the most clever way. He felt the need to do a speech on patriotism from Independence, MO, today to say how patriotic McCain is and a hero. The day after the latest attack. He says he doesn't support questioning McCain's patriotism or service to the country. He doesn't say he doesn't condone the attacks.

From Kathryn Jean Lopez on National Review Online: "Conservatives should not let this Clark moment pass. Barack Obama should distance himself from efforts to dishonor McCain's military service. Obama should be disappointed and saddened. This is not the Wesley Clark he knew. And he should drop Wesley Clark as an adviser. That would be general progress away from the paranoid style of American politics."

Obama wants to be supported for his keen ability of judgement? He has proven over and over again his judgement is severely flawed when it comes to his circle of people around him.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Unity, New Hampshire

Could there have been a cheesier choice of location for a kumbiya rally for the two top Democrats? Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, fashionably coordinated in blue - her pants suit, his tie - awkwardly acting as though everything is just fine.

We now know the price of her support for the Presidential run of Obama is $10 million. That's the number allegedly agreed upon to help retire her campaign debt. Whatever. All about the money for these two. Change?

So, they chose Unity, New Hampshire for the first joint appearance of these two. A state Hillary won in the primary season. The party ripped apart by decades of identity based politics now using town names as symbols. It's all been reduced to a little too cute by half.

Cal Thomas, conservative commentator and writer, remarked today on a chat show that Bethlehem, Pennsylvania would have been a better choice - "since he's suppose to be the Second Coming."

You notice they didn't choose Hope, Arkansas or Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

This morning I was able to attend the monthly meeting of the Houston chapter of Saturday Morning in America. A lively discussion and insight into the local radio market operations was provided by the local producer of the Bill Bennett talk radio show. Coffee, light breakfast fare, and politics on a Saturday morning. Good stuff.

One name that came up in discussion was that of Larry Elder. Yesterday I read an article written by him and published on Investors Business Daily. He wrote of a letter he received by someone signing the letter as 'your former supporter' because Elder doesn't support Obama. The former supporter asked how could "fellow black American feel this way?" Seems for many supporters of Obama, the support for his candidacy is not for any other reason but that he is running as the first bi-racial candidate, mostly referred to as black. I wonder how the white grandmother who raised him, the one he called 'a typical white person', feels about that. Does she think he should be President as an affirmative action candidate?

Elder points out in his response to the former supporter the history of the Democrat and Republican parties as it applies to race. He begins with recalling that it was the Democrats that opposed the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution. Those would be the ones abolishing slavery, citizenship rights to freed slaves, and the right to vote to blacks.

Southern Democrats were the party of segregation. The Ku Klux Klan was founded by Democrats, and they made as their goal to stop the rise of the Republican Party. We still have a former KKK member, the most senior of Democrats in the U.S. Senate, Robert Byrd of West Virginia. He even threw out the N word in an interview not so long ago on television and there was no uprising of outrage from his party. No reprimand.

The percentage of Republicans to Democrats voting in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was higher. Al Gore, Sr. voted against it.

Obama opposes school vouchers for school choice, a way for parents to choose a better school for their children in failing urban schools. Especially affected are young black children. Vouchers work. Is there anything more important than quality education with parental support? The Department of Education was created by former President Carter's failed administration. This bloated and ineffective monstrosity haunts us today. Charter schools are also an excellent alternative.

The litmus test for Democrats - the issue of abortion rights - Elder states that 36% of black babies are aborted, while live births are 17% of total births. Even though blacks are more pro-life than whites the Democrat Party - supported by over 90% of blacks - is the party of abortion on demand. Just that fact that 90% of one ethnic group in our country supports one political party is disturbing.

Elder points out that Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, believed "that poor blacks were inferior and that aborting their babies made our society better."

Obama opposes privatization of Social Security, though blacks would benefit more than whites. Elder points to research produced by the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation.

Big government programs instituted by Democrats have produced generations of low income voters, dependent on living off taxpayers. The War on Poverty? Welfare? Discouraged marriage and the strong presence of a male in the home. How's that worked out?

The Republican Party is no longer the party of the Fat Cats. The Democrats are supported by the wealthiest in the country. George Soros has brought about the widest divide between the parties. He is a self-professed Socialist and has brought the party to his side of the spectrum. Republicans give more to charity - both in time and money - and poor Republicans give more than poor Democrats. Democrats are supported by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett - the top two wealthiest Americans.

Elder wrote,"Compassion is not about making people dependent on government. Compassion is about encouraging personal responsibility, and getting people to understand that life is about making choices."

"You ask how can a "fellow black American feel this way"? Quite a statement. You may disagree, but it doesn't' make me less caring and compassionate. I'm sure you truly consider yourself open-minded and tolerant. But based on your letter, tolerance ends - especially with "fellow black Americans" - if someone has an opposing point of view."

Well done.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Culberson Wins the Technology Race; Delahunt Loses

There was quite an interesting contrast going on around here yesterday, all concerning some form of technology.

The strongest point made is that Republican Congressman John Culberson, who happens to my district's representative in the House, is by far on the leading edge of modern communication with his constituents. Last night I answered my telephone and it was the Congressman asking me to join the town hall interactive meeting that was in progress. Over one thousand people were on the phone line and welcome to press 9 if they had a question for the Congressman. The interaction was also being streamed live on UStream so by connecting to his web site the participant could watch as well as listen.

This was during the live streaming of the web-a -thon for the fundraiser conducted by Move America Forward yesterday, also on UStream. This event was about 8 hours long and really interesting, as I noted while checking it with it during the evening. Members of the Military College at Fort Leavenworth joined in with storytelling of their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan and a video message from General Petraeus' aide in Iraq was shown. He told about how important care packages from home are to the troops, a real morale booster.

The web-a-thon raised over $1 million dollars to send over the largest shipment of care packages ever.

That success gave me a bit more optimism for the civility of the American people than I saw on display earlier in a C-SPAN broadcast of a House subcommittee. The subcommittee dealt with interrogation methods used at GITMO and one witness was David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff. He was treated as a common criminal by the Democrat members of the panel, in their typical pre-9/11 mental dwarfism. Rep. Bill Delahunt, not even a member of the subcommittee yet allowed to be a questioner by the chair, Jerry Nadler (D-NY) as he bypassed the protocol of the committee by not even having them vote on Delahunt's participation.

Delahunt was asking Addington about specific interrogation methods. Addington was rightfully hesitant to go into detail, as it was televised for the world to see. Addington voiced his concerns to Delahunt, stating it was very possible that terrorists were watching. Delahunt, in true Bush Derangement fashion said, "Well, I'm sure they are watching, and I'm glad they finally have the chance to see you, Mr. Addington." And, he said it with a smile.

Smiling as he placed the target on the back of Addington. Delahunt's behavior was vile and inexcusable. I don't care how much he delves into personal violent fantasies starring the President and Vice President, which are all the rage with the books and movies out there courtesy of the 'peace loving' left.

The wisdom of post 9/11 realists have kept this country safe from another attack since that horrible Tuesday in September, 2001. Is a little civility around those the congressman doesn't agree too much to ask?

Vets For Freedom Endorse Senator Cornyn

Vets for Freedom is the largest Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans organization in America. Tuesday, June 24, they announced their endorsement for the re-election of Senator John Cornyn. The organization points to Cornyn's consistent, strong support of America's Armed Forces. He is an active member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"As a proud United States Marine and a Texas veteran of Iraq, I am humbled to speak on behalf of over 25,000 members of Vets for Freedom, including 574 active Texas veteran leaders, in offering our strong endorsement of John Cornyn for the United States Senate," said Vets for Freedom Texas State Captain, Knox Nunnally. "Senator Cornyn understands that the fight we are currently undertaking in Iraq is essential ot our success n the global fight against Islamic extremism. He recognizes and acknowledges the success of our current military strategy implemented by General Petraeus, and has been a steadfast source of support of all the men and women who are winning the Global War on Terror. Our country needs more dedicated people like John in Washington." That from the official press announcement. More followed:

"As the brave men and women who wear our nation's uniform continue to achieve success in Iraq, Afghanistan and other battlefields of the Global War on Terror, it is crucial that we have serious leaders in Washington willing to do what's necessary to protect our homeland. In the Great State of Texas, there is only one man this Marine supports - John Cornyn. Senator Cornyn is a true American patriot, and I am proud to offer the support of Vets for Freedom.

What is Vets for Freedom? It is a nonpartisan organization established by combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to their web site, with the mission to educate the American public about the importance of achieving success in these conflicts by applying our first-hand knowledge to issues of American military strategy.

This is a particularly strong endorsement for Senator Cornyn. His challenger on the Democrat side is an active reserve member of the Army and was deployed to Afghanistan with his unit while he served in the Texas state legislature.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

From The Frontlines

See that widget over there to the right, the one that says From the Frontlines?

Instead of a regular post or two today, I'm simply appealing to your better angel and asking you to accept my challenge to support the web-a-thon today for our troops. It's quick and easy and it will go a long way to show our military that they are held in our thoughts and we thank them for all they do for us.

From the Frontlines is an eight hour marathon with lots of celebrities, talk radio show hosts, troops and military charities getting involved and appearing on the live stream. The project is an idea brought to fruition by Melanie Morgan and her organization, Move America Forward. Uber blogger Michelle Malkin lends her resources to help, too.

Here's how you can do your part: Go here. Simply look through the items available for sponsorship and choose. The level of support ranges from $15.99 on up. Do whatever you are comfortable with and show some love.

It's the least we can do for them.

Appropriately, today is the birthday of the most decorated Marine in American history. Lt. General Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller was born on June 26, 1898 in the village of West Point, Virginia. He was known for his leadership techniques of perfectionism; mission over achievement; and fearless, inspirational conduct under fire.

This project also incorporates "Candy Diplomacy", the program that Nancy Reagan in honor of President Reagan. President Reagan was known for his love of jelly beans, including a large jar of them on his desk in the Oval Office. Together with the Jelly Belly Co., Nancy Reagan introduced the current version of Candy Diplomacy, as a means of diplomacy to strength bonds with the children of Afghanistan and Iraq. Soldiers distribute jelly beans to children, a request made by the soldiers themselves, and the labeling on the packages is written in Arabic and English. The message says: "A gift from the American people in hope that your country will one day enjoy the freedom and opportunities that we have in the United States."

Go ahead. Show some love.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mrs. McCain, Fred Thompson and Cuba Gooding, Jr

Mrs. Roberta McCain, mother of candidate John McCain, is 96 years old and the McCain campaign has often made her available at events. She is a feisty, honest personality - we see where her son gets these qualities. Recently Mrs. McCain was issued a speeding ticket in Chevy Chase, Md and she is known, apparently, for her less than perfect driving record. The $40 ticket was just one of many she has racked up for speeding. McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers acknowledges that.

You may recall Senator McCain telling the story that his mother was denied rental of a car in France last summer, being told she is too old to rent a car. So, as she was traveling around Europe with her twin sister, Rowena Willis, Mrs. McCain solved the transportation dilemma by simply purchasing a car to drive around France. Listen, that family has some strong genetics going on.

And, for the record, Mrs. McCain is a big fan of NASCAR. No doubt.

Fred Thompson has been selected, according to sources close to John McCain's campaign, to vet judicial appointments, including those for the Supreme Court. Thompson has already been used in a conference call with reporters last week after the Supreme Court's ruling on detainees at Gitmo, without any formal acknowledge of his official input. This is a strong act of reaching out to conservatives in the Republican party who were disappointed Thompson ran such a lackluster campaign himself. He has a long history of working with McCain in the Senate, including the campaign finance reform legislation that was originally known as McCain/Feingold/Thompson Finance Reform before the Thompson name was dropped.

And, speaking of actors, did you know Cuba Gooding, Jr. was a guest at the White House last week? He was there for presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor, to Dr. Ben Carson. Dr. Carson is director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins and best known for separating conjoined twins. He's been awarded lots of honors during his career and the subject of books and a play. According to the Washington Post, a movie project based on his autobiography, Gifted Hands, is about to get off the ground after many years of delay. Cuba Gooding has signed on to play the doctor and it is slated to be shown on TNT.

Gooding told the Washington Post that he wants children -"especially African American children - to be inspired not only by rappers and sports stars but professionals such as Carson".

That's a step in the right direction.

More Goodness From Senator Cornyn

An update to the still developing story on the corruption of the mortgage industry, and of those sitting Senators named as recipients of sweet "VIP Package" loans.

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), the ranking Republican on the Senate Ethics Committee, has jointly proposed an amendment for the housing legislation pending in the Senate that requires more stringent disclosure of senators' mortgages. According to CQ Politics, all six members of the committee are in agreement. Senator Cornyn and Chairwoman Barbara Boxer have the other 4 members of the committee as co-sponsors.

"Accountability in government is only an empty promise without transparency and disclosure," Cornyn said in a statement.

This was first suggested by Cornyn on June 17 as the public accounts of Countrywide Financial and the links to Senators Dodd and Conrad came to light.

There is no word, as the panel operates with discretion, if a formal investigation has begun.

An article by Ben Pershing of the Washington Post includes the tidbit that the Politico asked all 100 Senators about their mortgages. A total of 77 agreed and 23 didn't cooperate with the questions. The list is on the Politico's web site. Go there and find out if your senators are in need of some questioning of their own.

Keep up the good work, Senator Cornyn.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rep. Keith Ellison Brings Obama Back On Track

Keith Ellison, the only Muslim member of Congress, has brokered a peace between Barack Obama and two Muslim women who were denied the opportunity to stand behind Obama during a speech in Detroit, while he was being given the official endorsement of Al Gore.

Good for them for finally standing up and calling the candidate of hope and change on his campaign's bad behavior.

Keith Ellison confronted Obama over the snub of two Muslim women wearing head scarves in Detroit by campaign staffers who refused to let them stand behind Obama. The staffers were later referred to by the agent of change as "low level volunteers" and he did the I'm sorry if anyone was offended type of apology. Not much respect for the volunteers behind the scenes, I see.

The confrontation between Ellison and Obama was characterized as "cordial but direct" during the Congressional Black Caucus meeting and the chair attempted to gavel it down so that it didn't become too heated. This is the same meeting in which Obama told women supporters of Hillary that women voters were just going to have to "get over it" and support him in November. Mr. Compassion. There's some real reaching out to the other side for you.

From The New York Times: "While the senator has visited churches and synagogues, he has yet to appear at a single mosque. Muslims and Arab-American organizations have tried repeatedly to arrange meetings with Mr. Obama, but officials with those groups say their invitations - unlike those of their Jewish and Christian counterparts - have been ignored."

According to Wall Street Journal Online: "The Obama camp even refused Rep. Keith Ellison's offer to speak at an Iowa mosque, "because it might stir controversy."

Why is the candidate so cowardly when it comes to Muslims? He'll have all the Muslim votes he wants in November so why is he snubbing them? Just because he can? It seems he is taking the same path with Muslims that the Democrat party takes with the black voter, taking their votes for granted and not doing any real work with them.

Maybe this time the minority will speak up and demand recognition. Demand some accountability. Good for Rep. Ellison for taking Obama to task for his dismal behavior.

When does all of this hope and change kick in?

Senator John Cornyn Supports Military Families

If you are a Texas voter, you know we have a race for the senate re-election of Senator John Cornyn. His opponent has spent his time criticizing Senator Cornyn's support of the White House backed version of the G.I. Bill improvements. The worm turned in favor of the version sponsored by the White House and rational leaders like John Cornyn recently as the House voted 416-12 last Thursday to add transferability to the bill.

As I've noted before, the main difference between the bill introduced by Senator Jim Webb and the bill supported by the White House and other strong supporters of military families, like Senator Cornyn, was the issue of transferability - the option of transferring G.I. education benefits to a spouse or children of the G.I. if the benefit is not used by the military member. Senator Cornyn grew up in a military family. Cornyn's father was an Air Force B-17 pilot and a German prisoner of war. Cornyn supports the mission of providing as much flexibility for the families of our military and encouraging retention of troops.

Rick Noreiga, running as a Democrat for Senator's Cornyn's seat in the Senate, shamelessly campaigned on his criticism of the bill that has now been sponsored by even the Democrats in the House of Representatives on Memorial Day weekend. While John Cornyn was attending a funeral of a fallen hero in Texas, Noreiga was making mean-spirited remarks to glorify himself as he campaigned.

Texas needs a Senator like John Cornyn, who puts politics aside and votes in favor of families, including military families, not another Democrat who is simply interested in his own personal ambitions to the determent of our voluntary military force.

I support Senator John Cornyn. Senator Cornyn looks to long term solutions, not the quick, easy short term.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Angelo's Friends

When my husband and I purchased our first home, in 1985, the mortgage was financed by Countrywide Financial. That name may sound familiar to you now, given the recent news coverage of the sub-prime mortgage 'crisis'. Allegedly, according to politicians like Barack Obama remarking on the campaign trail about Countrywide Financial CEO, Angelo Mozilo, the company takes advantage of "ignorant borrowers to make subprime loans it knew wouldn't be paid off and then selling the loans to the quasi-governmental Fannie Mae mortgage agency." That from Investor's Business Day on June 17, 2008.

Obama, the candidate of change, continues to surround himself with mouthpieces of the past. In particular, Jim Johnson, the man selected by the candidate of change to head up Obama's vice-presidential search committee, is a long time Democrate insider and, more importantly, money-man, had to leave the campaign as the scandal develops and Johnson's dealings with Mozilo and Countrywide are exposed.

Two high ranking Democrat Senators, Christopher Dodd who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, along with the tag of former Presidential candidate and now supporter of Obama, and Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota who chairs the Finance Committee and sits on the Budget Committee, have fallen into the net cast in by investigators.

Both Senators denied any sweetheart deals and as recently as last month, Dodd had the chutzpah to rant on, blaming President Bush for the subprime mortgage mess, as he was praising a $400 billion bail out for the industry, including his buddy Angelo. Yes, it's Bush's fault, it's always Bush's fault.

The one Republican named to date involved in improper activities is former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson. You'll note the 'former' designation. And, former Health and Human Serivices Secretary Donna Shalala and former U.N. ambassador and assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, both from the Clinton administration and Holbrooke now an Obama advisor, also appear to have benefited as a Friend of Angelo. It appears Mr. Johnson was happy to refer the Washington insiders to Angelo.

Senator Dodd received two mortgages with no closing costs. The fixed rates were 4.25% and 4.5%. Senator Conrad said that he didn't 'know' Angelo. Then he had to admit that, well, he did call him and yes, he got a good deal. His deal? Low interest, no-cost loan for a $1 million beach getaway and another loan, a commercial loan that wasn't even offered to other customers, as Countrywide is a residential lender.

Conrad said, "I did not think for one moment - and no one ever suggested to me - that I was getting preferential treatment." Well now. Then, though he said no preferential treatment was given, Conrad pledged to give away $10,500 in mortgage savings to charity.

Senator Dodd admitted that he was told he'd get a VIP package, but he didn't think that was anything more than a courtesy. Yeah, it was a courtesy in my mind.

Any investigations going on with these two sitting Senators? No. The 'ethics committee' isn't certain that an investigation is necessary. Can you imagine if the two were Republicans?

These two sitting Senators are chairs of two committees directly responsible for legislation concerning the alleged mortgage crisis. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, thinks an investigation is warranted. He's called for hearings to find out if anyone in Congress has received this preferential treatment on mortgages with Countrywide.

Remember when former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, was drummed out of his position due to an allegedly improper book deal? And then the book deal was found to be completely above board. And Gingrich returned the advance money anyway? Yeah, he's a Republican.

I found it interesting that these two sitting Senators were the ones named for the sweet deals. Dodd, always a pompous ass when it comes to self-righteous speeches on the Senate floor and Conrad, the go to guy on the budget for pontificating on the Senate floor. Those evil Republicans are so fast and loose with money.

One little piece of information that needs to go out to the public from the 537 page bill on mortgage bail-outs has to do with a fingerprint database that Democrats are putting into place. According to The Wall Street Journal, "A measure creating a federal fingerprint registry totally unrelated to national security or violent crime may clear the Senate with little debate. The legislation would require thousands of individuals not suspected of any wrongdoing to send their prints to the feds. This is a part of the bill scheduled for a vote tomorrow.

That's right. The blowhard Dems, so outraged that the Constitution has been shredded under this administration, that all of our civil rights have been trampled on (though no evidence of this has surfaced, only politics of defeatists as usual), put in this provision: "an individual may not engage in the business of a loan originator without first obtaining a unique identifier. An individual is required to furnish to the newly created Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry information concerning the applicant's identity, including fingerprints that will be sent to the FBI and other government agencies." So it's bonus time on Capitol Hill - a new government agency and a new database to leak personal data when it is politically opportune.

This term 'loan originator' is odd. It covers "employees working for mortgage lenders and brokers and real estate firms, including clerical employees, part-time and seasonal workers. An originator is defined as anyone who takes a residential loan application; and offers or negotiates terms of a residential mortgage loan for compensation or gain. Real estate agents are also covered if they receive any type of compensation from originators." Hmm.

Does targeting low level employees help in any way to prosecute those accused of wrongdoing at the top, making the big bucks off corrupt business practices?

Among the 14 sponsors of the Senate's S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act introduced in February, where the fingerprint provision was originally placed into legislation, were 2 Republicans, Mel Martinez of Florida and Elizabeth Dole of N.C. What are they thinking? The others, Democrats, included Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Surprised? Yeah. Me, either.

Investigate Dodd and Conrad and have them step down from the chairmanships of the relevant committees in the meantime. Maybe that will speed up the stalling currently going on in D.C. The issue isn't going away.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Death Threats And Advertisements

In the Houston Chronicle I read a story of the publisher of the Pakistan Times, a free Urdu weekly in the Houston area with a distribution of 15,000. Sheikh Najam Ali now receives anonymous death threats, advertising cancellations and removal of the paper at distribution sites.

The offensive act committed by Ali? He ran an ad that local Muslims say is an insult from a sect wishing to advertise their celebration. The local Muslim community says the Ahmadiyya sect is not Muslim because the followers don't recognize Muhammad as the final prophet. They believe that in the 19th century Mirza Ghulam Ahmad came "in the spirit of Christ to revive the religion of Islam", according to a local imam.

Ahmadiyya was established in 1889 in Punjab, India. The constitution of Pakistan declares it non-Muslim. Some Muslims consider it heretical.

For Ali, the decision was a business decision. He ran the ad twice and then covered the event for the newspaper. "I don't care how many advertisers I lose. I'm taking a stand on this one. I have rights." Ali is Shia. "It was just an advertisement. It has nothing to do with my beliefs."

His job is to run ads and he doesn't feel discrimination should play into that. He includes the entire Urdu-speaking population in Houston.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, this sort of incident happened in New York City to the publisher and editor of the Urdu Times and to the editor in chief of the Pakistan Post. They received threats in response to the coverage of alleged criminal activities by Pakistani-Americans in New York City and for printing opinion pieces by Jewish authors.

An interesting note is that a similar ad published, in English, in a South Asian local weekly, Voice of Asia, has received no reaction.

A local Muslim radio show co-host encouraged listeners to cancel advertising commitments if offense was taken. The local president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston said the newspaper had the legal right to run the ad and news story. "In America, everybody has a right to exist and worship. What difference does it make if the Ahmadiyya group came and claimed whatever they claimed and asked to be part of the mainstream? What if this was a Jewish group or a Buddhist group?"

This should serve as a bit of a wake up call to those still doubting the existence of those unwilling to assimilate in communities across America. The hatreds of the old country, of old religious prejudices are not part of the American dream. In days past, people of different faiths and ethnic backgrounds learned to come together in a community and show some tolerance. For those who are using the ridiculous assertion that radical Muslims are no more of a threat than evangelical Christians, I would say that Christians in this country don't lodge death threats or carry them out in the streets of a city. Even the few bombings of abortion clinics, a horrific act to show judgement of a personal moral issue, were infrequent and no longer exist.

Is this a 'change' Americans are willing to accept?

Sgt. 1st Class Gabe

Sgt. 1st Class Gabe has recently been awarded a medal from the American Kennel Club. Gabe is a yellow Labrador retriever and a top military dog serving in Iraq.

With his partner, Sgt. Charles Shuck of the 178th Military Police Detachment, Gabe has conducted more than 170 combat patrols. According to the Houston Chronicle, Gabe was wandering the streets and howling at the moon before he was taken into the Army.

Gabe followed in the paw prints of other rescued Labs and was chosen for security duty, but not in the traditional work in airports. According to the Southeast Texas Labrador Retriever Rescue Group, Gabe is the first of the group to go to war. The group's president, Dina Barron, said, "This is really special to see how far he's gone."

Gabe was sent to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio in 2005. A year later Gabe was ready to go to Iraq. My husband, on a personal note, was also trained at Lackland. He is not, however, a Labrador retriever. He trained in the late 1960's and went to serve overseas in the Vietnam war. He, too, received awards, but not from the American Kennel Club. Just sayin'.

Gabe's award is called the Heroic Military Working Dog Award metal. Gabe provides a safe environment in the execution of his work as a bomb sniffer. On patrol he conducts, with his human partner, search operations, raids and sweeps. The task forces, Iraqi police and other coalition forces benefit from the work of the pair.

Paws up for Gabe.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

World Refugee Day 2008

Officially, yesterday was World Refugee Day, but since it received no interest by the media in this country, I thought I would write about it today.

Yesterday, at the White House East Garden, First Lady Laura Bush delivered a short speech and welcomed three guest speakers, all recent refugees, tell their stories. The three were: Eh Moo Hoffman, who was "born in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border. Her parents had fled from Burmese soldiers who tortured, raped, and killed her native Karen people. After more than 20 years living in danger, she and her family were able to resettle in the United States last year." She is still young, a sweet woman in her early twenties, and had a bit of trouble keeping up with her speech on paper. It was endearing. I wanted to just tell her, "take your time, just take a breath."

Zeyad Abdel Okhowa "fled Iraq with his family after his work with the U.S. Embassy in Al Hillah put him in danger. Today, he works with the State Department's Digital Outreach Team to help improve understanding between Arab and Muslim communities and the United States." He was funny. He was a bit of an advertisement for the Chamber of Commerce of Boise, Idaho. Boise is where he originally was welcomed in this country, along with his family. He said the city treated them almost like celebrities. He recommended everyone visit Boise.

Rose Mapendo's "husband was executed,and she and her children were imprisoned in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She gave birth to twins while she was in jail, and she struggled to keep them alive. Rose and her children fled the Congo on an emergency evacuation flight in 2000. Today, she's an American citizen and the spokesperson for "Mapendo International, " a non-governmental organization that assists refugees." She was a very sympathic figure. A woman, a widow raising 7 children on her own, escaping her country with her children in an emergency evacuation flight. She spoke of her fear and imprisonment in her country. She spoke of witnessing the execution of her husband and other men in the village. She broke down and wept a bit as she spoke. And, she was beautifully attired in her native dress.

All delivered moving first hand accounts of leaving homelands and coming to America to start a new life and experience the gifts of freedom of movement, speech and the ability to pursue work and provide for their families. All three expressed thanks to the American people and to President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. Sorry, haters. America is a force for good in this world.

Laura Bush announced that President Bush approved a $32.8 million emergency funding bill to support "unexpected and urgent needs, including food, for refugees and conflict victims in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Western Hemisphere."

Laura Bush said a U.N. survey concludes that there are 11 million refugees worldwide, and millions more displaced by conflict and persecution. World Refugee Day allows people around the world to recognize these men, women, and children.

I hope that some of the hurdles that the Iraqi refugees face when trying to come to America and begin a new life will soon be removed. It is a long and difficult process. My husband has had the honor of writing letters of reference and letters of recommendation for several men with whom he worked during his time in Iraq and with whom he remains in touch. We wish them all the best.

I hope we all do. And God help them all if America withdraws before the ones left behind have a chance of survival.

"It is only a matter of time the people of Iraq will prove to the naysayers the people of the Middle East want democracy", said Zeyad Abdel Okhawa.

Friday, June 20, 2008

McClellan Sells Soul Cheap

Today on Capitol Hill House Judiciary Committee chair John Conyers (D-MI) and Ranking Member chair Lamar Smith (R-TX) opened up a hearing on the alleged covert agent Valerie Plame Wilson's identity leak to the press. You may remember that Conyers promised impeachment proceedings against Bush/Cheney during the campaign season of 2004. Then he had to take it off his Congressional web site when newly installed Speaker of the House Pelosi promised no such thing.

The hearing was brought about to question Scott McClellan about what he knew/didn't know about the alleged leak.

Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL), whom you may remember as the official spokesman and arguing mouthpiece for Obama's campaign during the recent DNC meeting on the Florida and Michigan primaries, declared after the release of McClellan's tell-all book that he'd insist that McClellan be brought up to Capitol Hill and be questioned about statements made in the book concerning Bush/Cheney/Rove/Libbey/and Barney the dog. As far as I know, Mrs. Beasley is off the hook...

I watched the first of the hearing. I saw no need to watch the whole thing. It was immediately clear to me that this is all about McClellan getting revenge on Libbey, Rove, and to a lesser degree Cheney and Bush. He now wants to play victim. He says he wrote the book to tell the true story of what happened while he was at the White House. However, even he admits the finished product is different than the original book proposal. The publishing house, Public Affairs, is publisher of six books by George Soros, the largest contributor to Democrat 527's. These 527's are the only ones currently running hit ads against a presidential candidate. He has bankrolled attack ads on McCain on behalf of the Obama campaign.

McClellan, while claiming the high ideal of trying to change the culture of politics in D.C., of trying to bring bi-partisan cooperation is no better than Obama, also mouthing the words of an agent of change. Both have lost credibility on that point.

McClellan entered the hearing room yukking it up with the mass of photographers, all smiles and Mr. Happy To Be There. I think at this point he's just happy to be anywhere.

Conyers clearly is going for the obstruction of justice angle on the administration as far as intelligence reports not made public before the war in Iraq. He asked for Scott's 'thoughts' on the pardon of Libbey. For these Democrats, it's all about 'thoughts' and feelings, opinions. Not facts.

Lamar Smith welcomed everyone to the First Book of the Month Club meeting. For the next one, he said he'd like to recommend Ann Coulter's How to Talk to a Liberal, If You Must. He made reference to the fact that McClellan has no footnotes in his book, and very few quotes. He asked if it was written for revenge, for money? He noted that the three year investigation held by the special prosecutor found no evidence of outing of Plame at the instruction of the White House. Libbey wasn't even held accountable for that. The only charge he was held with was the same as Martha Stewart's in reference to honesty of testimony to the Grand Jury.

So, the road to a call for civility and bi-partisanship, conveniently lodged in the heat of a Presidential election year, at the end of a lame duck President's term, is paved with a check for $75,000. That is the advance McClellan verified he was given for his book. Plus whatever his cut of the sales profits are. I'm guessing McClellan will fall short of the millions made by the other agent of change using book form, Obama.

Looks like his very partisan publisher knew Scottie would sell his soul on the cheap.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

More Change, Obama Style

Not since the days of Richard Nixon, when the system was put into effect, has a Presidential candidate opted out of the public financing of his campaign. Not until, that is, Senator Barack Obama, the candidate of change.

The candidate of change, as recently as 2006, was waxing poetically about public financing of Presidential campaigns. He went so far as to say that while he agreed with the work being done by the senior senator from his state of Illinois, Dick (Gulags) Durbin on the efforts to reform lobbying and the flow of money into campaigns, until all Presidential campaigns were completely funded by the public then elections would not be fair. That was before his change of mind. That was before he ran for President himself, as a man of change, and decided since he was raising buckets of money he didn't need no stinkin' public financing and the rules it brings.

Buckets of money in politics. No change there. Politicians who go back on their word. No change there. Hmm. Where is this elusive change, anyway? I guess we'll put this change of mind into the column keeping track of broken promises from the junior senator from Illinois. We'll pencil it in right under the agreement he made with Senator McCain on being a part of the group sponsoring ethics and lobbying reform and then going back on his word at the eleventh hour.

Change is in the eye of the beholder.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Iowa Floats

I watched Senator John Cornyn on C-SPAN, from the floor of the Senate, this afternoon. He brought up the shameful performance of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on a bill like the one on global climate change that was brought before the Senate last week for a vote. Reid, as is his pattern of operation, denied the minority a chance to offer amendments for a vote. The election promise during the last election cycle made by Democrats like Reid that Democrats, once in control, would be generous with respect for the minority. They promised to allow amendments for votes, while complaining that they were denied such respect while in the minority themselves. So much for the popular nonsensical motto of 'change'.

Cornyn referred to Reid's shameful execution of his Majority Leader duties. I agree. He's been a complete failure and the American people have noticed. He and Nancy Pelosi have brought the congressional poll numbers to all time historical lows. How's that for 'change'?

I fully support the re-election of Senator Cornyn. I am proud that Texas has two strong, principled Senators representing our state.

I hope the two Senators from Iowa do a competent job for their people. I am so proud of the people of Iowa. That state has been devastated by flooding in recent days and the people are a model for the rest of the country on how to handle a natural disaster. I have yet to hear any person who has lost a home, lost a crop, lost animals, lost everything, complain that 'the government' isn't taking care of them. No one is on a roof screaming for help. No one is blaming President Bush.

And, when they were told to evacuate, they did.

Much like the people of Mississippi who were struck just as heavily as those in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, they talk of re-building, of putting their life back together. And, they are well on their way. Much like the people of western coastal Louisiana and east Texas who were devastated by Hurricane Rita on the same scale as those of Katrina, they carry on. Many still working and waiting for their community to be brought back, for their final settlements to come from insurance companies. Unlike those in New Orleans, they too refrain from pointing fingers and blaming everyone else with no thoughts to personal responsibility.

I think the people in Iowa will benefit from the improvements made in the execution of the work done by FEMA. Though the agency was overwhelmed during Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, as was local, state and federal government, it was promptly forgotten the very competent jobs the agency performed in the State of Florida during past years of hurricane damage. Even with the management of former agency head Michael Brown. True, during Katrina Brown was in over his head but hardly the scapegoat he was made out to be.

There are no mayors on nightly news broadcasts screaming at the President. There are no press conferences with the Governor of Iowa crying and bemoaning all the decisions that must be made. And then not making them, mostly out of political spite.

Thank goodness these people living in Iowa have the common sense of Midwesterners. And the personal strength, character and sturdy backbones. They act with the true American spirit, the can do spirit, the weary optimism of people who are resolved to get through it all.

"It will certainly take a long time" to rebuild, Governor Chet Culver said. "We will rebuild Iowa, and we will be stronger at the end of the day." He has little patience for those looking, like the ever present media, to place blame. "While people are looking to place blame and to point fingers, the fact is we are dealing with a raging wave of water that we have never seen before."

Kudos to the politicians at the local, state and federal level who have put the needs of the people above political ego and are doing what needs to be done.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Obama Finds Bitter Voter Man

Senator Obama has finally found one of his bitter Americans to hold up to the public for all to see. I think even Obama's millionaire fundraising guests to whom he referenced bitter Americans may be able to relate to the example. It's Al Gore. Al Gore is an example of a bitter American clinging to religion (but flunked out of Vanderbilt Divinity School),and guns (ran as a supporter of the 2nd Amendment rights as a politician from Tennessee), while going into the family business (tobacco farming) before following Daddy Gore's career into politics, as Daddy Gore made a fortune with the mentoring (and cash) from the oil baron of Occidental Oil.

Now, Al Gore has denounced the tobacco farming as his sister died of lung cancer, insists we listen to his brilliant opining on global climate change, and is fabulously wealthy from investments in the 'green' technology he demands be ramped up for all.

Gore endorsed Obama yesterday in Michigan. Obama is catering to the Michigan voters since he ignored them during the primary process. Not to mention that McCain is ahead of Obama in the polling of this battleground state. You may remember the Obama campaign trotted out John Edwards for his announcement of endorsement there, too.

Al Gore lost his bid for President in 2000 - his third time trying for it - but he sure found a path to fame and fortune with the willing followers of his global climate change proclamations. He was counting on all that goodwill from his loss of Florida in 2000, those on the left so gullible to anything labeled 'crisis' and feeling good supporting their guy Al. He wuz robbed, you know.

From The New York Times, "When I am president," Mr. Obama said, "I will be counting on Al Gore to help me lead the fight for a clean energy future here in the United States and around the world." Wow. So now Al and Barack are going to green the whole wide world.

Quite the pair of arrogant, self-absorbed politicians. Every last thing in their world is all about them. There is some real change for you.

Senator Obama, still beating the dead horse that is his protestation of the war in Iraq, dating back to 2002 when he was in the Illinois legislature and didn't have a vote on the matter, said Iraq was "a war that Al Gore understood should never have been authorized and never should have been waged." However, for the conveniently short of memory, in 1998 The Iraqi Liberation Act was presented to Congress by then President Clinton and VP Gore. This is the Act referenced when the Senate voted to authorize President Bush to proceed with a resolution on Saddam's reign of terror in Iraq.

"We know that he stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." 9/23/02

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction have proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." 9/23/02

Both quotes from Al Gore.

I truly do hope Obama continues on with his reasoning on Iraq and bringing along others with him. All elections are about change. George Bush and Richard Cheney are not running. Obama is incapable of doing a speech without referencing the present administration, as if they were on the ballot and as if John McCain has been their 'rubber stamp'. The Obama campaign is going to have to step it up if they want to succeed against the McCain campaign.

Opponents of Obama are active and vocal. The nation is still split almost evenly. The race continues to be polling even, within the margin of error.

Change is good. But some voters have a different idea than Senator Obama's vision of America. We intend to oppose Marxism at every opportunity.

Yes, we can.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The NASA Missions

On June 16, 1963, the first woman was launched into space. Her name was Valentina Tereshkova, a Russian cosmonaut. It was twenty years later that Sally Ride became the first American woman to ride into space for NASA.

I watched a new series on the Discovery Channel last night. When We Left Earth, The NASA Missions began last Sunday with the first and second installments. Last night the third and fourth were shown. First shown was "The Explorers" featuring first person accounts of space exploration following Apollo 1. Skylab was discussed as the first project for astronauts to live in space. Accounts from the first twelve astronauts still living who landed on the moon surface were told by them, giving the documentary style program a true human touch. Film footage from the past was shown all throughout.

Some of the system analysts from back in the day were interviewed and old footage of them sitting at the control panels monitoring from NASA 's Johnson Space Center in Houston made for an interesting contrast of how the men looked then and now. All men then, no women, working as a team to get the vessels into space and then back home safely again. The average age of the first system analysts was just 26 years old when America first went to the moon.

Everyone was winging it. Making decisions and solving problems on the fly. Exciting and horrifying all at the same time.

The second installment was "Landing the Eagle" and it deals with the Apollo 1 fire. To be the first manned mission for a lunar landing, Apollo 1 astronauts Grissom, White and Chaffee were killed in a fire during training. The fire began in electrical wiring under the seat of Gus Grissom. NASA says that the astronauts were dead within 30 seconds. I cannot imagine the horror of burning alive - 30 seconds is a long time in that situation.

My father went to school with Grissom and was a classmate of Grissom's younger brother. They lived in Mitchell, Indiana, a small town in southern Indiana. Today Mitchell has an interactive memorial to the life of Gus Grissom.

I look forward to the final two installments next Sunday night. I have to catch the first two in reruns. I highly recommend the series. NASA is a favorite tourist destination here in my city. There is always something new in exhibit to see. The first time we went there, the Saturn rocket was displayed on a grassy area on the grounds. Everyone would stop in front of it and have a photo taken. The sheer size of it was incredible - the narrator last night said it is as long as a 35 story building.

It's a shame so much opportunity has been squandered over the years due to politics and monetary restraints.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Flag Day 2008

"We take the stars from heaven, the red from our mother country, separate it by white in stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her...", a quote attributed to George Washington.

The American flag has changed designs more than any other flag in the world. The first design, the Grand Union, is the inspiration of the quote from Washington. Washington designed the flag with help from Betsy Ross, the seamstress.

It was not until 1912 that America had a standardized flag. Old Glory, or the Stars and Stripes, is one of the most complicated, needing 64 pieces of fabric to complete.

Flag Day was proclaimed by President Harry Truman to be June 14. Each year the President proclaims the commemoration, while encouraging Americans to fly the flag outside of homes and businesses.

Happy Flag Day.

Yesterday I received an email from a member of our military. It was an unexpected link for me to make to an article I read, written by one of my favorite political commentators, Charles Krauthammer. Krauthammer wrote of the clear distinction between the two candidates running for President, on the Iraq war. I highly recommend this thoughtful, common sense article.

The link between the soldier writing the email to me and the Krauthammer article is Mosul. The soldier is a part of the joint Iraqi-U.S. offensive there, cleaning out the last of al-Qaida.

Here is an excerpt; "I just wanted to write and tell you thank you for the Boca Java coffee you sent to us in Iraq. We are part of a unit deployed to Mosul, Iraq and are working in the Mosul Fusion Cell. Our job is to identify, hunt down, and kill or capture insurgents, Al Qaeda, and other bad people in Mosul. So far, we've had a lot of success and will be doing this for the next 9 months of our 15 month deployment."

"Once again, thank you for your thoughtfulness! Wish us luck, and the next time you read about an Al Qaeda guy caught in Mosul, I hope you think of us!!"

I've been honored to participate in the Boca Java "cups for troops" program for a couple of years now. With each of my monthly orders, a pound of coffee went to the troops as part of the company's support of the military. I didn't know donor names were put on shipments.

I can assure you I think of them every day. Not just Flag Day. My 'thoughtfulness' is nothing compared to his bravery and service to our country. May they all return safely. In victory. Heads held high. To a very grateful nation.

I'll drink to that.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Blogging the Texas Republican Party Convention, Part 2

Today's highlight, for me, was the press conference for Newt Gingrich at the Texas Republican Party Convention. I'll put up some photos later as I get the time to work with my son, the photographer.

Drill here, Drill now, Pay less. The theme of Newt's advocacy for the convention. Several supporters of his organization, American Solutions, were present by invitation and wore the t-shirts. There is a petition on the web site with 680,000 signatures so far, in support of demanding Congress do its job. A video has been launched today made with Chuck Norris, Gingrich said.

The key is to recognize our country is at a crossroad. Real change, not the Obama kind, has to be made to compete with rising powers like China. The goal is to force Congress to do its job to pass fundamental change through legislation. The legislation, in specific, would deal with drilling for oil. In Colorado, for instance, shale oil available is 3 times the reserve of Saudi Arabia.

"Windfall profit tax is utterly stupid." Why is Congress hoping to tax American oil companies when the truly big players are the government owned oil producers of Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, etc.

Gingrich praises various members of the Texas delegation in the House of Representatives and both Senators Hutchinson and Cornyn, as supportive of the American people, working to increase supply and decrease the high prices at the gas pump.

"It's not a red vs blue issue, it's a red, white and blue issue."

To punish the financial speculators and lower the price of a barrel of oil immediately, American Solutions suggests selling off one-half of the Strategic Oil Reserve with no notice. The bubble would burst and speculators would lose money. The point is, don't bet against America.

Don't bet on continued American stupidity when it comes to domestic oil drilling policy. Demand Congress do its job.

My son secured an excellent spot and took lots of photos. He shook Newt's hand. He said later that even though he doesn't agree with Newt politically, he admires him as a person in politics.

The lines at Newt's book signing were amazing.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Blogging the Republican Party of Texas Convention

It's been a terrific day. I've been to the Republican Party of Texas Convention. It's taking place at the George R. Brown Convention Center right here in downtown Houston. I am happy to be taking the opportunity presented to blog about the State Convention with the benefit of media credentials. Today is the opening day of the convention, so I was present at the press conference for the Convention Kick-off with speakers Tina Benkiser, Republican Party of Texas (RPT) Chairperson, Vice Chairman Dr. Robin Armstrong and Texas Victory 08 Chairman Roger Williams. Lots of local media and state media were there.

I first met a fellow blogger, a friendly black conservative man and he also blogs for Senator Cornyn. I spoke with another writer who was with the kind of renegade group I find interesting, a group that sends delegates to convention from the county level instead of abiding by all the state rules. She was telling me about some confusing overlaps between county and state levels of representation. Seems some of the delegates were denied floor admission.

I met and enjoyed a little visit with a reporter for the local NBC affiliate, who concentrates on all things political and blogs for the news station. She is a very friendly and approachable black woman who got a bit of a chuckle out of the fact that my son would rather have been attending last week's Democrat convention in Austin than the one today!

Did I mention my son was with me? Yeah. I requested media credentials for him to be my intern. My son inherited my passion about politics and current events. He plans to study communication and political science as he enters college in August. He took photos for me and kept me company. Tomorrow, instead of my old school non-digital camera, he'll have his digital camera so I may upload some on this blog tomorrow evening. He did a little of his own networking. He was able to hang with a college junior from UT as he was taking photos, too. My son's school is about an hour south of Austin and he told my son he'd heard of his school and that it's a good school.

The convention's theme is Conservative Values, Common Sense. I'm all about common sense, so I was happy to hear that.

Dr. Robin Armstrong , Vice Chair of the RPT, was interesting. He's a youngish black man and rising star in the state party. He is a medical doctor in Galveston and surrounding area. He gave a positive talk about the state organization. During the Q&A part of the press conference, he was asked the stereotypical question - how does he deal with questions from friends and colleagues about his Republican party membership and activism. That reaction from liberals is all too predictable. They still think black conservatives or black Republicans are a myth. And, in conservative Texas? How can that be? Oh, brother.

Chairwoman Benkiser praised Senator John Cornyn, our state's Freshman senator (for whom I voluntarily blog) as having an "amazing impact" in Washington, D.C. so that was good to hear. He deserves the recognition. His campaign office presented my blogging opportunity and I was happy to accept. It's here in my city and also a good mentoring opportunity for me to give to my son.

Tomorrow promises to be the best, for me, day of the convention. Tomorrow I'll be able to attend a press conference with Newt Gingrich before he does a book signing. I love Newt. After that, I'll be able to attend a press conference with Senator Cornyn. I'll look forward to what he has to say.

Also tomorrow, Mike Huckabee will be in attendance and then Mitt Romney will be there for the evening press conference and speech to the convention. Romney will be sent to represent John McCain.

And, despite my son's political preferences, he admitted to me that he enjoyed the opportunity today. He even asked to take photos again tomorrow for me.

That's my boy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

For Obama, What is the Definition of Work?

Throwing yet another associate under the bus, James Johnson has left the postition on the VP selection committee for Barack Obama. As more evidence came forward in the press that Mr. Johnson is the very type of political insider, lobbyist, and quid pro quo kind of person that Obama tsk-tsks on the campaign trail, Obama was asked about the story. Obama said, he didn't vet all of his committee members, even those who are tasked with recommending a Vice Presidential nominee. It is true, Obama can't be expected to vet everyone involved in his campaign. But this Johnson is not just any committee member. He was chosen by the candidate.

Johnson has assisted Democrats for many years in tasks such as Vice Presidential recommendations. He even suggested John Edwards to John Kerry as recently as 2004. The main problem was that, other than the lobbyist part that Obama so piously turns his nose up at for everyone else, Johnson was alleged to have been given sweetheart deals by his friend, the CEO of Countrywide Financial - a person who Obama has personally pointed a righteous finger at as an example of a bad CEO within the mortgage foreclosure blip.

Obama says to the reporter who had the nerve, for once, to actually ask a serious question of the candidate of choice of all media all over the country, Johnson didn't 'work' for his campaign. He's a non-paid volunteer. How ridiculous was that answer? Paid or not, volunteers 'work' for campaigns and this guy was picked by Obama to select his Vice President.

How many times are the voters to fall for this pattern? Obama, when questioned about his noticeably poor judgement of people, intentional or not, always responds the same. First, deny that the facts present are true, then it's not what it looks like, then the person isn't the person Obama thought he/she was, then the person is out of the campaign.

When McCain purged his campaign recently of questionable staffers - those questioned by the pious Obama - he just did it. He didn't make excuses. He didn't deny knowing exactly who these people are or what they do.

Obama, by insisting he be put on a pedestal for being better than he is, for being smarter than he is, for being a better judge of character than he is, and by the press accepting this demand so blatantly, he is shown as the hypocrite that he is. He is someone running for President with the thinnest resume in recent history, someone who would not be the candidate if not for his race and liberal white guilt, and someone beholden to the failed ideas of the 1960's and 1970's including some truly troubling associations that Obama considers completely innocuous.

He's a politician from the south side of Chicago. Enough said.

There is no change. Not even any hope of it from him. Only better delivered speeches from the teleprompter.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Senator John Cornyn Leads the Way

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) has a common sense solution to our need of lower gas prices. On a day when Republicans successfully blocked incredibly irresponsible legislation in the U.S. Senate, I am particularly grateful that a Senator representing me in Congress has a good head on his shoulders. Had the Boxer sponsored 'climate change' nonsense passed on a vote in the Senate the price of gas at the pump would have easily risen by a dollar a gallon, probably more. She was trying to tax gas, oil, coal, and your mother. Typical Democrat knee jerk response - no real solutions, just tax the Americans out there paying the bills.

Senator Cornyn believes that government should just get out of the way. Our need for more energy requires the ability for producing our own. We need more domestic energy production and a strong, free market. Not only would employment continue to be strong in Texas, it would finally begin a departure from our dependence on foreign oil.

For over 30 years, we have heard nothing but 'no' from the Democrats. No new refineries, no discussion on nuclear power plants, no commitment for the coal industry, no to drilling off any coast but the Gulf coast. All of these 'nos' have come to bite us and now we suffer the effects of supply and demand, as the developing countries like China and India demand more and more of the available supply.

No one wants environmental damage. Oil companies have continued perfecting drilling methods that are ocean and ground friendly. There are strict governmental regulations to protect our water and soil and that is good. Continued research and development into alternative energy sources also come from the oil industry.

Making the oil producers into the enemy solves nothing. Taxing, suing and investigating bogus claims of price rigging doesn't move us forward. Taking away profits from companies like Exxon Mobil, calling the profits "windfall profits" and reverting to Marxist thought by what's theirs is ours, is unAmerican. We live in a free market system here. Over 60% of middle class Americans have oil stocks in their 401K's. And other retirement investments. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is 1980's failed Jimmy Carter policy. Is that what anyone wants to go back to? Not me, thanks.

Over at Bookworm's blog, she has an excellent link to a post by Gerry Charlotte Phelps about the oil business. Phelps rightly points out that here in America, we have no oil giants. Even Exxon Mobil, while our biggest U.S. oil company, is only 18th in the world. It is way far down on the list, of which the top 17 are all government-owned oil companies. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Venezuela, Mexico, all countries she points to.

Democrats are reaching for feel-good pandering to voters in the upcoming elections. They have no real solution. They are so beholden to special interest groups that they can not see the light. Or, at the very least, admit the truth.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Laura Bush Does Afghanistan

First Lady Laura Bush made a surprise stop in Afghanistan en route to an Afghanistan donors conference in Paris. Mrs. Bush has been calling for more financial pledges from other countries, as has the President. The betterment of the lives of the Afghanistan people, especially the women and children who lived so poorly under the rule of the Taliban, has been a special cause for the First Lady.

Unlike Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush doesn't need to embellish foreign travel stories. She just goes. And, the far left bloggers on sites like the ABC News blog, went over the cliff. How dare the First Lady make this trip. Who does she think she is? What does she think she'll accomplish? The trip is a waste of fuel, global warming, global warming.

Hey, maybe if she brought along Sheryl Crow and Sinbad, the trip would have been justified.

Laura Bush was highlighting U.S.-funded work, including the $40 million USAID grant for the National Literacy Center in Kabul and $40 million for support of the American University of Afghanistan.

Mrs. Bush will address the donors conference in Paris Thursday.

On BookTV, C-SPAN over the weekend, I watched some of the Printers Row Book Fair from Chicago, sponsored by the Chicago Tribune. It was held at the Chicago University Center. Two authors on their own panel caught my attention. Both women, one wrote of her experiences in Afghanistan and the other of discovering an old diary and then meeting the now elderly woman who lost the journal long ago.

In Deborah Rodriguez's Kabul Beauty School, she speaks of going to Afghanistan in 2005 and using training she received pre-9/11 in a Vacations with a Purpose program in which she participated on foreign soil, opened the Kabul Beauty School. The women of Afghanistan had no access to proper hair grooming under the reign of the Taliban and were ruining their hair with improper techniques and very old, out of date products. Under the Taliban it was illegal for women to get their hair done, their nails manicured and of course, absolutely no make-up.

She said she wanted to put into practice the theory of it is better to teach a person to fish than to give the person the fish. She must not be a Democrat.

She still has the beauty school up and running. She is currently in America on a book tour.

The other woman author who was telling a fascinating story was Lily Koppel, author of The Red Leather Diary. She tells the story of walking to work one morning, she writes for The New York Times, and came across a dumpster filled with old steamer trunks. She pulled one down and discovered old 'flapper' style dresses and items from the 1920's and 1930's. Among the treasures was Florence Wolfson's red leather bound diary. The entries were of a girl from the age of 14 to the age of 19, from 1929 to 1934.

Florence Wolfson was the daughter of a doctor and she lived in Manhattan. She dreamed of being a writer. Koppel speaks of her life as she writes entries in her diary, a voice more mature than her years.

The kicker is that Wolfson is still alive, will celebrate her 93rd birthday in August and wanted to meet Lily Koppel when Koppel tracked her down. Wolfson was vacationing at her Connecticut home and Koppel traveled there to meet and visit with her.

Florence Wolfson now has a laptop computer and is contemplating writing a diary again.

As Deborah Rodriguez said, "Everyone has a novel in them".

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Cindy McCain and Army Wives

A couple of nights ago I was looking for some relief from politics and found a movie to watch on Lifetime. Nothing like a chick flick to provide some easy background noise as the evening progresses. I was watching "Beauty Shop" starring Queen Latifah and enjoying her acting style. Ah, escapism. Then a commercial. I was looking down at my book and I hear the voice of Barack Obama. What? It's Obama talking about a previous commercial advertising the new season, starting tomorrow, for the Lifetime show, Army Wives. Then, he pitches his campaign lines about veteran care, military families, blah, blah. After the stomach stopped churning, I decided to relax a bit and see if the other campaign would be represented. Sure enough, the next commercial was one of McCain, talking about how he and Cindy watch and enjoy Army Wives (he said she makes him watch with her) and then he spoke about the role of the military and military families. I saw a second McCain commercial later that night after a promo for Army Wives.

Is there no place to hide?

For the record, I love the show. I've been a faithful viewer since it's beginning and even watch the re-runs. The new season starts tomorrow night and I'll be watching. And, also for the record, my husband doesn't watch with me. It irritates him as a little too politically correct for his taste. To each his/her own is what I say.

I read the interview with Cindy McCain in the current issue of Vogue magazine. It was written by Julia Reed, an old school Southern Democrat who, last I knew, was based out of New Orleans. It was a surprise to me that the interview reads as pleasant and non-judgemental as it does. Though it is not the same kind of photo used of Cindy McCain as was used by Michelle Obama - for Obama's interview she was dressed as Jacqueline Kennedy with the black dress and pearls, hair in the little flip. Cindy McCain was relaxing on a chaise lounge on the balcony of a new condo she purchased in California. She was wearing, according to the credits, a Michael Kors sweater and Lucky Brand Jeans (size 0). Oh yeah, and it was written her pedicure (bare feet in photo) was chipped and McCain said, "I don't have time for pedicures". Can't leave that important point out.

The article focused on her long history of relief work around the world, beginning in 1984 when, on a scuba diving trip to Micronesia she was inspired to devote her life to such work as she observed the conditions at a local hospital when her friend was injured and brought there for care. She began with sending medical supplies to the island and then formed American Voluntary Medical Team, a nonprofit mobile medical unit. Over the next seven years Cindy usually accompanied relief missions all over the world from Sri Lanka and Cambodia to Afghanistan and Kuwait. The article mentions that this medical unit was the first private team from the U.S. to go in after the Gulf War.

The story is retold of Cindy bringing home two orphans from Bangladesh, one a few weeks old with a cleft palate and one a newborn with a heart defect. The former became the McCain's adopted daughter, Bridget, and the latter was adopted by friends hoping to adopt a child. "When she stepped off the plane with Bridget in her arms, her husband asked her where the child might be spending the night. "I told him I thought maybe she ought to come home with us," she tells me, "and he didn't miss a beat." McCain himself tells me, "I was not as astonished as one might think, because that's the kind of person she is." Besides, he adds, "she handed me this touching little baby. It's hard to resist something like that."

About Cindy McCain's travels: "When I remark that she has been to far more countries, particularly countries in distress, than even most presidential contenders, she demurs and says only that she has certainly seen a lot of Africa lately. In fact, she has enlisted her husband -for the first time- to accompany her on her next trip to Angola (which is plagues, she says, by the problem of thousands of abandoned and dangerous SAM missiles), but not until after the election. Though it would be great campaign fodder, she has long refused to mix his business with her work. "She is out there walking through land mines, holding the children, getting them ready for surgery, but it's not for publicity. It's been her whole life", said a long time friend."

I asked my husband about the SAM missiles angle to the Angola story. He's been there several times and always came home with stories of the helicopters that transported the men from land to the offshore oil drilling rigs having to fly a pattern to avoid weapons fire. He's a bit dubious, saying that the crazy men in Angola would have used missiles if they were in fact available on the helicopters and other aircraft, so I am not clear on that. I am clear on the fact that Angola needs all the help it can get.

As First Lady, Cindy McCain said, "My office would be a clearinghouse to help everybody in America, in whatever town, locate a charity in which they could become involved. I really want to encourage people to get off the sofa on Saturday afternoons. If you want a good community, you have to be the one who enables it."

True that.

Friday, June 06, 2008

AIPAC Speeches and the VP Selection

Two items of note from the Obama campaign appeared, both from yesterday. First the announcement of his VP search committee. The three member team consists of Caroline Kennedy, Eric Holder, and Jim Johnson. I thought Obama was all about the elimination of corruption and impropriety. Caroline Kennedy? Obama tosses a bone to the fading Kennedy dynasty and memories of Camelot as head cheerleader Teddy is dying from brain cancer. She's a place holder, a name. Whatever.

Jim Johnson? Former Fannie Mae head poohbah who was in a tenure full of charges of corruption. According to a federal investigation in 2006, Johnson fudged on reporting his compensation. His publicly financed compensation. It was $20 million but he claimed $2 million. Oops. All those pesky zeroes. Also, a trip down memory lane brings the recollection that Johnson also was instrumental in choosing Geraldine Ferraro for Walter Mondale and John Edwards for John Kerry. There's a track record for you.

And number three on the VP selection committee is Eric Holder. Name sound familiar? It should if you remember the terrorization of a little Cuban boy named Elian Gonzalez under the guidance of his pal Janet Reno. And the Marc Rich pardon in the last day of the Clinton administration. And he approved the pardons of two Weather Underground terrorists, you know, the gang William Ayers hung with while bombing Federal buildings and whining that they didn't bomb more.

This is the end of business as usual in Washington, D.C.? This is terrific judgement in those whom surround you? Just more of the same with candidate Obama.

Yesterday Obama and Clinton addressed AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying group, proving the point that not all lobbyists are bad, as Obama is silly enough to imply. Or maybe he shouldn't have gone to court the votes of the Jews? McCain was there earlier in the week and was a hit, that was evident. Much applause and standing ovations. Hillary was also very warmly received. Obama's welcome was mediocre, proving that the Jews aren't so certain about his foreign policy proposals.

Joe Lieberman was there for both days of these speakers. Lieberman endorsed John McCain, as he does. McCain thanked him from the podium and acknowledged their long and mutual friendship. Lieberman said of Obama, "I would say respectfully that I thought in this speech that there was a disconnect between things Senator Obama said today in particularly with regards to Iran and things that he has said or done earlier either in the campaign and senate. To be specific, I was troubled earlier in the year during the campaign season when Senator Obama referred to, I guess compared Iran and other rogue and terrorists states to the Soviet Union and minimized the threat represented by Iran. I think that is wrong." True enough, Joe.

Then he criticized Obama's vote against an amendment Lieberman and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) brought to a vote designating Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group and was passed by a super majority of the Senate. Obama voted against it. Hillary voted for it. McCain voted for it. The bill, Obama said, included language that linked the war in Iraq to Iran and that "troubled him." Well, it troubles our soldiers and their families that it is a proven fact that the war in Iraq is linked directly back to Iran, what with them providing weapons and bombs to insurgents and all.

Obama didn't like that Lieberman spoke truth to power and confronted Lieberman on the floor of the Senate. After greeting each other on the Senate floor, according to Jake Tapper of ABC News, Obama kept hold of Lieberman's hand and led him across the floor to a corner of the Democratic side. Strong words were exchanged for Lieberman's remarks, which had been delivered via a conference call to AIPAC. The discussion, "intense", continued for about five minutes. Reporters remarked that with Obama so much taller than Lieberman, he towered over Lieberman with a look of aggression, Lieberman literally up against a wall.

There's the old south side of Chicago community organizer for you. Not too tactful to do that on the floor, he should have taken it to the Cloak Room or an office. I thought he was all about a higher tone in the campaign.

Later, it was reported that creepy voiced Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid got in on the action himself. "I've had conversations with Lieberman at some length. I'm not going to discuss the conversations here. But I think the discussions he had with Obama yesterday and the discussions he had with me yesterday were fruitful. We'll let the future decide what it's going to be , but I'm not about to threaten anybody." What a foolish man.

Lieberman should tell Obama and Reid that he's decided to caucus with the Republicans now and then Reid's majority by a breath is gone. Who'd be smiling then?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Three Candidates, Three Speeches

I watched all three speeches last night. McCain in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner with Governor Jindal and former Governor Buddy Roemer used the time to keep his face in the eyes of voters since it really was the Democrats' night.

McCain needs to brush up a bit on using the teleprompter. His speech was really good, his delivery a bit off. He shines at town hall style meetings where he can talk one on one with the folks.

Hillary missed her chance to show some class. No surprise, though, as she doesn't normally exhibit class in her actions. She made it clear she intends to take her delegate commitments to the convention in August. At the very least she'll use her delegates as leverage for whatever it is she decides she wants. Will the Democrats go with the Dream Ticket? I don't see it but I could be wrong.

This election cycle has thrown conventional thought to the wind and I don't think any of us truly know how all of this will play out on November 4. It's going to be a long summer, that's the truth.

Obama delivered a magnificent speech, as was predictable given his finely honed ability to do just that. The crowd was large, in the convention center where John McCain will accept the nomination from the Republican delegates in September. The venue was a bit of the Obama campaign marking their territory, declaring it's on.

The Obama speech itself was standard content with a ratcheted up emotional delivery. He is the first bi-racial candidate for President with a serious shot at it so he is due his recognition. Other than that, though, his speeches remain full of empty statements. For example:

"The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth. This was the moment --this was the time--when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals."

OK, I know the man is far from humble. He holds himself above others which is indicated by his posture alone. The head up just enough for his nose to be tilted up, the facial expressions a bit smug. Whatever. But did you hear the speech?

He's going to heal the earth. Wow. He's going to provide jobs when the country has record levels of unemployment. He's going to heal the sick, too. And, he'll end the war and restore our reputation with countries that are going back to conservative leadership on their own. Even Canada is written up today as having a growing conservative leadership base. Just by electing Obama, he is telling you that he'll remake the country.

Remake the country? I understand reform or improve, but remake? No, thank you. This is why he continues to lose swing states and all segments of the voting population except the young voters and the affluent liberals. He lost 14 of the last 19 primaries. That's an eye-opener in my book.

He will need to flesh out the platitudes for the general election campaign. He is quoted as saying to a woman in South Dakota, which he lost to Hillary, that she is a Republican but wants to vote for him. She asked him to promise he wouldn't raise her taxes. He said he promised. What? Who is that gullible? And, who believes the whole she was a Republican stuff, anyway?

Tony Rezko was just found guilty in Chicago of some of the counts on which he was indicted. He is a long time financier of Obama. Even Obama's new mcmansion in Hyde Park was purchased with Rezko's sponsorship, plus the lot next door to it.

I find it fascinating that so many fall for the propaganda that Obama is a 'different' kind of politician, when he is a product of the south side of Chicago. Hello? From a personal viewpoint it amuses me and troubles me mightily about the vulnerable voters out there. My husband was married after coming home from Vietnam and his wife was the daughter of a Chicagoland elected politician. A big Democrat family. Puts things into a different perspective for me.

When I met my husband, he was a young widower with lots of interesting firsthand stories.

There is simply no such thing as a Democrat out of the south side of Chicago, mentored by the likes of Richard Daley, who is a 'different' kind of politician. The change he is promising is all the way out to Marxist land. This is why his associates, past and present, are so troubling. And even the 'no lobbyists' pledge? What was David Axelrod? Please.

It's going to be a long summer.

Cornyn Leads in Polls by 16 Points

New polling shows the Republican incumbent Senator, John Cornyn, running 16 points ahead of his challenger, Rick Noreiga. Noreiga was recruited by Democrat activists to run for the Senate due to the fact that he is an Army veteran and a member of the Texas Army National Guard. Plus, he makes a fine team player for the likes of the Democrat leadership in D.C., even as he bashes Cornyn for 'rubber stamping' the agenda of the Bush administration.

Noreiga was a member of the Texas State legislature when he was called up to serve in Afghanistan after 9/11. His wife was his replacement until he came back. She is now a member of the Houston City Council.

According to his web site, Noreiga is running to "dedicate himself toward restoring integrity in the U.S. Senate". Hey, I thought that was what was to be accomplished by the Democrat takeover in the 2006 election.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Opinion Over Journalism

In this city, in the husband's industry, wage earners are up and out the door early. It is rare for my husband to still be home at 6:30 A.M. So, this morning as I was settling in to drink coffee and watch the local NBC affiliate for news and weather the time was about 5:15 A.M. I like the news team on the early morning broadcast, they are young and keep it as light as possible. I don't need serious and grumpy first thing in the morning. That's my job.

At 5:30 A.M. one of the news anchors began an interview with Richard Engel, the NBC correspondent who covers the war in Iraq. He has been there from the beginning of the war and continues to report from there today. He's on a book tour and was promoting the book this morning all over the network.

I switched the channel and fired off an email to the news station that while I understand he is a network employee, I didn't appreciate his interview first thing in the morning.

Why? I have seen some interesting reports from Iraq from the man but mostly it is his opinion laced with the story. He has openly stated he is a 'pacifist' and that "the U.S. invaded the wrong country." According to the transcript up on of his interview with Meredith Vieira on the Today Show, in his book, Engel also calls the Iraq war "a war of opportunity".

That fact that he has these personal opinions doesn't bother me. The fact that he is just another talking head posing as a journalist spouting off as though his opinions are the facts is what bothers me.

Engel admits that things are "getting better" but that is rarely reported by him on air. As the NewsBusters article points out, neither the Today Show nor the Nightly News have reported that the month of May saw the fewest number of U.S. servicemen killed in Iraq, and Iraqi civilians, too.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Washington Post Makes Suggestions to Obama

Today the parents of PFC Ross McGinnis were presented with the Medal of Honor awarded to their son, a fallen hero. He was 19 years old when he was killed as he threw himself on a grenade to save his comrades in 2006. He is the second Iraq war soldier to receive the nation's highest award for valor.

He joined the military on his 17th birthday. His parents said it was all he ever wanted to do. He wanted to serve his country. The kind of fallen hero who certainly makes a person question if he/she could do the same if necessary. The four he saved were at the White House for the presentation. It was McGinnis' 21st birthday.

The next speech Obama makes to college graduates on the virtues of volunteer service, on the virtues of community service, virtues of national service as he so sanctimoniously did as he filled in for Senator Kennedy recently, using himself as the example, of course, it would be a nice touch to mention military service. Just a suggestion.

The Washington Post actually published a cautiously optimistic article Sunday entitled: "The Iraqi Upturn" subtitle reading: "Don't look now, but he U.S.-backed government and army may be winning the war." Had to use the words 'may be' instead of 'are', don't you know.

"There's been a relative lull in news coverage and debate about Iraq in recent weeks -- which is odd, because May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war. While Washington's attention has been fixed elsewhere, military analysts have watched with astonishment as the Iraqi government and army have gained control for the first time of the port city of Basra and the sprawling Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, routing the Shiite militias that have ruled them for years and sending key militants scurrying to Iran. At the same time, Iraqi and U.S. forces have pushed forward with a long-promised offensive in Mosul, the last urban refuge of al-Qaeda. So many of its leaders have now been captured or killed that U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, renowned for his cautious assessments, said that the terrorists have "never been closer to defeat than they are now."

Actually some of us don't find it odd at all that news coverage on recent successes in Iraq have fallen through the cracks in media coverage. We just find it predictable.

Just as General Petraeus said before the Senate and House committees last week, that mostly went unrecognized because Hillary and Obama weren't there to mock and tsk-tsk the General in public, he said he could and would probably recommend troop reductions in the fall, in a larger number than the ongoing pullback. The five 'surge' brigades deployed last year are currently in process of coming home. You may remember last week as John McCain pointed this pre-surge, post-surge troop number adjustment, Obama criticized McCain for having the troop numbers wrong. By next month, the surge brigades withdrawals will be completed.

But, there is absolutely nothing that can be said by anyone to convince those like the Obama people that success is happening. Why? Because they have a whole presidential campaign wrapped up in Iraqi failure. Gotta force the Iraqis to step up and they'll say the way to do that is to leave them just as true progress is made. That'll show those lazy Iraqis.

McCain's policy is to listen to the Generals and leadership on the ground. Though Obama willingly deceives his followers by saying McCain is 'Bush's third term', voters and military families know McCain did not have the same thoughts as President Bush on waging war in Iraq. But it makes a catchy phrase, doesn't it? "Bush's third term". Ask any Conservative voter if McCain is Bush's third term. Yeah, not so much.

The Washington Post article ends with this strategy for Obama, their man: "If the positive trends continue, proponents of withdrawing most U.S. troops, such as Mr. Obama, might be able to responsibly carry out further pullouts next year. Still, the likely Democratic nominee needs a plan for Iraq based on sustaining an improving situation, rather than abandoning a failed enterprise. That will mean tying withdrawals to the evolution of the Iraqi army and government, rather than an arbitrary timetable; Iraq's 2009 elections will be crucial. It also should mean providing enough troops and air power to continue backing up Iraqi army operations such as those in Basra and Sadr City. When Mr. Obama floated his strategy for Iraq last year, the United States appeared doomed to defeat. Now he needs a plan for success."

A plan for success. Time will tell if Obama is up to the task.