Thursday, July 31, 2008

Edwards New Woman

Last week, former Senator from North Carolina and candidate for President John Edwards was in town. He was shown in a photo in the Houston Chronicle posing with the group ACORN, a group riddled with corruption and questionable tactics for voter registration drives. He was doing his anti-poverty schtick. Many local Democrats in upper tiers of city government and political activity are shown smiling in the background, clapping with delight as Edwards holds up a t-shirt with the Texas ACORN logo on it.

Wonder how some of those women feel now that more of the personal life of this guy have bubbled up to the surface of the written media and late night talk show hosts' comedy bits? Maybe it's just sex, like with Clinton, and it just doesn't matter to them. It's really only a scandal if it's a Republican, right?

So, the multi-millionaire trial lawyer, the son of a mill worker and decades long married man is being exposed as a secret lover to a 'new age' filmmaker who worked on videos for his most recent failed Presidential campaign. And, oh by the way, there is a baby involved.

Remember back almost a year ago when the political gossip pages were peppered with speculation that a rumor would be verified and it would not be good for a Democrat candidate running for President? Everyone was speculating that it was probably the boilerplate stuff about Hill and Bill and the spectrum that was all over the map on them. Well, looks like the folks got it wrong. The question is, was it deliberate?

It is with the hints of karma, baby, karma, that now Fox News has confirmed that Edwards was in a Los Angeles hotel Monday night, a story published by Times Online, which is rapidly becoming a daily read for me as this publication seems to know more of what is going on in the U.S. political scene then our own media will report. They are refreshingly untarnished with adulation of the Chosen One, too. So, there's that. The news network, however, has been mum on the story just like all the rest of the tv networks. Again, if it was a Republican involved, we'd have heard all the allegations months ago.

Remember the breathless story of the alleged affair involving John McCain and the lobbyist, though there was no on the record confirmations and only 'unnamed' sources used for that story? It was front page news.

It was John Edwards that was the first Democrat running for President this time around that insisted that all Democrats kowtow to the likes of George Soros and all that he controls and boycott Fox News.

Now a national tabloid publication has run the story of Edwards and this woman. They wrote that Edwards was in Los Angeles attending a meeting on homelessness and was dropped off at a side entrance to the Beverly Hilton about 9:45 Monday night. There were two rooms booked for the woman using a friend's name. In the wee hours of the morning Edwards was seen and confronted by journalists. His face 'went totally white' and he ran down the hall to a restroom. He was later escorted out of the hotel by hotel security. A guard confirmed the story to Fox News and said that Edwards asked him what the reporters were saying.

Later, the story goes, the LA Times demanded their bloggers stay away from the story. They used the pretext that it was only a tabloid story. However, Mickey Kaus, blogger for Slate, leaked the memo and noted the LA Times and other papers didn't want to cover the story when Edwards was a candidate and now that the story is out, it looks like the media cover up that it was. Oops.

There are some speculating that some don't want to cover the story because Elizabeth Edwards is battling terminal cancer. Some say a former Clinton administration official now has a controlling stake in the tabloid and he encouraged resources to be put into the investigation to get Edwards out of nomination contention, therefore helping Hillary.

The videos produced by the woman, who was paid $114,000 for her work, have been taken off Edwards' site. Some newspapers, like The Washington Post, are claiming they are waiting for the tabloid to publish photos to back up the story before they report on it. Also, since Edwards isn't formally running for office now, it isn't a big news story.

Edwards most recently has been vying for the VP slot on the Obama ticket. "I'm prepared to consider anything, anything Obama asks me to do for our country" he said when asked if he'd be part of a new administration. Rumors floated that Edwards may be considered for Attorney General or some kind of anti-poverty czar.

On a side note, maybe all the headlines about Edwards anti-poverty work are making the press because the latest figures put out by research groups for the homeless non-profits point out that the number of homeless in our country are at an all time low. Edwards and his group would have to continue with the thread that the current administration is evil and cruel to the poor. Facts are tricky things. You may remember that critics from homeless advocacy groups blamed the Clinton administration for doing photo ops and feel good outreach and little else. Edwards was a Senator then, where was all his legislative effort?

Thanks to favorite blogger, Bookworm, for the link to the Times Online story.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wedding Anniversary #25

A mere 25 years ago today, on a hot and humid Saturday afternoon we were married in the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Bloomington, Indiana. Not a big affair, not a fancy affair either, but the wedding was performed by our minister, Laurel, who used a lovely ceremonial script we were comfortable with.

My sister was my matron of honor, my other sister was a bridesmaid, as was a good friend. My husband asked his father to be his best man. His brother and a friend who he'd known since high school were his groomsmen.

Music was provided by a co-worker who played the piano. Our wedding photos were taken by another co-worker. My aunt's sorority catered the cake and punch at the reception at the church. Did I mention my husband and I paid for our own wedding? Hence, everyone pitching in for us.

Prior to our wedding day, when we were engaged, we travelled to Atlanta en route to New Orleans. The husband met my college roommate. Over a pitcher of sangria in one of our old college day haunts, she told me, "Well, Karen, if you marry this guy, your life will never be boring." Oddly enough, our son was born on her birthday.

And, her prediction was spot on.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On This Day in 1967

This story was sent to me via e-mail, from the author of the post. It is a remarkable story.

Lt. Commander John McCain was on an aircraft carrier, the USS Forrestal. A terrible accidental misfire of a missle occurred and hit another plane. An inferno erupted. 134 men died that day and 62 were wounded.

McCain left his own plane and ran toward the fire. Yes, toward the fire. An exploding bomb injured McCain in the chest and legs.

McCain volunteered for duty on the USS Oriskany, as his own ship was out of commission. It was three months later that he was shot down over North Vietnam and spent 5 1/2 years in a communist prison.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Yes, it's hot enough for me. Thanks.

I think the reason books in the Summer Reading category are light and quick to read is because our brains don't function so well in the summer heat. And, our attention spans are short. Shorter than usual. I'm finding it hard to motivate myself to even turn on the computer, much less put fingers on the keyboard.

Did you hear of the non-impeachment hearings conducted by the House Judiciary Committee last Friday? Talk about the inmates running the asylum. You'll remember it was Committee Chair John Conyers who was hell-bent for impeachment hearings before the Dems took over Congress in 2006 election. Then, Pelosi put the skids on that and Conyers was all about denying he ever even had the thought. He took down the whole impeachment idea off his web site, too. Well, the worm turned and his pal and failed Presidential candidate, Dennis Kucinich has introduced a motion into the record in Congress and Conyers gave it all a hearing.

The usual far left suspects did their thing. Zoe Lofgren, D-CA, claimed President Bush was "the worst president that our nation has ever suffered." Perhaps someone should send dear Zoe a history textbook - and not one written by Howard Zinn.

Rep. Maurice Hinchley, D-NY, said, "This is the most impeachable administration in the history of America because of the way that it has clearly violated the law."

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-TX, the one who referred to the testimony of Scott McCleland as a meeting of the Book of the Month Club said, "It seems that we are hosting an anger management class. This hearing will not cause us to impeach the president; it will only serve to impeach Congress's credibility." Yes.

And, a sane voice from a George Mason University School of Law professor, Jeremy Rabkin: "I am really astonished at the mood in this room. The tone of these deliberations is slightly demented. You should all remind yourselves that the rest of the country is not necessarily in this same bubble in which people think it is reasonable to describe the president as if he were Caligula." Yes.

Here's a thought - if there is some free time for dithering away the time, how about these Congress monkeys sit down and actually do something. How about some honest work on energy policy or tax relief for small business or health care insurance reform or social security reform or voting on judicial nominations. Just off the top of my head.

Today House Majority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, said she'll not consider any votes on increased drilling as energy policy. "I'm trying to save the planet." The sheer arrogance of this woman. She thinks she is so powerful that she will save the planet. That humans today will save the planet. From what? Yes, we can help the quality of the air and water, but, really. Get over yourselves. Nature has survived since the beginning of the earth and will continue to do so. Al Gore has made enough millions from the lemming mentality of the population believing the utter nonsense coming out of the mouth of this guy. He's not a scientist. He flunked out of Divinity School at Vanderbilt. Seven of his main points in his film have been totally discredited. Incredible.

Congress is at 9% favorable rating. Looking for someone to impeach? Impeach Pelosi and Reed.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

How About A Quiz?

It's Sunday evening. I've enjoyed a weekend break from all the nonsense out there. No news watching. No slobbering hordes following the Chosen One. No Sunday chat shows with pundits stuck in Beltway mode and only one network actually attempting to show a bit of balance. Same old, same old.

So, I took a quiz lifted from pal Incognito. Go here, if you are letting your thoughts settle, too. It's a quiz which shows which party your responses most align with.

My result? I'm a Centrist. I'm center/right. Conservative on fiscal issues. More liberal on social issues. Hmm... Where have I heard that before? I do believe that is exactly how I describe my political thoughts in my sidebar!

Good to know I still listen to all sides - this election cycle surely is testing my fortitude.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Reviewing Berlin

We continue on with the magical mystery tour that is Obama's European summer vacation. If you would like to read an artfully written medieval fairy tale version of the Obama candidacy, go here. And, the writer is a Brit. It was published before the campaign's arrival in London.

Yesterday, I read another interesting post on Z's blog, about the Obama speech in Berlin. Her husband, a German, and she lived in Germany and keep up with the press there. She pointed to an article in a German newspaper. Go here to read it. It refers to the "Obama show", as the German press is calling the appearance, and how typical Germans perceived the candidate. More than 67% polled think Obama can not live up to his hype.

"How come the German and the Berlin taxpayer has to pony up 250,000 euros so that Obama gets a nice television backdrop for his campaign?" asked one irritated blogger on the website of a local newspaper". The response from another went like this: "What do want, McCain to win? that person asked. "It would be good if Obama won, and he can only do that if he convinces voters back home via the TV. So let the cameras show masses of people flocking to Obama through the Brandenburg Gate." I guess the blogger didn't know the venue changed. The article ended with : "Now the Democratic candidate hopes that huge crowds of cheering supporters, mostly foreign, at Victory Column will help him win November's election in the US."

You'll notice Obama and his handlers didn't do the speech in Paris.

Obama went to work out at the Ritz Carlton in Berlin, this ordinary man, instead of visiting the injured American soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. At first, the campaign said they decided against going there because it would look like a political campaign move for publicity. Then, when that didn't wash so well with reporters, Retired military adviser Scott Graton lied to the reporters that the Pentagon asked the campaign not to go. The Pentagon countered with the statement that that statement was untrue. The Pentagon asked that Obama go with only one aide and no cameras. So, there's your truth. If he doesn't make it into a campaign commercial, why bother?

This is yet another moment of shallowness presented by this man. No camera rolling? Not going. There's your change.

When Obama was in Iraq and Afghanistan he noticed that the cable station playing on the televisions on bases was Fox News. He "wondered out loud" if the Commander (thinly veiled jab at Bush) chose the channel. [h/t Jo, whose hubby was deployed to Afghanistan] And, no, Mr. Harvard Law Review, it is the soldiers themselves that chose the network. Like John Kerry, do you think the troops are stupid? That the troops are too dense to realize which international cable network actually supports them and their mission's success? And, news flash, the troops like the President. Why? Because, if nothing else is true about President Bush, it is the fact that he does what he says he will do and he stands firm. His word is trusted.

David Brooks wrote in his column today in The New York Times: "Much of the rest of the speech fed the illusion that we could solve our problems if only people mystically come together. We should help Israelis and Palestinians unite. We should unite to prevent genocide in Darfur. We should unite so the Iranians won't develop nukes. Or as Obama put it:"The walls between races and tribes, natives and immigrants, Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down." "The great illusion of the 1990's, Brooks continues, was that we were entering an era of global convergence in which politics and power didn't matter. What Obama offered in Berlin flowed right out of this mind-set. This was the end of history on acid. Since then, autocracies have arisen, the competition for resources has grown fiercer, Russia has clamped down, Iran is on the march. It will take politics and power to address these challenges, the two factors that dare not speak their name in Obama's lofty peroration."

"He has grown accustomed to putting on this sort of saccharine show for the rock concert masses, and in Berlin his act jumped the shark. His words drift far from reality, and not only when talking about the Senate Banking Committee. His Berlin Victory Column treacle would have made Niebuhr sick to his stomach."

Brooks ends with this: "Obama has benefited from a week of good images. But substantively, optimism without reality isn't eloquence. It's just Disney."

And, finally, Victor Davis Hanson has a good read on the whole 'citizen of the world' description Obama assumes. In National Review Online Hanson rejects the description for himself. For all of Obama's platitudes about the world working together to solve all the problems of the world, the world didn't save Berlin in WWII. Nor did the world save Rwanda or Iraq or the Muslims of the Balkans. It was the U.S. Air Force. For all of his pandering to 'the world', what was the biggest applause line? It was when he spoke of withdrawing from Iraq. Surprise? Hardly. They remained mute as he demanded that Germany send more support to Afghanistan. Why? Because it's not going to happen. Commander in chief is not on the job training for a surrender monkey. He wants to save Afghanis more than Iraqis? Is that the choice he thinks must be made? Even while troops are already coming home, responsibly, from Iraq?

How are the soldiers in Afghanistan to trust a politician that voted to cut their funding while they were on the ground in that country? And, went on a 'fact finding' trip after he wrote out his opinion on Afghanistan and Iraq for The New York Times? And, refuses to admit the surge worked and the soldiers are responsible for that victory? He is not worthy.

Wonder if he credited Bono with his line of 'we are the change we have been waiting for' that he even pulled out in Berlin. Rock star that he is, you know.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Audacity of Obama

Note to Senator Barack Obama: You are not a member of the Senate Banking Committee. I know you were trying to make the Jews feel good about you and all in Israel, but, dude. Get over yourself already.

Charles Krauthammer has an interesting read in the National Review Online. From it comes this: "Obama is a three-year senator without a single important legislative achievement to his name, a former Illinois state senator who voted "present" nearly 130 times. As president of the Harvard Law Review, as law professor and legislator, has he ever produced a single notable piece of scholarship? Written a single memorable article? His most memorable work is a biography of his favorite subject: himself."

"He lectures us that instead of worrying about immigrants learning English, "you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish" - a language Obama does not speak. He further admonishes us on how "embarrassing" it is that Europeans are multilingual but "we go over to Europe, and all we can say is, 'merci beaucoup.' " Obama speaks no French."

So, is he embarrassed of himself? Which languages will he fluently speak in Europe on the grand campaign tour he is on now?

Another smart man, Michael Barone, has an interesting take on the campaign for President this year. His article, also appearing in National Review Online, compares this year's race to the one in 1976. It caught my attention as that was the first time I was old enough to vote. I remember I was completely puzzled as to how perfectly intelligent voters were jumping on the Jimmy Carter bandwagon. You see, I lived in Georgia and Carter was Governor of the state. My family lived in a suburb north of Atlanta and I went to college in Atlanta. I knew who Carter was and knew the country didn't need him. Oh well.

And, this year we face a similar political climate. Just as the Republican brand was suffering after the Nixon years, it does so now. Just as Carter was a relative unknown to the country, so is Obama now. Just as Carter claimed he'd bring the races together - hey, he put up a portrait of MLK, Jr. in the state Capitol in Atlanta - so does Obama.

Barone's point is that the race, despite all the advantages for the Democrats, was a close one. It was 50%-48%, Carter over Ford. In 1976, party identification by Democrats was larger than it is now and Ford was way behind Carter in the polls during the summer months. That is not the case this time. Even though the press has covered Obama to the tune of three times as much as McCain since February of this year, and all with their swooning, fawning, starry eyes, McCain is still within the margin of error of winning in November.

What is to explain that?

I think it is because Obama wears thin on people. The more we hear of him, the less he comes across as sincere, honest, trustworthy, and least of all, humble. Or maybe it's just me.

I'm known as a good judge of character, of people. I'm fair until the bitter end but once my opinion is formed it is rarely changed. My astrological sign is Gemini. I drive myself crazy seeing both sides of all stories. I have not trusted or believed Obama from the beginning. There was just something about him that didn't register right with me.

He's a product of political opportunism, a protege of the political machine on the south side of Chicago. As a political science student in college and the wife of a man married to a politician's daughter of that area during his first marriage, I was already familiar with that machine. I grew up in Louisiana where politics is a blood sport. It's my passion.

Growing up, I was taught to know people by the others with which they associate. Obama, who joined a church for his political career and his wife encouraged it as she was already a member, and then the tapes of the hate-filled 'sermons' of his minister surfaced. His wife has a chip on her shoulder the size of a boulder. They are the poster children of elitism yet pose as poor folks. They have been given every opportunity possible, including the best education in the country. A typical remark from the wife, showing her view of the world, was that the economic stimulus checks written by taxpayers recently wouldn't help much. Why, what could she buy with $600? She said maybe a pair of earrings. Hmmm. I don't think America shops as she does. They live in a McMansion in Hyde Park, after the publication of two books all about him, financed by a corrupt financier/mentor. He has a relationship with William Ayers, a member of the domestic terrorist group of the 60's, the Weathermen. Ayers, not just another parent at the school of his children, but a political fundraiser for Obama since the beginnings of his political career. The kick off fundraiser held in Ayers' home when Obama ran for Senate. His mother, an anthropologist known for her Marxist politics, is referred to by Obama as his 'touchstone' and his agreement with her political views.

It all forms the man.

In his article, Michael Barone suggests John McCain continue to fill in the blanks. He suggests McCain continue to hold town hall meetings, a venue in which he shines and Obama does not. Obama stammers and speaks haltingly when asked questions on the stump. And, the whistle from his teeth is annoying as he holds his nose up in the air posture.

The McCain campaign should continue to fill in the blanks on Obama. Obama's gaffes are frequent. The press will not cover them. Even the obvious gaffe of Obama flat out stating that the Senate Banking Committee - "his" committee, he told the questioner in Israel yesterday, that passed through the Senate legislation to assist Israel with support by financial divestment of enemies. It was simply a lie. Another example of his arrogance getting the better of him.

So, while the press and the Obama faithful continue on with the thread that McCain is old and 'daft', it is up to the new media to take up the slack. The audacity of Obama who now acts as though we must surrender in Iraq to win in Afghanistan is predictable. I suppose he hopes the voters forget he voted against funding the war in Afghanistan.

Maybe he should have just voted 'present'.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Covering Obama

If Afghanistan is so crucial in the mind of Barack Obama, why hasn't he called even one hearing on the subject, as he is the chair of the subcommittee with oversight on all things Afghanistan? Just a thought.

Does Barack Obama understand that al-Queda doesn't have any bases of operation in Afghanistan; that they move in and out from Pakistan?

I find the staging of the photo ops for Barack Obama and his props, Senators Hagel and Reed, interesting. Every trick in the book has been used to send the appearance that Obama is the President of the United States. And, with his drooling fans previously known as the American journalists, his people have been quite successful. Two of his people even made the gaffe of referring to Obama in terms of the office yesterday and had to be corrected by press. The fact that the reporters corrected him is surprising in itself.

Obama met with General Petraeus and has decided to disagree with the General. Obama refuses to admit his error in judgement about the surge. Obama dwells on the money going to Iraq - money he'll have to have for his social programs. Hey, Marxism is expensive.

Even drooling Katie Couric was a bit incredulous that Obama won't give the surge credit in the very security that allows him his big adventure into the region. Arrogance is a tricky trait. Obama oozes arrogance and sometimes it trips him up. He has placed himself into a box over Iraq and wishing for defeat there so that he can feel better about the positions he has taken. It's always all about politics for Barry. He is not a person who serves his country out of love of country. He serves out of love of himself. This is clearer the longer Barry is in the spotlight. He won't even admit he understands that without the surge, without the Sunni leaders understanding that the U.S. was staying until the job is done, there would have been no coming together of the Sunni and Shiite leaders. His arrogance is not becoming.

I think that's a good thing. The American voter just may begin to put the pieces together. Even the Washington Post is awakening from their Obama-induced stupor.

From the expose in the Houston Press about the arrogance of Obama tossing a wad of paper into a trash receptacle in D.C. and missed. He kept walking and glances over his shoulder to see if an aide picks it up for him. He has a perpetual posture of lifting his nose in the air as he speaks. He thinks it makes him look dignified. He is offended when called a 'politician', though were it not for the political machine of the southside of Chicago he would be a corporate lawyer in the city. Like his wifey who demands college grads do no such thing. Do as I say...Not as I do.

There's some change for you. Right.

The magazines and weekly 'news' magazines can't put out enough covers for Obama. Nightly moderators on cable tv can't speak lovingly enough about their guy. No jokes teasing Obama, though, as he has no sense of humor. Just continue on with the nightly jokes recycled over and over about McCain being old. How clever.

When President Bush implemented a faith based section of the government eligible for federal funds, all hell broke loose from secular America. You would have thought the Pope moved into an office in the West Wing. Then Barry, trolling for religious voters, decided to take the idea as his own and tweak it. Problem is, he took out the very essence of the office - the part where the government doesn't dictate the people the agencies hire to receive funding. Can't have religious people working in religious non-profits. Marxist leaders will tell you what is acceptable in your life; there is no room for making your own decisions.

Yet, the weekly news magazines have devoted pages and cover stories about the 'faith' of Obama. His religious views. His religious home in Chicago, however, is far from the Kansas values a campaign ad professes Obama shares. His mother is the Kansas link and her family moved from there to Washington State when the mother was a young girl. Then they relocated in Washington State so that she could attend a school on Mercer Island known for its Marxist teachers. There are no "Kansas" values in her family. Obama calls his mother's political views his touchstone.

The gaffes of Obama are not to be spoken about. For such a smart guy - editor of Harvard Law Review - he makes some big ones. It's to be expected after running a campaign non-stop since he was elected back in his Illinois legislature days. Each election he runs for the next step up. That's how he became the Democrat nominee with only 1 year's worth of experience in the U.S. Senate and before that a back-bencher in a state legislature. But, wait. He's bi-racial and a nifty speech reader. Oh. Ok.

A divided Jerusalem? Maybe. What day is it? Immediate withdrawal from Iraq, or a structured timetable? What day is it? A diversified energy policy? No way. Only beholden to the most extreme, no matter the issue. Just like dear old mom. His touchstone.

So, now he's moved on to the European segment of his summer vacation. He'll be filming lots of good stuff for the fall campaign cycle. The arrogance of his campaign, lead by the arrogant candidate, was hoping for the shots of drooling throngs of Europeans listening to their guy from the Brandenburg Gates. Looks like that was scrapped. Turns out it was a bit too arrogant even for Barry.

Every so often the past couple of days, a few in the American press have begun to notice the unevenness of coverage for this candidate. The candidate of post-racial, post-partisan America. He is foolishly stubborn on his lapses in judgement concerning national security. He treats his taxpayer funded 'fact finding' trips as campaign stumps and writes op-ed pieces on his conclusions of a trip not yet taken. He has a team of over 300 advisers on foreign policy yet still gets it wrong. He belittles the troops by saying their mission had nothing to do with anything in Iraq, yet uses them (especially the soldiers of color) as photo op props. Don't say anything about anything, though, or you're a racist.

It's nonsense.

Barack Obama is a shamefully opportunistic politician. Just another politician. His career is all important. He enjoys full support from the press - even to the point of The New York Times rejecting a McCain op-ed to balance the Obama pre-trip op-ed.

There were no clamouring hordes of journalists accompanying McCain as he toured Columbia recently. A really newsworthy rescue of hostages occurred as he left the country yet little notice was evident. Katie, John and Charlie didn't drop everything and go on tour with the cool kids.

Obama may want to remember that the American voter doesn't think too highly of the press. The McCain campaign has a good ad on their web site about the press coverage.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Travelogue Saturday

Greetings from the beautiful Hill Country of Texas. My son is officially oriented as an incoming Freshman and we all love his choice of school. So far, so good.

Son and I drove over Thursday, after dropping Max off at the vet's for boarding. The tech told me it's a full house there this weekend so he'll have lots of playmates. And, I remembered to bring a bag of treats for them to disperse over the weekend. I can't pick him up until after 4 on Monday, as he'll be groomed there Monday and he'll be all clean and smell good when I fetch him.

Freshman Orientation began Friday and Parent Orientation, too. Son went off with his clan and I with mine. The husband, however, could not get away from his job site until Friday afternoon so he missed the day's activities. He arrived by early evening. Son stayed in a dorm with his fellow incoming Freshmen. By 9 this morning I had a text message from him, saying hi and checking in. His dad and I went over for the last of the Parent session after firming up all the finance matters with the Financial Aid office. He's all set and ready for school to begin with move-in day Aug 23.

I'll think about that later.

Originally son and I expected the husband not to be able to get away from his work in Abilene for the weekend but since he did, we extended our stay. We'll be staying tonight and head out tomorrow. Him back to Abilene and us back to Houston. Oreo the cat will be wondering what in the world happened to his people. Not to mention his can of gourmet cat food he receives for breakfast every morning. He's had to make due with the dry stuff.

This afternoon we did some sightseeing as we had a free afternoon together. We visited the Museum of Western Arts and it was very nice. Then, we went on down the road to the town of Bandera. Known as the Cowboy Capital of the World, many western movies have been filmed in the area. John Wayne filmed more than one there, the most notable being "Stagecoach". Western art and movies are not my usual genre but it was fun. We ate an early supper at a place The Duke frequented back in the day and the guys had fine steaks, grilled on an outdoor set up. I enjoyed the chicken enchiladas. On the way back we stopped at a roadside market set up by an organic farmer and the husband got his fix of boiled peanuts and the son picked out some organically grown peaches. Snacks for later.

Now the husband and I are enjoying adult beverages and son is vegging out with a carbonated beverage and the tv remote.

Life is good.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Governor Sarah Palin, John Cornyn and Newt

The focus on energy production is everywhere. Too bad no one is doing anything but talking about it in D.C. The failure of the Democrat leadership on this issue is shameful and I believe they will feel the repercussion in November. With a 9% favourably rating in the last poll, you would think they would get the message. No. The stellar duo of Pelosi and Reid have decided to not take up anymore appropriation bills until after the election, as Reid says, until the Obama administration begins. And they will go ahead and take their break in August, because they've worked so hard, you know.

Senator John Cornyn, his re-election I support, has been rolling out some posts by guest bloggers on his web site. Today it was Governor Sarah Palin, (R-AK). You can go here and read her good piece.

Do you know who Sarah Palin is? She is an up and comer in the Republican party, that's the truth. She is smart; articulate and drop dead gorgeous, to boot. She was elected in 2006 as the first woman governor of the State of Alaska. She's a wife, mother of 5, runs marathons, a lifelong NRA member, former chair of the Alaska Conservation Commission, former Wasilla City Councilwoman, and former Wasilla Mayor/Manager. While Mayor/Manager, she lowered property taxes while increasing services and brought in new industry by nurturing the city as business friendly. Yeah, not too shabby.

Palin is frequently mentioned as on the short list for VP with McCain. She recently gave birth to her fifth child who was born with Down Syndrome. This disability was known before the baby's birth and she and her husband decided to continue the pregnancy; to welcome the baby into their family. On her web site, the governor has a place for comments and blessings for baby Trig Paxson Van Palin. Her other children - Track, Bristol, Willow and Piper, as well as her husband are also featured on the site.

This is the final paragraph from Senator Cornyn's web site : "If we don't move now to enact an energy policy that includes more oil and gas production from domestic sources, including ANWR and the federal OCS, we may look back someday and realize that we failed to perceive a critical crossroad in the history of this nation. I don't think it's overly dramatic to say that our country's future and the quality of life for every American depends on the decisions that are made or not made in the next few months."

As Senator Cornyn said today in a television interview, "Congress can't revoke the laws of supply and demand." As he pointed out, Texas is the #1 state in wind energy. That's a start. Texas is lucky to have a senator who understands and promotes sound energy policy.

President Bush has made reformed energy policy a part of his administration's agenda since 2001, yet Congress continues to punt. Now, with two years of Democrat leadership in Congress and the price of gas at the pump tripling, all of a sudden it's the President's fault. Nonsense. The President doesn't make legislation. That is the job of Congress. President Bush has removed the executive order banning drilling on the OCS. Yet, the 'leadership', such as it is, in Congress tells us they will not remove the congressional ban.

The ball is in their court. Remember that in November.

Newt Gingrich has another good article at Human Events about this issue. His petition at American Solutions is being delivered to Congress today. There are more than 1.3 million American signatures on it. Mine is one. Is yours?

If you aren't a part of the solution, you're a part of the problem. Each and every one of us can do something. Start by contacting your representatives. Then sign a petition. Write letters. Keep at it all the way until the November elections.

Drill here. Drill now. Pay Less.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Shameless Self Promotion

Two posts from this blog have made it into other fine vehicles on the Internet. I thought I would share that with you.

On Texas Weekly, a publication striving to write without partisan bias to the left or the right side of the aisle, since 1984, my post on the recent FISA reform legislation made a mention and link. Texas Weekly is the top political and government newsletter in the state; it says so right on their web site. Who am I to argue? This newsletter will tell the reader how Texas really works.

And, over at 5 Minutes for Mom, my post on raising patriotic children appears under the heading of Great Reads. This web site is chock full of fine reads for moms from all walks of life, at all stages of life. One really good feature on the site is the promotion of mom-owned businesses. Over at Rocking Horse to Love, the reader will view some really cute custom made rocking horses, not so easy to find these days. And, I was really happy to notice over the past weekend a new site has launched, 5 Minutes for Books. More good book talk. Check it all out when time allows.

Happy reading.

Two Texans Remembered

This weekend marked the passing of two prominent Texans.

Roy Huffington, ex-father in law of Arianna Huffington, died Saturday at the age of 90. He was a local philanthropist and successful oil man. He is remembered as a former ambassador to Austria for President George H.W. Bush and for his foresight to the needs of our aging society. He and his late wife, Phyllis who died in 2003, founded the Huffington Center on Aging at the Baylor College of Medicine in 1988. It is now known as a premier center on the subject of aging in the world. He was a generous soul who concentrated on donations of millions of dollars to SMU for faculty and student scholarships. He told an associate recently that he kept on working because, "I need to make more money so I can give it away."

The second passing this weekend was that of Dr. Michael DeBakey. Just two months out from his 100th birthday, he died of natural causes in his home. His is known as the father of modern heart surgery. He was a native of Lake Charles, Louisiana but moved to Houston as a young man with many options open to him, due to his talent and innovation skills. Many consider him the greatest surgeon ever.

I've enjoyed reading about Dr. DeBakey throughout the years. Not only do I enjoy biographies as a favorite reading genre, but on a personal note, I was born with a slight heart murmur and heart related innovations are of interest to me. I was one of the lucky ones. My little hole in my heart's wall closed spontaneously by the age of nine. Others are not so lucky and in need of expert care.

His first wife died in Mexico as they were guests of the President of Mexico and DeBakey was there to perform surgeries. Ironically she experienced extreme stomach distress and suffered a heart attack. Now it is known that, especially in woman, this sort of symptom of heart attack is common.

He met his second wife through his friendship with Frank and Barbara Sinatra. DeBakey has many famous patients through the years. The Duke of Windsor, King Leopold of Belgium, Aristotle Onassis, King Hussein of Jordan, Jerry Lewis, Marlene Dietrich, and Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.

In 2006 he underwent surgery to repair a dissecting aortic aneurysm, a treatment he pioneered 50 years before. He was the recipient of many awards and honors. Most recently he received the Congressional Gold Medal.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Happy Friday. Take a Quiz. Take a Break.

You Are Not Prejudiced

Not only are you color blind, but you're also ethnicity blind, gender blind, and sexual orientation blind.

You don't judge someone until you truly know them. And even then, you're probably reluctant to judge.

You try to treat everyone equally. Everyone has a fair chance with you.

Good job - there's not a prejudiced bone in your body.

This election year, with a woman, a bi-racial man, and a white older man running for the highest office in the land, I thought this little web quiz would be fun. So, I did it.

It's summer. It's hot outside. I'm fed up with the news. People are behaving as though they have lost their collective minds.

And, my husband is out of town.

I'm taking a short break. Really short road trip with my son. Just one night out of town. We are driving over to the beautiful hill country of our state today and taking a tour of his college, so when he and his parents attend Freshman Orientation next weekend, we'll have some idea of where we are. Maybe.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

T. Boone Pickens Has a Plan

You may have noticed the price of gas is up, as you fill up your tank. You may have noticed that your electricity bill is higher this summer than last. You may have noticed the price of groceries is up as you shop for dinner.

When President Bush came into office, he submitted an energy plan to Congress and it went nowhere. It included, for the first time, alternative energies like hydrogen cells, and other new technologies developing out there. As has been the habit for the past 30 plus years, Congress pushed it to the back burner.

Year after year. The same thing.

No new refineries built since 1970. No increased areas of exploration for oil. No wind technology off pristine coastal views from mansions. Bigger and bigger cars and an explosion in sales of SUVs. India and China get stronger and more productive.

If today's energy costs are a surprise to you, where have you been? For years I have been telling anyone who would listen to contact their congressional delegation to demand a viable, common sense energy policy. That is where the buck stops.

As easy and tempting as it is to blame the big oil companies and executives with large salaries and bonuses, they are hardly the sole source of today's problems. Where was everyone when those of us in the oil drilling business were dealing with lay-offs, slashed salaries, and facing career changes due to $8 a barrel oil during the 1980's? Sure. Not a word when gas is cheap. Americans were more than happy to just fill up and don't think about future years or what may be coming down the road.

Since the Democrats took over Congress in 2007, after campaigning on change, peace, love, and hugs for all, the price at the gas pump has doubled. Remember when everyone was complaining about $2 a gallon gas?

In order to remain as partisan as possible and beholden to every environmental group on the far left, the Democrats are the party of 'NO'. No to drilling, no to nuclear plants, no to anything other than these elusive 'alternative' energies we keep hearing about. Every Democrat from Obama on down the line says drilling won't help our immediate needs. We have to develop alternative energies.

Well, if drilling had been approved even as recently as 10 years ago, under Bill Clinton's administration, the price of your next tank of gas would have been a lot less. Simply saying no because it doesn't help tomorrow is insane. Something has to start sometime.

As Nancy Pelosi demands the Strategic Petroleum Reserve be drained so that it looks as though she has a thought and is doing something, she fails again to learn from history. That action has never accomplished the goal. Clinton tried it. Nothing. The Bush administration has stopped adding to it. It is not within the law for reserves to be released, except for an emergency. $4 a gallon gas is not an emergency. Painful, yes. But not an emergency.

The real emergency behind Pelosi's latest shell game is the 9% approval of Congress that became known this week. There's her emergency. The first woman to be Speaker of the House embarrasses all of us of her gender.

Now, Pelosi says drilling in areas currently off limits is a hoax. "It's a decoy to punt your attention away from the fact that their policies have produced $4 a gallon gasoline." Whose policies, Nancy?

The Democrats say use it or lose it to oil leases currently held by oil companies on federal land. Problem is, as they know but are too caught up in an election year to be honest brokers of the truth, a land lease doesn't guarantee oil production. Most leases, as a matter of fact, turn out to be unusable. If it was so easy as to just buy a lease and start successfully drilling, don't you think we'd have avoided this mess to begin with? And, I won't bother to rebute the "two oil men" in the White House slur that the hacks continue to spew. What crap. Showing continued ignorance doesn't move us forward or solve the problem.

Hence, 9% approval ratings. The American people are not so stupid as they think.

Enter T. Boone Pickens. This 80 year old successful oil man has a plan. He has begun the rollout of this plan and you can access the web site for all the scoop. Check it.

He is investing his own money and putting up a wind farm in the Pampa, Texas area. West Texas has an abundance of wind. He refers to the midsection of our country, stretching from West Texas to the border with Canada, as the "Saudi Arabia of the Wind". Anyone listening?

It isn't happening overnight, even for him. But, it's a viable solution and it's a start. Its renewable, clean and domestic. Maybe this begins to tamp down the idiotic notion that those in the oil drilling business don't care about the environment, as though they don't also need to breath clean air; drink clean water; enjoy the land and sea.

A wind farm began construction in the Gulf of Mexico, as oil drilling continues, but it proved too expensive for the investors. Some wind farming is happening now in West Texas. It is an alternative that can work along with continued, and more, oil drilling.

Common Sense.

It's a start.

Oh, yeah. There's this - Obama now is open to increased oil drilling, as is McCain. Funny what an 80% poll number in favor of that will do.

Speak up. Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

FISA Reform Legislation Passes

Today the Senate voted to pass FISA reform legislation, as the House of Representatives did last month. The effort was bi-partisan and the final vote today was 69-28. Those voting in favor of lining the pockets of trial lawyers, the 28 voting no, included Hillary Clinton. Those voting no argued the lawsuits pending against telecommunications companies, working at the request of the administration on electronic surveillance of telephone calls between this country and overseas involving suspected terrorists, should not be dismissed without investigations and hearings on Capitol Hill. They didn't think retroactive immunity was prudent.

They chose allegiance to trial lawyers and petty politics over national security. It's an election year. They are politicians.

Senator John Cornyn has long been a strong advocate for FISA modernization legislation. Only 4 of the Texas congressional delegation, 32 in total, voted against the legislation. A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Cornyn referenced a tragic incident last year in Iraq. Three soldiers were kidnapped and a search and rescue mission began. U.S. law was put into motion. Rescue efforts were delayed, however, for at least 10 hours due to the government lawyers jumping through hoops to cite "probable cause" for electronic surveillance. All three were executed. One body was found in the Euphrates River a few weeks later. The Islamic State of Iraq terrorist group claimed credit. The other two soldiers were executed and buried.

Senator Cornyn's challenger this election year, Rick Noriega, seems to think FISA reform is a joking matter. Noriega, who opposed the legislation in speeches on the campaign trail, said recently,"When we got on the computers to wake up our families on that Christmas Day, I suspect that the government probably listened in on my and Melissa's conversation because it wa communication between two countries." Noriega was deployed to Afghanistan and his wife Melissa, now a Houston City Council member, took over his spot in the Texas legislature. She rode that into her current position. Now, he wants to be a Senator in D.C., though he continues to say these sort of irresponsible statements on the trail. There is no record of any other serviceman complaining that the government must have been listening in on personal conversations due to FISA law.

Noriega makes strange comments to gin up publicity. He put it into a video. Then, when confronted about his irresponsible comments, he promptly took a cue from John Kerry and claimed it was all a joke.


Convention Coverage Leans One Way

A black cable network, TV One, is making plans to break from regular programming and cover the Democratic National Convention in August, according to The Live Feed. "Senator Barack Obama running for president is a huge deal for TV One as it is for the African American community," said Johnathan Rodgers, president and CEO of TV One, a channel in about 40 million homes. "African Americans have fallen in love with his candidacy, his family ... we will be covering the democratic convention all the time."

Well, now, you may ask about the coverage schedule for John McCain. Don't bother. There is no plan to cover the Republican Convention.

"We are not a news organization, " said Rodgers, speaking at the opening session of the semi-annual Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills. "We are a television network designed to celebrate African American achievement. If Hillary was the nominee, we would not be covering this year's Democratic Convention."

According to the article, TV One does have "a Republican pundit as part of its convention coverage, comedian Sheryl Underwood. But she's also voting for Obama."

Underwood claims black Republicans would not be offended by the network's decision. "McCain is not going to win it, that's why I'm over here, because I want to be with the winners - and I'm a Bush Republican."

So, as all the racist non-believers of the new messiah, Obama, have said before, he is the recipient of votes solely on the color of his skin. Up until now, however, it wasn't so blatant. His whole victim schtick is only going so far. He loves to say those racist Republicans will remind you he is black. Of course, it hasn't happened. It was the Democrats, the Clintons, doing that from the beginning.

Can you imagine if another network did this? Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would be all over it. Michelle Obama would do more speeches telling you how mean America is. Downright mean, she says. Actually she was the very first to bring race into the campaign. She kicked off his announcement with her first interview, declaring he could get shot just going to the gas station because he is a black man in America.

There's your change, America.

Fired Up.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Congress Approval at 9%

The most recent polling of the approval rating for Congress shows the pulse of the country. A total of 9% of Americans polled think that Congress is doing an 'excellent' or a 'good' job. That is an historically all time low number.

Way to go, Senator Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Your numbers are even lower than President Bush. And we know how you like to reference his numbers. There's some real change for the American people.

And, speaking of empty suited arrogance, not only is Barack Obama going to accept the Democrat nomination at the Denver sports stadium, in full Messiah mode before the chanting crowd, but now he's planning to go to Berlin. He wants to do a speech in front of the Brandenburg Gates.

Ego, thy name is Obama.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is opposed to his publicity stunt. "This is a historical place with a symbolic value for significant types of occasions and declarations." She said he can stroll around with reporters but cannot deliver a speech there. That from blogger, Z. Z, a singer in Los Angeles, and her husband, a German, lived in Germany as well as France while married.

The mayor of Berlin, however, will have the final say. He's all for the publicity. The Obama uses the canard that Obama wants to do this in the fashion of JFK. Only, as Z points out, JFK didn't do it there, the wall was still up.

So, Obama wants the symbolic gesture of a large enthusiastic crowd in a stadium as it will be the anniversary of the MLK speech on the Mall, and then visions of JFK in Germany. See what happens when you are an empty suit, all rhetoric and no substance? You have to totally rely on symbolic gestures, staged events.

Lately, Obama has gotten himself into some hot water, especially with his own comrades on the far left. That is what happens when he's off teleprompter. And the new Obama ad using the tired rhetoric that McCain is a third Bush term, on energy in this ad? Well, the problem is that McCain voted against the Bush energy plan and Obama voted for it.

Facts are stubborn things.

To appeal to the voters in the middle, the ones not flocking to him, and the Hillary supporters who so far haven't opened up their checkbooks, there is a 4 part television interview of the entire Obama family from Butte, Montana. Obama used the 4th of July as a prop for his campaign speech that day and trotted out the Mrs. and kids. So, using fawning Hollywood, Obama and family will be on 4 consecutive nights of Access Hollywood. He's not above using Malia, age 10 and Sasha, age 7 when he needs to show the common side. You know, the children who were staying in Chicago and out of the press, according to Michelle. Trying to lead a normal life and all that nonsense. The girls have been promised a dog after the election.

Michelle, since the Jackie O imitation didn't really take off, is shown talking about how much she loves fashion. She's just like every other working woman in America, you know.

One of the little girls is really into decorating so she's looking forward to decorating her new room in the White House. Just so ya know.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Largest Re-Enlistment Ceremony Ever

The setting was the Al-Faw Palace, formerly home to Saddam Hussein. The administer of the oath was General David Petraeus. The number of soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen re-enlisting? 1,215. Source of pride for all those 'we support the troops' defeatists? Yeah, not so much apparently as not much notice was taken of this amazing event in Baghdad.

No bleed, no lead. Like the other good stories from Iraq, this was little noticed. One article in the Houston Chronicle did enjoy trumping up the monetary bonuses given for re-enlistment. As though that must be the sole reason for such acts of bravery for country. They certainly deserve far more money for the work they do, keeping the homeland safe. But, as General Petraeus said, "No bonus, no matter the size, can compare with the sacrifices you make in Iraq or the sacrifices your loved ones make back home." He describes the troops as "America's new 'Greatest Generation'."

As Army master sergeant Debra Bradshaw said, as she reupped for three years, "The money ain't bad, but I'd rather deal with the situation over here than at home." Maybe she's just one of John Kerry's soldiers that is so stupid she's stuck in Iraq.

The new Iraqi government has now met 15 of the 17 benchmarks. Kudos from the left? No. They are determined for defeat, regardless of the facts on the ground. Most importantly, the Sunnis are coming together with the Shiites. That is huge but no acknowledgement here in the U.S. for that.

Everyone is war weary. None more so than the soldiers there. However, if they still so strongly believe in the mission and are still doing the job for us, it would really be respectful if this country could make an effort to come together, however late in the game it is, and support them with acknowledgement. Impossible, I know. We still have the Democrat candidate for President saying one thing then holding a second press conference 2 hours later and saying something else. No clue. He hasn't even met with General Petraeus. Ever. He did belittle him and the idea of the surge in committee once, though.

Even George Stephanopoulos said during his Sunday chat show, "That's their fault" when talking of voters who really believed Obama would pull troops out immediately upon settling into the Oval Office. Not only does Obama know his sheeple will fall for his empty rhetoric, if delivered with a well-rehearsed sincere tone, his cheering chorus in the press know it, too. They are all counting on it. Change?

John Kerry speaking as surrogate extraordinaire for Obama on military issues was precious. He said John McCain flip flopped on the war. Um, no. McCain was for the operations now known as the surge from the beginning, after the fall of Baghdad. He took plenty of criticism for speaking out on that. Only Kerry, who spent 4 months in Vietnam and brought the video camera with him so his men could record his brave moments and then he was out of there, and Wesley Clark, who came home after being injured one month into his tour, are big enough political hacks to try to diminish John McCain's service and judgement. Barack Obama is known by the company he keeps. As are all of us.

I hope Obama continues to use his surly band of hacks on these shows. It's good for McCain.

Vets for Freedom announced Saturday that the organization will spend $1.5 million on cable television ads in five states during the month of July. The organization's aim is "informing the American people about the truth regarding progress in Iraq and Afghanistan", and the veterans themselves speak. This, in contrast to billionaire George Soros' ad using the actress to portray a mother holding a baby saying the baby won't be used in a war effort. OK. Selfish mommy taking to task that mean McCain and apparently she forgot the military is all voluntary. Re-write! Can we get a re-write?

And, bringing up the rear - slanderous defeatist John Murtha, who in 2007 said that there was no way the surge would be a success, now admits it is. Begrudgingly, of course. He credits it to the soldiers kicking down doors in the middle of the night and terrorizing innocent women and children.

He supports the troops.

Meanwhile, Obama continues to 'refine' his policy. If he can decide what that is.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Birthday America

As we hear Presidential candidates speak of patriotism, and the differences of opinion between the two parties, on such a basic issue, I think about the upcoming generation. I think a huge disservice has been done to them. How can we expect the generation moving up to take the reigns from us Baby Boomers when they have been so let down by parents, teachers and the other adults out there?

Whatever happened to Civics class?

Pride in our country is a good thing. Patriotism is expressed in many ways. Those of the opinion that we are a shameful nation, a nation not deserving of celebrating our country's birthday, have insisted for far too long that expressing thoughts that ours is the greatest nation on the face of the earth is sheer arrogance. They are just wrong.

Some say that symbols promote a false patriotism. Some say that wearing a flag pin on a lapel is just done for show. Some say it is patriotic to express disapproval with the President and his administration, during a time of war, no matter what is said and where it is said.

Today in school classrooms, history textbooks are not written as they were once. Now, cultural issues often take preference over historical events. More emphasis is placed on dwelling on failures and placing blame.

Protests take place on Columbus Day. Those feeling slighted by parades celebrating Christopher Columbus' discovery of our country proclaim Columbus was bad, not worthy of recognition. A generic holiday - President's Day - has replaced the birthdays of George Washington and Abe Lincoln, arguably the two most important former Presidents.

Myrna Blyth, former editor of Ladies Home Journal and founding editor of More magazine, wrote How to Raise an American. She points to ways our children can learn about the greatness of America from a very early age, and have some fun doing it. No guilt here.

These reminders are a little bittersweet for me, at this time in our family's life. My son, our only child, is going off to college next month and I think back to all the things we did together from his birth on through high school. Children are like sponges, they will soak up lessons and teachable moments effortlessly, they just need someone to provide the moments.

Need a good idea for a family project, or an opportunity to help others for yourself? Go here.

A parent can teach a child about the civic duty of voting without the child even knowing it. Take your child with you from infancy, to vote. When you go into the voting booth, bring in the child. As the child is older, let him/her push the big red button to register the votes cast or pull the lever to open the curtain of the booth when voting is finished. If it is an electronic voting machine, let the child watch as you make selections of candidates. Just let the child observe and understand voting is important and participation is vital for a democracy. And it is an honor.

Read books to your child about American heroes. Sports heroes; the Founding Fathers; the First Ladies; Clara Barton; Martin Luther King, Jr.; astronauts; pioneering doctors; the popular American Girl series. Great quality quiet time with a child and teachable moments. Don't know the answer to a question about the story? Look it up together.

Bake a cake decorated as an American flag.

On vacations as a family, explore historical landmarks; museums; city walking tours; then hit the zoo or the aquarium.

See a soldier in an airport or restaurant? Let your child thank him/her for their service. You do it first and then when you are walking away, explain what you did. Children like to stand and clap as soldiers walk across an airport after arriving home, too.

And, as it is the 4th of July, the ultimate of patriotic holidays, check out local parades and celebrations. Many subdivisions have their own parades and contests for the kids. Bike decorating is big fun. Children love to ride a bike in a parade with a parent walking along side. Listen to a concert in the park, the fireworks display. Wave a little flag.

A parent doesn't have to make a big deal out of teachable moments. The more casual and relaxed, the better. It is important though. It is important for a child to know that many have died to protect our country, our rights, our freedom. It is important to remember.

Tell them to speak up and not let anyone tell them it's just all for show. They'll understand.

Symbols are important. The flag; our National Anthem; the Pledge of Allegiance; none of it is just for show. None of it is to be taken for granted or taken lightly.

Happy Birthday, America.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Three American Hostages Released in Colombia

Three American civilian government contractors held hostage for 5 years in Colombia have been released. Another hostage released, of the 15 total, was Ingrid Betancourt, held hostage for 6 years, captured as she ran for President of Columbia.

This surprise release was a strictly Colombian effort, with the blessing and intelligence assistance of the U.S. government. Republican Presidential candidate, Senator John McCain was briefed on the Colombian military plan to rescue the hostages yesterday as he visited the country as a show of support for the progress the current President has made on diminishing the stranglehold of FARC and to acknowledge Columbia's importance as a friend to the U.S. in the region. Although the Democrat leadership in Congress refuses to reward Columbia with a Free Trade Agreement, even though the country has greatly improved working environments for workers and other benchmarks demanded of the country. The failed Democrat leadership in Congress has successfully slapped in the face our only true friend in the region as other countries continue to be led by Socialist dictators like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

Was the timing of the rescue a coincidence that Senator McCain, along with Cindy McCain, Senator Joe Lieberman and Senator Lindsay Graham were in the country at that time for a quick visit during a Presidential election campaign? Maybe. Or, maybe it was a nod to a potential President and his strong commitment to democracy, without bowing to negotiating with Marxist terrorists. This action by the Colombian government does show the sharp contrast between failed liberal led policy of negotiating with terrorists and the use of military as an option not to be taken off the table, and even used when necessary.

Kudos to President Uribe for getting it. His strength of character and commitment to reform have taken a toll on FARC. The organization is unraveling and growing weaker.

Negotiating with terrorists never works. These hostages held by FARC, a band of Marxist terrorists who have controlled 25% of Colombian land for the past 40 years, were captured when their plane crashed in 2003. As is the policy of the U.S. government, there was no negotiation with Washington for their release. All ex-pats working overseas understand this when they accept foreign employment assignments. Families, however, rightfully pursue every option available for the release of loved ones. My own husband has been in hostage situations three separate times overseas and fortunately for us, the outcomes were different for him. I have told him, though, that I would do everything possible to get him home alive if the situation was different. It's human instinct.

In this case, the families contacted Bill Richardson to go in April to 'negotiate' for the hostages release. Some negotiators have motives for personal gain. For instance, the hostage situation was an excuse for face time and tea with Hugo Chavez when a delegation consisting of Massachusetts Congressmen Jim McGovern and Bill Delahunt, along with Bill Richardson, declared Chavez to be an important key to the release of the hostages. As an editorial in this afternoon's edition of Investor's Business Daily stated, "In fact, Chavez was the worst player in this whole affair. Along with Ecuadorean cabinet members, he used the pretense of mediating with the FARC to rescue hostages to support FARC and aid its effort to overthrow the Colombian government. This rescue slaps that weapon - along with his pretenses to meddle and encourage appeasement - right out of his hand."

You may remember Delahunt is the Congressman who declared his pleasure that al-Quada operatives could see the face of the member of VP Cheney's office on C-SPAN, implying he'd enjoy seeing the target on his back now. Another man of integrity and class supporting Obama. Plus, it was Delahunt and McGovern who accepted the heavily discounted heating oil for the citizens of Massachusetts from Chavez, as a slap in the face to President Bush.

Character matters. And, you are known by those with whom you keep company.

"Although FARC still holds some 700 other hostages in the jungle, this victory demonstrates the importance of force and the political courage to defy pressure from appeasers. It's what McCain stands for, and it's what Colombia has shown in the wake of his visit. FARC now has lost the human bargaining chips it used to exert leverage, demand concessions and otherwise manipulate its enemies. With the rescue of these 15, FARC has only two options: surrender or run."

This Colombian military operation has been in the works for two weeks now. The U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, William Brownfield, was in full cooperation with Uribe and his Minister of Defense, Juan Manuel Santo. U.S. intelligence was used to pinpoint the location of the hostages. The Colombians planted a mole and he convinced FARC to move the hostages, allowing the rescue to be successful. Not a shot was fired. The military option was the answer.

Bill Richardson was asked tonight by Anderson Cooper of CNN if he was surprised by the success of the operation. The poor, deluded guy still said he believed diplomacy and negotiation would work. The likes of him will never get it. And, more will die as hostages will continue to be taken and held. Richardson and his ilk continue to encourage the naive foreign policy beliefs of Barack Obama. Although in an Obama administration, Richardson won't be needed as a negotiator, Obama will do it himself, directly one on one with Marxist dictators. Originally Obama was ignorant enough to fall for declaring he'll meet with any dictator without pre-conditions, then after he became aware of his folly, he backtracked. The original statement still went out around the world, though.

"Coincidence or not, it underlines that massive force, even the threat of it, is the most effective way to deal with terrorists", the article concludes. This mission proves the point. And, not a shot was fired.

Unlike The New York Times, when John McCain was asked to keep the upcoming operation today a secret, he did. McCain, unlike Democrat politicians, declared he would not criticize another politician on foreign soil. He didn't. He did, however, use the proper space to do so with journalists. He spoke on the plane en route from Colombia. He said Obama must "cut loose" Wesley Clark and discredit his remarkably nasty remarks. Obama, showing he is just another politician after all, again, said McCain's trip to Colombia was more of President Bush's 'failed' policies.

Excuse me, Barack Obama. Naively wrong again. This mission was completely successful. Not only is Obama not the candidate of hope and change. He also is not the candidate of civility. Or class.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Cindy McCain Bucks Stereotype

I saw a bit of John McCain's appearance at the Sheriff's convention in Indianapolis. Standing next to him as he signed autographs and shook hands with the audience was Cindy McCain. The woman has just arrived back in the country from her trip to the far east. I highly recommend you go to Meghan McCain's blog site and check out the trip's narrative and photos. I recommend the blog site anyway. It's a terrific glance behind the scenes of the McCain campaign. The stamina of these two is amazing. And, they don't complain.

Newsweek did a cover article on Cindy McCain last week. The interviewer did a decent job, especially considering the magazine is an ardent supporter of Obama for President. Of course, a smaller article on Obama ran immediately after the McCain article. No surprise. Do you think the McCains get an equal amount of articles? Hardly. Newsweek made a point of saying that in polling, Michelle Obama comes out in front of Cindy McCain. Not surprising as Michelle Obama is better known than McCain. Obama's publicity stunts are adored and encouraged. She's the new Jackie O. Yeah.

Cindy McCain plans to step up her own publicity and as she does, America likes her. Not so much, Michelle 'the closer' Obama. Unless you're Whoopie Goldberg or Oprah.

Two more Obama advisers came forth yesterday to bash John McCain's qualifications for Commander in Chief as it relates to his military experience. First, Rand Beers said,"to some extent his national security experience in that regard (years as POW) is sadly limited and I think it is reflected in some of the ways that he thinks about how U.S. forces might be committed to conflicts around the world."

And, Senator Jim Webb, like Beers, a former Republican in previous administrations (Webb was fired as Secretary of Navy under President Reagan, after only 7 months), "If that is one area that I would ask him to calm down on, it's that, don't be standing up and uttering your political views and implying that all the people in the military support them because they don't."

As Obama careens to the middle to get himself elected, the agent of change, it is a delicate line he has to straddle. The far left is angry at him for now backtracking on his immediate withdrawal from Iraq plans, and he is nothing without the Moveon crowd and Soros money. Now he is aiming for the evangelical voters - which is a stretch even for him, what with his association with Rev. Wright and Rev. Fleger and the sound clips they carry.

Obama is quite an unprincipled politician. Not much change there for Washington.

The contrast in November will be crystal clear.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Pay Inequity On Obama Senate Staff

Lilly Ledbetter was a supervisor at Goodyear Tire and Rubber. The plant was in Gadsden, Alabama. She is credited with bringing a pay discrimination lawsuit. She claimed she made $6500 less per year than the lowest paid male supervisor. The Supreme Court threw out the lawsuit. She waited too long to file it.

Barack Obama, running for the President of the United States as the agent of hope and change, voted in support of legislation of equal pay in April. He boasts of his position even today on the campaign stump and during his well delivered teleprompted speeches.

"Mr. McCain is an honorable man, we respect his service. But when you look at our records and our plans on issues that matter to working women, the choice cold not be clearer," Obama told the audience in New Mexico, a voter-swing state. "It starts with equal pay. Sixty-two percent of working women in America earn half or more than of their family's income. But women still earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2008. You'd think that Washington would be united in its determination to fight for equal pay." Obama uttered those words just last week.

Today on, some stubborn facts emerge. The women working in Obama's Senate office are paid at least $6,000 less than the average man working for the agent of hope and change. This data comes from the Report of the Secretary of the Senate, covering a six-month period ending Sept. 30, 2007. Five people are paid $100,000 or more annually by the Senator and only one - his administrative manager - is a woman.

Just the secretary.

The average pay for the 33 men on Obama's staff was $59,207. The average pay for the 31 women on Obama's staff was $48,729.91. The report shows only one paid intern during this period, a male.

Senator McCain employed 69 people during this period. 23 were, however, interns. Of the non-interns, 30 were women and 16 were men. The average pay for the non-intern women was $59,104.51. The 16 non-intern men were paid, on average, $56,628.83.

The problem, said Obama in that speech in New Mexico of Lilly Ledbetter, "was that her employer paid her less than men doing the exact same work."

Imagine that.

Still looking for that hope of change.