Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Obama Issues Guidelines for 9/11/01 10th Anniversary Memorials

The Obama adminstration has released guidance to American politicians and spokespeople and a different one to the international audience, such as Ambassadors and diplomats abroad, on how to speak about the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01. This is puzzling to many as we approach the 10th anniversary of the devastating events of 9/11/01.

The talking points link the attacks "from Mumbai to Manila" yet do not mention Israel in the list of those suffering from terror attacks. It is also troubling that it took the administration "weeks" to decide what the message would be to government officials everywhere.

The White House has issued detailed guidelines to government officials on how to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, with instructions to honor the memory of those who died on American soil but also to recall that Al Qaeda and other extremist groups have since carried out attacks elsewhere in the world, from Mumbai to Manila.

The White House in recent days has quietly disseminated two sets of documents. One is framed for overseas allies and their citizens and was sent to American embassies and consulates around the globe. The other includes themes for Americans here and underscores the importance of national service and what the government has done to prevent another major attack in the United States. That single-page document was issued to all federal agencies, officials said.

After weeks of internal debate, White House officials adopted the communications documents to shape public events and official statements, and they sought to strike a delicate balance between messages designed for these two very important but very different audiences on a day when the wrold's attention will be focused on President Obama, his leadership team and his nation.

"His nation"? Well, it's The New York Times.

The guidelines list what themes to underscore - and, just as important, what tone to set. Officials are instructed tomemorialize those who died in the Sept.11, 2001, attacks and thank those in the military, law enforcement, intelligence or homeland security for their contributions since.

An official is quoted as asserting that it is important that we realize the 9/11 attacks were not "just about us." So wrong. So very, very wrong.

Let us be clear - the attacks of that day were the worst our country has ever experienced. It is also the largest attack of terrorism ever experienced in the whole. Yes, the entire world. The events were specifically aimed at our government, at our nation's people.

Wednesday morning brought a bit of pushback from one who provided leadership at that time. "The attacks of 9/ll/01 were not a global attack, they were attacks on America", said former New York Governor Pataki. To lump the events of the day with other terrorist attacks around the world - like those that have occurred in Mumbai or Pakistan - demeans our history of the day.

The domestic guidelines, entitled "9/11 Anniversary Planning", are shorter and less prescriptive than the talking points created for overseas audiences. For example, they note that the ceremonies will honor Americans killed in the Sept. 11 attacks but also "all victims of terrorism, including those who had been targeted by Al Qaeda and other groups around the globe."

The victims of the 9/11 attacks are not entitled to their own day of remembrance? They must also be remembered with other victims of terrorism around the globe? Why? This is a day honoring the 9/11/01 victims. Period.

And, do not overlook the campaign mode in the tone of these guidelines.

The domestic guidelines also ask something of Americans that has been lacking in Washington: "We will also draw on the spirit of unity that prevailed in the immediate aftermath of the attacks."

More of the same - blaming Congress for the failures of the President and his administration. He is running for re-election and his record is not one that voters are happy with, so he needs a scapegoat. He will use Congress to take to task. Watch him.

Make no mistake - President Bush also reached out to all communities, especially Muslims, after the 9/11 attacks. He repeatedly called for unity. Just days after the attacks, he asked holy men of all faiths - including an Imam - to participate in the national memorial service in Washington, D.C. President Bush always referred to the fact that 90 countries lost citizens on that day when he spoke of the victims. It was the right thing to do, it is leadership we all expect from our President. To take it further and incorporate it into a re-election campaign dishonors the families and loved ones of those lost on that day. And, it certainly does not honor the victims.

East Coasters Complain About Over-Purchasing Emergency Supplies

It is enough to make a reasonable person shake her head. East Coasters are actually grousing about dodging the worst from Hurricane Irene. Some are now regretting 'overstocking' for the looming disaster.

Unbelievable. Instead of voicing words of gratitude and feeling prepared for any storms to come, they are returning supplies and complaining about standing in lines to buy batteries.

It is as though they think there will not be another hurricane barrelling up the East Coast. It is as though they do not anticipate snow storms later this year. It is as though they will not use items such as water, batteries, or snack foods.

And, to the woman quoted in the article referenced above who regrets standing in one of those long lines for batteries because she only has one flashlight in the house to use said batteries? Either buy another flashlight or use a bit more common sense next time. Think of this as a life lesson.

The complainers are disrespectful to those who lost homes, automobiles, personal belongings, and most of all the lives lost in the storm. How would it be for those suffering to have to hear the complaints of those so self-centered?

News reports continued Tuesday that some two million people continue to be without power. It would be good to think of those living in North Carolina who received the worst of the hurricane's damages. And to the State of Vermont, with virtually every town fighting flooding.

An excellent suggestion was mentioned - if you find yourself with unneccessary supplies, especially food products, how about donating it to a food pantry in your community? That gesture would offset the bad karma being stored from petty complaining now.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ted Cruz for U.S. Senate Campaign Announces Grassroots Leaders

The list of grassroots activists and political leaders rallying behind the Ted Cruz for U.S. Senate campaign is growing. Recently the campaign released an updated list of supporters.

As a Texas Federated Republican Womens Club PAC President in Houston, I am under the guidance of our state by-laws. Therefore, I am not able to endorse one Republican candidate over another in a primary.

The campaign has a presence in over 100 counties which comprise over 94% of Texas' 2010 GOP Primary Election turnout. The candidate's team is hard working and diligent. Ted Cruz is readily available to any Texas voter.

Take a look at the list, Texas voters. I bet you will find more than one name that is familiar to you.

No Appearance by White House for VFW Convention

Now here is something historic - for the first time in the 112 year history of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), there is no one scheduled to speak from the White House. No President Obama, no Vice President Biden. Zip. Nada. Neither will be speaking to the veterans in San Antonio this week.

The veterans group is accustomed to playing host to the nation's most powerful people at its national conference. Obama addressed the VFW in 2009, followed by Vice President Biden in 2010.

But the 2-million strong VFW accused the administration of snubbing its members by not providing a "first-tier speaker" for the first time in VFW history.

"The VFW has had a long-standing tradition of inviting the sitting president to address our convention," Richard Eubank, national commander of the organization, said in a statement, adding that the White House typically chooses a "high-level administration official" to speak if the president cannot attend.

"It is an insult of the highest magnitude that for the first time in the history of the VFW, the White House has apparently decided that this great and iconic organization of combat veterans and all of its members are not worthy of its notice by not at least offering a first-tier speaker from the administration."

The senior administration official said the White House did offer several potential speakers, including U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. The Air Force pitched its secretary and chief of staff; the National Guard offered the Army National Guard director.

Obama did, however, find time in his busy schedule to speak to the American Legion conference in Minneapolis.

Recalling "those awful attacks," President Barack Obama saluted the 9/11 generation of veterans Tuesday and publicly relished the prospect of U.S. forces getting out of both Iraq and Afghanistan.

"For our troops and military families who have sacrificed so much, this means relief from an unrelenting decade of operations," Obama said in remarks to the American Legion National Convention in Minneapolis.

"Thanks to these Americans," he said, "we're moving forward from a position of strength."

Obama paid tribute to more than 6,200 Americans in uniform who have given their lives during the past decade of war. He enumerated military successes, including advances in Afghanistan , the killing of al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and, most recently, assistance to Libyan rebels to help them push out strongman Moammar Gadhafi .

Do remember, as you listen to Obama reference the attacks of 9/11/01, that he was a member of Reverend Wright's church in Chicago. Wright famously proclaimed the 9/11 attacks as "chickens coming home to roost". He continued to proclaim Wright as his spiritual advisor up until the end of his presidential campaign when it became too uncomfortable for him to continue that claim in order to finish the race to the White House.

And, let's recall that in 2009 the Commander of the American Legion was "deeply disappointed" in the Obama plan to charge wounded warriors for their care.

The leader of the nation's largest veterans organization says he is "deeply disappointed and concerned" after a meeting with President Obama today to discuss a proposal to force private insurance companies to pay for the treatment of military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and injuries. The Obama administration recently revealed a plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in such cases.

"It became apparent during our discussion today that the President intends to move forward with this unreasonable plan," said Commander David K. Rehbein of The American Legion. "He says he is looking to generate $540-million by this method, but refused to hear arguments about the moral and government-avowed obligations that would be compromised by it."

The Commander, clearly angered as he emerged from the session said, "This
reimbursement plan would be inconsistent with the mandate '... to care for him who shall have borne the battle...' given that the United States government sent members of the armed forces into harm's way, and not private insurance companies. I say again that The American Legion does not and will not support any plan that seeks to bill a veteran for treatment of a service connected disability at the very agency that was created to treat the unique need of America's veterans!"

With politicians like Barack Obama, it is prudent to watch want he does, not what he says.

Monday, August 29, 2011

'Federal Family' is Term du Jour after Hurricane Irene

The onset of Hurricane Irene and its dominance of the news stories over the last weekend was a shadow cast on another storm - Hurricane Katrina. On this day in 2005, the city of New Orleans was devastated when the levees broke and flooded parts of the city, including the 9th Ward. The southern coast of Mississippi was demolished and swept out to the Gulf of Mexico. Parts of Alabama received major damage, too.

Hurricane Katrina slammed into the U.S. Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, destroying beachfront towns in Mississippi and Louisiana, displacing a million people, and killing almost 1,800. When levees in New Orleans were breached, 80% of the city was submerged by the flooding. About 20% of its 500,000 citizens were trapped in the city without power, food, or drinking water. Rescue efforts were so delayed and haphazard that many were stranded for days on rooftops and in attics before help arrived. The city became a toxic pool of sewage, chemicals, and corpses, and in the ensuing chaos, mayhem and looting became rampant—about 15% of the city's police force had simply walked off the job. The 20,000 people who made their way to the Superdome, the city's emergency shelter, found themselves crammed into sweltering and fetid conditions. At a second shelter, the convention center, evacuees were terrorized by roaming gangs and random gunfire. Relief workers, medical help, security forces, and essential supplies remained profoundly inadequate during the first critical days of the disaster.

It was bad. Hurricane Katrina brought home a message all too often forgotten by those dependent on the federal government - the red tape and bureaucracy makes government at the national level a slow and inefficent beast.

The Bush administration was lambasted and permanently damaged after its response to that storm - some deserved criticism and most not. With that in mind, Team Obama was determined to not be caught asleep at the wheel. The President and the First Family returned home about twelve hours early from their tony vacation on Martha's Vineyard and the mission was to establish that President Obama was on it - he was briefed and made statements throughout the weekend.

The administration made a concerted and coordinated effort to introduce a new phrase into the national conversation - one meant to comfort all into thinking the federal government will blanket you will protection, so fear not. The term is "federal family". Really. I'm not making it up. In order to remove the very unpopular word of "government" these days, we are to think of it in terms of a family.

How quaint. How utterly cynical from this uber-cynical administration.

Local and state officials errored on the side of full alert for this monster storm. That was a good thing, as lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina played out. The storm may have been more of a rain or wind event for some but for others it was devastating. It is always better to err on the side of safety.

But the storm had all the makings of a catastrophe: large, slow-moving and pointed at the heart of the nation’s largest city. It was not hard to imagine that the low-lying central part of Manhattan would be swamped like New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina. Not only would there have been scores of lives lost, but the beating heart of America’s financial industry would have been stifled.

In the end, though, the storm was nothing like Katrina and the small number of dead and isolated property damage will be lamented now, but soon swept from the front pages. It takes a lot to hold the nation’s disaster fascination: ask the still-struggling folks in Alabama and Joplin.

But before Irene fizzled, the Obama White House wanted to make sure that Irene was no Katrina and that, in fact, the president and his aides would be seen in compassionate command of the situation.

Hence the introduction of what may be the most condescending euphemism for the national government in its long history of condescending euphemizing: “federal family.”

This new phrase was supposed to, Power Play supposes, make anxious East Coasters feel the love of a caring federal government -- tender squeeze from the Department of Homeland Security, a gentle embrace from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The phrase was a centrally distributed talking point, appearing in op-eds, press releases and statements from across the administration.

President Obama, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano and FEMA Director Fugate were all on board with this nonsense. We care, we are family, depend on us.

Do we all feel better now?

My comfort came from witnessing news reports of local officials and state governors taking the lead and acting quickly. That is where storm response is centered - the local and then state level. The people of Louisiana suffered far greater death and aftermath tragedy than was necessary thanks to the sheer incompetence of New Orleans Mayor Naguin and Governor Blanco. President Bush beseeched them to act and his pleas were set aside, often for the political optics of bucking the Republican president. Lives were lost and families destroyed because of their posturing.

Governor Barbour in Mississippi took an early lead and took care of evacuating people along the coast. He didn't wait for federal response. He realized that the feds can only do so much before the storm actually hits. FEMA supplies have to be positioned out of the path of a storm so that when the conditions allow supplies to move in - when the waters on the road recede so that trucks can pass - the process can begin.

The federal government is not your family, no matter how many times President Obama utters the phrase. The federal government is a bureauocracy. Your family consists of capable human beings. Dependence on any governmental entity deminishes personal freedom and responsibility.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Christine O'Donnell Promotes Her Book

Former Tea Party darling Christine O'Donnell appeared on C-SPAN's BookTV thanks to a talk she gave to the Women's National Republican Club in Manhattan recently. She has a book out now that tells her political story.

The world according to Christine.

Her book is titled "Troublemaker" which seems to be her 2011 version of 2008's use of "maverick" by the McCain/Palin ticket. Ms. Troublemaker arrived late to her speech/book signing and had to begin her remarks with an apology for that lateness. Her excuse - she had begun her day with a Fox and Friends interview and continued all day with other interviews. Sometimes they run late and knock her off schedule. OK.

How about more realistic scheduling?

She spoke of a divided GOP as she promoted unity. She hits a snag with this plea for kumbiya for the sake of winning GOP seats as she is one who labels anyone who doesn't identify as a Tea Partier as "establishment" GOP. She doesn't seem to understand that GOP party members of longstanding are the backbone of the conservative movement and conservatism didn't begin with the Tea Party.

Why did she register as a Republican while she was in college? Because the boy was cute at the voter registration table and the GOP was paying $75 a day to pass out literature. I'm not kidding. That is what she said.

Who can take this woman seriously as an elected official? Some of us prefer those running for office to have a serious and sincere belief in political philosophy. She comes off like a ditz. Sorry, but it's true.

She wants respect for "forging ahead despite the opposition" during her Senate run. Well, that's politics, isn't it? You fight for votes and you battle to when at the ballot box.

Her only applause from the group was when she said Obama must be a one term President. Lecturing Republican women on principles of conservatism and freedom doesn't do much but insult us. Republican women are the ones who are the worker bees of the party. She acknowledged this but continued on with her sanctimonious schtick that she is the standard bearer of conservatives.

O'Donnell dodged the question of who she thinks should be the GOP candidate in 2012. She said they all have "great qualities". And she said the GOP has to get over "fingerpointing" at each other - and then went back to her Tea Party vs "establishment" GOP routine.

It was tedious.

"I don't know" was the response to a question as to if she would run for office again. She is busy now filing counter-complaints to the likes of CREW. "Let's see if I get a fair shot" she said when she mentioned that Beau Biden - son of Joe - is the Attorney General of Delaware.

She is quick to throw the victim card.

She enjoys lumping herself in with Sarah Palin.

She complains of scrutiny as the press looked into her past. Did she not know that the digging into her past would happen?

She was surprised at the conservative media who supported her opponent in the primary. She dismissed the concept that it is better to have a Republican in office as a reason to vote for a GOP candidate that didn't meet her purity test - like the incumbent she challenged. Maybe her 'troublemaking' stance doesn't understand the political philosophy of Reagan and William F. Buckley among others who came before her in the conservative movement that they believed in supporting the most conservative candidate who was electable. Electability is the key. The GOP officeholder that she challenged for the Senate seat may have been more liberal than she preferred but he was a Republican. She was never going to win her election.

She sang praises for George Stephanopolous and his fairness in interviews. She said a candidate "can't have a prejudice" about the professionalism of journalists.

O'Donnell comes off as someone who just wants the job. She doesn't articulate a burning desire to lead in a political arena other than to be a 'troublemaker'. She comes off as giggly and unserious. This is frustrating for women in the GOP who want more elected GOP women in power.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Attack of the Sticky Notes Campaign

It's quite clever, really. The sticky notes campaign is alive and well, no doubt to gather more steam as the 2012 election nears. The simplicity of it makes it so brilliant.

What is the sticky note campaign? Here is the mission as described on the Facebook page:

Purchase a pad of large sticky notes. Write on each one, "How's that Hope & Change working out for you?" Every time you stop to fill your vehicle with gas, place your sticky note somewhere on the pump before you drive away. DO NOT be destructive in ANY way! Place your sticky note somewhere, so as not to impede the next customer's ability to read the pump's digital readout.

After placing your sticky note, please consider taking a digital picture, then uploading it to our wall. Please tell us in which city and state the picture was taken. This is meant to be a "quiet" protest by our silent majority of Americans, to be served upon this administration!! Thank you all for your support!

Please join our FB "Fan Page" at:

Though this primarily uses gas pumps as the vehicle of delivery, there are other suggestions of places to leave a sticky note on the page:

Places to stick your sticky's!
01. The Gym
02. Food Stores, NOT on food items, i.e. packages, boxes,etc. Front edges of shelves only.
03. Gas Stations
04 Doctor's Offices
05. Restrooms, on the toilet, sink, mirror, door, towel dispenser, etc.
06. Self Check Out Machines, right where the change comes out.
07. Hunting Clubs
08. Bars
09. Shopping carts, on the handle, baby seat, etc.
10. Bulletin Boards in stores
11. Red Boxes
12. Leave Fliers in empty shopping carts
13. Your Electric and Water Meters
14. Flea Markets
15. Resort Areas you visit
16 The "Mom and Pop" stores.
17. Your Computer, Bulletin Board, Desk, etc. at work! It will generate some questions.
18. ATM's, where the money comes out.
19. Fast Food Drive, on the order screen.
20. Fast Food Restrooms, on the toilet, sink, mirror, door, towel dispenser, etc.
21. Car Washes

With the continuing rise of prices at the grocery store, that would be a prime spot besides the gas pumps, if you ask me.

I had a vague knowledge of this campaign but hadn't thought much about it. Then as I visited with a good friend recently - we were attending a conference for Republicans - she asked me if I was taking part in the sticky notes campaign. I told her I didn't really know much about it and she leaned down to pick up her purse. She reached inside it and brought out a regular pad of yellow sticky notes. She had a couple pre-written that asked, "how's that hopey, changey thing working out for you?" and showed them as an example. She said she has placed a few on gas pumps and at grocery stores in her area.

My friend Martha rocks, by the way.

It is an easy way of voicing opposition to this administration using a silent protest form of expression. It's quick, easy and anyone can do it. Children would enjoy helping out and a real life lesson on silent protest could be made for them. No property destruction. No disruption of business.

It's brilliant.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Tips That Can Save Your Life

While those on the left are more concerned with spinning everything into warm and fuzzy mode, even natural disasters, one morning show host found a way to find the silver lining with Hurricane Irene. Hey, the aftermath of the storm might create some jobs, right?

Mike Barnicle, of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”: We don’t have much time left here but is there potentially a rather dark, downside to the storm and that after the storm passed, after it’s over there might be employment in reconstruction and things like that?

Gov. Beverly Perdue (D-NC): “I hadn’t thought of that but obviously there will be some employment as people rebuild and prepare. This morning they said there’s at least 27,000 or 28,000 structures that have an opportunity to be hit by the storm. So, we’ll know by Saturday or Sunday. But all of us want jobs, but this isn’t a way to get them quite frankly.”

Just Thursday, former top economic adviser Austen Goolsbee was blaming natural disasters like earthquakes for continuing roadblocks to our nation's economic recovery. Maybe Goolsbee should have notified the Obama cheering section at MSNBC that they have decided to go with that approach.

While the east coast of the country prepares for a very large and potentially devastating hurricane by the name of Irene, I hope that people in the path will take the threat seriously. It is impossible to ride out a hurricane along the Gulf coast and not learn a very real life lesson - respect Mother Nature. We mere mortals have absolutely no control over weather events and if we have the luxury of advanced notice, unlike with earthquakes or tornadoes, it is imperative to prepare.

In recent years, I have dealt with some big ones. I was born on the Gulf coast and can speak as a native to give you some tips. Maybe you have read other blog posts about preparedness. Good. Read all of our posts and take it all into consideration as you prepare. See, that's the important word - prepare.

I rode out Hurricane Andrew in Lafayette, Louisisana - did you realize that hurricane not only flattened Homestead, Florida but then continued back in to the Gulf of Mexico and re-gained strength? It did. Then it went up the Vermilion Bay and hit coastal Louisiana. It was my scariest hurricane experience at that time and a learning experience on preparation.

In Houston, I have experienced Tropical Storm Allison, Hurricane Rita and then two years ago, I rode out Hurricane Ike in Houston. Again, many lessons were brought home in real time.

Tropical Storm Allison taught the lesson of never taking lightly the danger of a tropical storm. The storm may not technically reach the mark as a declared hurricane but the damage can easily be as life altering. In the Houston area, the storm lasted for such a long time and with continued intensity that streets, highways and homes flooded. Our world renowned medical center flooded out. Hospital basements and lower floors were under water.

Hurricane Rita was very much a 'real' hurricane and came on the heels of Hurricane Katrina. Rita didn't receive the attention due her because of the long recovery process and national coverage Katrina garnered but parts of east Texas were leveled and to this day are struggling to get back up and moving again. The victims of that storm seem to have slipped through the cracks.

Hurricane Ike was the scariest weather event I have ever experienced. I have lived on the Gulf coast most of my life and I'm capable of remaining fairly strong in the face of a storm. I know how to prepare and in that preparation comes a sense of strength. This storm, however, left no one I know in the area unscathed. In the case of my own family, our backyard fence blew down and we had tree damage in our front yard. We were feeling very lucky.

Here are some tips I can offer to those preparing for Hurricane Irene:

First and foremost, if you are in an area where an evacuation order has been announced please leave. Go to higher ground and hunker down there. That's what we call it in Texas, 'hunkering down', when you take shelter and ride out a storm. Listen to your community emergency co-ordinator and do what is recommended.

If you are evacuating, do so sooner rather than later. Traffic will come to a standstill quickly on any route out of your town. The longer you wait, the closer to the landfall of the storm, the worse that traffic will get. You will waste precious gas idling in traffic and running your car's air-conditioning to stay cool. Remember that fuel will be in short supply after the storm, especially when all power goes out - and it will - and the gas pumps won't work.

If you are evacuating, take a week's supply with you. That may sound like it is too much, but if it is, so what? I'm talking about stuff you will use anyway. Fill your meds. Pack toiletries and clothing to last several days. Pack pet food and supplies.

Take your pets. Do I have to explain that? I didn't think so.

Put all of your important papers and personal identification in a plastic baggie. Birth certificates, auto titles, homeowner insurance papers, auto insurance papers, passports, etc. Keep them on you at all times.

If you are riding out the storm, here are some tips:

Get to the store as soon as this decision is made. The shelves will clear out quickly and you don't want to waste time going from store to store gathering supplies. Don't wait to the last minute for anything. Purchase items that don't require cooking - remember, no power. Bread, snack items, fruit roll-ups, dry cereal, peanut butter, canned goods, whatever doesn't require refrigeration and will sustain you for at least one week.

Have at least one week's worth of any prescription medication you use.

Buy as much bottled water as you can. You cannot have too much.

Get cash. When the power goes out at your house, and it will, everything else will not work outside your house. ATM's won't work. Credit card machines at any retail outlet that remains open won't work. You have to use cash. If you are able to purchase gas, you'll need cash.

Purchase batteries. Again, there will be no electric power. Depending on how long the power is out, you will need to have access to news updates using a radio or scanner. You will need flashlights when it is dark in your house.

Put together a first aid kit. Keep the basics handy - band-aids, cream, guaze, antiseptic wipes, aspirin.

Secure your pets. Buy enough food and supplies for them for a week, too.

Keep your important documents safe. Plastic bags that zip closed and hard plastic storage boxes work best. Keep it within easy grabbing reach. If one room's roof caves in from wind and rain, you don't want to have to rummage through it all to get the important papers.

If you can, purchase a generator. We had one for Hurricane Ike and we were able to keep our refrigerator running and we kept the refrigerators of neighbors running, too, using extension cords. Cold milk, juice and water is a real luxury when the power goes out. And, ice. Lots and lots of ice.

If you have a generator, you will need extra gas
. Collect and fill several. Have your neighbors, if you are helping them as we did, do the same.

Charge all electronics now. Charge your cell phones.

Network with your neighbors. Find out who is staying and who is leaving. During Hurricane Ike, we banded together with two neighboring homes and it makes life easier. My husband kept the generator running during the 10 days our neighborhood was without power. Yes, 10 days. That is a long time and lots of gas containers worth of gas. The neighbors were good about taking empty gas cans and filling them up as they were able to get out and about.

It is a hot and miserable experience, the aftermath of a hurricane. It is an even worse experience if you are not prepared. At the very least you will have to deal with power outages. People get very tribal very quickly. The survival instinct kicks in right away.

And here is a good tip from one who knows - do as much laundry as you can to have comfortable,clean clothes for the duration. Cook as much food as you can if you think you will lose your refrigeration. Eat the ice cream and cook the meat. You know what to do.

Be safe. Keep calm and carry on.

Perry's Higher Ed Reform Initiative Catches Progressive By Surprise

Sometimes a liberal publication will surprise a conservative. Sometimes a policy initiative put forward by a conservative political leader (with the help of a conservative leaning think tank) will be reviewed without an ideological lens and the result is a breath of fresh air. Lo and behold, The New Republic pulled off such a maneuver.

The New Republic discovered that Governor Rick Perry supports higher education reform that will lower the cost of a four year degree, increase availability to lower income and middle income students, increase accountability from professors, and incorporate online learning to traditional classroom instruction. Professors would be held to merit pay increases and a more balanced approach to research versus classroom teaching would be put in place.

Sounds great, right? Sure, if you are a parent of a college student (I am) and if you are a college student bored with mediocre professor assistants teaching classes stuffed with too many students and ho hum lectures.

In 2008, he urged university leaders to begin implementing “Seven Breakthrough Solutions” for reforming higher education that had been developed by the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Taken together, the seven solutions are remarkably student-friendly. Four of them focus on improving the quality of university teaching by developing new methods of evaluating teaching performance, tying tenure to success in the classroom, separating the teaching and research functions within university budgets, and using teaching budgets to reward professors who excel at helping students learn. The fifth solution would give prospective students choosing colleges more information about things like class size, graduation rates, and earnings in the job market after graduation. The sixth would make state higher education subsidies more student-focused, and the seventh would shift university accreditation toward measures of academic outcomes.

Well, progressives in Texas squealed like shaved weasels. Think about it. Most universities are staffed with liberal leaning professors. Yes, even in Texas. Though as a rule the institution may be conservative by its very nature, the staffing is the important aspect for basic education goals. If a professor has a nice cushy research grant and a very comfortable salary as a tenured professor, why would he/she support change? Why would he/she support stronger scrutiny and critiques from the students?

The backlash against Perry’s agenda came quickly. A group of prominent A&M alumni wrote an open letter calling the reform efforts “damaging,” “self-serving,” and “naive.” More ominously, the president of the Association of American Universities, a cabal of elite research institutions, took the unusual step of sending A&M a public warning. With all the subtlety of a mob enforcer telling a shopkeeper that he’s a got a nice business here and wouldn’t it be a shame if anything happened to it, the AAU president informed the A&M chancellor that “Recent proposals that have been advanced by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and apparently supported by some regents and Governor Perry, appear to diverge” from the research mission that had won A&M admission to the prestigious AAU in 2001.

Somewhere along the line everyone forgot that the students are the customers and the institutions of learning are the service providers. And then, in 2011, Governor Perry presented his idea of a four year degree from a state university at a cost of $10,000 incorporating the use of technology - online learning. The critics wailed.

Progressives have invested great effort in improving K-12 schools on behalf of low-income and minority students. Yet they refuse to acknowledge that the very same students often go on to colleges and universities that are bad at teaching and increasingly overpriced. The left has bought into a false narrative holding that American colleges and universities need nothing more than increased funding and freedom from public scrutiny. That means that the only policymakers with the will to pursue authentic higher education reform are people like Rick Perry. That such an illiberal man is doing more to help college students than his Democratic peers should give pause to anyone with a genuine commitment to promoting progressive higher education.

I would argue that conservatives also have "invested great effort" in improving all educational levels for at risk students. An easy example is with the last two GOP First Ladies - Barbara Bush and Laura Bush - made family/adult literacy and reading programs and education reform a large part of their public service while in the White House. Does No Child Left Behind, for better or for worse, ring a bell? That certainly seems as important as, say, a vegetable garden tended to by the White House grounds keepers. And, of course there is the last dig at Perry - that he is "illiberal" which is meant to conjure up visions of those conservatives labeled as not smart. In the world of progressives (aka liberals), they are the smartest people in the room. Always. Plus, the only solution ever put forward by them is to throw more money at education without any reforms.

As the author points out, education should be a bi-partisan subject. Both parties are invested in the best possible outcome. Petty politics over the inconvenient truth that a group of conservatives can present a common sense approach to higher education reform - one that is student friendly and lots easier on the family budget.

Kudos to him for taking to task the progressives who turn out to be not so progressive after all.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Obama Said National Debt was "Unpatriotic" Before It Wasn't On His Watch

A very easy ad for the future GOP nominee as fallen into the campaign's lap. The economy continues to sputter and the CBO released a report Wednesday with the conclusion that the unemployment rate will be above 8% through 2014.

It is one thing to disagree with your political opponent's philosophy or policies. That is the name of the game. It is quite another, however, to bring out the adjectives such as "unpatriotic". Remember when the Democrats felt put upon when some in our country questioned their devotion to the U.S.A. over protesting the war in Iraq? Double standard?

The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents — #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.

This tone continues to this day from President Obama and his administration. The Democrats on Capitol Hill are frequently video taped saying despicable things about Tea Party members. The latest from Rep Fredrica Wilson in Florida who told her audience this week that the Tea Partiers are "the real enemy", just as others have called them terrorists (Joe Biden) and that they can "go straight to hell" (Maxine Waters) and that they want slavery to make a comeback (Jessie Jackson). And, yes, on the conservative side there is the occassional blog post about beginning impeachment proceedings on President Obama and the like. It just seems there is less from the conservative side while the left says such vile remarks with utter ease.

Two Republican leaders spoke to this public discord in the last day or two. Jeb Bush spoke to Fox News Channel's Neal Cavuto and stated that Republicans have to offer solutions, not just bash Obama, in order to win the election. He said it turns off middle of the road voters to just hear the negative without persuading them to vote for your party's candidate.

Senator Marco Rubio said as much to the audience as he spoke at the Reagan Library Tuesday. He said it is easy to criticize the President but these problems began decades ago. Obama's policies are accelerating the pain but he is not the sole problem.

And, Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, has asked fellow CEOs to sign a pledge to abstain from political contributions until Washington gets out of its dysfunctional mode.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is annoyed with politicians. Rather than just expressing that annoyance, he has promised to cut off politicians where it hurts — in the campaign war chest. A few other businesses, such as the NASDAQ, have agreed to follow suit.

Schultz’s pledge

In an open letter sent to other business leaders and published by several newspapers, Howard Schultz outlined his plan:

“I am asking that all of us (forgo) political contributions until the Congress and the President return to Washington and deliver a fiscally disciplined long-term debt and deficit plan to the American people.”

In the last five years, Schultz has donated slightly less than $28,000 to D.C. politicians. The total amount of donations Schultz made are comparatively a drop in the bucket in the $5.2 billion or more spent on elections each year.

The staunchest of ideologues will pooh-pooh this notion that there must be a path to those elected to represent us in Washington working together to save our country. Everyone from the President on down have very low polling percentages. The public is fed up.

Political principles can be maintained while working with the other side of an argument. It takes leadership, though. The President does a disservice to his party as he brings a whole new level of vitriol to politics, using his bully pulpit to smear Republicans at every opportunity. It is no wonder that Democrats further down the line feel entitled to ratchet up the dialogue.

We need true leadership. And some grown ups in Washington.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Marco Rubio Rescues Nancy Reagan From Fall

Not only does Senator Marco Rubio have quick oratory skills, he's pretty sharp with helping a senior citizen as she loses her balance.

Senator Rubio was a guest speaker at the Reagan Presidential Library in California Tuesday. As he escorted Nancy Reagan to her chair, she lost her balance as her walking cane slid a bit on the floor.

VIDEO: Nancy Reagan falls :

Nice save, Senator Rubio.

Joe Biden Expresses Understanding of China's One Child Policy

Joe Biden, embarrassing us across China, expressed a rather controversial opinion of acceptance for the one child policy enacted in China. He worked the policy into a question and answer session on United States debt and entitlement reform at Sichuan University in China,

“Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family,” Mr. Biden said. “The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable.”

Really? Why would the Vice President of the United States of America feel the need to drag such a barbaric policy into the discussion? Why would he allow himself to appear supportive of such treachery? This administration continues to take a pass on speaking up for solid human rights and basic human values overseas as they represent our country - a country founded on freedom and solidly pro-family. It is as though they cowardly continue to accept the brutal policies of dictators rather than express disapproval on behalf of us.

He is the gaffe machine that keeps on giving.

Texas Governor Perry, running for the GOP nomination for President issued the following statement:

“China’s one child policy has led to the great human tragedy of forced abortions throughout China, and Vice President Biden’s refusal to ‘second-guess’ this horrendous policy demonstrates great moral indifference on the part of the Obama Administration. Americans value life, and we deserve leaders who will stand up against such inhumanity, not cast a blind eye.”

Mitt Romney spoke on the remarks, too:

Calling China’s policy “gruesome and barbaric,” Mr. Romney said in a statement Tuesday morning, “Vice President Biden’s acquiescence to such a policy should shock the conscience of every American.”

Surely Biden understands the dire consequences of this policy. Not only will one Chinese income earner now be responsible for four retired Chinese, as Biden uttered, and the unsustainability of it, but what about the fact that there is a dire shortage of female Chinese babies now? With whom will the Chinese male children allowed to be born form families and continue on with the future generations?

The only Democrat willing to call evil dictators out on matters of human rights in recent times is Hillary Clinton. It is unimaginable to think that she would have made the mistake that Biden made in China. During the Clinton administration she was a delegate to the international womans conference in China and made headlines for insisting that women receive respect and rights, along with all members of Chinese society. This current administration turns back the hands of time by going along to get along.

Now that the story has been released and a couple of days have passed which brought criticism against Biden's behavior, he is clarifying his error.

Biden spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said the vice president was far from condoning the policy, and "strongly opposes all aspects" of it as does the entirety of the Obama administration.

“The Vice President believes such practices are repugnant," Barkoff said in a statement. "He also pointed out, in China, that the policy is, as a practical matter, unsustainable. He was arguing against the One Child Policy to a Chinese audience.”

There should never be any question that the people of the United States do not support forced abortions and sterilizations as a method of controlling a nation's population.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rick Perry Aided Israel in Stopping Freedom Flotilla II

Texas Governor Rick Perry - and current GOP Presidential candidate - used his influence recently to help an Israeli law firm stop the onset of another left wing activist attack on that country via flotilla. Since some of the prominent activists are American - such as Code Pink's Medea Benjamin - the Neutrality Act was being violated.

Next, Shurat HaDin lawyers discovered American flotilla activists were potentially in violation of the Neutrality Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens from taking part in a hostile act against an allied country. “So we approached the Attorney General of the United States to fix it. And we also got Gov. Rick Perry to write a letter to Eric Holder,” said Darshan-Leitner.

It may seem a little weird that the governor of Texas would be one of the first people Darshan-Leitner approached to help with the plan. But she explained that Perry was enthusiastically on-board with the cause ever since he met her on a trip to Israel.

“I once spoke at a mission that Perry took part in, in Israel,” she said. “And he approached me and said, ‘I love what you do. It’s amazing what you do. If you ever need help combating Israel’s enemies, I’m here to assist.’”

“Freedom Flotilla II” was thwarted by legal manuevers in Israel. From the website run by the activists:

July 19, 2011: At 3:30 am (EDT) today, several Israeli naval ships stopped the French-flagged ship Dignite/Al Karama while on the last leg of its voyage to Gaza. The small boat with 16 people was approximately 40 miles away from Gaza, very much in international waters. By 6 am the Israeli military had taken control of the boat and was bringing it to the Israel port of Ashdod, where the people on the boat would be arrested. At this time there have been no reports of any injuries. All communication with the passengers on the Dignite has been cut off.

The Dignite is one member of the larger Freedom Flotilla II that had planned to sail together to Gaza in late June. All the other ships, including the U.S. flagged boat The Audacity of Hope, were delayed by the Greek government’s refusal to permit them to sail ...

Yes, the U.S. boat was named "The Audacity of Hope". Fitting, considering the lack of support publicly shown from this U.S. administration.

Other countries helped with the intervention to stop the flotilla. Greece, for instance, has a law similar to our Neutrality Act.

So with Attorney General Holder on notice – and a Neutrality Act lawsuit filed in New York federal court – Shurat HaDin turned its attention toward Greece. The group discovered the country had a Neutrality Act similar to the one in the U.S., and it prohibited boats from leaving Greece to sail to illegal ports, including Gaza.

Shurat HaDin notified the Greek minister of civil protection about the flotilla, and he immediately blocked the ships from leaving Greece.

“The second thing he did was order the port authorities in Greece to raid the boats and to find what’s wrong with each and every boat – to be very, very particular,” said Darshan-Leitner, clearly amused. “And at that point, an additional six or seven boats were grounded. Because they found a lot of [problems] there.”

The mission of the far left activists never came to fruition. Beating them at their own game, Israel succeeded through the legal system. Fighting smart. Texans can be proud of Governor Perry's part in the action.

Rep Paul Ryan Ends Presidential Bid Speculation

Monday Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) ended the parlor game surrounding his decision on a run for President. He declines, with all due respect.

I'm happy about this decision. I have great admiration for Rep Ryan and his knowledge of all things economic. He is a rising star and will be more useful, for now, in the House of Representatives. His leadership is crucial in this time of uncertain economic recovery. He has the backbone and unwavering strength of conviction of political philosophy that propels him forward with reform ideas of the huge entitlement programs bankrupting our nation.

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan announced Monday that he will not be a participant in the 2012 Republican presidential nominating contest, choosing instead to run for reelection to the House of Representatives, where he currently serves as Budget Committee chairman.

"I sincerely appreciate the support from those eager to chart a brighter future for the next generation. While humbled by the encouragement, I have not changed my mind, and therefore I am not seeking our party's nomination for president," Ryan said in a statement on his campaign website.

"I remain hopeful that our party will nominate a candidate committed to a pro-growth agenda of reform that restores the promise and prosperity of our exceptional nation. I remain grateful to those I serve in southern Wisconsin for the unique opportunity to advance this effort in Congress."

The most exciting aspect of the very near future for me, as a Republican woman and an activist, is the deep bench of candidates surfacing for later campaigns. Rep Ryan is one such politician. Others include Sen Marco Rubio, Governor Christie, Governor Nikki Haley, Governor Susana Martinez, and Governor Susan Fallin.

The GOP women Governors - Haley is the first Indian-American female to win the office of Governor and Martinez is the first woman Hispanic Governor - are the most hopeful signs for the GOP future to me. Governor Fallin is a former U.S. Representative from Oklahoma and is calm and skilled in her delivery of answers in interviews. I hope they will all be recruited to the top ticket of our party in future campaigns.

In the meantime, it is important to allow the up and comers the time for acquiring experience and leadership skills. How can we criticize those without experience and qualifications worthy of the top offices in the land - such criticism was justified in the case of Barack Obama in 2008 and look at the mess we're in now - if we rush officeholders along ourselves?

Especially in the cases of Ryan and Rubio, strong GOP leaders are essential in the House and Senate as Republicans continue the fight against the Obama agenda. Both are young men and have plenty of time to save our country as President later.

Monday, August 22, 2011


On August 19, 2011 REPUBLICAN WOMEN OF KERR COUNTY (TX) conducted a straw poll with the following results:

Please write down the name of the "declared" or "media mentioned" U.S.
Republican Presidential candidate that you think most embodies characteristics you value:


Please write down the name of the "declared" or "media mentioned" U.S.
Republican Presidential candidate that you think can beat Obama.


U.S. Senate - Texas
Please write down the name of the "declared" or "undeclared" Republican
candidate for the U.S. Senate that you think most embodies the
characteristics you value:


Please write down the name of the "declared" or "undeclared" Republican
candidate that you think can win against a Democrat:


The attendance is recorded as between 130 and 150, with 130 signing in. The model used was taken from the straw poll conducted by Greater Houston Council in May. A new straw poll will again be conducted during the November Greater Houston Council meeting.

It is not surprising that Rick Perry would lead in favorability for the Presidential poll, as he is the current Governor of the state.

The result of the tabulation was good for the Ted Cruz for U.S. Senate campaign as he also came out on top for the Greater Houston Council straw poll.

Please note: This straw poll from Kerr County, as the Greater Houston Council straw poll, is not to be taken as an official endorsement of any campaign during the Republican primary season.

Bourdain Disses Deen in Food Fight

Chef turned tv celebrity Anthony Bourbain is known for speaking his mind and utilizing a sharp tongue in doing so. Now, it seems, he is vying for attention at the expense of other well-known cooks. He even dared to diss the much beloved Southern cook, Paula Deen.

In an interview in this week’s TV Guide, Bourdain calls Paula Deen “the worst, most dangerous person to America” for her artery-clogging style of cooking.

“She revels in unholy connections with evil corporations, and she’s proud of the fact that her food is f--king bad for you,” Bourdain said of the Food Network star, who is famous for her butter-heavy recipes.

“I would think twice before telling an already obese nation that it is OK to eat food that is killing us,” Bourdain said of Deen and her kitchen creations.

“Plus, her food sucks.

Keep it classy, Tony. What a jerk.

Bourdain is a big time liberal elitist. I confess to having read his first book and I have watched some of his eating adventure shows on the Travel Channel. I pretty much lost any interest in his show, though, after viewing one he did in Lebanon which coincided with the battle that broke out after Israel retaliated for an attack from that country. Bourdain was there with others trying to get out of the country as the violence worsened. It was difficult, as happens, and he began to bellow on camera to the U.S. government and bashing George W. Bush, who was the President at the time. So, yeah, he's just another liberal living la vita loca in a grand way and not taking into consideration his own personal responsibilities.

He's of French heritage, Anthony Bourdain, and is quite the food snob. He's thinks he is better than you, to sum it up. He's a world traveler and enjoys sampling whatever the local cuisine happens to be.

Here's the thing - my husband's work takes him all around the world, too. He, too, enjoys sampling local cuisine. My husband, however, would not impose his tastes on others under the guise that his palate is so much more sophisticated than yours. Maybe it is because he was raised by a Southern mother. Southern women know the difference between acting respectfully and not towards others. I say that as a Southern woman. And, yes, my mother in law is a huge Paula Deen fan, coming for a town not far from Paula's home.

If Bourdain was a perfect person the public fight instigation might be easier to swallow. He's not. He is the first to talk about former addictions and the battles he's fought with them.

Paula Deen responded.

The "evil corporations" reference? What is this, 1969? Deen works with food companies, as other chefs and cooks do for endorsement fees, and works to stock food banks all around the country. So, if that is evil, I say more power to her.

Maybe his show ratings are sagging. He started out on the Food Network just as the others did. He is now paid to travel and eat. His life is pretty darn good, I'd say. Too bad he hasn't learned to be gracious in success.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Team Obama Continues Tone Deaf Approach to Re-Election

Watching the Sunday morning talk shows it is clear on one front, the Obama team are still blaming everyone but Barack Obama for failing policies and schemes to set our country back on sound economic footing. While Barack Obama makes weekly addresses on video calling for rising above political ideology and doing what is best for our country his minions scatter and appear on camera doing that exact thing.

All the while, Barack Obama and the first family is enjoying a very tony vacation on Martha's Vineyard. While we would not deny the President a vacation with his children before school starts again - something any family can relate to - we are justified in criticizing him on his tactics. The optics - the buzz word du jour for public relations folks - are so very bad. Just as his frequent golf outings are seen as in-your-face and out of touch with so many feeling the pain of a bad economy, his choice of location for vacation is more of the same. He cannot speak of being a man of the people while continuing on with his very elite choice of lifestyle. Make no mistake, most of us realized Barack Obama was no regular Joe before ascending into the presidency. He led a very priviledged life, even as a school boy in Honolulu attending the most elite of the private schools. He became very accustomed to a life of only the best.

It is hard to imagine a more publicly partisan speaker than Barack Obama, even as he is President. From the bully pulpit of the Oval Office he has again and again blasted Republicans and opponents of his policies. Now he has jetted off to Martha's Vineyard just as he says he will produce an economic plan in September.

Why September? Because he truly has no plan - why believe it now when he has failed to produce one for almost three years now? - and he will make another speech (very different from a plan) and blame Republicans yet again for not going along to get along. He needs to blame Republicans in order to boost his dismal looking poll numbers and re-election plans. He cannot win re-election on his record and his absence of leadership so he will blame Republicans.

The brutal truth is this - Barack Obama is losing his own political base. The very far left liberals who counted on him to advance their agenda are losing faith in his inability to govern. Even Maxine Waters is openly criticizing her guy Obama. She recently appeared at a jobs fair attended by mostly black Americans and asked their permission to go after Obama on his record. Imagine that. She also, for good measure, lambasted the Tea Party. She said, "as far as I'm concerned, the Tea Party can go straight to hell."

And, he's losing the liberal pundits, too. Rabid Democrat columnist Maureen Dowd took Obama to task for not calling Congress back into session to work on economic solutions instead of continuing on with the posh vacation:

Cruising white Midwestern hamlets in his black bus, Obama tried to justify not calling lawmakers back to D.C. by saying they’d just continue to bicker. But what does he think they’ll do in September? The truth is, he doesn’t want them back in the capital any more than they want to be back. It would have screwed up his vacation and upset Michelle, who already feels trapped in the Washington bubble.

The staged photos of Obama receiving daily briefings on foreign policy and economics from cabinent members on the front porch of the vacation estate are ridiculous. They fool no one, except maybe Obama himself. Maybe he truly believes he is providing leadership. Which is sad because it proves he truly is in over his head and has not learned anything about leadership at all.

It is crucial that the GOP nominee provide a resume of past experience at higher levels than a rookie Senator from Illinois provided in 2008.

How's all that hope and change working out for us?

Perry Returns to Cheering Crowd in Texas

After a whirlwind week on the road, beginning to introduce himself to Republican primary voters, Texas Governor Rick Perry returned to Austin Saturday to an enthusiastic crowd. The venue was a local restaurant. Hundreds are reported to have been in attendance. His wife, Anita, introduced him to the crowd.

Wrapping up his speech, Perry used a longtime Texas saying, instructing supporters on how to respond to critics.

"I am going to get America working again," he said. "It's time for a change. I'm not talking about the rhetoric of change. I'm talking about the record of change."

Perhaps sensing the increased scrutiny of his candidacy over everything from his jobs record to his views on evolution, Perry ended his remarks with fighting words for the "liberal pundits," advising his supporters about how they should reply when the media downplays the Texas way: "I want you to say, 'That dog won't hunt!'"

Governor Perry had quite the week. Not only is he a solid second place favorite in most polls but he has endured the zings of the critics and doubters from all quarters - liberals as well as fellow Republicans.

One Ron Paul supporter took out a full page ad in an Austin newspaper calling on those who may have had sexual encounters with Perry or if information confirming that he is gay is available, please bring it forward. This person is convinced of moral hypocrisy from Perry. Last Presidential election cycle, this guy was doing the same type of attack on Hillary Clinton.

Liberals along the campaign trail have taken opportunities to hold up signs demanding Perry go back to Texas and instructing young children on asking obnoxious questions to Perry. "Ask him why he hates science", one mother was recorded to tell her young child.

And, the most disappointing of all is the attacks coming from fellow Republicans - most notably from Jon Huntsman. He occupies the very bottom of polls and is showing the strain. Press reports have emerged that Huntsman will sit for an interview for one of the Sunday morning chat shows and will bash Governor Perry over climate change opinions and the like.

Keep it classy, Mr. Huntsman.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Culberson Supports Balanced Budget Amendment

Texas Representative John Culberson released this explanation of his support of a Balanced Budget Amendment:

I have been a proud cosponsor of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution every session since I was sworn into office in 2001. As a free market, constitutional conservative, I’m convinced that a Balanced Budget Amendment is only way to get our country back on the right fiscal track. We must stop the tide of spending to save our children and grandchildren from drowning in the ocean of debt that Washington has created.

It’s time for Washington to stop spending money it simply doesn’t have. The idea of balancing a budget is not an “unproven economic theory.” Currently, 49 states abide by some type of a balanced budget amendment. If state governments can force themselves to live within their means, the federal government can too. A constitutional amendment to balance the budget every fiscal year would legally force (not simply “advise” or “recommend”) Congress to spend no more than it takes in.

A Balanced Budget Amendment would incorporate three fundamental principles:

(1) amend the Constitution to require that total spending for any fiscal year not exceed total receipts;

(2) require that bills to raise revenues pass each House of Congress by a 2/3 majority; and

(3) establish an annual spending cap so that total federal spending could not exceed 18% of the economic output of the United States.

Businesses across the country have criticized the government for crippling their ability to grow and create jobs. Over-regulating, over-taxing, and over-spending are shattering business and consumer confidence in our fragile economy. By forcing a vote on the Balanced Budget Amendment by the end of this year, Republicans are showing that we’ve heard the call from families and businesses that “enough is enough.”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ted Cruz for Senate Adds To Leadership Team

The Ted Cruz for Senate campaign announces some new additions to its Leadership Team.

From Texas:
* Scott Brister, former Texas Supreme Court Justice and Senior Fellow of TPPF’s Tenth Amendment Center
* Richard Ford, President, Heritage Alliance
* Kaye T. Goolsby, former Vice President, Texas Federation of Republican Women
* Dave Nalle, National Chairman, Republican Liberty Caucus
* Buck Werner, Texas Executive Director, Christian Coalition of America

On the national level:
* Brent Bozell, President of Media Research Center
* Colin Hanna, President of Let Freedom Ring
* Jim Martin, 60 Plus Chairman
* Tony Perkins, Family Research Council President
* Alan Sears, President of Alliance Defense Fund
* Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel, American Center for Law & Justice
* Fred Smith, President, Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Ted Cruz continues to bring together Texans to unite around his fight to preserve the free-market economy and defeat the Obama Agenda.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Houston GOP Women Organizing Westside Campaign Headquarters

In my world, the Fall political season began again Tuesday after a summer hiatus. The day was full of political goodness. And some weird for good measure.

The noon hour brought me to a group of about a dozen Republican women leaders, mostly affiliated with Tx Federation of Republican Women clubs/PACs on the west side of Houston. The meeting was the first to organize a headquarters which will be opened and staffed by Republican volunteers to serve as a clearinghouse of sorts for candidates running for office. The candidates will be through the primary early next year and we will be there to bring attention to their campaigns.

Are you paying attention,candidates? This office will provide a central office for any Republican candidate in the 2012 general election. We are using the advice and very successful model provided by Lillian Norman Keeney and her team in the Pearland/Brazoria County area.

We are just about a year out in the planning and it is going to be good.

Later Tuesday afternoon I received a most unusual phone call. As the President of a local GOP women's PAC, I often get calls from those interesting in speaking to our group. This person and her approach was different, to say the least.

The phone rang and the number that came up on caller id was not familiar and the "unknown" label flashed. It was a local area code so I answered. "Hi. This is Julianne. May I speak to Karen Townsend?". "Yes, this is she", I replied. "Hi. I'd like to talk to you about the LaRouche initiatives." "Lyndon LaRouche?", I replied. "Yes. Are you familiar with Mr. LaRouche?" My response was as calm of a one as I could manage -"Yes, I am." Then she said, "We are looking to build an army." With that I was out. "I'm not interested. Thank you." And I hung up.

A minute or two passed and another call came in. It was from Julianne again.After the I just want to discuss some points we can agree on, she said, "Can I talk to you about speaking to your group?" This was easy - I told her our group has programs lined up through the end of the year. In January we will have a new President and a new Programs Vice-President. Then I went on to tell her that our group really doesn't have supporters of Mr. LaRouche's in its membership.

She went back to the I think we have ideas we can both agree on bit. So, yeah, I'll engage and hear what she is serving up today. I ask, "Well, like what?" and she brings the conversation to an end with her opening remark - "Can we both agree that President Obama has committed treasonous acts?"

Oy. No, Julianne, we cannot agree upon that statement. Bye-bye.

Please. No one disagrees with Barack Obama more than me, generally speaking. But the term 'treason' is not one to banter around with in a conversation. My field of study in college was political science so if you want to engage, be an adult. If you want to be taken seriously, stop with the hysteria. Stop with the crazy talk.

Especially in the case of Barack Obama, he is doing a good job taking himself down. There is no need to discuss treason or impeachment or anything else along those lines.

Welcome, Fall.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Obama's Taxpayer Funded Bus Tour

Try as they may, the Washington Post spin on the "rare" attack from President Obama on the GOP field of candidates as he begins his taxpayer funded bus ride around some choice midwestern states, the article rang hollow for anyone even vaguely paying attention to politics.

President Barack Obama launched a rare direct attack Monday on the GOP presidential field, criticizing Republican hopefuls for what he contended was their blanket opposition to any compromise involving new taxes.

“Think about that. I mean, that’s just not common sense,” Obama said at a town hall-style meeting in Cannon Falls, Minn., as he kicked off a three-day bus tour through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

“You need to take a balanced approach,” he said.

Obama made the comment after describing a moment in last week’s GOP presidential debate when all eight of the candidates participating said they would refuse to support a deal with tax increases, even if tax revenues were outweighed 10-to-1 by spending cuts.

Obama didn’t mention any of the candidates by name, and started the remark by saying, “I know it’s not election season yet.”

Of course it is election season. Why did Team Obama form and begin the process at the Chicago headquarters to run Obama's national re-election campaign earlier this year if it isn't "election season"? He thinks you are stupid, you know.

To write that it is a "rare" attack on GOP candidates is foolish pap. His team in Chicago fires off snarky responses at every opportunity to each campaign story about GOP candidates challenging Barack Obama for the seat in the Oval Office. Obama himself has set his speechifying apart from past presidents by continually attacking his opponents in public forums and televised speeches. By opponents, I mean Republicans. One is hard pressed to imagine a speech without bad mouthing Republicans from this president.

He couldn't help himself, I suppose. He knows nothing else. The first town hall event he attends and the ugly rhetoric starts. He is a small minded man with no leadership skills.

How does it feel to be paying for Barack Obama's summer vacation through states crucial to his re-election, disguised as a "jobs tour", a listening tour, my fellow conservatives?

It might be noted that for those saying, "Bush did it", which is a typical low brow response to any criticism of Obama, the Bush campaign paid for his bus tour, not the taxpayer. He didn't make the pretext that it wasn't a campaign trip.

Think about this - Obama flew on Marine One to get to Air Force One to go to Minneapolis-St. Paul to hop on a bus to tour the midwest and trying to take the publicity away from GOP candidates there. In politics, that is called "bracketing" and no one knows how to hog the spotlight better than Barack Obama. Anyone's spotlight will do.

President Obama is engaged for the next three days in what political operatives call “bracketing” – a technique by which you horn in on the media attention being paid to your competitor and muck up their message.

Consider that for a moment: The sitting president is in such dire electoral condition that he is looking to “bracket” the still-forming Republican field.While it reveals the lengths to which the president will go to define his eventual opponent, the willingness to go on equal footing with GOPers reveals the straitened circumstances of the president.

Mitt Romney has dubbed it the "magical misery tour". Clever.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

GOP Takes Spotlight Away from Obama Campaign

It was quite the weekend for politics, GOP style. The fun began a bit early with the Thursday night debate and continued into Friday Iowa State Fair appearances shown on C-SPAN and Saturday entertainment before the Straw Poll was all calculated up. Along the way, as the folks in Iowa were beginning to cast their votes, Texas Governor Perry announced his candidacy. In South Carolina.

Then, as the Straw Poll votes were tallied and the results were announced, Governor Perry landed in New Hampshire and gave a speech along the same timeframe. Do not count out Governor Perry in a contest of campaigning plays. He is the winner every time. When the man talks about the gift of persistance, it is not just a throwaway line on the campaign trail.

After his announcement in South Carolina on Saturday, Rick Perry traveled to New Hampshire, where — as Josh Rogers of New Hampshire Public Radio reports — the governor told a house party that he wouldn't go to Washington to be liked but to reduce the role of the federal government in Americans' lives.

The Straw Poll results came in and Michele Bachmann took top spot. Ron Paul placed second and Tim Pawlenty was a distant third.

The Straw Poll is a perfect venue for Ron Paul. He games straw polls with tons of bussed in voters and goodies as rewards. Though it is standard practice in Iowa for the campaigns to buy tickets - it costs $30 per person to vote in the Iowa Straw Poll - and pass them out to supporters, it can be noted that the Bachmann campaign passed out 6,000 tickets and she received 4,823 votes. Ron Paul received 4,671 votes so it was a close race between those two candidates. The Paul campaign claims "everyone does it" as justification for gaming straw polls around the country. It was a rich environment for Paul.

For the first time ever, the Straw Poll allowed write-in votes. Gov. Perry won that with 718 votes, besting Mitt Romney in a surprise development. The amount of votes cast was the second highest ever recorded at 16,892. The enthusiasm was higher than in 2007 and even the Democrats showed up to try to put a little spin in the press. Didn't do much good, though.

Now with all the press the GOP are receiving, President Obama has scheduled a bit of travel to campaign for himself.

President Barack Obama launches a political counteroffensive this week, weighed down by withering support among some of his most ardent backers, a stunted economy and a daily bashing from the slew of Republicans campaigning for his job.

"We've still got a long way to go to get to where we need to be. We didn't get into this mess overnight, and it's going to take time to get out of it," the president told the country over the weekend, all but pleading for people to stick with him.

With his approval numbers sliding, the Democratic president will try to ease their worries and sustain his resurrected fighting spirit when he sets off Monday on a bus tour of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. The trip is timed to dilute the GOP buzz emanating from the Midwest after Republicans gathered in Iowa over the weekend for a first test of the party's White House candidates. The state holds the nation's first nominating test in the long road toward choosing Obama's opponent.

He just happens to be going to Iowa himself.

The Obama campaign is floundering. Despite a swift and aggressive response team to every GOP event or headline, Obama's poll numbers continue to fall. Sunday it was reported that his lastest favorability numbers is at 39% - tying with the lowest number of former President George W. Bush, the man Obama likes to blame for his own woes.

New data posted Sunday shows that 39% of Americans approve of Obama's job performance, while 54% disapprove. Both are the worst numbers of his presidency.

Obama's approval rating has hovered in the 40% range for much of 2011, peaking at 53% in the weeks following the death of Osama bin Laden.

But Americans' view of his job performance continued to tick downward as the debt-ceiling debate heated up. By the time he signed legislation averting a federal default, he was mired in the low-40% range.

Obama is set to launch something of a counter-offensive on Monday with a three-day bus tour of the Midwest, a trip that includes two stops in Iowa. The White House denied that the itinerary was politically motivated, however.

Yeah, right. Team Obama still thinks we are stupid.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rick Perry Enters Presidential Race

Saturday afternoon in Charleston, S.C. Texas Governor Rick Perry tossed his hat into the ring by announcing his candidacy for President of the United States. The setting was a conservative bloggers' gathering of about 397 registered participants, with about 550 present to hear Perry's speech.

No doubt ruffling some feathers among the other GOP primary candidates who are busy in Iowa today hoping for a top three placement in the famous Iowa straw poll, Perry delivered a rousing speech taking the fight directly to Barack Obama. There was no sniping at other Republicans in the race.

Perry began the speech with "Howdy" and then went on to ask for a moment of silent reflection on the SEALs bravery and the loss recently of some of our finest.

And I want to take a moment and ask you to just take a silence, think about those young Navy SEALs and the other special operators who gave it all in the service of their country. Just take a moment to say Thank you, Lord, that we have those kind of selfless, sacrificial men and women. Their sacrifice was immeasurable, their dedication profound, and we will never, ever forget them.

On the economy he hit back at the premise that we are in recovery mode:

But of course, now we’re told we are in recovery. Yeah.

But this sure doesn’t feel like a recovery to more than nine percent of Americans out there who are unemployed, or the sixteen percent of African Americans and 11 percent of Hispanics in the same position, or the millions more who can only find part-time work, or those who have stopped even looking for a job.

One in six work-eligible Americans cannot find a full-time job. That is not a recovery. That is an economic disaster.

If you think about it, for those Americans who do have full-time jobs, they aren’t experiencing economic recovery with the rising fuel costs and the food prices that are going up. Recovery is a meaningless word if the bank has foreclosed on your home, if you are under water on your mortgage, or if you are up to the max on your credit card debt. Those Americans know that this President and his big-spending, big-government policies have prolonged our national misery, not alleviated it.

Then on foreign policy:

America’s standing in the world is in peril, not only because of disastrous economic policies, but from the incoherent muddle that they call foreign policy. Our president has insulted our friends and he’s encouraged our enemies, thumbing his nose at traditional allies like Israel. He seeks to dictate new borders for the Middle East and the oldest democracy there, Israel, while he is an abject failure in his constitutional duty to protect our borders in the United States.

His foreign policy seems to be based on alienating our traditional allies, while basing our domestic agenda on importing those failed Western European social values. We don’t need a president who apologizes for America. We need a president who protects and projects those values.

Look, it’s pretty simple: we’re going to stand with those who stand with us, and we will vigorously defend our interests. And those who threaten our interests, harm our citizens – we will simply not be scolding you, we will defeat you.

Some on his record in Texas:

Over the years, we have followed this recipe to produce the strongest economy in the nation. Since June of 2009, Texas is responsible for more than 40 percent of all of the new jobs created in America.

Now think about that. We’re home to less than 10 percent of the population in America, but forty percent of all the new jobs were created in that state.

I’ve cut taxes. I have delivered historic property tax reductions. I was the first governor since World War II to cut general revenue spending in our state budget. We passed lawsuit reform, including just this last session a “loser pays” law to stop the frivolous lawsuits that were happening.

And I know I’ve talked a lot about Texas here in the last little bit. I’m a Texan and proud of it. But first, and foremost, I’m an incredibly proud American.

And then the most anticipated part:

It is time to get America working again. And that’s why, with the support of my family, and an unwavering belief in the goodness of America, I declare to you today as a candidate for President of the United States.

We are Americans, he said. We fix things. And also a nod to Margaret Thatcher:

We do not have to accept our current circumstances. We will change them. We are Americans. That’s what we do. We roll up our sleeves. We go to work. We fix things.

We stand up and proudly proclaim that Washington is not our caretaker and we reject the state that, in Margaret Thatcher’s words, she said a state that takes too much from us in order to do too much for us. We will not stand for that any longer.

Lots of red meat in this speech and the crowd ate it up. Chants of "Perry, Perry, Perry" erupted at the formal declaration and then he closed with this:

And I’ll promise you this: I’ll work every day to make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can. And at the same time, we’ll be freeing our families and small businesses and states from the burdensome and costly federal government so those groups can create, innovate and succeed.

I believe in America. I believe in Her purpose and Her promise. I believe Her best days have not yet been lived. I believe Her greatest deeds are reserved for the generations to come. With the help and the courage of the American people, we will get our country working again. God bless you and God bless the United States of America.

Good stuff.

The Chicago political machine at Obama re-election headquarters was quick to pounce on Governor Perry's announcement:

Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt:

Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt:

“Governor Perry’s economic policies are a carbon copy of the economic policies of Washington Republicans. He pledged to support the cut cap and balance plan that would preserve subsidies for oil and gas companies and tax cuts for the wealthiest while ending Medicare as we know it, eroding Social Security, eliminating hundreds of thousands of jobs and erasing investments in education and research and development.

“That’s the same approach he took in Texas, where middle class families know his economic record is no miracle – it’s a tall tale. Governor Perry allowed special interests to write their own rules, hired corporate lobbyists to oversee corporations, and cut funding for programs that would create opportunity for middle class families.

“In a Republican field that has already pledged allegiance to the Tea Party and failed to present any plan that will benefit the middle class or create the jobs America needs to win the future, Governor Perry offers more of the same.”

Yea. They are nervous. Game on.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gov Perry's Statement on Obamacare Defeat in 11th Circuit Court of Appeals

This is the statement released by Governor Perry on the defeat of Obamacare's individual mandate in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals:

"Yet another federal court has recognized that the Obama Administration's attempt to force each and every American to purchase health insurance is an egregious violation of our Constitutional rights. This court decision further confirms that Obamacare ignores both the Constitution's limits on the power of our federal government, and its protections of individual liberties. I am hopeful that we will soon see an end to the unprecedented and massive federal overreach of Obamacare."

Texas and 25 other states have challenged the constitutionality of Congress' authority to force individuals to buy health insurance. This administration continues to spend excessively and impose unfunded mandates upon the states, including this federal health care reform bill that will cost Texas taxpayers more than $27 billion over 10 years for the Medicaid expansion starting in 2014.

GOP Debate in Iowa - One Political Blogger's Thoughts

On the campus of Iowa State University just two days before the famous Iowa Straw Poll, a debate was televised with the GOP contenders for the Presidential nomination. To say the crowd was enthusiastic would be an understatement.

Fox News Channel, along with the Washington Examiner and the Iowa Republican Party, sponsored the debate. "Special Report" host Bret Baier was the debate moderator.

Participating were: Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain and Jon Huntsman. Eight people on the stage vying for the camera and sound bite of the evening.

It was said to be a deal maker or breaker for some going into the event. I took copious notes. I am not sure it lived up to the hype. The gloves came off, as was to be expected at this stage of the game, and some zingers were lobbed but I don't think much changed.

Mitt Romney remains the top dog. He looks and sounds presidential. Answering a question about the label of "Mittness Protection Plan" - he appeared to be missing in action during the debt ceiling debate until the last day or two, only to say he would vote against it - he said he signed a pledge back in June that he would not support raising the debt ceiling unless Cut, Cap and Balance was the deal. "I won't eat Barack Obama's dog food. I won't eat what he serves up." When questioned on companies acquired by Bain Capital under his leadership watching jobs go overseas, he claimed of the 100 businesses invested in, tens of thousands jobs were created. As Governor of Massachusetts the unemployment rate was below the federal level three out of four years. Romney supports hiring skilled foreign labor. He said the USA should welcome the best and brightest, not illegal immigrants without skills. He supports cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants and securing the borders. He boasted of cutting taxes 19 times as governor and Massachusetts received an S&P upgrade during his term in office. He cut spending every year, balanced the budget and left office with a $2 billion rainy day fund.

On "Obamneycare" remark of Pawlenty, who then backed away from it during the last debate, Romney said, "I liked Tim's answer in the last debate better". "We put a plan together that was right for Massachusetts". He supports repealing Obamacare and giving waivers to states. He supports individual jobless savings accounts instead of unemployment insurance. He wants reform instead of continual extensions of unemployment insurance and he would not extend it again now.

He said the Afghans have to earn freedom themselves. Time for them to take responsibility according to the generals in the field.

It was obvious that the others were just trying to hold their own, especially against Romney. Michele Bachmann

was strong and her determination not to let others characterize her positions was clear. She had a back and forth with Pawlenty - when the two were challenged over the common slogan "Minnesota nice" though they have been bickering on the campaign trail - and she may have come out a bit stronger than Pawlenty. I learned that Bachmann also didn't vote for Cut, Cap and Balance when questioned about not voting to raise the debt ceiling. She wears that vote like a badge of honor.

Rick Santorum whined about not receiving enough spotlight, maybe rightly so. But, so far down in the polls, it was reasonable to concentrate on the frontrunners. Santorum said the votes of no to raise the debt ceiling made by Bachmann and Ron Paul were "showmanship, not leadership." He criticized the Tea Party for their goal of bring the gold standard back as currency. He reinterated that doctors performing abortions should be tried for murder. He believes gay marriage is not a states issue, using the example of polygamy and its slippery slope. He said we can't have 50 laws on marriage.

Tim Pawlenty had the funniest line - he told the audience if anyone could find Barack Obama's plan on the economy then he would come to that person's home and cook dinner for them. Or mow their lawn. Except in the case of Mitt Romney, it would only be one acre. Everyone appreciated a bit of humor. He boasted of the CATO Institute naming him one of the top four governors while in that office.

Ron Paul
did his usual riffs about abolishing the Federal Reserve and getting out of the foreign wars. And never entering foreign wars. He doesn't support the e-Verify program, as he thinks it turns businessmen into policemen. He says no to amnesty for illegal immigrants and no to them voting. He wants the borders secured with military brought home from overseas. When asked about fellow Texan Rick Perry entering the race, he said Perry would represent the status quo. And, he is a no vote for sanctions on Iran as they are a "pre-cursor to war".

Herman Cain continues to stress the need for a businessman in the White House. "How can you create jobs if you have never held one?" was a zinger towards President Obama. He believes energy independence will solve a lot of problems like Iran. "There is more to foreign policy than bombs and bullets". To Governor Perry, he would say, "Welcome to the contest". He continues to be dogged by indelicate remarks about Muslims and apologized for misunderstandings. He wants it known he is firmly against Sharia law, though.

Newt Gingrich is still the smartest guy in the room but has little chance of advancing much farther. He boasts of experience and of working during the Reagan years with divided government. He spoke of forcing Clinton to sign welfare reform legislation when he was Speaker of the House. On a question about his campaign staff problems, he pointed to problems McCain and Reagan had with staff. "I intend to run on ideas". He wants Congress to be called back and begin work Monday on the economic problems. If Democrats don't want to come back, he said Republicans in the House should do it themselves.

Gingrich had a bit of a dust-up with Baier for asking "gotcha" questions when he read quotes to Gingrich made previously and asked for a response. He called it "Mickey Mouse games" and Baier said it was what people want to know. He supports "citizen boards" to determine within communities who goes and who stays when found to be illegally here. He supports pledges of loyalty for anyone working within the government. On Governor Perry's record - "Governor Perry has a great record of job creation in Texas." He said the Federal Reserve needs an audit and Bernacke should stop dealing in secrecy.

Jon Huntsman was a wash. He didn't really help himself but he didn't have any fatal answers, either, if you know his record. On Perry getting into the race, he said, "We all need prayers. I hope he offers a lot to us here on stage." Witty. He is proud of his government service. He said when your President calls and your country needs you, you accept the job - in reference to his ambassadorship to China for Obama. He implimented the Flat Tax in Utah. On cap and trade, he doesn't support it now, though he debated the issue while Governor of Utah. Borders must be secured before anything thing else done on illegal immigration. He supports bringing together a "Council of Business Leaders" to determine exactly what is wrong in the economy as he did in Utah. Utah had a AAA bond rating under his leadership. He supports civil unions, though he believes in traditional marriage. He believes it is an equality issue.

All of the candidates raised their hands in affirmation that they would not consider new taxes regardless of how strong a spending cuts deal ratio to new revenues was.

In recap, the gloves came off. Newt took on the media for gotcha questions. His challenge is to get voters to like him and not just his ideas. The back and forth bickering between Pawlenty and Bachmann probably wounded Pawlenty more than Bachmann. Bachmann held her own ground by proclaiming her principles in politics. Romney is still the guy in front of the pack and looks most presidential. The other candidates treaded water.