Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Please Update Bookmarks

I have moved to NoPunditIntended.com

Monday, July 26, 2004

Site Redux - The Story

No Pundit Intended has actually been around for a couple of years, although I have only been on blogspot for a couple of months.

At first there was a tiny little PHP driven site with a mySQL database and I posted articles in raw form to the db. Then I had host problems and had to switch hosts... and waited. I could not get the site back up and the folks who help me were bogged down with more important things, like making a living.

I was writing articles and sending them out to an email distribution for a while and then discovered blogspot. So, I took the text files from some old articles, some of the email articles and built up my archive, then I started posting like crazy!

Blogspot has been great and they have a good product for people like me who can't or don't want to spend a lot of time in development. I have missed messing with things though and you can only do so much of that on blogger.

With a lot of help from a friend, my domain now has something more than a redirect and some meta tags on it.

The new site solution is robust - there are a couple of limitations, but also a couple of very neat features. I'll be introducing those over time.

Although it is going to take some time, I will be moving things over to nopunditintended.com - so please update your bookmarks.

Thank you and God Bless,

Joel Gaines

Al-Jazeera May Lose Baghdad Bureau

Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zibari accused Al - Jazeera, and other Arabic language media outlets, of "incitement" while hiding behind the freedoms afforded to the media.

Aljazeera has expressed outrage after the Iraqi foreign minister attacked its coverage of events in Iraq and said he was considering closing down the channel's Baghdad bureau.

This raises a chuckle from me. Not so much that Zibari is right on - but that he made the accusation to an Al-Jazeera reporter during an interview!

Jim Rassman: Kerry Should Be CINC

Democrats rallied in Tucson, Arizona last Friday. They came to hear a speech by Jim Rassman about why John Kerry should be the Commander-in-Chief. Jim is one of the two Swiftboat Vets Kerry served with, who support his bid for President.

Let's sum up Jim's reasons: "John Kerry saved my life."

Here is a report from Benny White, Chairman of the Pima County Veteran's Coalition:

We initially had more supporters of the President than the Democrats could muster for Kerry.  They called in all of the party loyalists and they eventually outnumbered us.

They even called the police to complain about our parking in the parking lot, blocking the entrances, causing a disturbance, etc.  Of course we were obeying the law and the police (4 or 5 cars with 2 officers each) got a pretty good chuckle out of seeing a bunch of gray headed veterans standing out by the street supporting the President.

All of the Bush supporters were pleasantly surprised at the number of people driving down the street honking their horns, giving us a thumbs up, flashing their lights, in short showing their support of the President.  We were in the heart of the Democrat stronghold of Raul Grijalva and out troops stood tall.

The Kerry campaign brought in Jim Rassman to tell the Democrats that John Kerry should be Commander-in-Chief because he saved his life.  I am real glad Kerry pulled Jim out, that was a decent thing to do.  But that doesn't qualify him to be the Commander-in-chief.

One of our volunteers attended the question and answer part of the event. He asked if Jim Rassman could name one legislative measure that Sen. Kerry had sponsored in his 20 years in the Senate.  After a thoughtful pause, the considered answer came back, "No." (emphasis mine)

After the event a few of us went to lunch.  A couple of different police officers came in to eat.  When they saw our "Pima County is Bush Country" T-Shirts and Bush-Cheney '04 stickers they asked if we had any more stickers.  I happily provided some of our finest "Vets for Bush" bumper stickers.

You'll note Benny's mention of Raul Grijalva. He is one of the yahoos who petitioned the UN to monitor the November elections.

Palestinian Business is Booming
Via USS Neverdock

Palestinian businessmen have made millions of pounds supplying cement for Israel's "security barrier" in the full knowledge of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader and one of the wall's most vocal critics.

A damning report by Palestinian legislators, which has been seen by the Telegraph, concludes that Mr Arafat did nothing to stop the deals although he publicly condemned the structure as a "crime against humanity".
Why, when I read this, do I think - China?

Sunday, July 25, 2004


There are many outstanding bloggers talking about Linda Ronstadt and I agree with them. The fact is, though, this isn't really anything new for Linda and I think she is slipping into what she might think as a cool, "Joan Beaz" kind of thing. She doesn't realize she's being ridiculous.

There is another Ronstadt I'd like to talk about - Fred Ronstadt - Linda's cousin.

Fred is the Republican Vice Mayor of Tucson, the city Ronstadts have called home for several generations. Fred attended and taught in Salpointe Catholic High School. He has a master's degree in public administration and has served on Tucson's city council for going on eight years.

Fred has worked hard on water, transportation, and community development, among other projects. He's fought against a hugh city bond issue, when it was discovered that there was nothing legally binding the bond monies to specific projects. Fred has protected Tucsonan's gun rights.

Fred Ronstadt is a staunch conservative - the antithesis of cousin Linda - and I like talking about him a lot more.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Rivrdog's Idea on Gun Rights and '04 Elections

Hat tip and piped aboard: Smoke on the Water

Rivrdog says:

Prior military service members may remember hearing an old military parable that went like this: A base commander of an Army post somewhere here in the US got tired of his troops being considered second-class citizens in the local area, so he devised an idea of how to raise the consciousness of the local citizens to the fact that the troops had a real and positive impact in their lives.

Read the rest! This idea is brilliant in its simplicity and potential impact.

Overlooked Audience

I have been accused of not appealing to a particular audience on my blog. This is an attempt to remedy the situation.

IIF(IsNull([common sense]), "Yes to John Kerry", "Vote Bush"))

There now back to your cubicles and please stop wardialing my home phone. Oh, can I have my social security number back?

Two Speeches for Two Americas

The entire Kerry speech can be found here.
The President's speech can be found here.

Both John Kerry and President Bush spoke recently at the National Urban League Convention. I wanted to get a comparison between the President's speech and John Kerry's. From the start the speeches were very different.

I am not trying to emulate Michael Moore here, but there are portions of the speeches, which I have placed together that are not contiguous in the original. I hope to have not changed the meaning of any of the passages - I apologize in advance if this has happened.

This is by no means an objective view of the speeches -though I have tried to place the portions of each speech in as much of a side-by-side manner as possible. 
Kerry's Opening:

Thank you, Vernon, for that wonderful introduction.  He has been enormously helpful in my campaign.  I am grateful for Vernon’s common sense and experience – and for his leadership as head of my presidential debate team.   The issues we’re grappling with today are especially important, and I’m happy to discuss them anywhere, any time, with any American.

John Kerry opens with "Thank you", "my campaign", "my debate team".

President's Opening:

Thanks for the warm introduction. It's really good to be here. You know, Marc, you're right, the National Urban League is a vital and important part of the American scene. And I think the reason why is, not only is the mission important, but the people involved in the Urban League are dignified, decent American citizens. And I am honored to be in your presence.

The President opens with 'Thank you", "NUL is important", "people are dignified".

We'll skip the rest of the platitudes by each speaker.

John Kerry:

Now, more than ever, when it comes to civil rights, social justice, and empowerment, we need to listen to every voice that stands up and speaks truth to power.  I also want to say that for me, this is not just a check-the-box campaign stop. 

I don't know what this means, but why is it necessary to underscore that this isn't simply a "ticket punch" speech?

The President:

I believe this country can and will be a place of opportunity and hope for every single citizen. It's not a given; there's work to be done. But it's a goal, and it's an important goal.
I don't care what party you're in, what city you live in, or what state you're from, the goal has got to be -- America has got to be an hospitable, hopeful place for every single citizen.

John Kerry:

When I look around this city – when I look around neighborhoods and towns and cities across this nation, I see what so many of you see everyday.
We see jobs to be created.
We see families to house.
We see violence to stop.
We see children to teach – and children to care for.
We see too many people without health care and too many people of color suffering and dying from preventable diseases like cancer and AIDS and diabetes.
In too many places, we see freedom standing still.

So much is wrong with America
The President:

That's kind of the heart of what they call compassionate conservatism, that the American experience must be alive and viable for everyone, and that government has a role to help people have the tools so they can help themselves. See, I believe in the human spirit; I believe if people have the opportunity and the ability, they will achieve their God-given talents. That's what I believe. And I think that's a proper role for the federal government, to help people.
The last three-and-a-half years, we've worked on that. We've worked hard to make opportunity available and prosperity real and justice not a word. And I'm here to tell you, we're making good progress.

Things are not perfect in America, but they're getting better.

John Kerry:

When we look at what is happening in America today we must ask ourselves, where are the deeds?  The Bible teaches us:  “It is not enough, my brother, to say you have faith, when there are no deeds…Faith without deeds is dead.”

The deeds are in the faith-based initiatives Democrats keep voting against. the deeds are in the tax cuts the Democrats voted against.

Today we have an administration in Washington that looks at the challenges we face here and around the world and says this is the best we can do.  They say what we have now is the best economy of our lifetimes.  They have even called us pessimists for speaking truth to power.  Well, I say the most pessimistic thing you can say is that America can’t do better.

The only people who have been saying America can't do better are John Kerry supporters.

The President:

So the economy went through a lot. But we acted. See, I happen to believe if people have more of their own money in their pocket, they're going to spend, save, or invest, and when they do, that revitalizes economic growth and entrepreneurship. That's what the tax cuts were all about. That's why we raised the child credit. If you happen to have a two-year-old son like Mark does, it enables you to be -- have more money in your pocket. We reduced the marriage penalty. What kind of tax code is it, by the way, that penalizes marriage? We ought to be encouraging marriage in the United States of America. (Applause.)

We reduced the 10 percent bracket; we reduced taxes on everybody. I think that's the fair way to do things. And as a result, the economy is growing. The economy, since last summer, has been growing at the fastest rate in nearly 20 years. That's the truth, and that's positive news. If people are looking for work, you've got to have an economy which is vibrant and growing.

Republicans put money in your pockets, Democrats voted against it.

John Kerry:

Don’t tell us 1.8 million lost jobs is the best we can do, when we can create millions of new jobs.  We can change that…and we will.

The President:

And that's the case. We've added 1.5 million new jobs since August. There's more work to do, of course. Job opportunity isn't in every neighborhood and every corner of the country, I fully recognize that. But the economy today is strong, and it's growing stronger. And we've always got to remember why. I mean, inherent in the -- in new job creation is small businesses. That's the most important part of new job creation. See, most new jobs are created by the small business owners of America. And therefore, policy has got to recognize that. That's why we've got to have fair -- a fair legal system that doesn't -- these frivolous lawsuits make it awfully difficult for a small business owner to thrive.

The economy improved, I helped that, but small business made it happen.

John Kerry:

Don’t tell us unemployment is not a problem, when we see that African American unemployment is now above 10 percent – double the rate for whites.  It is unacceptable in the wealthiest nation on earth that we tolerate vast and growing pockets of poverty – from the hills of Appalachia to the streets of Detroit.  Raising the minimum wage and making life better for the working poor is part of my vision for a stronger America.  We can change that…and we will.

During the course of this campaign I’ve met young people who want nothing more than to be able to find a job in the place they were raised.  I’ve met steelworkers and mineworkers and autoworkers who have seen their jobs and equipment unbolted before their eyes and shipped overseas. 

As president, I will create a small business opportunity fund to ensure that small businesses have all the support they need to grow and thrive – expanding loans to micro-enterprises, increasing the federal government’s venture capital investments and expanding loan programs for small businesses.  

You're different and you should be angry about it! Demand more from your employers!
I will create incentives for small business in your communities.

The President:

The more small businesses there are, the more likely it is people are going to find work.
And there's more we can do to help people start their own businesses. The SBA has got a vital role -- that's the Small Business Administration. Loans to African Americans were up by 75 percent from last year. That's positive. In other words, somebody said, I need some help. They've come to the federal government. They said, I've got an idea, I want to start my own business, I want to say, I'm the owner. And the government says, we want to help you. It's a legitimate role to encourage ownership.
And that's what's happening right now in our society. We've rewarded $6 billion in new markets tax credits. Those are important. They promote economic and community development in low-income areas. And when you do that, the spinoff is more ownership for businesses.

Be an entrepreneur - your own boss. We have already created incentives for entreprenuers, who can then hire others from their community.

John Kerry:

I will also give states and metropolitan areas the flexibility to use transportation dollars the way you see fit.  And I will provide providing adequate funding for homeland security and port security so that the people in our metropolitan areas are able move about freely, get to good jobs and live without fear.

We'll tax the rich for one thing and use the money for something else.
I am not sure what Homeland security has to do with being able to get a job or move around freely.

The President:

An interesting project that's going on inside inner cities, which makes life better but also helps the entrepreneurial spirit, is the cleanup of brownfields. Since I've come to office, we've cleaned up more than 1,000 brownfields. Those are old industrial sites which have been abandoned. They're not only eyesores, they're blight in the communities. They've been cleaned up. They're now viable pieces of property. Businesses are springing up -- businesses around, businesses are springing up.
John Kerry:

Values mean helping all Americans lay the cornerstone of the American Dream with the purchase of their own home.  The Urban League has a long track record in counseling consumers and fighting to make the dream of homeownership real for millions of people.  Yes, it’s true, since the 1990s, homeownership has gone up in America. And that’s a good thing.  But it’s not that simple.  While homeownership has risen, programs that help hard-pressed families put a roof over their head have been cut. 

Actually only the wasteful spending within those programs have been cut.

The President:

So we're providing downpayment assistance, good counseling. Listen, people walk in, first-time home buyers, and they take a look at the contracts and the print's about that big, and they say, forget it. You know? They get driven away by the complexity of the situation. Sometimes they get skinned by loan sharks, you know? And we're doing everything we can to make sure the loan application process is understandable and fair and open. We're proposing tax credits to encourage the building of more affordable housing, particularly in inner-city America. In other words, we want there to be a greater supply of homes. (Applause.)
Let me tell you something hopeful about the country. For the first time in our history, a majority of families and minority groups own their own homes. We're making progress. People are saying, this is my home. And we must continue the progress we're making. (Applause.)

This statement is correct - home ownership has skyrocketed.

John Kerry:

Values also mean giving all our children a first-rate education, with smaller classrooms and better paid teachers.  Today, we see two school systems in America:  one for the well off and one for the left out.  For us and for you, values mean opening the doors of opportunity to all our children. 

We believe that educating our children is more important than giving another tax break to the wealthiest Americans.  This Administration’s budget falls $27 billion short of its promise to fully fund No Child Left Behind.  John Edwards and I have a plan to invest in our future, provide the needed funding and put a good teacher in every classroom – so that finally and truly, no child will be left behind.

But Democrats vote against programs, which give " the left out" parents the ability to send their children to the "well off" schools. They'd rather throw more money at something that is failing than invest in something that is succeeding.
People forget the federal funds come with some milestones that the schools are responsible for.

The President:

When I first came to the Urban League, I vowed to change that attitude in Washington. It was one of the things I said. I said, give me a chance to work the education system. And we have. We passed good law. Listen, the government has got a funding responsibility. We have. We've increased federal funding for K through 12 by 49 percent from 2001. I label that significant. (Applause.)
And I signed a bill into law creating taxpayer-sponsored scholarships for students in Washington, D.C. And let me tell you why. I believe this: If school choice is good for the wealthy, it's good enough for disadvantaged children in America. This is a good piece of legislation. (Applause.) It's a good piece of legislation, which is going to help improve education for all children in the nation's capital.

Give public education what they say they need - more money. At the same time, give parents a choice of where there kids go to school.

John Kerry:

We’ve got a plan to get the waste and greed out of our health care system and help families save up to $1,000 on their premiums.

Ok, two lawyers go into a convention and the first one says - "Law suits don't drive up health care prices." and the other one says, "Yeah, the insurance companies do (under breath) because we sue them."

The President:

See, our most solemn duty is to protect the American people. That's our most solemn duty. It's a duty brought upon us not at our asking, because we were attacked unmercifully by people who hate what we stand for. They hate the fact that we can have free dialogue just like this. They hate the fact that there's open discourse. They hate the fact that we're a free society where people can worship any way they see fit.
It's about terrorism, stupid.

John Kerry:

I know that great things are happening across America to strengthen families, lift up communities and bring opportunity and hope to our young people.  Some of these efforts are faith-based, some are community based.  They are all making a difference.  But for every good thing we’re doing there are millions more in need who are not being reached.  We need to do more to help our faith-based institutions that are on the front lines helping our families, and working with community-based organizations to meet this challenge. And we need to do it in a way that values our Constitution and also values the role that churches play in our communities across America. 

Give money to faith-based institutions.

The President:

My community and faith-based initiative recognizes the true strength of this country is in the hearts and souls of our citizens; that we recognize that oftentimes there's -- a change of heart will change behavior and governments can't change hearts. That changes when somebody who has heard a universal call to love a neighbor, puts their arm around somebody who hurts and says, I love you brother, I love you sister, what can I do to help you on your walk so your life is improved. (Applause.) This community and faith-based initiative is a vital part of this administration's program to help save lives. We've opened up federal grants to the faith community for the first time. I shouldn't say "for the first time." Most vigorously, let me put it to you that way.

And so now we've had over a billion dollars go out the door to faith-based programs, programs all aimed at serving America by saving lives. (Applause.) And it makes sense. It just makes sense. It makes sense to tap into the great strength and spirit of the country.

That was 1 billion with a B.

John Kerry:

We can provide a new direction for America if we remember that in all the great movements for civil rights and equal rights, the environment and economic justice for all, we have come together as one America to give life to our highest ideals. 

If you don't count Democrats filibustering civil rights, blocking judicial nominations and maintaining the welfare state.

The President:

And I believe in my heart that the policies and actions of this administration, policies that empower individuals and help communities, that lift up free enterprise and respect and honor the family, those policies are good for the nation as a whole. That's what I believe. And I'm here to thank you for giving me a chance to come and express those beliefs.
John Kerry:

The great poet Langston Hughes put it this way:
Let America be America again…Let it be the dream it used to be…for those whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain, whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain must bring back our mighty dream again.
With your help, in 2004, we can…we must…we will…bring back our mighty dream again.
Thank you and God bless you all.

The President:

I'm proud to be with an organization that does so good, so much good for the American people. I'm honored that your Chairman would extend an invitation to me. Thanks for coming, and may God bless you and may God continue to bless the country. (Applause.)

The President spoke a great deal about his cabinet and about the war on terror.  He spoke about helping reintroduce convicted felons into society.

John Kerry spoke about the President stealing the 2000 election by not counting black votes.

Based on what I am seeing in these speeches, I cannot wait until the debates. I think you are going to see a very different Bush campaign around that time.

I agree, there are two Americas. One is the "everything is broken and I can fix it" America. The other is the "we're doing good things in tough times" America. John Kerry accuses the Republicans of pessimism - I'm seeing it the other way around.

John the Bandaid

He will annoint you with his tales of being thrice wounded in Vietnam (Did you know he was in Vietnam?) - washing you in the holy waters of the Potomac. He will show you his medals, which he apparently did NOT throw over a wall. He will regale you with his feats of daring-do! He is John the Bandaid! The swiftest Swiftboater ever to order a deck swabbed!

Don Bendell, a former SF soldier, reaches out to John Kerry the way SF soldiers generally do, when they have something on their minds.

Hat tip: A Collection of Thoughts


The latest from former SF Soldier Don Bendell:

A few months ago on TV, Senator John Kerry, you angrily asked a detractor “Are you questioning my patriotism?” He responded that he was not, but I sure am. Rather than deciding which power tie you should wear each day, I feel you should be in an orange jumpsuit in a federal penitentiary for treason. You betrayed all my fellow Vietnam veterans, our POW’s, our loyal Montagnard allies (at the cost of many of their lives), and you betrayed me. Your entire political career was launched when you spoke before Congress in 1971, using eloquent testimony written by Bobby Kennedy’s head speechwriter, but based on outright lies from 7 men from the Detroit Winter Soldier Rally, who all claimed to be Vietnam veterans that committed atrocities such as those you described. As you well know, only 2 of those men were even in the military, and they were never in combat, and the other 5 all claimed to be Navy SEALS in the Top Secret Phoenix Program, but they were never even in the military. It did not matter to you. In fact, Congress investigated and discovered that most of the so-called highly-decorated veterans at the Detroit Rally were also not even in the military. You did not care. You were on your way towards the Presidency then, with no regards to who got hurt along the way, including all of us Vietnam veterans. John Kerry, like a chameleon, you change your appearance to fit the environment you are in at the time. You do only what is politically-expedient for you, no matter who gets hurt. You always have. You always will.

Read the rest!

Britain Steps Up - Again

Britain is the first nation to pop smoke and suggest using troops to end the genocide in Sudan.

"If need be, we will be able to go to Sudan. I suspect we could put a brigade together very quickly indeed," General Mike Jackson, Chief of General Staff told BBC television.

Everyone else, including the US, is pushing talks, sanctions, and stern words to the Sudanese government. Tony Blair underscored the moral responsibility we have to end the violence. In Darfur, tens of thousands have been killed, scores of women raped and more than a million are displaced by Arab militias, armed by the Sudanese government. The humanitarian crisis created by this violence will see thousands more dead before this is over.

Only Britain seems to get it - so far.  Britain has promised to take this to the EU on Monday. I don't anticipate much support there.

Friday, July 23, 2004

The End is Near for North Korea

US forces are realigning over the next several years in South Korea. They're moving South - away from the forward bases they've occupied since the cease fire in 1953. As North Korea has had upwards of a million soldiers stationed along the DMZ, the realignment of US forces is telling. North Korea is not being seen as such a large threat these days. This takes nothing away from ROK forces, they are fierce and formidable - but not nearly as well equipped as their US counterparts.

North and South Korea are talking more than ever before and South Korea's Unification Ministry is busier than ever in its history.

North Korea is impoverished. Famine is rampant and consistent, impacting up to 85% of North Korean children. South Korea is more open in accepting refugees from the North, who have traveled through a circuitous route in Asia, seeking asylum. South Korea could never have done this in the past without losing contact completely with the stubborn North.

All the while, North Korea has been quite vocal about its nuclear programs - maybe too vocal. The North Korean nukes have been a bargaining chip for many years now. One which has kept them fed in lean years. This time, however, the US is not giving in to demands so easily. The negotiations have been only enough to keep the North interested in talks, but not enough to be called "concessions".

North Korea has no economy, relying almost entirely on petro-chemicals and arms sales for income. Agriculture in the communist state is a shambles. North Korea doesn't have the ability China does to produce, so simply opening up the economy to world trade will not work for them.

The end is near.  If the US does not capitulate.

The cost has been high - maintaining an infantry division, and air force, naval support for more than five decades, while watching a country starve itself shows us containment is not the answer. Allowing a tyrannical dynasty to remain a threat, always on the edge of war, while watching it arm itself with consistently more powerful weapons is not responsible foreign policy. Many have died since the end of the Korean hostilities and the North Korean population remains still under the thumb of tyranny.

I am glad we did not make the same mistake in Iraq that we made in Korea. Korea has been far more costly - for everyone.

However, the end is near for North Korea - I can feel it.

Agreement Reached in Repositioning of Korea Forces

The agreement was reached during the 10th round of the Future of the Alliance talks.

The most significant item I could find was:

U.S. and ROK representatives also finalized amendments to the Land Partnership Plan that allow for the eventual relocation of 2nd Infantry Division from its existing camps north of Seoul to enduring facilities in the Pyongtaek area, approximately 50 miles south of Seoul. A final decision on the timing of the 2nd Infantry Division relocation will be decided by the respective national leaders at a later date, taking careful account of the political, economic and security situation on the peninsula and in Northeast Asia.

2ID has its HQ at Camp Casey in Tongduchon, with elements spread out among many camps. Moving these forces indicates the South Korean forces will be taking on a considerable share, if not virtually all, of the northern defenses and securing the border with North Korea. This is a big change in US and S. Korean policy and signals the possibility of drastic force reductions in Korea even after 2008.

President Bush Speaks to National Urban League

The full transcript of his speech is found here.

President Bush spoke in his usual, conversational manner. His speech wasn't spit shined to a high state of police - it was President Bush speaking to people, not at them. What I found most appealing was the manner in which the President spoke of African American issues being mostly the same issues concerning all Americans. He didn't pander, he laid out his campaign and asked Americans whether they were being served by voting for the other guy.

The President stressed the reasons for the economic downturn and the reasons for the recovery. He spoke about his administration holding CEOs to task for the crimes they commit.

President Bush spoke a great deal about entrepreneurship. A large Democrat contention about tax cuts is that they only benefit the wealthy and big businesses - President Bush explained why that is a myth. He also announced a joint initiative between his administration and the National Urban League to help entrepreneurs.

The President laid out what he has done for education and what he plans to do in the future to improve upon it - namely ensuring local control of the schools and how education money is spent. He stressed the need for more reading intervention programs and setting more money aside for community colleges.

The President said that part of the American dream is to own a home - he talked about downpayment assistance programs, and tax-assisted building programs.

President Bush talked about specific issues he has addressed to deter and punish criminals and the downturn of crime because of those efforts.

President Bush underscored why faith-based initiatives are important.

President Bush demonstrated the difference between a talking about including people from all walks of life in the governing of the nation and doing it. His examples were the people of different races, creeds and colors that were members of his administration.

The President talked about terrorism, fighting AIDS, trade, and compassionate conservatism.

President Bush was funny at times, but his jokes all had a point.

Do you remember a guy named Charlie Gaines? Somebody gave me a quote he said, which I think kind of describes the environment we're in today. I think he's a friend of Jesse's. He said, "Blacks are gagging on the donkey but not yet ready to swallow the elephant." (Laughter and applause.)

Further on, President Bush asked some important questions:

Does the Democrat party take African American voters for granted? (Applause.) It's a fair question. I know plenty of politicians assume they have your vote. But do they earn it and do they deserve it? (Applause.)
 Is it a good thing for the African American community to be represented mainly by one political party? That's a legitimate question. (Applause.)
How is it possible to gain political leverage if the party is never forced to compete? (Applause.)
Have the traditional solutions of the Democrat party truly served the African American community? That's what I hope people ask when they go to the community centers and places, as we all should do our duty and vote. People need to be asking these very serious questions.

Does blocking the faith-based initiative help neighborhoods where the only social service provider could be a church? Does the status quo in education really, really help the children of this country? (Applause.)

Does class warfare -- has class warfare or higher taxes ever created decent jobs in the inner city? Are you satisfied with the same answers on crime, excuses for drugs and blindness to the problem of the family? (Applause.)

He closed with this:

You see, I believe in my heart that the Republican party, the party of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, is not complete without the perspective and support and contribution of African Americans. (Applause.)

And I believe in my heart that the policies and actions of this administration, policies that empower individuals and help communities, that lift up free enterprise and respect and honor the family, those policies are good for the nation as a whole. That's what I believe. And I'm here to thank you for giving me a chance to come and express those beliefs.

I'm proud to be with an organization that does so good, so much good for the American people. I'm honored that your Chairman would extend an invitation to me. Thanks for coming, and may God bless you and may God continue to bless the country. (Applause.)

Egyptian Diplomat Kidnapped in Iraq

The Egyptian embassy has confirmed that their third most senior dimplomat has been kidnapped by a group calling itself "Lions of God Brigades in Iraq". The kidnappers are demanding the Egyptian government not support US forces in Iraq.

Amid the rising number of foreigners kidnapped in the post-war country, this is the first case when a diplomatic official has been taken hostage.

Iraq Asking Arab Nations for Troops

Iraq is asking non-neighboring Arab countries to provide troops to protect the UN mission - Egypt being a prime example.

"We asked Egypt to make the necessary contacts with leaders of some Arab and Islamic countries to contribute forces to protect the UN mission," Prime Minister Iyad Allawi told reporters after meeting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

This is quite an astute move on the part of PM Allawi. This bolsters support of the Iraqi government by other Arab nations' people and government, while creating an impression that the UN mission is not an American protected entity, but an Arab protected entity. Any attacks on the mission will be seen as attacks on other Arabs - or as attacks against other Arab nations.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

And Some Think MREs Are Bad

Hat tip: A.E. Brain

What will they come up with next to torture soldiers with?

US food technologists have invented dried rations that a soldier can rehydrate by using dirty water or even his own urine, the British weekly New Scientist reports.

So, instead of a small after-dinner mint, do you get a big pink mint?

Iraq - Jordan Anti-Terror Agreement

Iraq and Jordan signed a strategic agreement meant to enhance cooperation in fighting terror.

"We reached a security agreement with our brothers in Jordan," said Allawi..."

Jordan was the first stop on his first Middle East tour.

Kerry Shifts Intelligence, War Stances

Sen. Kerry has consistently voted to cut spending on intelligence activities. He has been on the Senate Intelligence Committee for eight years. Now he advocates increasing intelligence spending and hiring more intelligence agents. The intelligence community has been telling everyone for 30 years it didn't have enough agents. Why didn't Kerry do something about the problems as a senator who had oversight responsibility for our intelligence agencies?

Sen. Kerry stood on the floor of the Senate and said Iraq was a threat to our national security. Then he voted to authorize the president to send our troops to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Then, on the campaign trail, Sen. Kerry said he didn't vote for war, he only voted for "the process." He says we should have had more debate in the United Nations. Now he says he would take action if he had enough good intelligence.

He was on the Intelligence Committee when he made speeches saying Iraq was a threat. Why didn't he complain about the quality of intelligence then? Could the difference possibly be because he is now a candidate for president and he wants everyone to forget that as a senator he is responsible for the intelligence mess? Could it possibly be that he is desperate to find a position that resonates with the voters and will say anything to get their vote?

Benny White, Chairman
Pima County Veteran's Coalition
Bush-Cheney '04

I agree with Benny - but furthermore, John Kerry is managing to let his "No War" supporters forget that we would still be at war with Iraq, if Kerry was POTUS. The only difference is France, Russia, Germany and China would be there with us.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


Tony at the Vegblog and I are probably exact opposites in almost everything. He is a vegetarian, atheist, liberal who listens to Michael Savage (go figure). I am a meat-eating, Christian, conservative who listens to Medved and Hewitt (Buy his new book, featured in the sidebar!)

One thing we have in common is a passion to express our views. Like myself, Tony uses facts to back up his position. We may get our "facts" from disagreeing sources, but neither one of us pretends to be objective or unbiased in our views.

I don't know Tony, other than through blogging, but I respect him for the way he addresses issues we are finding important today. I strongly believe our future depends upon our ability to exchange very different ideas, even if they go against everything we believe in. It is not to say you must accept notions opposite from your own, but we must be willing to listen.

Realize a simple truth - America is great in spite of our diverse citizenry - not so much because of it.

Every four years, we engage in our form of tribal warfare; only no one gets killed, martial law is not declared, and we go on with our lives without much change from the day before.

Tony and I disagree on much, but I also learn things by reading his views. Bloggers like me spend the vast majority of our time preaching to the choir. On the other hand, Tony may learn something from you too. There are a lot of reformed liberals doing conservative talk radio these days. :)

I encourage you to visit Tony's site. Take off your shoes before you go in and respect his house.

I Won the Arizona Lottery

In our state, all big game hunts are done by lottery. Pulling numbers out of thin air, the game management plan for elk may be to reduce the herd by 1000 cows and 250 bulls, for example. They list those as hunt tags, with so many hunts during certain times and in certain game management units. So, a million hunters put in for elk hunts.

Well, last year I drew nothing except javelina. this year, I hit the jackpot!

I was drawn for December Whitetail Deer, December Bull Elk, and September Pronghorn Antelope.

My brother-in-law has my training regimen, our scouting and rancher contact trips, and the various hunt camps scheduled already. He's excited and pissed off at the same time - he's been putting in for Bull Elk and Pronghorn for like 10 years. He has always been very helpful though and he knows what he's doing.

I will be using a .308 I built from an old large ring mauser as my primary and a Sears Model 54  in .270 (which is a post-64 Winchester model 70) as backup. We reload our own rounds and I have nice loads for both guns. I used the .308 to take a cow elk two years ago.

To get a cow elk tag is wild luck. Bull Elk and Antelope in the same year is extremely lucky - I think there were 25 tags for the antelope hunt.

I hope to be putting a couple - four hundred pounds of meat in the freezer this winter - getting kind of tired of that "grey tasting" store-bought beef.

And yes, I am running out to buy a lottery ticket this week.

Sudan Can't Control the Janjaweed - Canada Can't Control the Ganja Weed

Violence continues in Sudan, (subscription required) despite US and UN pressure.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said yesterday that he warned senior Sudanese officials on Sunday that President Bush and other foreign leaders "remain completely dissatisfied" with Khartoum's efforts to end the violent campaign by Arab militias in the Darfur region of Sudan.

In a (barely) related story, more people are doing drugs in Canada than ever before

The number of Canadians aged 15 or older who admit to getting high on marijuana or hashish nearly doubled in 13 years, with the highest rates among teenagers, figures released Wednesday by Statistics Canada say.
- which explains quite a bit, actually.

Raitt Dedicates Song to President Bush

In Sweden, Bonnie Raitt dedicated the song Your Good Thing (Is About to End) to President Bush.

"We're gonna sing this for George Bush because he's out of here, people!" Raitt crowed Tuesday night before she launched into the opening licks of "Your Good Thing (Is About to End)," a cover that was featured on her 1979 album, "The Glow."

I guess Bonnie didn't realize she was in Sweden - George Bush doesn't live there.

We need more like Toby Keith and Darryl Worley and Charlie Daniels. These are people who realize that we have it damn good and need to survive as a nation to enjoy it.

UN Tells Israel to Stop Building Barrier

Here is a short article on the UN General Assembly acting on a ruling from the International Justice court.

If anyone knows how to say "Up yours!" in Hebrew I would like to know, so I can recognize it when the Israeli government says it.

No serious consideration should be given to the UN, especially when the barrier has proven such an effective deterrent against attacks on Jewish non-combatants.

Nuclear Weapons Reported in Iraq

Seen first in Ramblings Journal

The Washington Times is carrying a UPI story about three nuclear tipped missiles being found during an ICDC raid in Northern Baghdad.

The official daily al-Sabah quoted the sources as saying the missiles were discovered in trenches near the city of Tikrit, the hometown of ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
"The three missiles were discovered by chance when the Iraqi security forces captured former Baath party official Khoder al-Douri who revealed during interrogation the location of the missiles saying they carried nuclear heads," the sources said.

They pointed out that the missiles were actually discovered in the trenches lying under six meters of concrete and designed in a way to unable sophisticated sensors from discovering nuclear radiation. (Emphasis mine)


BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's Interior Ministry has dismissed as "stupid" a report in a local newspaper that said three nuclear missiles were found near Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Senate Thug Life - The Reality Show
Paul Simms' New Yorker piece gives a blow-by-blow account of the recent inflammatory interaction between Vice President Dick Cheney and Senator Patrick Leahy.
Non-contiguous exerpts:
After Mr. Cheney successfully delivered the epithet and started to walk away, Mr. Leahy sotto voce referred to the Vice-President using a term more often heard in taverns and locker rooms than in the august Senate chamber, a term that refers to a sexual act commonly acknowledged as taboo among all cultures that proscribe incestuous contact between a mother and a son.
At this point, according to observers, both statesmen decided - by seemingly unspoken mutual consent - to abandon the gutter patois of the common carnival worker and to resort instead to an eminently more quotable (but, to those not versed in the vagaries of hip-hop idiom, more confusing) exchange of viewpoints.

"Oh, it's like that?" Mr. Cheney queried.

"Whut? Whut?" Mr. Leahy shot back.

"Once again," Mr. Cheney replied (quite obviously quoting a lyric from Ice Cube's 1990 album,
AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted), "it's on."

As a quick-thinking senatorial aide switched on the Senate's public-address system and cued up the infamous "Seven Minutes of Funk" break, Mr. Leahy and Mr. Cheney went head-to-head in what can only be described as a "take no prisoners" freestyle rap battle.

Read the whole article

On Hating President Bush
Tod Lindberg has a piece in the Washington Times, which explains why campaigning on Anybody But Bush is not a good approach.
"Let's try to go over a few things as carefully as we can. First of all, you need to understand that Americans do not hate George W. Bush. You may hate George W. Bush, all your friends may hate George W. Bush, all of your friends may have written books about how fitting it is to hate George W. Bush and received handsome advances from their publishers for them. The bookstore shelves groan under them. And yes, you are entirely within your rights to hate George W. Bush. No one will take that from you. Yes, Republicans hated Bill Clinton, and many still do. Yes, they also hate Hillary. If, on principle, you want to hate the Republican president just as much as Republicans hated the last Democratic president, no one will stop you." (Emphasis Mine)
I agree. Nothing has been added to the debate by the ABB crowd. No progressive thought on making America better has been proposed. Nothing constructive has come out of the Kerry campaign because he has embraced ABB as a means to an end - the White House. It is evident when John Kerry discusses how he will secure former Russian radioactive materials - knowing President Bush is already doing that. Or when John Kerry discusses the war in Iraq - he would have taken us to war too.
John Kerry, judging by his speeches, doesn't argue the President's approach to many of the issues we face - just that President Bush is the one handling them. The other issues John Kerry talks about are those on which any President would be powerless - such as how France thinks about us.
With John Kerry as President, only real change which would occur in the White House is the decor of the residence.

UN Weapons Inspectors to Return to Iraq
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm
From Reuters:
Iraq has asked the United Nation's nuclear watchdog agency to send weapons inspectors back to the country they left before last year's U.S.-led invasion, the agency's head, Mohamed ElBaradei, said on Tuesday.

ElBaradei said the inspectors would return "in the coming days" to finish the mission they started before the war to establish whether ousted President Saddam Hussein possessed banned weapons.
Read the rest!

Monday, July 19, 2004

Iraq's Oil
Dr. A.f. Alhajji, an Associate Professor of Economics at Ohio Northern University with numerous credits in acedemic journals, writes an interesting article regarding Iraq's oil output, since the US invasion. Here are a few, non-contiguous exerpts: 

"IN RECENT months, Iraq's oil production has grown to more than two million barrels per day. At this rate, current oil output and oil exports now exceed post-invasion predictions. Experts had argued that funding shortages, lack of security, the problems of stabilising a legitimate government, and technology shortfalls would severely limit Iraq's output. Despite the odds, Iraq's daily output reached a post-invasion record of 2.5 million barrels in March."
"On the technical side, the Bush administration hired the world's best oil service companies to revamp Iraq's technologically challenged oil fields. They still have a long way to go, but significant improvements are already evident. Moreover, the war didn't change the quality of Iraqi fields, which are still among the richest in the world and can produce oil with relatively little effort and investment."
"Granting Iraq the money to restore its oil industry was one of the best post-war decisions that the Bush administration has made. The money allowed Iraq to begin to address security, production and technology issues throughout its oil system. But the question remains: Will output growth continue following the transfer of sovereignty to an Iraqi government at the end of last month?"

Read the entire article

Assaulting the Ban
Hat tip: WindsOfChange
Matthew Yglesias - while trying to underscore the WaPo view that the assault weapons ban should be renewed - actually helps underscore not only why the assault weapons ban is irrelevant, but also why it might be unconstitutional.
"...the point of the second amendment is to protect the right to "military-style" weapons, it's not some kind of hunter protection act."

Yes, the Second Amendment was designed to give The People the ability to overthrow a tyranical government.
One of the things he says, which should also be noted:
"If gun owners had assurance that liberals are trying to establish a gun registry so that we can keep track of guns so that we can stop felons from buying them rather than trying to keep track of guns so that we can know where to find them in your house when we finally get enough votes for that nationwide gun ban, then it would become a lot more politically feasible to improve current policy."
Sorry, Matthew. Gun owners will not accept limitations on an inalienable right. There is no need to track guns to stop felons. The answer is to keep track of felons to stop them from purchasing guns and throwing them into a dark hole when they commit a crime with a gun. That is already being done with the waiting period and background checks.
When an individual purchases a weapon from another individual, there is a risk the purchaser is a felon, yes. However, criminals are generally not interested in a high-cost, hard to conceal weapon. To sell a weapon you bought at a dealer or gun show and still have your name attached to it is idiocy. Anyone who has an "assault rifle" for sale will generally know enough to get identification of the buyer in order to write up a firm bill-of-sale.

Iraq to Appoint 43 Ambassadors Today
The Iraqi government will announce appointments of ambassadors to 43 countries in a move to re-establish relations with other nations.
The ambassadors, many of whom will be sent to neighboring Arab countries, would be appointed Monday, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said during a joint news conference with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
"We are indebted to the United States for its support and continuing support both in liberating Iraq and reconstructing Iraq," Allawi said after the meeting.
American "imperialism" at its finest - so far - until the Iraqi people have their elections for the first time. Ever.

Girlie Men Prove Why They Are Girlie Men
It's easy. If someone calls you a "girlie man" and you whine about it, you are a "girlie man". Spin it anyway you want. It's not about your sexual preference - it's about your attitude.
Sexist? Maybe.  Homophobic? Nope.  Apologize? Are you really that sensitive?

Sunday, July 18, 2004

FliegenSheisse 9/11
There is an argument that all Republicans should see Michael Moore's latest Docu-comedy.
I agree with The Edler . I'm still not going!
Except for Kiss the Girls and Titanic, I have not seen a movie in the theater since the admission price was $4.50 . I am certainly not going to pay - what is it, $8.00 now? - to see crap, while putting money into the pocket of an idiot, wrapped in a moron.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Pen? Sword? Pen? Sword? - Sword!
Iraqi PM Iyad Allawi vowed to eradicate terrorists from Iraq - keep in mind he was threatened by terrorists around June 20th.
The Australian Broadcast Company (ABC)  reports Iraqi PM Iyad Allawi personally executed six foreign fighters at a Baghdad police station.
Hat tip: Solomon X, LGF, Soundfury
PAUL McGEOUGH: Um, after a tour of the complex, the sort of official party, if you like, arrived in a courtyard where the prisoners were lined up against a wall.  An exchange is said to have taken place between Dr Allawi and the Interior Minister.
The Interior Minister lives to the north of Baghdad, and on June 19, four of his bodyguards were killed in an attack on his home. He expressed the wish that he would like to kill all these men on the spot.
The PM is said to have responded that they deserved worse than death, that each was responsible for killing more than 50 Iraqis each, and at that point, he is said to have pulled a gun and proceeded to aim at and shoot all seven. Six of them died, the seventh, according to one witness, was wounded in the chest, according to the other witness, was wounded in the neck and presumed to be dead.
MAXINE McKEW: And the victims, they were, what, foreign or local insurgents?
PAUL McGEOUGH: They were - one of the witnesses described them as Wahabis, the Iraqi colloquialism for foreign fighters who have come into the country or local Iraqis who have taken on their Islamic jihad, if you like. The reference is very much to their appearance - very short hair, very scraggly beard and four of them were described as Wahabis, the other three were described to me as normal Iraqis.
It would seem to me, PM Allawi took the threat seriously enough to send his own message to the terrorists - "NOW do you think I am an American puppet?
I guess democracies aren't built in a day.
God Bless America.

John Kerry and the Hispanic Vote
The John Kerry campaign has recently made a $1M ad buy to court Spanish-speaking voters.  The 11-state ad blitz portrays John Kerry as an ordinary guy.
"A man of faith, a man of family, a man of honor," says the Spanish narration.
There are a few things to remember:
1) John Kerry's faith is second to his leftist ideology. He is pro-abortion before he is Catholic.
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry vowed on Friday to champion abortion rights if elected, even as the Vatican signaled its disapproval of the position of the senator, who is a Roman Catholic.
2) John Kerry's family is second to his need to distance himself from an evil, gas-guzzling SUV.
Kerry said he owns and drives a Dodge 600 and recently bought a Chrysler 300M. He said his wife owns the Chevrolet SUV. "The family has it. I don't have it,'' he said
3) John Kerry's honor is second to his lies against his "band 0f brothers" returning from Vietnam.
John Kerry stated in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee that American troops were committing war crimes in Vietnam on a "day-to-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command."
Here is another thing to consider: President Bush speaks Spanish - John Kerry can't pretend that.
God Bless America.

Friday, July 16, 2004

George Herbert Walker Bush made serious bones as the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI). He was known as the man who "cleaned up" the CIA - an important step in his ascention to a Vice Presidency.
Today, after years of deep cuts to intelligence and military spending -  following the "Russians are our friends" culture, which escaped from foggy bottom and permeated the military upper echelons - we find ourselves with a lot of neat intel gathering toys. We also find ourselves slaves to technology, which misses a crucial element in intelligence gathering - a human mind.
The intelligence failures of the past 12 years, which allowed us to be attacked again and again, are not because of a lack of intelligence activity. The failures are due to a reliance on intelligence gathering methodology, which does not actively interpret and analyze. We do not have a lack of gathered intelligence. We have a lack of meaningful intelligence. The US and, to a lesser extent, the UK intelligence services have data queued for hours upon hours, waiting to be analyzed. Eighty percent of that data is garbage, or is old enough by the time it is analyzed, as to be rendered useless. Intelligence is highly perishable.
The drift, over several years, away from what was thought to be costly human intelligence (HUMINT) has produced a giant hole in our ability surmise the intentions of our enemies. Our human intelligence in certain areas of the world, particularly the Middle East, is derived from unreliable sources or from the Mossad. The Israeli intelligence gathering capability, in terms of HUMINT, is probably the best in the world - despite US and UK arguments to the contrary. The problem is much of the HUMINT we receive from Israel is going to be sanitized, hence often watered down, by the time we get it. The Israelis don't want us to know their sources, much as we would act in the same circumstances.
The bottom line is the United States really needs to spend a great deal of effort on HUMINT. It's nice to have high-tech toys - they certainly tools in the toolbox - but the high-tech culture needs to be broken in the CIA. We need a renaissance in the CIA - a critical thinking DCI who can get back to basics - an intelli-gent.

God Bless America.

Martha Stewart Sentenced
Martha Stewart recieved sentence today of 5 months in jail and 5 months home confinement. Apparently, she will be serving her sentence in a dormatory environment. Being over 50, she gets a bottom bunk in a room with 30-40 other inmates.

Thailand Begins Planned Withdrawal
Thai troops are preparing to rotate their 451 member humanitarian force back to Thailand.  The Thai for has been in Iraq for a year. Thai Defense Minister General Chettha Thanajaro has told UN SecGen Koffi Anan Thailand will not extend their commitment. Thai forces have been making preparations to leave since July 1.
"As of now we have already made some movements," the minister said. "We are lucky that we are safe, and we will still complete our commitment which is the best way."

Thursday, July 15, 2004

No Childs' Left Behind

A recent study, by the non-partisan Education Commission of the States, shows most schools are adapting to NCLB. The same report does indicate a problem area for most states, however.
One of the 40 requirements of NCLB is to have a "highly qualified" teacher in every classroom. All states have trouble with this requirement, with many not even having defined standards for a "highly qualified teacher".

The complaints I hear from teachers is that NCLB is underfunded in their schools and standards are unrealistic with the vast majority of parents displaying apathy toward their child's education. But I see in the local news how previously phased out, high salary administrator jobs are being recreated, rather than spending the money on teachers or classroom materials in the district.

The overall view of the study indicates "48 states have met or are partially on track to meeting 75% of the law's requirements - a 109% increase over 2003. All 50 states have met or are "partially on track" to meeting half of the 40 requirements. Five states - Connecticut, Kentucky, New York, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania - have met or are partially on track to meeting all 40."
Still, the lack of "highly qualified" teachers in every classroom might make the difference between a child being the product of the No Child Left Behind act or being a product of the title of this article.

Headless Body Found in Iraq

A headless body was found in the Tigris river, in an orange jumpsuit - prompting officials to believe it is that of a Bulgarian truck driver.

How Many Before Someone Acts?

UN Envoy monitoring the situation, American-proposed sanctions, talks, meanwhile 80,000 people have been murdered by pro-government militias in the Darfur region of Sudan. More than a million have been displaced. US Lawmakers have spoken out against Khartoum. John Kerry has said the activity there should be labeled as genocide.

Monitoring will accomplish nothing, sanctions are a containment method with no results when rulers could care less about the citizens, and talks can only work if both sides of the table wish to change something.

Is anyone doing anything substantive or have we not learned the lessons of Rwanda? Where are the "Peacekeeping Forces"? Stop contemplating the political consequences and DO something.

God Bless America.

Unintelligent Vote

John Kerry, who has asked if President Bush read the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) before deciding to take America to war in Iraq, did not read the 90 page document before voting to give the President authority to wage war.

"Along with other senators, he was briefed on the contents of the NIE (National Intelligence Estimate) by (then-CIA (news - web sites) Director) George Tenet and other administration intelligence officials," said Kerry spokesman Phil Singer.

So, John Kerry listened to George Tenet's Dog-and-Pony show and decided we needed to remove Saddam from power. I don't have a problem with that, but why give the President grief for something Kerry would have done, had he been in the President's shoes? Oh yeah - Kerry wants to be President.

Singer said the issue was not whether Kerry read the intelligence assessment himself, but why the White House had refused to release the one-page presidential summary.

"The bigger question is why ... the president -- the commander-in-chief, who decided when and how to take us to war -- won't share this document with the Congress."

So the question isn't whether John Kerry understands the intelligence being used to take us to war. What is more important is that the Senators get the Reader's Digest version that the President gets. Probably because that will contain a lot more information than the 90-page version.

I'll tell you why the White House refused to release the one-page document, because the President didn't want to see the Presidential Summary in the New York Times the next day.

God Bless America.

Doctors and the Patients Who Sue Them

Virginia Hand is suing two doctors. While I don't pretend to understand her plight, I believe her case against these doctors is an example of a culture of blame, which makes tort reform necessary to protect health care professionals. Such reform would have drastic impacts on the cost of health care in America.

Mrs. Hand was long suffering from Lupus. It is an incurable, autoimmune disease which can cause a myriad of symptoms, including tissue damage throughout the body. Two years ago, Mrs. Hand was given two additional diagnoses. The first was end-stage pulmonary hypertension, giving her about six months to live. A few weeks later she received, from another doctor, a diagnosis of multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer - usually fatal within a short period of time.

Blood and heart related problems are very common for those who suffer certain stages of Lupus, especially those who have had the disease over a long period of time. Symptoms brought on by Lupus are often very similar to those of heart and blood related diseases - as well as problems with other organs. Medications used to treat Lupus can mask symptoms of some diseases and exacerbate symptoms of others. The bottom line is diagnoses are difficult for any patient with multiple, serious health problems.

Hand gave up.

She planned her own funeral, down to the tea sandwiches. Ministers visited her at home to give last rites. Friends said goodbye. Her sons grappled with the pending loss.

"It was like life ended. It was like we weren't even a family anymore. All we talked about was medicine," Hand said in an interview this week. "I just wanted it to end because I didn't want to put the family through anything anymore."

She says she started taking morphine, stopped taking care of herself and in many ways stopped living. She waited for death to come.

And waited and waited.

Her family thought her demise might come by Halloween, so they canceled a Halloween party. Then they thought the end would come by Thanksgiving. That came and went.

Maybe Christmas. Surely by New Year's Day, they thought.

The turning point came around Valentine's Day. Hand was actually starting to feel better. Problems with breathing and fatigue had faded, even though she stopped treating her lupus.

Mrs. Hand states the eventual good news brought some relief, but she feels she wasted nine months waiting to die - that's understandable. She also has lost much of her relationship with her son. She's suing for medical malpractice, but a lawyer, unrelated to the case, states, "A medical malpractice case, by definition, is a doctor not complying with a standard of care. This causes injuries to the patient. You don't really injure patients when you tell them something they don't really have. The only damages the patient has in the case you're talking about is the worry about dying."

With Lupus, that is already a large concern.

Hand said her son, Bryan, "still believes I made it all up and believes I'm a raging hypochondriac." Reached in California this week, he declined to comment.

This is also understandable, if one is taking morphine for symptoms which should be present, but are not.

What is not understandable is why Mrs. Hand would sue someone for her good fate; the ability to mend fences and enjoy what's left of life.

God Bless America.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Mosul Governor Killed

Governor Osama Kashmoula was killed in an attack by gunmen, who used grenades and automatic weapons fire as he was being driven to Baghdad.

The killing followed the murder of Sabir Karim, a director-general of the Industry Ministry, who was shot dead with a silenced weapon as he left his Baghdad home on Tuesday.

DNCC to Highlight Kerry Navy Service

John Kerry's address will be preceded by remarks by his children and a few of the crewmates from his Navy swiftboat in Vietnam. He intends to make his Vietnam service a major issue in defining his campaign.

Kerry plans to cap the four-day gathering of more than 4,300 delegates with an acceptance speech outlining his vision to improve the nation's standing at home and abroad. But with many voters still unfamiliar with Kerry despite more than two years of campaigning, the convention also has been designed to help people get to know his biography, including his experience as prosecutor, lieutenant governor, senator and a decorated Naval officer in Vietnam.

I am pretty sure he will not be asking the vast majority of his fellow swiftboat officers, including a couple of Kerry's reviewing officers, to speak for him. They have entirely differnt things to say about John Kerry.

God Bless America.

John McCain is Wrong on Marriage Amendment

Arizona Senator John McCain has broken away from the GOP leadership and President Bush by stating,

"The constitutional amendment we're debating today strikes me as antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans," McCain said. "It usurps from the states a fundamental authority they have always possessed and imposes a federal remedy for a problem that most states do not believe confronts them."

John McCain is wrong - the US Constitution protects the citizens from being ruled by a single branch of government. We are not creating more government involvement by amending the US Constitution in this case, we are creating less.

In order for the Constitution to be amended, it requires ratification by 3/4 of the states. This underscores, rather than usurps, the states' authority. It is also apparent most states do believe this is an issue confronting them. Most states understand the threat to their rights will come from the US Supreme Court creating a law by judicial fiat, where the states' authority will absolutely be usurped. Aside from the several states which already have definitions of marriage in their constitutions, 25 states will be debating amendments this year - and the list is growing.

But McCain argued on the Senate floor that there are "far less draconian" remedies, including the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act -- which defined marriage for purposes of federal law as a union between a man and a woman and allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states -- and state constitutional amendments limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.

He said if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down DOMA or "state remedies to judicial activism fail," then amending the federal Constitution might be "appropriate." But he said the decision in Massachusetts to legalize same-sex marriages does "not represent a death knell to marriage."

Senator McCain, there is nothing draconian about amending the Constitution, when necessary. As you said yourself, "The founders wisely made certain that the Constitution is difficult to amend and, as a practical political matter, can't be done without overwhelming public approval. And thank God for that."

The decision in Massachusetts impacts every married person in the state. The impact will continue as schools begin teaching social studies and sex education curriculum, which include gay relationships and homosexual sex. I will suggest the first time a gay marriage breaks up, where there are children involved, in a state where gay marriage is not recognized, we'll be seeing this issue being decided in the US Supreme Court.

Allow the people to decide - not the Supreme Court.

God Bless America.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Philippines Begins Troop Withdrawal

When we find the bad guys doing this, and we will, this will be another day to remember. Nobody pushes our friends around and gets away with it - for long.

"The foreign ministry is coordinating the pullout of the humanitarian contingent with the ministry of defence," Filipino Foreign Secretary Delia Albert said this morning.

"As of today, our head count is down from 51 to 43," she said.

I know there is a lot of frustration about this and I understand it. I guess the question is: Is the symbolism provided by the presence of 51 humanitarian troops worth a man's life?

Regardless of your answer, the Philippines leaves the Coalition of the Willing and joins the brand new Coalition of the Unhinged - move over Spain. I can only hope the Philippines will continue their efforts to eradicate terror in their own country.

God Bless America.

Pfc. Hammer Reunited With Unit

After being seperated from his unit by some interesting circumstances, Pfc. Hammer was met at the airport by fellow soldiers from the Third Brigade Combat Team (Fort Carson, CO).

New Missiles in Korea

Hat Tip: BudaeChigae

The TACMS-P is being deployed to Korea.

Quoting Pentagon officials, the Defense News said the deployment of the Army Tactical Missile System-Penetrator (ATACMS-P) would provide strategic leverage over North Korea, believed to keep its nuclear weapons program far below the Earth's surface, the magazine said.

Does this portend action against DPRK nuclear sites or is this just being used as an oblique threat to further talks with DPRK?

I wonder if we'll see these deployed to Iraq for use against Iran's Nuclear sites?

Monday, July 12, 2004

News Flash! John Kerry Appeals to Core Constituency -- in Boston!

Must have been a slow news day in Wapo-land. John Kerry is liked in his home town.

In Roxbury, a Boston neighborhood with a large minority population, Kerry told about 40 local politicians and activists that he "will be a president who meets . . . with the NAACP."

Is this before or after he apologizes on our behalf to the European nations who got their illegal applecart tipped over in Iraq and apologizes on our behalf to the UN - ummm - who also got their illegal applecart in Iraq tipped over?

God Bless America.

Kerry to Follow Bush's Lead on $75M Fund

The Kerry campaign is adamant. They will take the $75 million public money fund for their general campaign.

"We are taking the federal money," Kerry finance chair Louis Susman said yesterday. Kerry campaign spokesman Michael Meehan was more adamant: "We are not opting out. We are taking public funds. No, N-O, no, we are not opting out."

Kerry officials voiced one caveat: They would reopen the debate over rejecting federal money if they learned that President Bush planned to use privately raised money to finance his general election campaign.

The one thing I love about the Kerry campaign is their consistency. When they say No, by gosh, they mean Maybe!

On the other hand, "Monkey see, Monkey Do" has been the MO for the Kerry camp for the past several months. Not an original idea in the whole campaign.

God Bless America.

Amen - And Kerry

From Middle English, from Old English, from Late Latin, from Greek amEn, from Hebrew AmEn -- used to express solemn ratification (as of an expression of faith) or hearty approval (as of an assertion). In other words, "It's true".

Like any Catholic, John Kerry accepts the Eucharist with the word, "Amen". He consumes the Eucharist with the same free will he expresses as his reason for voting "pro-abortion". He is not bound to do either - it is a choice. Like many Catholics, John Kerry has forgotten the significance of his personal "Amen".

To a Catholic, Amen is to underscore the belief of the catechism. To reaffirm God's relationship, through Christ, to man. Amen signifies being a part of the strength of a community, which has been persecuted throughout history, and reminds one of the need to continue that communal bond, through word and deed, despite adversity. Amen is an outward expression of deep faith - a constant reminder of Baptism.

Many Catholics will say, "Abortion is the law of the land. That is the reason I vote for John Kerry - he understands this."

As an Attorney General, John Kerry could easily take that stance - enforcing the law regardless of personal belief - as John Ashcroft did. But John Kerry has been, for two decades, a lawmaker. Lawmakers are not bound to inaction against laws they disagree with - quite the opposite is true. Lawmakers are duty-bound to change laws, which are contrary to the good of their constituency.

John Kerry uses something from the Vatican II Conference called "Freedom of Conscience" as his reason for not voting against abortion, saying he doesn't vote on his personal beliefs. Rather than abstaining to vote on abortion issues, John Kerry votes contrary to his stated belief 98% of the time, yet invokes a Catholic idea as his justification for not voting against abortion. Even in doing so, John Kerry is wrong again. Freedom of Conscience is not a justification for heresy - and supporting the extinguishing of an innocent life is heresy in the Catholic Church.

John Kerry confuses abortion, for which the catechism makes no provision with capital punishment, for which the catechism does make a provision.

What sense does it make to use Catholicism to escape not using Catholicism, while supporting a heresy against Catholicism? Confused yet? That's exactly the point. John Kerry's position makes no sense.

Voting for John Kerry, the Catholic?

Catholicism is not a democracy - it is an obligation. One is either Catholic or not Catholic - there is no, "I'm Catholic, but..." provisions in the catechism. Supporting John Kerry, the Catholic, is to support his heresy. It's as simple as that.

God Bless America.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

John Kerry, Get Out the Vote!

John Kerry's voting record is a useful tool for anyone who is unsure of what Kerry's "thinks" are (given the abortion issue conundrum, he apparently doesn't vote his beliefs) and whether you agree with them - unless you are looking at the past year.

John Kerry, a guy who has his own jet, has missed 89% of congressional votes this year. How is that for serving your constituency?

Now, what would your boss do, if you decided you didn't want to do your current job because you were out looking for another one? A man connected with the common worker, Indeed. He apparently doesn't know we can't do that. Gotta live your own politics, Folks!

He did zoom into town for a "guilt vote" on veterans benefits. Guilt is the only way he could possibly be voting in favor of Veteran issues after the way he's treated Veterans in the past.

Before returning to the campaign trail, Mr. Kerry declared: "What I'm telling our veterans is that when you come home, your country will take care of you because you took care of us."

How can John Kerry say this with a straight face? Mr. Kerry started his political career by accusing US soldiers of committing atrocities in Vietnam. He advanced himself on the backs of the very Veterans he says he cares so much about. His actions gave Vietnamese interrogators useful tools against American POWs.

Or has he had a change of heart concerning members of our Armed Forces? Apparently not. Recently, he voted against an $87B package to support operations (you know, beans and bullets) that were already underway in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I've said it before - Ronald Reagan was an actor, who became a statesman. John Kerry, after 20 years in the Senate, is still an actor.

God Bless America.

Friday, July 09, 2004

No Time for Terror Briefing for Candidate Kerry
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm

Democratic candidate John Kerry insists he will do a better job fighting terrorism than President Bush, yet he has been so busy campaigning he has not had time for a national security briefing on the issue.

From the Drudge Report:

Kerry made the startling comments on CNN's LARRY KING LIVE Thursday night.

KING: News of the day, Tom Ridge warned today about al Qaeda plans of a large-scale attack on the United States. Didn't increase the -- you see any politics in this? What's your reaction?

KERRY: Well, I haven't been briefed yet, Larry. They have offered to brief me. I just haven't had time.

This is simply amazing. So I guess as President Mr. Kerry would have a little more time on his hands do he could make time for these sort of briefings? Or would he be too busy reaching out to France and Arab nations for help? An article on NewsMax.com has more on this:

On the campaign trail, Sen. John Kerry insists that he would do a better job fighting the war on terror than President Bush. But the Massachusetts Democrat admitted Thursday night that he hasn't been able to find the time to accept the Bush administration's offer to give him an intelligence briefing.

"Well, I haven't been briefed yet," he told CNN's "Larry King Live." "They have offered to brief me; I just haven't had time."

Asked what he would do differently in the Iraq war upon taking office, Kerry said he'd seek the help of countries like France and Arab nations.

Hmm, didn't France already shoot that request down? Yeah, I thought so.

"I would immediately reach out with personal diplomacy to those countries on the sidelines today," he explained. "At the right moment I would certainly go to Europe and meet with allies and do the diplomacy necessary to find a way to bring people to the table here."

Go to Europe? Meet with allies? Wow! What a novel idea. Too bad President Bush didn't think of that. Oh wait, he did.

CRA 1964 Discussion

La Shawn Barber has shared a column she wrote about the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. La Shawn contends the groundbreaking legislation, which was designed to eliminate racial barriers is:

"like a long-forgotten song. Some of the words occasionally come to mind, and you might remember a few bars of the melody. But it fades away again, retreating to the recesses of your memory.

For all it's worth in 2004, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (CRA) is probably obsolete. A high point of the Civil Rights movement, the CRA has become irrelevant, thanks to the existence of skin color preferences hiding behind "affirmative action." Ambitious in purpose and far-reaching in scope, the CRA was not quite impressive enough for social engineers."

La Shawn has provided a nice history of the CRA and it's predecessors. I wanted to put in my two cents worth.

I believe military experience bears much of the responsibility for the success of civil rights legislation.

La Shawn mentions a Presidential Order in 1941, by Franklin Roosevelt, which made discrimination illegal in the military. The creation of several "Colored" combat units came upon the heels of this order. Until then, blacks in the military acted only as cooks and stevedores.

The vast majority of "colored units" performed with distinction during WWII. Prejudices began to melt, slowly. In Korea, a black replacements began to be sent to "white units" during the latter part of the war. Most black soldiers still served in black units, however, the idea of monumental differences between blacks and whites was beginning to wear thin. Despite all of the problems, which come with decades of ignorance of one another, it is hard to dislike someone who saved your butt in combat. You may have even gotten a unit or two of blood from someone of a different color.

During the years between WWII and the end of the Korean War, the military branches slowly began chipping away at segregation of the forces. The reasons for segregation were becomming less relevant, as most of them proved to be false. Integration in the Armed Forces was complete in October 1954, when the last segregated unit was deactivated.

After their experiences in a desegregated military, veterans were less likely to tolerate the limitations of segregation in the civilian world. I believe this was the beginning of real progress, which led to the CRA and other legislation.

I agree with La Shawn that the CRA is obsolete by now, and the reasons why. Racism is still alive and well in America. It is alive in the universities, which give preference to students based upon skin color. It is alive in corporate America, where diversity programs and sensitivity training is all the rage. It is alive in the organizations, which foster and perpetuate victimhood.

Why do we tolerate it?

God Bless America

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Sixteen Words - True

Via JunkYardBlog

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

These words were leapt upon by Left-fielders all over the world.

President Bush, we believed you then and we're glad you have been vindicated. Now where is the Democratic Apology Machine when you need it - what? No such thing?

Bush told the truth.

God Bless America.