Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Friday, November 28, 2008

And people wonder why I despise the holidays ....

As Michelle Malkin says this is "reason number 99,999 to shop online", and I couldn't agree with her more. HT to Captain Ed.

From the NY Daily News comes the story of a very black day at the beginning of the holiday season. (Look, we know it's called Black Friday, but this should never happen.)

A Wal-Mart worker died after being trampled when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island store Friday morning, police and witnesses said.

The 34-year-old worker, employed as an overnight stock clerk, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m.

Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him.

"He was bum-rushed by 200 people," said Jimmy Overby, 43, a co-worker. "They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too...I literally had to fight people off my back."

The unidentified victim was rushed to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 6:03 a.m., police said.

The cause of death wasn't immediately available pending results of an autopsy.

A 28-year-old pregnant woman was knocked to the floor during the mad rush. She was hospitalized for observation, police said. Early witness accounts that the woman suffered a miscarriage were unfounded, police said.

Three other shoppers suffered minor injuries, cops said.

Before police shut down the store, eager shoppers streamed past emergency crews as they worked furiously to save the store clerk's life.

"They were working on him, but you could see he was dead, said Halcyon Alexander, 29. "People were still coming through."

Only a few stopped.

"They're savages," said shopper Kimberly Cribbs, 27. "It's sad. It's terrible."

Now, why do I despise the holiday season, you ask? Surely it's not because of a story like this, right?

Not in so many words, but this lends credence to why I've grown so disillusioned with the holiday season, and why it takes Marcie about three weeks to get me in the Christmas spirit. We have completely forgotten what this time of the year is about. It used to be that this time of the signified a time to get together with family and friends. For those of us who are religious, it's a time to recall the birth of our Lord and Savior.

But that's not the case any longer. Now it's about the petulant brats who want the newest, coolest gadgets at the cheapest price. then there are the kids. I'm kidding, really, but what used to be a traditional, family oriented holiday has become a mad dash of wanton consumerism. Nowadays, the holidays just don't seem like the holidays I remember from my youth.

Throw in the radio stations here in Phoenix that have decided that from now until the day after Christmas their FM formats will consist of Christmas music only, and you now know why I'm ripping my hair out during the holidays. (Two stations actually started playing Christmas music at the beginning of November. Sheesh.) And since everyone else jumps the gun on Christmas, I have jumped the gun with them. My Scrooge side comes out on Black Friday as everyone and their brother makes a mad dash for the stores. And why do they do it? Because little Johnny just can't live without his XBox 360, or little Jane needs the new MP3 player because her old one is full, and Dad just can't live without his new plasma, hi-def TV and Blue Ray DVD player.

Malarkey. They can too live without those toys and gadgets. I did. They can too. It's time to take a step back from all this, take a deep breath, and remember why we celebrate this holiday season. This isn't what Christmas is about, but it's become what our society is about. And that, my friends, is the real tragedy of Christmas.

Publius II

The attacks in Mumbai: 48 hours later

And the fighting is still raging in Mumbai where the death toll has reached over 154 people killed, including two Americans that were found early this morning. 327 people have been injured, and if you know of anyone that was in India when all of this went down, there is a list of the deceased and injured on NDTV's website.

Some are calling this India's 9-11 and no one could blame them for saying such. The map here shows where each of the ten attacks took place, and the time at which the attacks were launched. They began at 9:15 PM, and the last one started at 10:50 PM. And they were all over the place. A serious amount of coordination went into these attacks, and a butt load of logistical support was needed.

That is why many counter-terror gurus are pointing the finger at Pakistan's ISI intelligence service. They have been connected with terror groups striking India in the past, and I do recall on Wednesday night hearing from an Indian official on one of the cable networks that the Deccan Mujahideen -- the group that took responsibility for the attacks -- has been used by the ISI in the past. While the average person probably has never heard of them, counter-terror guys have, and that is what has lead them to suspect Pakistani involvement; albeit, not in an official capacity. The Pakistanis are sending Lt. Gen. Pasha, the head of the ISI, to aid in the investigation and to assure Indian officials that the ISI had zero involvement in this attack.

The FBI is dispatching an investigations team to Mumbai to look over the evidence scooped up thus far, and to possibly help in the interrogation of the suspected terrorists in custody. Officials here say that for an attack of this magnitude, it could have been carried out for around $100,000, or so. That's the cost of the guns, grenades, other explosives, and the boats used to bring the terrorists to Mumbai.

The operation to take the Nariman House is over with commandos finding five hostages and two terrorists dead. Among the dead hostages might be a Jewish rabbi and his wife, but that's yet to be confirmed as of this writing. The operation to take the Oberoi Trident hotel is over, and they captured one terrorists and killed the other nine. Operations to storm the Taj Mahal hotel are currently underway as the terrorists continue to fire on police. Explosions rocked the Wasabi restaurant in the Taj, and Indian commandos were sure that the restaurant only held one or two terrorists holding their ground. Officials claim that there are no hostages or guests left in the Taj which is why Indian troops are getting ready to go into the hotel.

And of course this attack started on the day our own officials here issued a warning on a credible threat to NYC transit services; reminding us all that we're still in a war and the bad guys are still determined to hurt this nation in ways that makes 9-11 pale in comparison. Some of our own anti-terror officials claim that the sophistication and coordination of the Mumbai attacks mirror tactics used by al Qaeda before. No one knows for sure, but Indian officials are quietly stating that the terrorists, who arrived by boat, could be Pakistani nationals adding even more fuel to the speculation of ISI involvement, possibly even training and arming them. And what appeared to be the work of a large amount of terrorists that began on Wednesday (Indian officials originally put the number of terrorists involved around 30 or 40) turns out to have been the work of a tight-knit cell of twelve terrorists. They moved quickly throughout Mumbai hitting random targets; random until it was revealed they were looking for Westerners.

This was a grievous attack on a Western ally in our war on terror. Our prayers are with the Indian anti-terror forces as they seek an end to this siege, and to those who lost loved ones in the carnage.

Publius II

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

TSA on the ball again

HT to Captain Ed Jules Crittendon reports on the guy who faked out TSA officials and a state trooper into believing he was an armed DHS agent:

Fed wannabe/medical supplies salesman flashed his assistant harbormaster badge, told the airline ticket agents and the state trooper at Boston’s Logan International he was an armed Homeland Security agent, and was escorted around TSA security checks onto the plane, where the flight crew helpfully pointed out who the air marshals were, FBI charges. Affidavit says imposter who claimed to have a gun was even let into the cockpit. Al-Qaeda, you listening? Boston Herald:

State police and airline ticket agents whisked a Rockland man who claimed he had a gun around TSA security checkpoints at Logan International Airport, putting him on a plane after he flashed a Chatham assistant harbormaster’s badge and claimed he was a federal agent, an FBI affidavit said.

Federal prosecutors yesterday charged Stephen Grant, 48, of Rockland with impersonating a federal agent. Grant is a medical supply salesman who worked summer weekends in Chatham monitoring boaters.

Grant told the Herald last night he is innocent, claiming a misunderstanding, and said the situation was settled nearly two years ago after he admitted to mistakes and paid a $4,000 fine. He said at no time did he carry a gun.

A state police spokesman declined to comment about the apparent security breach last night, referring calls to the U.S. attorney’s office. Transportation Safety officials declined comment.

The affidavit states that on a January 2007 trip from Boston to San Diego, Grant told American Airlines ticket agents he was armed and worked for the Department of Homeland Security. He filled out a flying-while-armed form in which, the FBI says, he listed his occupation as DHS. In reality, the salesman volunteered on the Cape and Island Homeland Security Subcommittee. On two flights, crews following federal regulations identified for him everyone who was armed on the plane, including two air marshals. On one plane, he was taken into the cockpit.

The affidavit says the error began when the ticket agents at Logan, asking for Grant’s identification, were satisfied with his harbormaster’s badge, and a trooper only looked at Grant’s form and his badge before signing Grant in the TSA log book and letting him board his flight via an exit door. Though required by federal rules, at no point did Grant show them a letter from the Department of Homeland Security, his supposed employer, stating the reason he needed to carry a gun, the affidavit said. A gate agent in San Diego spotted the error, and the FBI met Grant at Logan.

Grant, insisting the matter had been resolved, said last night, “I put everything behind me. This call comes back again today. I have nothing to hide. . . . Somewhere along the line there’s been a mixup. Why now? Why after two years when all this stuff was settled with a fine? It was a stupid thing to have happened.”

Everyone, save the gate agent in San Diego, should be fired for this lapse in security. While Mr. Grant obviously wasn't a guy working for al Qaeda, looks can be deceiving. We've seen this before, and Captain Ed gives a rundown of the times where those looks have almost cost us again. Richard Reid, anyone, and you'd be wise to remember that Reid's plane landed at Logan; granted, he was subdued by then.

But two of the four planes that flew out of Logan on the morning of 11 September were used in that attack. We're with Captain Ed on this. One would think that security people at Logan would pay just a tad bit more attention to people flashing credentials, and be a bit more serious about security. The last thing this nation needs is another 11 September, or worse yet an attack that rivals that fateful day.

Publius II

The complaints we have with the Obama Cabinet

This is sure to ruffle a few conservative feathers, but we really don't have much to complain about with regard to the Obama presidency, and his choice of Cabinet officials. We're on the same page with Larry Kudlow regarding Obama's economic team, including Tim Geithner. If he does pick Bill Richardson for Secretary of Commerce, at least the post will be filled by someone competent. (We actually worried a little when Jennifer Granholm's name was getting bandied about for a Cabinet post, and this one came up. She's been a disaster for the state of Michigan.) But we do have a couple of complaints about who he wants working with him.

The first is Janet Napolitano. Yeah, we get the best end of the deal if she accepts (and it looks like she will) the post offered. How's that? She leaves as governor of Arizona, and we get Jan Brewer in her place, and Secretary of State Brewer is a rising star in the GOP. She'll also keep the highly partisan Terry Goddard out of the governor's mansion in 2010. Goddard was a disaster for the city of Phoenix when he was mayor, and we really don't want to see him running the state into the ground the way he did with the city of Phoenix. That said, we don't think Governor Napolitano is qualified to be the Secretary of Homeland Security. A lot of people will point to her stance on border issues, and while yes she did sign some bills that cracked down on illegal immigration, those bills were authored by the GOP in the state legislature. And yes, she did order the National Guard to the border to help with enforcement, but they were told not to do anything other than provide surveillance for the border patrol. Granted, thanks to posse comitatus there is little else they could do.But we think that Obama should rescind this offer to her and find another post for her to occupy. If he wants to make the nation breathe a little easier, and show us he's not just paying us lip service with retaining Robert Gates, then he should tap someone else for DHS.

The second one is Eric Holder. This guy is a mistake as the Attorney General. I'll let Andy McCarthy explain why we're as opposed to Eric Holder as he is:

In my mind, it is Holder who owes an apology — he and his cheerleaders like Lanny Davis, who has never seen a sow’s ear that couldn’t be warped into a silk purse (and isn’t it a thrill to see that “Change” has already put Lanny back on the side of power?); like the leading Democrats who’ve addled us for years with their “grave” concerns about the Justice Department’s lost integrity (it turns out they were kidding); and like President-Elect Obama, who promised voters counterterrorism seriousness but has now given us an AG nominee who promoted a corrupt pardon process that sprung mass-murderers from prison … that is, when he wasn’t otherwise busy securing a pass for a notorious fugitive fraudster and orchestrating a SWAT team’s gunpoint-seizure of a six-year-old child for transport to a communist tyranny.

Let’s be blunt here: The Marc Rich pardon was one of the most disgraceful chapters in the history of the Justice Department. Not the modern history, the entire history. Rich was accused of mega-crimes: millions in fraud, tax-evasion, and trading with the America’s enemies. In 2000, he was a fugitive. He had been one for nearly two decades, during which the government had expended immense resources in a futile attempt to apprehend him.

Mind you, flitting from country to country to avoid prosecution, as Rich was doing, is itself a felony. When Eric Holder aided and abetted Rich’s pardon effort, he was not only grossly violating the Justice Department policy it was his job to uphold; he was dealing with the agents of someone who was actively committing a serious federal crime. That’s why, when prosecutors deal with a fugitive’s representatives, the appropriate question is: “When is he going to turn himself in?” It’s not, as Holder essentially asked, “What can I do to help?”

Holder, then Clinton administration deputy attorney general, steered the fugitive toward a friendly Clinton insider: former White House Counsel Jack Quinn. That enabled the most-wanted fugitive to lobby the President directly — and in violation of an executive order barring lobbying by recently departed White House staffers — without nettlesome interference from the Justice Department’s long-established, procedurally rigorous pardon process. In order to protect the public, that process called for input from the case prosecutors and investigators. As Holder well knew, following it would have demonstrated beyond cavil that pardoning Rich would be an outrage, in violation of every DOJ guideline.

Moreover, Holder extended his helping hand with the crassest of motives: the careerist was hoping the influential Quinn would look favorably on Holder’s quest to become attorney general in a Gore administration. That is, Holder was actively soliciting help from Quinn (Vice President Gore’s former counsel and friend) at the very time he was providing invaluable help to Quinn’s fugitive client — first in unsuccessfully pushing Rich’s preposterous effort to settle the case without jail time with prosecutors in New York, then in overcoming the uniform objections of White House staffers to a Rich pardon.

And the cherry on top: The scenario in which Holder’s sell-out of Justice Department principle took place was scummy in every particular; multi-millionaire Rich’s ex-wife and staunchest supporter, Denise Rich, was making mega-bucks donations to Clinton causes (according to Time, $400,000 to the Clinton Library Fund, $10,000 to the Clinton Legal Defense Fund, and over $1 million to Democrat campaigns during the Clinton era — including $70,000 for the 2000 Senate campaign of Hillary Clinton, now Obama’s pick for secretary of State).

As they say, read the whole thing. It's a must-read piece because beyond this he goes into the connections Holder had to the pardoning of the FALN terrorists that Clinton pulled off at the last minute. This guy is up to his eyeballs in shady dealings int he background, and he seems perfectly willing to cut deals that could leave us vulnerable, or deals that will help him and let lawbreakers skate.

Holder is one we absolutely oppose, and we urge Republican senators to oppose him as well. Obama can find someone else -- someone better -- to be his AG. After all, his economic team looks good. He looks like he will be solid on defense issues, and even foreign policy given who his Secretary of State will be. (Enough groaning, guys. She can't do any worse than Madeline Half-bright did, and chances are, she'll do a better job than that old bag did. Betcha she won't get duped the way Madeline did by the NorKs.) But the lead guy at Justice shouldn't have the baggage that Holder has. That baggage speaks volumes of how he'd run things out of Justice, and that should have more than a couple people worried.

Publius II

More revelations about Charlie Rangel and his tax-cheating ways

While this will bring a smile to your face, just remember that the Democrats won't toss him from his seat, nor will they toss him from the House Ways and Means Committee. Yeah, we can use ol' Charlie here as a pinata because it's fun, but it'd be a helluva lot better if he was going to be held to account for the tax evasion he's committed. From Sam Dealey at US News:

This morning's papers delivered two good thumpings to Charlie Rangel, the good-time jolly-wolly Democrat who likes to crack wise from the chairman's seat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

First there is the Washington Post's revelation that Rangel inappropriately claimed a tax break on his D.C. townhouse by claiming it was his primary residence. The five-year charade only netted the congressman from Harlem about $1,500, which is relatively small potatoes. But it nicely dovetails with two other Rangel escapades of late: That he failed to pay taxes on $75,000 in rental income from his luxury beach villa in the Caribbean because he—ahem—didn't know it was income; and that he scored several rent-stabilized apartments in New York, each of which he must claim as his primary residence. Taken all together, it looks like the top tax-writer in Congress is a tax cheat.

But don't think Rangel is selfish. As the New York Times
reports today, Rangel was happy to turn tricks for others. After years of going after U.S. corporations for the perfectly legal practice of offshoring, in 2007 Rangel abruptly changed course, killing a bill that would have subjected these corporations to U.S. taxes.

Among those who benefited was Eugene Isenberg, chairman of Nabors Industries, an oil-drilling company that was the poster-child for offshoring in 2002. At the time Rangel killed the bill, Mr. Isenberg pledged $1 million to the "Charles B. Rangel School of Public Service" at the City College of New York. (The House Ethics Committee already is looking into whether Rangel inappropriately solicited donations to his vanity shrine.)

As the Times reports, Rangel "said that the pledge from the Nabors chief executive, Eugene M. Isenberg, one of the largest the school received, played no role in his decision to protect the loophole, and maintained that he did not even know about it until this summer, more than a year later." Well of course Rangel says that.

Alas, "Mr. Rangel met with Mr. Isenberg and a lobbyist for Nabors and discussed [the legislation] on the same morning that the congressman and Mr. Isenberg met to talk about the chief executive's potential support for the Rangel center." Oh, that meeting also took place on the very day that the offshore-taxation issue came up before his committee.

The good news for Rangel is that President Bush seems to be in a
pardoning mood these days. And with Thanksgiving just around the corner, maybe Rangel will be the lucky turkey this year.

And we thought that the only tax-cheater we'd hear about this year was Al Franken. Guess not, but this does raise more than just one eyebrow, and it'd be nice to see John Boehner put out a call to have Rangel ousted from his committee. After all, why keep a tax-cheat on the committee that writes the tax laws? Seems sort of a conflict of interest, don't you think? Alas, we know that won't happen. Even if we managed to get some Blue Dogs on our side, and agree that Rangel needs to go, it won't be enough to get rid of him. He'll get a slap on the wrist and a "don't-do-this-again" from the Ethics Committee, and he'll be allowed to go on his merry way; probably without having to pay back the taxes he evaded.

HT to Professor Glenn Reynolds

Publius II

Barry O and Little Johnny together on immigration

From Allah yesterday and I was a bit busy so I missed it. Hey, cut a guy a break, OK?

Brian Faughnan of the Weekly Standard has the skinny:

Q. With more Democrats in the Senate and the House and a Democrat in the White House, how do you see congressional efforts playing out on such issues as health care and immigration?

A: On immigration, there's been an agreement between (President-elect Barack) Obama and (Arizona Republican Sen. John) McCain to move forward on that. ... We'll do that. We have to get this economy stuff figured out first, so I think we'll have a shot at doing something on health care in the next Congress for sure.

Q: Will there be as much of a fight on immigration as last time?

A: We've got McCain and we've got a few others. I don't expect much of a fight at all. Now health care is going to be difficult. That's a very complicated issue. We debated at great length immigration. People understand the issues very well. We have not debated health care, so that's going to take a lot more time to do.

The Q & A is with Harry Reid, and he doesn't think there's going to be much of a fight. That means he either forgets history where well over 70% of this nation was opposed to the immigration reform that had been proposed, or he's just a simple idiot. If the test results cited in this post is any indicator then it's the latter. Let's face it folks, they're going to try and ram amnesty down our throats again, so get ready to melt down the Capitol Hill switchboard again. And we'll keep doing it until the monkeys in Congress get serious about real immigration reform. Of course, they don't want to do the obvious which is to enforce the laws on the books right now.

But this shows us that Little Johnny has gone back to his maverick ways. ::Sigh:: It's disappointing to see this happen, but we knew it would. We knew that once he lost the election he could go back to sucking up to Democrats and to the press. Hell, we'd wager the Democrats threw a "welcome home" party for him to let him know there were no hard feelings. Great. Wonderful. All this means is that we -- Marcie and I, and a few others here in Arizona -- need to locate an acceptable person to run against him in 2010.

Let me be clear here. Yes, we supported him as the Republican nominee. And yes we defended him. But he's not sticking to the lip service he gave us in the presidential campaign. He's going back to being the shaky Republican he has been for the last decade. If this is the path he's going to choose, then he'd better be ready for the backlash from the base.

Publius II

Devastating blow to the Franken campaign

This couldn't have happened to a nicer guy, and we're not shedding tears over this. It's a joke that Al Franken is even this close to Norm Coleman, and it calls into question how Minnesotans could fall for this joke of a candidate. Amanda Carpenter has the skinny on the newest chapter in the recount drama:

Minnesota's powerful canvassing board ruled 5-0 on a motion NOT to accept rejected absentee ballots in the closely-watched recount between GOP incumbent Norm Coleman and comedian-turned Democratic senatorial candidate Al Franken in a high-profile meeting.

Some Republicans worried Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and canvassing board member was not going to vote for the motion, but he did in the end.Coleman is currently leading the recount by a narrow margin. This request to the board was considered a last-ditch effort by the Franken campaign to gain more ballots. Roughly 12,000 absentee ballots were rejected in Minnesota.

In the interim, both campaigns may increase the number of "challenged" ballots to try to put more votes in their column. Legal challenges are also expected by whoever loses the race after the final results are announced.The board's five members are comprised of two state supreme court justices, two district court judges and Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. Secretary Ritchie initiated a discussion to have legal representatives from the Coleman and Franken campaigns to “get together and find a way to reduce those number of ballots challenged.”

"I have a big question about more work for the county election officials," Richtie said.

All the board members were concerned about the burden of potentially reviewing all 12,000 rejected campaigns. There seemed to be unanimous support for the campaigns to scale back requests for review. State Supreme Court Justice Eric Magnusan said, “Both campaigns have a responsibility to be thoughtful in the challenges they raise and speaking simply on my own behalf, the fewer challenges I have to look at the more carefully I will consider those challenges."

So the rejected ballots won't be accepted. These were rejected for a number of reasons, and the mental gymnastics the Franken campaign tried to pull on a number of these ballots isn't being accepted.

When we saw how close this race was going to be, and we saw some of the questionable shenanigans regarding the ballots (finding them in an election official's car, locating 100 ballots in Hennepin County, etc.) we warned our friends, allies, and associates that not only will this election be televised, it'll also be litigated. That's the next step for Franken, and it's one we're sure he's geared up for.

Coleman's lead, the last we heard yesterday, was around 230. That's close, and our readers know what we say when it comes to a close election.

"If it's not close, they can't cheat."

Publius II

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rule #1 for terrorists: Don't mess with THIS guy

Don't know if a lot of people have heard or read this story yet, but it's well worth paying attention to. After all, they might want to avoid this particular group of Marines, especially if they've got their marksman with them:

In the city of Shewan, approximately 250 insurgents ambushed 30 Marines and paid a heavy price for it.

Shewan has historically been a safe haven for insurgents, who used to plan and stage attacks against Coalition Forces in the Bala Baluk district.

The city is home to several major insurgent leaders. Reports indicate that more than 250 full time fighters reside in the city and in the surrounding villages.

Shewan had been a thorn in the side of Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan throughout the Marines’ deployment here in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, because it controls an important supply route into the Bala Baluk district. Opening the route was key to continuing combat operations in the area.

“The day started out with a 10-kilometer patrol with elements mounted and dismounted, so by the time we got to Shewan, we were pretty beat,” said a designated marksman who requested to remain unidentified. “Our vehicles came under a barrage of enemy RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and machine gun fire. One of our ‘humvees’ was disabled from RPG fire, and the Marines inside dismounted and laid down suppression fire so they could evacuate a Marine who was knocked unconscious from the blast.”

The vicious attack that left the humvee destroyed and several of the Marines pinned down in the kill zone sparked an intense eight-hour battle as the platoon desperately fought to recover their comrades. After recovering the Marines trapped in the kill zone, another platoon sergeant personally led numerous attacks on enemy fortified positions while the platoon fought house to house and trench to trench in order to clear through the enemy ambush site.

“The biggest thing to take from that day is what Marines can accomplish when they’re given the opportunity to fight,” the sniper said. “A small group of Marines met a numerically superior force and embarrassed them in their own backyard. The insurgents told the townspeople that they were stronger than the Americans, and that day we showed them they were wrong.”

During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn’t miss any shots, despite the enemies’ rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position.

“I was in my own little world,” the young corporal said. “I wasn’t even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target.”

After calling for close-air support, the small group of Marines pushed forward and broke the enemies’ spirit as many of them dropped their weapons and fled the battlefield. At the end of the battle, the Marines had reduced an enemy stronghold, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several more.

“I didn’t realize how many bad guys there were until we had broken through the enemies’ lines and forced them to retreat. It was roughly 250 insurgents against 30 of us,” the corporal said. “It was a good day for the Marine Corps. We killed a lot of bad guys, and none of our guys were seriously injured.”

I'd never challenge a Marine -- NEVER. But I sure as Hell wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of this guy's crosshairs. Looks like the Marines might have themselves another Carlos Hathcock. That is one man the enemy hated, and I'm sure the young corporal is going to make a name for himself the way the legendary Marine sniper did. That would be putting the bad guys down, for those living in a Taliban cave. Hoo-Rah!

Publius II

Monday, November 24, 2008

Elected officials dumber than a box of rocks

That should come as no surprise to anyone, and mind you, it's in reference to a test that they agreed to take from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute:

US elected officials scored abysmally on a test measuring their civic knowledge, with an average grade of just 44 percent, the group that organized the exam said Thursday.

Ordinary citizens did not fare much better, scoring just 49 percent correct on the 33 exam questions compiled by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI).

"It is disturbing enough that the general public failed ISI's civic literacy test, but when you consider the even more dismal scores of elected officials, you have to be concerned," said Josiah Bunting, chairman of the National Civic Literacy Board at ISI.

"How can political leaders make informed decisions if they don't understand the American experience?" he added.

The exam questions covered American history, the workings of the US government and economics.

Among the questions asked of some 2,500 people who were randomly selected to take the test, including "self-identified elected officials," was one which asked respondents to "name two countries that were our enemies during World War II."

Sixty-nine percent of respondents correctly identified Germany and Japan. Among the incorrect answers were Britain, China, Russia, Canada, Mexico and Spain.

Forty percent of respondents, meanwhile, incorrectly believed that the US president has the power to declare war, while 54 percent correctly answered that that power rests with Congress.

Asked about the electoral college, 20 percent of elected officials incorrectly said it was established to "supervise the first televised presidential debates."

In fact, the system of choosing the US president via an indirect electoral college vote dates back some 220 years, to the US Constitution.

The question that received the fewest correct responses, just 16 percent, tested respondents' basic understanding of economic principles, asking why "free markets typically secure more economic prosperity than government's centralized planning?"

Activities that dull Americans' civic knowledge include talking on the phone and watching movies or television -- even news shows and documentaries, ISI said.

Meanwhile, civic knowledge is enhanced by discussing public affairs, taking part in civic activities and reading about current events and history, the group said.

For the record we both took the test after locating it. (The news story offered no link to it.) I scored an 87, Marcie nailed a 91 (she is the brains here though I don't know why she doesn't believe it). But it's telling when those we have elected score so disgustingly low when it comes to the subjects of history, civics, and the economy. After all:

-- Those who do not listen to the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat them.

-- We trust these people know what the Constitution says and means.

-- And we trust these people to know how the economy best operates.

Yet they fail a test that touches on all three of the important aspects of being an elected representative to this nation. And no, the ISI didn't release a list of names with scores so we could see just exactly who the dim-bulbs are in the government. It's amusing to speculate though. I wonder if Barry took it, and if he did, what was his score? After all, based on what we know of his education, it's likely he didn't fair too well.

Publius II

Bye Alan. I wish I could say you'll be missed ...

... but most conservatives we know just aren't fond of Alan Colmes. Brian Maloney, of The Radio Equalizer, got the scoop this morning:

After a remarkable twelve year run, Alan Colmes is set to leave FOX News Channel's top-rated Hannity & Colmes at the end of the year, according to key sources.

Though the decision was said to have been made by Colmes himself, it is not yet known what future role he will play at the network.

There have been no industry rumblings regarding the liberal host heading for another network and his radio show remains syndicated by FOX News Radio. That means he's probably likely to remain there in some capacity.

Also unknown at this time is who will replace take Alan's place at the Hannity & Colmes Show, if anyone.

So far, Colmes has not commented on the move at his site, but syndicated talker Lars Larson tells your Radio Equalizer that he's asked Colmes to appear on his show to discuss the situation.

Here's the FOX News press release:

FOX News Channel's (FNC) Alan Colmes will relinquish his role as co-host of Hannity & Colmes at the end of the year.

In announcing his decision, Colmes said, "I approached Bill Shine (FNC's Senior Vice President of Programming) earlier this year about wanting to move on after 12 years to develop new and challenging ways to contribute to the growth of the network. Although it's bittersweet to leave one of the longest marriages on cable news, I'm proud that both Sean (Hannity) and I remained unharmed after sitting side by side, night after night for so many years."

Colmes will continue to have a presence on FNC as he will serve as a liberal commentator on a variety of FOX News programming, including Foxnews.com's The Strategy Room and continue hosting his radio program, The Alan Colmes Show on FOX Talk, a division of FOX News Radio. He will also begin developing a weekend program.

Shine said, "We're very sorry to see Alan reach this decision but we understand his desire to seek other creative challenges in his career. We value his incredible hard work in making Hannity & Colmes the most successful debate program on cable news and we're going to miss him on the show. Thankfully, he will begin developing a weekend pilot for us."

FOX News Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Roger Ailes added, "Alan is one of the key reasons why FOX News has been such a remarkable success. We're sad to see him leave the program but we look forward to his ongoing contributions to the network."

Hannity & Colmes is the only FNC program which has remained in the same timeslot for 12 years, catapulting to number one in 2003 and never relinquishing the top spot. The second highest-rated program in cable news behind only The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity & Colmes averaged 3.3 million viewers nightly for the Nielsen month of October and is poised to mark 60 consecutive months at number one at the end of November.

Hannity added, "Not only has Alan been a remarkable co-host, he's been a great friend which is rare in this industry.” I'll genuinely miss sparring with such a skillful debate partner."

Throughout his 12 year tenure on Hannity & Colmes, Colmes has interviewed numerous key political figures, including: President Elect Barack Obama, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), DNC Chairman Howard Dean and former Vice President Al Gore.

FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour general news service covering breaking news as well as political, entertainment and business news. For nearly seven years, FNC has been the most watched cable news channel in the nation. Owned by News Corp., FNC is available in more than 90 million homes.

We're not going to get all weepy over his departure because frankly we don't find him as compelling as Hannity does. We actually thought he was rather boring, and highly partisan. That's one of the reasons why we quit watching H&C. We do hope that Alan moves onto better things, and that he enjoys his time away from FOX full-time. Other than that, there isn't a lot to say about this.

Although I'll say this much. I don't think it's Alan who should have left the show. I'd have preferred he stuck around and I personally think that other cuts from other networks should be done over this one, but it's Alan's decision. Now if Keith Olbermann could just get it through his thick skull that he sucks as a political commentator as much as he sucked as a sports commentator. Or maybe the execs at MSNBC are literally numb from the brain down.

Publius II

Michael Yon -- "The Iraq War is over."

Michael Yon has done yeoman's work in covering the War on Terror. While he has been in nations like Afghanistan, he made a serious name for himself by covering events in Iraq, and giving Deuce Four near-legendary status when he was embedded with them. And saying that he's done yeoman's work is an understatement. He has reinvented war correspondence in ways that would make past war correspondents green with envy. He brought with him not just the tenacity to get the story, but he pulled no punches; he showed the good and the bad, and his experience as a former spec-ops soldier gave him the patience and control he needed to do his job.

Today, he makes it official. This stage of the war is over:

THE Iraq War is over.

Flames still burst from various sources and wild cards remain, such as the potential that Muqtada al-Sadr might stomp his feet and encourage his diminished militias to attack us. Yet support for Sadr among Shia is hardly monolithic. In fact, many Shia view him as a simpleton whose influence derives strictly from respect for his father. Others cite the threat from Iran, but the Iranian participation in the fighting here remains overstated.

Nobody knows what the future will bring, but the civil war has completely ended.
The Iraqi army and police grow stronger by the month, and even the National Police (NP) are gaining a degree of respect and credibility.

As recently as last year, the NPs were considered nothing more than militia members in uniform who murdered with impunity. To go on patrol with NPs was to invite attack. But the Americans worked to help alleviate the disdain.

On one occasion, US soldiers peacefully disarmed a local militia that was apparently about to ambush NPs who had harassed it the same morning, and the soldiers sent the NPs to their station and later gave the locals back their guns. The next day, we were at the NP station as the US commander, Lt-Col. James Crider, gave professional instruction to the NP commanders.

Over time, the extremely frustrating process of mentoring the NPs worked. Last week, I went on foot patrol with US forces and NPs in the same Baghdad neighborhood. Kids were coming up to say hello. And the same people who used to tell me they hated the NPs were actually greeting them.
Similar dynamics have occurred in places like Anbar, Diyala and Nineveh. Tour after tour of US soldiers carried the ball successively, further down the field.

Through time, trust and bonds have been built between the US and Iraqi soldiers, police and citizens. The United States has a new ally in Iraq. And if both sides continue to nurture this bond, it will create a permanent partnership of mutual benefit.

Surely, one could pick up a brush and approach a blank canvas using colors from the palette of truth, and, with a cursory glance, smear Iraq to look like a Third World swamp. But Iraq is a complicated tapestry with great depth and subtle beauty. This land and its people have great potential to become a regional learning center of monumental importance.

Iraqis are tired of war and ready to get back to school, to business and to living life as it should be.

Last week, I shed my helmet and body armor and walked in south Baghdad as evening fell. The US soldiers who took me along were from the battle-hardened 10th Mountain Division; about half the platoon were combat veterans from Afghanistan and/or Iraq. Though most were in their 20s, they seemed like older men. None had even fired a weapon during this entire tour, which so far has lasted more than eight months, in what previously was one of the most dangerous areas of Iraq.

Americans and Iraqis had, in those earlier times, been killed or injured on the very streets we patrolled that day. Patched bullet holes pocked nearly every structure as if concrete-eating termites had infested, and there was resonance of car bombs once detonated on these avenues.

Now, the SOI (Sons of Iraq; what pessimists used to scathingly call "America's Militias") are monitoring checkpoints. I talked with an SOI boss and found that he was getting along side-by-side with the neighborhood NP commander, and in fact they were laughing together. Those who derisively called the SOI "America's Militias" have lost much credibility, while the commanders who supported the movement have earned that same credibility.

Though we are still losing American soldiers in Iraq, the casualties are roughly a tenth of previous highs. Attacks in general are down to about the same.

I asked some Iraqis, "Why are the terrorists attacking mostly Iraqis instead of Americans?" One man explained that the terrorists see the Iraqi army getting stronger and unifying with police, and the terrorists fear the Iraqi government.

Focusing on a few "Iraqi trees," one could make the argument that the war is ongoing and perilous. But to step back and look at "the forest," one cannot escape the fact that Iraq's long winter is over, and the branches are budding.

Iraqis and Americans aren't natural enemies. We have no reason to fight each other, and we understand each other far better than we did back in 2003. True bonds have been formed. Iraq and America realize that we have every reason to cooperate as allies.

Does this mean the troops are coming home? Hardly. While Iraq has made significant gains since the beginning of the Surge strategy, there is still much to do. There is also the matter of Afghanistan, which is in desperate need of a Surge, but not the same sort that was utilized in Iraq. General David Petraeus, now commander of CENTCOM, has his work cut out for him in coming up with another successful strategy to finish off the Taliban and al Qaeda elements plaguing Afghanistan. Part of that will come in getting the Pakistanis to take on the terrorists in the Waziristan region, and in assuring the Pakistanis they will have our support in removing that destabilizing element that is a threat to them as much as they're a threat to Afghanistan.

But the long war in the Iraqi theater is over. All we're doing now is securing the peace, and helping Iraq rebuild itself for what we hope will be a bright and shining future.

Publius II

Can you say "nightmare scenario?"

Have you ever wargamed out certain scenarios? I love to do it. There are times where I just can't stop wargaming out this scenario or that one. It's fun to do, and it provides an interesting insight into the world we live in. Brian Kennedy wrote of an interesting scenario in today's Wall Street Journal and he makes the case for a defense against it. Will a President Obama heed his warnings? Doubtful because Obama has said he won't weaponize space:

Consider Iran. For the past decade, Iran -- with the assistance of Russia, China and North Korea -- has been developing missile technology. Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani announced in 2004 their ability to mass produce the Shahab-3 missile capable of carrying a lethal payload to Israel or -- if launched from a ship -- to an American city.

The current controversy over Iran's nuclear production is really about whether it is capable of producing nuclear warheads. This possibility is made more urgent by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statement in 2005: "Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism? But you had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely can be achieved."

Mr. Ahmadinejad takes seriously, even if the average Iranian does not, radical Islam's goal of converting, subjugating or destroying the infidel peoples -- first and foremost the citizens of the U.S. and Israel. Even after 9/11, we appear not to take that threat seriously. We should.

Think about this scenario: An ordinary-looking freighter ship heading toward New York or Los Angeles launches a missile from its hull or from a canister lowered into the sea. It hits a densely populated area. A million people are incinerated. The ship is then sunk. No one claims responsibility. There is no firm evidence as to who sponsored the attack, and thus no one against whom to launch a counterstrike.

But as terrible as that scenario sounds, there is one that is worse. Let us say the freighter ship launches a nuclear-armed Shahab-3 missile off the coast of the U.S. and the missile explodes 300 miles over Chicago. The nuclear detonation in space creates an electromagnetic pulse (EMP).

Gamma rays from the explosion, through the Compton Effect, generate three classes of disruptive electromagnetic pulses, which permanently destroy consumer electronics, the electronics in some automobiles and, most importantly, the hundreds of large transformers that distribute power throughout the U.S. All of our lights, refrigerators, water-pumping stations, TVs and radios stop running. We have no communication and no ability to provide food and water to 300 million Americans.

This is what is referred to as an EMP attack, and such an attack would effectively throw America back technologically into the early 19th century. It would require the Iranians to be able to produce a warhead as sophisticated as we expect the Russians or the Chinese to possess. But that is certainly attainable. Common sense would suggest that, absent food and water, the number of people who could die of deprivation and as a result of social breakdown might run well into the millions.

Let us be clear. A successful EMP attack on the U.S. would have a dramatic effect on the country, to say the least. Even one that only affected part of the country would cripple the economy for years. Dropping nuclear weapons on or retaliating against whoever caused the attack would not help. And an EMP attack is not far-fetched.

Twice in the last eight years, in the Caspian Sea, the Iranians have tested their ability to launch ballistic missiles in a way to set off an EMP. The congressionally mandated EMP Commission, with some of America's finest scientists, has released its findings and issued two separate reports, the most recent in April, describing the devastating effects of such an attack on the U.S.

The only solution to this problem is a robust, multilayered missile-defense system. The most effective layer in this system is in space, using space-based interceptors that destroy an enemy warhead in its ascent phase when it is easily identifiable, slower, and has not yet deployed decoys. We know it can work from tests conducted in the early 1990s. We have the technology. What we lack is the political will to make it a reality.

An EMP attack is not one from which America could recover as we did after Pearl Harbor. Such an attack might mean the end of the United States and most likely the Free World. It is of the highest priority to have a president and policy makers not merely acknowledge the problem, but also make comprehensive missile defense a reality as soon as possible.

Mr. Kennedy isn't the first one to talk about EMP attacks. Frank Gaffney's been talking about it for years and he has written extensively about it. One could possibly discern that he's the one who first sounded the warning about this sort of an attack. Both Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Gaffney are quite correct: We're not prepared for this sort of an attack. For that matter, we're not prepared for any sort of unconventional nuclear attack. (If anyone is a fan of Joel C. Rosenbergs political thrillers, read "Dead Heat" which has four US cities hit by ship-launched nuclear weapons. We see the 21st Century as the beginning of possible unconventional nuclear attacks.)

This is a threat to our nation in the coming years. We're not prepared for attacks like the ones posited by Mr. Kennedy. All we can hope is that a President Obama will surround himself with people who can see these sorts of threats, and warn him to take steps to prevent such attacks on the US. But to do that, he's going to have to break his promise to not weaponize space. We're not talking about building warships for space. But a space-based missile platform could go a long way in protecting this nation from such unconventional attacks. As a matter of fact, a few space-based missile platforms could really help protect us. It's an idea that we'd hope a President Obama would consider, and if it's feasible, implement it.

Publius II

Media to face "two years of carnage" in a "perfect storm"

HT to JammieWearingFool

The media's been taking it on the chops for quite some time now. No, we're not shedding tears over that because, well, they're the enemy folks. They hate us as much as we detest them. And for us, that's one industry we really don't care when it's members hit the unemployment line. But this story out of The Australian hints that it's going to get much worse before it gets better:

JOURNALISTS have been warned they cannot be spectators if they are to survive the new world of media fragmentation and digitalisation -- an environment dubbed a "perfect storm".

"A report, Life in the Clickstream: The Future of Journalism, released today by the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, warns that the Western media industry faces "two years of carnage", squeezed by the global economic meltdown and the unravelling of traditional economic models.

The report reveals that more than 12,000 journalists worldwide have lost their jobs so far this year. Commentators from around the world warn the multiplying effects of cost-cutting and reduced quality could result in the collapse of the US's biggest media companies, while in Britain it is predicted that between five and 11 newspapers will vanish.

Emily Bell, The Guardian's content director, warns Britain could be left without a single British-owned broadcaster outside of the BBC and the once vibrant regional media market faces near annihilation. Media Alliance federal secretary Christopher Warren says journalism has traditionally thrived on the emergence of disruptive technologies even as economic models have changed.

"Like all crises, the challenges journalism faces are rewriting everything we thought we knew about the news media and causing us to question the basis on which the industry has survived and flourished," Warren says.

The shifts experienced in the media are "exciting and disquieting", and journalists are using technology to find new and progressive ways to keep the public informed, he says. It's "disquieting because the mainstream industry is in such turmoil".

Jammie offers that they could turn to blogging, but reminds them that it's not an easy job. You are only as good as your last post, and if you don't keep at it, you lose readers. Blogging, while relaxing and enjoyable, ain't easy. And he also notes that there is more to the recent notion being posited by a few people. What's being suggested? A bailout out for the TV networks and sagging newspapers.

Unlike certain banks, news outlets aren't really a necessity. The meme "It's too big; we can't let it fail" doesn't apply to the MSM. And frankly, they brought this on themselves. They've been sliding for years, and their advertisers and subscribers/viewers have been walking away to find new outlets. The Internet is a much larger medium for people to find news and information, and advertisers know it. The MSM didn't adapt and embrace the new technology quick enough. Now they're scrambling to recover, and it's not working as they continue to shed jobs.

The "perfect storm" couldn't have come at a better time, and couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of morons. You won't see us shedding a tear over the media's fall.

Publius II

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Twilight Review

Yes, we went and saw Twilight this weekend. We have both read the entire series by Stephenie Meyer, and we enjoyed it thoroughly. We were a little apprehensive to see the movie, given Hollywood's inability to translate a book to the big screen, but we resigned ourselves to the fact that it was well worth seeing it in it's opening weekend.

We will give no spoilers in this review other than to reveal that there are some significant differences between the book and the movie. For those that just groaned, take heart. The movie stays very true to the book. The changes made were to move the movie along, and cut out any sort of redundancy that people may have groaned about in the movie. The redundancy, of course, comes in the discussions that Bella has with Edward, and vice versa.

In short, the movie was very, very good; excellent even. We were pleasantly surprised with how well it actually turned out. For those hopeless romantics out there, the tagline to the movie --"When you can live forever what do you live for?" -- reinforces the love that Bella and Edward have for one another. For those looking for action or suspense, the same scenes from the book are included in the movie pretty much as they occurred.

WE highly recommend this movie to those that have read the book. I cannot stress that point enough. Non-readers will watch this movie, and proclaim it to be too kiddish; too teen oriented. If you have not read Twilight chances are you will not like the movie. If you have not read the series, you have plenty of time to catch up. The buzz on the street is that New Moon will be released in 2010; Eclipse in 2012; Breaking Dawn (it's right recently acquired by Summit Entertainment) in 2014. Additionally we urge people to read the series. It is an easily read series, on par with Harry Potter, and trust me when I assure you that like Pringles, one will simply not be enough. Thomas and I burned through the entire series -- all four books -- in a single week.

So if you have anticipated this movie since it was announced that it was being released, then by all means go see it. You will not be disappointed. Parents will also take heart that the movie, while rated PG-13, lacks many things that they see in current PG-13 offerings, and pushes the rating's boundaries. There is no sex in the movie, no graphic gore, or graphic violence. We saw many families and couples coming out of the theater before our showing, and roughly 90% of them were buzzing about the movie. (Yes, teenage girls will be going ga-ga for both Edward and Jacob.)


Friday, November 21, 2008

"Reasonable regulation" of speech on the Internet? So says Eric Holder

HT to Captain Ed

According to a video uncovered recently, it appears that yet another member (prospective member) of the incoming Obama administration is ignorant when it comes to the law, especially the Constitution. From Newsbusters:

In April 1999, the Columbine High School massacre happened. The shooters, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, reportedly learned how to construct sophisticated bombs through their Internet activity. This discovery caused then deputy attorney general Eric Holder to say the following (audio uploaded at Eyeblast.tv:)

The court has really struck down every government effort to try to regulate it. We tried with regard to pornography. It is gonna be a difficult thing, but it seems to me that if we can come up with reasonable restrictions, reasonable regulations in how people interact on the Internet, that is something that the Supreme Court and the courts ought to favorably look at. - May 28, 1999 NPR Morning Edition

As tragic as Columbine was, Holder’s reaction to stifle free speech on the Internet is nonetheless disturbing. Combine his zeal for what he may consider “reasonable regulations” along with his advocacy for a
federal hate crime law (H/T to National Review), and Internet users may find themselves in a world of legal woe after the Obama administration takes over in January.

As Captain Ed points out, Obama can't present a coherent, grounded-in-Constitutional-law argument in favor of gun rights. Joe Biden has no clue what Article I entails. And now Eric Holder apparently misses what the First Amendment says.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

What part of that does he not get? I'm not a lawyer, and I know exactly what that means. He's not talking about making a law like that which forbids people from yelling "Fire" in a theater. He's talking about regulating speech on the Internet to squelch dissent. Remember during the general election when any sort of criticism towards Obama or his ideas as racist.

-- Say that his taxation ideas are insane, you're a racist.
-- Bring up Jeremiah Wright, Michael Pfleger, or Bill Ayers, and you're a racist.
-- Make light of his flowery rhetoric, and how he sounds like he's buying the messianic allusions by his supporters, and you're a racist.
-- Bring up his opposition and hostility towards guns and gun owners, and you're a racist.

We saw this during the election, but apparently shouting us down as racists isn't going to work. Anyone want to bet what will be the first thing that is targeted by Holder and his anti-free speech goons in the Obama Department of Justice? I have a feeling that center-right bloggers are going to among the first to fall under their scrutiny. We can only imagine the sort of harassment that will come from his speech thugs.

Publius II

Bye Janet. Don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you

Fellow Arizona blogger and good friend Joe Gringo reminds me that our governor is on her way out the door. Needless to say Marcie and I are dancing a jig over this one. I know, it's a selfish thing to say, but Janet Napolitano is a walking mistake. Lord knows how the morons in this state voted her in as governor the first time around, or the second time around. Our Attorney General, Terry Goddard (another Lefty know-nothing) has his eyes set on taking over as governor when the next elections come around.

The benefit we get now is that the Secretary of State, Jan Brewer, takes over when Janet leaves. But it gets even more interesting. Geraghty the Indispensable weighs in here:

Since Arizona is experiencing a budget crisis, how much of this was a desire to "get out of town" before a meltdown ruins her reputation? ... We will now have a Republican governor because the Secretary of State is Jan Brewer. Since we control both of the houses of the legislature, a lot of bills that were vetoed by Napolitano will probably pass. Personally I can't imagine the Dems giving up a governor's mansion.

The Democrats have lost their best candidate in Arizona. Napolitano was a canny politician who knew how to outflank the GOP. I think going to Washington and taking up Homeland security will not be a boon to her future political career. Several Republicans were lining up to run for governor in 2010. With Jan Brewer as an incumbent, they may modify their plans.

The top of the Arizona GOP ticket in 2010 (Brewer and McCain) should help down ticket.

In the meantime, I just glad we are getting her out of the state. Who said that the Obama Presidency would be all bad?

She's getting the Hell out of Dodge because of the budget problems she helped cause with gross mismanagement. She took a state with a $100 million surplus when she first took office and flushed it down the toilet. The state is facing a $1 billion-plus deficit. She wants out, and this is the easiest way. And for those that thought we'd be stuck with her through the end of her term, we knew she'd take the first job offered by Obama. We knew she'd be offered one because she was the first governor to loudly endorse Obama in the primaries, and she championed him in the general election.

We're hoping that Jan Brewer can turn things around. One of the few things we enjoy about Arizona is that it's a red state. (That and the friends we have here. Now, if we could just turn down the heat in the summer, it'd be a great state.) We had campaigned against Janet twice, and we weren't pleased when she won both times. (We still think that Matt Salmon should have requested a recount when he ran against her. He lost to her by .9% of the vote, 46.2 to 45.3.)

I can honestly say there aren't a lot of Arizonans we know that are going to miss this disaster of a governor. The only thing that hurts is that she's moving onto a federal post, and an important one, at that. Michelle Malkin doesn't hold back on her distaste of Janet going to DHS. Seeing Red AZ also weighs in on how bad this choice was for the nation.

But, like Geraghty's source in Arizona says "Who says the Obama presidency would be all bad?"

Publius II

Memo to GOP --- Pork spending cost you two elections already. Are you fools shooting for a third loss?

This has to be one of the most contentious issues we have with the GOP in Congress. This comes from Captain Ed this morning, and it doesn't make us happy. Why? Because Boehner and Cantor have just been elected to lead the party in the House, and these two fools can't keep the caucus on the page of reform that the base is demanding from it's elected officials:

For the second year in a row, the House GOP caucus Thursday rejected an effort to limit its members’ requests for special projects, or earmarks, in this case a short-term moratorium.

The vote again exposed fissures among GOP conservatives and could undercut one of the party’s signature themes, limited government.

Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio and Eric Cantor of Virginia had unveiled late Wednesday a moratorium on GOP earmark requests through Feb. 16 while a new panel of Republicans comes up with proposals for permanent restrictions and disclosure requirements for earmarks.

But Todd Tiahrt of Kansas, an appropriator, offered an amendment to strip the requirement for an earmark moratorium. And Tiahrt’s moratorium-killing proposal was approved by the full caucus, said several GOP aides. The amended rules package was then adopted.

Tiahrt has been a staunch defender of earmarks, and has been a rival of outgoing Republican Study Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas, one of the strongest proponents of a permanent earmark moratorium for all Republicans. Tiahrt lost a bitter head-to-head race against Hensarling for the chairmanship of the RSC at the start of the 110th Congress, and later opted to leave the conservative faction.

Boehner downplayed the conference’s decision to strip the moratorium language.

“I’m not sure the moratorium would have had that much impact,” he said.

If Boehner doesn't think it would have done any good, then why was it offered? What was it, lip service to the people? Give us a break. It's now clear that Boehner is, as I explained after the election, worthless. He can't keep his caucus in line, and that's not a good sign. How he got reelected, we'll never know. It's crystal clear he is the wrong guy to run the party in the House.

We lost the majorities in both Houses because of this sort of malarkey. We tried to embrace the liberal idea that if we just throw money at things, they'll get better, or they'll be fixed. But then we started doing what do so well, which is sending millions of dollars into pet-project-pork-spending to their states; bribes, in essence, so the voters would return them back to Congress.

In 2006 voters rejected that when they bounced the GOP from power. Blue Dog Democrats --who ran as conservative Democrats -- for the House then were swept into power. Since then, they've minded their ways, for the most part, knowing full well that they'll be just as unemployed as those bounced from office in 2006 if they don't keep their word. We wished the GOP would get this clue, already, and go back to their fiscal roots.

If Boehner is serious about this, then he needs to put it back up again, and Cantor needs to whip the caucus to follow the minority leader's lead. This isn't going to help our goals of retaking Congress. 2010 can be a watershed year for us, but before it can be we need to get these pork-addicted House members away from the public trough. This should be a commitment from the base, and from Republican leaders as well, that if members of the caucus can't maintain fiscal restraint they're gone. They won't be supported for reelection.

I know I've done a few posts on this subject -- the future of the GOP -- and I've hyped up a few sites that are behind the effort to change the direction we're going. That was the subject of our most recent column at Common Conservative. But we can't do this on our own. We need the party leaders in Congress to do their jobs, as well, and that means reigning these yo-yos in. If Boehner really wants to get their attention, he ought to threaten committee assignments for those that don't want to play ball. This shrug of the shoulders, and "It wouldn't have mattered anyway" excuse isn't what we want to see out of our leaders in Congress. We want to see leadership, and thus far we're not impressed with Boehner.

Publius II

Today is Victory in Iraq day

As I wrote on Wednesday today is Victory in Iraq Day. Who says? Zombie, and the coalition of about 160 bloggers that have agreed to mark this day as the day we achieved victory in Iraq. Zombie's excellent and lengthy post lays out the case for why we should be declaring victory. The animals may still be there, but they're barely biting now. Iraq is virtually secured, and we have handed over much of the nation to the fledgling government and it's newly-trained military and security forces.

So raise a glass, and give a toast to the soldiers that fought and won the freedom of Iraq for the Iraqis while continuing to protect this nation from al Qaeda. We owe these people a debt we can't possibly repay. Just remember them, folks. Thank them for their service, and never forget what they did for us.

Publius II

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Al Franken -- synonym for stupidity

According to the The American Spectator Al Franken is challenging THIS particular ballot. Um, Al, you know you're a moron, right?

HT to Ace for this laugh out loud stipidity

Publius II

22 November will be forever remembered as Victory In Iraq Day

Yes, you read that right. The war in Iraq is over, and we bloggers have decided, with the urging of Zombie and a whole host of others listed by him, that the 22nd of November will be remembered as the day we won in the theater of Iraq over the Islamofascist hordes that were determined to destroy the way of life we know, and to drag a fledgling democracy into the pits of Hell. We urge ALL bloggers to jump on board -- be you Left, Right, or Center -- and acknowledge this simple fact.

Our troops will remain there, albeit in a smaller number, to continue their duties providing security for the Iraqis. No complaining now as we've done this int he past. We did it in Germany, in Italy, in Japan, and in South Korea. Despite the fact we're not fond of John McCain, it was his urgings to institute the surge that allowed us to have this victory. So on Saturday, raise a glass and give a toast not only to our soldiers still aborad, and those who have sacrificed, but give a toast to the old man, too. Without him, the surge wouldn't have been possible, and we wouldn't have victory now.

Also, for those that would like to know exactly what went on during the surge that allowed us this moment in history, please pick up a copy of Michael Yon's phenomenal book "Moment of Truth in Iraq" and read it. His accounts int he book show life before, during, and after the surge began, and it's a must-read for anyone wanting to know how we snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and despair.

One last thing, and perhaps the most important one. PLEASE remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice not only for our country, but for a new nation; a free nation that finally has what was rightfully theirs. The Iraqis lived under a brutal dictator for over twenty years. He and his thugs are gone. those that remain have agreed to participate in rebuilding Iraq into a new, fresh democracy in the Middle East. Things are improving daily, and the violence from the animals is down considerably; almost to the point of barely being footnote worthy. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines have done an outstanding job, and they deserve all the thanks and praise we can give them. And for those that did give all, no words -- no deed -- can convey how much we as Americans appreciate their valor and honor. To their families, I say we have a debt we can never repay, and we will miss you loved ones as much as you do.

Publius II