Sunday, September 30, 2007
Houston favored by 3 at Atlanta. Pick: HOUSTON. Schaub over Harrington.
Jets favored by 3 at Buffalo. Pick: JETS. J.P. Losman is out for the Bills.
Baltimore favored by 4 at Cleveland. Pick: RAVENS. That defense is just too tough.
Dallas at home favored by 13 over St. Louis. Pick: ST. LOUIS. Dallas will win, but 13 pts is too much to cover.
Chicago favored by 2.5 at Detroit. Pick: BEARS. The Lions have to prove they can come up big in a big game. They haven't done it yet. The Bears have.
Miami by 3.5 at home over Oakland. Pick: MIAMI. They're due to play well at home.
Minnesota favored by 1 at home vs Green Bay. Pick: PACKERS. Minnesota just can't score.
San Francisco favored by 2 at home vs Seattle. Pick: SAN FRANCISCO. Seattle not that good on the road.
Carolina favored by 3 at home vs Tampa Bay. Pick: BUCS. They're on the road, but Delhomme is out for the Panthers.
Indianapolis favored by 10 at home vs Denver. Pick: COLTS. They have Denver's number.
Pittsburgh favored by 5.5 at Arizona. Pick: STEELERS. Too much disarray in AZ with the QB situation, etc.
San Diego favored by 11.5 at home vs Kansas City. Pick: CHIEFS. San Diego's offense isn't in sync yet; they'll win, but 11 is too much to cover.
NY Giants favored by 3.5 at home vs Philadelphia. Pick: EAGLES. That offense is ready to roll.
New England favored by 7.5 at Cincinnati. Pick: PATRIOTS. How can you pick against them given what they've done the first 3 weeks?
Senator Clinton remains the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.
But I've said it before and I'll keep saying it--if she loses Iowa, the ballgame changes and it's a real, big-time race. She certainly won't be able to intimidate others in the party with the "inevitability" argument.
Clinton later made an impassioned speech about young peoples' chance to change the world etc etc.
Bill sure is brazen sometimes. Did he ever stop and think, just for a moment, what his presidential administration--with its scandals, its endless cynical spin, its falsehoods, his obvious skirting of the law with regards to campaign financing, his own lies with regards to Monica Lewinsky--did he ever stop and think about what THAT did to young peoples' cynicism and their willingness to be involved? Young people were as cynical and as uninvolved with politics during the Clinton era as we'd ever seen them.
A fine way to welcome our soldiers home. The airport needs to quit blaming others, and make sure it doesn't happen again. And all airports should bend over backwards to make sure our returning troops receive every courtesy when they get home.
Sigh. 1] They write that as if it's automatically a bad thing. It's not. The federal government must avoid over-regulation and the use of heavy-handed tactics. 2] In any case, the headline is false. The EPA isn't pursuing fewer polluters. Instead, they're pursuing fewer major prosecutions against accused polluters, and instead making deals and plea-bargains, gaining compliance that way. They have the same goal as do environmentalists; they just use different tactics. It's sad that the liberal headline-writers at the Post can't, or won't, acknowledge this.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
He makes a comment about one soldier, a soldier who apparently has indeed been proven to be rather dishonest--and so he's supposed to be attacking all soldiers who criticize the war? Come on; this is worse than usual.
I live only a little more than 100 miles from Chicago, so it's not hard to follow the Cubs.
My hometown team is the Tigers, as I grew up in Michigan; but I like to see the Cubs win too.
And you have to feel good for them and their fans. Partly, it's of course because the Cubs haven't been to a World Series since 1945. Isn't it their turn?
But partly too it's because for so long the Cubs were a laughingstock, a joke, a punch line. Everyone assumes the Cubs can't win and will never win. Actually, though, the Cubs since 1984 have won 3 division championships and been to the playoffs 4 times. Not exactly a dynasty, but hardly a team that will never win. Maybe, for the Cubs and their fans, next year is here.
Friday, September 28, 2007
And good for her! The coach was nuts, pulling someone who'd pitched 3 shutouts in the last 4 games. Miss Solo was being honest; and she stood by what she said. Refreshing these days...
It could be a real candidacy of ideas and principles, or so Mr. Gingrich keeps suggesting (no matter when he runs) and if he's serious about that, more power to him. Although I of course don't think the 2008 election is a lost cause for conservatives; far from it.
Haven't talked about this case in this space yet, but it's significant. A couple of guys with ties to terrorism, planning terrorist acts, with (unsurprisingly) Muslim/Middle Eastern backgrounds (and it's sad that this is no longer surprising) were caught right here in the U.S. of A, in South Carolina.
And some in the news media at first tried to laugh them off as just transporting "fireworks."
Some in this country decry measures such as the Patriot Act and Department of Homeland Security threat level warnings, suggesting that any threat is overblown. They're wrong.
And by the way, statistics now show that the U.S., dating back to 2003, has killed over 19,000 terrorist insurgents in Iraq. That's 19,000 fanatics who can no longer kill American men, women, and children.
Great! But then comes the next line: "However, he proposed no new initiatives to do so." Slam!
And even if he had done so, many environmentalists would have denounced them as insufficient, too late, not enough, etc etc etc.
Fundamental: when Republicans reach out to liberals or progressives or to the left--when they try, that is, to be "moderate"--it never works. In fact, i'd argue it only earns them contempt from the very persons to whom they try extend a hand.
There's the usual outrage from the radicals on this issue: "We don't approve of the Gestapo methods ICE is using," said Gilbert Cortez, a Latino leader who urged Hispanic workers to stay home from work in protest Friday." Yes, right, arresting those who broke the law automatically is "Gestapo" behavior. Such nonsense.
A local mayor in Nevada whose town was one of the targets of the raids wasn't happy, either: "He said that he opposes illegal immigration, as well as immunity for illegal immigrants, but that "there has to be a better way to do this." "Think of some of the people who were arrested and picked up; they have children. They don't know where their mama or their daddy is. That's not right." Hey, Mr. Mayor, I think many of us are all for punishing employers who are either negligent in vetting their employees, or who knowingly hire illegals. Great.
But picking up illegal immigrants is also going to have to be a part of this. There has to be a penalty for engaging in illegal immigration in the first place, not just for hiring them.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
"New Mexico's Gov. Bill Richardson is running for president, and his position on Iraq can be summed up in 20 words: get out, vamoose, flee, scram, skedaddle, don't look back, bolt, beat it, go AWOL, quit, escape, run for your lives!"
Hey, it's a nice, concise summary.
But look whose album soundly outdistanced his, and everyone else, this week:
Reba McEntire, with her Reba Duets album, sold over 300,000 copies last week.
I've always loved her music. Congrats, Reba!
Heh. We live in such a "gotcha" culture. But what goes around comes around.
Serves him right.
I didn't realize "chilly" stares had such power.
What are the other candidates so afraid of? Does Hillary really have that much power, hold that much sway, already?
As for the debate itself, from a principled point of view, Democrats remain their liberal selves--vying to be most antiwar with regard to Iraq but not be too nutty, talking about tax increases for Social Security, for more governmental involvement in health care. There should be, and needs to be, a clear choice between the two parties in 2008 on the issues.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
"What kind of crap is that?"
Indeed. And I agree with Ann: "Nino, I'm not your lawyer. I'm just a law and politics blogger. But I say leave the photograph up. Clinton won't come after you over this. He'll look like a complete jerk.I mean, he already does."
Even worse--he looks and sounds like a corporation.
Sadly, given that his opposition to the war of Iraq seems so poorly thought out, and seems to be leading his followers to an absolutist anti-war position, 'tis true.
Go, Paris! Good for you.
But hey, with all the other lawyers there, she might just fit right in.
I think this also qualifies as the Outrage of the Day.
Of course, the officer in question, and his family, will be punished forever.
"Stupid stuff" indeed.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Especially the show "NFL Replay", mainly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
It's basically a shortened version of the original network broadcasts of the 5 best games of the week. Each game is done in 90 minutes; all key plays are included, along with extra player/coach commentary. But all the timeouts etc...gone. Good stuff.
I mean--Burma? Myanmar? A laundry list of support for UN initiatives? Today? Right after Ahmadinejad at Columbia?
Captain Ed: "The UN does not need a State of the Global Union address -- it needs blunt, honest truths about its shortcomings and the necessary steps to bring prosperity and freedom to the entire world." Amen.
Good. But here's the thing: what really did we, or Columbia, get out of Ahmadinejad's freedom to speak? Well, Mahmoud busily questioned the Holocaust ("if" it happened), suggested that research into it has been somehow stifled (an even worse lie than his first statement), proffered the notion that there are no gays in Iran, and at best the previous is either yet another lie, or is the result of heavy-handed repression/gay-cleansing, Iranian-style. Wonderful! So glad we got to hear all that.
Oh, you say, but it gave Ahmadinejad a chance to destroy himself with such silly speech. It opened our eyes. Yes--and if that was truly the reason why the pooh-bahs at Columbia chose to allow this Islamofascist thug a platform from which to speak, great. But you and I both know that wasn't why they did it. They did it because they think any rabble-rousing terrorist has a "right" to speak, even though Columbia is a private entity and in fact need not allow anyone to speak (it's not a government bound to enforce the 1st Amendment). Even though we are not bound to allow someone seeking to sponsor and fund those killing American soldiers the right to speak. Columbia allowed this guy to speak because its leaders, and many others in this country, have bound themselves to a fundamentally mistaken, illogical, and ideological brand of "free speech." And it's very sad.
Perhaps---but then, what about Democrats boycotting debates sponsored by FoxNews?
Shouldn't Democrats at least try to reach out to FNC viewers?
Monday, September 24, 2007
“Since the last week of January, 2007,” he said. “When I first got here my area of operations was the southern half of downtown. It was ugly then, especially for the civilians. We found more than 50 dead in just one grave in the desert. 50,000 – 70,000 people have returned so far since the war ended in April.”
[On being asked to describe the progress he's seen]: “Sure,” he said, “let’s look at the Abu Bali area for example. 6,000 or so people live there. When I first arrived there were 10 attacks every day just in that small area alone. Since May 1, 2007, we’ve had only one attack total in that area. The people went from having two to three hours of electricity a day to having twelve hours a day. Insurgents kept blowing up the power lines, but now that they’ve been cleared out the government has put them back up. Commerce has really taken off.”
Hey, it only took a couple weeks for them to finally admit the obvious!
Note that the Times' media cousins at the Washington Post did their best to soften the blow by slamming Republicans a bit. Quote: "Many Republicans have seemed to prefer talking about MoveOn's ad rather than the war itself. "
Actually, for the past two months Republicans have talked exhaustively about the war, pointing out that the surge in Iraq is working, about why it would be a bad idea for the U.S. to pull out of Iraq, etc. But when our liberal friends who make up a majority of those who populate the mainstream news media in this country want to blast those they don't like, there's no stopping them.
Hmmm---er, so how many photo ops have you and Angelina done lately? How many interviews? How many times have you posed for the paparazzi? Down how many red-carpeted runways have you walked? You and Angelina do plenty to encourage the 24/7 celeb media culture.
Speaking to the National Press Club today, he said: "...if the Holocaust is a reality, why don't we let more research be done on it?"
Hello? Anybody home? Apparently the Iranian leader has missed the literally hundreds of historical works and first-person memoirs that are now part of what we call Holocaust Studies, from Daniel Goldhagen to Elie wiesel to Primo Levi and on and on and on. The Holocaust is one of the most well-documented historical events of all time. "If" it happened? Give us a break.
I suppose it is however a good thing that this anti-Semitic moron is being allowed to speak freely. We can all see for ourselves what racist stupidity looks like.
The Clinton camp must be delighted to receive the endorsement of this conservative Democrat; makes her look more moderate.
But given some of the (again) bizarre results from week 3 (Jacksonville winning at Denver? The Bears losing by 24 at home???) it's likely I would have replicated week 2's results again, not those of week 1. But we'll come back strong for week 4...
Meanwhile, I like the Saints tonight---at home again, too much talent to keep struggling as they have been.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
Always remember--national politicians, including senators, always know where the polls stand.
If indeed setting strict timetables on pulling American troops out of Iraq was so popular with the American people, it would be reflected in the congress, especially given its Democratic majority.
In Diyala province, tribal leaders representing 20 of the province's 25 major tribes have signed agreements brokered by the local government, said Army Col. David Sutherland, a brigade commander there. The shift has led to more tips from citizens and a reduction in violence, the U.S. military says. Weekly attacks in Diyala province have declined from an average of 125 three months ago to 70 last week."
I see today that, so far, Senator McCain is using his appearance to take obvious swipes at his main rivals, especially Mayor Giuliani.
I find it interesting though, and significant, that Rudy will appear before the NRA convention himself, and face any music there is to be faced.
He's made it clear that he supports the 2nd amendment. I think his willingness to explain his views before the NRA will show some forthrightness.
P.S.: it's clear who Senator Clinton believes to be her main Republican rival.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Nobody seems to be claiming these six are innocent.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
What jumps out: Fred Thompson is pretty competitive everywhere, among Republicans.
I note that Mayor Giuliani continues to lead in states such as Florida and Ohio, and in most national polls of Republicans. So much for the idea that he has no chance of winning.
Senator Clinton is certainly running strongly amond Democrats.
Although, in some national polls of Democrats, her take of the vote is as low as 35%.
Still some worry about her electability, along with a dash of Clinton fatigue, one suspects.
Again, if Senator Clinton loses Iowa, the whole ballgame changes, among Democrats.
Ed Morrissey: "It's a ludicrous, almost ghoulish argument in the face of what followed World War II in Europe."
Exactly right. But Josef Stalin right now, somewhere, is smiling. All of Uncle Joe's propaganda from the war STILL affects some people!
Ostensibly this all has to do with the fact that Obama has failed to make the fate of the "Jena 6"-African-American teenagers accused of a serious crime--the centerpiece of his campaign.
But really it's much deeper than that. "Acting white" is a phrase you hear, coming from some African-American teenagers, in junior-high or high schools. It's a term of derision, directed at black students who study hard and seek high grades.
We don't want ANY kids denigrating achievement in schools.
But what do we have here? A supposed leader of the black community spits it out at someone who's apparently not marching enough in lockstep with the Jackson agenda. What a great example to set for African-American children. This is a shame.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Not that big of a deal, but as Bill Crawford points out, what if the guy had been zapped at a Bush rally? The screaming about what a "fascist" state this is, etc etc would be going on yet.
If only repetition made it so.
But of course, there's nothing, from a principled perspective, wrong with choosing a nomineee who is "confirmable." The only thing that could be wrong with it is if the president, in seeking confirmation, chose an AG nominee completely out of step with conservative principles. I see no evidence of that. Indeed, the support for Mukasey from persons such as William Kristol suggests Mukasey will be just fine.
I don't see how it can be claimed, however, that he was "set up." No one appears to have pushed him into planning this ambush. It was his idea.
Monday, September 17, 2007
By comparison, antiwar demonstrations during the Vietnam war era could easily draw over 100,000 participants. Which means that concerning the present antiwar movement, when it comes to passion and momentum...there's no comparison.
Sadly, this kind of economic instability on the continent of Africa is nothing new--it dates back, unfortunately, to the beginning of the post-colonial age there. Colonialism in Africa was thought to be the source of all ills. History suggests that wasn't so (not that we could or should go back to colonialism).
Sigh. I don't care who appears or doesn't appear on "The View." Barry Manilow has every right to refuse to appear on any TV show he wishes, and instead to go off and contemplate his glory days of singing "Mandy" and "I Write the Songs." So why is this an outrage? Because, to be blunt, Manilow's being so stupid. Hasselbeck is one conservative voice among--what? 4 or 5 other women on that show? It's terrible to have even one (and as far as I can tell, a rather mainstream) conservative represented (albeit outnumbered 3 or 4 to 1)? Please.
What's outrageous is the lack of thought some people exhibit.
No, no, no government involvement here at all. But by the way, there'll be a major new government mandate, and a significant tax increase. Mrs. Clinton and her aides also claim her plan won't mean a major expansion of the federal bureaucracy, despite the fact that those without health insurance would be allowed to get coverage from an insurance plan offered to federal employees. Right, I mean, if a million new people choose that plan, why would anyone ever think that might require more bureaucrats?
Mrs. Clinton sounds more like her husband every day.
UPDATE: even Jon Kitna thinks the Lions' victory yesterday was a miracle!
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Cincinnati 7 over Cleveland (home). PICK: BENGALS. Cleveland is just bad.
Indianapolis 7 over Tennessee (home). PICK: TITANS. Colts will win the game, but it'll be close, thanks to the running ability of Vince Young and co.
St. Louis (home) 3 over San Francisco. PICK: RAMS. Niners looked rusty even in their win last week, and I can't see the Rams losing two straight at home.
New York Giants (home) 2.5 over Green Bay. PICK: GIANTS. Late word is that Eli Manning will start; Giants are at home.
Pittsburgh (home) 10 over Buffalo. PICK: STEELERS. Too many weapons, and at home.
New Orleans 3.5 over Tampa Bay (home). PICK: SAINTS. Too many weapons.
Carolina (home) 6.5 over Houston. PICK: PANTHERS. The combo of Jake Delhomme to Steve Smith is clicking again.
Jacksonville (home) 10 over Atlanta. PICK: JAGUARS. Joey Harrington is 23-44 as a starting QB, and he's even worse on the road.
Detroit (home) 3 over Minnesota. PICK: LIONS. Things seem a little different there now under Marinelli.
Dallas 3.5 over Miami (home). PICK: COWBOYS. Miami's offense just can't get untracked--ever, it seems.
Seattle 3 over Arizona (home). PICK: CARDINALS. Seahawks were underwhelming last week, and don't seem to play that well in the Valley of the Sun.
Chicago (home) 12 over Kansas City. PICK: BEARS. Looks like a real down year in KC. A shutout wouldn't be a surprise here for the Bears' aggressive D.
Denver (home) 10 over Oakland. PICK: BRONCOS. They're at home, and it appears Oakland QB Josh McCown is dinged up now.
Baltimore (home) 10 over New York Jets. PICK: RAVENS. Especially with Chad Pennington hobbling.
New England (home) 3.5 over San Diego. PICK: PATRIOTS. I don't see them being distracted by all this week's fuss, and Randy Moss gives their offense a whole new look.
(Monday) Philadelphia (home) 6.5 over Washington. PICK: EAGLES. It's a lot of points to give, but you have to think Donovan McNabb's offense will run a lot smoother than it did in week 1.
Why do I have this feeling that Communist Party cell leaders were saying this kind of thing back in the 1930s.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
So this is big news? Many Republicans and conservatives have been saying exactly this, that this was perhaps the major mistake made by the national Republican leadership, for months. I'm glad Chairman Greenspan finally saw fit to join the parade. If the Post's editors think Greenspan's critique was, er, unique, they are (again) confused, as usual.
I tell that story because I see the same thing happening between the rival Giuliani and Clinton campaigns. The other day Rudy Giuliani hit Senator Clinton hard, attacking her over her failure to disavow the MoveOn.org ad suggesting that General Petraeus betrayed his country and her own criticisms of Petraeus. Now today the Clinton camp has struck back. Quote: "Later Friday, Clinton's campaign shot back, saying:"It's hardly surprising that Mayor Giuliani is running the first negative ad of the '08 campaign, given his inability to justify his unqualified support for President Bush's failed Iraq strategy."
The Giuliani camp should be glad. Perhaps his jabs at Senator Clinton have drawn a little blood. And her response certainly shows that they think him relevant (you don't see her responding to anything Ron Paul says).
Friday, September 14, 2007
Okay. This country has now gone completely insane. It is Saturday night August 11, 2007. I am in the most wonderful place on this earth, Sandpoint, Idaho, looking out at the moonlit (slightly) Lake Pend Oreille, listening to the BNSF freight trains rolling by, and what do I see and hear as the lead item on CNN Headline News at midnight?Nancy Grace urgently telling us that Britney Spears is endangering her children's lives by (and I am not making this up):1.) Giving them soda and fruit juices in baby bottles, thereby endangering their teeth.2) Giving them high fat snacks like Doritos instead of fruits and vegetables.3.) Taking the kids with her on her lap in the car.4) Not always having their child seats attached properly.That's right. Because Britney is a normal human being, not a Stalinist mind controlled, food police approved, Whole Foods Bolshevized perfect new Soviet woman mommy, but is a normal mother like other mothers, the media is howling for her head. This is insanity, pure and simple.
Meanwhile, Wade Wilson, an assistant coach with the Dallas Cowboys (he no longer is an active player) is suspended by the league for FIVE GAMES for taking a prohibited substance (human growth hormones, which apparently he hoped would help with his diabetes).
What the Patriots were doing could affect the outcome of a game.
What Wilson did could not possibly affect the outcome of a game.
Yet Wilson is suspended, but nobody from the Patriots is.
It's a bit long. But it's effective, criticizing Hillary Clinton for her attack on General Petraeus and her refusal to disavow the MoveOn.org ad.
Giuliani is being smart in attacking Senator Clinton. First, he can say he's obeying the age-old Republican Eleventh Commandment--thou shalt not attack another Republican. So instead he attacks Hillary. Second, pointing out Mrs. Clinton's failures on this issue will appeal to the Republican base. And third, if in fact Senator Clinton will be the Democrats' nominee in 2008, there's no reason to wait in pointing out negatives about her.
Note too that Republicans have a lot of cover on this issue--why, even Elizabeth Edwards ripped MoveOn today. Quote: “Someone who’s spent their life in the military doesn’t deserve ‘General Betray Us,’” said Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards."
Although other polls show the Republican presidential race as very tight, meanwhile, the latest Fox News poll has Giuliani leading by 12 points.
A new California laws makes it illegal for teenagers to drive while talking on their cell phones.
In football, you no longer cheat by trying to listen in on the other team's huddle--now you film opposing coaches with a video camera.
So here's the argument the White House needs to make: OF COURSE there has been slow progress on these benchmarks. There's been a great deal of violence in Iraq. Terrorist insurgents there are doing everything they can to obliterate progress in any and all areas. How can you make gains when security is tenuous? But now, the security situation has improved. Everyone agrees it has. So now let's see over the next 6 months what progress the Iraqis can make--given that now they'll have more security in which to do it. It's much easier to achieve political reconciliation when you don't have to constantly be looking over your shoulder. It's easier to make progress and to work for a free Iraq when you don't have to be concerned about being blown up. The White House and President Bush need to make this case, now.
Over 80 cats are removed from a southwestern Michigan home.
A goodly number of them were dead and being kept in a freezer.
We hear about this kind of thing far too often--why do people do this?
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Good stuff. Republicans need to be aware, however---with the president's poll numbers having been down this long, with (unfortunately) public opinion having hardened on the president and Iraq (regrettably helped along by the negative spin put on everything to do with Iraq by some Democrats and those in the media), President Bush would be doing very well if his approval ratings by January 2009 got up to, say, 45%.
But right now it appears Democrats will just say no. And, perhaps (yet again) begin to move away from the mainstream.
And why indeed did the Times apparently give MoveOn the ad at a discount rate?
I have no doubt that Giuliani's outrage over this is genuine.
Remember, too--it's smart politics. Rudy knows the Republican base has absolutely zero love for the New York Times.
But what if that one episode of water-boarding KSM had not occurred? It is a question at the center of the debate over the harshest technique in the CIA's repertoire that has raged for three years now, a time frame, intelligence officials note, in which the technique has not been used.
Would the agency have eventually worn KSM down?"
We can't be sure. Torture is nothing we want to take lightly. But in this day and age, and given the kind of terrorists we're dealing with, it doesn't seem all that sensible to take its use completely off the table.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Quote: "The real story, post Labor Day, has been the solid pop for Fred Thompson following his formal announcement last week, the resurgence of John McCain, the small but steady improvement for Mike Huckabee, the lack of any national follow-through for Mitt Romney following his bounce after the Iowa straw poll and the continued stability of support for the GOP front-runner Rudy Giuliani."
The good news from General Petraeus' report that hasn't gotten nearly enough play: "Probably the two most interesting statements in Petraeus’s report will get little coverage. First, that the data analysis he used to brief Congress was found by two intelligence agencies to be the best available on the Iraq war, and that reenlistment rates of troops in Iraq are above average: 130 percent among younger enlistees and 115 percent among those in mid-career. Those statistics constitute telling evidence that the troops themselves continue to find great meaning in their work, suggesting that they certainly don’t believe the cause is lost...If the surge has helped fortify political progress on the ground at the tribal level in Anbar and other regions of the country—by solidifying the Sunni alliance against al-Qaeda—then perhaps we should not rush toward the exit gates. Just because we can’t engineer change at the top does not mean that we can’t engineer change at the bottom in a way that will gradually and organically affect the top. As Crocker said, “The current course is hard; the alternatives are far worse.” Indeed, as Petraeus indicated, a rapid withdrawal would unleash centrifugal forces in Iraq that would tear the country further apart, whereas a slow and gradual withdrawal over time will improve the situation."
Fundamental: sometimes "who you hang out with" says a lot about you.
UPDATE: still not going away. Now word comes out that Hillary's campaign was warned about Hsu--but ignored it.
Only a tiny few national Democrats have had the courage to denounce the ad (one of them, amazingly enough, was John Kerry). Most rather obviously chose to punt.
Senator Clinton's campaign was typical. Her spokesman was asked for a comment on the ad. Quote: "Phil Singer, a spokesman for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, said his boss would "keep her focus where it should be, on ending the war."
"According to 2005 figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, only 32 percent of Newark children are being raised by their parents in a two-adult household."
"An astonishing 60 percent of the city’s kids are growing up without fathers."
"The city has one of the highest out-of-wedlock birthrates in the country, with about 65 percent of its children born to unmarried women. And 70 percent of those births are to women who are already poor, meaning that their kids are born directly into poverty."
Such figures are astonishing, and explain a lot.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
It was a beautiful, gorgeous sunny day.
Then came the news of planes hitting buildings, etc. Rumors flew.
Shocked, bewildered faces of the people on the campus where I taught.
Wide-eyed faces sitting at hastily-set-up television monitors in the student lounge, staring at images of fire, clouds of smoke, destruction.
Some classes canceled. Others go on.
Me working in my office with a radio tuned to an all-news station, all day. Fragments of hard news here and there. Going to news sites online to see the latest horrible images of the attacks.
Driving home late that night, seeing American flags popping out everywhere, in the windows of cars and trucks, hung on fences and balconies. But also seeing nervous drivers in their cars, creating long, long queues at gas stations, Rumors had flown all day about gas shortages.
Getting home, late at night, watching the latest updates on Nightline--knowing everything, now, was different.
Cheap, hardball politics in the internet age. Romney's man didn't cover his tracks very well. The Romney campaign seems awfully ham-handed at times.
But the Bush administration is most certainly, given this news, moving their discussions to a more active phase. Myself, bombing Iran should be a last resort. Fundamental: we've got a lot on our plate already.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Ugh. Even the Clinton administration now says they didn't try to give Osama due process; they claim they tried to assassinate him several times. Which is what most think we should do. One hopes this is simply Fred slipping up on the campaign trail, and not a fundamental misunderstanding of what needs to be basic principle of this war on terror.
Democrats have made their intentions clear here. Quote: “No one wants to call [Petraeus] a liar on national TV,” noted one Democratic senator, who spoke on the condition on anonymity. “The expectation is that the outside groups will do this for us.”
Liberals are attempting to smear General Petraeus, and it's not pretty.
There's honor and grace for you. RIP, Ms. Wyman.
Even Buffalo, who lost the game, came through for me, beating the spread by losing by just 1, not 3. And I touted Jon Kitna and Mike Martz and the Lions, and Kitna responds by throwing for nearly 300 yards. Made me look good.
Week 2 will be tougher. Stay tuned!
Sunday, September 9, 2007
We'll start with tonight's late game, then Monday's games:
Dallas, at home, favored by 6 over the Giants. Pick: Dallas. The Giants' running game is shaky, bad news on the road vs Dallas' pass rush.
Baltimore favored by 2.5 over Cincinnati (home). Pick: Cincinnati. Not a diss on the Ravens, I just have a feeling Carson Palmer et al come up big at home.
San Francisco (home) 3 over Arizona. Pick: San Fran. When's the last time Arizona came up big on the road? And they're still breaking in a new coach.
Denver 3 over Buffalo (home); Pick: Buffalo. I'm not yet sold on Jay Cutler, on the road especially.
Pittsburgh 5 over Cleveland (home). Pick: Pittsburgh. Cleveland with too many holes; Brady Quinn to start sooner rather than later for the Browns.
Philadelphia 3 over Green Bay (home). Pick: Philly. Donovan McNabb has looked very good in pre-season; the Pack with too much youth.
St. Louis (home) 2 over Carolina. Pick: St. Louis. Marc Bulger should get more media love; he's developing into an outstanding QB.
Minnesota (home) 3 over Atlanta. Pick: Minnesota. Just too many distractions for the Falcons, and on the road.
New England 6 over NY Jets (home). Pick: Jets. Not to win--I think the Pats will squeak this one out, but in a close one. 6 pts is a lot to give the Pats for a divisional game on the road.
Miami 3 over Washington (home). Pick: Miami. Though this is a tough one. But give the nod to Miami's defense over the nicked-up Jason Campbell.
Jacksonville (home) 7.5 over Tennessee. Pick: Tennessee. Again, not to win--I suspect Jax will win this one in the end. But 7 and 1/2 is a lot of points; Tennessee and Vince Young to cover.
Kansas City 3 over Houston (home). Pick: Houston. Easily. Matt Schaub and the Texans to shine big at home.
Oakland (home) 3 over Detroit. Pick: Detroit. I'll probably regret it. But I'm going with Jon Kitna to generate enough points out of Mike Martz's passing game to pull the Lions through.
San Diego (home) 6.5 over Chicago. Pick: San Diego. Can't go against the loaded Chargers, from the stronger conference, at home in week 1.
Seattle (home) 6 over Tampa Bay. Pick: Seattle. Seahawks always tough at home, Shaun Alexander is healthy, and the Bucs with multiple question marks.
She's going to be involved in this campaign. She says she will back Obama in a big, visible way.
Fundamental question: yes, a lot of people watch Oprah's show. But how much influence on VOTERS does she have? Will she influence how people VOTE? Stay tuned.
Internal administration debates aren't that big of a deal. And in any case the article actually demonstrates that, now, there's a lot of unity in the administration concerning Iraq, as Ed Morrissey demonstrates very well.
Another problem with surge critics can be seen in today's NY Times front-page piece on it--the article makes a big fuss about the fact that sectarian conflict in Iraq has been slowed, but not ended. What surge supporter claimed it was?
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Wow! Yes!! Such moral dynamism!! Senator Kennedy crashes his car, the woman riding with him dies in a watery grave, and it only took Mr. Kennedy 36 hours to go to the cops!!
Ugh. Think, Mr. Olbermann.
Oh, but look further, at the beginning of the piece: "In a preview of his report to Congress next week, Gen. David H. Petraeus yesterday expressed disappointment in the lack of progress toward political reconciliation in Iraq. Administration officials said he wants to return to Washington for another assessment in six months to allow more time for Iraqi politics to catch up with what Petraeus regards as rapidly improving security conditions."
In other words, the main point here is that, even though Petraeus would have liked to have seen more political progress in Iraq, still he is not in favor of a rapid pullout, he thinks that the surge deserves more time to work, and he hints that things could improve in Iraq in six months (otherwise, why give it that six months?). This is far different from the negative headline given the story by the Post. Do those in the news media truly not realize that we can see through this kind of obvious bias?
"Iraq is part of this war against extremists," Bush said, responding to the terrorist leader's message but never using his name. "If al-Qaida bothers to mention Iraq, it's because they want to achieve their objectives in Iraq, which is to drive us out."
Friday, September 7, 2007
The most interesting thing about the video, for the blogosphere today, has been parsing the strange ideological brew Osama's mixed together. Note the extreme corporation-bashing along with the claim tey control the news media. At times, it makes one wonder if Islamofascism isn't quite the right designation for Al-Qaeda-think--maybe instead it should be Islamo-Marxism.
(p.s.--if Osama really thinks his video will convert significant numbers of Americans to Islam, he's not just our enemy; he's nuts.)
• There were 30 "multiple fatality" (usually suicide) bombings in August 2007. In August 2006 there were 52.
• There were 120 daily attacks by insurgents and militias last month, down from 160 in August 2006.
• 60,000 prisoners were being held by the U.S. and Iraq as of last month, up from 27,000 a year earlier.
• Iraqi security forces currently number 360,000, up from 298,000 a year ago.
Lest one suspect the figures cited above are Bush Administration propaganda, we hasten to add they were assembled by Michael O'Hanlon and Jason Campbell of the liberal-oriented Brookings Institution and published Tuesday on the op-ed page of the New York Times.
Nor are these the only positive indicators. According to General Petraeus, the number of weapons caches seized by coalition forces rose to 4,141 in August from 1,977 in January. At the same time, he says, the incidence of sectarian violence is down by 75%.
In Anbar province--which last year the U.S. military judged "lost" to the insurgents--tens of thousands of Sunni men are joining local, U.S.-allied security forces as well as the Shiite-dominated Iraqi Security Forces. It turns out al Qaeda overstayed its welcome. The ring of cities and towns around Baghdad, which for years had provided sanctuary for the insurgents, are being cleared out by U.S. and Iraqi military forces. Radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has unilaterally called a halt to attacks by his militia on coalition and Iraqi forces. Sadr is reportedly hiding out in Iran.
The Michigan Humane Society's Detroit office investigated 159 dogfighting complaints in 2006, up from 119 in 2005. This year, it investigated 74 through August, with 38 of those occurring since June."
The late, great conservative writer Frank S. Meyer used to say that civilization is, to a degree, always under threat from the "barbarians." Maybe this is another example. You just never know how barbarism will rear its ugly head.
Oh, but suddenly-hysterical ABC will have no truck with showing such calm reason. On its front page, the link taking you to the above story reads: "Recession? Jobs Fall for First Tim in 4 Yrs." The mainstream media--never lacking for a little hysteria.
Good grief. I teach at a university and I see this kind of clothing daily. Whether you approve of the clothing or not is a matter of taste. But unless Southwest is going to be lot more consistent over who gets in trouble for revealing clothing and who isn't, picking on this particular young lady was an outrage.
Fred is not a flip-flopper. He doesn't talk out of both sides of his mouth. Like him or hate him, Fred lets you know where he stands. Right?... Does Fred support the Marriage Protection Amendment or doesn't he? The amendment a majority of GOP senators supported in 2006? The one that's simple first sentence reads: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman"? No one can tell. So Team Thompson tidies up the mess to National Review online: "Fred Thompson does not support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage." "If necessary," though, Team Thompson says he might support some other constitutional amendment that has the word "marriage" in it. Oh dear. Fred's "yes" to Anderson Cooper actually meant "no." Was Fred confused by the question? Or was he trying to confuse us?"
A bit troubling. Conservatives and the American people want a straight shooter in this election. There seems no doubt of that. Is former Senator Thompson the one? Stay tuned.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
How does she know this before she's read the final report? Your guess is as good as ours.
But then, more than once, Democrats in Washington in the last couple of months have admitted that American success in Iraq would be a "problem" for them.
Good for them.
I doubt our soldiers in Iraq think much of Senator Schumer's views of their abilities or inabilities. And most military analyses I've read suggest that Schumer is dead wrong.
One minute for an answer isn't really long enough to give a full, nuanced, presidential answer.
Mike Huckabee has a good sense of humor.
I thought his go-round with Ron Paul on the war in Iraq, however, smacked of trying to wipe Rudy Giuliani's anti-Paul playbook from the debate back in June, when the Mayor did a smackdown on Paul. It's been done, Mike.
I suspect some liberal, antiwar Democrats packed the hall, which explains the loud applause for Ron Paul's get-out-of-Iraq comments.
John McCain did well, speaking succinctly, on point, at times eloquently. Clearly the shots he took at his rivals--at Romney concerning the surge, at Giuliani concerning his foreign policy experience--reflect the fact that McCain realizes he has to come from behind.
I thought Mayor Giuliani did fine, although it's hard to stand out every time when you're one of 9 on a stage. I think he's wise to cite his experience and accomplishments as Mayor of New York, and he does so effectively. I was surprised when Frank Luntz's voter focus group, highlighted on FoxNews' post-debate wrap-up, reacted so negatively to Rudy. It made me wonder what debate they were watching. I suspect most of them weren't Giuliani supporters, at all, to begin with. Other writers today have suggested this may have been a function of typical New Hampshire-ite anti-New York bias.
Mitt Romney hits hardest at McCain and at Giuliani. He knows who his main rivals are. I think his attacks on the mayor concerning immigration are weak, given that Romney did little concerning "sanctuary" cities when he was governor of Massachusetts.
Ron Paul doesn't sound like a libertarian on foreign policy. He sounds like a radical leftist, blaming the United States for most everything wrong anywhere.
UPDATE: In thinking about this, let's also remember all the fundamentals on which most candidates at last night's debate agreed: 1] They believe illegal immigration is a serious problem, upon which the government must act. It's about the rule of law. 2] Most support the war in Iraq, support the surge, and continue to advocate vigorous U.S. action in the war on terror. 3] Most candidates are hostile to new taxes; indeed, they favor continuing to seek to reduce taxes and regulation. 4] Most of the candidates are hostile to abortion rights, though there is some disagreement on exactly what the federal government could and should do about it.
Hovering over all of this is Fred Thompson. Welcome to the race, Fred; come on in, the water's fine!
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
"A recent study showed the median income of major corporate CEOs to be about $8 million a year. That's less than a third of what Alex Rodriguez earns and less than one-thirtieth of what Oprah Winfrey makes. But no one is denouncing them for "greed."
Many in the mainstream media and elsewhere poo-poo the notion regularly.
But occasionally Senator Clinton slips up and perhaps shows us her real self.
For example, the other day there was this:
"WASHINGTON — Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton promised retirees that if elected president she will not cut Social Security benefits, raise the retirement age or privatize the taxpayer-funded system. "This is the most successful domestic program in the history of the United States," Clinton said to applause from seniors gathered in Washington to push their policy agenda. "When I'm president, privatization is off the table because it's not the answer to anything."
Privatization---not the answer to "anything", hmmm?
I don't see anyone urging the re-regulation of the airline industry.
Here's more information on yesterday's significant breakthrough in negotiations between Iraqi Shiite and Iraqi Sunni representatives in Helsinki. It appears to be a significant step forward towards political reconciliation, including agreement on a 12-step framework for finding peace. Details here. And indeed it's a shame that this peace deal hasn't gotten more coverage.
Just the news that the Clinton campaign did not want to hear--they want this negative story to go away ASAP. But, now, it won't; at least for a bit longer.
Too bad pretty much every Democratic candidate is now pledging not to campaign in states that violate party directives in this way.
Fundamental: this race to become the first state to hold a presidential primary is absurd. It's creating a primary "system" where primaries and caucuses will be piled on top of each other early in 2008, and nominations will apparently be sewn up in a mad rush of campaigning. There will be precious little time for reflection, for seeing how candidates hold up over a long haul.
And it will create one of the longest GENERAL election campaigns in history. I doubt this is what anyone really wants. But it is what they will get.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Many on the other side of the aisle poo-poo this, and suggest that the attacks come out of political differences, and could be alleviated through U.S. concessions.
Even Osama Bin Laden himself tried to make this argument. On one of his early videos, he sneered that if it was about freedom, "why did we not attack Sweden?"
Well. The other day, his followers indeed we were not planning to attack Sweden.
They were planning to attack Denmark.
But I'm sure it was all America's fault.
Political reconciliation in Iraq is moving forward as well, with agreements made between the feuding parties. Details here.
Monday, September 3, 2007
There's nothing new about this (as Toplin himself admits)--this kind of psychoanalysis on the part of liberals towards their political opponents goes back to the 1950s. In the 1964 campaign, a number of psychiatrists tried to suggest that Barry Goldwater was off his rocker. It's mainly a sign of liberal arrogance, elitism, laziness, illogic, and to a degree ignorance. Don't feel like dealing with your opponents' ideas? Just assume the facts you like are the only facts, and suggest your opponents are kinda nuts. There must, just must, be something wrong with people who don't believe what you do anyway. Democrats--long-time war opponents, no less--such as Brian Baird come back from Iraq and support the surge? That doesn't seem to enter into Mr. Toplin's thinking. Does Baird have psychological issues? What about Joe Lieberman? What about all the evidence--I've highlighted a ton of it here on this blog--that in fact the surge is working and Mr. Toplin's "facts" aren't all there is to know? Why are politicians coming back from Iraq in increasing numbers supporting the surge, anyway? You'd never know, from Mr. Toplin's essay, that persons like Baird or Lieberman or John McCain even exist, much less the ideas they express.
But then it's much easier to define your opponents as nuts than to engage their ideas.
Problem: this shows that Mrs. Clinton is on the defensive. Senator Obama has already claimed the "change" idea for himself. Hillary up to now has discussed the notion of change some, but had not made it an emphasis of her campaign. But now she is. It smacks of "Look, I'm for change, too." That's playing defense, with the issues framed the way Obama wants them framed. It's not a good sign for the Clinton campaign. Senator Clinton is identified with Washington D.C; she's seen as an insider. Barack Obama's relative youth, the fact that he hasn't been in Washington nearly as long, will make it almost impossible for anyone to trump him in the "change" department. We'll see if he's able to take full advantage of this.
1] I'm glad he admits these workers are "undocumented." Of course, actually it means they're illegal. They are in violation of U.S. law.
2] It's therefore the United States' business as to how it handles those in America who have broken the law. Not President Calderon's.
3] One notes President Calderon isn't inviting the U.S. to give an opinion on how Mexico should handle those who illegally enter Mr. Calderon's country. But somehow he has the right to lecture the United States on how it handles its illegal immigrants.
4] Is it President Calderon's view that the U.S. somehow has an obligation to allow anyone who enters our country illegally to do so with no penalty, and to be allowed to stay as long as they wish?
I doubt it. I suspect that President Calderon said what he said in order to satisfy public opinion in Mexico. But I hope that in our diplomatic discussions, U.S. officials make the case forcefully to the Mexican government that we cannot and will not tolerate illegal immigration continuing at its current level, nor can illegal immigrants in America expect break the law and to get away with it with no penalty.
Fundamental: regular checkups are a good idea for many people, but they should come out of an adult individual's free choice.
Bush administration officials claim the meeting was necessary prior to the September 15th deadline for deciding what will come next in Iraq--that the president needed to "look Petraeus in the eye" and get the real scoop on Iraq. Well, maybe--but I suspect there were a lot of politics behind this trip as well. It allows President Bush to show the American people that he's not afraid, or above, traveling to Iraq and being with his soldiers. And that he 's willing to do it on a holiday--in this case, on Labor Day. Remember the surprise visit he made at Thanksgiving 2003? That trip gave him a boost in the polls. The administration wouldn't mind seeing that happen again. Bush also surely wants to give the impression that no final decision has been made, that it is truly seeking input from Gen. Petraeus and the military as a whole.
Who knows? It might work. I give President Bush credit for going to Iraq. It's important for the commander-in-chief to go out to the field and see his troops.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
More reports of success in Fallujah. Quote: "Meet the new defenders of the city of Fallujah. For years, the Marines have been trying to behead the insurgent hydra that’s been terrorizing the people here. Now, they’ve got a plan that, for the moment, seems to be working. Attacks on American troops are way down; the streets are relatively clean; men are sitting around in outdoor cafes. The progress could always be temporary, of course. Tal Afar, Mosul, and other cities were once defused, only to detonate again. But, at least right now, Fallujah is calm. Cops and cop-wannabes like Am’r and Safa are part of the reason why. "
Figures from an American battalion operating in southeast Baghdad further detail improvements being made. (hat tip to All Things Conservative) Quote: "This is working,” Andersen said. “We should have been doing this four years ago. We got so many things wrong. In my experience, most Iraqis just want peace and quiet and want to get on with their lives.” The battalion’s statistics tell a stark story. In June, at the height of the fighting, 80 roadside bombs were detonated against its patrols. In August it was 19. There were 32 mortar or rocket attacks in June, but only 11 last month. "