Monday, April 30, 2007

Death by 1000 cuts

Death by 1000 cuts
By Frank Antenori
April 29, 2007

The Chinese call it “ling chi” or the “lingering death.” First implemented in 960 A.D., the Chinese torture technique uses slow, shallow, slicing so as to not kill the victim. While no single cut is lethal, the combination of hundreds of small cuts eventually leads to death.

I could think of no better analogy than to describe what Gabrielle Giffords and the Democrats are doing to our country. Consumed by a vehement hatred of the President and a fundamental desire to reduce our country to a whimpering socialist state that mirrors the likes of France and Germany, the Democrats have been working feverishly to dismantle our military, strangle our economy and tax the living life’s blood out of every family in America.

Ms. Giffords, ran on what many would call a “moderate” platform. She talked tough on immigration, said she would fight terrorism, support our military, and promised she’d be “business friendly” and not raise your taxes. She evidently was successful in convincing 54% of voters in the last election that she wasn’t an “extreme liberal,” just your average tire changing “cuddly” pro-business moderate. I bet many are beginning to regret voting for her.

Since she left sleepy little Tucson for the marble halls of Congress, she has been nothing short of a poster girl for the far left. After 269 votes on the House floor, Giffords has voted lock step with Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democrat far left 98.52% of the time. Giffords is counting on no one noticing, and with a left wing media facilitating the “ling chi” by keeping many of her votes low key, she’s counting on it.

You see, the Democrats know that more than two-thirds of Americans do not support their socialist agenda. One need only look at the ’06 election and how the Democrats avoided the topics of tax increases, gun control, abortion, or cutting off funds for the war to realize the Dems are well aware they’ll squander their control of Congress if they go too far. So they’ve been quietly passing bills with tax increases, new restrictions on small business, controls on our military and federal law enforcement agencies, and expanding the welfare state.

Just three months into their majority, the Democrats’ 2008 proposed budget will impose the largest tax increase in history on American taxpayers—totaling nearly $400 billion over five years. Families with children, low-income families, and small businesses all would be hit with hundreds if not thousands of dollars in increased taxes. Every Arizona family with an income over $30,000 will pay more taxes.

If you’re one of 48 million married couples, the Dems want to punish you by reinstating the marriage penalty; an average increase of $2,899 more a year. If you’re an elderly couple on a fixed income, earning $40,000 a year, your taxes will go up by 156% in 2011, from $583 to $1,489 thanks to Giffords and her tax and spend liberal friends.

Why do they want to raise your taxes? Is it to cut the deficit like Giffords promised? Nope, it’s for billions of dollars of pork to facilitate their socialist agenda and pay back all of their special interest groups. You pay more taxes and some guy in Georgia gets a $74 Million check from the Dems to store his peanuts.

The latest polling showed only 9% of Americans support tax increases, 69% said they’d rather see government reduce spending (February 2007 PSRA/Pew Research Center poll). So much for the “will of the people” I guess, Ms. Giffords.

Giffords and the Democrats are hell bent on destroying and dismantling our military by withholding much needed funding. No matter how you spin it, the Dems are weakening our national security and putting our troops at risk.

In the military supplemental funding the President asked for is a $3 Billion request for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicles. Commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan are clamoring for the vehicles because they have reduced American casualties by 70% since they’ve been fielded. As of yet, not a single U.S. Troop has been killed while riding in an MRAP. Because of the little political stunt being played by the Democrats, for every week the supplemental is not approved dozens of Americans will be killed or wounded because of the delay in purchasing these vehicles.

I want to know Ms. Giffords are you really concerned about the troops? As far as I’m concerned, you don’t care. You’d rather lick the heels of Nancy Pelosi and the anti-war left than ensure our troops have what they need to ensure they come home alive and in one piece.

Just last week while Giffords and her friends played politics with American lives, two units assigned to Fort Huachuca's 11th Signal Brigade, the 269th Signal Company and Headquarters Detachment - 504th Signal Battalion, were deactivated and their 200 soldiers reassigned elsewhere. Giffords promised during the campaign to protect Davis-Monthan and Ft. Huachuca from potential Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). I’ve been involved with the BRAC commission in the past. You don’t secure the livelihood of a base by letting soldiers and units be reassigned somewhere else. You protect the base from the BRAC by getting soldiers, and new missions assigned TO the base. Wake up Sierra Vista, that cute little Congresswoman you voted for is about to flush your economy down the drain.

Giffords and her colleagues are also sending a message to our enemies that we’ve lost the war, that we can’t win, that they are cutting off funding to our troops in the field to force a withdrawal (surrender). The Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion has implored Democrats to “Set aside troop withdrawal language and get our troops the funding they need. Artificial troop withdrawal deadlines would ultimately break the morale of our troops in the field and directly jeopardize their safety.” I guess Giffords knows better than several million veterans because she once again voted to play political football with our troops by attaching a mandatory timeline to the emergency funding bill.

Another little tidbit the media failed to mention was that the day after her vote the local price for a gallon of gas jumped ten cents from $2.77 to $2.87. Did anyone notice how quiet the Democrats have gotten when it comes to gas prices? Gas has risen twenty-four cents since the Democrats first voted to hog tie our troops and almost eighty cents since they took control of Congress. All of a sudden you don’t hear a peep out of the media.

I won’t even get started on what Giffords is doing for “immigration reform” because I’m still trying to figure out what allowing illegal immigrants and their children to attend state universities and pay in state tuition has to do with securing the border, but whatever it is, Giffords is all for it.

She’s also for legislation to “defund” some of the most effective border security efforts, put restrictions on the Border Patrol, give welfare benefits to illegals and allow “chain migration” and she also supports Federal legislation that will overturn Arizona’s Prop 200.

We’re not even a quarter of the way through Giffords’ first term. She’s got nineteen more months to keep slicing and dicing the taxpayers, the military, small business, and national security.

Better stock up on those bandages and call for a medic. I can only imagine what the next 19 months has is store.

Frank Antenori is a retired Special Forces Soldier and veteran of Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq. He is also a former candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress in Congressional District Eight.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Democratic Debate Impressions

Here is my candidate by candidate impressions from what I was able to see of last night's debate:

1. Mike Gravel- Where did they dig up this fossil? They could have had a "Participate in the Democratic Debate!" contest on Daily Kos and come up with something better from a random drawing. He was equal parts cranky, cantankerous, ignorant, and just downright scary. Best parts was when he called all of the top tier candidates "dangerous" to America (agree, but for different reasons) and when he proposed making it a felony for the President to act as Commander in Chief. Not a great student of the Constitution, that Mr. Gavel. The scariest part of it all is that there was probably a large percentage of Democrats that were thinking "Wow, this guy is right!"

2. Hillary Clinton- Thankfully she looks to have dropped her phony Southern accent for the time being. I suppose that will only be unveiled for small crowds. Honestly, however, I bought in a little more into her inevitability last night. Of all of the candidates, she seemed like more of a leader. Although she had her share of dodges, she answered most of the important questions in a straightforward manner with confidence. Her best moment of the night was when Edwards and Obama essentially refused to answer a "if we were attacked by al Qaeda, would it change our military stance?" than Hilary stepped forward with, "Having been a senator on 9/11, I understand the horror of that sort of attack. I think a president must move as swiftly as prudent to retaliate." In the process, she made her two chief rivals look like dithering equivicators. I'm still not a fan, but Edwards and Obama are starting to look a little more scary in comparison.

3. Bill Richardson- His answers were honest and down-to-Earth, if rambling and disjointed. He appeared to be suffering with indigestion the entire debate. Owned up to his strong NRA designation with pride. His best moment of the night was when he was explaining his late-to-the-party call for Alberto Gonzalez to resign. "I know the guy." he confided and wanted to give him a chance to explain his actions. This showed a human side that I didn't really see from the other candidates. All-in-all however, much of his effectiveness was limited by his poor polish on presentation. Richardson missed a big chance here, he may not get many more.

4. Christopher Dodd- I'm sorry, but I just cant get over the eyebrows. They are a deal breaker for me. Overall, however, not a bad performance. He seemed to have a handle on policy specifics, and didn't appear to dodge many questions. There wasn't one thing that really stood out, but he was relatively solid and didn't make any gaffes.

5. Dennis Kucinich- He lost the most in the debate. Not only are his positions wishful thinking and incoherent, but he has lost his status as the eccentric gadfly to fellow nutcase Gravel. There are so many things to mock about Kucinich from his belief that the "world community" is willing to step into our military roles as we run away, to his apparent belief that terrorists are imaginary. My favorite moment was when he began to realize that he was being upstaged by Gravel and tried to attack Obama to get attention. Obama was having a bad night, but easily had enough to dismiss Kucinich's ravings.

Fun fact- Kucinich is the only presidential candidate in either party that I have seen in person. It's a long story.

6. Joe Biden. If he had the ability to "revise and extend" his remarks in real life like he does in Congress, he might be a factor. At times eloquent, he just doesn't have enough substance to match his mouth. Currently I believe that more people are interested in watching him inevitably step in it than in actually listening to what he has to say. Best moment: Williams asks him: "Words have gotten you in trouble in the past, you are known as somewhat of a gaff machine. Can you reassure voters that you will have the discipline to control yourself on the world stage?"

Biden answers "Yes." then shuts his mouth for perhaps the first time ever.

7. Barak Obama- Did not live up to the hype, at least early on. Quite frankly, Obama seems to have gotten in his head somewhere that the questions asked of him are just optional guidelines and that he is not required to even acknowledge what was asked before launching into his prepared soundbites. His deliver at times is weak and underwhelming. He did talk in some depth about his Health Care Plan, which sounds a lot like RomneyCare, but all else was evasive and superficial.

Then he was attacked by the intellectual pygmy Kucinich who accused him of trying to start a war with Iran. At that point, just for a minute, we saw a little of what I guess makes people excited by him. He set Kucinich straight on the threat posed by Iran and was direct and unequivocal, something he had managed to otherwise avoid the entire debate. That moment saved this from being a disaster for Obama. As the crowd winnows, and Obama has to speak longer and deeper, he may be in for a spot of trouble.

8. John Edwards- On the other hand, this debate WAS a total disaster for Edwards unless you are a blind supporter. Just dump the old material, John. Anything that fell outside his "Two Americas" prepared speech went poorly for him. And debates really aren't a good time to use old spun anecdotes, especially when they are pointless and not related at all to the issue. Did you not see Gore circa 2000? Edwards has no command of facts at this point which is perhaps why he relies on anecdote. He needs to hire away the people who prepared Dodd.

Additionally, he appeared soulless, especially when asked "Who do you consider to be your moral leader?" He responded with a long pause. That was a softball John, not a time for speechlessness. Say "my father," at the worst, or "Martin Luther King," "Abraham Lincoln," or perhaps "Gandhi." Are there no moral people that you can think of? This could even be an appropriate time for one of your anecdotes. Just say something!

Edwards is supposed to dominate these things and he placed below Dodd. Not a good outing for him.

Overall- These people need to quit their carping and offer a positive vision of the future. They are not running against Bush or anyone tied to him, and they look like a bunch of sourpusses. Had Giulini or Romney been inserted into this debate, either would have cleaned the clocks of the entire field based on competency and outlook. Overall, however, I would declare Hillary the winner. Future engagements need to drop at least two candidates.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Learning to love guns

District 26 Representative Pete Hershberger has never even registered a pulse on gun rights issues.

The Rundown

2006 Based on lifetime voting records on gun issues and the results of a questionnaire sent to all state legislative candidates in 2006, the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund assigned Representative Hershberger a grade of F (with grades ranging from a high of A+ to a low of F).

2004 Based on lifetime voting records on gun issues and the results of a questionnaire sent to all state legislative candidates in 2004, the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund assigned Representative Hershberger a grade of F (with grades ranging from a high of A+ to a low of F).

2004 Representative Hershberger supported the interests of the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association 0 percent in 2004.

2002 Based on information available in 2002, Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association assigned Representative Hershberger a grade of F (with grades ranging from a high of A+ to a low of F).

2002 Based on lifetime voting records on gun issues and the results of a questionnaire sent to all state legislative candidates in 2002, the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund assigned Representative Hershberger a grade of F (with grades ranging from a high of A+ to a low of F).

However, this year he has voted for State Bills HB2469, SB1250, SB1258, and SB1301 which is the entire gamut of bills supported by the State Rifle and Pistol Association, possibly giving him a 100% rating for the congressional session.

I guess that this signifies that he is trying to minimize the contrast that is going to occur with Al Melvin in next year's state senate race.

I wonder how this will play with the electorate, and if Hershberger can properly explain his change of heart when confronted with his record. I suspect he would have been better off to vote his conscience. Does he not know about blogs?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Arizona Presidential Preference

In way-too-early polling (and with way-too-early analysis by us) Northern Arizona University has provided us with a snapshot of the current presidential preferences of registered Arizona Voters.

Really Good News goes to John McCain who would currently demolish any of the slated Democratic challengers in Arizona. It appears that all of the Conservatives who claim that they would vote for a Democrat over McCain blinked when given an opportunity.

McCain 58% Clinton 37%
McCain 56% Edwards 39%
McCain 54% Obama 39%

Good News goes to John Edwards. Of the Democratic Challengers, he seems to stack up the best alongside of the Republicans. He even has a lead over Mitt Romney that lies just outside of the Margin of Error. This should help future fundraising in the State.

Edwards 43% Giuliani 51%
Edwards 39% McCain 56%
Edwards 49% Romney 43%

Bad News for Mitt Romney. He is the only Republican candidate that currently projects as losing Arizona to a Democratic Candidate. On the plus side, Obama is within the margin of error, and he is still well within striking distance of Edwards, both of whom have had much more exposure to this point. This has to be troubling to the campaign narrative, however.

Romney 49% Clinton 43%
Romney 43% Edwards 49%
Romney 43% Obama 46%

Really Bad News for Hillary Clinton. With name recognition at about 100%, Hillary gets beat pretty well by all Republican challengers. There is little chance for her to bring up her numbers barring a complete meltdown by the Republican in an actual Presidential race. Should Hillary be the eventual nominee, Arizona appears to be a lock for the Republicans.

Clinton 37% Giuliani 56%
Clinton 37% McCain 58%
Clinton 43% Romney 49%

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Courage in the Face of Tragedy at VA Tech

Here are a couple of nice human interest stories detailing courage and level headed responses by Eagle Scouts during the Virgina Tech attacks. Check them out. One is from the Washington Post and the other is from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Medicare's Day of Reckoning Has Arrived

The day has finally arrived. This year, that's right, 2007 is the long-denied year that Medicare payments will exceed revenues, according to trustees. Although some thought it might take a few more years, the prescription drug benefit program pretty well tossed that idea out the window and moved up the timeline considerably, a concern that Congressman John Shadegg and others voiced when the program was debated. Of course, as recently as last year, officials were claiming that the program was having no significant effect on Medicare solvency—another congressional spending smoke and mirrors game.

Within 6 years, nearly half of Medicare costs will not come from payroll witholding taxes for Medicare, but from general tax revenues.

But that's not all. Social Security, more commonly mentioned as an impending entitlement crisis, has a few years left, it seems. It can hold out for ten more years before experiencing the same inevitable fate. Of course, this doesn't take into account that nearly a third of the deficit already exists as IOUs the government wrote to itself to fund Social Security shortages, a practice most would label "juggling the books."

In a little more than 20 years, combined Medicare and Social Security costs and service on the national debt will consume EVERY dollar of taxes paid. How's that for a reality check?

In the wake of thousands of cases of Social Security fraud including identity theft by illegal aliens, and the fact that some in congress want to extend SS benefits to illegals including those convicted of identity theft, it's hard to imagine this problem being resolved anytime soon. So, welcome 2007, the day of reckoning; Farewell to any hope this congress will confront it.

Fred Thompson update

Apparently, the still-unannounced Fred Thompson candidacy has a stunning new development to overcome.

It will be interesting to see how he deals with this.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Rick Renzi is merely a symptom

Doesn't look like a lot of my conservative colleagues are saying much, so I'll bite.

If he is guilty, pack him up and send him to Hell.

Keep in mind however, that an investigation is not an indictment, and an indictment is not a conviction. It is possible that the details as revealed are not the entire story. It could be that further investigation could exonerate Mr. Renzi.

And were that to happen I'd still be ticked.

From the Wall street Journal article

The Renzi case is the latest in a wave of public-corruption investigations of local and federal officials. At least five members of Congress -- three Republicans and two Democrats -- are now under federal criminal scrutiny. Two former members, both Republicans, have gone to prison in the past year. Voter polls have suggested that the investigations were one reason Republicans lost control of Congress last November.

The Renzi case spotlights the potential for abuse in the murky world of legislated land swaps, which have become more common in recent years. Thousands of acres of public land worth hundreds of millions of dollars change hands each year through narrow special-interest bills. There is little public scrutiny, and often no vote is recorded in Congress. Some swaps serve public goals, such as protecting wild habitat. Others enrich private interests at taxpayers' expense, sometimes sidestepping federal rules in the process.

Where does Congress get the right to mess with federal lands without any real type of public oversight or accountability? Public lands are a finite resource, and any giveaway or "swap" should be a huge deal, not something handled by a contact to a single representative or senator.

Oh, and by Senator I mean Harry Reid.

In fact, Reid seems to have a problem with Real Estate in general.

I do not bring this up to say, "See, Democrats do it too!" but to show how common this type of thing is. The secrecy and the back scratching need to be eliminated, and any land swap be made entirely transparent and pass over a lot more legislative officials. It is one of the most pernicious types of earmarks, especially as, more often than not, it enriches the officeholder personally. This should not be a partisan issue at all. And any who stand in the way of reform in this area should be mowed into electoral compost whether they be Democrat or Republican.

And with these types of land deals in particular, there should be established law, not just ethical guidelines, that are at least as onerous as the Sarbanes-Oxley act, which sounds like a great idea until you actually run into it in your day-to-day life. If you pull a Reid and forget to cross a "T" with that act, there is little forgiveness and enhanced jail sentences. Congress should be held to just as high a standard if not more stringent.

Rather than trying to track down payments and the like, the simple existence of an undisclosed conflict of interest should be enough to ride you out of Washington on a rail.

If we want to clean up Washington, Congress needs to operate under the rules they require of business.

And Mr. Renzi, even if you are innocent of these particular charges, you don't look to be part of any solution, so it doesn't appear to be worth my time to defend you.

Prop 200 victorious again.

When liberals can't even get the 9th Circuit to see things their way, it would be wise perhaps to take a step back and rethink your message. On Friday, the 9th Circuit (again) denied an injunction trying to suspend prop 200.

The decision came as part of an ongoing challenge to the voting requirements approved on the November 2004 ballot as part of Proposition 200. The proposition, known as Protect Arizona Now, also includes the requirement that voters show identification at the polls.

Plaintiffs, including Indian tribes and Latino groups, were appealing a U.S. District Court decision not to put the citizenship requirement part of the law on hold until the lawsuit is settled.

The Appeals Court said there was insufficient evidence that the law severely burdens the right to vote or amounts to a "poll tax." Secretary of State Jan Brewer called the decision a victory for states' rights and for voters. "The people have spoken, and this is what they want in the state of Arizona," she said.

Rep. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, a plaintiff, said the decision challenges plaintiffs to show more proof of the harm of the law as the case progresses in U.S. District Court.

"I'm confident once we are able to provide the full record of how it will impact voters in Arizona, particularly minority voters, that we will win on the merits," he said.

What has taken place is that many seem to confuse the inconvenient with undue burden and the two are not remotely the same. You can run all the surveys and try to concoct as many DISENFRANCHISED! tales as you wish, but until you can prove that providing ID at the polls is an undue burden, it makes no difference. Its not about a group, it is about the individual.

And before I hear about the "sacredness of the ballot" remember that I don't belong to the party of the Vote Lottery, or the abolishment of the secret ballot for voting on unions. Many Democrats' commitment to the franchise only seems to go as far as their own advantage.

And for once, the 9th circuit and I see eye to eye.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

From the forefront of Gun Control

Meet Carolyn McCarthy who has just introduced House Bill 1859 "designed to reinstate the prohibition on the possession or transfer of large capacity ammunition feeding devices, and to strengthen that prohibition." Actually this is her single issue that she is continually bringing in front of the house at every opportunity. This should make her an expert on the provisions, you would think.

This would be funny if it weren't so darn scary. Who elects these people? With adversaries like this, Second Amendment supporters are probably OK for now.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Quick Question

Which do you think is more harmful to Americans in general?

A. NBC airing the lunatic ravings of a man who just killed over 30 people for the privilege, guaranteeing that more lunatics will follow his lead.

B. Don Imus's comments, which resulted in him being fired by NBC affiliate MSNBC.

Imagine that the slaughter had taken place at the NBC newsroom and the tape sent to ABC. Do you think that management's view of the situation would be different? When the copycat episode eventually follows, I hope NBC is included in the lawsuit.

Partial Birth Abortion Ruling

I didn't post anything about this yet, because generally the initial press reports are vacuous and inaccurate. I like to wait and let really smart people look over the ruling, before I begin to digest it. Here are a few ideas floating around:

1. This is an important win for Conservatives not only because it provides the first victory for abortion restriction since Roe in general, but because of the specifics. Partial Birth Abortion is totally and completely abhorrent to any normal American faced with the specifics of it. Defending this procedure can only be done with euphemisms, and by looking at the practice of it in abstract. Indeed, look at the dissent provided by Justice Ginsburg where a major part of her displeasure comes in the acceptance of useful and descriptive terms rather than the usual liberal mish-mash.

In the course of her dissenting opinion, Ginsburg accused the majority of offering "flimsy and transparent justifications" for upholding the ban. She also denounced the Kennedy opinion for its use of "abortion doctor" to describe specialists who perform gynecological services, "unborn child" and "baby" to describe a fetus, and "preferences" based on "mere convenience" to describe the medical judgments of trained doctors.

Indeed, strip away the veneer of euphemism, and the practice is shown to be barbaric, which, in truth, it is. The only way to keep it the practice in place, in reality, was by judicial fiat.

2. A democratic congress is not going to overturn or make a new federal PBA law. This is a fight they definitely do not want. Look at the people who voted for it in the first place, people like Harry Reid and Patrick Leahy. I fully suspect that they voted for it figuring it would be struck down in the courts, but they voted for it nonetheless. To go back and revisit this now would be an utter disaster for a new Democratic congress.

3. The best way to attempt to strike down the law, would be via a federalism defense. Indeed, in his opinion, Clarence Thomas invites this line of reasoning:
I also note that whether the Act constitutes a permissible exercise of Congress' power under the Commerce Clause is not before the Court. The parties did not raise or brief that issue; it is outside the question presented; and the lower courts did not address it.
I'm pretty certain that there will be no challenges in this direction as it opens a whole new can of worms with possible Stare Decisis results that Liberals generally do not want open. And even if such a challenge is made and upheld, over 30 states have state Partial Birth Abortion laws that would survive a based on the reasoning of this decision.

4. Kennedy left the question open as to what might constitute when the health of the mother is in danger. He placed the onus on an actual real life case to help define this issue rather than theoretical reasoning. This is a pretty big deal as it focuses the debate upon specifics which always favor the pro-life argument.

5. This will be a big money maker for Democrats. Gabby Giffords was funneled $53,000 by Emily's List contributors last quarter alone. Look for this to move upwards, although ironically, Giffords will be in no position to do anything about the ruling.

6. While I don't suspect the Republicans to turn this into money in the same manner, it does give an amount of Mojo to Conservatives in particular, and the Republican party in general. This has been lacking for quite some time, and should pay large dividends down the road.

I'm sure that we will have more on this.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

This was bound to happen at some point

It appears that more and more doctors in the UK are refusing to do abortions.

Britain is facing an abortion crisis because an unprecedented number of doctors are refusing to be involved in carrying out the procedure. The exodus of doctors prepared to perform the task is a nationwide phenomenon that threatens to plunge the abortion service into chaos, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has warned.

Distaste at performing terminations combined with ethical and religious convictions has led to a big increase in "conscientious objectors" who request exemption from the task, the RCOG says. A key factor is what specialists call "the dinner party test". Gynaecologists who specialise in fertility treatment creating babies for childless couples are almost universally revered - but no one boasts of being an abortionist

As a result, after decades of campaigning, anti-abortion organisations may be on the point of achieving their objective by default. Repeated efforts to tighten the law have failed and public opinion remains firmly in support, but the growing number of doctors refusing to do the work means there may soon not be enough prepared to carry out terminations to meet demand.

Ann Furedi, chief executive of BPAS, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which carries out a quarter of all abortions performed in England, said: "There is a real crisis looming. Unless we can address the problem and motivate doctors to train in abortion, we may well face a situation in five years' time in which women's access to abortion is severely restricted. It is our biggest headache."

I'm not sure what to make of this, or if it can even be declared a victory for life, as it seems to come from a dislike of the status of the job rather than a concern for the infant or mother. It is interesting. I'll bet that some type of legislation will be involved, however, which will turn it into a genuine mess.

Yellowcake in Iraq

For those who have been reading, I have been having an ongoing conversation with the informed, determined, and borderline-brilliant :) Sirocco concerning the situation in Iraq. Along the way, there have been several back and forth allegations made. I notice that when we have these conversations, my hits go up, so even though not many are participating in the conversation, I will still bring it into the posts so google can give us credit.

First order of business.

Myth. There was no uranium, yellowcake or otherwise in Iraq.


In a secret operation, the United States last month removed from Iraq nearly two tons of uranium and hundreds of highly radioactive items that could have been used in a so-called dirty bomb the Energy Department disclosed Tuesday.

The nuclear material was secured from Iraq's former nuclear research facility and airlifted out of the country to an undisclosed Energy Department laboratory for further analysis, the department said in a statement.

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham described the previously undisclosed operation, which was concluded June 23, as "a major achievement" in an attempt to "keep potentially dangerous nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists."

The haul included a "huge range" of radioactive items used for medical and industrial purposes, said Bryan Wilkes, a spokesman for the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration.

If you don't like Fox News, you can try

The USA Today

or the Washington Post which documents a further 400 tons of natural uranium.

Obviously 400 tons of natural uranium is not an immediate threat. However, it was enough for Saddam to begin his nuclear program as soon as sanctions were lifted. They had the talent, they had the natural uranium. What was needed next was centrifuges to further enrich the uranium.
(It didn't matter anyway because France or Russia would have sold them what they needed in short order.)

Now in all honesty, how many from both sides of the spectrum really believed that Saddam had no uranium? These types of things are the reason why the administration's handling of the PR part of the war has been a complete disaster.

Financials made fun

Once in a while the New York Times comes along and impresses.

Check this out.

It is an interactive map that tracks donations to the Presidential candidates by state. It may be ultimately useless to determine advantage, but it is very interesting.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Giuliani needs to stop doing this

Somebody somewhere needs to have a talk with Rudy before he blows his opportunity before it even gets started.

From the Des Moines Register:

Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani warned GOP activists in Des
Moines on Saturday that if they insist on a nominee who always agrees with them,
it will spell defeat in 2008.

“Our party is going to grow, and we are going to win in 2008 if we are a party characterized by what we’re for, not if we’re a party that’s known for what we’re against,” the former New York mayor said at a midday campaign stop.

Republicans can win, he said, if they nominate a candidate committed to the fight against terrorism and high taxes, rather than a pure social conservative.

“Our party has to get beyond issues like that,” Giuliani said, a reference to abortion rights, which he supports.

There is a right way and a wrong way to express these types of sentiments, if you truly believe them. But calling out your would be supporters and belittling their deeply held beliefs is definately NOT the way to do this. This also could work as an equal opportunity offender for other Republicans who hold dear issues that Rudy is opposed to, such as gun rights activists.

The part that I wince about is that I looked at Rudy as a "great communicator" type. With MAJOR unforced errors such as these taking place almost weekly, I am starting to revise that initial impression, especially as the heat from the media gets a little brighter and more intense.

Republican Clubs Sprouting All Over CD8

The number of Republican clubs formed in CD8 the past year or so has skyrocketed. Here's one more making its debut with the popular speaker, former state representative and newly elected state treasurer Dean Martin:

Iraq—Will The REAL Democratic Party Please Stand Up!

Whether it's beach footwear, a sewing stitch, or breakfast food that inspires the accusation, it's all the same—flip-flop, zig-zag and waffle are used because the general public is tired of politicians who can't take a stand...and stick to it.

So what does the Democratic Party stand for when it comes to Iraq? Here's the GOP take on it.

Wow! There has to be a lot of "Did I really say that?' going on.

I wonder what Sandy Berger had for breakfast that day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What's up in South Carolina

New Polling information, this time from South Carolina:

Q. Of the following potential candidates, if the presidential primary were held today, would you vote for?

Giuliani: 18%
McCain: 17%
Gingrich: 16%
Romney: 14%
(Fred) Thompson: 9%
Gilmore: 4%
Huckabee: 3%
Brownback: 2%
Hunter: 1%
Paul: 1%
Undecided/ Don’t know: 15%

This is not what McCain wanted to see, but I bet they are popping the corks off a case of caffeine free Diet Coke over at Team Mitt. Its been a very good couple of weeks for that man.

Honestly, this is a jaw-dropper to me. I would put the odds of Gingrich really running at close to 10% at this point. His high polling here may allow him to play kingmaker to some extent in South Carolina with an endorsement.

McCain at the Virginia Military Institute

John McCain delivered a very important and moving speech today.

An excerpt:

The war on terror, the war for the future of the Middle East, and the struggle for the soul of Islam — of which the war in Iraq constitutes a key element — are bound together. Progress in one requires progress in all. The many complex challenges we face require more than a military response. This is a contest of ideas and values as much as it is one of bullets and bombs. We must gain the active support of modernizers across the Muslim world, who want to share in the benefits of the global system and its economic success, and who aspire to the political freedom that is, I truly believe, the natural desire of the human heart. No matter how much attention their ruthless tactics receive, terrorists are not the true face of Islam. Devout Muslims in Lebanon, Indonesia, Pakistan and Egypt, Morocco, Bahrain, and in Iraq, aspire to progress for their societies in which basic human needs are met for more than the privileged few and basic human rights are respected.

The United States needs stronger alliances, coalitions, and partnerships worldwide to engage this long and multidimensional struggle. We need to pay careful attention to America’s image and moral credibility. And in this broad effort, the outcome of the war in Iraq will play a pivotal role.

On my trip I traveled to Baghdad, Ramadi, and Tikrit, met with Iraqi cabinet officers, our top military leadership, including Generals Petraeus and Odierno, and with embassy officials, including our new ambassador, Ryan Crocker. I also had the privilege of spending time with our soldiers, from generals to privates. Their courage and resolve in this frustrating war is an inspiration, and serves as a reminder of our obligations to avoid the expediency of easy, but empty answers or the allure of political advantage to choose the path in Iraq that best honors their sacrifices.

We’re going to need their courage more than ever. The divisions in Iraqi society are deep, and the need for greater security critical. Innocent Iraqis are still being murdered, and our soldiers are braving dangers no less threatening than in the past. Every day we read about or watch on television the latest car bombing, IED explosion or sniper attack. But something else is happening, too. There are the first glimmers of progress under General Petraeus’ political-military strategy. While these glimmers are no guarantee of success, and though they come early in the implementation of the new strategy, I believe they are cause for very cautious optimism.
It is just as important when building relationships with other countries that we not only prove reliable partners in peace and diplomacy, but show determination and squelch our reputation of retreating at the first signs of adversity, breaking promises, and leaving the helpless at the mercy of tyrants. I would argue that the latter has been our legacy far more than the former, at least in the past 30 years.

Banned in the USA

Imagine, if you will, an article so shocking to the sensibilities of Americans that Newsweek refused to publish it in their American edition, even though it was published in their International edition. Your first impression would be that it had something to do with the American Media being fearful of offending the Mullahs once again. You would be correct of course, but these Mullahs are of a different sort:

Why So Gloomy?

Judging from the media in recent months, the debate over global warming is now over. There has been a net warming of the earth over the last century and a half, and our greenhouse gas emissions are contributing at some level. Both of these statements are almost certainly true. What of it? Recently many people have said that the earth is facing a crisis requiring urgent action. This statement has nothing to do with science. There is no compelling evidence that the warming trend we've seen will amount to anything close to catastrophe. What most commentators—and many scientists—seem to miss is that the only thing we can say with certainly about climate is that it changes. The earth is always warming or cooling by as much as a few tenths of a degree a year; periods of constant average temperatures are rare. Looking back on the earth's climate history, it's apparent that there's no such thing as an optimal temperature—a climate at which everything is just right. The current alarm rests on the false assumption not only that we live in a perfect world, temperaturewise, but also that our warming forecasts for the year 2040 are somehow more reliable than the weatherman's forecast for next week.

In an entirely too-sensible article, consensus-bucking Professor Richard S. Lindzen gives us his take on the pitfalls and perils of Global Warming. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, so he is obviously a no-talent hack and shill for corporate interests (except for the fact that he isn't.)

Seriously, it is great reading for anyone interested in the issue.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

GOP National Committeman Slot

Haven't posted a lot about this lately, but it appears that the final day that the Executive Committee will take "resumes" is May 1st. Despite all of the early activity, it appears that the three candidates that have been actually been active in pursuing the nomination are Billy Bidwell, Don Goldwater, and Tucsonian Bruce Ash.

Obviously, this has not been decided, but from the way the tea leaves are forming at this point look for it to be between Don Goldwater and Bruce Ash, with Bruce Ash eventually getting the nod.

We will keep you informed as things get a little clearer.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Is a Monorail Next?

I am usually relatively loathe do delve too deeply into popular culture references in relationship to my posts, but with this latest, I feel as if I have no other choice.

There is an episode of the Simpsons, arguably one of the best, where the good folks of Springfield find themselves with extra money in the town till, and hold a meeting to figure out how to spend it. Marge Simpson, sensible as always, uses the town meeting to urge the city to spend the money fixing up dilapidated Main Street, which is shown to be terrible. At that point a shifty salesman appears and uses a special musical number to help convince the citizens that a new, albeit unneeded, monorail is exactly what is needed. They vote overwhelmingly for the scam.

Cue the Tucson City Council. Outakes from the recent meeting where a $130,000,000 arena was just approved.

Councilwoman Shirley Scott said the arena would "make Downtown dazzling, exciting and new. It's a new energy and a new place," she said.

And best of all, from TCC director Richard Singer,

When I was growing up, I watched the Mickey Mouse Club religiously," Singer said. "Everyday had a theme and Wednesday was the 'Anything can happen' day."

Mickey Mouse came to my thoughts as well, but for an entirely different reason. I appreciate the emotional euphoria associated with spending 180 million; it must be fun. But was a rush to approve a plan that hardly anybody has seen really the best way to proceed?

In the Citizen article, cited above, it seems apparent that much of the reason the city plan was approved so speedily is due to the presentation of Tucson businessman Allan Norville's competing plan.

DOn't get me wrong, Norville's plan was not without warts, but all in all it was far superior to the city plan for the following reasons:

1. It actually included three parking garages as opposed to the city's one amorphous parking garage/development area which is a long hike from the supposedly newly renovated TCC which, in turn, will lose considerable parking space by expanding. Have any of the council members actually had to park at the TCC? It is already a nightmare. Now add a larger arena, take away more net parking space and call it good. Honestly, this isn't rocket science.

2. It includes a hotel, shops, and restaurants. You know the type of things that makes people want to come downtown even if there is not a concert or convention. The type of things that were pitched when the extra taxation was started. The city plan is void of these details.

3. The Norville plan starts with the Gem Show, something that is already secured for the Tucson area, then branches out from there. The City plan starts with the arena, and makes a bunch of tenuous leaps from that point. I will need an entire future post to go over the faulty logic presented for this case. It will be coming shortly.

4. It appears that the Norville plan includes a fairly standard, upgradeable arena. The City plan arena appears to be artistic and able to blend into the surroundings. This generally means that it will be non-upgradeable and overrun projected costs by quite a bit. It's a freakin' Arena. It should be a bit obtrusive.

5. The city plan uses none of Norville's land. I agree, it hurts that Norville holds that card. It is what it is, however, and that land, and some accommodation with Norville will be needed to make this successful.

6. Norville's plan first and foremost looks to make downtown more accessible to commerce and visitors. The cities main concern looks to be Barrio Viejo homes and businesses. I get this, but if this is truly your main concern, pursue it and put the arena and other boondoggles somewhere else than the downtown. A thriving downtown, and a quiet, peaceful Barrio Viejo cannot coexist. Sorry, pick your priority.

Again, Norville's plan is self serving and far from perfect, but it is far more sound and sensible than the turtle-shell fiasco.

I will definitely have more on this, but I am already overlong. This council's decision was impetuous, strangely capricious, and possibly disastrous. I guess it is a good thing that nobody suggested a monorail (or had a compelling song) or who knows what else would have been approved with little or no details or planning.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

GOP Primary Poll Results

In New Hampshire McCain remains level with Giuliani while Romney creeps up 4 points to remain in third.

McCain 29%
Giuliani 29%
Romney 17%
Thompson 3%
Gingrich 2%

Everyone else 1% or lower

This is a poll of likely Primary voters that took place before the fundraising announcements.

Meanwhile, in Iowa:

McCain 22.8%
Giuliani 21.2%
Romney 17.4%

This is for Republicans and Republican leaners registered to vote. Among likely Caucus goers:

McCain 20.9%
Giuliani 20.3%
Romney 16.9%

More detailed analysis and Democratic results to come.


Latest from New Hampshire according to Zogby:

McCain 25%
Romney 25%
Giuliani 19%

It's been a very good week for Mr. Romney.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Updated Funndraising Information

Obama hits 25 Million.

Not a huge Obama fan, but love to see him grind it out with Hillary. A challenged Hillary is an ugly Hillary. It will be especially beautiful to see it go on for almost a year before the Republicans presumably get a go at her. It would also be interesting to count the puff pieces each will get in the coming year and keep score.

Additionally, it appears that Mitt Romney has about 11.4 Million cash on hand giving him a burn rate of about 50% for the first quarter.

I fully expected it to be worse than that. 50% for a candidate with little name recognition isn't that bad. It will be interesting to see if it was spent effectively over the next few weeks.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Mr. President, Ram It Down Their Throats!

Mr. President, Ram It Down Their Throats!
By Frank Antenori
April 2, 2007

Before the election of ’06 we heard the Democrats bemoaning the Republican spending largesse and the practice of earmarks. They proclaimed they would bring fiscal responsibility back to Washington. My, my, how much of a difference three months and $25 Billion in PORK barrel earmarks can make.

When Democrats were challenged by Republican opponents who said if Democrats are elected, they will cut off funding for our troops in harms way, the Democrats cried foul and with a loud retort responded that they would do no such thing to our troops. Our very own Congressional District Eight Representative reiterated this just a few weeks ago. When asked by a reporter “If the Democratic leadership brings up a bill before the House to cut off the funding for the troops already in the country would you vote for it?” Giffords quickly proclaimed it will not have her support. Her exact words were, “I will never vote for it.”

Just two weeks after the November election when she was asked if Dems will cut off funding for the War, Nancy Pelosi made the comment: “Let me remove all doubt in anyone’s mind; as long as our troops are in harm’s way, Democrats will be there to support them.”

There’s a reason Giffords and Nancy said that. While polling does show that most Americans want the troops to come home, almost two thirds of Americans oppose cutting off funding for the troops in harms way. The Dems are painfully aware of this. Again, it’s amazing what three months in power will do to a closet liberal just yearning to be free.

So I wasn’t the least bit surprised today when I hear Harry Reid raise the level of rhetoric another notch by loudly announcing that if President Bush were to Veto the supplemental funding bill, that he would immediately submit legislation in the Senate to immediately cut off funding for the War in Iraq. What I am surprised about is that it took them this long to even mention cutting off our troops.

To back up Harry’s bold statement and to try to intimidate the President, the Dem spin machine commissioned a new poll to come out just in time to back up Harry’s threat. The poll touted by the Dems as evidence that Americans want funding cut off and our troops withdrawn immediately, was conducted by the Pew Research Center. The Pew poll showed 58% in favor of cutting off funding with only 33% opposed.

Unfortunately for the Dems, seasoned political scientists quickly pointed out that the poll was severely flawed. First it simply polled “1,503 Adults” not registered voters, second it under sampled Republicans by 11%, when you add in Independents, liberals were over represented in the sample by almost 2 to 1 over conservatives, and demographically, the South and Midwest (Home to Blue Dog Democrats) were "mysteriously" under sampled.

This morning, Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia, Center for Politics, remarked polling he’s seen recently as last week clearly shows the Dems on the losing side of this one. He points out the USA Today/Gallup poll of registered and “likely voters” from March 23rd to 25th. The poll asked: "Would you favor or oppose Congress denying the funding needed to send any additional U.S. troops to Iraq." 36% said they favor cutting off funding, 61% say they oppose cutting off funding and 3% didn’t know. That’s almost 2-1 against cutting off funding. The exact opposite of the Pew poll.

Congressional approval ratings are now dropping lower than when Republicans were in control (from 37% in Dec ’06 to 28% in Mar ’07), support for the Surge has risen 10% in the past two weeks (from 30 to 40%) and it is continuing to trend upwards, Pelosi’s numbers are dropping (from 44% down to 37%). Polling also shows all three front running "Pro-War" GOP Presidential hopefuls beating their "Anti-War" Democrat challengers.

Mr. President, enough is enough, it’s time to ram this down their throats and make them choke on it. The Democrats are playing a dangerous game of poker, using our troops as bargaining chips and they’re bluffing through their teeth to appease their far left fringe. Cut off funding for our troops? They will do no such thing. They know it, you know it, and the American people know it.

The Democrats are under the false impression that if they send the President a supplemental funding bill full of PORK and a timeline for surrender and he Vetoes it that some how they’ll be able to pin “cutting off funding” on the President, they couldn’t be more wrong.

Everyone in the country knows who wants to cut off funding and turn tail and who wants to give our troops all the resources they need so they can continue the fight against our enemies.

Even the Democrats know it. A few shifts of Democratic votes in either chamber could make a difference — and there were reports in the D.C. media this week that some conservative Democrats in the House were reluctant to toe the party line on anything stronger than what was passed. Could one of those be our very own Gabby Giffords? Support for a bill that maintains the timeline but eliminates the pork will also fail. The very reason Pelosi loaded it up with $25 Billion in earmarks in the first place.

Funding for the Iraq War ends on April 15 and this supplemental funding bill must pass before then. The President should veto the bill “With Extreme Prejudice” (if only there was such a thing) and send it back to the House and Senate with the stipulation that the Dems fix it. Make the Dens remove the PORK and the timetable for surrender and get it back to him for signature before April 15th.

This will do two things. It will make the Dems return from their Easter recess, which will show who wears the pants in DC, and second, if the Dems fail to meet the April 15th deadline, it will clearly show that the Democrats cared more about their vacation and that it is they that are responsible for cutting off funding for our troops. Oh yeah, it will also drive another nail in Giffords’s ’08 re-election coffin when she has to continue to pay homage to the Dem leadership for those choice committee assignments.

So Mr. President, I ask you to do it. Veto that bill now and ram it down their throat. Do it for the troops! But most of all, do it to show those 535 Arm Chair Generals in Congress who the real Commander in Chief is.

The long analysis

Hillary Clinton raised 36 million for round one of the fundraising competition, blowing away any previous idea of what was possible this far out of a primary.

Keep in mind, however, that 10 million of that was already in the books from her 2006 senate run, and was not actually raised this quarter, bringing her actual amount down to 26 million. And according to this article around 21 million of that total can be used for the primary. The rest must be used for a general election.

Also according to the article, Barak Obama is expected to come in at around 21 million, drawing his accomplishment equal to Hilary's. (Obama hasn't officially reported yet.)

Now add in Mitt Romney's total of $23 million of which all can be used for the primary (2 million of which was a loan to himself).

This totally destroys the conventional wisdom of the Clinton Machine being able to amass money at such a clip as to make it impossible to compete with her. Relative neophytes such as Obama and Romney matched her right out of the gate, with Obama competing from the same pool of donors.

The biggest surprise for me was the fact that John Edwards raised 14 million. To be honest I had written him off in the wake of Obamamania, but this really makes a statement. He looks like the heir apparent when and if more media scrutiny begins to peel votes off from Obama, which is certain to happen (ask Howard Dean.)

Also of note on the Democratic side is Governor Richardson with 6 million, allowing him to stay in the conversation. I know that all the Republicans that I know would consider him the most dangerous of the Democratic Contenders in the general.

Dodd, Biden, and everyone else, thanks for playing, we have some nice parting gifts. It's not the money, it's you. If you could get to third or fourth place by default, we'd let you back in, but four candidates are not going to implode to open the door for you.

On the Republican side, let's be honest, Romney needed this. Had he not pulled this off in the monstrous fashion that he did, he was toast, especially considering he is getting little to no traction in the polls. It will be interesting to see what he has on hand, as building the infrastructure, from what I assume is scratch, to do this must have been quite possibly an expensive chore. He has believers and, from the totals, they ain't all Mormons.

Rudy did well, especially considering he was relatively late in building his network. I would expect him to challenge Romney for the fundraising lead next quarter unless he gets beset with scandal. This money definitely proves that he is not a placeholder candidate that Republicans are using until they find someone that they truly like as has been surmised by some.

Which brings us to McCain. He supposedly had Bush's network, and got Bush's numbers which would have been tremendous if this was 2000. McCain is going to have to innovate in a hurry in order to keep up. This does nothing to dismiss the perceived "blood in the water" that many have been trying to associate him with.

Here is a statement from the McCain Camp:

During the first quarter of 2007, John McCain 2008 campaign received nearly 60,000 contributions from all 50 states, averaging $200 per contribution. The McCain campaign will report over $12.5 million in contributions for the first quarter.

Campaign Manager Terry Nelson said, “Although we are pleased with the organization we’ve built and polls show us strongly positioned in key primary states, we had hoped to do better in first quarter fundraising. We are already in the process of taking the necessary steps to ensure fundraising success moving forward.” Nelson added, “Fundraising in the first quarter is no more important than fundraising throughout the entire primary election campaign.”

As I mentioned in a previous reply to my first fundraising post, part of this is ameliorated by McCain's high name recognition in comparison with Romney, which Romney will have to spend more money to overcome, but this advantage does not help him vs. Guiliani.

All in all, this is pretty sobering for team McCain. But I do have some good news for McCainiacs that I will cover later.

GOP Presidential Candidate Fundraising numbers

Initial reports are showing:

Mitt Romney 23 million

Rudy Guilliani 15 million

John McCain 12.5 million

Chuck Hagel 87 cents, two Tootsie Rolls, and a Quizno's coupon

Certainly disappointing news for the McCain campaign, but there is still a long road ahead. We will offer more analysis when I can free some time up later.

The Return of Arizona Eighth

As most of you know, I own my own business. Unfortunately, that often means that at times, I am far busier than at others. Unfortunately, this has been the case lately. I haven't had enough time to post or participate in the comment threads like I would have wanted, for that, I apologize.

Fortunately, Frank and Mike have pieces that are coming up, and I will do my best to get some shorter posts out to keep conversation going.

I did have some time to delve into some local politics last week, and to meet candidate for Ward 2, Lori Oien. I can certainly tell you this, she is going to make what could possibly be the most boring election cycle ever seen worth watching. She is spit-coffee-on-your-keyboard funny, and decidedly irreverent, but qualified and capable to boot. Based on this, I am going to adopt her as our official candidate, even though we don't often endorse.

It will certainly be fun to have the Female Mechanical Bull-Riding Champion on our side vs. the Corporate Welfare Grubbing Stuff Shirt on the other.

We will have an interview upcoming so you can meet her if you haven't already.