Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Murtha Is "Leader of the Pork"

John R. Wilke from the Wall Street Journal reports that Congressman John Murtha (D., PA)—whose potty mouth restricts him to interviews with Blog for Arizona :)—hits number one on the charts for "Leader of the Pork." He even slipped past Nancy Pelosi (D., CA) who managed to hang on to fourth place.

Read in the article about how defense earmarks are unabashedly redirected into other non-defense programs. Of course, I'm sure the money received under the table has NO impact on the decisions of our congressmen in the matter of promoting and re-directing earmarks.

Despite the fact that the voting public not surprisingly expressed their outrage over corruption and out-of-control spending by voting out the GOP, it seems those who rode the wave in missed the memo since four of the top six porkers are Democrats. And what was that approval rating, again?

On a positive note, even though Jerry Lewis (R., CA) picked up third place., we're happy to report Dean Martin, Arizona State Treasurer, has kept his distance from Jerry and maintains a stellar reputation in his office. (Sorry, it was a weak attempt).

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cracks in the Freedom Bell

In another let's-go-after-the-kids political move, officials of the great city of Philadelphia will now charge the Cradle of Liberty Scouts Council $200,000 a year to use the city-owned headquarters. Never mind the fact that city fathers have granted the Scouts use of the land for $1 per year since 1928. Now they want to drive the Scouts out of their own building in order to make a point that it's okay to discriminate against kids learning about character, citizenship, self-control and service to the community when those kids won't embrace their political views.

The Council is reporting that the $200,000 would send hundreds of needy kids to summer camp. That's a real shame.

It seems that Philadelphia city officials have forgotten what that bell in the middle of town is for. Apparently, it's not for the kids. It's for those who want to use others as pawns for their political agendas.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust?

According to Associated Press, Fred Thompson is having internal problems which aren't helping his external results. NewsMax paints a somewhat uglier picture of a campaign that looks like it's heading south in every respect but the campaign trail. While McCain's staff shakeup seemed to generate a resurgence of energy, Thompson's turnover seems less strategically driven, which points to internal friction and lack of organization—not a strong place to be heading into the final stretch before the first primaries. He's clearly in trouble and needs to pull things together fairly quickly if he expects to be a contender. In the meantime, conservatives are clearly looking beyond Thompson and wrestling over Huckabee and Romney.

Rev. Don Wilton, who is the immediate past president of the Southern Baptist Convention in South Carolina has flipped on lhis support for Romney, although he hasn't officially endorsed Huckabee. CBS originally reported John Willke, past president of the National Right To Life Committee, as having withdrawn support from Romney, but that turned out to be a case of mistaken identity between Wilton and Willke. Willke, along with Bob Jones, are still key evangelicals in the Romney camp. Evangelical blogger, Joe Carter, has now abandoned Thompson for Huckabee, a possible preview of more shifting to come. It will be interesting to see where the Thompson supporters end up between Huckabee and Romney.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I Think I'll Continue to Wear my Flag Pin

If it is all the same to you Obama.

It's quite possible that Obama was simply unaware that the pledge was going on, but based on previous comments, I'm not sure that he will get the benefit of the doubt.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Democrats support the Troops? What a load of crap!

Democrats support the Troops? What a load of crap!
By Frank Antenori

This past week many of us followed the theatrics of Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Media Matters idiots as they tried to spin a comment Rush Limbaugh made about a poser named Jesse Macbeth. Macbeth became the poster boy for the anti-war left group called Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) when he claimed to be an Army Ranger that saw U.S. atrocities first hand in Iraq.

The problem was that Macbeth was a liar; he never served in Iraq, wasn’t an elite Ranger and was kicked out of the Army after only 42 days in basic training because the wimp couldn’t cut the training. The FBI investigated Macbeth under the Stolen Valor Act and a court found him guilty of fraud, sentencing him to five months in Federal Prison. Rush was simply responding to a caller that pointed out many of these so called anti-war vets were actually phonies like Macbeth, many never served in combat and some hadn’t even served in the military. Rush rightly called them “Phonies.”

While Harry Ried and the Democrats were busy putting on their usual "We Support the Troops" facade, once again using soldiers as political pawns to score political points, real issues involving support for our troops went ingnored.

One of the most pressing military issues that illustrate the breathtaking mismatch between the Democrat rhetoric and their actions involves taking care of troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. The legislation is known as the Wounded Warrior Assistance Act of 2007 (H.R.1538, S.1283).

The bill currently languishes in conference committee. For months the House and Senate have been sitting on their respective versions of “wounded warrior” legislation designed to overhaul the confusing and contradictory military and VA health care systems. This noble legislation is overwhelmingly supported by both parties and passed in the House back in March by a vote of 426-0.

Some of the things the legislation does includes expanding treatment and rehab alternatives for injured troops; ease their transition between the incompatible military and VA systems; and revamp today’s muddled and unfair disability ratings system.

Usually, such defense related legislation would be lumped into the broader defense authorization bill. However, recognizing that the defense bill would likely become bogged down in disputes over Iraq policy, the House and Senate leaders of both parties decided months ago to strip the wounded warrior legislation out and make it a separate, standalone bill. The bill was supposed to put it on a fast track to President Bush’s desk in order to be signed by Memorial Day.

But the wounded warrior bill is inexplicably stuck in the muck in the House and Senate for no reason other than that Congress just hasn’t gotten around to dealing with it.

A few weeks ago, I attended a veteran’s town hall hosted by Congresswoman Giffords. Gabby handed out a fact sheet of all the “wonderful things” she’s doing for veterans. For those of you that don’t know, Ms. Giffords sits on the House Armed Services Committee, the very committee which has oversight on this bill.

Well Miss Giffords, why is this legislation stalled? Are you too busy counting your MoveOn.org money? Too busy helping Harry and Nancy chase after Rush? Too busy planning for your upcoming wedding?

Well while you and your fellow Democrats jerk around playing politics and hire caterers, five to seven troops are wounded or injured in Iraq and Afghanistan every day. In typical fashion, Democrats continue to speak loudly but do little as usual.

There is simply no excuse for this delay. If Democrats truly “support the troops,” as they so often proclaim, they should rethink their priorities and finish the wounded warrior bill.

Right now.

Frank Antenori is a retired U.S. Army Special Forces veteran that fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, published author and candidate for the Arizona State Legislature in District 30.

Friday, October 19, 2007

English Court Rules Against Al Gore's Movie

Here's a rather interesting court decision about "An Inconvenient Truth" that occured as Gore was receiving the Nobel prize. Apparently, not everyone agreed with the wisdom of the Nobel committee.

Shadegg Writes on SCHIP Alternatives

Congressman John Shadegg's op-ed in the Investor's Business Daily asks why SCHIP should be expanded to cover already-insured citizens, and offers alternatives for expanding coverage.

Grijalva's Choice: Protect Drug Smuggling Routes

In total disregard for Southern Arizona's crime problem, Grijalva has introduced HR3287, the Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness Act of 2007 that more than precious wilderness will preserve a corridor for drug and people smugglers.

Here’s the deal: the bill references for enforcement the National Wilderness Preservation System which prohibits “permanent or temporary roads, mechanical transports, and structures or installations… landing of aircraft,” etc... While the Act does reference a few exceptions, it’s clear that these restrictions cannot be reconciled with the border fence and the obvious need for Border Patrol agents to chase smugglers around the desert. Essentially, this corridor will be off-limits to the Border Patrol crime-fighting machine.

But as the Ronco super duper gadget guy says, “Wait! There’s more!” Check out Grijalva’s HR 2593 The Borderlands Conservation and Security Act of 2007 that calls for removing authority and responsibility from the federal government for border entry barrier decisions and replaces the border fence with “less intrusive” alternatives. Granted, it designates money to clean up some of the paths trodden by smugglers—it would be a shame if one of them stubbed a toe in route to a drop—but without Border Patrol agents and security infrastructure to keep people out, it’s a bit like seeding your dog run and expecting a beautiful patch of green grass to emerge.

We have so many no-tolerance policies these days that it’s hard to understand why we would be so compromising when it comes to protecting our families from criminals. Let’s see…one more wilderness area or protection from drug smugglers. It doesn’t seem too tough to me.

It looks like voters will have to turn to CD8 candidate Chewning in 2008 if it’s real protection they want.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

SCHIP Perhaps Overblown?

A little while back I made the observation that finger pointing hysteria may be out of style for this election cycle. Probably the first test of the hypothesis would be the hype surrounding the S-CHIP program. Before I go further, I have three points to be made that I cannot simply let slide.

1. Stop using children as pawns to advance your ideology. If you cannot make an argument on its merits, then you have no right to be making it. Honestly, placing your children willingly into a political firestorm is just idiotic and does not reflect that greatly on you as a parent or a politician.

2. Both the Frosts and the Wilkersons QUALIFY FOR THE EXISTING PROGRAM. There are over 500,000 other children who qualify for the program that the Democratic plan leaves behind. How about we come to an agreement on getting those children covered before moving straight to Socialism light?

3. If your program is so important, then it should be no problem calling on your core supporters to bear the lion's share of the burden. If the funds for this program were going to be taxed from trial lawyers, along with the sale of bumper stickers, Barbara Streisand DVDs, and frilly drinks with umbrellas, I might take the howling with a little more sympathy. Reaching out to once again hit tobacco users should scare the snot out of people who see where that road is going. Tomorrow the disfavored underclass may be you.

End rant.

Now that I have finished with my own emotional editorializing, a new USA Today poll shows that the S-CHIP issue may not be the slam dunk issue Democrats thought it was.

• 52% agree with Bush that most benefits should go to children in families earning less than 200% of the federal poverty level — about $41,000 for a family of four. Only 40% say benefits should go to families earning up to $62,000, as the bill written by Democrats and some Republicans would allow.

• 55% are very or somewhat concerned that the program would create an incentive for families to drop private insurance. Bush and Republican opponents have called that a step toward government-run health care.

Taken together, the results show that while Bush may be losing the political battle with Democrats, he may be doing better on policy.

Mike Leavitt, Bush's secretary of Health and Human Services, said the policy is most important. "There's a lot of politics going on right now. But the politics will last a matter of weeks," Leavitt said Monday. "The policy here will go on for decades. We have to get this right."

Of course, Democrats will stick with emotionalism, thank you:

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., said other polls have shown a much bigger edge for Democrats. "This debate is set up," he said. "It's set up about 10 million children or not."
We'll see Rahm, We'll see. . .

I suspect a veto couple with a bill to guarantee the coverage of those 500,000 families just like the Frosts and the Wilkersons would dim much of the political furor, especially if it guaranteed the quality of care offered.

Would Reid and Pelosi allow the passage of such a bill?

OV GOP Event Is Back

The Oro Valley Republlican Club's 3rd annual pancake breakfast is here again. Emil Franzi, columnist and radio show host, will be the keynote speaker at the event which will be held this coming Saturday at the Riverfront Park beginning 8:15 a.m. Last year the event attracted both local and state candidates, Republican party officials at all levels, and throngs of GOP supporters. Check out the website for more details and pictures of last years crowd: www.ovgop.com.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Flag Flies Again

Ignorance really is not bliss...at least for everyone affected by it. It's a shame that people who broke the law to access the benefits of living in the U.S. further abused citizens by flying the U.S. flag upside-down and hoisting at a public school the Mexican flag above the U.S. flag. Should anyone be surprised that honest, taxpaying citizens feel more than a bit touchy about seeing the Mexican flag alongside the U.S. flag? Notwithstanding our natural "touchiness," it hardly justifies the foolish few who have pressured museum trustees into making a poor decision to remove the Mexican flag from Sonoran Desert Museum premises resulting in no flags flown.

Even though politicians are known for playing on the ignorance of the people as in the case of the Bush-Gore vote count where ignorance of election processes and laws still leads many Democrats to ridiculous conclusions, the Desert Museum situation demonstrates that many are capable of exercising their ignorance all on their own.

According to the US Code for treatment of the flag, "the flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution." The Desert Museum doesn't receive direct tax support, so it is not a public institution and is not required to fly a flag. I suppose it could be argued that since it does exist on county land in a very favorable arrangement the museum could be pressed to fly the flag, but it would be a stretch to demand it. Of course, most would think that any organization that serves the community would also show that it's a part of the community by flying the U.S. flag, which is probably at least part of the reason they always did it.

As for proper display:

"§175. Position and manner of display
(c) No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America... No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United States at any place within the United States or any Territory or possession thereof..."
The next section seems a bit contradictory:
"(g) When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace."

As seen in the olympics, sporting events, etc., it appears that the statement about flying flags at equal height has been widely accepted for many years. And since this is an issue of representing interests over a common geographic area that crosses an international border, and the two flags merely illustrate that defined area, flying the Mexican flag to the left of the U.S. flag at equal heights seems perfectly appropriate.

For concerned citizens, this morning when I called the Desert Museum I was told that the flags were back up and flying appropriately as stated in the U.S. code.

Thank you trustees for getting the answers and making a wise decision.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

December 11 Primary?

It now looks like New Hampshire is considering a December 11 primary rankling some Democrat leaders. DNC rules don't allow for presidential primaries before January 22, and now that New Hampshire is moving, Michigan is looking for a January 15 caucus or primary (they haven't yet decided on the format).

As a result of Michigan's January 15 date, some Democratic candidates are vowing to stay clear of Michigan and leave the campaigning to others. Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John Edwards and Bill Richardson all took their names off the ballot in protest. Hillary Clinton kept her name on. Although Michigan has not traditionally been a key state, removing oneself from the ballot seems like an extreme and foolhearty way to make a point. Hillary, wisely, shows she is in this race to win—further evidence that she will use her wits to take all the marbles for the Dems.

Van Gogh Was A Lightweight

For those who think nobody in the free world would do anything as stupid as clone a human, think again. From the weird-and-scary mailbag, check out this article about an Australian man who decided to grow an extra ear from his cells and implant it into his arm.

Why would he do such a thing do you ask? Maybe because he can...and has a few loose screws bouncing around upstairs.

It's never been clearer than today that protecting life from those who value it only as something to amuse is essential. With people like this demonstrating such serious lack of judgement, self respect, and consideration for others who may have to see this self-imposed freakiness, it's hard to think of them somehow developing these attributes in other matters.

New Entrant to LD26 Race

The big news in LD 26 is that Vic Williams announced he will be running for Arizona House of Representatives. He has not yet filed any papers, but indicated he plans to do so soon. That brings the total Republican field to three forcing a primary in the district with Trent Humphries and Marilyn Zerull.

Although Vic had originally stated to some that he would not be running, rumours of his change of heart had been heard for some time. So, it wasn't particularly surprising when he made his announcement today.

No other Republicans have indicated interest in running for the two seats in '08.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Bee responds

Tim Bee responds to the Arizona Daily Star’s editorial attack on September 26th.

Tonight's the Night

Fred Thompson has enjoyed plenty of popularity as a non-candidate, but has already started to slip a bit since announcing his candidacy. As a real candidate, he is beginning to feel the scrutiny. Dr. James Dobson, an important spokesman for conservatives, hammered him as being weak on marriage, life, and basic campaign effort —a serious blow to his early appeal to social conservatives.

Tonight, Thompson gets to step into the ring in his first debate with GOP presidential candidates. Unfortunately for Thompson, debating is not his forte. Without the support of key conservative leaders, he has to shine in front of his sizable, but somewhat, shaky support base. This isn't a "do or die" situation for Thompson, but important, nevertheless. Tonight, he will need to let his base know he is THE conservative choice for president and a serious, long-term contender defending himself against accusations from detractors that he's a flash-in-the-pan glamour candidate. Tonight's the night for Thompson to impress.

Monday, October 08, 2007

A few laws and a Theorem

There are very few laws for campaigns and electioneering. I have heard a ton of advice as I am exploring a run for one of the district 26th legislative seats. Just for fun, I will focus on just what I have heard on signage:

1. Your sign must be red, white, blue, or all of the above.
2. Signs that are different colors than the standard stand out more.
3. Signs make little to no difference in convincing voters
4. Generally a sign is all a voter will see of your campaign
5. Signs are only important to your supporters as it validates their decision to vote for you.
6. Only place signs in the yards of supporters
7. It is very important to have signs in the usual places to show you have presence
8. It doesn't matter where you put signs in Oro Valley, you will have to move them

Some of these are probably truer than others, especially #8. What I am looking to document are laws that ALWAYS hold true. Here is one I learned a long time ago:

Any campaign that states "We believe that we have a chance to bring out non-traditional voters." might as well say, "We believe that we are doomed and have no chance at winning this election."

Another that I was given recently is "Never wear shorts anywhere will you will be singled out a a candidate. It will make you look like you are twelve. In the event that you will not appear to be a teenager, no one wants to see your legs anyway."

I'm going to add a Theorem to this, that has yet to be proven, but one that I strongly suspect will especially be in play in the coming cycle.

Voters are not going to be interested in ALL CAPS issues. Frankly, it a appears that outrages, especially contrived outrage, is going to be out. Quite frankly the voter population will be able to see through that, and is tired of it anyway. That doesn't mean that they cannot be moved to action, but Hysteria will not be rewarded.

I'll do my best to document my reasoning behind this in the coming days.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Musings From the Latest Poll

Here are the details from yesterday's release of the WSJ/NBC News poll: Poll Details.

Small sample, interesting trend as people seem to be distancing themselves from the current president. A more thorough survey might help us understand what this means beyond the typical knee-jerk explanations by those who dislike the president. Consider that there may be little agreement about WHAT approaches people would want changed with a new president. For example, most strong borders advocates hate the president's stance on amnesty, but strongly support winning the war in Iraq. Likewise, those who might support the president's amnesty proposals typically hate his position on the war.

It's too bad this poll wasn't large and comprehensive enough to tell us something more meaningful.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Arizona's New Industry Opportunity

Former EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman is now co-chair of the CASEnergy Coalition. She is a leading proponent for the case that it's time to shed ourselves of outdated attitudes about nuclear power that perpetuate our dependency on enironmentally less-friendly alternatives like oil and coal not to mention our dependency on many US-unfriendly nations. The idea that wood is bad, coal is bad, oil is bad, natural gas is bad, and nuclear power is bad leaves us with a return to the stone ages. At some point, we have to decide on the best energy options for current and future circumstances and act on them, and, currently, solar and wind power are not able to be harnessed and stored at the levels we need.

The primary issues? Practicality, pollution, cost, availability, and safety/security. And, Christine Todd Whitman advocates nuclear energy as today's anwer.

Here are some considerations cited by Whitman: Nuclear energy is a practical solution. It's clean. The cost of uranium accounts for 26% of production costs at nuclear plants whereas coal eats up 78% of total coal plant production costs making nuclear power very affordable. I would add that uranium is available domestically. U.S. engineers have been for years successfully designing and building (cost-effectively) nuclear power plants all over the world, and nuclear plants are considered our "best defended targets" in safety and security. Even the radiation threat often cited by detractors is seriously overstated. According to Whitman, "Even if you lived next door to a nuclear power plant, you would still be exposed to less radiation each year then you would receive in just one round-trip flight from New York to Los Angeles." And nuclear energy is proven in Asia and Europe where France generates 76% of its electricity through nuclear power plants.

Now, for the opportunity. Consider this: California's policy of build-it-somewhere-else has already caused severe damage to the state making California dependent on everyone else for its power needs. Moratoriums on building power plants, bans on coal, wind and nuclear-generated electricity, and various other power-limiting legislation will continue to take its toll. In fact, it's questionable as to whether or not they will even be able to meet current needs with the latest restrictions on power imports. Of course, California's folly has been Arizona's gain as here in Southern Arizona the ant-like Springville Generating Station has been expanding and exporting electricity to our grasshopper neighbors reaping huge profits, at times. With the new law in California, they may have to turn their attention elsewhere, but, California will likely come back once electricity costs reach the levels of a few years ago and residents begin experiencing rolling blackouts once again.

While few states are as short-sided as California, many states still find themselves short on power, particularly in the summer months, and would prefer clean alternatives. Here's an opportunity you might have to see to believe, but at least you wouldn't have to smell it. Why not build nuclear power plants in remote areas of the state that would not only generate high paying jobs in many depressed areas, but would export something clean while pumping revenue back into the Arizona economy? Few power companies are interested in building large power plants due to financing issues, but the state could provide some leadership in this area to stimulate interest in making Arizona a clean power exporting state. Add to the nuclear power generation breakthroughs in solar and wind power, and you have a new state industry that's clean and lucrative.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Bang for the Buck: The Lobby Game

Joining forces with lobbying databanker, Columbia Books, Business Week has revealed more about how the earmarks game works. It seems that when you don’t get everything you want on your official budget wish list, you simply submit a letter called an “unfunded request list” to key congressmen on the appropriations committee. After that, it’s just a matter of time before the circulating list gets picked up by the right lobbyist who works his magic to get an earmark approved for the government agency and, most importantly, his client.

Here’s some interesting data from 2005, the only year for which the government has provided complete data. I wonder if it will be the only year. Anyway, from the data we learn that lobbying does indeed pay…handsomely, in fact, to the tune of 28 times the investment. In other words, for every dollar invested by a company in lobbying, $28 is returned in earmark revenue. BW also tells us that the top 20 most successful lobbyists are pulling down $100 for every buck spent. The most effective lobbyists work for Scientific Research raking in 344% of lobbying dollars spent.

With defense spending comprising the largest share of the budget, it should come as no surprise that defense contractors dominate the receiving end of the biggest earmarks. In fact, our own Raytheon merits number 5 on the list.

Curiously, the Alaska Railroad ranks 7 in “Bang for the Buck” with $168 for every dollar spent. Maybe the railroad was destined to ride the bridge to nowhere before nowhere became a reality.