Thursday, January 31, 2008

Porker of the Month From Citizens Against Government Waste

Earmarks, earmarks, earmarks. Will we ever get off them? Probably not. The President came out in his State of the Union Speech with a lot of diatribe. The sad part is he won't make his instructions about disallowing them retroactive to the 9,000 or so in the omnibus spending bill passed in December and with a presidential election coming up, he probably won't have a chance to veto any spending bills since more than likely they won't be passed by the end of term. So once again, a lot of rhetoric--not much else from a Republican leader. Likewise, Citizens Against Government Waste has chosen its monthy "Porker" nominee and wouldn't you know, it's a Republican. Does anyone remember 2006?

Porker of the Month: Rep. David Hobson
"Citizens Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has named Rep. David Hobson (R-Ohio) Porker of the Month for earmarking funds for a public restroom and gas station. Rep. Hobson added a $300,000 grant for “construction of Phase III of the west plaza comfort station” to the Fiscal 2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill. According to a press release from Rep. Hobson’s office, this $300,000 in federal taxpayer funds will pay for such amenities as “handicap accessible public restrooms, and a hospitality terrace where the Springfield Arts Council conducts public events.” A member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Hobson in 2001 secured another earmark of great notoriety that recently came to fruition. Pursuing a personal mission to fund a gas station in Wilberforce, Ohio ever since he almost ran out of gas there more than 20 years ago, Rep. Hobson earmarked $800,000 to the Tawawa Community Development Corporation in Wilberforce for the project. On December 27, 2007, the Tawawa/Dave Hobson Plaza opened for business. A pizza place or takeout restaurant is expected to move in soon. For flushing taxpayer dollars down the “comfort station” and for his self-indulgent earmark, CAGW names Rep. David Hobson the January 2008 Porker of the Month. Read more about the Porker of the Month."

Equal Rights Amendment -- PJM

From the frying pan (immigration) into the fire, today. I hope you got to read George Will's column, Racial Preferences on the ropes in states' civil rights initiatives. It was in the Omaha World-Herald yesterday. If you missed it, you can find it at: http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=George+Will%3A+Racial+preferences+on+the+ropes&articleId=90fa3edc-0c5b-4ce0-a00e-5a62599d3d32 The article was basically in support of Ward Connerly"s efforts to put initiatives on the November ballot for voters in Nebraska, Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma and Missouri. Like the initiative passed overwhelmingly by California voters (even they have sense at times). Essentially, the initiative will ban racial preferences in decisions by state government, including universities. In Nebraska, Marc Schniederjans, a professor at UNL (if you can believe that) is spearheading the Equal Rights Petition. He can be contacted at (402) 483-7898, or mjs4835665@aol.com. For conservatives who believe in a color blind society, I urge you to read more about the initiative (Will's column is a good start) and consider getting involved.

From the City (Omaha) Weekly

A cursory review of the City Weekly, January 30-Feb 5, revealed some interesting articles and comments from various authors.

From Jim Delmont's Good News and Bad News:
"Good News: Chuck Hagel is leaving Washington after this year.
Bad News: He was quoted the other day, on a trip to Russia, opining that we can get along better with Russia if we only try harder (shades of Jimmy Carter). Vladimir Putin and his KGB pals are turning Russia into a fascist state which is helping Iran build nuclear weapons and which is rejecting the West, rattling new weapons, cozying up to Red China and murdering journalists and politicians who oppose the new police state regime. The incredible murder by radioactive poisoning of a political opponent on British soil is one of the most savage crimes by a major state in decades and Putin shows no remorese -- only contempt for the British for complaining about it (and innocent Brtitons could easily have died from the radioactive residue the sloppy murderer left around). The killer now has Putin's support to be a member of the fascist/Communist-dominated Russian parliament. Hagel's advise is akin to saying, in 1938, that we could get along better with Hitler and Mussoline if we just tried to be nicer to them. (editor's italics)"

Book Review-- History Lesson by Rick Galusha
In the same City Weekly, Rick Galusha provides a stimulating review of the new book, Upstream Metropolis: An Urban biography of Omaha and Council Bluffs. Check out Rick's review or better yet buy the book

Congressman Terry to get Democrat Opponent

News Release-- Omaha, Neb.
"Richard N. Carter, a U.S. Air Force Reserve Captain with active duty combat experience in both Iraq and Afghanistan, will file Friday with the Federal Election Commission to form an exploratory committee. Carter, a Democrat, is considering a run for the U.S. House of Representatives in Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District.
"Nebraskans know that this country needs significant change," said Carter. "We are tired of the politics of division, fear, and intimidation. We are tired of politicians who march in lock-step with Washington party leadership in support of unpopular policies-policies which are not in the best interest of the American people."
"It's time for a new generation of leadership to step forward and change the direction this country is headed. My experience as a combat officer in the United States Air Force and my graduate work in economics have prepared me to be that kind of leader for the people of the 2nd district."
Carter earned a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Texas A&M prior to being commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. Following the September 11th attacks, Carter was assigned to Offutt Air Force Base until his separation from active duty in September of 2007. During his service he was deployed to numerous locations around the globe and flew combat missions in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
When promoted to executive officer in 2005, Carter's duties expanded to assisting in the supervision of 121 officers and airmen, as well as the operational responsibility for 12 combat aircrews. Captain Carter continues to serve as an Electronic Warfare Officer in the Air Force Reserve. During his active duty service, Carter earned a Masters in Economics from the University of Oklahoma. He is currently an instructor of Economics at Metro Community College.
The Richard Carter Congressional Exploratory Committee is actively seeking input from residents of the 2nd Congressional District. People interested in contributing to this dialog may go to http://www.RichardCarter2008.com for more information and to provide feedback."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

More on Immigration Enforcement at the Local Level -- PJM

Yesterday, I provided an article on how Arizona is dealing with illegal immigration and the the resulting outflow of illegals from the state. Today, I provide further evidences of my callous conservatisim by referring you to an article about how Tulsa, OK is dealing with the issue and again the outflow of illegals due to local enforcement. While my attitude is that if the federal government won't act effectively on the issue that local government should, it also occurs to me that if our local governments don't act in a similar manner we may, in effect, become sanctuary cities and states for those that are leaving Arizona, Oklahoma and other jurisdictions that are stepping up enforcement. For that reason, alone, maybe our state and local governments should consider acting. See the article: http://newsok.com/article/3192112/1200176005?mp=0

Reflexions on John McCain--Presumptive Nominee

While the editorial staff of the Objective Conservative finds it difficult to accept the conservative credentials of John McCain, his victory last night in Florida all but guarantees his nomination as the Republican standard bearer in November. With that said, as we swallow hard, we point your attention to two pieces in the news today. The first one points out why McCain's involvement in the "Gang of 14" may not have been as bad as advertised. See: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/01/the_base_is_wrong_about_the_ga.html

The Second points out why McCain can pretty much be counted on to win the South come November whether against Hillary or Obama. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/30/us/politics/30south.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&ref=politics&pagewanted=print No doubt, he will have more cross-over appeal than Hillary (the presumptive Democrat nominee). Also, while Republicans may not have a lot of passion for McCain, hopefully the fear and hatred they have for the Clinton tag-team will be sufficient motivation to get them to the polls.

While the editorial staff of the Objective Conservative wishes that there were a "real" social and fiscal conservative to lead the way, it also recognizes that many conservatives will have to do as McCain's mother suggests, go to the ballot box this fall, hold your nose and vote for the Republicans--most likely John McCain.

Some Thoughtful Quotes -- From the Patriot

INSIGHT
“A liberal is a man who will give away everything he doesn’t own.” —Frank Dane
“The more help a person has in his garden, the less it belongs to him.” —William H. Davies
“Good government generally begins in the family, and if the moral character of a people once degenerate, their political character must soon follow.” —Elias Boudinot
“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” —Albert Einstein
“Be not too hasty to trust or admire the teachers of morality; they discourse like angels but they live like men.” —Dr. Samuel Johnson
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” —H.L. Mencken

UPRIGHT
“Washington, D.C. is a place where delusions go to thrive. That explains why Congress and the president are now agreed on remedies that will not work, expending money they do not have, to fix a problem that may not exist.” —Steve Chapman
“The fact that the market is not doing what we wish it would do is no reason to automatically assume that the government would do better.” —Thomas Sowell
“When the economy does not need a rescue plan and gets one, it’s called ‘campaign spending’. And this $150 billion stimulus package is nothing more than campaign spending on the part of both parties.” —Rush Limbaugh
“Some Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls are preaching economic doom and gloom, disappearing middle class, and failing health care industry. What’s their solution? The short answer is give them more control over our lives.” —Walter Williams
“It is strange that the qualities we are looking for in a sitting president—thoughtful, calm, and serious—are exactly the qualities that we penalize in those running for president.” —Rich Galen “Every candidate who repeats the misleading nonsense that ‘47 million in America have no health care,’ ought to be challenged with hard truth. The number is grossly inflated by including millions who are here illegally and millions of others who have the means to pay for health care insurance but refuse to adjust their budget and lifestyle. And don’t expect any media type to question where in the Constitution Congress derives any authority to dispense health care.” —Janet LaRue

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Reflections on November-- Editor

Stuart Rothenberg opines in the piece below ( http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/01/a_surprising_general_election.html
) that there may be an opening for the Republican presidential nominee given the rocky relationship between the Clintons (yes, The ClintonS) and Senator Obama. He may be right. While your editor believes that the race for the presidency will come down to a November choice of Hillary vs McCain, things could still change. What is becoming obvious is that this "race card" being played by Clinton, and Obama to a certain extent, may create turmoil for the Democrats in the fall. If Hillary is the nominee, as we expect, will she have to offer the V.P. to Obama to retain black support and the invigorated support he generates? If she doesn't will the black vote and those invigorated by Obama's New Camelot image simply be less inclined to bother to vote? Where one might have thought that a fellow like Governor Richardson with his former cabinet credentials and his Hispanic heritage (or even someone like Iowa's former governor Vilstad--but certainly not Kathleen Sibilieous after her disastrous rebuttal to Bush last night)would have been a great choice for V.P., that might no longer be the best decision.

Add to the above, what a McCain as Clinton's opponent might do and you have further complications. Would this so-called conservative pick a Liberman to show how widespread is approach to government is? Hagel? That would be a disaster as Republicans already feel no real love for McCain's conservative credentials and would certainly eschew the ballot box. Would he pick a Huckabee to bring the religious right or a Romney to bring the fiscal background? He could do worse, but he could also do better. How about a young(er) up and coming (no, not Quayle) congressman like Pence (Republican Study Committee) who would be there when as Chuck Norris says McCain's energy ebbs?

In either case, one might postulate that either Hillary or McCain, should the choice come down to that, will be hard pressed to serve more than four years given their divisiveness or age before they are challenged by strong candidates from the other side or even from within. That might just be a good reason for an Obama not to want to be Hillary's second this fall.

It's fun to speculate and the next few weeks and months will be interesting. What do you think?

Questioning Bush's timing on earmarks

Since we continue to beat earmarks to death we''ll just let you choose whether to check out this editorial once again from our friends at the New York Times. It certainly isn't friendly to the President's new found disdain for earmarks or to the credibility of the Republicans and their so-called fight against them. In the long run, it shows that neither Bush nor the Republicans have learned much from their defeats in 2006 and that neither are particularly believable in their iterations to end them. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/29/washington/29earmark.html?_r=1&th=&oref=slogin&emc=th&pagewanted=print

Only Hillary Can Reunite the Republican Party

"Both Sen. McCain and Gov. Romney are too flawed to reunite and reinvigorate a dispirited Republican party. There is only one candidate who can do that. And she might lose to Barack Obama." -- Jack Kelly
See: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/01/gop_candidates_fail_to_unite_t.html

Arizona and Immigration -- PJM

I really hope you have the time to read this article. After you do, some well accuse me of being a callous conservative and to that I plead guilty. The fact is that Arizona has taken on some of the responsibility that our federal government has both failed to do and abdicated. And while I'm sure our friends at the New York Times wrote this article to make those folks in Arizona look like cruel callous conservatives, the fact remains that Arizona is not rewarding illegals for being there whether through their action or the crime of their parents. And guess what? The law is working. Now that might offend the sensitivities of some liberal college professors (assuming you actually have professors taking time from their writings to teach) who rely on the illegal economy to give them a job, but so be it. Why should the citizens of Arizona (or Nebraska or any state) subsidize non-citizens? And oh, when it comes to going back home to Mexico to get an education, it isn't fair because after all, they don't get subsidies there. My apologies to those I offend... See: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/us/27tuition.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print

Friday, January 25, 2008

New York Times Presidental Primary Endorsements -- PJM

Some of you may have noticed I rely a good deal on articles from the Washington Post and New York Times. I do this not because I particularly agree with these folks' editorial philosophy, but rather because they tend to 'make' the daily news discussion (and sometimes we don't even see the same article in the World-Herald until three or four days later). With that said, many of you have already heard about the New York Times endorsements of Clinton and McCain. While not wanting to take shots at McCain, whom I expect will probably win the Republican nomination, I'd encourage you to read both of the endorsements by the Times if only to get a sense of how they think. Both editorials reflect their tremendous liberal bias, their belief that more government rather than personal responsibility is the solution to our nation's problems, their hate of George Bush and their hate for what we are trying to accomplish in Iraq. Once you read those endorsements you might have a better sense of why so many on the "so-called right" tend to be paranoid of not only their editorials, but also the bias that exists in the point of view of their so-call news articles. See the editorials at: McCain: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/25/opinion/25fri2.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print Clinton: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/25/opinion/25fri1.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print

Presidential Candidate Earmarks - Hillary - Bob Kerry, etc

It just seems that interesting things regarding earmarks never end. Here is an article about earmarks and how presidential candidates rank in advancing them. One is left to wonder why, after earmarks ranked as one of the ways Republicans lavishly spent themselves out of leadership in 2006, Democrats such as Hillary Clinton continue to deliver earmarks proudly to their constituents and supporters, including Bob Kerry and his New School. Will it ever end? See: http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewPolitics.asp?Page=/Politics/archive/200801/POL20080124e.html

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Delegate Status and Super Tuesday

For a relatively fair assessment of the Republican and Democrat delegate status and the impact that Super Tuesday will have on the candidate's ability to lock up or move toward the nomination, check out: http://www.gopusa.com/news/2008/january/0124_super_tuesdayp.shtml

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Earmarks

Here is another good summary of how Congress responded (or really didn't) to the earmark scandal that helped bring down Republicans in 2006. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a President and a Congress that had the guts to say enough is enough? No More Earmarks!
If the best you can expect is a 25% reduction (the most generous calculation) in earmarks, it's obvious our elected officials and those running the Congress now still don't get it. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/22/washington/22earmark.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print

Death of an Actor - Editor

No doubt most of the nation was traumatized at CNN's e-mail bulletin informing the world of the death of Heath Ledger, movie star of much fame from his part in Brokeback Mountain. While we are all diminished by the death of any fellow human being, it seems that a look at your local obits should be no less distressing and that those folks listed therein should be acknowledged just as much and as greatly for their impact on society. Sadly, the Brittney's and the Heaths somehow seem to have more value.

Rumors

The Objective Conservative has it on good word that Scott Kleeb (Democrat hero who almost beat Congressman Adrian Smith by losing by 10%) will be meeting with the folks from the Democrat Senatorial Committee in the next few days. Word is that the "committee" will commit (promise to raise) $8 million dollars to fund Kleeb's campaign against probable Republican nominee Mike Johanns.

Also, rumor has it that former 2nd Congressional Democrat candidate Jim Esch has been barred from the Creighton University campus after a Halloween incident involving himself, his sister and the campus police. Republicans might want to tuck this away for future reference.

Still no viable challengers for any of the 3 Nebraska house seats. Kleeb apparently is looking at a higher calling, Esch appears to be out of the race against favorite Terry and some are waiting for former Republican Carl Jennings to file. No one seems to be stepping up against Congressman Fortenberrry. Wonder what Maxine Moul is doing this fall? Or Alan Jacobson?

Art, Time and Grants -- Doug Patton

For those of you who don't get or receive Doug Patton's weekly column, we think you'll enjoy this week's commentary about something that happened right here in Omaha which only further illustrates the folly of government grants. We should be ashamed.

Funding Our Own Bankruptcy
By Doug PattonJanuary 21, 2008

"William Proxmire represented the state of Wisconsin in the United States Senate from 1957 to 1989. His last decade in office, Proxmire became famous for issuing his “Golden Fleece Awards” identifying wasteful government spending. Some of these awards included a National Science Foundation grant funding a study on why people fall in love; a Justice Department study on why prisoners wanted to get out of jail; a National Institute of Mental Health study of a Peruvian brothel; and a Federal Aviation Administration study of the physical measurements of 432 airline stewardesses.

Federal government waste has become legendary in Washington. Over the years, tales of stupid projects funded by our tax dollars have become so commonplace the American taxpayer has gone from furious to numb and back again. But when specific waste is brought to our attention, especially in times of war and economic distress, we tend back toward fury. I know I did when I read about Jamie O’Shea, an “artist” at the Bemis Center for the Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska.

The National Endowment for the Arts has funded some outrageous projects over the years, from dung-coated portraits of the Virgin Mary to crucifixes submerged in urine. In fact, squandering tax dollars is a specialty of this department of our bloated federal bureaucracy. But if Sen. Proxmire were with us today, there is no question in my mind that he would be awarding his Golden Fleece to the Bemis Center and the NEA for the ridiculous “performance art” of O’Shea, a native of Brooklyn, New York.

Subsidized by NEA dollars, the Bemis Center awards artists, mostly from the east and west coasts, studio space and funding for their so-called art projects. They go out of their way at the Bemis to snub talented Midwestern artists, working in truly artistic media, in favor of nutburgers from the coasts. This is particularly true if the local artist actually creates something representational. In other words, if it looks like something you could recognize, like a flower or a tree, the Bemis won’t fund it. They only want contemporary art. The weirder the better. And they love performance art at the Bemis.

That’s why they gave Jamie O’Shea an 1800-square-foot studio and a $750-per-month stipend to “alter time.”

That’s right. Apparently it was important for us to know what it would be like for someone to change the normal, God-given 24-hour day into a 36-hour day. By closing the drapes and using artificial light, this genius entered his alternate universe on January 1st and (drum roll, please), didn’t emerge for three weeks. And the point of this? Well, apparently Jamie felt like he had only been there for two weeks because he had changed time. Or, as Jamie put it, “Sort of.” Isn’t that amazing? Aren’t you pleased that your government chooses to spend your hard-earned tax dollars on important projects like this?

When I first read this story, I thought, “Well, he’s an artist, so he must have been in there painting or sculpting or whatever for about 27 hours a day.” But no, it turns out that this is his “art.” He altered time in his own mind. And we paid for it. Aren’t you proud?

Think of all the heroes serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Think of the hardship they are enduring on our behalf. We sent them there. They risk being shot or blown up on a daily basis, and yet they are grossly underpaid. Many have families living on a shoestring in the United States. Social Security and Medicare will be bankrupt after a few years of supporting the Baby Boomers. With all the promises we have made and all the demands we have placed on ourselves, we really don’t know what will happen to our economy in the years to come.

But we know how a silly twit from Brooklyn feels after having lived for three weeks (or was it two?) pretending to alter time in Omaha. We know because we paid for it.

It’s almost enough to make a guy want to join the Ron Paul for President Campaign.'

____________________________________________________________________________

© Copyright 2008 by Doug Patton

Monday, January 21, 2008

Just $23 Billion

Here is something that should give you pause. Did you know, at least according to the New York Times who we all believe, that over $23 billion dollars was awarded in grants last year by the National Institutes of Health in the form of some 50,000 grants? Did you also know that there is no requirements by university/grant recipients to disclose conflicts of interest and no process at NIH to monitor them? While I have served on several health organization boards that always think more money from Congress to NIH is wonderful, I find it a little disheartening that there is no control over conflicts of interest. Further showing my conservative spots, I must admit my failure as a board member to ever effectively, sincerely and earnestly lobby our representatives for more money to NIH given the deplorable state of our country's budget and spending, not to mention what should be the federal government's priorities. In fact, as a conservative, I often question where the funding of NIH falls under the 10th Amendment. That will get me kicked off those boards for sure. Whatever your opinion may be, you should find the column from the New York Times at least interesting and possibly just a bit concerning: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/19/us/19conflict.html?_r=1&th=&oref=slogin&emc=th&pagewanted=print

For some of you who take the time to read these diatribes, you might consider that there is an underlying thought developing here. And that would be that when we discuss government spending or tax increases (or the room for more tax decreases) that there may in fact be items that can cut to reduce spending or return more tax dollars to those of us who pay them.

Delegate Update -- After Nevada

After this last weekend's election and caucus, here are the delegate counts:

Clinton leads the overall Democrat race for delegates with 236, including separately chosen party and elected officials known as superdelegates. She is followed by Obama with 136 and former Sen. John Edwards with 50.
A total of 2,025 delegates are needed to secure the Democratic nomination.

Romney has 59 delegates heading into the Republican primary in South Carolina, followed by Huckabee with 35 and McCain with 17.
A total of 1,191 delegates are needed to secure the Republican nomination.

Cal Thomas on Abortion

In the event that you missed Cal Thomas' column on abortion in the last few days (was even in the World-Herald), it is a good read and accurately reflects on what this country has allowed to happen to nearly 50 million human beings. Suggest you read at:

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/CalThomas/2008/01/17/the_cost_of_roe_at_35

Friday, January 18, 2008

Chuck Hagel and Blame America First -- Editor

National Pacifist and Senator, Chuck Hagel, is at it again. On Wednesday he told the world that "the United States and Russia need to work on what has become a 'brittle' relationship." Apparently the good senator thinks the U.S. needs to 'consult' Russia before we criticize it on its human rights performance and before we decide to move missiles to Poland and Czechoslovakia. Hagel further said, "I never believed that you make any progress with Russia or China or anyone else if you publicly bludgeon them, you publicly threaten them, you publicly embarrass them." Well, Senator, maybe you should re-examine President Reagan's tough stand that brought an end to communism.

Of course, for Senator Hagel, it is all the U.S.'s fault. Can't we all just get along? Senator, it's a tough world out there. There are folks that don't like us and it's not because we're the bad guys. It's because we represent freedom and strength which threaten their authoritarian control of their citizens. Stop by Paris and talk to their new president on the way home. Maybe he can enlighten you about your "blame America first mentality".

Who to best serve on Appropriations Committee?

From our friends at the Patriot:
"Also in the House, a debate has begun over who should fill the recent Republican vacancy on the House Appropriations Committee. Popular support is behind Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) for his steadfast adherence to fiscal responsibility. His dogged pursuit of lower federal spending and curbing earmarks has made him a living example of the traditional conservative creed of smaller government. Many of his colleagues openly express their wish that more members were like Flake, though they apparently don’t plan to follow his example themselves.

That there is even a debate over placing Flake on Appropriations is absurd because he is so well suited for the job. His presence would be a shining contrast to Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), whose unabashed money-grubbing won him $162 million for his district in 2007, the highest of any House member. Defense contractors in Murtha’s district wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for the generous gifts of taxpayer money he’s given them over the years. Naturally, these same contractors keep Murtha’s campaign war chest well stocked with cash, ensuring his perpetual re-election. As for Flake, we surmise that his failing is that he’s too good. So many Republicans are afflicted with over-spendingitis, we will be surprised if Flake does get the seat. "

Immigration and Borders - PJM

If you read the New York times today, you'd be impressed with the number of articles on immigration. One that struck me was about the poor victims of our "tough" immigration policy in Waukegan, IL, where illegals apparently live in fear of being discovered and where formerly successful businesses that catered to them are failing. While the article acknowledges the choices these folks made, and while one might suggest that it is sympathetic to their plight, it really points out (if indirectly) the problems our government has created by it's ineffectual border and immigration enforcement. What seems to be missing is the assessment that once you build your house on sand, that is, start building a life on your illegal presence (or that of a spouse, etal.), you have to expect the consequences. Fortunately, the Mayor of Waukegan makes the issue very clear in the last sentence of the article. Check out:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/18/us/18hide.html?th=&adxnnl=1&emc=th&adxnnlx=1200679286-/Oz5fBtjtC7yjwwadbkJ3w&pagewanted=print

While you're at it you might want to check out this article about how poorly our government is doing in processing legal requests for citizenship and visas. Here is a case where I.C.E. has proven its inability to function in dealing with legals. One might be inclined to ask if it does such a poor job in this regard how much more can be expected of it when it comes to illegals?See: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/18/us/18immig.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print

After you read that, you might want to read the opinion that the New York Times has on the Republican presidential candidates views on immigration. Not exactly in accord with most of us: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/18/opinion/18fri1.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print

Finally, if the illegal immigrant stuff isn't enough, you might want to read about the attempts to weaken (or prevent better control) Homeland Security's efforts to find out and control who is coming over our northern boarder. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/18/opinion/18fri1.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print

Bottom line today: This country needs to tightly control our borders and those who come and live here. Seems like a pretty simple premise until politics and liberal get involved.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Earmarks -- Republicans Deserve Criticism too!

In the spirit of bi-partisanship we continue taking well-deserved shots at earmark offenders. Yes, we are back on that again. Today we need to consider former Republican Congressman, now U.S. Senator Wicker (appointed to fill Trent Lott's seat) and his $6 million earmark to a supporter of his, now represented by his former chief of staff. Of course, the Department of Defense never asked for the earmark and apparently there are many firms working on the same project, but who cares the guy's firm is a supporter, the lobbyist is a former chief of staff and after all Mississippi needs the jobs.

See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/15/AR2008011503355_pf.html

The Republican Race for President -- Editor

As noted in earlier posts, the editor has tried to refrain from too much comment on the current presidential contests. However, after the Michigan primary, it is time I give my somewhat confused assessment/opinion. First of all, be of good heart. Hopefully, we (Republicans) will prevail.

I'm glad Romney won last night only because I think we need to keep our options open. If you listen to what he says, he is the closest thing we have to Reagan. What's hard for me and I think most conservatives is trying to reconcile what he says to where he's expounded on the issues in the past. I still find it hard to believe that a man changes so many philosophies in his late 50s--30s and 40s maybe. On the other hand, I think he is smart enough to stick to his declared viewpoints if elected. Remember "read my lips" (and a terribly mismanaged campaign) cost George his re-election. I was disappointed however to hear Mitt talk only of Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush last night. I don't think "W" has done a great job in many ways, but I was offended as a Republican. As to his Mormon religion, I think that becomes less of an issue, particularly if I'm wrong about Hillary (I believe she wins he Democrat nomination) and Obama becomes their nominee.

As for McCain, I still think he will be our nominee. I don't like him for many reasons, but he'd be strong on national defense and a fiscal conservative. He'd certainly be a good alternative to Obama and Hillary on those issues and he does have some solid crossover appeal to Dems and Independents.

I hope Huckabee stays in the race. I think he is suspect on national defense and on spending and his history makes you wonder on taxes, but again he has committed himself strongly to the fair tax (which I really like) and has enunciated a strong stand on immigration.

What about Rudy? I still think he will win New York, California, Illinois --maybe Florida. I don't think he can get the nomination. Nonetheless, it doesn't hurt to have him in the mix until we know whether Hillary or Obama are going to be the nominee.

Then we have Fred. I just wish he'd surprise us and win S.C., but I think that is wishful thinking. He still hasn't created any real fire in the average guy's heart (or shown a lot in his own--although he did really well in the last debate). From a philosophical standpoint he would still be my guy.

Bottom line is I think it is good to have this thing stay competitive for a while. I'm really not afraid of Hillary or Obama locking up the Dem nomination several weeks or months before we do. Unlike the pundits, I think it gives the public and our team all that much more time to really put these folks under the magnifying glass and that shouldn't be good for either of them. So, as I said be of good heart.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Brokered Republican Convention

For those who might believe that there will be no clear winner in the fight for Republican delegates before the Republican convention, here is a good article about how a "brokered" convention might work.
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/horseraceblog/2008/01/looking_ahead_to_the_republica.html

Drivers Licenses for Illegals

It truly is amazing. New York's Governor Spitzer wanted drivers licenses for illegals and Hillary bought into it. They are both still recovering from that debacle. So, Maryland's governor now wants a two-tier system to reward illegals. Will they never learn. A driver's license has been deemed a privilege, not a right, but apparently some believe non-citizens should have this right. Let's hope Nebraska's Senator Aquilar, who wanted driver's licenses for illegals a year ago, doesn't decide to push the Maryland Governor's plan. We wouldn't be surprise though. See: http://www.newsmax.com/insidecover/Maryland_Gov._OKs_Driver’/2008/01/14/64175.html?s=al&promo_code=42F8-1

Delegate Count

In case you are wondering, only about 5% of the Republican Delegates and a little less than 10% of the Democrat delegates have been awarded thus far. For the actual numbers see:
http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?parm1=104

Republicans and Civil Rights vs. Clinton/Obama

With the exception of a few cartoons, the Objective Conservative has tried to stay out of the presidential nomination races, although that could change. Nonetheless, with the controversy created by Hillary and Obama over who had the most to do with the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, it might be instructive for both of them as well as Republicans (who are always regarded as the bad guys on civil rights issues) to check out this article from Investors Business Daily. Suffice it to say, Republicans should be very proud of their actions in this regard:
See: http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=285206030972593

Monday, January 14, 2008

Congressional Pay and Earmarks -- PJM

There seems to be a lot of angst today about the pay raise of $4,100 our U.S. Congressmen and Senators gave themselves. While it costs a lot of money to maintain two residences, one in D.C. or thereabouts and one in the home district, my objection isn't so much with what they make as it is with what they do, although given the actual number of days these folks work, they do get about $2,000 a day or something like that. If we as constituents established goals and objectives for these folks, I'm afraid they'd all get a failing grade. Let's see, what have they done to stop Social Security and Medicare from going broke? What have they done to increase our national security, to stem illegal immigration, to truly decrease our dependence on foreign oil anytime soon? Sounds like maybe a grade of D if we're being generous. Maybe someone should survey voters on the most important issues and set up a formal way of grading them. On the other hand, if you are Congressman Murtha of Pennsylvania, maybe in the eyes of some he did okay since he really brought home the bacon to his district this year (as well as in past ones), nearly $162 million. No doubt our elected representatives would get F's if graded on a curve. While I've devoted too much effort in my mea culpas to Pete Ricketts for my newly acquired total disdain of earmarks, the editorial from our good conservative friends at the New York times is instructive:

January 14, 2008
Editorial
The Pork King Keeps His Crown
"The new earmark disclosure rules put into effect by Congress confirm the pre-eminence of Representative John Murtha at procuring eye-popping chunks of pork for contractors he helped put in business in Johnstown, Pa. The Pennsylvania Democrat, a power player on defense appropriations, exudes pride, not embarrassment, for delivering hundreds of millions of dollars in largesse to district beneficiaries. They, in turn, requite with hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations. Mr. Murtha led all House members this year, securing $162 million in district favors, according to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense. In all, eager members in both houses enacted 11,144 earmarks, worth $15 billion. Taxpayers may be inured to $113,000 for rodent control in Alaska or a million for Idaho’s weed management. Mr. Murtha’s universe is a far more complicated and costly creation of interlocking contractors who continue to feed at the public trough despite reviews questioning their performance. In 1991, Mr. Murtha used a $5 million earmark to create the National Defense Center for Environmental Excellence in Johnstown to develop anti-pollution technology for the military. Since then, it has garnered more than $670 million in contracts and earmarks. Meanwhile it is managed by another contractor Mr. Murtha helped create, Concurrent Technologies, a research operation that somehow was allowed to be set up as a tax-exempt charity, according to The Washington Post. Thanks to Mr. Murtha, Concurrent has boomed; the annual salary for its top three executives averages $462,000.There’s been no report of Mr. Murtha’s profiting personally. “This is about jobs,” the congressman insists. But the Murtha operation — which has become a model for other entrepreneurial lawmakers — is a gross example of quid pro quo Washington. Every one of the 26 beneficiaries of Mr. Murtha’s earmarks in last year’s defense budget made contributions to his campaign kitty, a total of $413,250, according to the newspaper Roll Call. The Pentagon, seeking its own goodies before Mr. Murtha’s committee, is noticeably hesitant to challenge his projects. And we’re not hearing a lot of objections from his colleagues — not after members have ladled out a fresh $15 billion for their own special interests, just in time for the coming elections. "

Federalism in the Right to Life Issue

There are often arguments over the abortion issue that say that it is a states' rights issue. A quote from the "Gipper" in today's "Patriot" would seem to tell us that protecting life is indeed a national responsibility. So not only should Roe v Wade be overturned, but life free of abortion should be affirmed as a national right.

THE GIPPER
“If America is to remain what God in his wisdom intended for it to be—a refuge, a safe haven for those seeking human rights—then we must once again extend the most basic human right to the most vulnerable members of the human family. We must commit ourselves to a future in which the right to life for every human being—no matter how weak, no matter how small, no matter how defenseless—is protected by our laws and public policy.” —Ronald Reagan

Friday, January 11, 2008

Real I.D. vs Security and Immigration

Today's posts seem to illustrate just how complicated the world we live in is. The Bush administration is going to recommend a number of changes in the Real I.D. Act which is supposed to produce drivers licenses that aren't easily forged and which could help employers determine the legal status of employees (you might want to read the posting on fences below). Because of cost to local governments and the cries from Libertarians and ACLU the deadlines will be extended. Once again, we're torn between the goal of helping prevent terrorism, preventing the hiring of illegal aliens and the cost to us in dollars and personal freedom. Are there no easy answers? See the article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/10/AR2008011003971_pf.html

The FBI and Being Disconnected for not paying its bills

When government gets too big, it ceases to function, at least as effectively as it should. Of course, there will always be excuses but you would think the FBI could find a way to pay its bills on time so that its surveillance activities are not disconnected. See the article:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/10/AR2008011001879_pf.html

Cleaning the Republican House

Will it's about time that California Republican Congressman Doolittle (kind of describes the whole congress when one thinks about it) announce that he isn't a candidate for re-election. This guy is one of the reasons Republicans are still in trouble. When the party completely cleanses itself of guys like this, maybe it can honestly take on the Jeffersons (I don't know where that $100,000 in my refrigerator came from) of Louisiana and become a moral and ethical example that voters will once again respect. See the Washington Post story below:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/10/AR2008011003409_pf.html

Debates Show Difference between Republicans and Democrats

From Investors Business Daily
“If the New Hampshire debates settled anything, it’s which party has the stomach to take on radical Islam. The Democrats couldn’t even identify the enemy. Not once. Really. We scanned the transcripts of Saturday’s debates hosted by ABC News and tallied up the references to Islamic terrorism. The rhetorical divide between Democrats and Republicans on that score alone—ignoring the yawning gaps in policy—is stunning. None of the four Democrat presidential candidates—despite running for an office that demands they lead the ongoing global war against Islamic extremists—could bring himself or herself to define the enemy we face as Islamic. Their combined references to ‘Islam’ or ‘Islamic’ totaled zero—even though moderator Charles Gibson prompted them with a question about ‘Islamic radicals’ threatening the U.S. with nuclear terrorism. But Democrats refused to go there. Out of respect for their constituency, there was a complete blackout regarding Islamic jihad... Republicans, on the other hand, called the enemy by its proper name. The candidates referred to terrorists and terrorism as ‘Islamic,’ while also citing radical ‘Islam’ as the problem, no less than 22 times... They get it. Democrats don’t. They talked a lot about ‘fighting’ —fighting insurance companies and big business and Wall Street and polluters. But will they fight the real enemy—Islamic terrorists?... These contrasting performances in New Hampshire should crystallize in voters’ minds more than any other recent example how one party understands the titanic challenge we face from radical Islam, while the other decidedly does not.”

Fence and/or government waste -- PJM

I happen to have strong opinions on a couple of issues. One is the need to close our boarders to illegal aliens. The other is to protect ourselves from wasteful government spending, i.e., pork and earmarks. With that said sometimes things get a little murky as we try to reconcile our opinions with reality. The attached link to an article from our friends at Taxpayers for Common Sense is illustrative of the dilemma we face. Do we have the manpower or the technology to do this and at what cost? I happen to think we should invest whatever it takes to stop illegal immigration but the dollars shouldn't be wasted. I've joked that my solution is two 100 foot walls separated by three hundred feet of landmines, but then that might not sell very well from a public relations point. Anyway, as you'll note from the article it appears that any technological solution will ensure a lot of waste. One can't help but wonder how many of those illegals would quit coming or would go home if we just had an effective ability to really screen them at the workplace and really penalize the employers who hire them. Then again, that won't stop a terrorist from coming across the boarder, will it? See: http://by110w.bay110.mail.live.com/mail/ReadMessageLight.aspx?Aux=4%7c0%7c8CA22810F178060%7c&FolderID=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000001&InboxSortAscending=False&InboxSortBy=Date&ReadMessageId=780ec1bf-af0c-4482-9a1f-f4a232c1e7d4&n=303035026

San Francisco and Guns

We all know how wacky San Francisco's mayor and board of supervisors are but today we get some good news that even one California court won't condone their wackiness. Yes, San Franciscans can apparently now keep their guns for legitimate purposes. Now if the Supreme Court just rules the same for the residents of Washington, D.C.

"Gun Ban Overturned in San Francisco “The California State Court of Appeals announced their decision to overturn one of the most restrictive gun bans in the country, following a legal battle by attorneys for the National Rifle Association (NRA) and a previous court order against the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. In 2005, NRA sought an injunction against the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to prevent them from enacting one of the nation's most restrictive gun bans. NRA won the injunction, but the City's mayor and Board of Supervisors ignored the court order and approved a set of penalties, including a $1,000 fine and a jail term of between 90 days and six months, for city residents who own firearms for lawful purposes in their own homes. The California State Court of Appeals has upheld the state preemption law. [This] decision came in the form of a 3-0 opinion in favor of the lower court ruling overturning the gun ban. (Source: NRA)"

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Earmarks -- Follow Up ---PJM

On December 27th (SEE Blog entry of that date below), I shared an article with you about Louisana Senator Landrieu and her earmarks and support of a reading program for Washington, D.C. schools. Not surprisingly today we see that a Washington watchdog group has asked the Department of Justice to investigate why Sen. Landrieu sponsored the $2 million earmark only 4 days after she received $30,000 from those associated with the firm who attended her fundraiser. The link to the original article is also contained in the article link below. Bottom line, is here is another case of wasted taxpayer dollars through the earmark process and tainted if not questionalbe or illegal (will be hard to prove, of course) behavor by one of our U.S. Senators. Will they ever learn? See: http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,321178,00.html

Big Brother coming into your home

Here's one that should give you pause. In the land of la-la, California, there is a proposed building code that all new homes and commercial buildings will have their thermostats controlled by the utilitiy companies. While technology is wonderful, one might ask what the state will be controlling next---maybe access to your refigerator to keep you in-between-meal snacking to a minimum? Anyway, something to think about as your life becomes more controlled by others than yourself. Everytime you give up a right, you ensure the ease of giving up another..... See the article: http://nctimes.com/articles/2008/01/08/news/top_stories/1_02_261_7_08.txt

Monday, January 7, 2008

Mea Culpa, Pete Ricketts -- PJM

I have a confession to make and since it's the beginning of a new year why not clear my conscience and acknowledge that even an old guy can still learn. My confession: Two years or so ago when friend and candidate for the United States Senate Pete Ricketts started his campaign against earmarks I thought he was using a shotgun to shoot all when a rifle to shoot the offenders might be more appropriate. Well, since that time it has become increasingly clear that a sawed-off 12 gauge or less is at least required to kill each and every earmark. I thought, gosh, Nebraska gets some good stuff through earmarks even if it does get questionable stuff for parking garages at Creighton, the Joslyn, etc. Well, after watching the huge waste that funds these earmarks and totally disproportionate amount of funds Nebraska and most states receive through such, all I can say is mea culpa. The attached article from the Washington Post (not a favorite of conservatives) about Congressman Murtha's pet project (which I've pointed out before) leaves little question of just how bad earmarks are and why they should be totally eliminated. Having said that, remember that while the Democrats said they would clean up the huge proliferation of earmarks under a less than competent Republican congress, they (the Democrats) still passed and got President Bush to sign an omnibus budget bill in the last days of 2007 containing nearly 9000 earmarks, many "air-dropped" into the bill with absolutely no scrutiny. Forgive me, Pete, I have sinned...... See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/28/AR2007122803055_pf.html

A Forgotten Anniversary

While we are already a week past New Years, an anniversary occurring on that day has gone largely unnoticed--the 200th anniversary of the barring of importation of slaves. While our country's efforts at ending slavery and eliminating racial prejudice may have been lacking in many ways for far too long, the anniversary is worth noting even if a little late. You might learn something by checking out: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/30/opinion/30foner.html?_r=1&th=&oref=slogin&emc=th&pagewanted=print

A couple of quotes courtesy of The Patriot Post

From Sammuel Adams:
“If men of wisdom and knowledge, of moderation and temperance, of patience, fortitude and perseverance, of sobriety and true republican simplicity of manners, of zeal for the honor of the Supreme Being and the welfare of the commonwealth; if men possessed of these other excellent qualities are chosen to fill the seats of government, we may expect that our affairs will rest on a solid and permanent foundation."

From Ronald Reagan:
“Our party must be the party of the individual. It must not sell out the individual to cater to the group. No greater challenge faces our society today than ensuring that each one of us can maintain his dignity and his identity in an increasingly complex, centralized society. Extreme taxation, excessive controls, oppressive government competition with business... frustrated minorities and forgotten Americans are not the products of free enterprise. They are the residue of centralized bureaucracy, of government by a self-anointed elite. Our party must be based on the kind of leadership that grows and takes its strength from the people...[O]ur cause must be to rediscover, reassert and reapply America s spiritual heritage to our national affairs. Then with God s help we shall indeed be as a city upon a hill with the eyes of all people upon us.” —Ronald Reagan

Friday, January 4, 2008

Enumerated Powers, Toilets and Light Bulbs - PJM

Maybe this will get some of us thinking as well as disclose the ambiguity many of us have as to our expectations of what the federal government's influence (law making authority) has in our lives. I would be the first to support the Enumerated Powers Act since the federal government intrudes much to much in our lives as it exceeds its authority under the Constitution (in violation of the 10th Amendment). However, I do believe that we have a national energy (equals national security) crisis on our hands. You should note I did not say Global Warming crisis. So is there a point when I will allow the violation of the Tenth Amendment if it lessens our country from its dependence on foreign oil if it enhances our national security? Maybe? On the other hand at what point will Congress also tell me whether I can eat a whooper or do virtually anything else it wants to? It's worth thinking about as is the following article:
http://www.gopusa.com/theloft/wp-print.php?p=633

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Rumors

The Democrats may have found a candidate to take on Congressman Lee Terry. The Objective Conservative is told that former Republican and Congressional Candidate (1988), Carl Jennings has become a Democrat and is a likely filer against Terry.

John Sieler, long time Republican activist, appears to be thinking serious about running for the M.U.D. Board of Directors. Also rumored as a potential candidate is John Blazek who spent approximately $90,000 several years ago in a race against incumbent John Green for an O.P.P.D. seat. Blazek is also a Republican who served in the Daub administration.

Republicans on the Rise

A new Rasmussen Poll shows that the Republican Party is back on the rise. Could it be the ineffective performance of Pelini and Reid, the turn-a-round in Iraq with the surge? Maybe it's just a blip, but at this point any thing is good news for the GOP. See the article immedately below:

"Partisan Trends"
"The number of Americans who consider themselves to be Republicans jumped nearly two
percentage points in December to 34.2%. That?s the largest market share for the Republican
brand in nearly two years, since January 20 06 (see history from January 2004 to present).
At the same time, the number of Democrats fell to 36.3%. That?s down a point compared to a
month ago. During 2007, the number of Democrats has ranged from a low of 35.9% in July to a
high of 37.8% in February.

These results are based upon tracking surveys of 15,000 adults per month. The margin of
sampling error is less than one percentage point, with a 95% level of confidence. Please keep in
mind that figures reported in this article are for all adults, not Likely Voters.

Back in May, the Republicans fell to their lowest level of party identification of the past four years (30.8%). Then, the immigration debate raged in Congress and some Republican legislators
helped defeat an unpopular Senate Imigration Bill. Republicans have gained ground in five of
the seven months since then. But, the gains in December? 1.7 percentage points? matched the
total gains for the previous six months combined.

The Decembe.r gains for the GOP coincide with increased public confidence in the War on Terror It?s interesting to note that this rdaidtin ngost wimhiplerove President Bush?s Job Approval helping the Republican Party overall.

The gap between the parties now shows a 2.1 percentage point advantage for the Democrats.
That?s the smallest advantage for the Democrats since January 2006. It represents a dramatic
change from the previous five months when the gap favored Democrats by a margin between 4.5 and 4.9 percentage points each and every month.

A year ago at this time, the Democrats had a 6.9 percentage point advantage as they prepared to formally take control of Congress following their victories in Election 2006. It remains to be seen whether the Republican gains can last, but it is startling to note that the Democrats have lost twothirds of the partisan advantage since taking control of Congress.

Democrats continue to have a significant advantage on ten key issues tracked by Rasmussen
Reports . Pelosi Generic Congressional Ballot herself is viewed favorably by 38% and unfavorably by 51% of voters nationwide. At her peak, shortly after becoming the first woman Speaker of the House, Pelosi was viewed favorably by 49% of voters."

For more encouraging news and analysis of this see: http://www.gopusa.com/theloft/?p=632