Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Fake Scandal Update

Dick Morris has a good name for the latest fake scandal: "The Phoniest Scandal of the Century (So Far)."

He notes:
The Democratic attempt to attack Bush for exercising his presidential power to dismiss employees who serve at his pleasure smacks of nothing so much as the trumped-up grounds for the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson in 1868. Back then, radical Republicans tried to oust him for failing to obey the Tenure of Office Act, which they passed, barring him from firing members of his Cabinet (in this case, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton) without Senate approval. Soon after Johnson’s acquittal, the Supreme Court invalidated the Tenure of Office Act, in effect affirming Johnson’s position.
Pesky history.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Yellow Donkeys

We noted in February that the Democrat Congress has the fewest veterans in history. Apparently a similar trend has been seen in their 2008 presidential candidates:
Only about one-third of the 22 presidential candidates have prior military experience... Furthermore, the chances of winning the nomination are bleak for most of these eight veterans - only Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Chris Dodd (D-CT) are currently top- and second-tier candidates, respectively.
The second tier must go pretty low.

Of the current Democrat candidates:
1. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY)- No prior military experience
2. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)- No prior military experience
3. Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC)- No prior military experience
4. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D)- No prior military experience
5. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT)- Served in the Army
6. Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE)- No prior military experience
7. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)- No prior military experience
8. Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK)- Served in the Army

The Latest Fake Scandal

Bruce Bartlett writes at RealClearPolitics:

George W. Bush and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales are taking a lot of heat from Democrats lately for allegedly discharging some U.S. attorneys for political reasons.

Of course, the president has every right to fire any political appointee in his administration for any reason, political or otherwise. In hindsight, it would have been far better if the administration had just said so from the beginning instead of wrongly implying that the attorneys were fired for cause.

Nevertheless, Democrats will continue to milk the issue for all it is worth in an effort to create a scandal and embarrass Bush by possibly forcing him to fire his close personal friend Gonzales. It may not be fair to Gonzales, but that's the way the political game is played in Washington. As they say, if you want a real friend here, get a dog.

For some history, read the rest here.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

DC Officials Confused by Murder Statistics

The Macaca Post has a fairly long rant attributed to DC's director of Youth Rehabilitation Services and acting police chief. Here is the title and relevant excerpts:

Give Us Back Our Gun Law

By Cathy Lanier and Vincent Schiraldi

...Back in 1995, the number of juveniles arrested for homicides in the District peaked at an alarming 14...

In 1995 the District already had one of the nation's toughest gun control laws, forbidding handgun possession in the home. This is the provision the appeals court recently overturned...

[Since then,] bans on multiple gun sales in neighboring states choked off black-market sales, while the D.C. ban on guns in the home reduced the ability of youths to borrow guns from family and friends. The result? The number of juveniles charged with homicide in the District fell 86 percent from 1995 to 2006. In 1995, 14 of the 227 people charged with a homicide in the District, or 6 percent, were juveniles. Last year, only two out of 106 people (fewer than 2 percent) charged with homicides in the District were juveniles. Because easy access to cheap handguns disproportionately jeopardizes D.C. youths, laws that restrict such access disproportionately benefit youths.

In 1995, when juvenile murder was at this "peak" the overreaching DC gun ban was almost two decades old. The law, in fact, predated the juveniles themselves.

By ignoring this fact and focusing on only the most recent years, Lanier and Schiraldi have stumbled into making an argument for relatively minor restrictions on gun sales. Maryland and Virginia, without enacting extremist gun bans, have helped save the District from itself.

In calling for the repeal of DC's gun ban, the Washington Times recently brought up a much more relevant statistic:
Since 1976, the city's murder rate is up 32 percent. The country's is down 36 percent. Let's see whether letting law-abiding citizens get more guns means less crime.
A 1976 law must be judged by statistics since 1976, not 1995. Now we know why those were left out.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

DC Gun Ban Struck Down

The Macaca Post reports:

A federal appellate panel [Friday] struck down parts of the District's gun law as unconstitutional, ruling that the city cannot bar people from keeping firearms in their homes.

The decision was a victory for six D.C. residents who said they wanted to keep firearms for self-defense. But it could have much broader implications: The case eventually could wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court as a test of the thorny issues surrounding the Second Amendment and the public's right to keep weapons.

The District has one of the strictest gun laws in the nation -- barring all handguns unless they were registered prior to 1976 -- and that law has come under attack over the past three decades in Congress as well as the courts. [The] ruling guts key parts of the law, but does not address provisions that prohibit people from carrying unregistered guns outside the home.

...

The ruling came on a 2-to-1 vote by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit...

"We conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms," [Senior Judge Laurence H. Silberman] declared in the 58-page majority ruling.

...

The Supreme Court addressed the Second Amendment in 1939, but it did not hold that the right to bear arms meant specifically that an individual could do so.

[The] majority opinion said that the District has a right to regulate and require registration of firearms but not to ban them outright in homes. The ruling also struck down a section of the D.C. law that required owners of registered guns to disassemble them, saying that would render the weapons useless.

Alexandria Considers Moving Election Day

WTOP reports:

The City of Alexandria has set up a special committee that will look into changing election day from May to November.

Last May, only 20 percent of registered voters in Alexandria turned out for the elections for mayor, city council and the school board...

A report is due back by the end of June.

The change could occur in 2009 and the City Council would have to approve any recommendations made by the committee.

La R├ępublique populaire d'Alexandrie should also consider making municipal elections non-partisan or establishing council districts so that voters have some influence on the candidates other than providing a partisan rubber stamp.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Capitol Visitor Center Delayed Yet Again

The Macaca Post reports on the latest delay:

When it's finished, the new Capitol Visitor Center will have nearly five acres of Pennsylvania sandstone on the walls, pink Tennessee marble on the floors and gray Virginia granite on the facade out front.

There will be handrails of cast bronze, wood paneling of rich, dark cherry and ceilings of fine plaster.

There will be skylights, fountains, granite columns, spiral staircases and a stone niche for the funeral platform that bore the body of Abraham Lincoln.

It will be grand, its creators say.

When it's finished.

Last month, the center's probable opening, already three years delayed, was pushed back again -- to summer 2008. And last week, a project official told Congress the schedule was undergoing further evaluation.

...

Decades in the making, the three-level, underground complex, adjacent to the Capitol's east front, will be the biggest expansion in the Capitol's history. It will also be one of the most striking, and controversial, tourist attractions in the country and much more than just a visitor center.

It probably will wind up costing about $600 million, government auditors believe -- more than double the initial $265 million budget projection from 1999 and just shy of the cost of Washington's new $611 million baseball stadium. Post-Sept. 11, 2001, security worries, as well as changes in design and content, have driven up the cost.

It will also be famous, at least at first, for the chronic delays that pushed its debut from 2005 to 2006 to 2007 to 2008, as the added work and hundreds of changes slowed the pace and clogged construction.

"A monument to government inefficiency, ineptitude and excessiveness," said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), a longtime critic.

...

Damned and praised, construction on the Capitol Visitor Center is about 91 percent complete, officials said last week.

For more information, check out our report from last July: "Capitol Visitor Center Delayed Again" and January 2006's "The Capitol Visitor Center."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Democrat Congress to Bail Out Big Fruit?

From Bloomberg.com:

Democrats May Add Money for Avocados, Mangoes to Iraq Measure

President George W. Bush's first spending fight with the Democratic-controlled Congress may come over the Iraq war -- and avocados and cattle and flood protection.

Lawmakers are pushing to add billions of dollars to the administration's war-funding request to meet a host of unrelated demands...

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, told the National Farmers Union March 2 that the Iraq spending measure will include an unspecified sum of agricultural aid...

[Senator Kent Conrad,] North Dakota Democrat, is asking for $4 billion for farmers hit by drought. California lawmakers, meanwhile, have requested $1.2 billion for avocado, mango, orange and grapefruit growers whose crops were destroyed by a January freeze.

Big Fruit should not be bailed out because they had some bad weather. That's what crop insurance is for.

Last year, the administration requested $94.5 billion in emergency funding for the war and Hurricane Katrina relief. By the time the Senate passed the measure, it had grown to $109 billion. The Bush administration threatened to veto the plan, prompting lawmakers to scale the measure back to the president's request.

A spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget hinted this year's measure might meet a similar fate.

"Using the war supplemental as a vehicle for funding non- related, add-in initiatives would only delay the process and in turn delay getting our troops in the field the resources they need,'' said spokesman Sean Kevelighan.

This is also why the President needs a line item veto.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Slave-Owning Indian Tribes Seek to Expel Black Citizens

Vinita, OK - 1,200 miles outside the Beltway

The Macaca Post reports:

The 250,000-member Cherokee Nation will vote in a special election today whether to override a 141-year-old treaty and change the tribal constitution to bar "freedmen," the descendants of former tribal slaves, from being members of the sovereign nation.

...the Cherokee freedmen see the vote as less about self-determination than about discrimination and historical blinders. They see in the referendum hints of racism and a desire by some Cherokees to deny the tribe's slave-owning past.

...

The issue is a remnant of the "peculiar institution" of Southern slavery and a discordant note set against the ringing statements of racial solidarity often voiced by people of color.

"It's oppressed people that's oppressing people," said Verdie Triplett, 53, an outspoken freedman of the Choctaw tribe, which, like the Cherokee, once owned black slaves.

Cherokees, along with Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks and Seminoles, were long known as the "Five Civilized Tribes" because they adopted many of the ways of their white neighbors in the South, including the holding of black slaves.

...

The tribe fought for the Confederacy. In defeat, it signed a federal treaty in 1866 committing that its slaves, who had been freed by tribal decree during the war, would be absorbed as citizens of the Cherokee Nation.

...

Descendants of those freed tribal slaves would number in the hundreds of thousands today, Walton-Raji said.

But segregation and the civil rights movement separated native members of the tribes from freedmen. Today, no more than a few thousand descendants of the slaves are officially members of the five tribes, leaving their prospects of defeating the Cherokee referendum slim. By late last month, about 2,800 had re-registered in time to vote.

...

The Cherokee Nation expelled many descendants of slaves in 1983 by requiring them to show a degree of Indian blood through the Dawes rolls. A tribal court reinstated them in March 2006. That spurred today's special election, which received a go-ahead Feb. 21 when a federal judge in Washington denied the freedmen's request for an injunction to halt the balloting.

And then of course there's the money:
Advocates of expelling the freedmen call it a matter of safeguarding tribal resources, which include a $350 million annual budget from federal and tribal revenue, and Cherokees' share of a gambling industry that, for U.S. tribes overall, takes in $22 billion a year. The grass-roots campaign for expulsion has given heavy play to warnings that keeping freedmen in the Cherokee Nation could encourage thousands more to sign up for a slice of the tribal pie.
More reasons that such racist "governments" should be abolished. While American state governments are apologizing for slavery, race-based Indian governments are extending its effects.

Update: In high turnout vote, Cherokees violate treaty and expel black members by a 53 point margin.

Will Obama Apologize for Slavery?

The Baltimore Sun reports:

Many people know that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's father was from Kenya and his mother from Kansas.

But an intriguing sliver of his family history has received almost no attention until now: It appears that forebears of his white mother owned slaves, according to genealogical research and census records.

Obama has only one PC choice - he must apologize for slavery.

The records could add a new dimension to questions by some who have asked whether Obama - who was raised in East Asia and Hawaii and educated at Columbia and Harvard - is attuned to the struggles of American blacks descended from West African slaves.

"The twist is very interesting," said Ronald Walters, a political scientist who is director of the African-American Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland, College Park. "It deepens his connection with the experience of slavery, even if it deepens it on a different side of the equation."

...

It was unclear last night whether Obama was aware of any slave-holding ancestors, but he makes no mention of them in his 1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.

Perhaps reparations should be considered as well.