Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Did Democrats Allow Attacks Against the Capitol?

The Washington Times comments on the attack on the U.S. Capitol:

Historically, the speaker of the House is a close collaborator with the Capitol Police on security matters. The speaker and aides play a substantial role that includes both real-time decision-making in response to incidents at the Capitol, as well as the drafting of security procedures and policies...

In the best-case scenario here, Mrs. Pelosi now has in hand a great example of how not to handle out-of-control protesters...

Things are not always so simple in the party of Cynthia McKinney, however, which has a history of friction with the Capitol Police and a less-than-ideal record on policing and crime...

We don't know who gave the order to let the vandals approach the Capitol, although it was reportedly issued by Capitol Police Chief Phillip Morse and his deputy. But if this policy comes from the Democratic leadership, it would be quite a shabby thing...


Will Politicians Go After "Big Corn"?

OpinionJournal has a fairly detailed review of the federal government's support of ethanol and its effects on other areas of the economy, concluding:
So here comes Big Corn. Make that Very, Very Big Corn. Sooner or later, our experience with this huge public gamble may make us yearn for the efficiency, capacity, lower cost and--yes--superior environmental record of "Big Oil."
Meanwhile, Mexico is experiencing what the Macaca Post calls "the worst tortilla crisis in its modern history" as a result of increased demand for corn.

Big Corn should be safe in the U.S. -- at least as long as Iowa is an early voting state.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Hippie Vandals Allowed to Attack Capitol

The Hill reports:

Anti-war protesters were allowed to spray paint on part of the west front steps of the United States Capitol building after police wereordered to break their security line by their leadership, two sources told The Hill.

According to the sources, police officers were livid when theywere told to fall back by U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) Chief Phillip Morse and Deputy Chief Daniel Nichols. "They were the commanders on the scene," one source said, who requested anonymity. " It was disgusting."

Can I Vote in the House of Representatives Too?

George Will has a good article on the Democrat scheme to let non-Representatives vote in the House of Representatives:

What part of the words "several states" do House Democrats not understand? Their cynical assumption is that "the people of the several states" will not notice this dilution of their representation in the House.

Members of Congress today represent, on average, 687,000 people. The population of Guam is 171,000; of American Samoa, 58,000; and of the Virgin Islands, 109,000. The 3.9 million Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and have the right to vote for statehood, which they have rejected in three plebiscites (1967, 1993, 1998).


January 1993 was the last time Democrats engaged in this cynical political alchemy, transmuting delegates from four island jurisdictions, and one from the seat of the federal government, into the functional equivalents of representatives selected by people of "the several states." In January 1993, two months after they lost 10 House seats, they counterfeited half that many votes -- even though they had an 82-seat majority. One year later, such arrogance contributed to the Democrats' loss of their House majority.


For Speaker Pelosi, two questions about the possible scope of your majoritarian abuse: Given your disregard of the unambiguous language and clear intent of Article I, Section 2 -- which uses the word "state" eight times to designate the only entity from which a member of the House may be chosen -- do you acknowledge any impediment to using your majority to give "Committee of the Whole" voting power to a delegate from, say, the AFL-CIO?

Or, for that matter: Do you think that Article I, Section 5 ("Each house shall be the judge of the ... qualifications of its own members") allows your majority to give such voting powers to your hairdresser? If not, why not?

The full article has more details and history.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Who's the Leader?

From Pollster.com, referring to potential 2008 presidential candidates:
On the Republican side, former Mayor Giuliani continues to lead the field, despite more press reporting that puts Sen. McCain in the front runner spot. McCain's stronger organization and more serious start are no doubt part of the press' view that McCain is the stronger contender. But so far the public hasn't gone along with that.
With that kind of reasoning coming from the media, we should all be surprised that they don't report on the activities of President Kerry (#2 is close enough!).

There's also an interesting note about some polls including "former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson" (also known for his role on Law & Order). At the very least, Thompson is one name that seems to go well with Giuliani...

Democrats: "Freshmen" No Longer Politically Correct

From the Hotline:
...it is no longer politically correct in the House Dem caucus to refer to the newly elected members from '06 as "Freshmen." ... House Maj. Whip Jim Clyburn referred to the "freshmen" and then corrected himself and then went on to admit the new policy... House Maj. Whip Jim Clyburn referred to the "freshmen" and then corrected himself and then went on to admit the new policy... [it is] "suspected" it had something to do with the word "new" being more appealing to the public than "freshman," which can be seen by some as derogatory.
If they keep it among themselves, it is much better for Democrats to waste time trying to out-PC each other than to be legislating.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Five Non-Congressmen Given Votes in Congress

The Washington Times reports:

House lawmakers yesterday passed a resolution allowing D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and territorial delegates to vote on legislative amendments, despite opposition from Republicans who called the rule change an unconstitutional power grab by the Democratic majority.

"Who's next? Howard Dean?" Rep. Tom Price, Georgia Republican, asked on the House floor yesterday, referring to the chairman of the Democratic National Committee and former governor of Vermont. "He has a significant constituency. Why not let Howard Dean have a seat in the House of Representatives and a vote in the Committee of the Whole?"

The mostly symbolic resolution, which passed 226-191, will allow Mrs. Norton and other Democratic delegates from American Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands -- as well as the Republican resident commissioner of Puerto Rico -- to vote on amendments to legislation in the House Committee of the Whole, but not on a bill's final passage.

However, lawmakers would take a new vote without the delegates' ballots if they cast the deciding votes.


House Republicans also have accused Democrats of simply wanting to pad their vote totals with the resolution.

During the debate yesterday, they called the measure "a remarkable abuse of power" and "representation without taxation"...

Citizens in the territories, excluding the District, do not pay federal income taxes.

Republicans rightly abolished the rule in 1995 after a federal judge ruled that the voting procedure rendered the votes of non-Congressmen "meaningless".

Louisiana Governor 50 Points Down in New Orleans

The State of Louisiana - 1100 miles outside the Beltway

The Washington Times reports:

Republican Rep. Bobby Jindal [Monday] declared his candidacy for the Louisiana governorship but vowed to delay campaigning until after the April conclusion of the state's legislative session to avoid politicizing Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts.


A poll by the Southern Media and Opinion Research shows Mrs. Blanco's support among voters is 35 percent, compared with 59 percent for Mr. Jindal. Mrs. Blanco defeated Mr. Jindal by four percentage points in 2003.


Mr. Jindal, the first to announce a candidacy to challenge Mrs. Blanco, emphasized his interest in contracting the race's length -- a move that runs counter to electoral trends.

"It is my belief that campaigns are too long as they are, and that people grow weary of the barrage of charges and countercharges," Mr. Jindal said. "I want to avoid D.C.-style politics with mudslinging and instead focus on solving the problems that our state faces."

The poll... shows that Mr. Jindal... received overwhelming support in New Orleans -- 72 percent -- while Mrs. Blanco pulled 22 percent support.

Mrs. Blanco's low numbers are attributed to her responses to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Mrs. Blanco initially rejected President Bush's offer to deploy federal troops, after waiting 24 hours to make a decision. Days later, Mrs. Blanco was wired for a television interview and whispered to her press secretary that she wished she had requested troops earlier.

This serves as yet another reminder that New Orleans was doomed by geography and state & local officials, not a President a thousand miles away.

Subsequently, Blanco made news for whining about not being mentioned in the State of the Union Address:

Gov. Kathleen Blanco angrily criticized President Bush on Wednesday for not mentioning 2005's destructive hurricanes in his State of the Union speech, and said Louisiana is being shortchanged in federal recovery funding for political reasons.

"I guess the pains of the hurricane are yesterday's news in Washington," Blanco said.

No, yesterday's news was yesterday. Hurricane Katrina is yesteryear's news.

Click here for more information on Bobby Jindal.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

2007 State of the Union Address

Two of the best excerpts from the President's State of the Union Address last night:

Each of us is guided by our own convictions -- and to these we must stay faithful. Yet we're all held to the same standards, and called to serve the same good purposes: To extend this nation's prosperity; to spend the people's money wisely; to solve problems, not leave them to future generations; to guard America against all evil; and to keep faith with those we have sent forth to defend us.


A future of hope and opportunity begins with a growing economy -- and that is what we have. We're now in the 41st month of uninterrupted job growth, in a recovery that has created 7.2 million new jobs -- so far. Unemployment is low, inflation is low, and wages are rising. This economy is on the move, and our job is to keep it that way, not with more government, but with more enterprise.

And the funniest line of the night:
Let us have a serious, civil, and conclusive debate, so that you can pass, and I can sign, comprehensive immigration reform into law.
Serious, civil, and conclusive? From a Democrat Congress?

Reading or listening to the whole speech is highly recommended. It wasn't as short as I had hoped, but it was a very good speech.

And now, for others' observations:
What was worth commenting on, however, was the contrast in blinks per minute between Pelosi and Cheney. While Pelosi clocked a good 25-30 blinks per minute, Cheney barely mustered 3 or 4. If energy conservation is a personal virtue—as he once said so dismissively—Cheney is a saint. The man functions admirably on standby power.
Tom Shales at the Macaca Post seems to think there's some value to the mindlessly repetetive post-speech coverage, commending networks that spent more time talking about the speech than covering it.

The more interesting observations were based on comparing the behavior of the Vice President and the Speaker:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Cheney, sitting in the customary place behind President Bush as he addressed the nation from the House chamber last night, resembled nothing so much as a seesaw.

...there were plenty of lines to present Cheney and Pelosi -- and their respective sides -- with the dilemma of when to stand or clap.

Bush called for the need to "pass medical liability reform." Cheney applauded. Pelosi took a drink of water.

The awkwardness increased when the subject finally came to Iraq.

Bush urged lawmakers to "turn events toward victory." Cheney stood and applauded. Pelosi held to her chair, but, as the applaud spread, finally stood without clapping.

Bush called for the United States "to succeed in Iraq." Cheney again stood and clapped. Pelosi wiped her lips and remained seated, as did most Democrats, except for relative hawks such as Clinton and the newly minted independent, Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.)...

Territorial Quarters?

The Washington Times reports:

The House of Representatives yesterday passed a bill introduced by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District's nonvoting representative, that would allow the nation's capital to submit a design for the reverse side of a quarter, meaning the city soon could join the 50 states in having a customized coin.


The House passed the measure four times in previous years, but the Senate blocked each attempt.


Mrs. Norton's bill also expands the program to include American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Suggestions for the D.C. coin's design range from serious to sarcastic. Ideas include historical images such as Frederick Douglass, Duke Ellington, the Capital Beltway and the panda, but another was the depiction of tourists on the Mall handing their wallets to a smiling mugger.

I expect it will end up being some view of the Capitol, although the Beltway would be a great idea. DC could have the first quarter featuring a landmark of neighboring states. Or they can make the even easier decision of reissuing the Maryland quarter since that's where DC residents should be voting in the first place.

The Macaca Post also reports.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tens of Thousands March for Life

The Washington Times reports:

Tens of thousands of people converged on the District yesterday to participate in the March for Life and to attend Masses in recognition of the 34th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in the Roe v. Wade case.

The march began at about 2 p.m. on the Mall and moved east past the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court building in Northeast.

President Bush sent a message of support. In a telephone call broadcast over loudspeakers, he told the marchers that he shares their goal of seeing "the day when every child is welcomed in life and protected into law."


Students, members of religious groups, families and children slogged through mud and toted signs with messages such as "Abortion kills" and "Justice for all, born and preborn."

The Rev. Luke J. Robinson, pastor of Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church in Frederick, Md., asked what would have happened had Martin Luther King been aborted, then described the process in detail.

"I know it sounds horrible, but abortion is horrible," he said, his voice thundering across the Mall. "It is a murderous and bloody business."

The Macaca Post also reports.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Tens of Thousands Expected to March for Life

The Washington Times reports:

More than 20,000 people are expected tomorrow to come to the District to mark the 34th anniversary of the Supreme Court's abortion ruling in the Roe v. Wade case.

Rallies are scheduled to begin at 8:45 a.m., followed by a March for Life procession and a youth Mass at the Verizon Center in Northwest.

The march is expected to begin at 1 p.m. and last more than three hours -- starting on the Mall, between Fourth and Seventh streets Northwest, then moving east across Pennsylvania Avenue, past the U.S. Capitol and ending at East Capitol and Second streets Northeast, outside the Supreme Court.

Click here for the rest of the story.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Shorter State of the Union Address

The Washington Times reports:

President Bush on Tuesday will deliver a stripped-down State of the Union address, leaving out the usual laundry list of policy initiatives, and emphasizing common ground with Democrats in a nod to the new political reality on Capitol Hill, the White House said yesterday.

"Some of the old State of the Union formulas have kind of run their course," spokesman Tony Snow said.

"Part of the calculation here is that a lot of times these speeches, they just go on and on and you lose people," Mr. Snow said. "It's better to spend some time focusing on big issues so that people do get a sense of your engagement with them, and there will be opportunities to pick up other topics in much greater detail later on."

The presentation, which will skip the old, hourlong formula in which "every department and every agency gets a line or a mention," was devised because, as Mr. Snow said with a smile, "we want people to watch."

Hopefully this will be the beginning of a trend. State of the Union speeches are normally far too long.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Democrats Expected to Leave Border Open

From the AP:

Mayors of Texas border towns who met with Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff on Wednesday said they are confident a 850-mile fence will not be built on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Laredo Mayor Raul Salinas said it is "highly unlikely" that the fence, as authorized in a law signed by President Bush, would be funded.


Bush signed the law last year and the Republican-controlled Congress provided money to start work on the fence. But Republicans worry that now they have their majority on Capitol Hill, they never will see the fence built. Democrats in charge today generally oppose the fence.

Based on the comments of some Democrats, there is no rush.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he wants the Bush administration to offer a plan for securing the northern and southern borders.

"My preference is to delay the construction of a fence until we have a plan," said Thompson, D-Miss.

That's not a plan, that's avoiding the issue. If Democrats really wanted a "plan", they could come up with one instead of demanding it from their greatest enemy.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Avoiding the Tough Choices

RealClearPolitics has an interesting piece by Robert Samuelson: "Seven Tough Choices We Will Not Make". It's a seven point plan to combat the budget deficit and dependence on foreign oil. It would probably take a crisis to seriously discuss most of his proposals. although several are nowhere near as simple as they sound (doubling the price of gas, for example, would most hurt the people who can't afford more efficient cars). But it's an interesting read.

The conclusion:

The fact that something like this won't soon be proposed -- let alone passed -- speaks volumes about our politics... There is little sense of common interests and shared obligations. Politicians resort to symbolic acts that seem more meaningful than they actually are: the minimum wage, for instance.

What results is a politically expedient world of make-believe that takes many sensible compromises off the table. Drilling in ANWR, for example, wouldn't ravage the environment. But for many Democrats, it's a cause celebre. Voting to open ANWR would be politically unpardonable. Similarly, some tax increases wouldn't destroy the economy; it has operated satisfactorily at higher levels of taxation. But for many Republicans, voting for any tax increase would also be a political death sentence. We are condemned to rituals that usually get us nowhere.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Ok, who took my Butterfingers?

What's Wrong With Anecdotes

Michelle Malkin has an interesting piece in the Washington Times. It seems to support two basic propositions - don't trust the media and don't trust anecdotes (I'm already getting Al Gore debate flashbacks):

It's official: The editors of the New York Times have no shame. Don't take my word for it. Listen to the Times' own ombudsman, Byron Calame.

On Sunday, Mr. Calame wrote a stunning column debunking an April 9 New York Times Magazine cover story on abortion in El Salvador. The sensational piece by freelance writer Jack Hitt alleged that women there had been thrown in prison for 30-year terms for having had abortions. Mr. Hitt described his visit to one of them, inmate Carmen Climaco. "She is now 26 years old, four years into her 30-year sentence" for aborting an 18-week-old fetus, Mr. Hitt reported.

The magazine featured heart-rending photos of Climaco's 11-year-old daughter, eyes filled with tears as she clutched a photo of her jailed mom. Cruel. Horrible. Outrageous. And utterly, demonstrably, false. Climaco was actually convicted of murder for strangling her newborn baby.


Authorities found Climaco's dead baby hidden in a box wrapped in bags under her bed. Moreover, Lifesite reported, forensic examination showed it was a full-term normal delivery. The child was breathing at birth. The official cause of death was asphyxia by strangulation.

Mr. Hitt's main sources of info came from a pro-abortion group called Ipas. The group would profit from legalized abortion in El Salvador since it peddles abortion vacuum aspirators. Mr. Hitt's translator consulted for Ipas, which launched a fund-raising campaign to free Carmen Climaco and bring her to America. Pro-abortion groups recycled Climaco's story, citing the Times' bogus propaganda to scare up opposition to any abortion restrictions here.


Mr. Calame concluded that "Accuracy and fairness were not pursued with the vigor Times readers have a right to expect." That's too polite. The Times slung bull and refuse to clean it up. The Times' Climaco-gate, like the Associated Press' Jamil Hussein-gate and Reuters' fauxtography scandal and CBS's Rathergate, will go down in mainstream history as yet another case of textbook media malpractice.

Or maybe just a post-birth abortion.

Pelosi: Samoans Don't Deserve the Minimum Wage

The Washington Times reports:

House Republicans [Thursday] declared "something fishy" about the major tuna company in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco district being exempted from the minimum-wage increase that Democrats approved [last] week.

"I am shocked," said Rep. Eric Cantor... noting that Mrs. Pelosi campaigned heavily on promises of honest government. "Now we find out that she is exempting hometown companies from minimum wage. This is exactly the hypocrisy and double talk that we have come to expect from the Democrats."


The bill... extends for the first time the federal minimum wage to the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands. However, it exempts American Samoa, another Pacific island territory that would become the only U.S. territory not subject to federal minimum-wage laws.

One of the biggest opponents of the federal minimum wage in Samoa is StarKist Tuna, which owns one of the two packing plants that together employ more than 5,000 Samoans, or nearly 75 percent of the island's work force. StarKist's parent company, Del Monte Corp., has headquarters in San Francisco, which is represented by Mrs. Pelosi. The other plant belongs to California-based Chicken of the Sea.

"There's something fishy going on here," said Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, North Carolina Republican.

During the House debate... on stem-cell research, Mr. McHenry raised a parliamentary inquiry as to whether an amendment could be offered that would exempt American Samoa from stem-cell research, "just as it was for the minimum-wage bill."

A clearly perturbed Rep. Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who was presiding, cut off Mr. McHenry and shouted, "No, it would not be."

So here's the message we're getting from Pelosi and the Democrats - American Samoans aren't American enough to earn the minimum wage. (Or at least not if their employers are from Pelosi's district.)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Democrats Loom Over Denver

The Washington Post reports:

Democrats selected Denver to host their 2008 presidential convention, turning down New York in favor of a problematic but enthusiastic bid from a city in the increasingly Democratic Rocky Mountain West.


The city's bid was nearly scuttled last month when the influential stagehands union refused to agree not to strike if the convention was held at the nonunion Pepsi Center.

In the end, Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean enlisted the help of labor leaders in Washington, including AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union. A compromise was negotiated to staff the Pepsi Center entirely with union labor for the duration of the convention, effectively taking the last major obstacle off the table.

Dean acknowledged that there were some labor issues still to be worked out, and there was no evidence that hosting a political convention in a particular geographic region boosted a presidential candidate's chances of victory in that region.

The decision followed speculation that Democrat special interests would prevent Denver from hosting:

(Washington Times) There's a reason Denver hasn't hosted the Democratic National Convention in almost 100 years: It's just not a union-friendly town.

That much became evident after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) again postponed its decision on whether Denver or New York will be the venue for its 2008 convention, thanks to a recent labor uprising in the Mile High City.

With all the labor trouble in Denver, Democrats might be tempted to scrap the whole idea and head for New York, but there's trouble in the Big Apple, too. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg hinted that he doesn't want to host the event, saying that the city was tapped out after hosting the Republican National Convention in 2004.


The delay puts Democrats months behind Republicans, who announced in September that their convention would be held in Minneapolis-St. Paul and have even sent out press kits.

It looked as if Denver had clinched the convention bid last fall, when the host committee finally persuaded a local hotel to sign a union agreement. Until then, Denver had no union hotels, a deal-breaker for the Democrats, who count organized labor as a key component of their political coalition.

Enter Jim Taylor, president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local No. 7, who threatened to strike during the convention unless organizers pulled out of the Pepsi Center, the proposed site for most of the convention meetings.

Mr. Taylor says the Pepsi Center is "anti-union," noting that it doesn't contract with organized labor. The Pepsi Center, home to both the Colorado Avalanche hockey team and Denver Nuggets basketball team, is owned by Stan Kroenke, who's married to Wal-Mart heiress Anne Walton.

Although Democrats may be willing to overlook the irony of holding their convention at a facility owned by the Wal-Mart family, widely regarded as the chief scourge of the modern labor movement, it appears that Mr. Taylor isn't.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Ellison Will Swear on Interpretation of Koran

The Washington Post reports:

Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, found himself under attack last month when he announced he'd take his oath of office on the Koran -- especially from Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode, who called it a threat to American values.

Yet the holy book at tomorrow's ceremony has an unassailably all-American provenance. We've learned that the new congressman -- in a savvy bit of political symbolism -- will hold the personal copy once owned by Thomas Jefferson.


Jefferson's copy is an English translation by George Sale published in the 1750s...

Both the Post and Mr. Ellison (the alleged Muslim) miss a pretty big fact about Islam here - a translation isn't really a Koran:
For Muslims, the divine Word assumed a specific, Arabic form, and that form is as essential as the meaning that the words convey. Hence only the Arabic Koran is the Koran, and translations are simply interpretations.
Now, let's have someone get sworn in with a picture Bible.

Hot Air shares the observation and has a bit more on the subject.

Monday, January 01, 2007

No Debate in New Congress

The Washington Post reports:

As they prepare to take control of Congress this week and face up to campaign pledges to restore bipartisanship and openness, Democrats are planning to largely sideline Republicans from the first burst of lawmaking.

House Democrats intend to pass a raft of popular measures as part of their well-publicized plan for the first 100 hours. They include tightening ethics rules for lawmakers, raising the minimum wage, allowing more research on stem cells and cutting interest rates on student loans.

But instead of allowing Republicans to fully participate in deliberations, as promised after the Democratic victory in the Nov. 7 midterm elections, Democrats now say they will use House rules to prevent the opposition from offering alternative measures...

No real suprise there.

It will be time for some vetoes... if anything makes it out of the Senate.