Thursday, November 30, 2006

OP ED: Welcome to the Lieberman Senate.

Well… now that the Democrats control the Senate … ah … hmmmmm. What did I just say? The Democrats control the Senate? No. No. No. In fact, the person who controls the Senate is a man the Dems booted … betrayed … insulted. The person who controls the Senate is the newly independent Senator from Connecticut, Joe Lieberman.

His thumping (the new term of art, thanks to Bush) of the Democratic nominee, who was vigorously endorsed by Lieberman’s old colleagues in the Senate, makes Lieberman a truly independent legislator. He is free of party loyalty and entitled to more than a little pay back, which I feel certain will be the case at the most critical moments.

On every close vote, he is going to be the “go to” guy. On any issue where Lieberman is needed to create a Democrat majority, his price can be high. If he decides to vote with the GOP on Iraq, abortion, and some social and economic measures, he creates a tie in the Senate, and Vice President Dick Cheney gets to caste the deciding vote.

At the same time, the guy who might have balanced off Lieberman by crossing over to the Democrat ranks, GOPer Lincoln Chaffee, was retired by the voters. This is truly the “Lieberman Congress.” He is the Majority Leader of Self --- a majority of one.

It is going to be interesting, to say the least.

REACT: If you can't join 'me, draft 'em

In the previous blog, I alluded to the legislation proposed by New York Democrat Charlie Rangel, which would re-impose the draft. As I think about it, this deserves a little more attention.

Who would have expected it? After a significant victory at the polls based on opposition to the Iraq war, the grateful Democrats propose to end all wars by … ya have to love the logic … by bringing back the old draft. If this proposal had seen the light of day during the campaign, it would likely have cost the Democrats the Senate – maybe even the House.

If I happened to be one of the ubiquitous anti war peaceniks who gave the all to the Democrats, I would be a bit upset. Instead of sparing my kids the rigors of war, I now set them on acertain path to participation in the much despised military-industrial complex.

Rangel suggest that if the offspring of the warmongers had to face the enemy, there would be no wars. Well, under that thinking, there would be no United States … no France … no England. There are times an honorable nation has to repel the forces of evil.

But, even in an unpopular war, the draft would make cannon fodder of the children of the hawks and the doves. At least, the hawks, doves, and yes, even the chickens have a choice.

Rangel has it all backwards, as usual. (You know, in D.C. he not considered the sharpest knife in the drawer.) A voluntary military require … well… volunteers. This means that an unpopular war would be difficult to man (or woman). Noble battles tend to draw more volunteers. With conscription, the super hawks in Washington can undertake any war … popular or not without concern for troop levels

Finally, let’s remember that the powerful and influential will always find ways to get around “the system.” Don’t count on THEIR kids to be in the front line. It didn’t happen under the old draft system, and won’t happen in any new one. Those with the means and the desire to exempt their kids will find a way.

They say that Rangel is offering draft legislation just to make a point, with no desire to see it passed – and no ability to get it passed. If that is the case, then his point is well made. Rangel is a contentious fool.

And he now heads the all powerful Ways and Means committee. Ouch!

OP ED: GOP may be the winner in this eleciton.

Since I think political philosophy is much more important than partisanship, I have come to the conclusion that the defeat of the Bush-led Republican party is a good thing – for the nation and for the conservative cause.

I am pleased that the shift in power was accomplished by a very small shift in voter preference. When the nation is just about equally divided along party lines, it only takes a few votes to cause seismic changes in relative partisan power. Contrary to Democrat claims and desires, this was not a mandate for change, but a mild course adjustment for the public. If the Dems actually believe their own utterances, they are likely to pursue an agenda that will put the elephant party back in the driver’s seat in two years.

Much of the Democrat success was through the recruitment of candidates a lot further to the right than had been the case in the past. Pro-lifers and born again Christians were among the Election Day winners. The upcoming Congress will not likely jump too far to the left. It is very likely that the House and Senate leadership, being more of the strident left tradition, will find rebellion in the ranks if the leadership advances an agenda too liberal for their members – and the American people.

If the Democrat victory is not as scary as it first appeared, the GOP defeat is not quite so tragic. This Republican administration lacked a conservative compass. Elements of the Patriot Act invoke a freedom-stealing nationalism that any legitimate conservative would abhor – and we did. The spend thrift ways of the GOP majority was disheartening to the point of despair.

It was not easy supporting the D.C. Republicans merely because the alternative seems so much more egregious. Now we have the alternative. Now we can plan for a future with a renewed (hopefully) GOP most dedicated to principle.

In addition, the Republican leadership in the House and Senate was uninspired, at best. One would think that any change would be an improvement, but looking at the installation of the junior uninspired leadership to the top posts suggests that the congressional Republicans still don’t get it. It is ironic that Dennis Hastert was at once the longest serving GOP Speaker, and the least effective. Senate leader Bill Frist had the moxie, but lacked the charisma. Their good-old-boy approach was one of the under reported reasons for the collapse of the vaunted GOP political machine.

REACT: Milton Friedman's last thrity years are a gift.

The legendary Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman has passed away at the age of 94. That is quite an accomplishment. If you do not think so, you are not aware of how I almost killed him some thirty years ago.

I have two professional relationships with Friedman involving two of his greatest passions. The most recent was as an advisor to the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Way back when, however, I was retained as a senior advisor to the National Tax Limitation Committee, a group founded by my friend Lew Uhler. Friedman was the intellectual powerhouse behind the concept of a tax-limitation constitutional amendment.

One day it was my task to chauffeur our group from our hotel to a meeting in a nearby office building. We were running late. Lew popped into the front passenger seat. Friedman and his wife, Rose, took up the rear seat. I was driving. Since we were running late, I did a bit of a jackrabbit start.

Well … Friedman had not exactly taken up his seat, as I said. He was in the process of taking up his seat, with on foot on the floorboard and the other on the pavement. As the car lurched forward, Freidman flew backward. Rose’s scream brought me to a halt. As I looked back, the rear door was open, the seat behind Lew was empty… and there was some guy rolling around on the ground a few feet behind the car.

Fortunately, he survived without as much as a bruise. Outside of an abrasion on his suit, he was in mint condition. If everyone every thought of Friedman as anything but gracious, you were not there to see his kind assurances, and his assistance that I drive – despite the understandable offer from Lew to take over the wheel.

While I am sad to see Friedman leave this world without the benefit of his contemporaneous wisdom, I am thankful for all the days he has been around since that fateful day.

OUTRAGE: What makes Horist see red?

OUTRAGE #1: Illinois Senator Dick Durban has proposed legislation that would excuse government lawyers from the burden of their student loans. You got it. This special class of public servant will be allowed to opt out of their contractual obligation to repay us taxpayers the money we fronted for their lucrative careers. Since a lot lawyers cum judges spend a least a portion of their career on the public payroll, this could be a pretty big blow to the Student Loan Program, which is not exactly in good shape to begin with. Also, consider that Prosecutorial abuse is reaching pandemic proportions, and these are the very people Durbin would give yet another reward. This also means some other income-limited person will not get his or her student loan. Talk about a program to help the rich at the expense of the poor. How much more can we do to make lawyers a privileged class not seen since we slipped out from under the yoke of royalty? Shakespeare wrote that society could only improve if we kill off the lawyers. (Gotta love the Bard of Avon. <-- That’s a reference to Shakespeare for those of you who attend urban public schools.) While slaying attorneys is a bit extreme (in most cases), fewer lawyers and LESS special privileges would be a healthy move. But what can you expect from lawmakers who mostly are … lawyers. If this trend continues, lawyers well surpass public school teachers as the most coddled class in our society. Yes, there are good lawyers … even great ones … about 20 percent of them, I would estimate. Damn few go on to be judges, however – and almost none work for the big law firms.

OUTRAGE #2: Illinois Senator Dick Durbin.

OUTRAGE #3: Convicted felon and former Illinois Governor George Ryan was given an undeserved Christmas present when the Appellate Court said he could remain a free man until his appeal is heard. Since the appeal could drag on for years, many think Ryan will never serve a day behind bars. No wonder Illinois is the most corrupt state in America. This is a guy whose corruption led to the deaths of six children in an auto/truck accident where the truck driver was operating with an illegal license obtained by cash to Ryan’s campaign fund. Unfortunately, those kids will not have an opportunity to appeal their fate.

OUTRAGE #4: Did you hear about Lisa Jensen, the woman who was ordered to remove a Christmas wreath in the shape of a peace symbol because it offended some (at least one) of her neighbors in the Loma Linda Homeowners Association of Pagosa Springs, Colorado? Seems like Association President Bob Kearns demanded that his Architecture Control Committee (a bit Orwellian?) order the removal of the offending holiday greenery. He said it was an anti Iraq war message, some said a symbol of Satan. The good Committee refused. (Whew! Still patriots among us.), so Big Brother Bob then fired the Committee, and imposed a $25 a day fine on the nice lady. She now owes more than $1000. Let me first say that I understand she was probably sending a somewhat subtle political message about the war. What about the Satan thing, you ask? Well … fruitcakes are not the only thing with lots of nuts. Let me add that I would probably disagree with the woman’s politics and the message –more likely to agree with good ole boy Bob on most matters. However, I do cherish that First Amendment. How can we talk of free speech if a person cannot express something as innocent as a political opinion? This is Christmas, for God’s sake. (ß Notice “Christmas” and “God” in the same sentence. Not something you see often these days.) What a horrid concept – an expression of peace during the Christmas season. Bah humbug!! But, isn’t that what it is all about, love and peace? Or, have I been theologically misled by the Hallmark Card Company. It seems the First Amendment is coming under assault from every direction these days. This kind of stuff worries me because with liberals in charge of Congress and the courts, I now have to worry about MY free speech. Since I am not willing to defend Lisa’s right to the death, a la Nathan Hale, I can at least offer her this testy blog item.

OUTRAGE #5: Newly anointed Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi has indicated her support for the naming of Congressman, Alcee Hasting as head of the House Intelligence Committee. Such a selection only shows that there is not enough intelligence in the House to even form a committee. You may not recall (Pelosi is hoping that you do not) that the now “Honorable” Mr. Hasting was the former Florida federal judge who was impeached and booted from the bench for bribery. Since his unethical activities limited his employment in the real world, Hasting opted to run for Congress – a suitable profession for any rogue. Despite his record (or because of it), he was elected. But, guess who booted him off the bench. The very House of Representatives soon to be lead by Speaker Pelosi. Obviously, Alcee lives by the adage, “If you can’t beat 'em, join “'em.” Hoooweeeeever, seems like the Congress has given Pelosi her comeuppance again. Facing certain defeat, Pelosi has withdrawn her nomination.

Friday, November 10, 2006

REACT: Chaffee kills Bolton in bitter revenge

It appears that Republican Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee, who was defeated (yea!!!) in the recent election has decided to express his bitterness and disloyalty by voting against the confirmation of John Bolton as ambassador to the U.N. – thus dooming a permanent appointment. His historic arrogant, ugly and dishonest attitude was the reason Republicans and Democrats alike were pleased to see him “retired” by public demand.

Just when we had an ambassador who was not more of a society figure than a diplomat. Not since Jean Kirkpatrick has the United States been more effective and firmly represented. Despite the fears or critics, Bolton has proven himself to be an outstanding representative of our country. He has been able to advance American interests as his first priority.

This puts our world interests on hold, with the likelihood of the congressional Dem leadership playing hardball on this appointment. – and others.

As a fan of Abraham Lincoln, I think Chaffee should be stripped of his name too. Hmmmmm. Benedict Arnold Chaffee has a nice ring to it. Don't you think?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

REACT: Finally ... Dan Rather exposed

Former CBS talking head, Dan Rather has finally reached his level of professional standing. You will recall that he was forced into early retirement for broadcasting a patently false story about George Bush. Well he pops up on the election team of Comedy Central, along with pseudo newscasters Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. Rather than not have his face on camera, Rather showed that professionalism and dignity are not obstacles to vanity. He could not have been more ridiculous if he had appeared in baggy pants and bulbous red nose, and sprayed Colbert and Stewart with seltzer water. Of course, as a journalist, Rather has always been ... well... rather of a joke.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

LMAO: Kerry has a way with jokes

It must have been a joke because I can’t stop laughing. I am referring to Senator John Kerry’s statement about the men and women in the armed services. He told a bunch of students that if the completed their education they would have a good life. If not, they go to Iraq.

Well … you can imagine the reaction to that bit of advice. Only dummies go to war. Maybe that is why he served in the military. After all, he is rather stupid.

Kerry then generated another round of guffaws with is apology. He said that if anyone misunderstood his meaning, he is sorry. Hahahaha. Get it. If YOU were so stupid that you did not get his meaning of his joke, then he is sorry.

This makes me think. I should apologize to the Senator for saying he is stupid. So, here goes. “Senator, I wish to humbly apologize for drawing attention to your stupidity.” Whew! That makes me feel a lot better.

Like any good comedians, Kerry saves the really funny line for last. Through his staff he restated his joke to mean that it if you’re a dumb or intellectually lazy, you get stuck in Iraq. “Just ask President Bush.”


I think the joke is on me, because it sounds like he just restated the same opinion, but put in George Bush’s name as one of those “I’m still angry that you beat me” things.

I guess the funniest thing about Kerry is the humiliation schtick. The whole episode is like dropping your pants at a wedding party just to get the obvious laugh. How can you not laugh at Kerry. He must be a great comedian, because hardly anyone takes him serious.