Saturday, April 30, 2005
Second, Ms. Wilbanks should be PERSONALLY billed for every DIME expended on her behalf for the investigation, including cost of equipment, man-hours, use of the command center, food and every OTHER cost involved in his episode.
In the end, like most of America, I’m pleased that the outcome did not include any of the numerous, terrible scenarios that woman made the families and neighbors in Duluth, Georgia, expect the worse.
But in putting her family and millions of other Americans through this for no acceptable reason… particularly allowing it to go on for so long, she must be held accountable. She should, at a minimum, be forced to reimburse out of her own pocket each of the unnecessary dollars vaporized by this stunt, and soon.
This “oh well, she just had cold feet” thing is a crock. And John? Do yourself a favor… kick her to the curb as soon as possible.
'Miracle' needed to win back Senate
By Charles Hurt
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid raised a few eyebrows yesterday on the Senate floor when he said it would take a "miracle" for Democrats to win enough races next year to take back the Senate.
"I would like to think a miracle would happen and we would pick up five seats this time," he said during a floor debate over the filibusters of President Bush's judicial nominees. "I guess miracles never cease."
Republicans were delighted by what they called an "admission" from the highest-ranking elected Democrat in the country.
Friday, April 29, 2005
The democrats let him get away with murder, but he votes the district reasonably well, and while they beat Tom DeLay to death over the Schiavo legislation (which even I happen to think was asinine) they give Baird a complete pass for voting FOR the bill that they beat hell out of Delay for supporting… which, when it comes down to it, is the typical level of democrat hypocrisy that has done so well for them around the country.
That said, to put a veneer of “fairness” on his lackey efforts to demolish Social Security reform, Baird sent out a survey… and who can argue with that? Political types are always testing the waters… how else, allegedly, can they get the pulse of the electorate?
So, in preparation for the 4 ceremonial Bush-bashing soire's Mr. Baird will be holding here on the issue of Social Security, Mr. Baird sends out a survey (odd… I don’t think I received one… but, one never knows, does one?) which includes the following question:
Seventy-nine percent of the people who responded reacted negatively to the statement: “We should let workers take part of what they pay into Social Security and put it into private accounts, even if it means lowering guaranteed benefits of future retirees.”
Of course, no one has shown where the effort to privatize PART (not all, as the neo-comms would like you to believe) of social security would result in a reduced benefit to seniors or baby boomers, but the terror machine of the Left doesn’t seem to go into those kinds of details… does it? Nor does it mention that participation in such accounts would be, well, voluntary…. Does it?
The question above is embarrassingly misleading. Of COURSE 79% of the respondents would disagree. But the question has nothing to do with the reality of the situation.
That question was asked deliberately; to get the response that Baird will use to justify his opposition to the President’s reforms.
Good politics? Perhaps. But disingenuous to say the least. And Brian? Don’t think we don’t notice.
Today, however, the gloves came off and ol’ Gregg showed us how he REALLY feels.
He asks us, “Is anybody else troubled by all the intermingling of religion and politics these days, with voters taking cues from clergymen, and candidates gratuitously pledging fealty to a faith?”
HHhmmm…. Yeah, Gregg… it’s got ME staying awake nights.
That said, where’s his column on leftists playing the same game?
Was Ol’ Gregg upset when John Kerry ran to every predominantly black church in America during his abortive presidential campaign? Did he denounce the endorsements ringing out DIRECTLY FROM THE PULPITS OF MANY OF THESE AND OTHER ULTRA-LEFTIST CHURCHES FOR JOHN KERRY?
Nope. I must have missed that column.
See, it only upsets him “these days” because those engaging in the practice seem to be from the Right. But it damned sure didn’t seem to upset him during the campaign… when many of the practitioners of EXACTLY THE SAME THING were, well, from the Left.
And that? Well, and this will stun you: That makes today’s word… Hypocrisy.
Theocracy rears its ugly head
Friday, April 29, 2005
GREGG HERRINGTON Columbian staff writer
Is anybody else troubled by all the intermingling of religion and politics these days, with voters taking cues from clergymen, and candidates gratuitously pledging fealty to a faith?
As an example of how low this has gone, consider this week's blast by conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh:
"The religious left in this country hates and despises the God of Christianity and Catholicism."
And in response Thursday, from the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of The Interfaith Alliance, came this:
"All people of faith in the most religiously diverse nation on earth should be insulted by the uninformed religious pronouncements of a vitriolic radio host.
"Mr. Limbaugh has repeatedly demonstrated his ignorance and insensitivity to the religious communities in this nation."
We've come a long way the wrong way since 1960.
The question is: “How does Portland’s ‘pick-up-our-football-and-go-home’ attitude, as expressed by their premature withdrawal from the Terrorist Taskforce, achieve that aim?”
The Neo-comms of the ultra-left controlling Portland has always hated the Patriot Act. What better way to express their disapproval then contriving a bogus reason, in this case, the Fed’s refusal to grant Tom Potter the security clearance HE thinks HE needs, to use that as an excuse to shove a stick in the Fed’s eye while toadying to their socialist base?
And, on top of that, a dim-bulb Portland Commissioner tells us “We have to open up our society!”
He fails to tell us, unfortunately, how this little temper tantrum accomplishes a more “open” society, but the rhetoric fit in so nicely, don’t you think?
Ladies and gentlemen, we are in a war. A war in many respects unlike any we have ever known.
What do you think would have happened if, say, in protest of the forced relocation of the Nisei population, the city of Portland had tried a similar stunt and had attempted to withdraw from such a taskforce in WW2 as a result?
Times ARE different now, but the issues of protecting this country remain the same. Contrary to Mr. Sten’s bizarre assertions, we need a more SECURE society before we need a more OPEN society.
Given Portland government’s proclivities and sympathies, I’m not terribly surprised either that the Fed would deny Portland officials the clearances those officials believe they deserve. And it is unfortunate that the Fed hasn’t been all that forthcoming as to the specifics of the issues as to why those clearances have been denied.
But in the end, this is a judgment call. And the question is this: do we put more faith in the ultra-leftist Sandinista types running Portland, who believe their world begins and ends within the borders of Multnomah County? Or do we give the Fed the benefit of the doubt?
April 28, 2005
City Council Approves Withdrawal From JTTF
By WILLIAM McCALL
Associated Press Writer
PORTLAND, Ore. - The City Council on Thursday approved a recommendation by Mayor Tom Potter to withdraw police officers from an FBI-led anti-terror task force, making this city the first in the nation to pull out of a network the federal agency has put together across the country.
Potter joined the council in a 4-1 vote to withdraw two city officers from the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
The mayor decided to pull Portland off the anti-terror team after the FBI refused to raise his security clearance, which Potter said was necessary for him to provide full oversight of city officers on the task force and ensure they do not overstep their authority under state law while acting as federal agents.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
But, four of the donations are $10,000 each.
And three of those are from Builders.
02/10/2005 $10,000.00 KUBICEK GREG HOLT HOMES, INC.
03/04/2005 $10,000.00 LUGLIANI DAVID AMERICAN PACIFIC COMMUNITIES
02/11/2005 $10,000.00 SEBASTIAN RANDAL S. RENAISSANCE HOMES
Yup, you guessed it... the heretofore champion environmentalist... that can even get cash from an Audobon Society groupy, is a sellout.
Now... why do you suppose ol' Steve is taking all that cash from Builders... HHhmmmmm?
More democrat neo-comm hate speech from the left: Robert Jamison sticks his foot in his mouth over Microsoft.
What they don’t know, or, at least, don’t care to tell you is that Microsoft had no say on the issue… one-way or the other. My senate contacts have confirmed to me that this issue was decided as a conservative v. liberal match, and Brown knew she didn’t have the votes when she was dumb enough to bring this measure to the floor for a vote, democrat histrionics notwithstanding.
Microsoft has never been a major player in state politics. At the end of the day, my feeling is they could care less, one way or the other. What the neo-comms are trying to do is to GET them to care, to GET them to sign on to this leftist fringe agenda.
So, we get more ultra-leftist dribble from Robert Jamison’s column in the Seattle P-I.
He attacks Microsoft for having any kind of relationship, let alone a business relationship, with anything having anything to do with anything that Ralph Reed is involved with.
Of course, the reverse would not be true in Jamison’s world. If Microsoft had the same relationship with moveon.org, or any other militant leftist outfit, or any other fringe group foaming at the mouth over the bizarre concept of “gay rights,” THAT would have been OK.
No… it’s only Microsoft’s relations with anyone to the RIGHT (You know… a business relationship that is really NONE OF HIS BUSINESS?) that sets these people off.
And, once again… the word of the day is “hypocrisy.”
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Payments to Reed sully Microsoft
By ROBERT L. JAMIESON Jr.
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER COLUMNIST
The man dubbed "The Right Hand of God" has fingerprints all over Microsoft. Still.
Ralph Reed is more than a Friend of Bill -- he is a paid GOP consultant, getting $20,000 a month from Microsoft to help shape the software behemoth's image in the global marketplace.
Judging from Reed's past -- he was the former head of the evangelical Christian Coalition -- that means serving up vitriolic viewpoints about gays and lesbians.
Judging from Microsoft's actions -- the company just yanked its support of a legislative bill in Olympia to protect gays -- the Reed brand of insight is shining through.
Microsoft yesterday confirmed its ongoing relationship with Reed, who raised eyebrows five years ago when he turned up on Microsoft's payroll. At the time, Reed was a hired gun. His charge was to influence future President George W. Bush to support Microsoft in its antitrust battle with the Justice Department.
Westneat and the Seattle Times nails it: Gregoire caves to democrat tax and spenders - New budget bobs on sea of gravy
Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 a.m.
New budget bobs on sea of gravy
By Danny Westneat Seattle Times staff columnist
It was when I stumbled across the $73,000 study of the merits of agricultural fairs that I realized drastic measures were in order.
It seems trivial in context of a $26 billion state budget. But it was late in my long slog through reading all 411 pages, and I snapped. I'd sighed over $469,000 for an ombudsman to settle fights at mobile-home parks.
I'd already recovered from the news we're spending $300,000 to market wine.
I'd tried to move past the idiocy of giving the man who presides over the state Senate, Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, a 37 percent budget boost so he can lobby the state Senate.
On page 258, though, I lost it. "Agricultural Fair Study, $73,000," it said. A bill report noted that county fairs have never had "their economic contributions quantified nor their social benefits evaluated."
In all my years of government service (roughly 20) and all the countries I’ve traveled, I have yet to come into contact with a government so arrogant… so dead set on muting the voice of the people… so determinedly set on putting their agenda… their vision… of what Vancouver should be ahead of the demands of the population they would govern.
The City of Vancouver has a Keystone Cops history of mismanagement and misjudgment… stretching back for years. Everything from the idiocy of having two police chiefs at the same time to the blatant abuse of power represented by the city’s decision to sue the voters to silence them… all actions that turn my stomach.
And the captain of that ship? None other then Royce Pollard, Lt. Col., Army (Ret.)
Pollard’s unspeakable conceit is legendary. His inexcusable “State of the City” speech of two years ago was the height of insufferable arrogance. Clearly, those elected to power in the city of Vancouver are incapable of grasping the simple concept of government service: that it is truly a privilege to hold a post of faith and confidence, not a throne where you can attack those who happen to disagree with your vision. Successful government is, as a much wiser man then I once said, that government which governs LEAST. It should be a government of INnclusion, not the arrogant narcissism of EXclusion… the typical attitude and action of the government of the city since my arrival here… some 20 years ago. In everything from the boondoggle and imminent disaster of the special events center to the bizarre idea that it’s OK for a Port Commissioner’s daughters to operate a restaurant on city property for free to a voracious appetite and nonsensical demand for annexation against the will of the People… all for bragging rights (and increased revenue).
At first, I supported Pollard’s ascendancy. Who better to bring sanity to the chaos that Vancouver’s administration represented?
But soon, it became clear that the Mayor’s view had been co-opted. That the desires of the people were meaning increasingly less. That the arrogance of government and the Identity Vancouver old boy types had a strangle hold on city government.
Downtown Vancouver becomes a larger ghost town by the day. Empty stores and shops… larger populations of homeless… all accompanied by ever-larger monuments to governmental stupidity, avarice and arrogance… those are the order of the day.
Leadership stuck on ideas of the past that will cost us billions and accomplish nothing. Ideas such as loot rail, a plan the “leaders” of Vancouver simply cannot let go. Ideas such as suing your constituency when they attempt to get you to act in their best interest. The pure idiocy of putting tolls on the interstate bridges… not to finance other bridges or bridge maintenance, but instead to finance other pet projects of the Identity Vancouver types infesting that government.
While Pollard is not entirely responsible for all of it (frankly, I don’t believe him to be that bright) he has had a hand in those twisted visions.
His continued occupancy in the Mayor’s office will tend to mean higher taxes (because the people of Clark County WILL have to make up the millions his grand special events center scheme will cost us) and more arrogance. The government of the City of Vancouver admits error with the frequency of the passing of Haley’s Comet and as a result, the people of Vancouver will suffer for it directly while the people of Clark County pick up the tab.
In Our View: Opportunity Calls
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Columbian editorial writers
Vancouver voters decide this fall whether they like where their energetic mayor has led the city in 10 years and give him four more, or will choose new leadership. In either case, challenges and opportunities, which often are one and the same, abound for whomever fills the post now held by Royce Pollard. The winner will serve through 2009 after voters last fall doubled mayors' terms.
Declaring his candidacy Monday before supporters gathered in the rain at Esther short Park, Pollard outlined his priorities, namely economic development ("jobs, jobs and jobs"), transportation and public safety.
Pollard is one of four members of the city council a quorum whose terms expire this year. Others are Pat Jollota, Jeanne Harris and Jeanne Stewart. Collectively, the campaigns should provide a lively forum for public discussion of Vancouver's future.
Pollard has proved himself an activist leader and gung-ho civic booster who likes to push new programs and lobby state and federal officials for money to help his city. His critics say he lacks patience for dissent and puts too much of the city's resources into the downtown and Esther Short Park areas.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Tom is all about government ramming certain things down the collective throat of the People they are allegedly in business to govern.
Tom opposed the right of the people to demand a vote on the City of Vancouver’s involvement in the hotel/convention center… after all, we can’t let what the people want have any actually impact on the government agenda, can we?
Tom is obsessive about light rail, a disproven financial disaster more properly called “Loot Rail,” even going so far as to cheer the decision of the City of Houston to build loot rail AFTER the people voted it DOWN. (Let’s remember, everyone, that even with Portland’s extensive loot rail system, they continue to rank BEHIND Seattle in traffic congestion… and if a traffic system doesn’t reduce congestion, it’s a total waste of money.)
Tom isn’t real big on Constitutional rights, failing to ever apologize for his multiple diatribes against the Beas in the famous Gorge Commission V. Bea case… a case where his somewhat stilted view resulted in a 9-0 drubbing at the hands of the State Supreme Court.
So, today, Tom cheerleads for the train wreck being built in downtown Vancouver, AKA the hotel/convention center.
For those wise enough to object to government-subsidized private enterprise, he’s typically dismissive: “While that's a big chunk of money, it is this community's investment in its future. Rather than be intimidated by a few tightwad critics, city leadership mayor and council moved forward.”
See, for people like Tom and much of the rest of the Identity Vancouver ilk, those who have concerns… those who actually view reality… those who agree that the role of government is NOT to compete with the private sector… those who raise objections in those area area are “tightwad critics.” And when they rightfully attempt to derail the light rail train of arrogant local government, he refers to their efforts as “intimidation.”
Well, as you might expect, Tom failed to mention the fact that the government of this city SUED THEIR CONSTITUENCY… to keep them from having a voice in the matter.
Remember: the nay-sayers could have easily been silenced by holding a public vote on the issue. That’s all… a simple up or down vote. But you know, given the neo-comm fears of the will of the people, typically expressed by democrats in the Senate regarding judicial nominations, ultra-leftist socialist types like Tom aren’t real big on seeking out the will of the People… ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY KNOW WHAT THAT WILL ALREADY IS AND THEY DON’T HAPPEN TO LIKE IT!
Also left out is any awareness on his part of the obvious effect of a tribal hotel/convention center complex. Such a hotel/convention center complex will be in direct competition with a downtown facility and it will offer a superior product at a lower price due to decreased overhead… since they will not pay mundane costs such as L&I premiums, minimum wage, B&O tax and the like.
The end result? For the most part, the only time the downtown facility will be used or occupied will be when the tribal facility is full.
Tom’s nearly Alzhiemered point of view? “A risk? Perhaps, but probably not.”
How such a bizarre point of view continues to get the soapbox of a large newspaper to spew his delusions is, frankly, beyond me.
Risk? Ladies and gentlemen, we WILL get HAMMERED.
Gee… the choice?
When I come to Vancouver, do I stay in downtown Vancouver at a more expensive, less opulent facility with all the excitement of watching the grass grow in Esther Short Park?
Or do I stay at a cheaper, more exciting facility 10 minutes away?
Nah… there’s no risk in THAT…. Is there?
Opinion - Convention center builds on our future
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
TOM KOENNINGER editor emeritus of The Columbian
Vancouver is coming of age, entering the 21st century. It is no longer a shipyard town, but a historic city on the Columbia River.
Stroll through Esther Short Park, walk south across Sixth Street and enter a new world that is the seven-story Vancouver Hilton Hotel and Convention Center.
Not yet, but soon.
Hotel doors are expected to open in early June, according to general manager Gerry Link, a transplanted Arizonan.
Two recent tours found some 150 workers laboring feverishly to meet the deadline.
When it opens, it will provide a spectacular lift to Vancouver's convention offerings, largely identified for many years with the workhorse Inn at the Quay.
XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX WED APRIL 27, 2005 18:02:35 ET XXXXX
AIR AMERICA RADIO INVESTIGATED AFTER BUSH 'GUNSHOTS'
The red-hot rhetoric over Social Security on liberal talkradio network AIR AMERICA has caught the attention of the Secret Service, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
Government officials are reviewing a skit which aired on the network Monday evening -- a skit featuring an apparent gunshot warning to the president!
The announcer: "A spoiled child is telling us our Social Security isn't safe anymore, so he is going to fix it for us. Well, here's your answer, you ungrateful whelp: [audio sound of 4 gunshots being fired.] Just try it, you little bastard. [audio of gun being cocked]."
The audio production at the center of the controversy aired during opening minutes of The Randi Rhodes Show.
"What is with all the killing?" Rhodes said, laughing, after the clip aired.
"Even joking about shooting the president is a crime, let alone doing it on national radio... we are taking this very seriously," a government source explained.
AIR AMERICA President of Programming and co-COO Jon Sinton said in a release: "We regret that a produced comedy bit that was in bad taste slipped through our normal vetting process. We do acknowledge that it was an internal error and internal discipline will be enforced."
Rhodes apologized for the skit on her show today. "It was a bit,” Rhodes said. “It was bad. I apologize a thousand times."
White House Spokesman Scott McClellan called the clip "very inappropriate and over the line."
[A Randi Rhodes Fan site is offering an mp3 of the broadcast.]
They are, apparently, apologizing now, because frankly, they have no choice. But the scum who did this are quite representative of the current democrat main stream, as their racist-in-chief, Dr. Dean/Mr. Hyde frequently shows.
There IS a line. Keep crossing it, boys and girls… and see what happens.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
More Leftist neo-comm democrat hypocrisy: monumental whining about DeLay... not a peep about Baghdad Jim
But when it comes to one of their own... can you HEAR the deafening silence?
Compared to ol' Baghdad Jimmy, Tom DeLay hasn't received so much as a parking ticket.
But not a sound about one of their own most radical neo-communists' despicable actions.
That makes those whining and sniveling about DeLay what... hypocrites?
Old lawsuit back to 3 judges
By Hans Nichols
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last week handed Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) a key victory in his ongoing lawsuit against Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), making it more likely that McDermott will be forced to pay punitive damages and lawyer’s fees for leaking a taped conversation of GOP leaders way back in 1996.
Sitting en banc, the appeals court denied McDermott’s request to empanel a more sympathetic three-judge bench to review an October district court decision that ordered McDermott to pay Boehner $60,000 in damages, plus legal fees that could mount to more than $500,000, said Boehner’s lawyer, Mike Carvin.
Boehner could expect a final decision in a suit that he initiated against McDermott in March of 1998 by the end of this year, according to Carvin.
McDermott is also the subject of a separate and ongoing, investigation by the House Ethics Committee based on a complaint filed by Rep. David Hobson (R-Utah) last year on the leaked tape issue.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 a.m.
"D" for budgeting, "A" for transportation
State lawmakers were putting finishing touches on a lackluster session that spent too much on government operations and failed to move the primary election date, when a bout of leadership broke out on transportation.
Late on the session's last day, Gov. Christine Gregoire ended a logjam in the House, which then approved a bold 9.5-cent gas-tax increase to shore up roads and bridges. It was the most impressive moment of the four-month gathering. The gas-tax increase will improve the safety and economy of the Puget Sound region. In a tax-averse state, Republicans offered 11 votes and Democrats provided the rest for a 54-43 decision to fund key transportation projects already approved by the Senate.
Gregoire earns plaudits for applying the right pressure at the right moment. She threatened a special session if lawmakers didn't pass a transportation budget to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The legitimate fear is the viaduct will come down, harming motorists and the economy.
The transportation plan directs $2 billion to the viaduct, nearly $1 billion to crunch points on Interstate 405 and $500 million toward replacing the Highway 520 bridge, also in danger of failure.
Work on transportation has been under way for months. Kudos go to state transportation leaders, Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, and state Rep. Ed Murray, D-Seattle — as well as Rep. Bev Woods, R-Kingston, and Sen. Dan Swecker, R-Rochester.
Remember, it took three legislative sessions to raise the gas tax a nickel last time.
Congratulations also are due Rep. Jim Clements, R-Selah, who took a courageous vote benefiting the whole state.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 a.m.
Democrats used power to spend
By Ralph Thomas and Andrew Garber
Seattle Times Olympia bureau
Enlarge this photo
TED S. WARREN / AP
A party in Lt. Gov. Brad Owen's office marked Sunday's adjournment. Performing are Rep. Steve Conway, D-Tacoma, left; Sen. Erik Poulsen, D-Seattle, second from right; Brian Hatfield, right, Owen's made-up job, $70,000 a year legislative director; and an unidentified bass guitarist.
OLYMPIA — The state Legislature kicked off three months ago amid widespread predictions that the Democrats in charge would increase taxes, spend more money, and cater to the demands of political allies.
The predictions were right.
The Legislature passed a $26 billion operating budget, a nearly $3 billion increase over the current one, and an $8.5 billion transportation package — the largest in state history. To pay for it all, lawmakers made it more expensive to smoke, drink, drive and, for some people, to die.
Tax increases will raise the cost of cigarettes by 60 cents a pack, liquor by $1.33 a liter and gasoline by 9.5 cents a gallon over the next four years. In addition, lawmakers reinstated an estate tax on the wealthy.
The Democrats also handed labor unions and environmentalists some of their biggest legislative victories in years, boosting unemployment benefits for thousands of seasonal workers, approving the first-ever collective-bargaining agreement with state employees and passing one of the nation's toughest car-emissions standards.
And, with the exception of a dragged-out fight over the gas-tax increase, they did it all with an ease that hasn't been seen in years.
Monday, April 25, 2005
The Ultimate Flip-Flop
“I'm not going to be bought by special interests.”
Top recipient in Congress of lobbyist money.
-Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sept. 9, 2000
-Center for Responsive Politics, 2002
CANTWELL BROKE HER WORD TO THE PEOPLE OF WASHINGTON
Back in the 2000 campaign, Maria Cantwell promised us she was different. Because she was personally wealthy she wouldn't need special interest money and PAC contributions to fund her campaign.
But things changed when Cantwell found herself in financial hot water. She abandoned her “principles” and started taking money wherever she could find it…including PACs.
As a state legislator, Cantwell took tens of thousands of dollars in PAC money. And, more than half of her campaign money - 55%, to be exact - came from PACs when she unsuccessfully ran for re-election to Congress in 1994. She changed her tune when she became a dot-com multimillionaire. But when her dot-com stock value plunged, she went right back to taking money from lobbyists and special interests. According the Center for Responsive Politics Cantwell's top contributors are lawyers and lobbyists. In addition many of Cantwell's top contributors have given her money through PAC-like means, either through the company's owners or employees' families.
For some reason, Cantwell is still claiming she hasn’t taken PAC money. But in fact, as the Center for Responsive Politics shows, she has taken money from a variety of other Democratic Senators’ campaign PACs -- most of which receive the vast majority of their funds from special interest PACs.
"I believe in requiring full disclosure."
Her office originally said she had a debt of $1.2 million left over from 2000, but it has since been revealed that her debt is actually $3.8 million
-Cantwell 2000 web site
-AP and Tacoma News Tribune, 2/1/02
THE BOTTOM LINE:CANTWELL’S IN THE POCKET OF SPECIAL INTERESTS
When Maria Cantwell was elected to the Senate in 2000, she was facing millions of dollars in her own personal – not campaign – debt. Since then she’s been raising money from lobbyists, special interest groups other Democratic Senators’ PAC funds.
The money Sen. Cantwell has been taking from special interests is going to pay off her own personal debt. Which means she owes a huge debt of gratitude to all the special interests who have saved her from personal financial ruin.
Maria Cantwell said she would work for the people of Washington state. But it’s becoming more and more clear that she’s in the pocket of the special interests in Washington, D.C.
Typically, I would blast anyone who supports such an increase. In this instance, however… I can’t quite be so black and white about the issue.
The logic of the situation appeals to me. They had the votes to get this passed. If it passes and Curtis is a “no,” we get nothing, and our 9.5 cents ALL goes to Seattle.
If it passes and Curtis is a “yes,” then at least SOME of that increase stays here and at least some of those 9.5 cents do NOT go to Seattle.
Folks… I’m FROM Seattle and I’m here to tell you: Seattle is a GREAT place… to be from.
So… there we have it. I imagine a bunch of folks are a little upset at Rep. Curtis. At first, I was as well.
But given the circumstances, the idea that Curtis would risk losing these projects to protect a policy of never voting for ANY tax increase simply doesn’t make sense to me.
I remain opposed to increasing the gas tax for reasons previously stated. But I also understand why Curtis did what he did and I can live with that.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
From the Right Corner: Why a toll on a new I-5 Bridge is a stupid idea - Rep. Deb Wallace's Loot Rail boondoggle.
That’s the whole idea of the latest colossal waste of money, Rep. Deb Wallace’s $50 to $88 million dollar initial boondoggle on the I-5 Bridge.
Terry Schiavo would know that replacing the I-5 Bridge without eliminating the Delta Park Bottleneck would be a colossal waste of money. We also know that since Wallace is a democrat, she’s incapable of giving a damn about wasting money. They wasted so much money in this legislative session that they tacked on a mere $800 million in excess taxes (and kids, by the way… that’s roughly $130 tax increase for each of us… every man, woman and child in this state) that they’ve proven themselves incapable of caring about OPM.
That said, the main thrust of Wallace’s bridge replacement boondoggle isn’t to do what it should do (which is, frankly, to move more truck and car traffic…) Nope… it’s to put a Loot Rail capability on the Bridge so the downtown leftists can get their multi-billion dollar boondoggle in place!
And that’s only the FIRST stupid reason to put a toll on the bridge.
The SECOND stupid reason to put a toll on the Bridge is that it’s the WRONG BRIDGE!
We do NOT need the I-5 Bridge to be replaced. Instead, we need another bridge altogether, located in either the Camas or Ridgefield areas. Eventually, we will have to have one in BOTH locations, but Camas should probably be first.
ANY money spent on replacing the I-5 Bridge is a WASTE of money… And reason enough right there to vote no on any gas tax increase.
He voted against his own principles as well as the alleged principles of his Party.
They’re not his Party’s principles, of course. They no more care about the poor and defenseless then they do about doing the right thing for the gas tax vote in the House.
No, the cowardice of Sen. Pridemore had more to do with the fact that he not only voted against his own principles… he admitted it, and vote against them anyway!
Legislature: Pridemore reluctantly casts key tax vote
Sunday, April 24, 2005
By DON JENKINS, Columbian staff writer
OLYMPIA -- State lawmakers appear ready to end the 2005 session today, though for about one minute a Vancouver Democrat had the session derailed.
To protest higher taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, Sen. Craig Pridemore on Friday night originally voted against a $263 million revenue package that supports a two-year spending plan agreed to by House and Senate leaders.
Without Pridemore's vote, the package was one vote short of passing.
Pridemore, however, changed his vote to yes at the end of the roll call and immediately left the floor of the Senate, unhappy with what he helped approve.
"I think the Senate has balanced the budget on the backs of the poor and powerless," he said.
So, let’s vote for the budget ANYWAY! SCREW the “poor and powerless.” After all, they ARE “poor,” and they ARE “powerless,” and what Pridemore’s democrat masters in the senate or back in Clark County happen to want is FAR more important then the “poor and powerless,” right, Senator?
Would it have killed you to do the right thing? Would it have killed you to vote to PROTECT the “poor and powerless?”
You’re a coward, Senator. You ought to resign.
You won’t, of course, because, after all, you fit in with all the rest of the cowards of your party SO WELL.
At the end of the day, Senator Pridemore, a “reluctant yes” doesn’t count any differently then a full-throated, totally supportive “yes.”
You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
Few days serve as such a stellar example of the cowardice of democrat legislators.
The first, prime example was the unambiguous cowardice of the House Democratic Caucus.
Democrats have proven their cowardice time and again. Perhaps it’s genetic, for, to be a democrat is to defy logic… much like, for that matter, the idea of being a homosexual.
Yesterday, the democrats held a fake vote on the floor of the House to get a more accurate vote count on the gas tax increase.
Now, we all know that the democrats have 56 members of their caucus… far more than needed to pass the tax increase.
As legislators, they should take the vote that’s right for the people of this state. Political considerations are SUPPOSED to be secondary.
But yesterday, the gas tax vote lost, 45 to 53.
If this tax is the RIGHT THING TO DO… then why didn’t ALL the democrats vote for it?
Because they’re cowards. Their positions are corrupt…. Their leadership is corrupt…. They have no courage and stand for nothing.
“We can’t pass this without Republican votes,” they whine and snivel.
Well, why not?
Because they’ve put their political futures ahead of the needs of the people of this state.
Now, I’m a “no” on the gas tax.
I’m a “no” because we’re giving Seattle $1.5 billion for the Alaska Way Viaduct, but they won’t give us a billion for our idiotic effort to replace the I-5 Bridge. I’m a “no” because it gives $50 million for Rep. Deb Wallace’s idiotic I-5 Bridge/Light Rail study. I’m a “no” because no one has been fired or otherwise held accountable for allowing $58 million to vaporize because of a DOT project abandoned due to the latent discovery of an Indian burial ground… watching a total of 1.4 BILLION of “our nickels work” their way into dust. I’m a “no” because of the wasted money of the SR 500 super intersections, such as the ones at Andresen and Gher Road.
I’m a “no” because the people of Seattle are viewed, somehow, as being more important then the people of Clark County.
And they’re not… but the democrat’s chief focus has little to do with the people of this state… as proven by their cowardice on the gas tax vote. Instead, it has to do with their political futures… a future they cheerfully and with utter cowardice trade for what’s best for the people of this state.
In demolishing I-601 (You know... the will of the People?) we're told By Rep. Jim McIntire (D-Seattle) that is was "all about allowing the majority to govern."
Well, Rep. McIntire, here's your opportunity. You and your fellow democrats HAVE the votes. What you and your fellow democrats LACK are the guts.
Legislature: House may vote again on gas tax hike
Sunday, April 24, 2005
By DON JENKINS, Columbian staff writer
OLYMPIA -- The House may vote again today on increasing the gas tax.
A first try Saturday failed and was followed by finger-pointing.
A package of tax and fee increases to pay for $8.5 billion worth of transportation projects was defeated 45-53.
Angry Republicans charged Democrats with holding back votes and staging a phony tally to test how many Republicans would join Democrats.
Democrats denied the charge, though they said Republicans must share responsibility for raising the gas tax.
Eight of the House's 43 Republicans voted to raise the gas tax by 9.5 cents a gallon over four years.
Democrats said Rep. Tom Campbell, R-Roy, didn't count because he distanced himself from the Republican caucus early in the session.
Friday, April 22, 2005
You would have thought that the humiliating defeat of Senate (sometimes Majority, sometimes Minority) Leader Tom Daschle would have taught them a lesson. You would have thought that Republican threats to shut down government and the disastrous consequences would have left an impact.
The democrats are currently running around like besotted idiots. The party of Ted Kennedy (“glub, glub”) wanders about… complaining because Republicans have the temerity to demand up or down votes on judicial nominees.
Yeah… I know all about filibuster… cloture and the like.
The question here is this: why is it that the leadership of the democrats refuses to allow an up or down vote on these nominees?
On the local scene, no less a legislative luminary then State Representative Jim McIntire (D-Seattle… what else?) demolished a lawful Initiative of the people of this state when he was instrumental in destroying I-601.
For Rep. McIntire, it’s all about “allowing the majority to govern.” (Even though I was under the apparent misimpression that the majority, in passing I-601, WAS governing.)
Certainly, that same sentiment should prevail in the United States Senate, should it not?
The stage is set. Two female judicial nominees are on the floor… one of which happens to be black. Democrats have, stupidly (as is happening with more and more frequency) boxed themselves in by setting up the trigger.
They threaten to “shut down government” (and can that be an altogether bad thing?) if Republicans pull that trigger and get rid of the rule concerning filibustering as it applies to judicial nominees.
Here are the democrat’s options:
a. Do what they’ve stupidly said they were going to do… and suffer for it accordingly.
b. Cave and agree to an up or down vote.
Unfortunately for the democrats, the Republicans hold all the cards. Democrats have allowed themselves to be outmaneuvered at every level on this matter. In taking the multiple face-shots that come with eating the stupid chips democrat leadership consume by the truck full, they are apparently efforting the idea of consolidating their base.
This is just another sign of the Dr. Dean-Mr. Hyde influence.
Do they think this nonsense plays well in the Red states?
This last election provided a golden opportunity for democrat introspection and reorganization. It provided a chance for the democrats to throw off the yolk of ultra-socialism and leftist radicalism that has inculcated their vision and their thought processes.
Clearly, in foolishly choosing to force the issue by throwing a legislative fit, they show weakness instead of statesmanship, a complete lack of viable alternatives and the mentality of a gang. They also show themselves incapable of making the changes that many of them know MUST be made… thereby making them increasingly irrelevant as they hand opportunity after opportunity to Republicans, enabling the Right to grind their collective heels into democrat necks.
The bomb is coming. And when it goes… the Senate democrats will glow in the dark. But they won’t get their way.
Tip of the hat to realclearpolitics.com
Wednesday, April 20 2005
NUCLEAR OPTION MELTDOWN: It's a shame we've come to this point in the battle over judges. Not necessarily a surprise, but a shame nonetheless. The main reason for the showdown, of course, is because Democrats have gone way over the line in using the filibuster in an unprecedented and abusive way.
What's frustrating, however, is that I can't help but think part of the reason we are where we are is because the Republican leadership has mismanaged the public relations part of the battle. This should not be a tough sell to the American people, folks.
Most people would agree that at the very least these judicial nominees deserve a simple up and down vote. It's a basic issue of fairness. Most people would probably also agree - or could easily be persuaded to agree - with the view that the Democrats, who are doing something never before done in the history of the country, are the extremists here.More...
Thursday, April 21, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 a.m.
No to Yes Budget
Call it the Yes Budget. Our Democratic Legislature is about to raise state spending over the next two years by 12 percent. That figure, reached by saying yes to far too many appeals, is higher than the private economy can possibly grow and will fall heavily on selected parts of it.
The previous budget, designed by state Sen. Dino Rossi and Gov. Gary Locke, raised spending by 4 percent. That was done by saying no to state employees, no to teachers and no to many others. That was painful to them, but it gave breathing room to the battered economy. The economy has improved. State revenue in the new biennium will be up 7 percent. The state can now begin to say yes, selectively. It cannot afford to triple the growth rate in state spending all at once.
Certainly, that was not what voters had in mind last year. Democratic primary voters were offered a candidate who wanted to raise taxes and a candidate who didn't, and they chose the candidate, the current governor, who didn't. Republicans chose a candidate who said he wouldn't.
The election was the closest in history, but the Democrats won the governor's seat and both houses of the Legislature. Now they can pass a budget without any Republican votes.
One obstacle remained: Initiative 601, passed by the people in 1993. It required a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to raise taxes, which effectively required bipartisan support. But the initiative itself could be modified by a simple majority and Democrats, possessing that majority, have now done that. Initiative 601 is effectively gone. The door opens for nearly half a billion dollars in new taxes.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
On the Left, of course, the language of hate spewed forth about this decision. The Right breathes another sigh of relief and moves on to other business.
At the end of the day, the Left would have us add "conduct" to race, color, religion and gender as a protected class. I am, as most people are, opposed to the idea that "conduct" should be so protected.
As the father of a half-Asian son, I am, personally, offended that the gay lobby attempts to link their "plight" with that of actual minorities. I also don't give a rat's patooty about what anyone does in the privacy of their own home, presuming such conduct is voluntary.
But society, to a lesser or greater degree, DOES seem to care. And, as much as the Left hates the idea, the fact remains that societal norms play a major role in the formation and application of our laws.
The "slippery slope" argument is a valid one.
If we are to add this type of conduct to the definition of a protected class, then where does it stop? What is the next form of protected conduct that advocates will demand protection for? And does anyone believe that this form of conduct will be the only form to seek protection?
Those who seek to legalize sex between children and adults are very big on this issue. Many of those use the same arguments the gay lobby use... voluntary conduct isn't harmful; the major argument against this conduct are societal and so forth. There were, for example, people who actually supported the conduct between Mark Kay Letourneau and that kid she rapped.
"Who was harmed?" we were asked... by some
Well, this kid has been arrested for car theft... dropped out of school... Fathered two illegitimate children... and, all and all, has made his life a total mess.
Far be it for me to go far a field, but at the end of the day, there are far more parallels to that situation and homosexual conduct than there is its opposite.
I believe HB 1515 to be unnecessary. I believe that homosexuals or any of their versions (hhhmmmm... Lessee... "Gay, Lesbian, Transexual, and/or Bisexual") are no more needing of protection, and in fact, may be LESS needing of protection than your standard, increasingly-scarce white male... the only kind of individual in the United States today that does not receive special treatment from their government due to the accident of their birth as, well, white males.
In the end, if the gay lobby feels so strongly about this, they can hook up with their democrat allies and run an initiative that would accomplish the same goal this legislation was meant to achieve.
They won't, of course.
Their protestations notwithstanding, most people of this state do NOT support their aim. These people know that and the end result is: no action will be taken.
Remember: It's not what they SAY that matters... It is, instead, what they do. And in this instance, they will DO.... nothing.
So much for the "people" demanding an "end" to this "discrimination."
Thursday, April 21, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 a.m.
Embattled child-welfare leader resigns
By Nick Perry and Jonathan Martin
sSeattle Times staff reporter
Uma Ahluwalia faced budget problems.
The head of the state's child-welfare system has resigned amid growing criticism for blowing the budget at a time the agency is under fire for a series of high-profile child deaths.
Uma Ahluwalia was seen by many as a smart, energetic newcomer when she arrived 19 months ago to oversee 9,000 foster-care children and a $450 million budget at the Children's Administration, a division of the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).
But just two days into her new job, 2-year-old Rafael Gomez of Ephrata died of child abuse. More deaths followed, including the starvation and dehydration of Kent brothers Raiden and Justice Robinson last November. A recent report into the brothers' deaths points to critical lapses by Child Protective Services (CPS), which is under the Children's Administration.
But the most damaging blow to Ahluwalia's personal leadership occurred last month when it became clear she overspent the budget by $12 million. That prompted DSHS leaders to announce spending cutbacks and to take the unusual step of removing Ahluwalia's budget authority.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
April 18, 2005
Why the Liberals Can't Keep Air America From Spiraling In
By Brian C. Anderson
The liberal Air America Radio, just past its first birthday, has probably enjoyed more free publicity than any enterprise in recent history. But don't believe the hype: Air America's left-wing answer to conservative talk radio is failing, just as previous efforts to find liberal Rush Limbaughs have failed.
Wait a second, you say, didn't I read that Air America has expanded to more than 50 markets? That's true, but let's put things in perspective: Conservative pundit and former Reagan official William J. Bennett's morning talk show, launched at the same time as Air America, reaches nearly 124 markets, including 18 of the top 20, joining the growing ranks of successful right-of-center talk programs (Limbaugh is still the ratings leader, drawing more than 15 million listeners a week).
And look at Air America's ratings: They're pitifully weak, even in places where you would think they'd be strong. WLIB, its flagship in New York City, has sunk to 24th in the metro area Arbitron ratings, worse than the all-Caribbean format it replaced, notes the Radio Blogger. In the liberal meccas of San Francisco and Los Angeles, Air America is doing lousier still.
So why do liberals fare so poorly on air? Some on the left say it's because liberals are, well, smarter and can't convey their sophisticated ideas to the rubes who listen to talk radio. Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, whose own stint as a talk-show host was a ratings disaster, gave canonical expression to this self-serving view. Conservatives "write their messages with crayons," he maintained. "We use fine-point quills."
DEMS' SUICIDE PLOT
April 19, 2005 -- DEMOCRATS in Washington may be on the verge of making a calamitous political error. What's more, they have every reason to know it — because they saw Washington's Republicans make the same terrible mistake a decade ago.
But because they are so convinced they are in the right — and because they live in an ideological bubble that deafens them in the same way that another bubble deafened House Republicans to the political consequences of their actions on Terri Schiavo — Washington's Democrats are going to go ahead and do themselves serious injury anyway.
Sometime in the coming month, Republicans in the Senate will force through a change in a Senate rule to allow candidates for judgeships to be confirmed by a simple majority vote of all 100 senators.
Votes are now being held up indefinitely via a long-established loophole, the filibuster.
For the past two years, Democrats in the Senate have used the filibuster in a new and highly controversial manner — to block consideration of appeals-court and district court nominees who would otherwise be confirmed by the full Senate. (Yes, past judicial nominees by both Republican and Democratic presidents have been held up in the Senate. But those were due to "holds," a different and even more dubious Senate maneuver by which a senator anonymously threatens to consider a filibuster.)
Welcome to parenthood!
As a proof of that premise, here’s a look at what the Clark County democrats web site has to say about Dr. Dean/Mr. Hyde’s visit.
You’ll note that, as usual, the local democrats only mention the standard partisan fare of Dr. Dean/Mr. Hyde’s speech, ignoring altogether the observations he made as to the increasing democrat difficulty to make inroads into the red states.
What better way to deal with a problem then to ignore it?
Local democrats simply are unable to grasp that their leftist hate-mongering does not gain them adherents… in fact, it costs them, election after election, as their anointed candidates are forced to pour gasoline on themselves and light it in the name of the ultra-leftist neo-comm agenda of those in charge of the democrat machine down here.
Dean wows 'em at Skyview High
More than 1,100 people, mostly active Democrats, packed the Skyview High School auditorium April 12 to cheer a rousing speech by Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee and 2004 presidential candidate.
His topic was the importance of participating in politics at all levels. As he ventured away from that to criticize the Bush administration, several of the handful of Republicans in the crowd ostentatiously walked out.
Dean noted that he had accepted the engagement before he was appointed party chairman and was not speaking in that capacity. “But I intend to be partisan,” he said, bringing the partisans in the crowd to their feet.
He was unremitting in his criticism of such Bush initiatives as the proposal to privatize Social Security.He urged those in the audience to donate money and work for their party. At one point he said he’d rather have people work for Republican candidates than not participate at all.
Hopefully, in time, they'll get over it.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 a.m.
Fox News Channel: journalism as battlefield
WASHINGTON — The in-your-face right-wing partisanship that marks Fox News Channel's news broadcasts is having two dangerous effects.
The first is that the popularity of the approach — Fox is clobbering its direct competition (CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, etc.) — leads other cable broadcasters to mimic it, which in turn debases the quality of the news available to that segment of the TV audience.
The second, far more dangerous, effect is that it threatens to destroy public confidence in all news.
That last, I admit, is more fear than prediction, but let me tell you what produces that fear. Fox News Channel — though the people who run the operation are at great pains to insist otherwise — is deliberately partisan. It is as though right-wing talk radio has metastasized into cable and assumed a new virulence.
Monday, April 18, 2005
It is one thing to turn your back on millions of dollars to become a Ranger and put yourself in Harm's Way in response to an attack on your country. But it is quite something different... even something so much more... to go back and do it AGAIN when you've already DONE YOUR TIME.
This, perhaps, is the greatest expression of love for Country of modern times. And we should all miss him terribly.
Tillman had been urged to seek discharge to return to game
4/16/2005, 1:02 p.m. PT
The Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) Four months before he was killed in Afghanistan, Pat Tillman was told that he could opt out of extending his military service because National Football League clubs were clamoring for him.
Tillman, who was based at Fort Lewis, Wash., with the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, chose to stay in the Army. And on April 22, 2004, he was shot by a fellow U.S. soldier who mistakenly fired on a friendly Afghan soldier in Tillman's unit. Other U.S. soldiers then fired in the same direction.
Tillman had an exceptional college football career and was a starter for the Arizona Cardinals. But he didn't capture national attention until he walked away from a $1.2 million-a-year contract to join the Army after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
In December 2003, when Tillman was back home from his initial tour overseas, in Iraq, his agent had begun fielding calls from teams suddenly interested in acquiring his client for the 2004 season.
"And they all said the same thing: 'Frank, this kid can get out of it. He's already served in a war. Just file his discharge papers,'" the agent, Frank Bauer, told The Arizona Republic.
He urged Tillman to consider seeking a discharge.
"He said 'No, I'm going to stay. I owe them three years. I'll do one more tour,'" Bauer said. "And that's the last I ever heard from Pat."
Tillman's decision "may be remarkable to everybody else," said brother-in-law Alex Garwood, director of the Pat Tillman Foundation. "But not if you knew Pat."
The Defense Department has completed an investigation into Tillman's death that was aimed at concerns raised about whether the Army held back information, but its findings won't be made public, Lt. Col. Pamela Hart, an Army spokeswoman at the Pentagon, said this past week.
Tillman's family got a briefing on the inquiry recently, said Lt. Col. Hans Bush, chief of public affairs for the Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Words… are my business. They are my tools… My levers… My weapons… My bandages. I use them professionally to have an effect. I use them to anger… To inflame… To reach… To mold… To teach… To heal.
It’s after midnight just now. My job, where I am fortunate enough to work out of my own home as a political consultant, frequently averages between 12 to 16 hours… research, meetings, phone calls, writing, positions, strategizing… As the impending political season starts to spool up in earnest (Washington State has one of the latest primary elections in the country… mid-September) and as the issues for those who’ve retained me begin to amp up, I find it sometimes difficult to turn it off enough for sleep to come.... sometimes, anyway.
And sleep has deserted me here once again. But work isn’t the reason. Work, for once, has nothing to do with this.
I am a veteran of over 14 years of service in the Army. One of every 7 days I’ve been alive was spent on one overseas assignment or another while I was in. Most of that was, relatively speaking, down time. Little of that duty, compared to the duty of the Rangers, could be termed “hazardous.”
Once I joined the Army, it didn’t take long to discover that it was a “game,” and once you figured out “the rules,” you could go far…
So, playing the game, I went from private to promotable staff sergeant in just over 7 years. I went from high school dropout to missing cum laude’ by .02 of a grade point. And I was given a Regular Army Commission… the same commission West Pointers received. And life was good.
Life continues to be good. My business is booming, I recently bought a really great house… where I’ll be building a roughly 600 square foot shop this summer. A family that has issues, but none in comparison to that of my childhood.
Even the weather’s been pretty good for this time of year.
And then, I heard about Pat Tillman.
And that is when the words stopped working for me.
I never knew Pat Tillman beyond the all-too-few articles written about his amazing, if not stunning, decision to turn his back on millions of dollars so he could become a Ranger and go defend his country.
But when I heard about him, the hook was buried. I talked him up at Legion meetings, Vietnam Veterans of America meetings, meetings at the VFW.
“Man, have you heard about that Tillman kid? Can you believe it? NO ONE turns their back on $9 million dollars to stay with a team paying a third less (just ask Alex Rodriguez) and then NO ONE turns their back on $3.6 million to go chase bad guys in Afghanistan!”
And, no one does. Except… except for Pat Tillman.
I believe I understand something of what he felt when he decided to leave football to be a soldier. The terrible events of 9/11 effected me to some extent the same way they seem to have affected him. I tried to re-enlist… I told the Army I’d even go back in as a Spec 4. I told them I could teach weapons or something at Benning, and free up a young, hard-charging Staff Sergeant to go chasing around the hills of Afghanistan. I took a run at it… an all together too short of a run… but I made the attempt. I even took it to the White House… but to no avail. (“Too old… too broken up… too friggen fat.”) My conscience: assuaged.
But when I look at what Pat Tillman gave up… when I look at the strength of his convictions…. When I see that he was willing to put aside every earthly thing he had, including his brand-new wife… to go fight in a far off foreign land, when he COULD have stayed home and made millions playing a game… It literally brings tears to my eyes that I am so unworthy in comparison to that.
I never met Ranger Tillman. I fear I could consider myself lucky to be half the man he was in the 27 all-too-short years of his life. I sit here in the luxury of my office… wired, three computer-networked on broadband air conditioned Cokes or coffee mere feet away my bed just down the hallway past my big screen TV… and tears roll out of my eyes at the thought of what a tremendous loss this Country has sustained with Pat Tillman’s death.
That is not to belittle the deaths or wounds of any of the others. I consider them all my brothers and sisters. But I have already read the remarks from some who simply cannot know, as Pat Tillman knew, exactly what he was giving up, for exactly what he was getting in to.
Pat understood. He understood the debt that we all owe for the fabulous life (compared to 96% of the rest of the people on this planet) we all have here in America. Clearly, he felt compelled to make the effort to repay that debt, by seeking out the most challenging, dangerous duty he could find.
His very success in the Army facilitated his death. Yet, even knowing what little I know about the man… so much younger then I, yet so much more admirable in so many ways, I cannot help but think that even if he knew the outcome… he wouldn’t have changed a thing.
As I close in on the start of my 6th decade of life, I will do everything I can to emulate Pat Tillman in the ways open to me. To be as true to myself as possible. To understand those things that are most important in life. To take a stand… and in the time remaining to me, make a mark.
Suddenly, I feel very tired. I had to get this down… had to make sure it wouldn’t get lost. I got that much done… and I see it as the least I can do.
In closing, Henry V’s words seem startlingly appropriate, so I leave you with them.
"This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."
Sunday, April 17, 2005
I was thrilled that democrats selected Dean, America’s leading political psychopath.
Dean is not a stupid man. As a general rule, those who’ve worked, fought and struggled to achieve a medical doctorate and then gone through the rigors of internship and residency to attain their goal cannot be labeled “stupid.”
But much like the idea that I would go to Jermaine O’Neal for an opinion on the current state of race relations, affirmative action and/or racism in America today, the fact that O’Neal is a millionaire (that is, the fact that he’s a spoiled multi-millionaire lacking in any real education outside of high school who’s major claim to fame is that he’s brilliant on a basketball court) brought up in the era of victimology tending to devalue his perspective; the fact that Dr. Dean is, well, a doctor, gives him no special cache’ in the political world.
Something, obviously, has happened to him since his centrist days as the moderate-democrat governor of Vermont. His attack-dog style grew old, fast, but he seems quite stuck in it.
The problem, as I see it, is that he can’t let his ultra-leftist/socialist presidential candidate persona go.
He is, in fact, possessed of a split personality in the political realm… conflicted. On one hand, he’s the same Dr. Dean nut job that spouts racism platitudes when it serves him… on the other; he speaks a reality utterly incomprehensible to, say, the local neo-comm ultra leftists infesting the democrat party in Clark County.
Gregg Herrington provided this little vignette about his visit here:
Dean nailed it again when he got in the face of his adoring audience.
He spoke of Americans who are "two paychecks from foreclosure" but, despite their economic status, are swayed by the Republican appeal to family values. He said these voters, for example, hear that liberals and the National Education Association want to convert their kids to homosexuality.
Then Dean paused as chuckles rippled across the auditorium. How amusing that voters out there in rural, red-state Middle America could possibly think such a thing. How very uninformed and backward can they be?
Then Dean pounced.
"And we laugh. And that's why we don't win.”
This is sound, solid, political advice. But where has it impacted? Do you honestly believe that this reality check changed one closed neo-comm mind even one synapse worth? Dr. Dean’s problem, as is his Party’s problem, is that the ultra-left wing of his party dominates… and they simply don’t want to hear it.
The ultra-leftists controlling the democrats generally and the Clark County democrats in particular, hold those who disagree with them in the same contempt Dr. Dean exhibits for Republicans generally and President Bush in particular during the last election and since.
And they laugh. And they lose.
What Dr. Dean doesn’t get is simple: They’re emulating him.
On one hand, Dr. Dean tells us: “"We are not," he said at one point, "always as respectful as we should be in the Democratic Party."
And then, the next thing you know, Dr. Dean engages in the very conduct he would seek to condemn within his own Party.
And this is what brings us to the problem the democrats have with Dr. Dean. On one hand, he seems to have a clue… a grip… on the changes the democrats need to make to become competitive, instead of the increasingly funny punch line they are currently. But, on the other, he feels compelled to pander to the most radical left elements of his party.
This sends a mixed, damaging message out to the people of this country… people who continue to view him and the Party that has chosen him to lead, as a party of total nut jobs.
Currently, the democrat attack machine is having their way with Rep. Tom Delay. Rep. Delay, of course, kicked the democrat collective’s butt in Texas redistricting, and now the democrats are out to get revenge. They will do anything to destroy him, much like they did Speaker Newt.
Their purpose, of course, is indictment of the entire GOP, via guilt through association.
The problem with that plan is the duality of it. Guilt by association for the GOP? Then guilt by association for the democrats, still caught up in the grip of their hate speech rhetoric, still controlled by their Moveon.org neo-comms, and now controlled by their political psychopath.
The latest example is this:
April 16, 2005
By Michael Finnegan, Times Staff Writer
Dean Says Democrats Will Make Schiavo Case an Election Issue
· House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's role in the end-of-life debate will be a main target, the DNC chairman says at a West Hollywood breakfast.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Friday that his party would wield the Terri Schiavo case against Republicans in the 2006 and 2008 elections, but for now needed to stay focused battling President Bush on Social Security.
"We're going to use Terri Schiavo later on," Dean said of the brain-damaged Floridian who died last month after her feeding tube was removed amid a swarm of political controversy.
Dean, who has called congressional intervention in the Schiavo case "political grandstanding," singled out House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) for his leading role in the matter.
"This is going to be an issue in 2006, and it's going to be an issue in 2008," Dean told about 200 people at a gay rights group's breakfast in West Hollywood, "because we're going to have an ad with a picture of Tom DeLay saying, 'Do you want this guy to decide whether you die or not? Or is that going to be up to your loved ones?' "
First, Dr. Dean will be using the tragic death of Terry Schiavo as a political football… thus making him guilty of the very charge he impugns Delay with, specifically “political grandstanding.”
Even the phrasing of the quote… “We’re going to use Terry Schiavo,” smacks of a callous disregard for the agony that both sides of the issue experienced in her death.
That said, so… when Republicans engage in “political grandstanding,” that’s bad. But when democrats engage in “political grandstanding,” that’s good?
Hypocrisy, Dr. Dean. Look it up.
Second, where was this policy speech given? “A gay rights group breakfast in Hollywood.”
So, Mr. Hyde appears, giving political policy speeches to an ultra-leftist group representative of a political movement meeting disastrous defeat at the polls in state after state… a group that represents a huge anchor around the neck of the democrats… yet a group that the democrats continue to cultivate… Thus further cementing the fringe political credentials that Dr. Dean brought to his abortive presidential campaign run.
The title for this is, perhaps, “dissociative disorder,” or, for the aficionados, “multiple personality disorder.”
Dr. Dean could be a force for good. He could bring the democrats back from the cusp of political lunacy.
But he won’t. And democrats have no one to blame but themselves.
The appointment of Dean guarantees short-term Republican success. And I thank the left for it.
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Pat Tillman represented everything great and good about being an American.
I am already highly upset about how the Army has handled his death... and this most recent effort does nothing to reassure me.
They better not screw around with this. The truth is always best... even when it's painful... even if it confirms that our own forces accidentally killed Ranger Tillman. I want to know. America wants to know. And we'd better get the truth.
Saturday, April 16, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 a.m.
Army won't reveal findings in newest Tillman inquiry
The Arizona Republic
Questions surround the 2004 death of Pat Tillman.
By BILLY HOUSE
WASHINGTON — The Army has completed its latest investigation into football star Pat Tillman's friendly-fire death while a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan but is refusing to make public the findings.
The new inquiry was launched in November after Tillman family members and others raised questions about why the Pentagon initially held back or even distorted some details of Tillman's death on April 22, 2004.
"The investigation is done," said Lt. Col. Hans Bush, chief of public affairs for the Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., which conducted the new investigation. On Wednesday, he described the written report as "huge in the level of detail" but declined to elaborate.
Tillman's family got a briefing on the inquiry "only a couple of weeks ago," Bush said, adding that there was "a degree of satisfaction expressed by the family." The aim of the investigation, he said, was to address concerns that have been raised about whether the Army held back some information about Tillman's death.
Friday, April 15, 2005
Now, the unfortunate fact is that teachers are not the brightest group, taken as a whole. Research has indicated that future teachers have among the lowest SAT scores and clearly, those who shill for their union is reflective of that fact.
Politically, they’re totally inept. They managed to pull one over on us (well, two, actually) when they “pie-in-the-skyed” us with their “no increase in taxes” Initiatives 728 and 732. But last year, their sales tax increase boondoggle was crushed at the polls… so clearly; they’re a political brick short of a load when it comes to reality.
Nothing can illustrate this better then their stubborn, dogged insistence on getting rid of the Supermajority. Their selfish, shortsighted insistence on an all-or-nothing approach to this issue dims their collective bulb just that much more.
Oh, they make excuses in support of their position… my favorite being these two particular lies: “Supporters of the bill said doing so would make it difficult for districts to complete their budgets and would leave the districts with only one shot at a levy or bond each year.”
Lie Number One: Supporters of the bill said doing so would make it difficult for districts to complete their budgets.
Districts are, in fact, fully capable of completing TWO budgets; one in the event the bond/levy fails, one in the event it passes. Thus, the November requirement places exactly ZERO difficulty on school districts. None. Zip. NADA.
Lie Number Two: and would leave the districts with only one shot at a levy or bond each year.
Districts also can continue to hold regularly scheduled bond and levy elections… but they only get a single shot at the simple majority each year… thus the “one shot” argument, as most leftist neo-comm arguments… is a crock.
The WEA and the neo-comm lackeys should have compromised. They should have taken the “camel’s-nose-under-the-tent-flap” approach and engaged in compromise. Instead, they pouted, threw a tantrum… and got nothing. And that serves them and the people of this state, right.
Friday, April 15, 2005 · Last updated 5:53 p.m. PT
Simple majority approval for school levies dies again
By KELLY KEARSLEY
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A proposed constitutional amendment to allow simple-majority voter approval of school levies died Friday despite last-minute efforts by supporters.
Education advocates say they've tried to get similar bills through the Legislature for at least 15 years.
Friday was the last day for votes on bills approved by the opposite house. The school levy bill had been approved by the House but the Senate did not take action by the 5 p.m. deadline.
Currently, school districts need a supermajority of at least 60 percent approval to pass bonds and levies. The bill would have allowed a simple majority of voters to approve the levies, which pay for school operations.