Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day...

The four sweetest words in the English language:
Brewers win, CUBS LOSE!!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

With screw-ups like this... no wonder people don't respect the law

It seems that the folks who decide on legal immigration have bollixed things up once again. This time, they are refusing to grant a visa to an interpreter who helped our troops in Iraq, even though he and his family are clearly facing death or physical harm from terrorists.

The bureaucrats at INS would not even take note of the letters in the file from Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter and General David Petraeus. One would think any reasonable person would take note of said letters, the medal awarded, and the fact that this guy is facing the very real risk of physical harm.

This is not the only situation. I became aware, via a second-hand account, of a Colombian family who faced a somewhat similar dilemma. They didn't translate for the US, but they had heard of a FARC "recruiting campaign" that was to take place at the school where one of their sons attended. They tried to get here legally, but ultimately, when faced with the likelihood of their son being kidnapped and used as cannon fodder by a terrorist group, they came here on tourist visas and overstayed.

We don't know why the INS decided not to approve this, and to even label him a terrorist. And that is the problem with that bureaucracy. With screw-ups like these, it is no wonder a lot of otherwise good people are deciding that the law is fouled up.

This is why I reject the whole Malkin/Tancredo approach on immigration. Ultimately, we are dealing with people. It's not numbers, it's not about culture, it's people - individual persons who deserve to get equal treatment under the law.

The Marine Corps would be perfectly justified in bringing this translator and his family home, providing them with support, looking after them, and daring ICE to come after them. This man had more than earned American citizenship for himself and his family by coming to our aid in helping liberate Iraq. They should also assign their top JAGs to this and similar cases where the fouled up immigration system is causing problems for them. Other services should do the same. The Army, for instance, had an illegal immigrant who took part in the liberation of Iraq - doing the defense of our country that the likes of Reverend Wright have vehemently opted out of (yes, I know Wright served in the Marine Corps - but that service does NOT cancel out "God Damn America").

But this calls for a total revamping of immigration law in this country. It also means that we pass common-sense reforms that will deal with the real problems. Big Lizards has made a number of good posts on this issue, and the discussion should start there. There needs to be some penalty for breaking the law. But contrary to the assertions we hear from the right, it is not a choice between deportation and nothing. There are ways to ensure that those who broke the law pay a price for their actions. If they are fined, and agree to a form of probation, they have not received amnesty, contrary to the assertions from Michelle Malkin.

It is hard to respect laws when they are applied very poorly. Scrap the system, and start over.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

How bad is it for the Dems?

Whoever wins the Hillary/Obama deathmatch will lose at least 19% of the other candidate's supporters, and as much as 28%.

This is not just losing, it's getting blown out.

Furthermore, the GOP is not likely to lose as many voters. On the one hand, Hillary engenders a fierce response from them. On the other hand, Obama's pastor caused a controversy that Obama has not handled well. This translates into a blowout win.

The conservatives who demanded ideological purity on immigration and elsewhere? Out of luck. John McCain will, in all likelihood, win without them.

They forgot one simple lesson: The winner decides the terms, not the loser. Now, McCain will win, and he will have a level of support in the general election that will likely be a mandate.

In other words, he will have the support to pass things like comprehensive immigration reform.

Conservatives gambled and lost. The consequences are going to be painful for them. Maybe now, they will learn that half a loaf is better than nothing.

Monday, March 24, 2008

It's the law...

Remember how all these food cops went crazy, and are now micro-managing vending machines?

Maybe people need to read this Victorville Daily Press article, ideally with Ice-T's "I'm Your Pusher" from his album Power is playing (it should be readily available via or iTunes for those who are not fortunate enough to have it).

Seems black-market sweets have managed to find their way into the schools. It's not that hard to imagine, when a box of 36-48 candy bars goes for about $15. Then keep in mind that the black-market candy bars usually go for $2 a pop. So you get anywhere from $72 to $96 per box of candy.

These candy pushers have it made. And they owe it all to the food nazis.

Just remember, "supply and demand" is not just a concept... it's the LAW!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

How'd he do?

Not too well, if you believe the Rasmussen poll.

Obama's speech handled the Wright controversy about as well as the Denver Broncos special teams unit handled Devin Hester last November.

And like Hester with just enough space, McCain seems to be breaking away for a big one.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Reading suggestion for Barack Obama...

Eli Lake's January 2007 article is well worth the read.

In fact, Barack Obama should have read it before he spouted off on McCain today.

Money quote:

An American intelligence official said the new material, which has been authenticated within the intelligence community, confirms "that Iran is working closely with both the Shiite militias and Sunni Jihadist groups." The source was careful to stress that the Iranian plans do not extend to cooperation with Baathist groups fighting the government in Baghdad, and said the documents rather show how the Quds Force — the arm of Iran's revolutionary guard that supports Shiite Hezbollah, Sunni Hamas, and Shiite death squads — is working with individuals affiliated with Al Qaeda in Iraq and Ansar al-Sunna.

Another American official who has seen the summaries of the reporting affiliated with the arrests said it comprised a "smoking gun." "We found plans for attacks, phone numbers affiliated with Sunni bad guys, a lot of things that filled in the blanks on what these guys are up to," the official said.

A gaffe was made, but not by Barack Obama.

Walking the Walk is more important than Talking the Talk...

Remember the whole Don Imus controversy?

Well, it seems that back then, Barack Obama had no problem calling Imus out over his comments (which were nowhere near as bad as Jeremiah Wright's).

But when Wright preaches "God damn America" and calls Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice a skeeze (Rice's bio, by the way, shows that she had it much harder than Obama did), Barack Obama asks us to understand why he cannot disown the guy.

Barack Obama looks more and more like he is either a hypocrite, or a man so averse to confrontation that he will always look for an easy way out. Neither thing is good in a President.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ultimate verdict: No Sale.

Barack Obama's big speech today was to try to put the Wright thing behind him. Or that is what he was hoping.

It didn't fly with me.

In essence, he flunked on two counts:
Strike one:
Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
What Obama says may be true, but Mussolini made the trains run on time, and Hitler created the autobahn. But we still view both men as bad guys.

Had I heard some of the crap over the pulpit in my ward, I'd have walked out and found a new ward - while going to the stake leadership to explain exactly why I was doing so. I wouldn't hesitate to tell the speaker that he or she was in the wrong. If necessary, I'd stop going to church for a while.

Strike two:
And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.
Here is the portrayal of what an Obama administration will be: He'll deny problems when they exist, allowing them to get worse. He does not have the guts to take a tough stand and risk a lot of flak from his community or political base, the Democrats who choose to blame America for the world's ill - contrast that to President Bush, who has been more than willing to anger his community and political base when he felt it was the right thing to do (prescription drugs, immigration, etc.).

Obama has missed opportunities to do so. This was his last, best chance. He did not do so, instead, he tried to have it both ways.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong-Il, Hugo Chavez, Raul Castro, Osama bin Ladin, and Ayman al-Zawahiri now have plenty of reason to celebrate if Senator Obama is elected.

Obama's character was weighed today and found wanting. That's why he won't get my vote.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Obama and Romney are apples and oranges...

Given the strong displeasure that I expressed about Mike Huckabee's playing to religious bigotry to derail the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney, it may open me up to charges of hypocrisy to discuss the Obama-Wright matter. Indeed, Obama has also been the subject of some nasty rumors that he is really a Muslim, rumors, which appear to have no basis in truth.

But it's a case of apples and oranges when discussing Wright and TUCC/Mormonism.

Frankly, the issue has now shifted from Wright's comments, particularly with his departure from Obama's campaign. Now,the issue is how forthcoming Barack Obama has been, and if Powerline and Rich Lowry have gotten it right, then Barack Obama appears to have tried to BS the American people.

Contrast that to Mitt Romney's handling of the Mormon question. He did not drag his religion into the campaign. Romney never tried to dissemble about it, either.

Obama's now in a lot of trouble - there is no sugar-coating this. He had projected an aura of being genuine, of respecting those who disagreed with him, and of trying to bring people together as Americans. Now, though, this image is tarnished, if not in tatters.

Barack Obama may win the Democratic nomination, but if he wins, America will be just as divided as it was before.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Well, well...

AJ-Strata has found something interesting. Seems that Tom Tancredo's hard-line position on immigration is out of step with his district.

This is not surprising. Multiple GOP primaries have gone to candidates who favor a comprehensive approach, much like Senator John McCain has. They do not seem to be able to prevail in Republican primaries.

And that is the real issue. Social conservatives do not seem to be able to close the sale with significant chunks of the Republican primary electorate on issues like immigration to the point of rejecting a candidate on this issue. So now, they find themselves losing Republican primaries.

That is not John McCain's problem, and he is under no obligation (contrary to assertions from people like Rick Santorum) to accommodate them. To the contrary, the conservatives need to re-think, and ask themselves why they cannot close the sale. They certainly are not inany position to dictate terms to John McCain.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Jeremiah Wright, meet Fred Phelps . . .

Sen. Barack Obama's pastor says blacks should not sing "God Bless America" but "God damn America."

The only discernable difference seems to be that Freddie says "God Hates Fags" and Jerry says "God Hates Whitey."

Now, a little discussion of the relationship between pastor and his flock . . .

Once upon a time at my parish, the visiting priest started giving a homily that absolutely nothing to do with the Scripture readings. He quickly stepped into a general attack on the United States in general and the U. S. military in particular, using the typical leftist ideological cant.

I walked out of that homily--as did others. I had to really carefully examine my conscience before I went up to receive Eucharist; even then, I subsequently sought out spiritual counsel from another priest whose guidance I'd come to trust.

That incident led me to quit serving as a Eucharistic Minister at the next opportunity to do so, because I felt that I could not stand in the sanctuary before Communion--a very visible sign of unity with the priest--should that priest turn up again on a day when I had the duty. Were it to become a pervasive attitude in that parish, I would probably have started attending Mass at another parish. (I've done that before due to other issues.)

There comes a point where silently sitting in the pew becomes assent. There comes another point where sitting silently in the pew moves from assent to agreement.

If Barack Obama finds these beliefs to be worthy of associating himself with, that's bad. If he actually believes it, it's worse.

We keep hearing about "hope" and "change." Obama's pastor doesn't seem to offer either one.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Food Gestapo in the schools...

It seems that now, we have Food Gestapo in the schools. An eighth-grade honor student got suspended because he bought a bag of Skittles. I guess the schools in New Haven don't have any drug or gang problems if they can crack down on candy.
Michael Sheridan claims he was in a school hallway after lunch Feb. 26 when a classmate asked if he wanted some candy. The student had a lunch box filled with candy and a wad of money, he said.
And so, a principal decides to put a big black mark on a student for buying a freaking bag of Skittles with his money, simply because the school district established a "wellness policy" sans input from parents. The kid's mom has every right to be pissed off about this. The principal apparently decided to make an example.

This is what frosts me about a lot of people on the left and right. It's not enough that government practically rapes my wallet, not government is getting into people's refrigerators. What's next? Government in the john?

But the other lesson is what the vending machine bans have wrought. In a day and age where a kid can get to Costco or BJ's and buy a few boxes at about $15 each. Each box usually holds 36-48 candy bars. Sell them at $2 each, and you got yourself the makings of a thriving business.

It would serve the principal right for this suspension to not only be lifted, but for that school's black market in sweets to suddenly take off.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Coalition-Bulding 101... or The Lessons of IL-14

Jim Oberweis lost, but there are two lessons to be learned here:
1. Do not piss off large chunks of the primary electorate of your party by firing off nasty anything about your opponent. If you piss off people who largely agree with you because of some purity test or personal cheap shot, you have nobody but yourself to blame for losing. Mike Huckabee should bear this in mind for 2012 - and then act accordingly.

2. A hard-line policy on immigration does not win elections. In GOP primaries, like one in the third congressional district of Utah or the eighth congressional district of Arizona, the hard-line position usually cannot top 45% when it is faced with those favoring a more comprehensive approach (in Arizona 8, the only reason the hardliner won was because it was a first-across the line approach). This has even been the case in the 2008 presidential race.

3. The talk-radio hosts and major conservative media outlets have proven that they are largely out of touch with a large part of the Republican Party and the American public. If the GOP heeds their siren song, it will not go well.

Monday, March 10, 2008

It's not about cake...

I have a lot of respect for MacRanger. Being a guest on his show was quite an experience, and well worth pursuing. That said, with regards to John McCain, he is way off base.

The fact of the matter is that "true" conservatism did not close the sale with the Republican primary electorate in 2008, particularly on what seems to be the litmus test of the past few years, immigration.

And I find it quite telling that people like Mark Levin don't seem to get it, and in fact, seem to be taking issue with people like the folks at Powerline Blog, who point out (correctly) that conservatives are not in a position to make demands on John McCain. Levin's comments are just typical of the poor strategic and tactical sense shown by conservatives in the last few years. And poor strategy, tactics, communications, execution, and interpersonal skills will not be negated by how principled a person is.

Finally, one last note: Losers do not get to dictate terms to the winners. If conservative want McCain to respond to their desires, they have to go to him, and they need to move his way. It would be respectful of the Republican primary electorate. It may even be a matter of their political viability - because it is very likely that the Democratic nomination will end with a significant number of disaffected Democrats, and McCain will more than likely be able to appeal to a lot of them. And if he wins, with folks like Levin loudly campaigning against him because he lacked sufficient purity, he and Republicans will have every reason to ignore conservatives.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Some Thoughts on Anti-Trust

The recent contretemps over Northrop/EADS winning the KC-X tanker contract has led to think about the Clinton/Reno Justice Department's absurd approach to antitrust issues.

To fully understand why I view it as absurd, one needs to keep in mind two dates:

August 1st, 1997, and May 18th, 1998. Two dates that are less than a year apart. But they illustrate what the DoJ got wrong--and what they also got wrong.

On August 1st, 1997, The Boeing Company was allowed to gain a monopoly on domestic large airframe production. After that date, one had a choice of Boeing, or going to Airbus.

On May 18th, 1998, the Justice Department commenced its antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft. At that time, users had a choice of Windows, Macintosh Classic, or Linux for an affordable computer operating system. Now, one has a choice of Windows, Mac Classic, Mac OS X, BSD Unix, Solaris, Ubuntu, Red Hat, Debian, SuSE, FreeBSD, and the beat goes on . . .

Nowadays, web applications seem to be the way of the future, making the operating system less relevant than the browser, and there's plenty of choice in the browser world, too.

The Justice Department missed one fundamental point. Creating a computer program requires the following:

1. A reasonably quiet area to think
2. Skill in a computer language
3. A computer
4. Appropriate software

You can do it in your study or a public library. Get a bunch of people together with some venture capital or just a burning desire to show just how good and utterly cool y'all and y'all's ideas are, and you might end up being the next Microsoft or Google.

Creating a large commercial aircraft, in contrast, requires at least one hellaciously big factory (if not dozens of them) and a lot of expensive machinery. You can't do it in your study, or even in your garage (no matter HOW full of fancy tools your pegboard is).

So, Justice screwed everything up . . . and the fallout will likely screw a lot more things up.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Arrogance on the right...

Let's get this straight... Kevin James thinks that after the results of the 2008 Republican primaries, he can dictate terms to John McCain on immigration?

Mr. James, it is very simple, the candidates who backed your position (particularly Hunter and Tancredo) lost, and were barely asterisks in the polling data. Even Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee (in the most disingenuous flip-flop of 2008) couldn't ride it to victory.

You are not in a position to dictate terms to John McCain. The voters in Republican primary elections from across the country have chosen him.

And if I were John McCain, I'd be pissed off, and would probably tell you where you could go.

The people or the courts?

Remember when the cry was "count every vote" back in those days so long ago? Well, it turns out that there are times when those who would say that don't practice what they preached.

For an example - take California, where the left now seeks to overturn a 2000 referendum about gay marriage. In other words, they are asking judges to overturn the result of democracy they don't like.

I'm sorry, but that is wrong. I hate the Westboro Baptist Church freaks, but I fucking hate people who want to tell me that my vote should not count if they don't like which way an election went. It really comes down to how this country is supposed to work.

Do we the people get a say in this matter, through elected representatives who have public deliberations on controversial issues, or are we merely selecting those who choose the people to be judges, acting in a capacity that amounts to a polite and gentle dictatorship?

This issue was bound to happen with judges who decided to make the laws from the bench. It could have been any number of issues that would have triggered this confrontation. Gay marriage just happened to be it.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Democratic primary just went high-order...

Looks like the Democrats now have guaranteed themselves a nasty convention. Just looking at the maneuvering gives me the feeling that their convention will not turn ugly, it will start ugly.

And the superdelegates will have to decide it.

Meanwhile, McCain doesn't have to do that much...

Foolishness on the right...

It seems the GOP wants to remain the stupid party.

Never mind the fact that John McCain, a very vocal supporter of comprehensive immigration reform who has utterly rejected the Malkin-Tancredo hard line, has clinched the nomination. It seems that some conservatives will be pushing a hard line.

It has not won elections, it cannot even reliably win Republican primaries (only winning when there are multiple candidates supporting the approach favored by the majority of Republican primary voters in a given race).

Yet they insist on it. Conservatives are clearly out of touch with the GOP on this issue.