Axis of Right

Three Native Rhode Islanders Commenting From the Right on Politics and Anything Else

Archive for March, 2008

Catholics Down in Worldwide Count to Muslims

Posted by Ryan on March 31, 2008

Roman Catholics: 1.13 billion 

v. 

Muslims: 1.3 billion 

I have a really big problem with this Reuters story about the above statistics.  The Vatican, using hard to verify UN statistics, indicates that the world’s Muslim population has eclipsed Roman Catholicism as the world’s largest religious sect. 

I’m not concerned about nor am I playing a “my religion’s bigger than yours” game, but I do believe that the premise is ignorant:  Islam is not a monolithic religion — it has sects too that we hear about every single day

Ever hear of a “Sunni” or a “Shi’ite”?  What about a Sufi, Khariji, Druze or Wahhabi, etc.?  They are all sects of Islam, just like Roman Catholicism is a sect (albeit a super-large sect) of Christianity. 

I’m not sure what the Vatican was trying to say here with this statement about these numbers, but on the surface, it seems either sneaky or ignorant: either a chance to unify other Christian sects to gain numbers, or a politically correct way of starting some kind of a dialogue.  But, maybe I’m missing something here.

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Posted in Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

NCAA Men’s Final Four is Set

Posted by Ryan on March 30, 2008

So, how’s your bracket (pdf)?

One of things I’ve learned the hard way over the years is that never before have four #1 seeds ever met together in one season’s Final Four.  In the last eight years I’ve had two brackets where #1 seeds make the Final Four (granted I was very new at the whole thing).  I was told by wise people to never have one’s Final Four be all #1 seeds.  I heeded that wisdom for years and it served me well.

Bit me in the rear-end this year!  UNC and UCLA were a good picks for their region, but Kansas blows it every year so they won’t make it, while Memphis just can’t keep this going, coming from the wimpy Conference USA.  Logical, but picks against my gut:  Memphis looks like an NBA team and Kansas actually seemed like they got their stuff together this season.

Ugh.  UNC, UCLA, Memphis and Kansas are in — all #1 seeds… tailor-made for the newbie who never heard the ancient conventional wisdom and just went with the frontrunners on their way to winning lots of office cash! 

So, my brackets are pretty feeble this year.  My Final Four was UNC v. Georgetown and UCLA v. Texas.  In my office pool this almost means complete elimination from the competition, unless North Carolina wins the whole thing like I hope they do!

AP photo.

Posted in Culture, Pop Culture, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Staying In “As Long as [She] Wants”

Posted by Ryan on March 30, 2008

I have thought for a while now that if She Who Must Not Be Named cannot be the Democrat nominee, then Barack Obama cannot be President.  I had a similar thought about how the Clinton’s handled Kerry in 2004 — he couldn’t win either in order to pave the way for her historic run in 2008.

SWMNBN has to know that her continued presence in this race is having a detrimental effect on her party’s chances in the Fall given all the bad blood that is in the air which may not be reconciled by August.  I also believe that she’s taking the advice of her husband by staying in: either she can persuade enough superdelegates to join her through a series of late and impressive victories while still screeching about Michigan and Florida, or she waits until a Reverend Wright-type scandal knocks Obama out of the running prematurely where she can pick up the nomination by default and thereby save the party.

As for Obama, he’s encouraging the Shrill One to stay in the race as he continues to fill in the typical populist empty suit mold that continues to persuade a number of short-sighted idealists to follow him.  Michael Barone, however, gives SWMNBN a little hope in this article, arguing a hypothetical way in which Bill’s wife can win this.  Barone is generally considered to be the foremost expert on micro-politics within individual Congressional districts nationwide.  While admitting his idea is hypothetical, he also adds to this notion that SWMNBN should not drop out and continue to fight until the end, which she has recently pledged she’d do.

Good for her.  Let the Democrat Uncivil War continue!

Posted in Election 2008, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hasselbeck Tries to Stick It to Obama

Posted by Ryan on March 29, 2008

Back on March 19, the lovely Elizabeth Hasselbeck, “The View’s” token conservative and fellow Rhode Island transplant, made a great point about the double standard Obama has on race: Obama condemned Don Imus, who had been on radio since 1968 and made an inappropriate three-word joke in bad taste that got him fired within a week, but Barry O is still defending his Reverend Wright.  Elizabeth gets harped on by the harpies on “The View” but she made a great point — and another indication that Obama’s foes on the Left and Right are not going to let this issue slide.

Yesterday, Obama paid a visit to the ladies on “The View.”  Some important points related to his distant relation to Brad Pitt, how “sexy” he is,  if he’s tough enough to survive a Republican “swift-boating,” yak yak yak.  However, Barbara Walters did eventually bring up the Imus stuff.  Obama , in typical form, split hairs and parsed words, not hearing “some of the things” Wright said, etc.  Soon he turned into his friendship with She Who Must Not Be Named (gag). 

It appears in the first two to five minutes of this clip:

It’s funny because the YouTube clips from the news stations skip the Imus part and go straight to dealing with the “Republican attack machine.” Elizabeth then tries to call him out about his “uniter” farce.  Yet, Obama dances some more, even telling an anecdote about how Reverend Wright saved an interracial couple through Wright’s guidance.  However, to my disappointment, the Imus double standard was not addressed further. 

Posted in Election 2008, Media Bias, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Carla Sarkozy — International Babe

Posted by Ryan on March 28, 2008

We all love Nicholas Sarkozy for single-handedly making it OK to like the French again, and giving the Republicans here in America a model to win in November.  But, we didn’t know much about his wife Carla until her recent trip to the UK this week.

Carla Sarkozy, formerly Carla Bruni (supermodel, poet, musician, actress, trysty lover of Mick Jagger et al), is taking the upper crust Euro political scene by storm.  She’s glitzy, beautiful, chic, with a French accent the British media is just lapping up, making her an absolute craze across the pond! 

Of course, she’s not the typical model for a major country’s First Lady, hence the paparazzi-like obsession of the media.  Plus, the coupling of she and Sarko might seem a bit awkward to some: he the articulate go-getter, she the fashionista/ditz.  Yet, the “New Diana” or the New “John and Jackie”?  I don’t know about that, but aesthetically, as First Ladies go, she reminds us of slightly aged eye-candy you still don’t need wine to appreciate. 

AFP photo.

Posted in Anything Else, Europe, Media Bias, Pop Culture, UK Politics | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

An Education: Democrats on the Economy

Posted by Ryan on March 27, 2008

We’ve finally learned something (on the record for a change) about Democrat’s vision for the today’s ailing economy!  Here’s a sample of Obama’s take on what he to do in tough economic times:

“To renew our economy — and to ensure that we are not doomed to repeat a cycle of bubble and bust again and again — we need to address not only the immediate crisis in the housing market; we also need to create a 21st century regulatory framework, and pursue a bold opportunity agenda for the American people….  We do American business — and the American people — no favors when we turn a blind eye to excessive leverage and dangerous risks….  If we can extend a hand to banks on Wall Street, we can extend a hand to Americans who are struggling.”

OK, let me get this straight:  Regulation.  Government handouts.  Ending the Business Cycle.

Been there, done that.

  • One of the things we learned from the 1970s (before Obama met Reverend Wright and while She Who Must Not Be Named was still wearing those dorky glasses) is that the more regulation the government imposes the less economic activity takes place from those targeted companies/industries, which will destroy job growth and diversification. 
  • Plus, government hand-outs to the “struggling” might be good mid-20th Century populist/class-warfare politics, but we’ve seen the abject failure of wealth redistribution in our own country: “War on Poverty” anyone?  
  • Back in the 1990s people were also talking about the end of the business cycle.  I don’t want an end to the business cycle because, quite simply, that means the end of capitalism.  Bad companies must be made to account, bad behaviors by consumers must be stymied by market realities, and bad investments must be punished if an economy is to learn and grow in the fastest and most natural way. 

So, what did I learn about the Democrat candidates and the economy today? 

Same old populist-socialist dribble that won’t fix anything but would continue the cycle of dependency.  But that’s what I expected them to say.  The bigger question to ask is:

Will John McCain take advantage of these scary policy positions that his opponents are putting forward on the record? 

One hopes.

Posted in Election 2008, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Here We Go: Red Sox v. Yankees

Posted by Ryan on March 26, 2008

The first sign of Spring in America 

New York Yankee’s Co-Owner Hank Steinbrenner: “Red Sox Nation? What a bunch of (expletive) that is….  Go anywhere in America and you won’t see Red Sox hats and jackets, you’ll see Yankee hats and jackets. This is a Yankee country. We’re going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order.”

Associated Press Sports Writer Ian O’Connor: “The Red Sox have become the Yankees, and the Yankees have become the Red Sox, and Hank and [Joe] Girardi [the Yankee’s new manager] will have a hell of a time reversing the damage…. George Steinbrenner always thought a transition period was the time spent between the last out of October and the ceremony at city hall, and [Joe] Torre readily accepted that term of engagement.   Now Hank and his manager confront a bigger obstacle on their way back to a ticker-tape rain. These days, the only team worthy of being called an evil empire is based 200 miles north of the Bronx.”

So it begins, 2008-style.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Uncivil War Begins to Mount Casualties

Posted by Ryan on March 26, 2008

This report from the Gallup organization has to have McCain feeling pretty good today, and also shows how the Uncivil War is doing potentially lasting damage to the Democrats.  According to the article, 19% of Obama supporters would desert and vote for McCain if She Who Must Not be Named were nominated, while 28% of SWMNBN supporters would likewise vote for McCain instead of the Empty Suit.

While it’s still too early to put a lot of importance behind these kinds of polls in regards to the Fall Campaign, it does indicate a lack of tolerance building between the Lying-Shrill One and the Empty Suit amongst different factions in the Democrat Party.  I don’t think that 28% of any Democrat’s supporters are going to flock to McCain in the Fall, but staying home or throwing one’s vote away on Nader would still do the trick in some important states.

AP photo (I wonder if he’s thinking “Read between the lines” or something).

Posted in Election 2008, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Supreme Court Smacks Bush, Mexicans, World Court

Posted by Ryan on March 25, 2008

The Supreme Court voted 6-3 today to strike down President Bush’s adherence to a 1963 International Treaty where aliens caught committing a crime must be aware that they are entitled to legal counsel/advice when tried in American courts.  In today’s case, Medellin v. Texas (2008), the defendant argued that he was not made aware of this detail after his arrest (even though he submitted a hand-written confession after killing two girls in 1993).  After Mexico sued the USA over the issue in 2003, the International Court of Justice in 2004 said that the Mexicans (fifty in all around the US) must be given a new trial if such counsel could affect their cases. 

Today the Mexicans lost.

Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, Stevens, and Kennedy were in the majority who believed that:

The president may not “establish binding rules of decision that pre-empt contrary state law.” Neither does the treaty, by itself, require individual states to take action.

Breyer, Ruth Biddy, and Souter dissented citing the primacy of international treaties over American law:

“The nation may well break its word even though the president seeks to live up to that word,” wrote Breyer.

One of the points that Justice Stevens brings up is that Texas could, at any time, give Medellin a new trial.  Yet he ruled with the majority because he believes that Texas may not be compelled to give him a new trial; Texas law taking precedent over the ICJ order which was being enforced by the chief executive in violation of state sovereignty

I agree with this decision and appreciate how the court was defending federalism, states’ rights, and preventing a precedent whereby the World Court could on future occasions dictate what American courts and states can or cannot do.

Posted in Judicial Watch, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

MSM Attacks Lead to Actual Attacks!

Posted by Ryan on March 24, 2008

So says a Harvard study on that very topic. 

I guess it takes a study by a group of leftist Ivy-League brainiacs (economists of all people!) to figure something out that makes perfect sense to us normal folk:  “anti-resolve” statements in our press correlate to increased attacks by insurgents in Iraq, who by and large have access to our media too.

Apparently this study has been out a while — my link is dated March 12 — yet I only heard about it on the news tonight: Fox News, of course, on Special Report with Brit Hume’sGrapevine” segment!

Posted in Culture, Media Bias, Politics, The Iraq Front | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

She Who Must Not Be Named, Lie #41,502,384,852

Posted by Mike on March 24, 2008

She Who Must Not Be Named’s tale of dodging sniper fire in the Bosnian war zone is merely one in the infinite line of lies flying of her mouth during this campaign. For that reason, I thought nothing of the fairy tale the first time I heard it. I simply laughed out loud because it was so obvious that she was lying.

Since no one on the planet actually believed the lie when it was first told, no proof of the lie is actually necessary. However, thanks to the Jed Report, the proof is now viral. Why not post the proof as shown in the form of a movie trailer?

The whopper itself was unbelievable, but the explanation that she simply “misspoke” why telling it in great detail is even more so. Fortunately, even the media doesn’t seem to be buying it now that the tired old 1990s politics are being used against a liberal.

Hat tip: Ace of Spades

Posted in Election 2008, Politics | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Iraq Death Toll Hits 4000 Americans

Posted by Ryan on March 24, 2008

It’s still a tough fight in Iraq as the MSM’s obsession with death counts is renewed today as the total American death toll in Iraq hits roughly 4000 soldiers (including non-combat dead).  While every death has meaning and is tied to a family’s sorrow, historically compared to other wars this number is quite low, reflecting only a tough morning in a large Civil War battle, rather than a total after 5 years of heavy combat and constabulary duties in a hostile nation on the other end of the world.  It reflects positively on our soldiers, commanders, and medical staffs that the numbers have stayed this low for so long.  Let’s pray they don’t rise too much higher.

It’s all about perspective, I suppose.

However, I must admit that since last year, the media’s morbid obsession with the number of American dead has waned in the face of the Petraeus Report and Iraq not being the number one campaign issue helping Democrats.  As has been the case since the “Mission Accomplished” speech in May 2003, the MSM’s treatment of the war has been to report what’s happening through a partisan and ideological lens.  Perhaps our soldiers have achieved an unintentional victory against the American and International media’s treatment of what they are doing and accomplishing in Iraq.  It’s a shame they had to fight that battle in the first place. 

Posted in Election 2008, Media Bias, The Iraq Front | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Easter Vigil 2008

Posted by Ryan on March 22, 2008

The coolest and longest mass of the Catholic year officially begins the Easter celebration! 

So, what’s news about Easter Vigil Mass? 

Roman Catholics will tell you that there are Baptisms, First Communions, and Confirmations performed at this mass, along with fires, candles in the dark, Gregorian Chant-style readings and lots of Latin.  It’s also 2-3 hours depending on the amount of sacraments being performed.  Unlike the regular American Catholic Mass, it’s super-Medieval, which makes it the coolest mass of the year! 

However, some Vigil ceremonies are more unusual than others:  here’s a good start if you know what I’m getting at. 

To Magdi Allam: welcome to the faith!

Catholic Communications Office picture.

Posted in Anything Else, Culture, Europe, Religion, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Book Review: Real Change by Newt Gingrich

Posted by Ryan on March 22, 2008

I am recommending the book “Real Change” by Newt Gingrich. Newt paints a picture of a Red, White and Blue America (clever) where on so many issues, the American people are astoundingly on the same page: that many media-driven divisions don’t really exist on a host of cultural and domestic issues like religion, immigration, the broader War on Terror, English, and many others.

Newt also indicates that in order to achieve real change we need revolutionary thinking: admitting that our current bureaucratic government structure and dynamic inhibits the very change the folks really crave because of red-tape, leading to cumbersome and slow reactions to crises, and people in power resisting change to save their jobs (ie- government worker unions, of which, for full disclosure, I am a part).

The Dems are too tied to this failed bureaucratic paradigm to see their true belief that the very government screwing up Social Security, Medicare, and our energy policy, will be the very agent which will save the day. That’s ridiculous! In Newt’s view, the Republicans are in the best position to foment real change, but opportunities have been lost and the American people seem to have lost faith in the Republican’s ability to be different from the Dems: look at all the big-government pork-barrel spending Republicans engaged in this decade! If the Republicans would just stay true to their principles and look at our problems in different ways, real fundamental and positive change could take place.

Newt’s agent for change would be to look at a world where structures work and apply it to government: the private sector. Competition, entrepreneurship, America’s brains and will-power being unleashed to do great things applied to our government would be revolutionary enough to actually fix our system.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not an advocate for big government here, but I would like the government which exists to actually work well (I’m paying for it)!

Here’s a YouTube clip:

I saw this on display this morning.  I used my credit card to buy groceries.  It took about three seconds for the system to verify me and access my account.  I also got a package this morning that I ordered online a week ago.  The company said 7-10 days delivery on this particular item.  Nice and smooth. 

I’ve also seen the bureaucratic nightmare up close a few years ago.  I dare anyone reading this to apply for a teaching certificate in the State of New Jersey just for fun!  They lost my application twice, the application they did allegedly look at came back to me with my last name spelled wrong and a with different birth year (everything else was fine though). They charged me $60 for all three.  I fought them for two months on the phone and in person and only managed to pay once — on the fourth version with everything fixed.  Horrible and scary.

What if private sector business models (where things work) were applied to cumbersome bureaucratic structures like the State of New Jersey, Social Security, the Pentagon or any government bureaucracy (where things don’t work)?  Revolutionary change indeed!

Posted in Culture, Election 2008, Media Bias, Politics, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

The Red v. Blue State Dynamic

Posted by Ryan on March 22, 2008

I found this article by Michael Barone, political guru whose wisdom is usually spot on, where for the first time I read a piece addressing a thought I’ve had for a while: is this whole Red v. Blue state-thing a Bush phenomenon? 

Barone makes an argument that no, it’s not totally a George W. Bush phenomenon, but rather a trend that started in the 1990s during BJ’s tenure.  Barone cites the last time two consecutive elections were so close as they were in both 2000 and 2004: 1952 and 1956 which happened to have the same candidates and only four states shifting their votes!

In Barone’s view, cultural issues like religion v. relativism, rural v. urban, intervention v. self-interest have kept the electorate pretty static since the late 1990s. Yet, he contends that in 2008, this dynamic is no longer there with Bush and what he represents as a figure with whom to rally around or reject.  The Dems will try to paint McCain as a third Bush term, but it’s too early to see if that ridiculous accusation will stick.

So if the Red v. Blue state dynamic is not present in this election, what does one candidate do to flip the state colors?  Barone also believes that this election may focus around generational differences and outreach to industrial states, which in his view may skew Democratic in 2008.  I’m not sure I buy that analysis totally.  Young people like Obama, but young people don’t vote in large enough numbers.  Plus, Obama’s been wounded lately and the polls of Millennials have not yet reflected this major bump in the road.

Posted in Culture, Election 2008, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Richardson Joins the Obama-Nation

Posted by Ryan on March 21, 2008

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has endorsed Obama today.  Among other things, Richardson said of Obama:

“I believe he is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime leader that can bring our nation together and restore America’s moral leadership in the world….  As a presidential candidate, I know full well Sen. Obama’s unique moral ability to inspire the American people to confront our urgent challenges at home and abroad in a spirit of bipartisanship and reconciliation.”

I don’t know what planet Richardson’s on, but Obama has no significant record of bipartisanship, his radical preacher has raised serious questions about his true beliefs while observably hurting his mainstream appeal, making him look like a typical politician, and has made strong, uncompromising statements about his leftist policy positions including bombing our ally Pakistan and meeting with our sworn enemies in Cuba and Venezuela. 

Also, Bill Richardson dropped out on January 10.  It is now March 21.  That’s quite a long time to figure out who you are going to put your support behind, especially since we’ve had two Super Tuesdays since then to think about it.  I wonder if this is just because She Who Must Not Be Named would be forced to take Obama as her Veep, but Obama does not need her in the end.  This whole endorsement could be Richardson campaigning to be Obama’s Veep by allowing the news to focus on something positive in regards to Obama for a change.

Posted in Culture, Election 2008, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

McCain’s Keeping Cool

Posted by Ryan on March 20, 2008

Spring’s only been here less than a day, but the season bodes well for John McCain, who must really like this new Rasmussen poll, which puts him solidly ahead of She Who Must Not Be Named (51-41%) and diminishingly messianic Obama (49-42%). 

While McCain goes on international fact-finding missions in Iraq and Israel, looking presidential and meeting world leaders while accumulating an increasingly robust series of photo ops, the two Dems continue to bludgeon each other, fight off controversy or create new issues in desperation

AP photo.

Posted in Election 2008, Politics, The Iraq Front, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pac-Man

Posted by Mike on March 19, 2008

While we’re on the 1980s, here’s a timesuck.

Posted in Timesucks | 1 Comment »

Osama Has Bin Relevant, Not So Much Anymore

Posted by Mike on March 19, 2008

How the mighty have fallen. In 2001, Osama Bin Laden actively and openly led a sophisticated international terrorist network that was disciplined, organized, well-financed, supported by evil regimes, and successful in carrying out terrorist attacks on American soil. After President Bush responded to the September 11 attack with a multi-pronged strategy including two wars, international law enforcement cooperation, and the freezing of terrorist financial assets, Osama Bin Laden became less relevant with every passing day.

Back in 2001, Bin Laden was undoubtedly shocked when the nation he viewed as a paper tiger actually followed through on its rhetoric for the first time in about eight years. Fortunately for the civilized world, the War on Terror forced Bin Laden to abandon his active leadership role in Al Qaeda so he could hide under a rock somewhere. Unfortunately for the civilized world, he never assumed room temperature and always managed to stay on message when he found a way to release his words to the public. Sure, his days of successful planning were over, but his terrorist pep talks were always relevant, focusing on topics such as Iraq, Madrid, or London. These days, the messages are less frequent, more irrelevant, and simply bizarre.

Today, on the fifth anniversary of the opening of the War on Terror’s Iraq front, Bin Laden revealed just how pathetic his existence has become. Seven years ago, Bin Laden actively led a terrorist organization that successfully planned and funded an attack on American soil that killed 3,000 innocent people and destroyed two of the tallest buildings in the world. Today, he can barely peak out of his cave and when he finally does, the best he can do is to whine about the Pope and demand better cartoons.

I pray that the civilized world keeps up with its progress in the War on Terror because although Bin Laden is marginalized like never before, he is like a dangerous cockroach who will always be a threat until vaporized. May Bin Laden’s next message be his last will and testament.

UPDATE: I should have read Ace of Spades before posting today. He thinks “today’s” message was Bin Laden’s last will and testament, and has 80s music for your enjoyment.

Posted in The Iraq Front, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Operation Iraqi Freedom, Plus Five

Posted by Ryan on March 19, 2008

The Iraq War turns five today.  On the evening of March 19, 2003, President Bush notified the American people that Saddam’s regime was about to face American/Coalition might after repeated human rights violations and ignoring 17 UN Resolutions — in a post-9/11 world America was not going to ignore gathering threats like we did back in the 1990s.  It was already March 20 in Baghdad when the war started, so I’m wearing my patriotic gear tomorrow. 

“Operation Iraq Freedom” began that day and in 21 days, on the afternoon of April 9, 2003, Baghdad was liberated from Saddam’s grasp, ending the regime of that vicious dictator for good.  I was proctoring lunch duty at work when live pictures and video came in on TV of the toppling of Saddam’s statue.  I told all the students watching with me to remember that moment and those pictures of Iraqi children stamping their shoes against the head of Saddam’s statue.  It was a proud moment of accomplishment for America.

Yet, we soon learned a tough lesson:  just because we’re great at winning war, doesn’t mean we’re great at winning peace.  We’re still paying a high price for underestimating the scope of what needed to be done immediately to assuage the Iraqi people after their government collapsed. 

Yet, there was no need for shouting like the Libs quickly engaged in.  Rather, reasoned determination for a victory that all sides would have lived with, along with a plan that everyone could agree upon should have been exercised.  Alas, cooler heads did not prevail, the old maxim that “partisanship ends at the water’s edge” didn’t seem to count this time on the Left, and thusly the partisan/political split began: those who though American needed patience to win, and those who thought we should pick up the ball and go home. 

Hence, the last five years.  In the midst, the CPA handed over power, a new constitution and government is in place, my brother was sent over for a tour of duty around Taji and Al Asad for a year (January 2005 to April 2006), and the Sunni Awakening coupled with the Surge have given us hope that a page has been turned.

Like the President, I believe that General David Petraeus’ Surge strategy will ultimately see us through to victory in stabilizing Iraq — not even the Dems are saying the troops are coming home next year anymore.  It’s going to continue to be a tough slog and a commitment to the Mideast region which we can no longer afford to ignore.  Democratization of the Mideast is a bold proposal; some say ridiculous.  If it pans out, Bush will be seen as a unique visionary with the forethought and gumption to have taken a chance on an area of the world left out of globalization, democracy, and basic human rights.  If it doesn’t pan out, then Bush will be the misguided, dangerous, mistake-ridden dunce that the Left paints him out to be nowadays.  “Panning out” could take a while, though. 

So, as I see it today and tomorrow are not days of celebration, but of contemplation.  I also believe that the most important question to contemplate is this:  was nearly 4000 KIA and over 20,000 wounded worth the struggle?  I believe that history will vindiate America in the eyes of the region and the world for what we are trying to accomplish. 

Plus, I believe America is always at its best when we are trying to allow the oppressed to share in the freedoms we take for granted every day.

AP photos.

Posted in Culture, Media Bias, Politics, The Iraq Front | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Governor David Paterson (D-NY)

Posted by Ryan on March 18, 2008

Again, another high-profile Democrat politician whose potentially clean slate was soiled when New York Governor David Paterson became a bona fide self-professed member of the cheater’s club.  Paterson’s “ick” factor, of course, only increased when “Governor”, “Days Inn“, and “many affairs” enter into the conversation.

AP photo.

Posted in Culture, Election 2008, Politics | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

Posted by Ryan on March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Today everyone in America becomes honorarily Irish (hiccup!) to share in the spirit and culture of the American Irish.  So, get together with some good friends, have some corn beef and cabbage, be careful not to fill up on soda bread and scones, and be sure to wash it all down with a nice Guinness or two.  Ah… heaven! (Can you tell I’m half Irish?)

If anyone has any neat St. Patty’s plans, please share them!  This unofficial holiday is as fun and spirited as any major holiday — certainly more exciting than President’s Day. 

Ta suil agam go bhfuil tu i mbarr na slainte

(That’s Gaelic/Irish for “I hope you are in the best of health”)!

Pic from St. Patrick’s Holiday.com.

Posted in Anything Else, Culture, Europe, Pop Culture | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Planned Parenthood’s Fundraising Mess

Posted by Ryan on March 16, 2008

The Advocate, a pro-life student magazine at UCLA, has been making phone calls to Planned Parenthood branches in seven states trying to embarrass and ultimately discredit the organization.  It’s the same tactic used by the ACLU and their ilk in looking for ways to discredit everything they can.  Yet, the lefties don’t like when you use their own tactics against their causes.   

In Idaho, it is legal for one party in a phone call to secretly tape that phone call… and what a recording The Advocate captured!  The Advocate requested to make a donation to Planned Parenthood if the money would only be used to abort African-American babies— logic being that affirmative action would stymie the caller’s own children from getting into a good college.  It’s a completely ridiculous premise, absolutely racist and insulting, yet Autumn Kersey, the Vice-President of Development and Marketing for Idaho’s Planned Parenthood, was actually excited to receive the donation!  

Here’s the unbelievable transcript and story.

The Advocate, like many other pro-life groups, knows that there is a disproportionate number of African-American babies that are aborted each year: some even call it “black genocide” since so many African-American abortions are paid for by the government.  Planned Parenthood, already a horrible disgrace, should be under investigation for these kinds of racist acts.  Who knows if this is an isolate incident?  Maybe they’ll take money from anyone requesting anything, as long as the unborn are the target and their pockets are filled with their 30 pieces of silver.  

Posted in Culture | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Tibet: China’s Bane

Posted by Ryan on March 15, 2008

New violence this week in Tibet reminds the world what a repressive place China remains.  China says ten people have died, the Dalai Lama’s people say 30, with hundreds under arrest for protesting 49 years of Chinese repression on the anniversary of China’s brutal crackdown and the political exile of the Dalai Lama.  In this matter I think I’m going to believe the Dalai Lama’s numbers.  Remember Tiananmen Square: the Goddess of Democracy, the student hunger strike during Gorbachev’s visit, and that iconic hero in front of the Chinese tank?  Well, most Chinese kids born afterwards don’t know a thing about it.  I was 12 years old back then and I will never forget how China responded to freedom’s march.

Of course, this latest round of protests are supposed to embarrass the Chinese government at a time when the world is watching. I believe that the world should be watching these events in Tibet and see it as typical Chinese government behavior.  

Brave countries trying to make a point would boycott (or at least vocally threaten to boycott) the Beijing Olympics this summer for a host of reasons: not just the blatant human rights abuses, political repression, religious animous, but also our tree-hugging friends should be outraged as well with China’s obnoxious pollution, which to many of them far outweighs the other issues.  It’s increasingly obvious that Beijing is trying to pull a Berlin in 1936: everything’s fine, we’re a good clean country, and we’ll smile at the world’s acquiescence while continuing to plot mischief behind the scenes. 

AP photo from yesterday.

Posted in Anything Else, Culture, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Wright Side of Obama

Posted by Ryan on March 14, 2008

Sean Hannity has been beating the drum all week on his radio show  as well as his TV show with the pitiful Alan Colmes about the connection between radical Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Barack Obama.  Anyone who listens to Sean knows that the “Stop [She Who Must Not Be Named] Express” has begun to morph into the “Stop Obama Express,” with all the hard-hitting scrutiny that the MSM should be giving Obama. 

Well, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post among others have picked up the story and are running with it.  Obama himself is distancing himself from the radical Wright who has said numerous inflammatory remarks about AIDS, 9/11, white racism in America, and so on.  Wright’s views are appalling and could seriously blemish Obama’s image and campaign as this story could have legs.  Remember that it was in March 2004 when “flip-flopper” came into our political lexicon over that pesky $87 million supplemental package.   

Remember that Obama has been in this race for President since February 11, 2007.  It is now March 14, 2008.  Does anyone really believe that if he were a Republican and that Republican had a crazy, radical, anger-filled, racist preacher for the last 20 years that these kinds of connections would have been unvetted in 13 months of a national campaign for commander-in-chief?  Perhaps the MSM is shot itself in the foot by giving Obama a pass for so long.

Pic from the New York Times, taken from the Trinity United Church of Christ/Religion News Service.

Posted in Election 2008, Media Bias, Politics, Religion | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Spitzer’s Other Woman

Posted by Ryan on March 13, 2008

Ashley Alexandra Dupre is the infamous prostitute “Kristen” that former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer had solicited, which led to his disgrace and resignation from office.  A high end prostitute is still a prostitute, it’s all just a matter of haggling price.  I don’t care that she was just 22 years old — she’s an adult who sold her body for money and that’s that; it’s not really that complicated.

But, in today’s culture such disgrace can make you a star! 

Penthouse wants Ashley to pose for an upcoming issue!  Pretty soon she might get her own show, where fellow high-end prostitutes might get to go into Red America and pretend not to know how the plebs live (sorry Paris)!  Not only can Ashley continue to make more mullah getting naked in front of unfamiliar men, but the New York Slimes has a story today that eventually focuses on her poor struggling music career.  How about getting this girl some therapy, an AIDS test, and a into good church first before she goes to jail!

Pic from The Smoking Gun.

Posted in Culture, Media Bias, Politics, Pop Culture | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Eliot Spitzer Resigns

Posted by Ryan on March 12, 2008

Finally!  After mulling it over for a few days, facing impeachment charges by the brave Republicans in the NY State Legislature, and realizing two days after everyone else that his political career in New York is over, Client #9 Eliot Spitzer resigned his office today, effective Monday to accommodate a smooth transition.

Good. 

Spitzer broke the law, demeaned his wife and the office, and should be completely ashamed of himself.  Then they should haul him into court, drag him over the coals and throw the book at ’em!  So, I’m pleased about today’s development. 

But what I wasn’t pleased about was seeing Spitzer’s poor wife Silda by his side again.  For once, I’d like to see an embarrassed, hurt, and degraded First Lady behind another mic outside away from her scumbag husband, calling him an SOB, and expressing her wishes to immediately file for divorce.  Had She Who Must Not Be Named done that in 1998 I would actually respect the woman.  Mrs. McGreevey was so shocked about her husband’s gay love-affair that I could understand her lethargic stares, but Silda Spitzer needs to step away from that sleazy whore-monger and treat him the way Type-A a**holes ought to be treated: publicly embarrass him, belittle him, and get your pride back, girl!  If for no one else, do it for your daughters who are watching how you behave when a man steps all over you in public.   

Malkin pic with full coverage of this event.

Posted in Culture, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Know When To Fold ‘Em. If Not, Sue

Posted by Mike on March 12, 2008

I stumbled across this article about Graham Calvert, a compulsive gambler from the UK who took his bookie to court, blaming him for the two million pounds he lost, declining health, and damaged marriage. What struck me was that the article did not even suggest that the gambler himself might actually be responsible for the choices he made.

When debating liberals about issues of personal responsibility, I often hear that they do in fact support personal responsibility before they go off on why a certain person should not be held personally responsible. My liberal friends are at least aware of the concept of personal responsibility. It’s a little frightening that the concept didn’t even cross this AP reporter’s mind.

Posted in Culture, Europe, Judicial Watch, Media Bias | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Sarko The American Also Supports Israel

Posted by Mike on March 11, 2008

When Jimmy Carter and other like-minded liberals fantasized about closer relations between America and France, I don’t think they were talking about the two countries seeing eye-to-eye on Israel and the Iranian threat. Fortunately for the civilized world, Nicolas Sarkozy is not your typical French President or incompetent American one.

During Shimon Peres’ recent visit to Paris, Sarkozy reiterated his affection for Israel and commitment to their security, especially as far as Iran is concerned.

“Not from time to time, Mr. President — always,” said Sarkozy. “And those who call in a scandalous, scandalous way for the destruction of Israel will always find France in front of them to block their route.”

I have been impressed with Sarkozy ever since I first learned that he was a candidate for the French Presidency, but his treatment of Shimon Peres is especially commendable. France is infamous for its embarrassingly large anti-Semitic minority, a minority that which can be quite disruptive when angered. Lining the Champs-Elysees with Israeli and French flags despite this sad fact took guts. Maybe Old Europe can become new again.

Posted in Europe, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

War on Terror T-Shirt Controversy

Posted by Ryan on March 11, 2008

A Pennsylvania high school student’s parents are pursuing a lawsuit because their son refused to turn his shirt inside-out after administrators deemed it was inappropriate.  The student says he wears it in honor of his uncle who’s serving in Iraq.  The t-shirt said:

“Special Issue — Resident — Lifetime License —

United States Terrorist Hunting Permit —

Permit No. 91101

Gun Owner — No Bag Limit.” 

While I agree with the shirt’s sentiment, I have to agree with the administrators on this one.  The shirt’s background has a gun on it, and that is unacceptable. 

This student wouldn’t have even made it to first period in my school, let alone last period of the day!  My niece was once suspended in First Grade for making a gun symbol with her hands at recess during a game of tag.  That’s a little ridiculous (a stern talking to would have done more to instruct my niece and angered my brother less), but I can see this kind of “speech” as a pretty big issue in high school. 

Also, there is a pre-existing dress code that the students (and their parents who purchase their children’s clothes) need to be aware of.  Expression in schools is limited, as any conservative who went to college knows, and trying to circumvent the rules in such a fashion, especially when dealing with gun imagery, is irresponsible for a 14-year-old, let alone his parents who are trying to defend his right to wear a shirt with a gun on it in public schools.  The courts are apt to see nothing else on that t-shirt but the big, red gun in the background. 

Posted in Culture, The Iraq Front, War on Terror | 1 Comment »