Axis of Right

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

Archive for July, 2008

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Trailer Released

Posted by Ryan on July 31, 2008

Released yesterday, it’s only the teaser trailer, but it looks really good.  I like the darkening tone and somber mood, plus the actor playing the young Tom Riddle seems like a really good fit (I believe it is actually Ralph Fiennes’ nephew).

The HBP is one of my favorite books in the series (I like Four and Seven as well, though all seven play a necessary part of the story and are all entertaining).  I’m hoping this film will be better than the last one.  I wasn’t too much of a fan of the OOTP movie because they edited so much that as one who’s read the book, I had trouble seeing things connect properly — it was very disjointed and missed some important points they’ll have to explain later.  Hopefully they’ll make this one better, more focused.

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Posted in Anything Else, Culture, Pop Culture | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Olmert to Resign

Posted by Ryan on July 30, 2008

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said today that he is not going to run again as leader of the Kadima Party after the September 17 primary elections.  He’s leaving it for his Kadima successor to try and put together a governing coalition. 

I’m not an Olmert fan — two summers ago, shelling an border fighting caused two Israelis to be taken by Hezbollah in Lebanon.  Israel demanded their safe return and for Hezbollah to stop shelling Israeli border towns.  After 33 days the UN brokered an end to the fighting, but no Israeli soldiers were returned — not even their bodies!  Some called it Israel’s biggest defeat, and it was under Olmert’s watch.

Only recently were those soldier’s bodies returned, in exchange for a murdering terrorist’s release along with other deviants!  The Olmert government has been appeasing on all fronts and should go sooner than later.  The Israelis could use another dose of the tough-talking and acting Netanyahu, especially since the Iraq War is quieting down.

Posted in Israel, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Ted Stevens Indicted

Posted by Ryan on July 29, 2008

Former Senate Pro-Temp Alaska Senator Ted Stevens (R) was indicted today on seven counts of making false statements about gifts he received from an oil contractor seeking Washington’s help.  It’s evident that from 1999-2006 Stevens was making false statements about this relationship.  The issue is not bribery, however, just an 84 year old forgetting about gifts leading to about $250,000 worth of work done to his own house. 

Since Stevens is a Republican, the mere indictment is probably enough to put pressure on Stevens to resign.  Some already believe he should resign.  Two issues help the Dems here: he’s a long-serving Republican indicted during an election year, plus the alleged beneficiary of this relationship was an evil Alaskan oil services firm, VECO and its founder Bill Allen, which will play into the Dems anti-Big Oil/Alaska drilling mantra this year.

At least Alaska has a Republican Governor.  If Stevens doesn’t politically survive this, Governor Sarah Palin can always appoint another Republican to the seat without risking an election or recall in this uncertain election cycle.  Nonetheless, term limits, anyone?

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

State-Run Health Care in Oregon Can Kill

Posted by Ryan on July 28, 2008

…if you want it to! 

A major problem with having state-controlled health care as a “right” is that they can deny you access or care if your situation is not in the state’s economic best-interest.  We’ll see loving ol’ grandmas and thirty something drunks fighting over access to livers — maybe grandma or the lush will die waiting for the operation, possibly making the government’s decision easier.  We’ll see people being denied care for choices they made in life, like smoking, drugs or trans-fat laden fast-food (it’s already “banned” in California).  And don’t forget those pesky staph infections!  

Crazy? 

Well, recently the State of Oregon offered 53-year-old Randy Stroup a simple solution to his prostate cancer:  since Randy didn’t have health insurance and his prostate cancer treatment is very costly for state-run health care, he can opt into their unique assisted-suicide plan!  The slippery slope of our culture’s devaluation of life continues.

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

Is Bush Batman?

Posted by Ryan on July 28, 2008

Apparently, a number of op-ed articles have hit the Internet regarding Christopher Nolan’s new film, the box-office shattering The Dark Knight, and how Batman allegorically plays the role of George W. Bush (some say Batman is Dick Cheney or a generic conservative hero)! 

A friend tipped me off to this concept last night and I looked around the Internet finding that this notion has been proliferating, even to the WSJ Online!  It makes a lot of sense to see The Dark Knight as an allegory of the War on Terror and about Batman as the man who few people like as the one who has to make the hard choice to blur the lines in order to achieve victory — aka GWB to some. 

Leftist blogs are wicked upset that a movie with such a black-and-white treatment of morality like this one can make $300 million in just ten days while their beloved anti-war flicks quickly sputter and die quick deaths!  In The Dark Knight, terrorists (The Joker’s crew) are the remorseless fiends who fight for no discernible reason beyond the joy of it, and the good people have very tough choice to make on how to defeat them.  It mirrors reality.

Given the box office success of this film, perhaps the American people still yearn for a no nonsense ass-kicker rather than an international ass-kisser in their leaders.  This bodes well for McCain down the stretch, with less than 100 left until my birthday, which happens to be Election Day this year.  But will people make this connection and understand its implications?  Will the baggage of the last eight years show up on Election Day and turn American into an Obama Nation?  Who knows?   If the allegory holds however, then it’s the Republicans and Bush who must take the hit for having made hard, sometimes unpopular, choices which have nonetheless made all of us safer.

Pic from Rick Rockwell.

Posted in Anything Else, Culture, Election 2008, Politics, Pop Culture, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

What to do with Manny Ramirez?

Posted by Ryan on July 27, 2008

The Boston Red Sox have a problem:  Manny Ramirez is a great player, just not a great team player.  Lately he’s been verbally and physically confrontational with his team and staff and the management have been equally vocal about Ramirez’s behavior.  He even missed Game 1 in their latest series against the New York Yankees, showing up to the game where the Yanks piled on 10-3.  It seemed like all the chatter (when A-Rod wasn’t getting hit — not cool by the way) was about Manny and his future.  More to come in tonight’s game.

Why not just trade him?  Well, he’s pretty good although routinely goes through mid-season meltdowns like clockwork, and other teams are wise to the fact that Manny’s going to act like this where ever he ends up.  Some have offered suggestions, but mostly every conversation goes in circles — if he leaves, no one will pay him what the Sox have paid him, so he’s apt to stay.  Whatever the outcome, with a tight AL East this season, the early favored BoSox could easily end up in third behind the surprising Tampa Bay Rays and resurgent and lately dominant Yankees.

Pic from the Red Sox Times.

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

Favre’s Impending Return

Posted by Ryan on July 26, 2008

Is anyone else getting sick of all this?  I remember at the end the last NFL season, the great Brett Favre finally retired.  Everyone was nostalgic, some even perplexed since he obviously still had talent, even I here at AOR provided a glowing post as a career epitaph for a man who always looked like he was having fun out there.

Now all this:  Is he coming back? Yes, but where will he end up?  What do the Packers have to say about this?  What about Aaron Rodgers who’s been training to take over Favre’s position for months? Will Favre end up on the Vikings? Bucs? Or even the Jets?  No no no, he’s back at the Packers… for now, unless traded.

I love Brett Favre the player, but he’s definitely the bad guy in all of this.  He should have waited a few months before announcing his retirement earlier this year and getting everyone in such a frenzy. 

AP photo.

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

“He Ventured Forth…”

Posted by Ryan on July 25, 2008

The latest piece from Times Online editor, American Gerard Baker, first came to my attention about an hour ago and it’s a doozy! 

His latest op-ed is absolutely awesome.  Baker takes the media’s open desire to make Barack Obama the Savior/Messiah and completely pokes fun at those who have this view (he also calls Gordon Brown, Gordon the Leper!) through colorful and biblical-style language.  I don’t think the New Yorker crowd will misunderstand this satire, but one never knows.  Here’s a sample from the beginning:

“And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.

The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical white person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.”

I wish Obama would have “ventured forth” to the wounded troops at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, but that would have seemed “too political.”  The Pentagon simply told him not to bring his media and campaign troglodytes, but he could go as an elected official, rather than a candidate.  He chose not to go.  However, he made it to the gym though.

AP photo.

Posted in Anything Else, Election 2008, Europe, International Relations, Media Bias, Politics, Religion, The Iraq Front, UK Politics, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Heil Obama!

Posted by Ryan on July 24, 2008

As we know, Our Savior Barack Obama will be giving a much anticipated campaign speech today at 7pm local time in Berlin, Germany.  Not only will the locals be flipping a $786,000 tab for the non-President’s visit (how nice of him to let the Germans pay for his campaign bills), Hot Air picked up that the campaign’s chosen site has a bit of a Nazi past

This, the same day that he visited the Wailing Wall!  The nerve of this guy never ceases to amaze me. 

The “Victory Column” (Siegessäule) was initially built to commemorate Prussia’s waylaying of Denmark, Austria and France back in the Otto Von Bismarck days whose expansionism united modern Germany and formed the Second Reich.  Where the Nazi Third Reich fits in is the fact that Hitler moved the “Victory Column” to its current location, built a taller column, and celebrated German expansionist polices eventually led directly to World War II. 

Obama’s not a Nazi (he’s much closer to a communist anyway), but a little sensitivity would be appreciated!

Nonetheless, let me get this straight:  Obama went to the Wailing Wall on the same day he’s speaking to Germans at a site chosen by Hitler to represent the power of the Third Reich, while having the locals pay for his campaign speech which is designed not for them, but for an American audience: now that’s audacity!!!

Hat tip: Malkin.

UPDATE:  Obama’s given the speech and it was pretty obnoxious: he pretended not be a candidate, but a “citizen of the world” (laugh — is that his version of an “international test”?); teaching the Germans his view of history without any real context; knocking America on race and torture (obligatory for Libs, of course); he all but admitted that he was the Chosen One to get the world together save us from misery; etc.

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

Too Soon for McCain’s Veep Pick?

Posted by Ryan on July 23, 2008

Word leaked out the other day from Robert Novak, that McCain may make public his selection for his Vice Presidential candidate this week. 

I believe this would be a bad idea if McCain goes through with it:  he wants to make a choice which counters Obama’s pick to ensure the strongest Republican ticket; with Obama overseas and the Olympics in less than two weeks, the story would get completely buried when it is designed to boost McCain; and waiting to select McCain’s Veep a day after Obama makes his choice would strategically stymie the “bounce” Obama would historically get from choosing his own Veep — we all know that Obama cannot sustain a bounce and is a very bad closer.

Some names that have been thrown around range from Mitt Romney, Tom Ridge, Jim Pawlenty, Bobby Jindal (no dice on that one), to Joe Lieberman.  There are others, but I think once we know the Democrat ticket, then a better choice can be made by McCain to counter that ticket.  In my opinion, it’s simply too early for McCain to announce his selection!

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

We’re Not an Obama Nation Yet, But Try Telling That to His Campaign!

Posted by Ryan on July 22, 2008

One of the major themes of Obama’s trip abroad has been trying to make him look Presidential.  In all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the trip, Obama’s people sometimes forget that he, in fact, is not yet President.  Also, sometimes they have to be reminded of that little detail a second time on the same day.

What I’ve taken from Obama’s trip thus far is that it is just an elaborate campaign event, he openly disagrees with Petraeus which makes Obama on the record being on the wrong side of history, and he’s endorsed President Bush’s and John McCain’s plan to have a phased withdrawal based loosely on benchmarks and that we need to increase US troop presence in Afghanistan.  Of course, that’s not how it’s being spun, since Obama adds the 16 month caveat, which he can rescind the moment he’s in office.  He wants to have it both ways so he doesn’t have to take any real position at all that he’ll need to stand behind — very brave, Barry, but unless you decide to cancel this Fall’s debates, you’re going to be toast.

I certainly hope there’s some kind of noticable backlash to all of this trip’s media bias and Obama’s arrogant, presumptive behavior.  He is naive, just plain wrong or elusive about national security, and isn’t good on his toes.  This man thinks he’s President already.  As they say the more inflated one’s ego, the harder the fall.

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

Shock: New York Times Snubs McCain!

Posted by Ryan on July 21, 2008

I’m absolutely shocked about the New York Slimes’ double standard when dealing with this  year’s Presidential candidates! 

Well, not really anymore.  Obama gets an op-ed printed with ease last week, but McCain’s gets rejected with suggestions for improvement, including a suggestion to “mirror” Obama’s piece!!!  Here’s an excerpt from the response letter sent to McCain:

“I’d be very eager to publish the senator on the op-ed page. However, I’m not going to be able to accept this piece as currently written. I’d be pleased, though, to look at another draft. Let me suggest an approach….

It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama’s piece….”

This was written to the campaign of a distinguished Senator and militarily decorated man running for President, not an 11th grader submitting a rough draft to his/her Social Studies teacher!  This is a huge insult that the McCain campaign should completely take advantage of.  They are getting some press over this, but I think they need to keep the drum beating until they pressure the Slimes to print the opinion editorial as is.

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

Movie Review: The Dark Knight

Posted by Ryan on July 20, 2008

WARNING: No true spoilers, just a lot of “insider baseball” in regards to the fantasy genre. 

Thus far, Christopher Nolan’s take on Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One series is leaps and bounds better than any of those goofy Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney movies, which all seemed too comic-like to be taken seriously.  I never liked any of them because (this may sound strange) they seemed too much like I was watching a comic book movie. 

But Batman Begins was entirely different from my point of view — it had heart, an interesting and deliberately developing storyline, characters you care about, and great action which didn’t strain the “plausible impossible” too too much, as some of the earlier versions of Batman could (think of Batman jumping out of a missile with Robin after ducking Mr. Freeze’s trap before reengaging the chase after dropping six miles on sky-surfing blades without a scratch in Batman and Robin:  a little ridiculous even for fantasy!).

Nolan continues the series about a year after Batman Begins. The Dark Knight lives up to and surpasses its predecessor in terms of action and an intricately weaved storyline that leaves you with a sense of real danger for our heroes.  I’m not ready to say that this movie was the best thing ever, as some have said, but it’s the best movie I’ve seen this year by far.  Heath Ledger’s Joker is worth the price of admission; he’s both more creepy and lucid than Jack Nicholson’s rendition back in 1989 — they aren’t even on the same planet.  Oscar-worthy?  They’d give one of those things to anybody these days, so the late Heath Ledger will probably get one just for having died (that’s not to say his performance wasn’t worth an award, he was great, but the Academy is mostly out of touch with their audience and the insiders will demand the award be given to him nonetheless… plus think of the viewership at next year’s Oscars).

Comic books are really just morality tales, including “graphic novels” (the 21st Century way of describing a “comic book”).  So, in Batman Begins we are treated to a tale about how to conquer our fears and using our strengths to do and be better than what we think we’re capable of.  My take is that The Dark Knight simply continues that theme with an extended lesson.  The enemies in Batman Begins were sinister but had rules: Ra’s Al Ghul and his minions had a shrewd but ancient warrior code, the Mobsters had one’s basic code about not messing with the Big-Guy, and the Scarecrow functioned in the real world as a psychiatrist and crony and let go of those rules only when with the psychotic inmates or his victims.  Ledger’s Joker has no rules.  Give such recklessness, the question is: how far will the good people go to defeat such evil?  The Dark Knight explores this concept from everyone’s point of view.  We’re beyond fear in this movie — it’s what to do now that good people are afraid: ally with the evil for a temporary benefit, bend the rules to slow the evil down, or become like the evil thing itself.  No one in Gotham City can come to grips with the Joker:  even the Mob looks weak and impotent next to the Joker’s recklessness.  Our heroes need to look inside to defeat this menace, and not everything there is peachy or easy.  That’s what makes this movie stay true to the magic of the original — it’s not about the car crash, it’s about handling the ride.

I also love sagas when they introduce the insidious third party.  Like The Matrix series had the Merovingian and his crew of tertiary programs floating between the world of men and the machines, The Dark Knight’s Joker is a tertiary interest between the Cops and the typical Bad Guys who, unlike the Merovingian, is not just floating — he’s destroying everything on both sides (like the viral Agent Smith in this The Matrix analogy)!  He’s destroying it for its own sake, not for any common reason like power or favor which normal people could understand.  Sometimes that’s the problem with evil — there isn’t any understanding it, no matter how hard we may try.

I give this movie a solid A+/A (like a 96%) for entertainment value, storyline, and morality.  You should see it, especially if you liked the first one or want to forget about those ridiculous ones from the 1980s and 1990s.

Pic from Movie Web.

Posted in Anything Else, Culture, Media Bias, Pop Culture | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Elisabeth and Whoopi Discuss the “N-word”

Posted by Ryan on July 19, 2008

On an episode of this week’s “The View” the ladies were discussing Jesse Jackson’s hypocritical use of the “n-word” in the same interview where Jackson voiced his desire to castrate Barack Obama.  For some reason Fox News didn’t release the part of the film in question to the public, but it leaked anyway. 

Either way, this exchange broke out between the ladies, mostly Whoopi and Sherri versus Elisabeth, about the use of the “n-word.”  As usual, they seemed to gang up on Elisabeth, although I believe she has the moral high-ground in this argument: 

In my opinion, either it’s a good word or a bad word, but playing the “it’s our word” game is not only a complete violation of the First Amendment if use of the word leads to legal repercussions (which it does in certain circumstances, sometimes even when the word itself is not even used!), but it’s simply not playing fair.  Also, adding an “a” or an “er” to the end of the word should make no difference if in principle it’s a bad word either. 

Yet, it does make a difference, at least to my students, their music, and some in the media.  Should it, though?  Elisabeth says no, and based on principle I’m in solidarity with her on this one.  I wonder what Jesse Jackson would have to say about all this?

Posted in Anything Else, Blogroll, Culture, Election 2008, Politics, Pop Culture | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Obama’s Media Darlings to Follow Him on Trip

Posted by Ryan on July 18, 2008

As if there was any doubt about the MSM’s Big Three network’s bias towards Barack Obama, this removes all suggestion to the contrary.  Charlie Gibson, Brian Williams, and Katie Couric are all going along on the trip!  John McCain’s been to Iraq three times since campaigning began last year (that sound you hear is crickets), and eight times total since the war began.  The MSM isn’t even trying to hide the bias anymore!

Yet, Obama hasn’t been to Iraq since January 2006 and has never visited the “real war” in Afghanistan, so all Big Three anchors will follow their clinically narcissistic and vain Good Shepherd around Europe and the Mideast, drooling, fawning, basking.  I guess that it should be big news that Obama was guilted and cornered into taking this trip… by John McCain of all people!  No mention of that in front of the Savior.  In fact, some in the MSM are blaming the McCain camp for making this a bigger story than it otherwise would have been!  So, McCain controls the media now?  Hmm.

This trip will strain one’s objective credulity worse than Greta Van Susteran’s hanging out in Aruba for months looking for Natalee Holloway — what a hard assignment that must have been: very few breaks in the story but lots and lots of sunshine!  It’ll be like watching the Big Three have spontaneous orgasms every night on TV, as they swoon over their chosen savior.  Get your V-Chips ready!  Good thing I don’t watch those networks.  I honestly don’t know anyone under 50 who does watch them more than once a week.  I’ll hear what’s going on when Brit Hume lets me know. 

What makes this whole affair worse is that Obama’s trip to Europe, Iraq and Afghanistan will probably be paid for by the taxpayers since the trip is being billed as a “fact-finding mission.”  Belonging to a Union I know what it feels like to have your money going to a campaign of someone you do not like and would never vote for.  I hope people take notice of this:  that, in the words of Rush fill-in Jed Babbin, the MSM has become a very large and very powerful “527” in Obama’s favor.

Posted in Blogroll, Election 2008, Europe, International Relations, Media Bias, Politics, Religion, The Iraq Front, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Finishing the “Real War” in Iraq

Posted by Ryan on July 17, 2008

There’s this story going around the AP this morning which indicates that some soldiers are longing to go to the “real war” in Afghanistan, as Iraq is becoming the more quiet of the two battlefields lately.  With violence against Coalition troops in Iraq on pace to be the lowest in years and the Dems even having to accept the Surge’s success, this story reveals two major points in my opinion: 

1.  Our soldiers are awesome, ready for a fight wherever they happen to be sent, even longing for a chance to kill the bad guys.  As professional soldiers, soldiering is their job, so I’m very glad they take pride and have enthusiasm for their work. 

2.  The AP and the MSM are essentially embracing the Democrat’s position on Iraq, that the “real” bad guys are in Afghanistan and that the fight there should be escalated quickly.  This has been their narrative for five years, stating that Iraq was a distraction from the real War on Terror, even though Bin Laden himself believes that Iraq was the central front in the War on Terror.  What does he know, right?  Nonetheless, it’s a position designed to attack Bush and the Republicans on their strongest electoral issue historically, dealing with terrorism, and it’s obviously transparent and won’t work with flip-flop Obama as their spokesman.

Posted in Culture, Election 2008, International Relations, Media Bias, Politics, The Iraq Front, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Romney Veepstakes Buzz

Posted by Ryan on July 16, 2008

Although Mitt Romney is refusing to speak about whether or not current talks with McCain’s camp are taking place or that background info has changed hands, his stock in the Republican Veepstakes is rising as the press needs a new political face to obsess over nowadays.  We all know how the press influences McCain, so their buzz may have an actual affect on McCain’s eventual Veep choice.  Romney was the most experienced candidate on either side of the primaries in regards to his knowledge of the private sector and the economy, which has become his greatest asset in the Veepstakes.

Now that the economy is the most important issue in this election, Romney’s a logical selection for McCain who unfortunately admitted in the primaries that the economy was not his strong suit.  Yet, amongst all the others, we nominated McCain (sigh).  Alas, Romney is articulate, energetic, and optimistic –characteristics that McCain sometimes lacks.  Romney’s direct and aggressive and will be able to hit Obama in ways that McCain can’t (or won’t).  I’m not sure how Romney helps McCain pick up any specific states other than Michigan perhaps, but I think it’ll strengthen the overall ticket down the road, potentially keeping Red states Red.  At least adding Romney will pull the ticket and message toward the Right for a change.

AP photo.

Posted in economy, Election 2008, Media Bias, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Obama Rewrites Iraq and Gets Stuck

Posted by Ryan on July 15, 2008

On the same day that Barack Obama wants to rewrite his Iraq War position while continuing to insist that his position has never fundamentally changed, the McCain campaign seized on the recurrent flip-flop issue by noticing Obama’s changing website, which has suddenly brightened up the picture in Iraq

Well, updating one’s website is normal, but updating the basic premise of an issue that garnered countless thousands of kook-fringe voters in the primaries is another thing altogether!  Obama is both insulting the rubes that voted for him, while giving McCain an opening to legitimately harp on the flip-flop motif of which the Republicans have been trying to tag Obama this last month to great effect: abortion, faith-based initiatives, Iraq itself, gun rights, etc. are all part of the evidence!

Furthermore, Obama’s people are making a really dumb political move by allowing this speech without protest.  Insisting that he give an Iraq/Afghanistan speech before he visits the region traps him in a very high-profile political way, making his trip just a lens to justify his preconceptions, not the other way around which would give more political cover to take the exact same positions he lays out today but with more legitimacy.  It’s a ridiculous move and McCain’s already hitting him on it!  Even Christopher Hitchens, a super duper uber leftist, believes that Obama’s “zero-sum” attitude towards the two theaters is unfounded and small-minded. 

CNN photo from Fact Check.

Posted in Blogroll, Election 2008, Politics, The Iraq Front, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Bush Push on Oil Drilling

Posted by Ryan on July 14, 2008

President Bush announced today that he is rescinding his father’s Executive Order which banned off-shore oil drilling.  And it’s about time in my opinion!  What’s interesting about this development is that Congress imposed it’s own separate ban, meaning that if off-shore drilling were to take place, both branches would have to agree.  Now, it’s solely in the hands of Congress.

Come to think of it, President Bush is really gaining a number of important victories over the Dems ever since they took over Congress:  Bush stopped the Dems from cutting-and-running in Iraq, securing Bush’s policy through the end of his term — a huge meaningful victory on the Homefront; Bush got his FISA bill through a hostile Congress with nearly all of his proposals in tact — not an easy task for any lame-duck; and now Bush has successfully outflanked the Dems by taking the drilling issue and put it on the laps of Pelosi and Reid! 

Brilliant maneuvering from an “idiot” who still has the capacity to outflank his opponents on important issues during the last year of his tenure.  This will expose the Dems’ weak and complex rhetoric about how the oil companies “can already drill”, or the mantra “we can’t drill our way out of this” nonsense.  They can try to blame Bush policies, but they will confuse the public who understands that gas comes from oil and securing domestic oil is a security issue.  Bush has set things up for the Republicans to pound the message home.  Will they take it?

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

InBev to Buy Anheuser-Busch

Posted by Ryan on July 14, 2008

The Belgian brewing company InBev is going to buy Anheuser-Busch for $52 million.  While many details are still being negotiated, the deal will probably become reality.  If that is the case then, in my opinion there are two different ways of looking at this:

1.  This is a dark day for America.  As the Belgians buy-out the largest beer producer in America, America is a weaker, sadder place… we can’t even brew and market our own storied/historic beer without help from those pesky Europeans!  Selling our souls for $52 billion?  Anheuser-Busch is a company which even survived Prohibition the honest way!  I guess there is a price one could set for selling out to the Man — a Belgian man in this case. 

2.  Woo hoo!  To this beer snob, Bud sucks (always has) and Belgian beers are world-renowned for their flavor and potency.  So, even though under the new management Bud will still suck, in the eyes of the world we’ll get a little more international “street cred” when soliciting our crappy beer to others.  InBev brews Stella Artois and Becks (meh) and Anheuser-Busch owns 50% of Corona.  Ultimately, this could signal a marked improvement to the average beer Joe Sixpack consumes.  Though this in no way will affect my own drinking habits, I believe this “sell-out” is an upgrade!

Reuters photo.

Posted in Anything Else, Culture, economy, Europe, Pop Culture | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

I Knew Theodore Roosevelt and Senator, You’re No TR!

Posted by Ryan on July 13, 2008

Well, the first part of that isn’t entirely true, but I did spend fifteen months writing a rather long historiographical thesis on Theodore Roosevelt back in college.  In that work I used some of John McCain’s campaign rhetoric from early 2000 as evidence of TR’s increasing influence amongst politicians of both parties today (I also quoted from BJ’s 2000 State of the Union Address where he name-drops TR).  Back in February 2000 McCain unsuccessfully tried to make himself out to be the heir of both TR and Ronald Reagan, and he’s trying it again in 2008

We can laugh at McCain’s “Reaganesque” boasts as shallow and empty, but why’s he stuck on TR?  Most people only know a few things about TR: trust-buster, Mt. Rushmore, those teeth, the “Teddy bear,” conservation.  Like his Reagan comparison, McCain is being very selective with how he chooses to connect himself to TR:

  • TR’s domestic policies laid the philosophical foundation for modern “big-government” in his cousin’s New Deal two generations later — not very Reaganesque in my opinion. 
  • TR was a “conservationist” not a “preservationist”, meaning that TR would have been OK with drilling in ANWAR since the footprint is so small (preservationists, on the other hand, want humans completely out of undeveloped areas).  McCain’s still being difficult on that issue.
  • TR was described as a “maverick” for bucking the era’s MSM by not fitting their typical Republican stereotype.  Yet, TR understood politics, alienated some, but still had most of his party enthusiastic about him and mostly adhered to the party’s platform.  No conservative is enthusiastic about McCain and McCain doesn’t seem to care — he’s more interested in growing the party 1970s-style by making it resemble the Democrats.  Plus, TR’s being a “maverick” eventually led to a party split in 1912 which gave Wilson the presidency.  Why should any self-respecting Republican embrace a maverick like that today?  McCain’s obviously being selective here.
  • Instead of trying to get along with fractious immigrant groups, TR firmly believed and articulated that “hyphenated Americanism” is un-American and unpatriotic.  McCain wants to coddle 12-15 million illegals and still hasn’t proposed making English the official language of government, a highly popular position with the general public.

However, TR had an unabashed pro-American foreign policy like Reagan.  Maybe that’s an area where McCain’s rhetoric can get away with the comparison.  But don’t be fooled!  McCain does not have the clear vision of a Ronald Reagan, nor the vigor or political climate that made TR such an influential politician.  We have a Ford, not a Lincoln; we have a McCain, not a Reagan.

AP photo.  National Photo Collection, Library of Congress.

Posted in Anything Else, Election 2008, Media Bias, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

You Stay Classy MSM

Posted by Mike on July 12, 2008

All decent human beings are saddened by Tony Snow’s death. Which brings me to the AP and the New York Slimes. On the very day Tony Snow passes away, the AP projected their own failures on to the brilliant and decent man:

With a quick-from-the-lip repartee, broadcaster’s good looks and a relentlessly bright outlook — if not always a command of the facts — he became a popular figure around the country to the delight of his White House bosses.

The New York Slimes obit did the same thing.

Incorrectly assuming for the purposes of discussion that the MSM swipes are accurate, is it really appropriate supposedly objective media to attack a decent man on the day he dies? The fact of the matter is that Tony Snow routinely put the lazy and biased American media in their place with accurate facts that contradicted their own unresearched assumptions and left-leaning biases. The media never could stand up to Snow while he was alive. Maybe that is why they are so classless now.

Hat tip: The Corner

UPDATE: Newsbusters has more on the classless AP.

UPDATE 2: Patterico hits the nail on the head.

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

Tony Snow Dies at 53

Posted by Ryan on July 12, 2008

Former White House Press Secretary, radio talk-show host, moderator of “Fox News Sunday,” and former speechwriter for Bush 41, Tony Snow finally succumbed to the colon cancer he had been battling for a few years now when he died at about 2am Saturday morning at Georgetown University Hospital.  Although they had removed his colon a few years ago, the cancer nonetheless spread to his liver last year.  He leaves behind a wife, three children and many friends and admirers.

I’d been watching Tony Snow ever since my local cable finally carried Fox News back in 2000.  It was kind of awkward watching Chris Wallace take over for him as the moderator of “Fox News Sunday” a few years later.  Also, I remember Tony Snow filling for Rush once in a while when I was in college (Sean Hannity would also fill in from time to time, which happened to be my first exposure to both Hannity and Snow — thanks Rush for recognizing talent!).  As Press Secretary, it was so refreshing to see Snow strike back at the MSM who was unsuccessfully trying desperately to embarrass him and the White House like they did so effectively to Scott McClellan.

Like Tim Russert, this death is a huge loss to the media and culture as both were taken from us with so much potential left to be realized.

AP photo.

Posted in Anything Else, Blogroll, Culture, Media Bias, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Phil Gramm’s Nation of Whiners

Posted by Ryan on July 11, 2008

Wednesday, Phil Gramm, former Senator from Texas and Presidential candidate back in 1996, said the following in an interview with the Washington Times:

“You’ve heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession,” he said, noting that growth has held up at about 1 percent despite all the publicity over losing jobs to India, China, illegal immigration, housing and credit problems and record oil prices. “We may have a recession; we haven’t had one yet.”

“We have sort of become a nation of whiners,” he said. “You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline” despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth continues in the economy, he said.

Gramm also happens to be John McCain’s top economic adviser.  Calling the electorate “whiners” is not a good formula for victory, so McCain threw Gramm under the bus yesterday for the comments, which the MSM was gleeful in saturation reporting of this — plus, it got Jesse Jackson’s castration threat of Obama off the front page real fast!

On the merits, Gramm or anyone in politics needs to know that it’s much easier to understand how $4.50 at the pump hurts the average commuter rather than the technical definition of recession as two consecutive quarters of negative growth or economic contraction.  Technically, we’re not in recession — so Gramm is right. 

But, the electorate has the right to complain, don’t they?  Right.  So, Gramm clarified his statements later saying that he meant it is the MSM and our leaders who are being doom-and-gloomy, which is giving the public a false economic picture when looking at the facts.  Again, Gramm is right about the fundamentals of his argument, but the MSM is not any Republican’s friend, and statements like this are giving the Dems another reason to use the age-old argument that Republicans are just a bunch of country-club blue-bloods out of touch with the average American.

Posted in Blogroll, Culture, economy, Election 2008, Media Bias, Politics | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Jesse Jackson’s Very Loud Whisper

Posted by Ryan on July 10, 2008

Here’s a clip of an off-the-air comment uttered by Jesse Jackson the other day about Barack Obama’s faith-based initiative:

Jackson, of course, apologized for the remarks, but nonetheless he still said it in an unscripted moment when he thought the cameras were no longer recording.  Obama’s done the same thing when he talked about bitter small town America!  In the YouTube era, the cameras are always on and will be seen everywhere fast!  Obama quickly accepted the apology ostensibly so that the story would die as quickly as possible.

On the larger point though, Obama’s faith-based initiative would not let faith-based organizations screen clients or workers based on religious or ethical standards, which essentially makes the faith-based organization simply another arm of the government, without any regard for the faith itself.  I’d be upset too if I were Jackson, since the black community has been served very well through Bush’s faith-based programs as they are.  I don’t think I’d say I want to “cut his nuts off,” but I would be upset about Obama’s incessant condescension to blacks and his planned reversal of Bush’s successful policy.

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

Obama’s FISA Flip-Flop

Posted by Ryan on July 9, 2008

It’s been really entertaining lately watching Barack Obama pretend that he’s a moderate and hasn’t changed any of his positions despite all the YouTube and print-media evidence to the contrary.  Today’s FISA reauthorization/clarification bill is a great example:

Here’s an Obama spokesman’s remarks from a talking-points memo from October 2007 on the issue of the FISA bill which included retro-active immunity for the telecommunications companies who hooked-up America after 9/11:

“To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.”

That seems pretty clear and direct.  To reiterate, here is Obama’s Senate office in December of last year on the same point:

Senator Obama unequivocally opposes giving retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies…. Granting such immunity undermines the constitutional protections Americans trust the Congress to protect. Senator Obama supports a filibuster of this bill, and strongly urges others to do the same.

Pretty heavy stuff… however, today Obama voted for the bill which contained that very provision which give retro-active immunity to those telecom companies.  McCain nailed him on the flip-flop, which Obama subsequently denied was a flip-flop. 

As it turns out (just to stir things up), She Who Must Not Be Named voted against the bill!  The Lefties are going nuts and Rush Limbaugh has even quietly initiated his “Operation Chaos, Phase II” in order to give SWMNBN a chance at the convention and place some plants at the DNC in an attempt to take advantage of the disorder on the Left, which is increasingly feeling alienated from Obama.  Obama’s vote was the right vote, but maybe too “Right” for the kooks out there who thought he was different.

Posted in Blogroll, Election 2008, Politics, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Death of Competition in Health Care

Posted by Sal on July 9, 2008

For years, Conservatives have been sounding the alarm on the dangers of socialized medicine, pointing to the problems that socialized medicine has brought to Britain, Canada, and more recently, Austrailia.  Back in 2006, the People’s Republic of Massachusetts (of which I am a resident) took the first step towards socialized medicine by mandating full-care health insurance for all citizensBesides spiraling, out-of-control costs and a major headache for all MA residents, the plan further opened the door to government-run health care.  It is also significant, beacuse it is the plan that presidential candidate Barack Obama has based his own national health care plan on. 

Now, the MA state government wants to limit people’s choices and direct competition of services.  Boston is the home of some of the world’s best hospitals (Mass General, Dana Farbor Cancer Instiute, Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Woment’s, etc.)  Most of these hospitals are teaching hospitals affiliated with Harvard Medical, Tuffts, Boston University, and other high-quality medical facilities.  These hospitals also have satellite centers in various community hospitals throughout the state, bringing a high quality of care out to the suburbs.  However, currently the care is outpatient-only.  The hospitals want to expand the services and provide overnight care at these community hospitals as well.  It sounds like a great idea — have some of the same programs, the same high-quality doctors, as one can get by going into Boston.  However, this is too much for the administration of Deval Patrick, as it would diminish the role of the community hospital!  The Patrick administration is now planning to regulate so that the teaching hospitals cannot provide “duplication of services” that are available at community hospitals, in order to help contain costs.  This is yet another step into the degredation of our freedoms in choosing our own health care. 

It is a known fact that competition yields better costs and increased quality and innovation.  Yet the Patrick administration wants to curtail an individual’s right to choose medical care that is best for them, and the hosptial’s rights to expand and provide more services.  Obama and Patrick are close friends;  America, be warned — an Obama health care policy will adversely effect the quality of your health care.

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

Terror in Turkey Kills Six

Posted by Ryan on July 9, 2008

The US Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, was attacked today by four men in what the American and Turkish authorities are calling an act of terrorism.  Three of the attackers were killed, but not before taking out three policemen, one point blank to the head.  The fourth attacker unfortunately got away in a speeding car, as Turkish authorities are frantically looking for him and are currently reviewing video tape to help. 

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but this has put everyone in Turkey on high alert, especially Americans in Turkey.  Aside from incursions into Iraqi Kurdistan, one hasn’t heard much from the War on Terror in Turkey — it’s been pretty quiet so to speak.  The attack was small, probably cellular.  That could mean the beginning of a new series of attacks, or that this attack was the best they could pull off.  I hope it’s the latter.

The US Consulate was refitted after al Qaeda’s 2003 bombing of the British Consulate, bank and two synagogues.  Yet, our rules of engagement forbid Americans to fire back at anyone outside the compound, hence, they ducked for cover rather than take out the assailants early.  I think those rules needs to be renegotiated.

AP photo.

Posted in Blogroll, Europe, International Relations, The Iraq Front, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Poll: The Democrat Congress Sucks More Than Ever

Posted by Ryan on July 8, 2008

For the first time in the history of scientific polling, Congress, which happens to be controlled at present by Democrats, has reached a new all-time low of a 9% positive approval rating in the latest Rasmussen poll!  Splitting it up, that’s 2% excellent and 7% good, 36% fair, and 52% poor. 

Yet, for some reason on a generic ballot question, the Dems are still beating the Republicans by over 10 points!  So even though likely voters loathe Congress’ inaction in dealing with gas prices and the war, they still seem to like Republicans less in their generic sentiment. 

I wonder if some in the voting public believes that Bush and the Congress are both Republican-dominated?  If so, Congress would at least be at 32%, right?  Though this election is going to be tough, polls like this indicate an opening for Republicans this Fall.

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Nadal Defeats Federer: A Wimbledon Classic

Posted by Ryan on July 7, 2008

Roger Federer is the best male tennis player in the world in my opinion.  Watching him play is like watching an artist paint a great work.  He has recently won five consecutive Wimbledon Championships before being defeated in a dramatic fashion by the young clay wizard, Rafael Nadal yesterday [6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (8-10), 9-7]. 

Some believe the match was the best they’ve seen in a generation, or ever!  The defending champ was down 2-0 (one set from a sweep) and tied it 2-2 before finally losing to Nadal (in tennis’ version of overtime) 9-7 in the fifth and final set.  Purely great, exciting tennis.  Here are some clips:

Some think that Federer is past his prime since he’s been losing more matches than usual lately.  He has been so dominant lately on every surface except clay, that it would be difficult for him to maintain this level of excellence!  I still think he’s the best out there, but Nadal has been his nemesis lately, and finally beat him at Wimbledon.  Good for Nadal, great for the game of tennis!

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