Archive for April, 2006

Several weeks back, Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson said that he’d gotten assurances from the Minnesota Supreme Court wouldn’t take up the gay marriage issue. He quickly retreated from that statement. I said on April 2 that my questions will be answered. Now that prediction is coming true.

For what may be the first time in its 40-year history, the state Board on Judicial Standards has opened investigative files on all seven Minnesota Supreme Court justices, the result of a complaint that alleges that one or more of them may have had improper conversations with a legislator regarding Minnesota’s marriage laws. The board could dismiss the complaint or take disciplinary action against any or all of the justices.
It launched an investigation of Chief Justice Russell Anderson and Associate Justices Barry Anderson and Paul Anderson earlier this month on the basis of complaints filed by state Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Delano, and lawyer Greg Wersal. In a follow-up letter, Emmer made clear that his complaint was not limited to those three. After a preliminary investigation, the board has now opened files on Justices Lorie Gildea, Samuel Hanson, Helen Meyer and Alan Page. David Paull, executive secretary of the board, said he could not comment on the specifics. “We have opened investigative files,” he said. “I can’t say more than that.”

Congratulations to Tom Emmer and Greg Wersal. These are as serious of charges as they get. Even after Johnson retreated from his initial statements, his attorney said that they could produce witnesses to the alleged conversations. Simply put, that’s a scary thing.

If judges have already decided which way they’ll rule before a case is filed is totally unacceptable & reprehensible. We can’t have that. Thanks to Mssrs. Emmer & Wersal, we won’t have to worry if that’s the judges’ predisposition. We’ll know for certain.

I don’t know if opening files on the justices means that they’ve found something suspicious but I can’t believe it’s a positive sign.

I promise to keep you posted as more information becomes available.

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This CBSSportsline article tells you why the Houston Texans didn’t take Reggie Bush with the first overall pick in the annual NFL Entry Draft. Based the article, it’s safe to say that he’s embroiled in a ton of legal troubles.

The parents of Southern California football star Reggie Bush received $100,000 in cash from investors in a sports marketing company that hoped to sign the running back, an attorney for the investors said in a letter obtained by the San Diego Union-Tribune. Attorney Brian Watkins told the newspaper on Friday that Bush’s parents, LaMar and Denise Griffin, asked for the money partly to resolve financial problems. Watkins said the money included an initial payment of about $30,000 to help start up New Era Sports and Entertainment.

If that sounds like alot, you’re right. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Watkins said earlier this week that Bush’s parents didn’t pay $54,000 in rent during the year they lived in a house owned by a sports marketing agency investor who wanted to represent the football star. The money dispute began after Bush signed with another agent and marketing representative, ending any chance of a deal with New Era.
Bush’s mother and stepfather had agreed to pay landlord Michael Michaels $4,500 in monthly rent when they moved into the Spring Valley house Michaels bought for $757,000 in March 2005. Michaels said the Griffins told him they eventually would pay him rent from Bush’s earnings when he went pro.

If you think that’s the rest of the iceberg, you’re wrong. Either New Era or attorney David Caravantes paid Bush’s mom and stepdad to attend a couple of Bush’s away games. There’s still more to this scandal.

Watkins, who represents Lake and Michaels, said Bush’s family defrauded his clients out of $300,000 over 1½ years using “the carrot” of Bush’s future football career as an enticement.
Bush, who signed with agent Joel Segal, said he believes the matter will be cleared up in a few weeks. “I’ve got to get back to football,” he said. “My life is parallel to a horse race. They have blinders on to keep them from being distracted in the race and keep them focused on winning the race. That’s kind of like my life. Focus on the goal, not the things coming at me from the side.”

Based on these reports, Bush’s parents were shakedown artists. It doesn’t cast them in a flattering light, to say the least.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Charlie Bass, who infuriated conservatives by opposing drilling in ANWR, is scoring points for challenging Ted Kennedy on the Nantucket Sound wind farm project.

Residents of the Bay State enjoy staying warm in the winter and cool during the summer. And they like playing with their computers and other electronic devices as much as the next person. Just don’t ask them to make any sacrifices to produce the electricity that keeps them comfortable and happy.
According to an Associated Press dispatch this week, “New England’s failure to build electricity generating plants will put the region at a higher-than-usual risk of resorting to precautions this summer to keep its power grid from overloading.” Citing a recent report from the Northeast Power Coordinating Council, the story noted that this region “faces a greater likelihood of measures to ease the load, including temporary voltage reductions and supply interruptions to certain industrial customers” than does its neighbors like New York and eastern Canada.
Not only is it exceedingly difficult to build new power plants of any kind given the “Not in My Back Yard” mentality so prevalent here, but there’s continuing pressure to restrict activity or even close some of the region’s most reliable and cost-efficient producers of electricity, such as the plants at Salem Harbor and Brayton Point in Somerset, because they burn coal.

This NIMBY mindset is a bunch of BS. These pointy-headed liberals want cheap, abundant electricity and freedom from foreign sources of oil but they don’t want windfarms in their view and the environmental extremists block the building of nuclear power plants and the drilling for oil and natural gas in ANWR.

These idiots want their comfort demands met without making the tradeoff. It doesn’t work that way. If you want something, you’d better be willing to pay the price for it. It’s called a tradeoff. You don’t get something priceless for nothing.

New Hampshire Congressman Charles Bass sees through the hypocrisy of people like Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, who talks a good game regarding the protection of the environment and reducing our dependence on foreign oil, except when it comes to the proposal to build wind turbines that might be seen from his family’s summer estate in Hyannisport. He’s fighting hard to block an amendment that Kennedy and his allies managed to insert into the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act that would stifle the Cape Wind project.
“Current estimates are that by as early as 2008, our region may have insufficient supplies to meet its electricity needs,” Bass declared in a statement released earlier this month. “Because the New England electricity grid is interconnected and interdependent, failing to ensure adequate resources for tomorrow’s needs could affect my constituents in New Hampshire and force the entire region to pay higher rates if we are forced into using costlier fuels.”

Ted, if you want the nation to be less dependant on foreign oil and you keep harping on the need for energy alternatives, then you’ve gotta accept them being part of your neighborhood. Your whining is getting sickening and we won’t take it anymore.

Furthermore, your not wanting the windfarm near you is being a bad neighbor. And since the New England grid is interconnected, it’s time that you and your fatcat liberal buddies started being good neighbors.

This shows who liberals really are. They talk about people making sacrifices but they won’t sacrifice themselves. They say give but all they do is take. It’s disgusting and it’s gotta end. ASAP.

PS- Give him hell, Charlie. We’re all cheering you on.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

That’s what Ayman al-Zawahri is claiming in his latest video. Chalk it up to more wishful thinking on Zawahiri’s part because it isn’t rooted in reality.

Al-Zawahri, an Egyptian militant believed to be hiding in Afghanistan or Pakistan, also denounced the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq as “traitors” and called on Muslims to rise up to “confront them.”
He said that U.S. and British forces in Iraq had bogged down in Iraq and “have achieved nothing but loss, disaster and misfortune.”

Calling on jihadists to confront an entire region of Muslim nations isn’t too bright. In fact, it’s rather stupid. Coupled with his comments about “U.S. and British forces in Iraq” being “bogged down in Iraq”, it’s pretty obvious that he’s a desparate man who isn’t having much recruiting success.

“Every soldier and officer in the Pakistani military should know that Musharraf is throwing them into the burner of civil war in return for the bribes he is getting from the United States,” al-Zawahri said. “For this reason I call on every soldier and officer in the Pakistani army to disobey the orders of his commanders to kill Muslims in Pakistan or Afghanistan or otherwise he will be confronted by the mujahedeen,” he said.

He isn’t going to have much success if he’s threatening soldiers if they don’t obey him. You don’t inspire loyalty through threats.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Let’s consider the ramifications of a Democratic House or Senate on tax policy. It’s a guarantee that we’d see tax increases if Democrats controlled the House or Senate, crippling small businesses that file their taxes as individuals.

Small businesses that make $200,000+ would have their marginal tax rates jump from 36% to 44%, a minimum increase of $16,000 annually. A friend of mine who is a small businessman would fit into that group. He recently said that he pays almost that much for his family’s health care.

The thing is that President Bush wouldn’t even get a veto on this tax increase because this tax increase would happen as part of the tax cut legislation’s sunset provisions. Democrats have railed against tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 or 2% seemingly forever. It’s a guarantee that Democrats would simply let those cuts to expire, adding mightily to those families’ expenses.

That type of tax increase would almost guarantee an economic downturn, if not a recession. During the Clinton Administration, Demogogue-in-Chief Al Gore decried the “draconian cuts” in the school lunch program that would starve children. In that situation, the Republican Congress was just talking about slowing the rate of growth in the program.

Why isn’t this seen as a “draconian cut” to families’ incomes? Isn’t it important to keep small businesses flourishing? How could this type of tax increase not cause small businesses to delay expansions to their businesses? Why wouldn’t this draconian tax increase cause more people to drop off the insurance rolls? I’d guarantee that some small business owners would stop paying a portion of their employees’ health care premiums.

Republicans who stay home this November would essentially be voting for a recession. They’d be voting for tax increases. That’s hardly an intelligent action.

It’s time for Republicans to start thinking about all of the ramifications their ‘protest votes’ would have on the economy. It certainly wouldn’t have a positive effect.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The NY Times’ Elisabeth Bumiller and David Johnston are reporting that “Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case, is expected to decide in the next two to three weeks whether to bring perjury charges against Karl Rove, the powerful adviser to President Bush, lawyers involved in the case said Thursday.”

This comes just a day after Rove’s attorney Robert Luskin told reporters that he’d been assured that Rove isn’t a target of the investigation.

There’s three possible explanations for this: (a) The NY Times is wrong; (b) Luskin is wrong or (c) Fitzgerald lied to Luskin. I’m not automatically inclined to believe Fitzgerald at this point but I’d doubt he’d lie to Rove’s attorney. Considering all their corrections, I’m more inclined to believe that the NY Times might have gotten another story wrong.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Several months back, Senate Democrats preened for the cameras after filibustering the drilling in ANWR, saying that they’d protected ‘the environment’ by doing so. What they didn’t say is that they also caused us to get more addicted to foreign suppliers of natural gas. That’s just part of the Democrats’ energy policy.

Democrats filibustering the drilling in ANWR didn’t tell you that ANWR is home to one of the largest reserves of natural gas in the world. Everyone knows that natural gas is the most efficient, cleanest burning home heating fuel. What we don’t know is why Democrats are blocking us from tapping into a natural gas field that would eliminate most of our foreign purchases of natural gas.

People living in the Rust Belt states, from Montana to Maine, are adversely affected by that filibuster. What’s worse is that the area in ANWR where the drilling would occur, isn’t “pristine wilderness.” It’s 3.13 square miles of tundra swamp.The section of ANWR that is “pristine wilderness” is 200 miles away.

By not drilling in Section 1002, states like Massachusetts had to make deals with the devil to get the home heating oil they needed. In this instance, the devil is known as Hugo Chavez, the American-hating terrorist supporter. Massachusetts Representative Bill Delahunt brokered the deal.

What’s scary is that this is the most coherent part of the Democrats’ energy policy. It gets worse after that. Consider their bemoaning our reliance on foreign sources of oil. Their proposed fix? Levy a windfalls profit tax on the oil companies, which will cause them to shrink production. It sounds good to the average person who doesn’t think things through but it’s counterproductive. It makes the situation worse, not better. Far worse.

For years and years, the Democrats blocked everything in terms of building new refineries and nuclear power plants. We’re paying the price for that, too. While our population went from 205 million in 1976 to nearly 300 million today, while our economy has increased by trillions of dollars, our refining capacity has remained almost the same. And Democrats have led the way in making sure that “the environment” was protected in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

We’ve also heard Democrats’ cries for more alternative fuel cars. They’re already being built and purchased. Then again, Ted Kennedy blocks all attempts to put in a windfarm off the coast of the Kennedy family compound. Other rich liberals applaud him from their mansions, which cost more to heat for a winter than a school teacher makes in a year. That windfarm should be built ASAP.

The other Democratic proposal is to suspend the federal gas tax for an undetermined length of time. While it would decrease the cost per gallon temporarily, it does nothing to expand production. In fact, the cheaper gas prices might cause a spike in people taking longer vacations, etc., which might cause actual gas lines.

So add it all up and the Democrats’ energy policy is tax hikes, gas tax moratoriums, no production increases and increased dependance on foreign suppliers. That’s what we should expect should there be Democratic majority in the House or Senate.

That’s an energy policy that we can’t afford.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

It sure sounds that way from the quotes in this Newsmax article. The article’s titled “Tax Hikes Sinking Gov. Corzine in N.J.”, which I believe. what I’m wondering, though, is what effect they’re having on the Bob Menendez vs. Tom Kean Senate race.

Ingrid Reed of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University said voters are so cynical in corruption-riddled New Jersey that they may not have had much confidence in Corzine or his opponent last fall to begin with. “There was an enormous skepticism among voters that either candidate could deliver,” Reed said.

The voters who had “enormous skepticism” that “either candidate could deliver” certainly didn’t expect Corzine to break his campaign pledges this fast or this dramatically. This is something that Democrats still haven’t learned. You can’t keep breaking campaign promises, especially if these broken promises cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Once voters think you aren’t trustworthy, you’re sunk politically. Corzine is sunk four months into the job. Worse, he’s facing a huge budget deficit and little support for his agenda, especially within Democratic legislators. That wouldn’t be doomsday if he were a moderate Democrat who could cobble together a coalition with moderates of both parties. Corzine isn’t a moderate; he’s a liberal. Thus, his options are extremely limited and shrinking almost daily.

If that’s his honeymoon, I’m not sure I wouldn’t rather skip to the divorce and be done with it.

James Florio was New Jersey governor from 1990 to 1994 and lost re-election amid public anger over tax increases he pushed through within months of taking office. Florio predicted Corzine would survive the breaking of his campaign promise. “Everyone knows there’s a real problem,” Florio said. “People are starting to understand that you’ve got to make some choices.”

Florio is spinning like a tightly wound top. Everyone knew that there were real problems. They just expected the solution not to be a knee-jerk liberal tax increase, especially of this size this early in the Corzine administration. Florio knows better, too, because he enacted a huge tax increase and got beat by Christie Todd Whitman when he tried getting reelected.

Edward Jacko, who lives in Hamilton, said he expected nothing different from Corzine. “It’s typical New Jersey politician,” Jacko said of the tax increases and broken campaign vow. Corzine has indicated the state’s budget problems were worse than he thought. Jacko doesn’t buy it. “I’m a chemist,” Jacko said. “I’m not a politician. I knew the situation was as bad as it was.”

Corzine’s in bad political shape, with incoming shots coming from all directions. You can’t hardly blame him if he wanted to curl into the fetal position and pray that the sky stops raining bombs on his administration. That won’t stop until he starts making smarter policy decisions devoid of massive tax increases.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The Washington Post’s David Ignatius has written another positive article about Iraq’s improving climate, this time talking about the significance of Jawad al-Maliki’s becoming their prime minister.

So what should the world make of Iraq’s new prime minister, Jawad al-Maliki? What chance will his new government have of containing the sectarian violence in Iraq and averting a full-blown civil war? The first reaction of many outsiders is likely to be, “Jawad who?” Maliki is not well known outside his country, and his election after a four-month impasse may seem anticlimactic. Indeed, since he is a member of the same Islamic faction, the Dawa party, as the incumbent, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, people might imagine that little has changed. But that would be a mistake.
The most important fact about Maliki’s election is that it’s a modest declaration of independence from Iran. The Iranians waged a tough behind-the-scenes campaign to keep Jaafari in office. Tehran issued veiled threats to Iraqi political leaders, in written letters and through emissaries, that if they didn’t back Jaafari, they would pay a price. In resisting this pressure, the political leaders were standing up for a unified Iraq. To succeed, Maliki must mobilize that desire for unity to break the power of the militias and insurgent groups.
“His reputation is as someone who is independent of Iran,” explained Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad. He explained that although Maliki initially went into exile in Iran, “he felt he was threatened by them” because of his political independence, and later moved to Syria. “He sees himself as an Arab” and an Iraqi nationalist, Khalilzad said.

In David Ignatius’ opinion, this is a positive step forward. Remember, too, that Ignatius just got back from Iraq, where he wrote a number of positive articles outlining the progress being made there.

One of the most positive things he writes is that al-Maliki “sees himself as an Arab and an Iraqi nationalist” who “felt he was threatened by” Iran. This is a huge deal. For those who understand that region, this is a declaration of sorts that says “Iraq won’t be a theocracy.” I’ll guarantee that that development brought smiles to the President’s and Condi Rice’s faces.

The Iranians “pressured everyone for Jaafari to stay,” Khalilzad said. One senior Iraqi official said the gist of Iran’s letters was “stick with him, or else.” The phrasing was more subtle, including warnings that replacement of Jaafari could “create instability” and damage the political prospects of those who opposed Iran’s diktat. The decisive blow came from Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who let it be known in the final days that Jaafari had to go.

Ali al-Sistani has been a major stabilizing force ever since the fall of Baghdad. Americans should be thankful for his calming influence.

Maliki’s selection is something of a victory for Khalilzad, who has been a match for the Iraqis in his wily political wrangling. The American ambassador viewed Jaafari as too weak and sectarian. When Jaafari was renominated by the Shiite alliance in February, Khalilzad warned, initially in this column, that the United States wouldn’t support a government that did not put unity first. Khalilzad helped organize a rival coalition of Kurdish and Sunni politicians that represented 143 seats in parliament, more than the 130 seats of the Shiite alliance that had nominated Jaafari. Meanwhile, he began holding marathon meetings with all the Iraqi factions to hammer out the political platform for a unity government.

The President should get alot of credit in picking Khalilzad to succeed John Negroponte as U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. Khalilzad has obviously been a brilliant diplomat and power broker in Baghdad. In my opinion, it’d be justifiable to name him the next Nobel Peace Prize winner for his work in the region. I don’t expect that to happen, given the hatred that the committee has for the Bush Administration but I think a strong case could be made for Khalilzad.

Let’s hope that al-Maliki puts together a strong, credible government. It’s especially important for him to pick a strong leader for the Interior Ministry. That minister has to get a handle on the militias ASAP. If you get that controlled, most, if not all, of the sectarian violence will disappear. Once that hurdle’s been cleared, alot of positive things can happen, all of which this President should get credit for. Should but won’t, at least not with the Beltway media.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

It’s obvious that the Democrats are worried about Tony Snow’s ability to connect with real people beyond the Beltway. If they weren’t worried, they wouldn’t have sent out the flurry of contradictory messages today, saying in one breath that Snow is a shill for the Administration and that he’s disagreed with them too much another. Here’s a sampling of their doublespeak:

The Democratic National Committee said Snow’s appointment shows “truth still snowed in” in the Bush administration.

Karen Finney, the DNC’s equivalent of Joe Goebbels, was on Fox earlier today and said “It isn’t a question of whether Tony Snow is a likeable guy. It’s a question of whether he’ll be honest with the American people.” Anyone who’s known Tony Snow knows that he’s as honest a person as there is in Washington. That isn’t just my opinion. It’s possibly the only opinion that Bob Beckel, Juan Williams and I wholeheartedly agree with. The last I checked, Beckel and Williams aren’t the staunch conservative that I am.

Here’s some of the media’s reaction to Snow’s appointment:

Jack Cafferty welcomed the former “Fox News Sunday” host to his new job yesterday by referring to his old employer as “the ‘F’-word network.” “Tony Snow, who also happens to be an anchor over there at the “F” word network, is likely to take the job as White House press secretary,” reported Cafferty. “President Bush can do worse, not a bad guy. But it might be too late.”

If there’s anything that I believe isn’t the case, it’s that it isn’t too late to turn the White House’s message around. Not by a long shot. The truth is that, with a great communicator like Tony delivering daily the Administration’s message with passion and intellect, this is a great opportunity for the White House to connect with conservatives on a visceral level.

This isn’t the first time that Cafferty’s used the term “the ‘F’-word network”. It’s just another sign that he doesn’t have a shred of dignity or class and is more of a Democratic shill than what Democrats think Tony is a Republican shill.

Over at MSNBC, Keith Olbermann didn’t sound very impressed either. “And as to the forecast for Snow at the White House,” Olbermann told his audience last night, “in the words of one Washington wag about the press secretary heir apparent, ‘The administration appears to have vetted him as well as it did Bernie Keric.'” Olbermann was referring, not to skeletons in Snow’s closet, but to the fact that columns he’d written critical of the White House would be “thrown back in his face.”

Olbermann says the most outrageous comments just so he doesn’t become a blip on the ratings radar. He’s entitled to his opinions but they range from dumb to totally useless. I’d say worse but I can’t think of worse than totally useless.

But perhaps the harshest assessment came from the influential left wing blog, the Daily Kos, where a poster complained:
“Tony Snow has officially taken the job as Press Spokesman-Official Liar at the White House… Make no mistake about this, Snow will NOT be a big change for this sad sack outfit in the White House…”While he’s not Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage, Ingraham, O’Reilly or some of the other right wing kooks,” the Daily Koser explained, “he still worked for Faux news, the official propaganda arm of the RNC and the White House.”

Kos has alot of readers but he’s an idiot. Only a Kossack would think that Bill O’Reilly is a “right wing kook” or lump Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Rush with Michael Savage. To a Kossack, anyone to the right of Ted Kennedy is a “right wing kook.” If you need proof, just look at how they view Joe Lieberman.

Frankly, I think this is the smartest appointment that President Bush has made since nominating John Roberts to the Supreme Court. Tony’s biggest assets going forward in this post are (a) his great sense of humor; (b) his command of the issues and (c) his ability to counter arguments with facts.

I’ve listened alot to Tony’s show and many is the time I’ve heard liberals tell him that he’s got this or that fact wrong only to have Tony tell them that they’d picked a fight with a total fact nerd who knew issues and facts inside out. Honestly, this will put the Beltway media in their place because Tony’s calm demeanor and his being alot smarter than them will make them look foolish.

I’m looking forward to his first confrontation with Helen Thomas or David Gregory because he’ll calmly skewer them with that great Tony Snow smile all across his face. When that happens, I’ll be smiling from ear to ear.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative