When combined with proposed increases in the sales tax, the gas tax, license tabs, wheelage taxes, and other increases tucked away in spending bills, House Democrats are asking for $1 billion in new taxes on top of the $2.2 billion surplus.The Republicans in the Minnesota House and Senate are carrying the water in defense of taxpayers. I have been pretty hard on the Republican leadership in the Minnesota House and Senate for seeming to abandon party ideals in favor of political expediency. It's time now to give credit where credit is due!
Rep. Seifert persuaded 11 Democrats to join the unanimous House Republicans in opposing the House bill. But HF 2362 by Rep. Ann Lenczewski (D-Bloomington) passed by a 74-59 margin. Only 45 votes will be needed to sustain Governor Tim Pawlenty’s expected veto of the bill.
The text of Rep. Seifert’s speech follows:
“If you didn’t get the message today, I will repeat it one last time.
“A $2.2 billion surplus ought to be enough. A 9.8% increase in spending ought to be enough.
“The average person out there has figured it out. But the Democrats in this chamber have not.
“And we are trying to figure out if this bill is shameful or shameless in all of its tax increases.
“Madam Speaker, we have a Certificate of Death for this bill before us today. It is frankly a waste of our time, as Rep. Pelowski has said, in marking up a bill that is going to meet the fate of a veto.
“Every single member of this Caucus will sustain it, and I would suspect that some folks on the other side of the aisle, in the Democratic Caucus, would be very uncomfortable in voting for an override as well.
“You are asking for $784 million in new taxes while we have a budget surplus.
“You are asking for a new gift tax to go after dead people. Thank you, Rep. Joe Mullery of Minneapolis.
“You are raising taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars on job providers. You get less of what you tax and more of what you subsidize. You are going to tax job providers more, so you will have fewer of them in this state . . . and fewer jobs.
“You have people on the Democrats’ side of the aisle who say they are pro-jobs, but they are going to vote against job providers today. That is like saying you are pro-egg, while you are voting against the chicken. Where in the world do you think jobs come from? They come from job-providers, from growing markets.
“You are asking for $18 million more in tobacco taxes.
“You are asking for $4 million more in taxes on contractors.
“You are asking for millions more in a tax on snowbirds, as I call them.
“And of course, you put back in the tax on hockey tickets after we debated that for hours the other night and found another way to fund the hockey museum. You just couldn’t help yourselves, could you? We shamed you into removing the tax the other day, and you snuck it back in. Congratulations. The 10-year-olds who are going to hockey games get to pay higher taxes because the Democrats need more of your money. I didn’t know all those 10- and 15-year-olds around the State of Minnesota who are going to hockey games were “rich” people.
“Don’t try to fool the people of this State, riding into town with your square wheeled wagons and trying to sell the elixir of high taxes.
“The elixir of high taxes is not selling. If it was, you would see 90 plus votes on the board for this bill. You will be lucky to get 72 votes, because people are not buying the elixir of high taxes.
“Where are the DFL moderates? Where are the people who campaigned as fiscal moderates last year? Was it just rhetoric, or was it reality? Let’s look at some quotes, shall we?
“Rep. Paul Gardner of Shoreview was quoted as saying “I don’t envision suburban Democrats going for an income tax or sales tax increase.” Indeed, he won’t be in office two years from now if such tax increases take place. It was a pleasure to serve with you, Rep. Gardner. Your Caucus is going to throw you under the bus wheel of tax increases.
“Speaker Kelliher, you were quoted at the Chamber dinner as saying “we can do it with what we have.”
“Mike Hatch was quoted at the State Convention as saying “we can do this without raising taxes.”
“Rep. Tony Sertich said the $530 million in additional money the new DFL programs would need “is well within the growth of the state.”
“At the State Fair, Rep. Sertich and then-Minority Leader Kelliher said no tax increases would be needed, although they promised to push for collecting currently-unpaid taxes.
“Gary Eichten on Minnesota Public Radio asked the Speaker “other than a possible gas tax increase, do you see any need to raise taxes in the next couple of years?” Madam Speaker, you answered “No.”
“Madam Speaker, at another event, you said “increasing taxes is not a top priority.” You also said “I don’t foresee any major changes in our taxing structure on business.”
“Two days after the election, Speaker Kelliher also said that she did not expect Democrats to try to raise the state income tax, which House Republicans succeeded in cutting twice shortly after they took control of the House in 1998. Madam Speaker, you said “we are a fiscally moderate caucus.”
“Oh, really? What’s the definition of “fiscal moderates” these days?
“We get $1 billion of tax increases proposed by the Speaker and the House Democrats.
“The voters of the state voted for one thing last fall, and now we’re being sold a bill of goods, and they’re not buying it.
“Here is the language of the new DFL tax form: “How much money did you make last year? Now please send it in.”
“You are offering unsustainable spending increases.
“You are offering unsustainable tails, or spending in future years.
“You are offering unsustainable budgets.
“And now you are offering unsustainable tax increases.
“You are living in a fantasy land. You are living on Gilligan’s Island, and you are trying to figure how to get off. And it is not working. The people are not buying it.
“Our positive agenda in saying no to the tax increases today will result in more good-paying jobs, growing our economy, and letting people keep more of their hard-earned money.
“I know that he who promises to rob Peter to pay Paul will always have the support of Paul. The robbers are here today.
“But you are robbing people from throughout the state to make government bigger. You are robbing St. Peter to pay St. Paul.
“But you are also robbing Minnetonka, Rep. Maria Ruud and Rep. John Benson.
“You are also robbing Woodbury, Representatives Julie Bunn and Marsha Swails.
“You are also robbing Rochester, Representatives Kim Norton, Andy Welti, and Tina Liebling.
“I think all of you Representatives are good people and wonderful personalities. But at the end of the day, you are empowering liberal leaders to take more money out of your constituents’ pockets.
“At the end of the day, you are empowering liberal leaders who said one thing last November, but are doing something terribly different today.
“It is not fair to the voters.
“You are simply taking the tax ax to the golden goose that lays the golden eggs of jobs in this state.
“You are going to have one big feast of property tax reductions . . . not in this year . . . but surprise, surprise, in 2008, the election year.
“You’re going to have a nice big feast at the expense of the taxpayers while jobs continue to move out, while people hide income, while people hide from the tax collectors. Unfortunately, many of the people who create jobs are frankly just going to move out of the state because of the policies that you people are setting up today.
“Madam Speaker, we heard a lot about bipartisanship last year. There is no bipartisanship in or for this Tax Bill. There is not one Member of the Republican Caucus who is going to vote for it. And the Governor is going to veto it.
“Madam Speaker, recently you and I spoke to the Citizens League at the Allianz facility in Golden Valley. Rep. Winkler was there, and so was Rep. Garofalo. We were asked on tape in front of the Citizens League “will there be more income taxes.” There were lots of people there who make more than you or me. And the answer from the Speaker was “No.”
“Madam Speaker, you were right when you said that there will not be income tax increases this year. But the reason is not because of the Democrats. The reason is in spite of the Democrats. The reason there will be no more income taxes this year is because of the Governor and the House Republicans. That is the second part of the answer.
“And I think everyone in this Chamber knows that. Rep. Pelowski knows that and he was wise enough to tell everyone.
“Don’t waste your time. The Legislative session is over three weeks from Monday, and we are arguing about a tax increase that is not going to happen. It is not going to happen.
“Madam Speaker, we did not offer amendments to this terrible tax bill, and I will tell you why. You and I grew up on farms. I grew up on a hog farm and you grew up on a dairy farm. We know that you do not pay a veterinarian to come out to the farm to save a hog that is already dead. This tax bill is a dead hog. The Senate will push through one that is even worse, and the Governor will veto it.
“Members, this hog is dead. It is dead on arrival. Vote Red.”
Congressional Democrats could use the threat of impeachment as a lever against President Bush in the battle over the handling of the Iraq war, Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Pa., said Sunday.What a senile, megalomaniacal, opportunistic piece of garbage. PA-12, what were you thinking?
"What I’m saying, there’s four ways to influence a president. And one of them’s impeachment,” said Murtha, according to the Web site Politco.com. Murtha, chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, made his remarks on "Face the Nation.”
Berkowitz goes on to tell the tale of U.S. Navy Ensign George Gay, whose plane, along with every other underpowered, under-gunned plane in his squadron, went down while engaging Japanese zeroes during the Battle of Midway in WWII. Berkowitz makes the point that although untrained and ill-equipped, Gay and the rest of his squadron kept the Japanese Zeroes busy while American Bombers destroyed three of four Japanese carriers, the deciding point in that battle that turned the war in the Pacific in favor of the Allied forces. Ensign Gay, the only one of his squadron of 30 who survived the battle, stated:
Certified MadnessWord Count: 757
One of the more interesting sections of the war funding bill Congress will soon send President Bush is its provision for "readiness." The bill prohibits spending funds "to deploy any unit of the Armed Forces to Iraq unless the chief of the military department concerned has certified in writing . . . that the unit is fully mission capable."John Murtha (D., Pa.), chairman of the House subcommittee on defense appropriations, is mainly responsible for the clause. Mr. Murtha is a Marine Vietnam combat veteran and he's concerned that U.S. forces don't have all the resources they need to complete their missions.
"We had old planes and we were new," the pilot recalled. "We had a dual job of not only training a squadron of boot Ensigns," he said, "we also had to fight the war at the same time."Berkowitz, a research fellow at the Hoover Institute, summarizes:
In fact, training and fighting became one and the same. Ensign Gay's squadron leader told him and the others to follow him to the target, and then they figured out a way to get through the flack when they got there.
Ensign Gay and the other pilots knew they were ill-equipped and under-trained. But they flew the mission anyway because they also knew that something larger was at stake -- like losing the war if they waited until someone was willing to "certify in writing" that they met official readiness standards.
Mr. Murtha has good intentions, but he's got it exactly wrong. If U.S. forces lack the equipment or training they need, it's his job, as the chairman of the one subcommittee specifically responsible for originating defense appropriations, to make sure they get it.While I of course agree with Mr. Berkowitz' assertions, Mr. Berkowitz would do well to not be so hasty in assigning Murtha with "good intentions."
As we begin planning for the important 2008 election, I believe it is critical that the individual we send to the Republican Party of Minnesota's State Executive Committee have the character, maturity and experience necessary for such important responsibilities.The letter then goes on to cherrypick a number of passages from Andy's blog, trying to make the case that Andy was "disappointing conservatives" and that others were "afraid to speak out for fear of recriminations."
Sadly, I do not believe Andy Aplikowski possesses these qualities. Through his own words, Mr. Aplikowski has repeatedly disappointed conservative activists like me with his shrill, inappropriate, and counterproductive actions.
Please join me in voting against Andy Aplikowski this Saturday.Well, Mr. "Concerned Republican Activist," if you're so "concerned" about the Republican party, why are you engaging in democrat smear tactics? And furthermore, why be a coward about adding your name?
Concerned Republican Activist
This Email To Me, Harry, And America, Direct From A Grunt On The Front Lines Of Ramadi, Is Just Hours Old.
Corporal Tyler Rock, 1/6 Charlie Company, on the left, at my old home, Camp Hurricane Point, Ramadi.
A view from OP Horea, "Most Dangerous Spot On Earth", Downtown Ramadi. I no shit watched several terrorists die, on several different days, on this small strip of asphalt. We also took many IED strikes on it. This photo is from Corporal Rock.
Today, from Corporal Tyler Rock in an outpost in downtown Ramadi. His first sentence is in response to an email from me:
"yeah i know how you feel. its going to be very weird leaving this place and going back to america. weve been here for almost an entire year and have lived in the center of it the whole time. its crazy that when we got here it was so hectic and now its calmed down so much. so it was awesome to be able to see that turn out.
yeah news worth reporting . well ramadi was once dubbed by everyone as the worst city in the world. but we have done such a great job here that all the families in the area have worked with us on driving out the insurgency and that we work directly with the IA and the IP's. the city has been cleaned up so well that the IP's do most of the patrols now and we go out with them to hand out candy and toys to the children. you can tell that the people want us here to protect them from the thugs and gangs (insurgents). granted they would rather have peace and quit but they know that if we arent here they will be thrown around by the insurgents. a good example is this one mission we did. long story short we got blown up in multiple buildings and had to run into a families house. i spent my christmas holidays covered in ash from the mortar fire and the IED's, sleeping under a dirty rug i found in the house. everyone was sleeping way to close for comfort just to stay warm. anyways. a family was there and they obviously didnt want us there. atleast at first. the daughters were very sick so our corpsman treated them. they didnt have electricity so we got them a generator for power, they were cold so we got them gas heaters, we got them food and water and then we gave them $500. by the end of the week long visit with them we were drinking tea with them. when we left we cleaned their house better than it was when we got there. i even have pictures with the family. they told us that they liked marines and they would help us as much as they could and they gave us some information on the insurgents in the area. we ended up catching a HUGE target down the road from there house because of it.
Part Of A Weapons Cache Seized Recently In Fields Next To What Used To Be An Insurgent Claimed Hospital. Thanks To 1/6, The Insurgents Don't Claim It Anymore. Zarqawi Had Reportedly Been Treated There.
yeah and i got a qoute for that douche harry reid. these families need us here. obviously he has never been in iraq. or atleast the area worth seeing. the parts where insurgency is rampant and the buildings are blown to pieces. we need to stay here and help rebuild. if iraq didnt want us here then why do we have IP's voluntering everyday to rebuild their cities. and working directly with us too. same with the IA's. it sucks that iraqi's have more patriotism for a country that has turned to complete shit more than the people in america who drink starbucks everyday. we could leave this place and say we are sorry to the terrorists. and then we could wait for 3,000 more american civilians to die before we say "hey thats not nice" again. and the sad thing is after we WIN this war. people like him will say he was there for us the whole time.
and for messages back home. i have a wife back home who is going through a tough time. i just cant wait to be back home and see everyone. haha and i cant wait to go back home and get some starbucks. i love it when those people serve me. hahaha"
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 3:45 PM
U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Who Commanded Baghdad Detention Center Charged With 'Aiding the Enemy'
BAGHDAD — A U.S. Army lieutenant colonel has been charged with nine offenses, including aiding the enemy, the U.S. military announced Thursday.
Lt. Col. William H. Steele was accused of providing "aid to the enemy" by providing an unmonitored cell phone to detainees, a U.S. statement said.
The other charges included unauthorized possession of classified information; fraternizing with the daughter of a detainee; maintaining an inappropriate relationship with an interpreter; storing classified information in his quarters; and possessing pornographic videos, the statement said.
Col. Rick Rescorla is a multiple time hero. In 1957 he enlisted in the British Army and began training as a paratrooper with The Parachute Regiment of the 16th Air Assault Brigade. He went on to serve with an intelligence unit in Cyprus, a paramilitary police inspector in the Northern Rhodesia Police (now the Zambia Police Service). When his military career ended in England he joined the Metropolitan Police Service in London. But he found the paperwork too boring and quite at the behest of a friend who encouraged him to join the United State Army. Which he did.
In 1963, Rescorla enlisted, with his friend, in the United States Army. After he completed basic training he attended officer training school and was assigned as a platoon leader in the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).
He was shipped to Vietnam and participated in the Battle of la Drang. While in Vietnam, he was given the nickname "Hard Core" by his men for his bravery in battle.
In 1968, Resorla became a U.S. citizen and continued his service in the Army Reserves until 1990 when he retired. In 1985 he joined a financial services firm, located in the World Trade Center, as security director.
In 1993, when the WTC was bombed, Rescorla was instrumental in evacuating people from the building. Afterwards, he enacted a policy in which all employees of the firm practiced evacuation drills every three months.
September 11, 2001. Rick Rescorla was supposed to be on vacation getting ready for his daughters wedding. Instead he was at work covering a shift for one of his deputies so that he could go on vacation. When American Airlines Flight 11 hit Tower 1, Rescorla ignored officials advice to stay put and opted instead to put his evacuation drills to use. While evacuating the 3,800 employees of his firm in Towers 2 and 5 he kept reminding them "be proud to be an American ...everyone will be talking about you tomorrow" and sang God Bless America over his bullhorn. When Flight 175 struck Tower 2, Rescorla had already evacuated most of the employees from his firm as well as many others from other floors. He then went back in, despite being told he needed to evacuate himself. The last known words anyone heard him say were, "As soon as I make sure everyone else is out". Tower 2 collapsed with Rick Rescorla last seen heading to the 10th floor looking for more people to help.
As a result of his actions that day, all but six employees of his firm made it out alive. One of those being him and three others being his deputies who followed him into Tower 2, Wesley Mercer, Jorge Velazquez, and Godwin Forde.These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived
This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by going here.
I am shocked and utterly disgusted with the recent pronouncements of Senator Harry Reid, Democrat, Nevada in regard to the war being lost, while we have troops deployed and in battle.
His behavior and his other statements clearly give aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of war.
"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or, in adhering to their Enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.” (Constitution of the United States of America, Art. III, Sec. 3, Par. 1)
I DEMAND THAT YOU DO YOUR DUTY AS REQUIRED BY YOUR OATH OF OFFICE and file charges against Senator Reid for his traitorous behavior!
He and other members of his party, many of whom supported this war initially, now illegitimately fail to follow through on their commitments to our troops and our nation for the obvious purposes of personal and partisan political gain.
Have we done nothing good in Iraq? Have we no heroes there?
To hear Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi and other members of the Democrat majority tell it, we have had none. Not one word of praise or appreciation has come from them. In this alone, one finds the treason in their hearts and souls! We have had quite enough of this.
There are legitimate alternative ways to go about expressing one’s disagreement with this war, such as cutting off the funding for it. Senator knows of them and yet has deliberately chosen this route, as though the enemy is not listening, placing our brave fighting men and women in danger, including our son, as a result.
Senator Harry Reid has shown himself as a Despicable Traitor!
As one of our sworn representatives, you must conduct yourself accordingly!
As you can see on the sidebar, I belong to an organization of Italian bloggers for Darfur, where a genocide is taking place that rivals that of Rwanda.
The following is the latest press release by the White House:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 18, 2007
Stop The Genocide In Darfur
President Bush Announces Steps Encouraging All Parties To Live Up To Their Agreements
Yesterday, [April 17th] President Bush Visited The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum To Discuss The Genocide That Is Happening In The Darfur Region Of Sudan And How We Are Working To Stop It. The brutal treatment of innocent civilians in Darfur is unacceptable to the President and to the United Nations, and it must stop. Ending the violence requires better security for the people of Darfur, and progress toward political reconciliation.
Ø The President Announced Steps The Administration Is Prepared To Take If Sudanese President Bashir Does Not Meet His Commitments In A Short Period Of Time. President Bashir must follow through on the deployment of the UN support forces he agreed to, allow the deployment of the full, joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force, and take every necessary step to facilitate its deployment. He must end support for the Janjaweed, reach out to rebel leaders, and allow humanitarian aid to reach the people of Darfur. He must stop his pattern of destruction once and for all. If he does not do so, the Administration is prepared to take the following steps:
1. The Treasury Department will tighten U.S. economic sanctions on Sudan, allowing the U.S. to enforce more aggressively existing sanctions against the Sudanese government.
2. The Administration will target sanctions against individuals responsible for the violence.
3. The President will direct Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to prepare a new United Nations Security Council resolution.
Ø If Sudan's Obstruction Continues Despite These Measures, We Will Also Consider Other Options. The situation does not have to come to that:
* The President urges the United Nations Security Council, the African Union, and all members of the international community to stand behind the Addis Ababa Framework and reject efforts to obstruct its implementation.
* The President calls on President Bashir to provide his unconditional support for this agreement, and to take the concrete steps required to carry it out, so that the UN-African Union force can deploy and do its work.
America Will Not Back Down From The Evil We Are Now Seeing In Sudan
For 22 Years, Sudan Was Plagued By A Civil War Between The North And South That Claimed More Than 2 Million Lives. That war came to an end in January 2005, when Sudan's government and rebels in the south signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement that the United States helped broker. Under this historic accord, Sudan has established a Government of National Unity that includes a First Vice President and other cabinet members from the country's south. It also established a Government of Southern Sudan that the United States is providing with aid and other assistance.
Ø Unfortunately, Just As Peace Was Coming To The South, Another Conflict Broke Out In The West – Where Rebel Groups In Darfur Attacked Government Outposts. To fight this rebellion, the government in Khartoum unleashed a horse-mounted militia called the Janjaweed, which carried out systematic assaults against innocent civilians.
The Genocide's Human Toll Has Been Staggering. More than 200,000 people have died from the conflict or from the malnutrition and disease that have spread in its wake. More than 2 million people have been forced from their homes and villages into camps both inside and outside their country.
The United States Is Helping Lead The Effort To Stop The Genocide In Darfur
Recent Agreements Represent A Clear Plan To End The Conflict – And If Implemented, They Would Allow The People Of Darfur To Return Home To Their Villages Safely And Begin To Rebuild Their Lives In Peace.
Ø Last May, The President Announced An Agreement For Darfur That We Helped Broker Between The Sudanese Government And The Largest Rebel Group. Under this agreement, Sudan's government promised to disarm the Janjaweed and punish all those who violate the cease-fire, and the main rebel group agreed to withdraw into specified areas.
Ø In August, The United Nations Followed Up This Agreement With A New Security Council Resolution. This resolution authorized the UN Mission in Sudan to extend its forces to Darfur – and to transform the existing African Union forces into a larger and better equipped UN peacekeeping mission.
Ø In November, The United Nations, The African Union, The European Union, The Arab League, The Government Of Sudan, The United States, And 12 Other Nations Reached Another Important Agreement At A Meeting In Addis Ababa. This agreement strengthened the terms of the ceasefire, re-energized the political process, and called for a joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force that would be nearly three times the size of the existing African Union force.
Unfortunately, These Agreements Have Been Routinely Violated. Sudan's government has moved arms to Darfur, conducted bombing raids on villages, and used military vehicles and aircraft that are painted white, which makes them look like those deployed by humanitarian agencies and peacekeeping forces.
Ø President Bashir's Record Has Been To Promise Cooperation While Finding New Ways To Subvert And Obstruct The UN's Efforts To Bring Peace To His Country. Just this week, Sudan’s government has reached an agreement with the United Nations to allow 3,000 UN troops and their equipment into the country to support the African Union force. The world has heard these promises from Sudan before.
The Time For Promises Is Over, And President Bashir Must Act
The President Announced Several New Steps The Administration Is Prepared To Take If The Government Of Sudan Does Not Meet Its Commitments:
1. The Department Of The Treasury Will Tighten U.S. Economic Sanctions On Sudan. This new effort will allow the United States to enforce more aggressively existing sanctions against Sudan's government, by blocking any of its dollar transactions within the U.S. financial system. As part of this effort, the Treasury Department will add 29 companies owned or controlled by the government of Sudan to its list of Specially Designated Nationals. This designation will bar these companies from the U.S. financial system and make it a crime for American companies and individuals to willfully do business with them.
2. The Administration Will Target Sanctions Against Individuals Responsible For The Violence. The sanctions will isolate designated individuals by cutting them off from the U.S. financial system, preventing them from doing business with any American citizen or company, and calling the world's attention to their crimes. We are also prepared to designate more individuals to face similar sanctions.
3. The President Will Direct Secretary Of State Rice To Prepare A New United Nations Security Council Resolution. This resolution will apply new sanctions against the government of Sudan and against individuals found to be violating human rights or obstructing the peace process. It will impose an expanded embargo on arms sales to the government of Sudan, prohibit Sudan's government from conducting any offensive military flights over Darfur, and strengthen our ability to monitor and report on any violations.
Ø In The Next Days, We Will Begin Consulting With Other Security Council Members On The Terms Of Such A Resolution.
The United States Will Continue To Bring Relief To The People Of Darfur
The United States Will Continue Our Engagement In Support Of The People Of Darfur. The Administration is increasing support for the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority – an interim authority designed to help the people of Darfur improve local government and build the foundations of a healthy economy. We are also increasing support for Sudan's First Vice President and the United Nations and African Union special envoys, who are working to bring the rebel groups together and get them to sign onto the peace process.
Ø We Are Continuing Our Humanitarian Assistance To The People Of Darfur. Since 2005, the United States has provided more than $2 billion in humanitarian relief and development assistance to support those affected by the conflict in Darfur and those struggling to rebuild their lives in the hard-won peace of the south. These resources represent more than 50 percent of all UN-tracked assistance to Sudan. We will continue to bring relief to the people of Darfur – and we will continue to insist that rebel groups and the Sudanese government allow international workers to deliver this relief to the people who depend on it.
Be careful how you vote.
Cause you'll never know when your country will wind up with an incompetent and an intellectually-challenged president like Dubaya.
Somewhere in Texas, a Village is missing its Idiot. I chose this one first since it's the only one that has a particle of real wit. But the Bush is an idiot meme is very tired, and the most cursory look causes it to fall apart like -- how can I make them understand? -- like a lemon almond biscotti left too long in a grande' caffe verona.
For starters, you can of course point to the fact that the man did graduate from both Harvard and Yale, but that was with a C average, and clearly, the idea of being merely in the middle of the pack of those getting advanced degrees from America's two preeminent universities cuts you no slack from those community-college theater major drop-outs who love to level the charge.
So let's leave that aside for a moment – Poppy's connections and all that – and take a moment to look at this, if you will:
This is a Convair F-102 Delta Dagger. It is a second-generation, supersonic fighter-interceptor. It cruises at 845 mph.
There were some minor aerodynamic problems with the F-102. For example, at certain power settings and angles of attack – like, say, take-off -- the jet compressor would stall and the aircraft would roll inverted. It is no picnic, skill-wise, to fly a modern F-16 with advanced avionics and fly-by-wire flight control systems. The workload on the F-102 was far higher. The F-16 has an accident rate of 4.14 occurrences per 100,000 flight hours. The F-102's accident rate was more than three times that: 13.69 per 100,000 hours. 875 F-102A interceptors were built; 259 – almost 30% - were lost to accidents or enemy action while serving in Vietnam.
George W. Bush flew hundreds of hours in the F-102.
Now look at this:
This is the cockpit of the F-102 Delta Dagger's successor, the F-106 Delta Dart (I could not find an F-102 panel, but they would have been very similar)
Now, picture yourself in this chair, at 40,000 feet, traveling at one and a half times the speed of sound. Now imagine that someone has painted the windows white – you are flying on instruments. Now imagine that not only do you have to be able to fly blind, by referencing these instruments, but that you also have to stare into that orange jack-o-lantern of a radar, and interpret a squiggle that will lead you to your target. Now imagine that in addition to not hitting the ground, or your wingman, and watching the squiggle, you also have to turn those switches on the right side panel to activate weapons systems, to overcome enemy countermeasures…without looking outside, as you hurtle through air at -40 degrees F, air so thin that should you lose pressure, you have about 4-6 seconds of consciousness before you black out and die.
I maintain that the instant George W. Bush closed that canopy and took off on the first of his many solo hours in an F-102, it is quite impossible that he was either an idiot or a coward.
Here is a random question from the instrument rating exam I had to pass a few years ago.
Refer to figure 91:
What should be the approximate elapsed time from the BOSEMAN (BZN) VOR to the DUBOIS (DBS) VORTAC if the wind is 24 knots from 260 degrees and your intended True Air Speed is 185 knots? (The magnetic variation is 17deg. E)
A. 33 minutes
B. 37 minutes
C. 39 minutes
(It's C., obviously)
If he had been a civilian rather than military pilot, Dubya would have had to have passed 60 questions like this with at least 70% correct. Questions on weather, radio communications, mechanical systems, aerodynamics, pilot physiology, airspace, navigation and a hundred other things. But, since he was military, he also had to know how to operate that primitive in-flight radar, plus weapons systems, rules of engagement, electronic warfare, hydraulics, fuel systems…it goes on and on.
People like Michael Moore and Bill Maher and Keith Olberman would not be able to figure out how to close the canopy on an F-102. These people would be weeping with fear when those afterburners light up and you barrel down that runway hoping that engine doesn't flame out and roll you inverted into the asphalt, or when you're rocketing through the soup at 300mph watching two little needles chase each other, praying the next thing you see out the window is a runway and not a mountain goat.
George W. Bush is not stupid. It's not possible to be a moron and fly a supersonic jet fighter, and everyone knows it.
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Among the major flaws in yesterday's Supreme Court decision giving the federal government power to limit a woman's right to make decisions about her health was its fundamental dishonesty.
Under the modest-sounding guise of following existing precedent, the majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy and joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito gutted a host of thoughtful lower federal court rulings, not to mention past Supreme Court rulings.
It severely eroded the constitutional respect and protection accorded to women and the personal decisions they make about pregnancy and childbirth. The justices went so far as to eviscerate the crucial requirement, which dates to the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, that all abortion regulations must have an exception to protect a woman's health.
Other jackals are joining in the howling:
ADL Disappointed With Supreme Court Ruling On Partial Birth Abortion Act
New York, NY, April 19, 2007 The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued the following statement expressing its disappointment at the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the federal Partial Birth Abortion Act:
We are deeply troubled by the ramifications of the Supreme Court's ruling on abortion. By upholding, for the first time, an abortion statute which contains no exception for the health of the woman, the Supreme Court has undermined a woman's right to choose and to act in accordance with her conscience and the dictates of her faith.
We continue to believe that Americans should have the freedom to make difficult decisions of conscience and health without government interference.
ADL joined an amicus brief in the case filed by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights.For the health of the woman? In the case of partial-birth infanticide, since when is that an issue? Does the NYT editorial board think it intellectually honest to suggest that delivering a baby alive, is any more detrimental or traumatic to a woman's health than artificially inducing womb contractions, turning the baby around in the womb so that it is delivered breech, and inserting a pair of scissors in its skull (and in the birth canal, in the process) just before the baby's head exits?
Downward Trend Continues
After reaching a high of over 1.6 million in 1990, the number of abortions annually performed in the U.S. has dropped back to levels not seen since the late 1970s.
Two independent sources confirm this decline: the government's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), Planned Parenthood's special research affiliate monitoring trends in the abortion industry.
The CDC ordinarily develops its annual report on the basis of data received from 52 central health agencies (50 states plus New York City and the District of Columbia). AGI gets its numbers from direct surveys of abortionists.Hopefully indicative of a trend that increasing numbers of Americans are realizing that we're dealing with human lives, not masses of tissue.
Oh, I don't know, Rosie...
Rosie O'Donnell Now Feels Tougher Gun Control is "Impossible." NEW YORK - The Columbine shootings drove Rosie O'Donnell to depression, but she says she's "almost numb" to the Virginia Tech attacks.
She's so discouraged, she said on "The View" that she believes tougher gun control is "impossible."
O'Donnell has fought for tougher gun control laws for years and once got into a fight with Tom Selleck about it on her old talk show. She now feels it was "a futile attempt" and "there will never be gun control in America."
O'Donnell says the NRA is "organized," "scary" "they have guns" and, she says, it's "impossible" to fight them.
Rep. Marty Seifert (R-Marshall) and the House Republican Caucus carried
the budget battle to House Democrats in a 17-hour flight that stretched
from mid-day on Wednesday until 5:24 on Thursday morning.
The battle will continue this afternoon and evening, as Republicans
battle the tax-and-spend-and-regulate Democrats.
Here is a summary of yesterday's work on four large bills. More
detailed and focused reports will follow as the debate continues through
the next week.
A. MYSTERIOUS SAVINGS: The House approved a bill to "eliminate" an
entire state agency, without making any visible savings for taxpayers.
The bill is House File 1048 by Rep. Gene Pelowski (D-Winona). It would
"eliminate" the Minnesota Department of Employee Relations ("DOER").
Rep. Paul Kohls (R-Victoria) pointed out that there would be virtually
no savings from the bill. All but one of the DOER employees and their
jobs will be moved to other agencies. Only Commissioner Patricia
Anderson's job will be eliminated. Any savings from that cut will be
more than eaten up by new letterhead, business cards, and other expenses
of moving bureaucrats from one cubicle to another.
B. VETERANS AND FARMERS: After an hour of debate, the House approved
House File 2227 by Rep. Al Juhnke (D-Willmar). The bill was the House
proposal for the two-year budget for agriculture, rural, and veterans'
programs. House Republicans fought for three key amendments. The
amendments were all defeated by heavy Democrat majorities.
1. Rep. Mark Buesgens (R-Jordan) sought to delete the bill's higher
fees on farmers for marketing programs.
2. Rep. Buesgens then sought to eliminate the bill's higher fees on
food producers and sellers.
3. Rep. Dan Severson (R-Sauk Rapids) sought to provide more funding
for veterans who are Campus Liaison Representatives who advise veterans
on services and networks that are available to them when the return to
Minnesota's colleges and technical schools.
C. ENVIRONMENT AND COMMERCE BUDGET: In a 10-hour fight, Republicans
battled for taxpayers and free enterprise in a major budget bill.
Senate File 2096 was offered by Rep. Jean Wagenius (D-Minneapolis).
4. Rep. Paul Kohls (R-Victoria) led off the fight with a motion to
send the bill back to the House Committee on Finance because the bill
violated two provisions in the state constitution. First, the bill was
a tax bill, and the constitution requires such bills to start in the
House, and not the Senate. The bill contained numerous fees, and since
last summer, fees have been defined as "taxes" under state law. [That
provision was created by former Rep. Phil Krinkie of Shoreview.]
Second, the bill was constitutionally flawed because it contained more
than one subject. Democrats defeated this motion
5. Republicans temporarily pushed by Democrat efforts to drive up
electricity costs when they beat an amendment by Rep. Aaron Peterson
(D-Appleton) to force Xcel Energy to jump through more regulatory hoops
before it could buy electricity from a Canadian supplier. The amendment
was defeated on a 66-66 tie.
6. But minutes later, a similar amendment from Rep. Phyllis Kahn
(D-Minneapolis) passed and placed rate-payers in line for high
7. Consumers lost another battle when Rep. Bill Hilty (D-Finlayson)
pushed through another $10 million of collections for dry-cask storage
for spent fuel rods at nuclear power plants.
8. Rep. Ron Erhardt (R-Edina) tried to save consumers $14 million in
new fees charged to investors, but was beaten on a narrow vote.
9. Rep. Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake) tried to kill a provision that
will increase fees by five time on mortgage origination workers. This
will drive up the cost of homes and government.
10. Rep. Steve Sviggum (R-Kenyon) offered the Governor's original
budget proposal for these state agencies, which would have save
taxpayers over $23 million. He was defeated.
11. Rep. Denny McNamara (R-Hastings) tried to block the Democrats'
increased fees on deer hunters.
12. Rep. Kurt Zellers(R-Maple Grove) tried to block the Democrats'
increased fees for fishing licenses for state visitors, a crucial part
of the state's tourism industry.
13. Rep. Chris DeLaForest (R-Andover) tried to block the Democrats'
increased fees on fishing contests.
14. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Delano) tried to delete authorization for
bureaucrats to study how they can charge citizens for air and water.
[This is not made up. Democrats want top charge people for air and
15. Rep. Steve Sviggum (R-Kenyon) tried to improve water quality by
shifting the Democrats' big spending increase on Metro Parks to grants
to Soil and Water Conservation District grants, in areas where there are
more direct challenges to clean water.
16. Rep. Steve Sviggum (R-Kenyon) tried to improve water quality by
shifting funds from a study on sex-change trends among certain fish to
grants for improving water quality near feedlots.
17. Rep. Randy Demmer (R-Hayfield) tried to improve water quality by
shifting new funds for Metro-area parks to improving water quality at
the large Lake Zumbro area in southern Minnesota.
18. To spark a larger expansion of fishing and hunting in Minnesota,
Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Delano) tried to switch funds to hunter-and-angler
recruiting and retention programs from a program that purchases pontoon
boats in a few communities to take nursing home residents for a fishing
19. Rep. Joyce Peppin (R-Rogers) tried to lift the state's moratorium
on considering the addition of more nuclear power. Minnesota is still
the only state with such a moratorium.
20. Rep. Joe Hoppe (R-Chaska) tried to modify the state's program for
raising elk and other cervidae.
21. Rep. Mike Beard (R-Shakopee) tried to modify the Democrats' plan
for regulating wild rice production and harvesting.
22. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Delano) tried to hold down insurance premiums by
modifying the Democrats' plans on health-related lawsuits.
23. Rep. Ron Shimanski (R-Silver Lake) tried to improve recreation and
tourism regulations along the Crow River.
24. Rep. Tom Hackbarth (R-Cedar) offered several amendments relating
to preserving recreational and tourism opportunities regarding off-road
trails for various vehicles, allowing DNR funds to expand opportunities
for recreational use of private lands, and hold down county costs for
25. Rep. Mark Buesgens (R-Jordan) and Denny McNamara (R-Hastings)
worked to give the DNR more flexibility in assigning conservation
officers to pressing projects.
26. Rep. Bud Heidgerken (R-Freeport) offered proposals to assist the
DNR with flexibility on conservation officers, and to restore certain
school funds that had been raided by Democrats.
27. Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Eden Prairie) attempted to save investors an
extra $14 million in fees that Democrats want collected from brokers.
28. Rep. Paul Kohls (R-Victoria) tried to save consumers from
Democrats' plans to raise insurance premiums through expanded benefit
requirements and "opt-out" premium structures for car insurance.
29. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Delano) tried to save consumers on car insurance
by making Minnesota the 43rd state to turn its back on "no fault"
insurance. Insurance rates have fallen markedly in states that used and
then rejected "no fault" insurance systems.
30. Rep. Sarah Anderson (R-Plymouth) was a strong freshman voice on
many topics through the 17-hour debates on the four major bills.
D. PUBLIC SAFETY BILL
31. Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) tried to require Minneapolis and St.
Paul to allow police officers to ask about the immigration status of
suspicious characters. Under local ordinances, police officers in those
two cities are subject to discipline for asking about immigration
status, even if they have to ask those questions through an
32. Rep. Laura Brod (R-New Prague) tried to make it a state law that
immigrants who apply for drivers' licenses must have a "status check"
message on the license to alert police to check the last date which the
immigrants may be in this country legally. Currently, this provision is
being carried out by DMV under an administrative ruling that could be
reversed unless it is placed in law.
33. Rep. Joyce Peppin (R-Rogers) tried to make the potential penalty
higher for criminal negligence that leads to the death of a vulnerable
adult higher than the current criminal penalty for neglect of an animal.
The current penalty is lower for fatal criminal neglect of an adult
than for non-fatal criminal neglect of an animal.
34. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Delano) tried to shift the Democrats' new
spending on criminals leaving prison. Rep. Emmer wanted the money to go
to returning veterans instead.
35. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Delano) tried to block the Democrats' plan to
allow trial lawyers to file two lawsuits (against an alleged wrongdoer
and the insurance company) arising from the same incident.
36. Rep. Mark Buesgens (R-Jordan) tried to block the Democrats' new
fees on telephones.
37. Rep. Paul Kohls (R-Victoria) tried to reduce the costs of the
Democrats' plan to require junkyards to monitor their customers for
potential criminal activity.
38. Rep. Chris DeLaForest (R-Andover) tried to make it only a petty
misdemeanor and fine for the failure of a junkyard owner or employee to
properly monitor customers for potential illegal activity. The
Democrats' plan will provide for the possibility of jail time if an
owner or employee fails to register sales or note check numbers on
payments to suppliers.
E. REPUBLICAN VICTORIES
39. Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City) succeeded with an amendment to bar
obese people from suing restaurants and food processors for making them
obese. That was in the Public Safety Bill.
40. Rep. Bud Heidgerken (R-Freeport) succeeded with an amendment that
will instruct the state's baseball leagues to allow returning veterans
to participate in play-off games, even if they could not attend enough
regular-season games to qualify for the post-season rosters.
41. Rep. Dennis Ozment (R-Rosemount) succeeded with an amendment to
provide counties with more information about biological data on their
areas as they prepare zoning and planning documents. That was in the
Environment Finance Bill.
42. Rep. Doug Magnus (R-Slayton) succeeded with an amendment to
correct an error in the Environment bill that will help farmers with
43. Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City) succeeded with an amendment to
preserve the Green Leaf Lake State Recreation Area.
44. Rep. Tom Hackbarth (R-Cedar) succeeded with an amendment to allow
trappers to apply for life-time licenses.
45. Rep. Laura Brod (R-New Prague) succeeded with an amendment to make
it clear that the state was responsible for cleaning up state waters in
the event of a natural or environmental disaster. This cleared up some
ambiguities caused by recent court and agency holdings.
46. Rep. Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove) succeeded with an amendment to
add lawyers to the Public Safety bill's ban on health professionals from
pursuing potential clients at accident scenes, hospitals, or
47. Rep. Torrey Westrom (R-Maple Grove) succeeded with an amendment to
allow judges to consider trying 13-year-old defendants as adults for
serious crimes if the circumstances justify such a decision. "Emily's
Law" arises from the alleged murder of a young girl by a 13-year-old in
Fergus Falls last year.
48. Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) succeeded with an amendment to
stiffen potential sentences arising from criminal vehicular homicide.
49. Rep. Dean Simpson (R-Perham) succeeded with an amendment to
maintain criminal penalties for passing bad check worth at least $500.
50. Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton) succeeded with an amendment to
allow paramedics to wear communications headsets while driving on duty.
51. Rep. Steve Smith (R-Mound) succeeded with an amendment to adjust
assessments on child support payments.
Today, House Republicans are expected to defend taxpayers from
Democrats' tax-and-spend-and-regulate plans in the State Government
Finance Bill and the K-12 Education Bill.
Well, I had high hopes, but it looks like our party will need to look beyond the likes of you for '08.
Giuliani made his sharpest case for moving beyond social issues this weekend in Iowa, telling The Des Moines Register, "Our party is going to grow, and we are going to win in 2008 if we are a party characterized by what we're for, not if we're a party that's known for what we're against."
Asked about abortion, he said, "Our party has to get beyond issues like that."
I can't abide such a cavalier attitude toward what not only should be, but for the very survival of our civilization must be our prime issue.
Not only that, but Thompson's reception by GOPers on Capitol Hill was anything but lukewarm (login: Username: OptionalBugmenot, Password: FG9KTP25):
First, there was Thompson's interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday in March, which generated major buzz in the conservative blogosphere; next, the series of endorsements, most of them from Thompson's home state of Tennessee; then came Thompson's interview with Neil Cavuto disclosing his cancer, which he says is in remission. Thompson told Cavuto that he was announcing his cancer publicly because he wanted to see how it affected voters. That's one way to put it. Another way is that Thompson was doing the prerequisite "airing" of possible revelations that might hurt him on the campaign trail. And finally there was Saturday's Wall Street Journal op-ed in which Thompson embraced supply-side economics.Add to this the relative despondency in conservative circles these days with the current crop of candidates and Wamp may be right that a Thompson candidacy isn't a matter of if but when.
WASHINGTON -- The welcome for Fred Thompson wasn't just warm, it was effusive. The former Tennessee senator and actor is still weighing whether to run for the GOP presidential nomination but House Republicans who met with him Wednesday gushed over the prospects of Thompson candidacy.[SNIP]
They called him presidential, a leader, a proven conservative, an exciting prospect and "a breath of fresh air."
Some 50 House Republicans attended the private meeting arranged by Rep. Zach Wamp of Tennessee, a Republican leading a draft-Thompson campaign.The Grass Roots GOPers are still taking notice of Thompson:
Several lawmakers who were there said Thompson indicated that while he was seriously considering a candidacy, he had not decided whether to run. They said he talked about his life and answered questions. A handful of lawmakers said they encouraged him to run and told him they'd endorse him if he officially enters the race.
"He was called presidential, and he was. He was told he was electable, and he is," Wamp said.
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., said: "there was a breath of fresh air in the room today," while Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., added: "he spoke as though he was a president." Rep. David Davis, R-Tenn., said people are looking for a candidate with a proven conservative voting record and "Fred Thompson's the man."
For once there appears to be a GOP Presidential candidate that both the Party machinery and its rank-and-file can agree on.
In a Floyd County Republican Party straw poll, former senator Fred Thompson was the top choice for president — with 38.9 percent of the vote.
Thompson has not announced he is running for president.
Newt Gingrich, a former House speaker from Georgia, took second place with 30.5 percent and former New York mayor Rudy Guliani was third with 15.2 percent.
Glenn Reynolds says, "psycho who?"
"When you guys win, you get to keep your money. When we win, we take your money."(MN Rep. Cy Thao, DFL 65-A)
"Teacher says, everytime a bell rings, another democrat wants to raise your taxes."-Zuzu Bailey-