June 7, 2007
Well, I’m not sure what to call what happened to me today – breakdown, breakthrough, whatever. I’ve simply come to the conclusion that I need to completely transform my life. I need to “unplug.”
As such, I am shutting down the RWL for the time being. For reasons I can’t get explain in detail right now, I need to clear my head and start all over again.
I can’t say how much I appreciate the kind words and comraderie I have experienced here in the blogosphere; I will always remember it, and it will be the inspiration for me to come back, if I can do what I need to do for myself and my family (BTW, no one is ill, it’s not like that).
Until then, au revoir,
June 7, 2007
I have repeated claimed that the grand immigration fiasco will not pass. In the wee hours of the morning, the U.S. Senate (easily the chamber more friendly to this mess), surprised itself by adding an amendment to “sunset” the temporary worker program after five -years, effectively blowing up the whole thing (CNN):
A fragile compromise that would legalize millions of unlawful immigrants risks coming unraveled after the Senate voted early Thursday to place a five-year limit on a program meant to provide U.S. employers with 200,000 temporary foreign workers annually. (UPDATE: This paragaph largely vanished as the CNN story itself has been updated since this monring).
The 49-48 vote came two weeks after the Senate, also by a one-vote margin, rejected the same amendment by Sen. Byron Dorgan. The North Dakota Democrat says immigrants take many jobs Americans could fill.
The reversal dismayed backers of the immigration bill, which is supported by President Bush but loathed by many conservatives. Business interests and their congressional allies were already angry that the temporary worker program had been cut in half from its original 400,000-person-a-year target.
A five-year sunset, they said, could knock the legs from the precarious bipartisan coalition aligned with the White House.
In other words – Ka-boom!
Now, given that the vote was so close, the three-card-amnesty crowd will do their best to reverse it. Arlen Specter is already calling the move “correctable.” However, as I mentioned before, the Senate is far more friendly with this bill then the House; so even if Dorgan’s amendment is repealed, a similar one will likely pass the House of Representatives, forcing a conference committee where the bill could die a slow death – and that’s assuming it passes the HoR at all.
Meanwhile, for now, this thing is in big trouble.
As an aside, let’s give credit where it’s due: every Yes vote was the deciding vote (roll call vote), including one of yours truly’s favorite targets – Jim Webb. Every broken clock is right twice a day.
June 6, 2007
It appears Ben Tribett is calling off the dogs on Shaun Kenney. Either he is looking for bigger fish to fry (if you believe Ben, which I don’t) or he didn’t expect the blowback he got from Riley, Not O’Reilly at Virginia Virtucon, Shaun’s brother Jason, and Shaun’s friend yours truly.
So now, Ben is looking for the door (Not Larry Sabato): “By the way – as far as the beating up of Shaun Kenney- it should stop.” Unfortunately, Ben is still getting a few things wrong (emphasis in original):
If you read all the articles the only time I attack Shaun is when he lies about telling me about the indictments in advance . . . we can be fairly sure that someone in the Grand Jury did NOT leak this information to Shaun directly. Shaun would be out of this entire thing if he would just say who told him about the date of the indictment. Other than that the only thing Shaun appears to have done wrong is mislead the media when they first called him about it. He’ll recover from that once he comes clean and says who told him and when.
The only trouble with that is this: Ben still has presented no evidence that Shaun tipped him off about anything regarding in the investigation. The only thing Ben can show Shaun actually discussed were supposed efforts in the party to talk Mark Tate into dropping out of the Republican primary for the 27th State Senate District, something Shaun never denied.
Now, I don’t expect Ben to say, “Oops! My bad – Shaun didn’t give an indictment date,” but if he really wanted this to go away, he should have edited out the insistence that Shaun “lied.” All he had to do was make clear his view that Shaun was a “bit player,” and that his real target – for lack of a better word – is Gillespie.
Either way, it’s pretty clear Ben is waving the flag of truce (if not the white flag) regarding Shaun.
June 5, 2007
For years, the debate over the securing of America’s southern border (i.e., the one with Mexico) has been about illegal aliens. Suddenly, Steve Janke has found a reason for us to be worried about something else – Communist Chinese poisoned toothpaste “Made in Mexico.”
To recap, the Food and Drug Administration has already warned Americans not to use toothpaste sent from Communist China, due to the likelihood that any toothpaste from there has been poisoned. Colgate toothpaste, by contrast, is “Made in Mexico.”
Or is it (SJ, emphasis added, link in original)?
The big manufacturers, such as Colgate, a division Colgate-Palmolive, make their toothpaste elsewhere. The tube I have says “Made in Mexico”.
I should have left it there. Instead, I decided to do a bit of checking, and now I’m worried. Made in Mexico? If so, why would this very senior Chinese official, Cheng Siwei, brag about Colgate toothpaste being made in China for export to the United States?
PAUL SOLMAN: We were here to interview one of China’s current top leaders, Cheng Si-wei, an economist in the 2,000-year-old tradition of Confucian scholar politicians. The author of 28 books, Vice Chairman Cheng is also known as the godfather of venture capital in China.
CHENG SIWEI: Yes. Some people told me, you know, average Americans, you know, they use actually now in their daily life, they use many cheap Chinese goods from morning to the evening; when they woke up, their blanket is made in China. When they wear shoes to go jogging, the shoes, Nike shoes, made in China.
PAUL SOLMAN: Nike.
CHENG SIWEI: Yes. And they use a toothbrush, it’s made in China. The Colgate Toothpaste is made in China.
PAUL SOLMAN: Colgate Toothpaste is made in China?
CHENG SIWEI: Certainly. American people are really benefiting from cheaper Chinese goods.
That was in October 2005. Maybe that was once true, but is no longer true. Or maybe Siwei was lying, or just ignorant of where toothpaste used by Americans is made. Or maybe he’s telling the truth — that the toothpaste, or major components of the product, is manufactured in China and then repackaged or otherwise reworked in some way in Mexico as a final step, with Mexico therefore being identified as the country of manufacture.
Does Cheng Siwei know what he’s talking about? He was Vice Minister of the Chemical Industry from 1994 through 1997, and is currently a vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the de facto legislative body of the People’s Republic of China. He speaks with the authority of the Chinese government.
These are questions that need to be asked. In the meantime, keeping Communist-poisoned toothpaste out of the United States may also mean keeping a better eye on Colgate’s “Mexican” toothpaste, too.
Cross-posted to the China e-Lobby
June 5, 2007
The fact that the Washington Post has Robert Kagan as a columnist demonstrates its immense superiority over the New York Times (not that either can hold a candle to the Washington Times or the great New York Post, but I digress). Kagan’s Sunday column took dead aim at one of the fallacies growing like a cancer in the American political right: that the problems in Iraq are all the Iraqis’ fault.
First, Kagan explains why this excuse (and that’s exactly what it is) holds so much power:
For Republican elected officials looking desperately for a way out of supporting a war that threatens their reelection, this has become not only the preferred excuse but also a necessary psychological crutch.
For these Republicans, even more than for Democrats, blaming the Iraqis solves a number of big problems. It absolves them of having supported the war in the first place. We were right to go to war, they will say, and we gave it our best shot. It isn’t our fault if the Iraqis were unable or unwilling to do their part.
Blaming the Iraqis also allows Republicans to acquiesce in defeat without having to acknowledge that it is an American defeat. We didn’t fail, the Iraqis did. And blaming the Iraqis clears the American conscience. We got rid of Saddam Hussein, Republicans will say. The rest was up to them, and they failed. The more sophisticated will declare that the Iraqis were culturally destined to fail.
A few paragraphs later, Kagan starts to take the excuse apart (link in original):
The fact is that, contrary to so many predictions, Iraq has not descended into civil war. Political bargaining continues. Signs of life are returning to Baghdad and elsewhere. Many Sunnis are fighting al-Qaeda terrorist groups, not their Shiite neighbors. And sectarian violence is down by about 50 percent since December.
Then Kagan detonates the excuse with this salient fact (link in original, emphasis added): “According to Gen. David Petraeus, upward of 80 percent of the suicide bombers are not Iraqis.”
So, in addition to the “civil war combatants” not actually fighting one another, and the fact that both “sides” are in fact supported and funded by the Iranian mullahcracy, we now know that the overwhelming majority of the terrorists involved are foreigners.
This is a civil war? It looks at lot more like a slow-motion invasion to me.
June 4, 2007
Many, many thanks to Jerry Fuhrman (From On High) for mentioning the 22nd District State Senate primary race between incumbent Republican J. Brandon Bell and Ralph Smith. Otherwise, I might never have noticed this (Roanoke Times):
Smith has focused his campaign largely on taxes. He’s accused incumbent Bell of being a “RINO” (Republican in Name Only) who portrays himself as a fiscal conservative in election years but who votes for tax increases the rest of the time.
“The guy is so deceiving,” Smith said. “Every piece of material he sends out tags him as a conservative fighting for your taxes. The guy did no such thing.”
While it’s true that Bell did vote for a 2006 transportation bill that, had it passed, would have raised the sales tax on wholesale gasoline . . .
Indeed, Bell did vote for the 2006 would-be-tax hike; this was one of the votes that led many in the 24th District to seek an alternative to Emmett Hanger.
Thus, Senator Bell must be retired, and I’m happy to join Jerry in supporting Ralph Smith for Senate. He takes his place in the hallowed right-hand column of this blog.
June 4, 2007
I’ll say this for Teddy’s Truth (I prefer Teddy’s Truthiness, but it’s not my blog) – amidst the sludge aimed at us (BTW, Teddy, I’m a real person from Fredericksburg, not a “nameplate”), he does at least try to defend Emmett Hanger’s tax hike votes. Scroll down a little from the blogart in Teddy’s post and you get this explanation:
Hanger believes that a big part of being a Republican comes from understanding the importance of balancing the budget and in doing what is necessary to assure that core services are provided for.
Of course, this argument is hardly new; Andrew Clem tried a similar line earlier, and link Andy, Teddy sounds reasonable in the abstract. The trouble comes when actual recent budgetary history comes into play.
The fact is, when Governor Gilmore left office in January 2002, the biennial budget stood at $47 billion. The current biennial budget stands at $75 billion (Free Lance-Star), an increase of sixty percent over six years (three budget periods). The smallest budget increase, which came in Mark Warner’s initial and “painful” budget, was still just shy of 10%.
In fact, the current budget is nearly $14 billion higher than the last one, a staggering increase of 22 percent.
So my question, to both Teddy and Andy (note to Andy: this is in response to your comment on my earlier post – a comment I must confess I did not notice until today) is this: Do you really believe funding “core services” required a 22 percent increase in the last two years? Do you believe it required a 60 percent increase over the last six?
If so, I simply can’t take your claims to support limited government seriously.
Likewise, I can’t take Emmett Hanger’s claim seriously either.
Cross-posted to Bloggers 4 Sayre
June 4, 2007
I know the San Antonio Spurs are the better team on paper. I know they have more experience (three titles in seven years). I know they have the homecourt advantage.
I don’t care.
LeBron James did it again Saturday night. He took what the Pistons gave him (rebounds and assists mostly) and the rest of the team stepped up (especially Daniel Gibson).
Meanwhile, the Spurs apparently decided not to double-team James in Thursday’s opener (AP via WANE): “Spurs guard Tony Parker says rather than using double- or triple-teams, the Spurs are counting on (Bruce) Bowen to try to contain the high-flying, high-scoring James.”
Unless Parker’s throwing us a head-fake, the Cavs will win Game 1. Either way, I say Cleveland wins the NBA Championship in six games.
Feel free to laugh hysterically if I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.
June 4, 2007
Ironically, it appears the first person who applied the proper lesson of the 2006 campaign was the very blogger whose current fame is based in part on so many not learning said lesson.
That lesson being: it’s never a story in the DC suburbs until it hits the Washington Post (or Washington Times), and the blogger that has managed to get the latest blogosphere bruhaha is none other than Ben Tribbett (Not Larry Sabato). I dealt with the crux of Ben’s charges against Shaun Kenney (full disclosure, Shaun is a personal friend of mine) on Friday, but that was before the Post story. However, Ben says nothing in the Post to buttress his claims against Kenney. All he presents is a phone bill showing a call that Kenney himself acknowledges.
Allow me to say it again, as we enter the fifth day since Ben made his accusation against Shaun, he has presented no evidence to back it up. All he has done is make the accusation very specific, and throw in with Mark Tate. Also, he has yet to retract his assertion (since proven wrong) that Russ Potts had endorsed Tate’ primary opponent.
June 1, 2007
For all of you who insist Iraq is in the throes of a civil war, for all of you who feel the country has fallen into “sectarian violence,” for all of you who insist Sunni and Shiite terrorists would never cooperate . . .
. . . please read the next three lines (Multi-National-Force Iraq via Bill Roggio in the Worldwide Standard, emphasis added):
Coalition Forces captured a suspected liaison to al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders, who assists in the movement of information and documents from al-Qaeda in Iraq leadership in Baghdad to al-Qaeda senior leaders in Iran.
Let me restate the last part: al-Qaeda senior leaders in Iran.
I have spent the last five months presenting the detailed evidence that al Qaeda and the Iranian mullahcracy were working together against us – and I’m not the only one (Bill Roggio). Yet almost no one seems willing to recognize this – neither the war critics (who would have obvious reasons to hide their heads in the sand) nor the war supporters seem willing to acknowledge that the Wahhabists, Ba’athists, and Khomeinists are allied with each other against America.
So will war critics please dispense with the idiotic myth that the violence is driven by “Iraqi hatreds” when it’s clear Tehran and al Qaeda are conspiring to dupe, use, and ultimately kill as many Iraqis as they can? Can they stop pretending or hoping that Iraq was a “diversion” from the Wahhabist, Ba’athist, and Khomeinist War (otherwise known as the War on Terror) when clearly neither al Qaeda nor Tehran think it is? Can they stop blaming the Iraqi people for being the victims of an asymmetric version of the Hitler-Stalin carve-up of Poland? Finally, can they at last acknowledge that the American forces in Iraq are nobly protecting the American and Iraqi peoples against common, vicious, and bloodthirsty foes?
In short, will the critics of this war – the supposed “realists” of the world – ever acknowledge reality?