Sunday, February 25, 2007

Lieberman May Decide Fate of Iraq

As reported here, [t]he only pro-war senator to caucus with the Democrats may become a Republican.

That's what
Joseph Lieberman, the independent from Connecticut who was defeated in a Democratic primary last summer, is hinting he will do if his old party fiddles with a bill to pay for the troop surge in Iraq.

If Sen. Lieberman does switch parties, that will create a 50 - 50 split, with Vice President Cheney having the deciding, tie-breaking vote. After being defeated in the Connecticut Democrat primary, simply because he supports President Bush where Iraq is concerned, and then winning re-election to the Senate as an Independent, the irony of this just oozes, you know?

Although Sen. Lieberman is a liberal at heart, and I disagree with most of the positions he takes on various issues, I still have a great deal of respect for him, as he stands by his principles, and isn't swayed by the latest poll numbers as so many of our elected officials on both sides of the aisle are.

Senator, if you do decide to switch to the Republican Party, I know that you will be greeted with open arms by many, including me.

The awakening

James G. Zumwalt, a Marine veteran of the Persian Gulf and Vietnam wars and son of former Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, states in this piece that [t]he new year so far has good news both for antiwar critics and supporters of our mission in Iraq.

For anti-war critics, the good news was House passage last week of a nonbinding resolution in opposition to President Bush's surge plan. Of course, the House vote was little more than a resolution with bark and no bite, offering no substantive solutions. Also, it runs contrary to the constitutional line between the legislative and executive branches drawn by our Founding Fathers concerning war-fighting powers.

Post-vote assessments by Democrats suggest the resolution represented "a historic victory for the American people." Republicans, meanwhile, suggested it was a defeatist act and a step backward in the war on terrorism. These assessments must be weighed against the good news that came out of Iraq last month but which was apparently ignored by those who supported the resolution.

He then states that (and this is information that you will never read in the NY Times or Washington Post, I might add) [t]he good news story for supporters of the U.S. mission in Iraq was first reported in this newspaper by Oliver North, who traveled to Anbar Province -- an area renowned for its violence. As Mr. North's story strongly suggests, we may, at last, be turning things around there.

Mr. North reported on a meeting of Sunni leaders last June, known as "the Awakening." The Sunnis recognized that not only had al Qaeda managed to take control of their province, but the group had turned its brutality against the tribes, some of whose leaders had been murdered. The meeting resulted in a condemnation of al Qaeda's actions, a declaration of the tribal leaders' solidarity with the coalition and preparation and issuance of a declaration of war against al Qaeda.

Prior to this meeting, only three of 21 tribes in Anbar Province were cooperating with U.S. coalition forces, six were neutral and 12 hostile. Today, the numbers are reversed, with 12 cooperating and only three hostile. This represents a major turnaround and underscores what is key to winning in Iraq -- the Iraqi people finally taking the initiative on their own to be responsible for their security.

Tribes have now sent thousands of young men to join the police. After training, they are immediately assigned to stations within their own tribe's neighborhood to give them a vested interest in maintaining that security. For the six months of July 2006 through January 2007, attacks in Anbar decreased by 38 percent and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by 57 percent -- with 80 percent of IEDs discovered before they could be detonated. (This alone suggests the local population is playing a very active role in sharing intelligence with coalition forces.)

The increased security, in turn, has enabled millions of dollars worth of reconstruction projects to be undertaken, demonstrating to locals the benefits of such cooperation.

The House vote on a nonbinding resolution opposing President Bush's surge plan was ill-timed. It came just as significant progress is being made in Anbar, bringing some much needed law and order to what was once a lawless Dodge City. Last June, the Sunnis experienced an "Awakening," having come to fully understand the danger posed by al Qaeda and the need to make the commitment to defeat it in Iraq. When will our Congress undergo a similar epiphany?

Yes, indeed. When will our Congress undergo a similar epiphany? Surely not until they cease these politically motivated non-binding "resolutions" that affect our troops morale, and embolden the terrorists to simply wait us out as they watch our politicians resolve crumble.

Warming delirium

William Rusher states in this piece that [t]he media have recently been blaring what they depict (inaccurately, by the way) as the latest grim warning from the practically unanimous ranks of the world's climatologists concerning global warming. It is time to take two aspirin, lie down and consider the matter calmly.

Yes, indeed, please do, before your heads explode!

Army refiles charges against Watada

As briefly reported here, the Army has refiled charges against Watada. No trial date has been set yet.

This is good and appropriate, no matter what Watada's lawyer thinks, in my opinion. Hopefully this time, nothing with interfere with the process.

An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change

As reported here, [w]hen politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works. We were treated to another dose of it recently when the experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the Summary for Policymakers that puts the political spin on an unfinished scientific dossier on climate change due for publication in a few months' time. They declared that most of the rise in temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to man-made greenhouse gases.

The small print explains "very likely" as meaning that the experts who made the judgment felt 90% sure about it. Older readers may recall a press conference at Harwell in 1958 when Sir John Cockcroft, Britain's top nuclear physicist, said he was 90% certain that his lads had achieved controlled nuclear fusion. It turned out that he was wrong. More positively, a 10% uncertainty in any theory is a wide open breach for any latterday Galileo or Einstein to storm through with a better idea. That is how science really works.

Twenty years ago, climate research became politicised in favour of one particular hypothesis, which redefined the subject as the study of the effect of greenhouse gases. As a result, the rebellious spirits essential for innovative and trustworthy science are greeted with impediments to their research careers. And while the media usually find mavericks at least entertaining, in this case they often imagine that anyone who doubts the hypothesis of man-made global warming must be in the pay of the oil companies. As a result, some key discoveries in climate research go almost unreported.

Some of the key discoveries in climate research that have gone almost unreported are
here. Now, why do you suppose these key discoveries go unreported? Could it be that they don't "fit" the theories put forth by those who subscribe to "global warming is caused entirely by man's activities", and that these other factors go against the purported "consensus" that it is "all our fault"?

Seems likely to me, at any rate.


N. Korea agrees to nuclear disarmament

As reported here, North Korea on Friday asked the chief U.N. atomic inspector to visit four years after expelling his experts and dropping out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty - an encouraging sign the reclusive regime is serious about dismantling its weapons program.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, offered few details about his upcoming trip, which other agency officials said would likely occur in the second week of March.

Still, his announcement was significant because it signaled the North's willingness to subject its nuclear program to outside scrutiny for the first time since withdrawing from the Nonproliferation Treaty in January 2003, just weeks after ordering nuclear inspectors to leave.

I'm cautiously optimistic about this recent development, but at the same time I'm still wary, considering what the North Korean's have done in the past, which has been to say one thing while secretly doing another.

What was that phrase we used with the Soviets? Oh, yeah. Trust, but verify. If it were up to me, we would go light on the "trust" part, and heavy on the "verify" part.

Reform group turned in 2,000 suspicious voter registrations

ACORN is at it again, this time in King County. As reported here, King County elections officials said Thursday that nearly 2,000 potentially fraudulent voter registration cards were submitted before the November election by a local branch of a group that's come under fire across the country.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- or ACORN -- submitted the 1,829 cards by mail, but they arrived after the Oct. 7 deadline for mailing registration forms and were not processed before the election, King County elections spokeswoman Bobbie Egan told The Associated Press.

Egan said that once the box was opened, elections officials grew suspicious.

"Our staff quickly noticed where there were hundreds of forms where the signatures were similar," she said. "It appears they were fraudulently completed by a few individuals."

Egan said elections officials immediately contacted the King County Prosecutor's Office, which advised them to do a random sample of the registrations.

The King County Elections Office has had it's problems, detailed here and elsewhere, most notably in the 2004 election where there were multiple errors made, denying Dino Rossi the governorship. It seems that, at least in this case, the folks in the KCEO are on the ball, catching ACORN trying to commit voter registration fraud - again. This is an activity they have tried to do in other states, as well, being caught at this time after time after time. You would think they would have learned their lesson after the first time they tried this and were caught, but apparently not.

Kevin Whelan, spokesman for the New Orleans-based group, said it was eager to work with elections officials.

"If there was anyone working for us who turned in cards that were fake, we want to see them prosecuted," he said.

If you believe that, I have some ocean front property in Arizona available for sale, too. Obviously, that statement falls in the "CYA" category.

Possible King County double voting case found

As reported here, [a]n inspection of voter records statewide has turned up a possible case of double voting in the November election in King County, the office of Secretary of State Sam Reed said Tuesday.

The case, which has been referred to King County Prosecuting Attorney Norm Maleng, could not be resolved by investigators from Reed's Data Integrity Program, an operation that was set up last month to review the statewide voter registration database for evidence of double voting, duplicate registrations or other problems.

Hopefully, charges will be filed. But, wait - there's more!

During 2006, scrubbing the statewide database removed more than 176,000 names from the roll. They included:

  • 39,814 duplicate registrations, often created when a registered voter moves to a different county, registers to vote there and fails to cancel the old registration.
  • 40,105 dead voters. The statewide database is cross-checked with records from the state Department of Health and the federal Social Security Administration.
  • 4,500 illegal registrations of felons, who cannot vote until their rights are restored after they've completed their prison terms and probations. State officials cross-check voter lists with records from the Department of Corrections.

In their failed legal challenge to Chris Gregoire's narrow victory in the 2004 gubernatorial race, Republicans made a big issue of illegal voting by felons. (Although the presiding judge inexplicably didn't see things our way.)

  • 91,954 inactive voter registrations (for voters who have not cast ballots in the previous four years) and registrations that voters asked to cancel.

I'd imagine that the local Dems aren't too pleased with these numbers, since that means 176,373 potential Democrat votes will not be cast in the 2008 election.

Oh, too bad.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Obama invokes Lincoln for run

As reported here, Sen. Barack Obama officially announced his presidential candidacy yesterday before thousands of supporters eager to become part of his "new leadership" movement.

"This campaign can't only be about me. It must be about us -- it must be about what we can do together," Mr. Obama said, standing in front of the building where Abraham Lincoln served in the state General Assembly before he became president.

In a speech that invoked the memories of both Lincoln and Martin Luther King, the junior senator from Illinois acknowledged a "certain audacity" in his selection of the historic backdrop for his announcement and said he recognizes that his campaign is as much about the voters as it is about himself.

That's a mild understatement, as it does take a "certain audacity" for a Democrat to invoke Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, in his announcement speech, even if he was only drawing comparisons between his lack of experience and Lincoln's.

I will say one thing about Sen. Obama. Although he is your typical left leaning Democrat who believes in the government knowing how to run your life better than you do, he is a fresh face on the national political scene, who has eloquence and a certain vibrancy, and may give Hillary a run for her money in the race for the Democrat nominee. He's certainly a better alternative to all the tired retreads such as Clarke, Biden, Kerry, etc. (I know, I know - Kerry hasn't made up his mind yet, but as we all know, that means nothing)

Let the games begin!

Here's another blog you may like

A new addition to our list of links, by Jon Pananas, called Laconic Blog, that he was kind enough to make me aware of. Jon has some very good insights as to what is going on in the world, and two of his posts that I really liked are here and here.

Check out his blog. You'll be glad you did.

I'm back

After nearly a month and a half lay off from posting, I'm back.

Several personal issues (mainly related to my real life job) arose, and basically prevented me from devoting the time I feel is necessary to put up what I consider to be note worthy.

I hope to be back to my regular Sunday posting schedule, with more than one or two posts, starting next week, as things have begun to calm down for me of late.

For those folks who have been regular readers of this little blog, I want to say thanks for hanging in there and having patience with me. I will try to be worthy of that in my future posts.

Stay tuned!

Taxing Profits = Taxing People

Lawrence Kudlow, in this excellent piece, points out the error of Hillary's ways when she said, "The oil companies reported the highest profits in the history of the world. I want to take those profits and I want to put them in an alternative energy fund.", at the winter meeting of the Democratic National Committee.