From Aaron's freewillblog
More Silliness from the Greenpeace crowd...
Two Minnesota men who planned to cross the Arctic Ocean to call attention to global warming have abandoned their trek because of unexpectedly heavy snow, wind and ice.
Lonnie Dupre, 43, and Eric Larsen, 33, abandoned their planned 100-day, 1,200-mile trek on Friday and were picked up by a helicopter to be taken to Moscow, said Jane Kochersperger, spokeswoman for the environmental group Greenpeace, which co-sponsored the trip.
Kochersperger said the men decided to cut short the trek Thursday, "but the weather was so bad we couldn't get to them."
"We can try to fend off Mother Nature and force our way forward, but I think to do so would end in disaster," Dupre said through Greenpeace. "We need to respect that and just go back to the drawing board and see what we can do."
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid called President Bush "a loser" during a civics discussion with a group of teenagers at a high school on Friday.
"The man's father is a wonderful human being," Reid, D-Nev., told students at Del Sol High School when asked about the president's policies. "I think this guy is a loser."
Shortly after the event Reid called the White House to apologize, his spokeswoman Tessa Hafen said. Reid spoke with Bush adviser Karl Rove, asking him to convey the apology to Bush, who was traveling in Europe.
The Nevada Democrat expressed "regret for the comments, that it was inappropriate," Hafen said. Reid was giving a late speech in Salt Lake City and was unavailable for comment, she said.
Asked for comment, a White House spokeswoman referred to a statement issued by the Republican National Committee. RNC spokesman Brian Jones called Reid's statement "a sad development but not surprising from the leader of a party devoid of optimism, ideas or solutions to the issues people care about most."
Reid is showing himself as merely an extension of DEAN and the Idiot Left. All you dingy liberals can carp about Bush being a loser all you want, but when your national leaders say this stuff in public, it is evidence of a blindness & stupidity that goes far beyond a "mistake".
You lefties HATE us conservative far beyond any level of HATE that conservatives feel for you, and your support of Dean & Reid as leaders is proof. This will be your downfall.
Reid has exposed himself as a man incapable of leading a party. I don't hate Reid, but I stand by headline above that he is an "idiot."
I won't apologize. It's obvious. I can comfortably predict another 4 Senate seats in 2006.
Great photo array of some of our detractors. We should put this on post cards and air drop them everywhere.
Can we get some one to make some photo magic on Chirac?
There is a great Weekly Standard piece about the new Pope. In the very beginning of the article, we read a great description about the condition of Europe, as well as the the upcoming battle with the "tyranny of relativism" that Pope Benedict is concerned about.
I think the "Tyranny of Relativism" is a great phrase. It is entirely descriptive of what moral relativism really is. You think adhering to a code like Christianity or Islam is tough. Try adhering to "nothing."
How can you appeal to reason, when there is no belief that such a thing exsists?
The Last European Pope?
A FAILING CIVILIZATION CAN'T BE argued out of its failing. It can be led, perhaps, or inspired, or converted and reformed. But argument requires the application of universal truths to the particular facts of the moment, and when a culture is tumbling downward, all its truths and facts--indeed, the whole idea of truth and fact and argument--are exactly what its people increasingly disbelieve.
Does anyone doubt that Western Europe is tumbling downward? It cannot summon the will to reproduce itself. It has aborted and contracepted its birthrate down toward demographic disaster: perhaps 1.4 children per couple across the western end of the continent, when simple replacement requires a rate around 2.1. It can discover neither how to absorb nor how to halt the waves of Islamic immigrants swamping its cities, and it has proved supine in the face of those immigrants' anti-Semitism, anti-Christianism, and even anti-Europeanism.
Meanwhile, Western Europe's economies are soft, its unemployment rates are shocking, and its emerging continent-wide government is elitist and antidemocratic. Its people are hedonists and materialists, its soccer clubs are nativist militias in waiting, its churches are empty, and--well, that's the problem Joseph Ratzinger faces, isn't it? The newly elected Pope Benedict XVI has just inherited the world's greatest pulpit, but, on his home continent at least, there's hardly anyone in the pews to listen.
When the Schiavo polls came out showing that the principled Republican position was 'unpopular,' I started to smell a rat.
If their position truly was unpopular, the Dems would have made MUCH more hay out of it. It appears that they are laying the ground work to attempt using the issue in the next election cycle.
They do so at their peril. The polls are faked, and I'm sure their allies in the press told them as much. Frankly, they will just energize the Republican Base.
Now, Powerline ( VERY GOOD BLOG) has done research on the the latest polls that supposedly look "bad" for Republicans. For my part, I think the big polling outfits are doing even more of their slanting than they used to. I think they are skewing and tinkering with the questions and the sampling to achieve a desired result.
Here is what Powerline came up with.
This morning's ABC News/Washington Post poll is getting a lot of press, with its apparently bad news for Republicans. The Post itself headlines its story "Filibuster Rule Change Opposed," and begins its coverage of the poll with that issue:
As the Senate moves toward a major confrontation over judicial appointments, a strong majority of Americans oppose changing the rules to make it easier for Republican leaders to win confirmation of President Bush's court nominees, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.
[B]y a 2 to 1 ratio, the public rejected easing Senate rules in a way that would make it harder for Democratic senators to prevent final action on Bush's nominees.
Sounds bad. But here is the question the pollsters asked: "Would you support or oppose changing Senate rules to make it easier for the Republicans to confirm Bush's judicial nominees?" That is an absurd question, to which I would probably answer "No," too. The way the question is framed, it makes it sound like a one-way street, as though the Republicans wanted to change the rules to benefit only Republican nominees. If they asked a question like, "Do you think that if a majority of Senators support confirmation of a particular nominee, that nominee should be confirmed?" the percentages would probably reverse.
Of course, the poll contains bad news for Republicans across a broad range of issues, including Social Security. Which raises, as always, the question of the poll's internals. Sure enough: they over-sampled Democrats. If you look at page 16 of the poll data, which can be downloaded from the Post's article, it discloses that 35% of the poll's respondents were Democrats, while only 28% were Republicans. Given that slightly more self-identified Republicans than Democrats voted in last November's election, this represents an egregious, seven-point over-sampling of Democrats. No wonder the poll data are bad for Republicans.
This is reprinted whole from a Tony Snow e-mail that came over the transom. It was also in a recent Wall Street Journal.
Senators Byron Dorgan, John Kerry and Richard Durbin pulled a fast one last week on their congressional colleagues. They tried to bury forever documents alleging that senior government officials tried to transform portions of the IRS and the Justice Department into a goon squad for attacking political enemies and aiding political friends.
Naturally, they didn’t declare their intentions openly. Instead, Sen. Dorgan attached an innocent looking amendment to the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill that will fund government operations after September 30. The last-minute amendment read:
“At the end of the bill, add the following:
“SEC. __ . (a) None of the funds appropriated or made available in this Act or any other ACT may be used to fund the independent counsel investigation of Henry Cisneros after June 1, 2005.
“(b) Not later than July 1, 2005, the Government Accountability Office (sic) shall provide the Committee on Appropriations of each House with a detailed accounting of the costs associated with the independent counsel investigation of Henry Cisneros.”
Before detailing the sleight of hand, let’s consider the background. Former FBI Director Louis Freeh insisted on the appointment of an Independent Counsel in 1995 after learning that then-Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros shuttled payments to his mistress without reporting them to the IRS. Once the news went public, Cisneros resigned from office, his previously promising political career in tatters. He later admitted to a misdemeanor and paid a fine of $10,000. President Clinton pardoned him in 2001.
Dorgan’s bill would shut down the 10-year probe conducted by Independent Counsel David Barrett’s investigation, but it would add something unprecedented in the case of special or independent counsels: it would prevent the publication of the counsel’s report on the case. A decade’s worth of investigations — sworn testimony, documentation of alleged abuses, grand-jury proceedings, etc. — would vanish without a trace.
In this instance, that would mean burying charges that key officials in the Justice Department and the IRS abused their power by going easy on Cisneros and targeting political opponents of Bill Clinton. Those charges — not the Cisneros case — have served as the focal point of Barrett’s investigation for the last several years. While Senator Dorgan and his colleagues may not know this, lawyers for Henry Cisneros and other Clinton-era public servants do. They also know that Barrett is the first man ever to receive grand-jury subpoena power to look at the inner workings of the IRS.
A Dorgan press release summarizes the senator’s case for quashing the report: “The Independent Counsel was appointed ten years ago, but has failed to file a report and continues to spend millions of dollars, despite the fact that the subject long ago resigned from office, pled guilty to a misdemeanor, paid a $10,000 fine, and received a presidential pardon.”
The argument has unmistakable appeal, especially since Barrett has gotten less bang for the buck than any previous independent counsel (one conviction for $20 million dollars).
Nevertheless, the claim is misleading. Barrett isn’t responsible for dragging out the investigation or adding to its cost. As the Wall Street Journal noted in an April 22 editorial, “any blame for this delay lies mainly with Mr. Cisneros’ lawyers at Williams and Connolly, who have filed more than 190 motions and appeals; one single appeal took some 18 months to deal with. The 400-page-plus report has been largely done since last August, and awaits only a requisite period for review and response by those named in its pages. The only thing threatening a hold-up past June are further defense motions seeking still more delay.”
Barrett also stands accused of wasting money, even though he has claimed in a letter to members of Congress: “This Office undergoes a complete GAO audit not once, but twice a year, to which we provide full assistance and cooperation. I have never received a complaint from the GAO. To my knowledge, the only person to whom a GAO official expressed a concern was to a Washington Post reporter for a Washington Post article on April 1, 2005. The Washington Post article was relied upon by Senator Dorgan in introducing SA 399.”
Yet, even if Barrett were profligate, wouldn’t the public have a right to know whether government officials abused the IRS and its extraordinary powers for political purposes? Why not insist on publishing the report, and conducting a GAO audit of the independent counsel, rather than singling out the counsel while burning his work?
This gets us to the heart of the issue: Senators Dorgan, Kerry and Durbin have been lured into sponsoring a cover-up of what could be a hair-raising case of governmental malfeasance. As the Journal noted, “abuse of the taxing power is about as serious as corruption can get in our democracy.”
One would assume that senators of any party not only would want to know more about allegations of this sort, but would insist on going after agents responsible for such a breach of the public trust, especially if the bad actors worked for the IRS, Justice Department or the White House. After all, once a federal agency decides to engage in political chicanery, it’s not likely to stop just because an administration changes.
Whatever abuses Barrett may have found in the Clinton era very well could persist into this administration, only with a pro-Republican tilt. Yet, the sponsors of the midnight amendment have adopted the Sgt. Shultz defense: They know nothing — and they want the American public clothed in ignorance as well. (Compare this behavior to the alacrity with which Senate Democrats have retailed unsworn, over-the-transom complaints about John Bolton.)
The Dorgan-Kerry-Durbin amendment made it past Democratic and Republican Senators because they had no idea the trio had added the cover-up language to a measure that, among other things, finances continuing military and humanitarian operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Fortunately, Congress still has an opportunity to ensure that the Barrett report sees the light of day. Members of the House-Senate conference, which must produce a final version of the appropriations bill for the president’s signature, still can strip out the report-killing amendment.
Here is a list of names and phone numbers for the Senate conferees:
On the Bolton Nomination...
Republican voters understand this. Why don't Republican senators? The rap against John Bolton is that he gets annoyed with do-nothing bureaucrats. If that's enough to disqualify you from government service, then 70 percent of citizens who've visited the DMV in John Kerry's Massachusetts are ineligible. Sinking Bolton means handing a huge psychological victory to a federal bureaucracy that so spectacularly failed America on 9/11 and to a U.N. bureaucracy eager for any distraction from its own mess. The Democrats' interest in derailing Bush foreign policy is crude but understandable. But why would even the wimpiest Republican ''moderate'' want to help them out?
On Pope Benedict...
I had no strong views about the new pope one way or another, but I'd have voted for him just for the pleasure of seeing him drive the U.S. media bananas. Apparently, the New York Times was stunned that their short list of Cardinal Gloria Steinem, Cardinal Rupert Everett and Cardinal Rosie O'Donnell were defeated at the last moment by some guy who came out of left field and isn't even gay or female but instead belongs to the discredited ''Catholic'' faction of the Catholic Church.
Even though 30 million viewers still turn to networks news each night and garner ratings well above CNN and Fox News, networks news operations long ago lost their role as the sources Americans rely on during time of major breaking news, said Donaldson
The three also agreed that that Internet bloggers have had a generally positive impact on news because mainstream reporters are forced to better verify their information and pare opinions out of their work or face he wrath of scrutinizing critics.
Via Freewill Blog..
A new study (featured in the NYTimes no less) shows how far behind Europe is vis-a-vis the US.
...the study found, if the E.U. was treated as a single American state, it would rank fifth from the bottom, topping only Arkansas, Montana, West Virginia and Mississippi. In short, while Scandinavians are constantly told how much better they have it than Americans, Timbro's statistics suggest otherwise. So did a paper by a Swedish economics writer, Johan Norberg.
Contrasting "the American dream" with "the European daydream," Mr. Norberg described the difference: "Economic growth in the last 25 years has been 3 percent per annum in the U.S., compared to 2.2 percent in the E.U. That means that the American economy has almost doubled, whereas the E.U. economy has grown by slightly more than half. The purchasing power in the U.S. is $36,100 per capita, and in the E.U. $26,000 - and the gap is constantly widening."
In late March, another study, this one from KPMG, the international accounting and consulting firm, cast light on [a statistical] paradox. It indicated that when disposable income was adjusted for cost of living, Scandinavians were the poorest people in Western Europe. Danes had the lowest adjusted income, Norwegians the second lowest, Swedes the third. Spain and Portugal, with two of Europe's least regulated economies, led the list. . . .
The thrust, however, was to confirm Timbro's and Mr. Norberg's picture of American and European wealth. While the private-consumption figure for the United States was $32,900 per person, the countries of Western Europe (again excepting Luxembourg, at $29,450) ranged between $13,850 and $23,500, with Norway at $18,350.
Why on God's green Earth should we take seriously anyone who says we should be more like Europe?