Saturday, October 14, 2006

FBI Probing Rep. Weldon, His Daughter

FBI Probing Rep. Weldon, His Daughter

2 hours ago

WASHINGTON - The FBI is investigating whether Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., used his influence to secure lobbying and consulting contracts for his daughter, two people familiar with the inquiry said Saturday.

The inquiry focuses on lobbying contracts worth $1 million that Weldon's daughter, Karen Weldon, obtained from foreign clients and whether they were assisted by the congressman, they said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the confidentiality of the criminal investigation.

Weldon, a 10-term Republican from the Philadelphia suburbs, long has denied any wrongdoing, and his top aide said Saturday no one had notified him of an investigation.

"I think if there was an investigation, somebody would have contacted us," said Russ Caso, Weldon's chief of staff.

Caso said Weldon and his staff were "100 percent caught off guard" when they learned of the investigation, first reported late Friday by McClatchy Newspapers. This account cited two individuals with specific knowledge of the existence of the investigation; they declined to be identified because of the confidentiality of criminal investigations.

Caso, whose boss is in a tight race for re-election on Nov. 7 against Democrat Joe Sestak, tried to cast doubt on reports of the investigation. "Unidentified sources mean nothing," Caso said. "There's no substance in that story. It's a flimsy story."

Two people familiar with the investigation told the AP on Saturday that the inquiry was being handled by agents from the FBI's field offices in Washington and Philadelphia and was being coordinated by the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section. Spokesmen for the Justice Department and the FBI declined comment Saturday.

Those two people familiar with the investigation confirmed that federal agents were examining Weldon's work between 2002 and 2004 to help two Russian companies and two Serbian brothers connected to former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. They had hired Solutions North America Inc., a company operated by Karen Weldon and Charles Sexton, a Republican ally of the congressman.

Weldon, vice chairman of the House Armed Services committee, is a Russian speaker regarded by some as a foreign policy expert who has clashed at times with the Bush administration.

Over the last few days, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has mailed fliers to voters in Weldon's district accusing Karen Weldon of getting help from her father on lobbying projects.

Michael Puppio, Weldon's campaign manager, questioned the timing of the mailing and published reports about the investigation. He accused Democrats of "attempting to smear the congressman and his entire family" in the final weeks of the campaign.

Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the DCCC, said it's "bizarre, paranoid and absurd" for the Weldon campaign to imply there's a link in the timing of the mailing and the published reports.

The Weldon investigation comes at a critical time for Republicans who are fighting to maintain a majority in the House of Representatives in a midst of scandals.

On Friday, Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, pleaded guilty in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, which has touched on federal lawmakers, former aides and members of the Bush administration.

At the same time, an inquiry is under way on Capitol Hill into whether Republican House leaders or their top aides covered up questionable behavior of former Rep. Mark Foley toward teenage males who worked as House pages.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Rep. Jefferson Loses Party Endorsement

Rep. Jefferson Loses Party Endorsement

By DOUG SIMPSON, Associated Press Writer
42 minutes ago

BATON ROUGE, La. - An eight-term Democratic Louisiana congressman whose Capitol Hill office was raided earlier this year as part of a bribery investigation failed Saturday to win the endorsement of the state's Democratic Party.

Rep. William Jefferson was passed over by the party's State Central Committee in favor of state Rep. Karen Carter. The committee voted 69-53 to endorse Carter in the Nov. 7 election.

"I am absolutely humbled," she said.

Jefferson, who has denied the bribery allegations and has not been charged, will still appear on the ballot as a Democrat and will not lose campaign funds because of the vote. But it marks the first time in recent memory that an incumbent failed to win the state party's endorsement, said party member Elsie Burkhalter.

An FBI affidavit alleges that Jefferson took a $100,000 bribe in 2005 to help promote a cable television and Internet business in Nigeria and Ghana. It says all but $10,000 of the cash was found four days later in the freezer of his Washington home.

The investigation became public with separate raids on Jefferson's homes in New Orleans and Washington during the summer of 2005. In May, the FBI made an unprecedented raid on his Capitol Hill office.

In June, he was ousted from the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

Jefferson released a statement after the vote accusing Carter of relying on statewide, rather than local, Democratic committee support to earn its endorsement.

"Karen Carter _ as she has always done _ has sold out the interests of local people for those of people elsewhere in our state," the statement said.

Carter is one of three prominent Democrats challenging Jefferson for the seat. The others are state Sen. Derrick Shepherd of Marerro and Troy Carter, a former New Orleans City Council member. If no candidate earns more than 50 percent of the vote Nov. 7, a second vote will be held in December with the top two candidates.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Studds, 1st Openly Gay Congressman, Dies

Studds, 1st Openly Gay Congressman, Dies

By JAY LINDSAY, Associated Press Writer

60 minutes ago

BOSTON - Former Rep. Gerry Studds, who became the first openly gay member of Congress when his homosexuality was exposed during a teenage page sex scandal, died early Saturday. He was 69.

Studds died at Boston Medical Center several days after he collapsed while walking his dog, his husband said. Doctors determined his loss of consciousness was due to a blood clot in his lung, Dean Hara said.

Studds regained consciousness and seemed to be improving, but his condition deteriorated Friday because of a second blood clot. The origin of the second clot was not immediately determined, said Hara, who married Studds shortly after same-sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts in 2004.

Hara said Studds gave courage to gay people by winning re-election after publicly acknowledging his homosexuality.

"He gave people of his generation, of my generation, of future generations, the courage to do whatever they wanted to do," said Hara, 49.

Studds was first elected in 1972 and represented Cape Cod and the Islands, New Bedford, and the South Shore for 12 Congressional terms. He retired from Congress in 1997.

In his early career, Studds was known for opposing the Vietnam War and military intervention in Central America. Studds later became an advocate for a stronger federal response to the AIDS crisis and was among the first members of Congress to endorse lifting the ban on gays serving in the military.

In 1983, Studds acknowledged his homosexuality after a 27-year-old man disclosed that he and Studds had had a sexual relationship a decade earlier when the man was a teenage congressional page.

The House of Representatives censured Studds, who then went home to face his constituents in a series of public meetings.

At the time, Studds called the relationship with the teenage page, which included a trip to Europe, "a very serious error in judgment." But he did not apologize and defended the relationship as a consensual relationship with a young adult. The former page later appeared publicly with Studds in support of him.

The scandal recently resurfaced when Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., resigned after exchanging sexually explicit instant messages with a page. Republicans accused Democrats of hypocrisy for savaging Foley while saying little about Studds at that time.

Hara said Studds was never ashamed of the relationship with the page.

"This young man knew what he was doing," Hara said. "He was at (Studds') side."

Studds told his colleagues in a speech on the floor of the House that everyone faces a daily challenge of balancing public and private lives.

"These challenges are made substantially more complex when one is, as am I, both an elected public official and gay," Studds said at the time.

In Congress, Studds was an outspoken advocate for the fishing industry and was hailed by his constituents for his work establishing a limit for foreign fishing vessels 200 miles from the coast. After leaving Congress, he became a lobbyist for the fishing industry and environmental causes.

"His work on behalf of our fishing industry and the protection of our waters has guided the fishing industry into the future and ensured that generations to come will have the opportunity to love and learn from the sea," Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said in a statement. "He was a steward of the oceans."

In 1996, Congress named the 842-square-mile Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary after him in recognition of his work protecting the marine environment.

In addition to Hara, Studds is survived by a brother, a sister and four nephews.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Fox Fires Lyons for Insensitive Comment

Fox Fires Lyons for Insensitive Comment

By JANIE McCAULEY, AP Sports Writer
22 minutes ago

DETROIT - Fox baseball broadcaster Steve Lyons has been fired for making a racially insensitive comment directed at colleague Lou Piniella's Hispanic heritage on the air during Game 3 of the American League championship series.

The network confirmed Saturday that Lyons was dismissed after Friday's game. He has been replaced for the remainder of the series by Los Angeles Angels announcer Jose Mota.

Piniella had made an analogy involving the luck of finding a wallet, then briefly used a couple of Spanish phrases during Friday's broadcast.

Lyons said that Piniella was "hablaing Espanol" _ butchering the conjugation for the word "to speak" _ and added, "I still can't find my wallet."

"I don't understand him, and I don't want to sit too close to him now," Lyons continued.

Lyons claimed he was kidding.

"If I offended anybody, I'm truly sorry," Lyons said in a phone interview. "But my comment about Lou taking my wallet was a joke and in no way racially motivated."

Lyons flew Saturday to Los Angeles, where he hoped to meet with Fox chairman David Hill. Lyons had been working in the booth for the ALCS alongside Thom Brennaman and Piniella, the No. 2 broadcast team for Fox this postseason.

"Steve Lyons has been relieved of his Fox Sports duties for making comments on air that the company found inappropriate," network spokesman Dan Bell said.

In the second inning of Friday's game between Detroit and Oakland, Piniella talked about the success light-hitting A's infielder Marco Scutaro had in the first round of the playoffs. Piniella said that slugger Frank Thomas and Eric Chavez needed to contribute, comparing Scutaro's production to finding a "wallet on Friday" and hoping it happened again the next week.

Later, Piniella said the A's needed Thomas to get "en fuego" _ hot in Spanish _ because he was currently "frio" _ or cold. After Brennaman praised Piniella for being bilingual, Lyons spoke up.

Fox executives told Lyons after the game he had been fired.

Piniella, approached before Saturday's Game 4, declined to comment on the situation except to say: "No, he's not here today."

This was not a first-time offense for Lyons, nicknamed "Psycho" during his nine-year big league career as a utilityman that ended in 1993 with the Boston Red Sox.

Hired when Fox began broadcasting baseball in 1996, Lyons was suspended without pay in late September 2004 after his remarks about Shawn Green of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Green is Jewish and elected not to play one of the two games at San Francisco that took place during the Yom Kippur holiday.

The network apologized for Lyons' remarks at the time.

Earlier in the playoffs, while working the Mets-Dodgers NLDS, Lyons unwittingly made fun of a nearly blind fan who was wearing special glasses to see the game.

"He's got a digital camera stuck to his face," Lyons said.

He also once pulled down his pants on the field during his playing days.

Lyons, 46, was a career .252 hitter with 19 home runs and 196 RBIs for Boston, the Chicago White Sox, Atlanta and Montreal. He was a first-round draft pick by the Red Sox, 19th overall, in 1981.


AP Baseball Writer Ben Walker and AP Sports Writer Larry Lage contributed to this story.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Tex-Mex Singer Freddy Fender Dies at 69

Tex-Mex Singer Freddy Fender Dies at 69

By LYNN BREZOSKY, Associated Press Writer
2 hours ago

SAN BENITO, Texas - Freddy Fender, the "Bebop Kid" of the Texas-Mexico border who later turned his twangy tenor into the smash country ballad "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," died Saturday. He was 69.

Fender, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in early 2006, died at noon at his Corpus Christi home with his family at his bedside, said Ron Rogers, a family spokesman.

Over the years, he grappled with drug and alcohol abuse, was treated for diabetes and underwent a kidney transplant.

Fender hit it big in 1975 after some regional success, years of struggling _ and a stint in prison _ when "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" climbed to No. 1 on the pop and country charts.

"Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" rose to No. 1 on the country chart and top 10 on the pop chart that same year, while "Secret Love" and "You'll Lose a Good Thing" also hit No. 1 in the country charts.

Born Baldemar Huerta, Fender was proud of his Mexican-American heritage and frequently sung verses or whole songs in Spanish. "Teardrop" had a verse in Spanish.

"Whenever I run into prejudice," he told The Washington Post in 1977, "I smile and feel sorry for them, and I say to myself, `There's one more argument for birth control.'"

"The Old Man upstairs rolled a seven on me," he told The Associated Press in 1975. "I hope he keeps it up."

More recently, he played with Doug Sahm, Flaco Jimenez and others in two Tex-Mex all-star combos, the Texas Tornados and Los Super Seven.

He won a Grammy of Best Latin Pop Album in 2002 for "La Musica de Baldemar Huerta." He also shared in two Grammys: with the Texas Tornados, which won in 1990 for best Mexican-American performance for "Soy de San Luis," and with Los Super Seven in the same category in 1998 for "Los Super Seven."

Among his other achievements, Fender appeared in the 1987 motion picture "The Milagro Beanfield War," directed by Robert Redford.

In February 1999, Fender was awarded a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame after then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush wrote to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce endorsing him.

He said in a 2004 interview with The Associated Press that one thing would make his musical career complete _ induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.

"Hopefully I'll be the first Mexican-American going into Hillbilly Heaven," he said.

Fender was born in 1937 in San Benito, the South Texas border town credited for spawning the Mexican-polka sound of conjunto. The son of migrant workers who did his own share of picking crops, he also was exposed to the blues sung by blacks alongside the Mexicans in the fields.

Always a performer, he sang on the radio as a boy and won contests for his singing _ one prize included a tub full of about $10 worth of food.

But his career really began in the late '50s, when he returned from serving in the Marines and recorded Spanish-language versions of Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel" and Harry Belafonte's "Jamaica Farewell." The recordings were hits in Mexico and South America.

He signed with Imperial Records in 1959, renaming himself "Fender" after the brand of his electric guitar, "Freddy" because it sounded good with Fender.

Fender initially recorded "Wasted Days" in 1960. But his career was put on hold shortly after that when he and his bass player ended up spending almost three years in prison in Angola, La., for marijuana possession.

After prison came a few years in New Orleans and a then an everyday life taking college classes, working as a mechanic and playing an occasional local gig. He once said he sang in bars so dingy he performed with his eyes shut "dreaming I was on `The Ed Sullivan Show.'"

"I felt there's no great American dream for this ex-Chicano migrant farm worker," he told the AP. "I'd picked too many crops and too many strings."

But his second break came when he was persuaded to record "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" on an independent label in 1974 and it was picked up by a major label. With its success, he won the Academy of Country Music's best new artist award in 1975. He re-released "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" and it climbed to the top of the charts as well.

Cristina Balli, spokeswoman for the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center in San Benito, said Fender illustrated the diversity of Mexican-American and Latino musicians.

"We have our feet in different worlds and different cultures," she said. "We have our roots music ... but then we branch out to other things, pick up different styles. I think he was the precursor to Los Lonely Boys."

Fender's later years were marred by health problems resulting in a kidney transplant from his daughter, Marla Huerta Garcia, in January 2002 and a liver transplant in 2004. Fender was to have lung surgery in early 2006 until surgeons found tumors.

"I feel very comfortable in my life," Fender told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times in August. "I'm one year away from 70 and I've had a good run. I really believe I'm OK. In my mind and in my heart, I feel OK. I cannot complain that I haven't lived long enough, but I'd like to live longer."

Rogers said Fender will be brought back to San Benito for a funeral and memorial services. Details on the arrangements were pending.


On the Net:

Freddy Fender's Web site:

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Hillary Clinton Post-9/11/01 Senate Floor MELTDOWN!

Joyce Comments: New Yorkers and fellow Americans and other readers, here's a reminder of a major public political meltdown former first lady and co-president Hitlery Clinton had on the floor of the Senate on May 16, 2002 -- that she incidently never retracted -- when she, sounding like her House sister in conspiracy Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), exploded this on the floor of the United States Senate:

INVESTIGATE 9-11 -- (Senate - May 16, 2002)

Mrs. CLINTON: Mr. President, I rise today out of respect for and to speak on behalf of the people I represent in New York. I am especially mindful today of the memory of those whom we lost on September 11, their family members and their loved ones who, until this very minute, grieve for those who were sacrificed in the terrible attacks we suffered on September 11.

We have learned something today that raises a number of serious questions. We have learned that President Bush had been informed last year, before September 11, of a possible plot by those associated with Osama bin Laden to hijack a U.S. airliner. The White House says the President took all appropriate steps in reaction to that warning. The White House further says that the warning did not include any specific information, such as which airline, which date, or the fact that a hijacked plane would be used as a missile. Those are all very important issues, worthy of exploration by the relevant committees of Congress. The goal of such an examination should not be to assign blame but to find out all of the facts.

I also support the effort by Senators LIEBERMAN and MCCAIN to establish an independent national commission on terrorist attacks upon the United States. That was reported out of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in March. Such a panel can help assure the people of New York and America that every facet of this national tragedy will be fully examined in hopes that the lessons we learn can prevent disasters in the future.

I very much appreciated the remarks by Senator Lieberman in the Chamber earlier today, indicating his desire to offer this proposal that he and Senator McCain have put forth as an amendment at the earliest possible time.

Because we must do all we can to learn the hard lessons of experience from our past and apply them to safeguard our future, I also support the call by the distinguished majority leader, Mr. Daschle, for the release of the Phoenix FBI memorandum and the August intelligence briefing to congressional investigators, because, as Senator Daschle said this morning, the American people need to get the facts.

I do know some things about the unique challenges faced by the person who assumes the mantle of Commander in Chief. I do not for a minute doubt that any individual who holds that responsibility is the only person who can truly know the full scope of the burdens of that office. Just the other day there was a survey about the most difficult job in America, the most stressful position. It should not come as any surprise that President of the United States ranked at the top.

I have had the privilege of witnessing history up close, and I know there is never any shortage of second guessers and Monday morning quarterbacks, ready to dismantle any comment or critique any action taken or not taken. Having experienced that from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, I for one will not play that game, especially in these circumstances. I am simply here today on the floor of this hallowed Chamber to seek answers to the questions being asked by my constituents, questions raised by one of our newspapers in New York with the headline "Bush Knew."

The President knew what? My constituents would like to know the answer to that and many other questions, not to blame the President or any other American but just to know, to learn from experience, to do all we can today to ensure that a 9-11 never happens again.

If we look back, we know that the Phoenix FBI memorandum in early July raised very specific issues about certain people of Arab heritage who were taking flying lessons. For what purpose? To do what?

We know that shortly after there was at least the news report of the Attorney General sending a directive that people of the Justice Department should no longer fly commercially. In fact, the Attorney General took a chartered plane for his own vacation.

We know that in August additional information came forward, including what we learned today about the intelligence briefing provided to the President.

The pain of 9-11 is revisited in thousands of homes in New York and around our country every time that terrible scene of those planes going into those towers and then their collapse appears on television. It is revisited in our minds every time we see a picture of the cleanup at Ground Zero. It is revisited every time the remains of a fallen hero are recovered, as they were yesterday for Deputy Chief Downey. And it is revisited today with the questions about what might have been had the pieces of the puzzle been put together in a different way before that sad and tragic day in September.

I cannot answer the questions my constituents are asking. I cannot answer the concerns raised by the families of the victims. As agonizing as it is even to think that there was intelligence suggesting the possibility of the tragedy that occurred, particularly for the family members who lost their husband, their wife, their son, their daughter, their niece, their nephew, their mother, their father, it is a subject we are absolutely required to explore.

As for the President, he may not be in a position at this time to respond to all of those concerns, but he is in a position to answer some of them, including the question of why we know today, May 16, about the warning he received. Why did we not know this on April 16 or March 16 or February or January 16 or August 16 of last year?

I do hope and trust that the President will assume the duty that we know he is capable of fulfilling, exercise the leadership that we know he has, and come before the American people, at the earliest possible time, to answer the questions so many New Yorkers and Americans are asking. That will be a very great help to all of us.

I know my constituents want those answers, particularly the families who still today wonder why their loved one went to work that beautiful September morning and did not come home from the World Trade Center or the Pentagon or those airplane flights. After all, in the grieving process, it is often the not knowing that hurts the most.

I hope the President will address these issues, will do so as soon as possible, and will also authorize the release of any other information that New Yorkers and Americans have a right to know. I certainly look forward to learning of and being able to share that information with the people I represent.

I thank the Chair and yield the floor.

Office of the Press Secretary
May 17, 2002

Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer
The James S. Brady Briefing Room
12:19 P.M. EDT

Q Who said these things? Who are you talking about on the Hill? Who acted in a manner, as Vice President Cheney said last night, "unworthy of national leaders in a time of war"? Who are you talking about?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, I think that anybody who made insinuations or suggestions that this President had information that could have prevented the attacks and did not act on them is asking questions in such a way as to create an impression that the President could have and should have done something that he didn't do.

Q -- who did that?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, I think it's fair to say that individuals in the Democrat leadership -- and let me also bring your attention to something that should be reflected on when it comes to the politics of this. And you can draw contrasts by how leaders act and leaders respond to something like this. When there was a suggestion that Bush knew about this in print, Bush knew about 9/11, Mayor Bloomberg of New York said that suggestion was ridiculous. He contacted the White House, he listened, heard what information the White House had. He called it ridiculous. He united New York City, and he led.

I have to say, with disappointment, that Mrs. Clinton, having seen that same headline, did not call the White House, did not ask if it was accurate or not. Instead, she immediately went to the floor of the Senate, and I'm sorry to say that she followed that headline and divided.

Q Ari, what's the mood of the President right now about all this? It sounds like he's angry.

MR. FLEISCHER: I think it's fair to say that the President understands that in Washington, D.C., second-guessing is second-nature to a lot of politicians. The President also understands that there are a lot of responsible people in the United States Congress -- I've just cited many of them -- and the President is going to continue his efforts to unite this nation to work in a bipartisan way, because that's what the American people expect from their leaders in Washington. He has a war to fight, and he's going to continue to fight it in a way that brings people together.


Newsweek Editor Reveals: "The Media Beast Was So
Happy...We All Jumped Up and Down"

Pushing a "Phony, Bogus" Anti-Bush Story

The liberal media are continuing to push the canard they developed last week that President Bush "knew" before September 11 about Osama bin Laden’s scheme to hijack jets as a way to make war against the United States — equating a vague briefing about a possible hijacking with some of the worst scandals of the past two generations.

"Every President seems to struggle through a credibility gap at some stage, such as Richard Nixon with Watergate, Ronald Reagan with Iran-contra, and Bill Clinton with the Whitewater affair. What did he know, and when did he know it? Now it's George W. Bush's turn to answer Washington's favorite question, " Kenneth T. Walsh and Kevin Whitelaw declared in the May 27 edition of U.S. News & World Report.

Amid the media hype, there are some good questions about how effectively U.S. intelligence sifted through all of the real clues and phony leads last summer. But beginning with CNN’s Judy Woodruff — who on Wednesday’s NewsNight charged that "President Bush knew that al Qaeda was planning to hijack a U.S. airliner and he knew it before September the 11th" — media bigwigs have oversimplified and exaggerated the story to put the blame on Bush:

• On Thursday’s Good Morning America, ABC’s Charles Gibson promoted the cynical idea that Bush had faked his shocked reaction. The President’s vague August briefing, Gibson charged, "calls into question what happened when Andy Card, Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff, that morning went and whispered in the President's ear, as the President was talking to a group of school students in Florida. Was the President really surprised?"

• ABC, CBS and NBC each began their Thursday evening newscasts with the story, ratifying its importance: "On World News Tonight, the White House admits President Bush knew before September that Osama bin Laden was plotting to hijack planes. Was there enough information to make a difference?" Peter Jennings rhetorically challenged.

• In his book, Mobocracy, Matthew Robinson exposed the media’s practice of using quick and methodologically-suspect public opinion polls to reinforce the tone of their coverage. Sure enough, on Thursday evening’s NewsNight, anchor Bill Hemmer showcased a CNN poll echoing the liberal media spin that Bush had mishandled the "warnings" he received: "This is only preliminary, it is still early on this story," Hemmer cautioned, "but when asked, ‘Did the Bush administration act on 9/11 warnings in the proper way,’ 41 percent said yes, 52 percent said no."

• Outgoing CBS Early Show host Bryant Gumbel on Friday echoed his brethren by quoting the media’s hoary scandal question: "In light of revelations that the White House had several terrorist warnings prior to the 9/11 attacks, top Democrats are demanding to know what the President knew and when he knew it."

• On Saturday’s McLaughlin Group, Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift shifted a portion of the responsibility from al Qaeda’s terrorists to the White House: "What we learned this week is the President is not entirely blameless" for the death and destruction on September 11.

• On Sunday’s This Week, anchor-designate George Stephanopoulos wrapped an accusation in a compliment when he said the Bush White House has "been very careful with their words and, I think for the most part, the White House has not lied here." For the most part?

Over the weekend, Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas, appearing on Inside Washington, dismissed the media’s idea of a Bush scandal as "phony" and "bogus." He contended that journalists were "so happy to have a scandal here that we jumped up and down and waved our arms and got all excited about it." In other words, liberal journalists put their personal desire for a Bush scandal ahead of accurate reporting. -- Rich Noyes & Brent Baker

Friday, October 13, 2006

The King Reunites With Sun Records

The King Reunites With Sun Records

By Associated Press
4 hours ago

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Elvis Presley will be reunited with Sun Records as part of a licensing agreement between the owner of the historic label and the singer's estate.

Sun Entertainment Corp. of Nashville announced the agreement with Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. Thursday.

The company said Memphis-based Elvis Presley Enterprises has licensed the use of its trademarks in the name, image and likeness of Presley to Sun for several commemorative retail products. Terms of the deal were not immediately available.

Presley's first recordings were with Sun Records, which sold its Elvis recording catalog to RCA Victor in the fall of 1955 as Presley was on the verge of stardom.

Original Sun Records owner/producer Sam Phillips and his company played a pivotal role in the careers of not only Presley, but also Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich, Ike Turner, Rufus Thomas, Roy Orbison and other important artists in rock, country and R&B music in the 1950s.

"Bringing Elvis and Sun Records back together in a special way at retail offers all kinds of exciting possibilities," Sun Entertainment Chairman Shelby S. Singleton said.

Carol Butler, EPE's vice president of international licensing, said the agreement with Sun was "something we have long wanted to do, and now the time has finally come."

The new Elvis and Sun Records co-branded products should begin appearing later this year in retail outlets and online at and More will appear in 2007 during the yearlong commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Elvis' death.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

DEMOCRAT BOMBSHELL: AP Exclusive: Reid Got $1M in Land Sale By John Solomon and Kathleen Hennessey


Thursday, October 12, 2006; 3:52 AM

WASHINGTON -- Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid is awaiting word from the Senate ethics committee on whether he failed to properly account for a business deal that allowed him to collect a $1.1 million windfall on land he hadn't personally owned for three years.

Reid sought the opinion after The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the senator didn't disclose to Congress that he first sold the land to a friend's company back in 2001 and took an ownership stake in the company. He didn't collect the seven-figure payout until the company sold the land again in 2004 to others.

Reid reported the 2004 transaction as a personal sale, never disclosing his earlier sale or the stake in the company.

The Nevada Democrat's deal was engineered by Jay Brown, a longtime friend and former casino lawyer whose name surfaced in a major political bribery trial this summer and in other prior organized crime investigations. Brown has never been charged with wrongdoing, except for a 1981 federal securities complaint that was settled out of court.

Ethics experts told AP that Reid's inaccurate accounting of the deal to Congress appeared to violate Senate ethics rules and raised other issues concerning taxes and potential gifts.

"Everything I did was transparent," Reid told a Las Vegas news conference Wednesday after the AP story was published. "I paid all the taxes. Everything is fully disclosed to the ethics committee and everyone else. As I said, if there is some technical change that the ethics committee wants, I'll be happy to do that."

Land deeds obtained by AP during a review of Reid's business dealings show:

_The deal began in 1998 when Reid bought undeveloped residential property on Las Vegas' booming outskirts for about $400,000. Reid bought one lot outright, and a second parcel jointly with Brown. One of the sellers was a developer who was benefiting from a government land swap that Reid supported. The seller never talked to Reid.

_In 2001, Reid sold the land for the same price to a limited liability corporation created by Brown. The senator didn't disclose the sale on his annual public ethics report or tell Congress he had any stake in Brown's company. He continued to report to Congress that he personally owned the land.

_After getting local officials to rezone the property for a shopping center, Brown's company sold the land in 2004 to other developers and Reid took $1.1 million of the proceeds, nearly tripling the senator's investment. Reid reported it to Congress as a personal land sale.

The complex dealings allowed Reid to transfer ownership, legal liability and some tax consequences to Brown's company without public knowledge, but still collect the payoff nearly three years later.

Reid hung up the phone when questioned about the deal during an AP interview last week.

The senator's aides said no money changed hands in 2001 and that Reid instead got an ownership stake in Brown's company equal to the value of his land. Reid continued to pay taxes on the land and didn't disclose the deal because he considered it a "technical transfer," they said.

They also said they have no documents proving Reid's stake in the company because it was an informal understanding between friends.

The 1998 purchase "was a normal business transaction at market prices," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said. "There were several legal steps associated with the investment during those years that did not alter Senator Reid's actual ownership interest in the land."

Senate ethics rules require lawmakers to disclose on their annual ethics report all transactions involving investment properties _ regardless of profit or loss _ and to report any ownership stake in companies.

Kent Cooper, a former Federal Election Commission official who oversaw government disclosure reports for federal candidates for two decades, said Reid's failure to report the 2001 sale and his ties to Brown's company violated Senate rules.

"This is very, very clear," Cooper said. "Whether you make a profit or a loss you've got to put that transaction down so the public, voters, can see exactly what kind of money is moving to or from a member of Congress."

Stanley Brand, former Democratic chief counsel of the House, said Reid should have disclosed the 2001 sale and that his omission fits a larger culture in Congress where lawmakers aren't following or enforcing their own rules.

"It's like everything else we've seen in last two years. If it is not enforced, people think it's not enforced and they get lax and sloppy," Brand said.


Reid and his wife, Landra, personally signed the deeds selling their full interest in the property to Brown's company, Patrick Lane LLC, for the same $400,000 they paid in 1998, records show.

Despite the sale, Reid continued to say on his public ethics reports that he personally owned the land until it was sold again in 2004. His disclosure forms to Congress do not mention an interest in Patrick Lane or the company's role in the 2004 sale.

AP first learned of the transaction from a former Reid aide who expressed concern the deal hadn't been properly reported.

Reid isn't listed anywhere on Patrick Lane's corporate filings with Nevada, even though the land he sold accounted for three-quarters of the company's assets. Brown is listed as the company's manager. Reid's office said Nevada law didn't require Reid to be mentioned in the filings.

"We have been friends for over 35 years. We didn't need a written agreement between us," Brown said.

The informalities didn't stop there.


Brown sometimes paid a share of the local property taxes on the lot Reid owned outright between 1998 and 2001, while Reid sometimes paid more than his share of taxes on the second parcel they co-owned.

And the two men continued to pay the property taxes from their personal checking accounts even after the land was sold to Patrick Lane in 2001, records show.

Brown said Reid first approached him in 1997 about land purchases and the two men considered the two lots a single investment.

"During the years of ownership, there may have been occasions that he advanced the property taxes, or that I advanced the property taxes," Brown said. "The bottom line is that between ourselves we always settled up and each of us paid our respective percentages."

Ultimately, Reid paid about 74 percent of the property taxes, slightly less than his actual 75.1 ownership stake, according to canceled checks kept at the local assessor's office. One year, the property tax payments were delinquent and resulted in a small penalty, the records show.

Ethics experts said such informality raises questions about whether any of Brown's tax payments amounted to a benefit for Reid. "It might be a gift," Cooper said.

Brand said the IRS might view the handling of the land taxes as undisclosed income to Reid but it was unlikely to prompt an investigation. "If someone is paying a liability you owe, there may be some income imputed. But at that level, it's pretty small dollars," he said.


Nevada land deeds show Reid and his wife first bought the property in January 1998 in a proposed subdivision created partly with federal lands transferred by the Interior Department to private developers.

Reid's two lots were never owned by the government, but the piece of land joining Reid's property to the street corner _ a key to the shopping center deal _ came from the government in 1994.

One of the sellers was Fred Lessman, a vice president of land acquisition at Perma-Bilt Homes.

Around the time of the 1998 sale, Lessman and his company were completing a complicated federal land transfer that also involved an Arizona-based developer named Del Webb Corp.

In the deal, Del Webb and Perma-Bilt purchased environmentally sensitive lands in the Lake Tahoe area, transferred them to the government and then got in exchange several pieces of valuable Las Vegas land.

Lessman was personally involved, writing a March 1997 letter to Interior lobbying for the deal. "This exchange has been through many trials and tribulations ... we do not need to create any more stumbling blocks," Lessman wrote.

For years, Reid also had been encouraging Interior to make land swaps on behalf of Del Webb, where one of his former aides worked.

In 1994, Reid wrote a letter with other Nevada lawmakers on behalf of Del Webb, and then met personally with a top federal land official in Nevada. That official claimed in media reports he felt pressured by the senator. Reid denied any pressure.

The next year, Reid collected $18,000 in political donations from Del Webb's political action committee and employees. Del Webb's efforts to get federal land dragged on.

In December 1996, Reid wrote a second letter on behalf of Del Webb, urging Interior to answer the company's concerns. The deal came together in summer and fall 1997, with Perma-Bilt joining in.

In January 1998 _ just days before he bought his land _ Reid applauded the Lake Tahoe land transfers, saying they would create the "gateway to paradise."

None of Reid's letters mentioned Perma-Bilt. Reid's office said the senator never met Lessman nor discussed the Lake Tahoe land transfer or his personal land purchase. A real estate attorney handled the 1998 sale at arms-length, aides said.

"This land investment was completely unrelated to federal land swaps that took place in the mid-1990's," Manley said.

Lessman said he never talked to Reid or asked for his help before the 1998 land sale, and only met the senator years later at a public event. "Any suggestion that the land sale between Senator Reid and myself is somehow tied in with the Perma-Bilt exchange is completely absurd," Lessman said.


Clark County intended for the property Reid owned to be used solely for new housing, records show. Just days before Reid sold the parcels to Brown's company, Brown sought permission in May 2001 to rezone the properties so a shopping center could be built.

Career zoning officials objected, saying the request was "inconsistent" with Clark County's master development plan. The town board in Spring Valley, where Reid's property was located, also voted 4-1 to reject the rezoning.

Brown persisted. The Clark County zoning board followed by the Clark County Commission voted to overrule the recommendation and approve commercial zoning. Such votes were common at the time.

Before the approval in September 2001, Brown's consultant told commissioners that Reid was involved. "Mr. Brown's partner is Harry Reid, so I think we have people in this community who you can trust to go forward and put a quality project before you," the consultant testified.

With the rezoning granted, Patrick Lane pursued the shopping center deal. On Jan. 20, 2004, the company sold the property to developers for $1.6 million. The next day, Reid was given $1.1 million of the sale proceeds.

Today, a multimillion dollar retail complex sits on the land.


Brown has been a behind-the-scenes power broker in Nevada for years, donating to Democrats, Republicans and charities. He represented a major casino in legal cases and dabbled in Nevada's booming real estate market.

Brown befriended Reid four decades ago, even before Reid served as chairman of the Nevada gaming commission and decided cases involving Brown's clients.

Brown's name has surfaced in federal investigations involving organized crime, casinos and political bribery since the 1980s.

This past summer, federal prosecutors introduced testimony at the bribery trial of former Clark County Commission chairman Dario Herrera that Brown had taken money from a Las Vegas strip club owner to influence the commission. Herrera was convicted of taking kickbacks. Brown was never called as a witness.

Brown declined to discuss past cases where his name surfaced, including Herrera. "The federal government investigated this whole matter thoroughly, and there was never any implication of impropriety on my part," he said.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sanford, Perdue & Huckabee...Rising Stars of the Republican Party

Governor Mark Sanford

Mark Sanford- South Carolina's Governor

Mark Sanford was elected as South Carolina’s 115th governor on November 5, 2002. He was sworn in and took office on January 15, 2003.

With an eye on efficiency, cost-savings and value to the taxpayer, Governor Sanford continues to focus on efforts in four core areas - keeping South Carolina competitive, bringing fiscal responsibility to state government, promoting an "ownership society" and improving the state's quality of life. He has undertaken a top-to-bottom review of South Carolina's governmental structure. In addition to holding in-depth budget hearings with over thirty individual state agencies, Gov. Sanford's Cabinet agencies have already saved taxpayers millions of dollars with innovative new initiatives designed to streamline operations and eliminate waste and duplication in government. For example, after making the Department of Motor Vehicles a cabinet agency the DMV is now offering Saturday office hours and online services to better provide for its customers. Wait times at the DMV are down from 66 minutes to 15 minutes and all with roughly half the general funds requested in the past.

Gov. Sanford, who campaigned on opening up South Carolina's political process, also signed landmark campaign finance reform and Commerce Department disclosure reform bills in 2003, two measures that have brought much needed sunlight and accountability to state government. The governor holds "Open Door After 4" meetings every month in his office, chatting one-on-one with individual South Carolinians and listening to their questions and concerns. The governor also travels across the state holding regular "Neighborhood Office Hours" to meet with citizens.

Prior to Gov. Sanford’s election as governor, he lived on the South Carolina coast with his wife, Jenny, and their four young sons, Marshall, Landon, Bolton and Blake. He served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives with no previous political experience. He was rated #1 in the U.S. Congress by Citizens Against Government Waste in 1995, 1997 and 1999 for his votes to protect the taxpayer before stepping down in 2001 to honor a term limits pledge.

Gov. Sanford learned the themes of hard work and frugality with two brothers and a sister on their family farm near Beaufort, S.C. He graduated from high school in Beaufort before attending Furman University in Greenville, S.C., where he received a B.A. in business. He later received an M.B.A. from the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business and went on to work in real estate finance and investment in New York and Charleston, S.C.

~Joyce Comments: Governor Sanford's impressive first term accomplishments are too numurous to list here in detail, but check them out for yourself by clicking here.

Governor Sonny Perdue

Sonny Perdue- Georgia's Governor

On January 13, 2003, Sonny Perdue was sworn in as Georgia's first Republican Governor since 1872.

At the time, Georgia was in its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and facing a $640 million dollar state budget deficit. Sonny immediately went to work reforming the budget process, setting priorities and cutting the waste. His efforts reduced the size of state government by over a billion dollars.

Sonny also worked hard to get the economy back on track by creating a business friendly climate for Georgia's hometown employers while aggressively recruiting new investment from other states and internationally. In three years, he helped generate over 230,000 new jobs and over $6 billion in new investment in Georgia's economy.

With state revenues rising and the budget in surplus, Sonny invested heavily in his top priority, education. He addressed the needs of those on the frontline by cutting class sizes, helping restore school discipline and keeping Georgia's teachers the highest paid in the Southeast. Just this year alone, Sonny invested over 70% of new state revenue in education.

Community Leader.

As Georgia's Governor, Sonny Perdue has led based on his life experiences prior to entering public service.

Sonny was born on December 20, 1946, in Perry, Georgia, to a lifelong farmer and a classroom teacher. He graduated from Warner Robins High School and enrolled at the University of Georgia where he played football as a walk-on. Sonny earned his doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1971. While in school Sonny volunteered to serve his country in the United States Air Force.

Following his honorable discharge from the Air Force in 1974 with the rank of Captain and a brief tenure as a practicing veterinarian in Raleigh, North Carolina, Sonny returned to his native Georgia and became a successful small-business owner. He built three small businesses from the ground up. Today, those businesses have grown to include several locations across the Southeast.

At home in Bonaire, Sonny became a well respected community leader, providing quality jobs for the local economy and always seeking opportunities to give back to his hometown.

Along with his wife Mary, he taught a Sunday School class for young married couples, emphasizing the importance of faith in building a strong and lasting marriage. The couple also served as foster parents to eight newborns awaiting adoption.

Public Servant.

During the 1980s, Sonny was appointed to serve on the Houston County Planning and Zoning Board. His ability to gain the trust and respect of the community while overseeing sensitive issues caught the attention of the area’s elected officials. Sonny was asked to run for the Georgia State Senate in 1990. He won that election and spent the next 11 years representing the people of Houston, Bibb, Bleckley, and Pulaski Counties in the General Assembly.

In a time of increasing apathy toward politicians and policymakers, Sonny Perdue never forgot that his job was to serve the people, not play politics.

During his time in public life, Sonny's reputation as a skilled listener, patient decision-maker, and tireless worker earned him the bipartisan respect of his colleagues. As a result, he rose quickly to leadership positions. After only four years in the Senate, Sonny was selected by his peers to the office of Majority Leader.

Then, in 1997, Democratic and Republican Senators elected him President Pro Tempore, another testament to his expertise as one of Georgia's most effective consensus builders.

As a state senator, Sonny was often praised for tackling issues when no one else had the courage to do so and for his ability to grasp the nuances of complex problems. He was recognized as a leading authority on numerous issues including agriculture, transportation, education, emerging technologies and economic development.

Sonny campaigned for Governor on a pledge to change the culture at the Capitol and restore the public’s trust in state government. He promised to focus on the priorities and values he shares with the average Georgia family and pass sweeping ethics reform. That’s exactly what Sonny did. His administration has been dedicated to improving education, attracting new businesses and jobs, keeping communities safe, and making state government more efficient and responsive.

Husband. Father. Grandfather.

For all of his success in business and public service, Sonny’s most cherished roles are devoted husband, loving father and proud grandfather.

Sonny has been lovingly devoted to his wife, the former Mary Ruff of Atlanta, for 34 years. Together, they have four children: Leigh, a speech therapist in Clarkesville; Lara, a full-time mom in Marietta; Jim, a minister in Forsyth County; and Dan, a webmaster at Middle Georgia Technical College. They have three granddaughters, including newest addition, Elizabeth Grace, and twins, Mary Kate and Sunni. They also have two grandsons, Jack and Jake. Additionally, Mary and Sonny have served as foster parents for eight newborns awaiting adoption.

~Joyce Comments: To read Sonny Perdue on issues click here.

Governor Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee became governor July 15, 1996. He moved up from lieutenant governor following the resignation of Gov. Jim Guy Tucker. Huckabee became Arkansas' 44th elected governor after winning the November 1998 election with the highest percentage of the vote ever received by a Republican gubernatorial nominee in Arkansas. He was elected to another four-year term in November 2002.

Birth date: August 24, 1955
Married: Janet McCain of Hope, AR
Children: John Mark, David and Sarah
Hobbies: Hunting, fishing, reading and playing bass guitar in his band, Capitol Offense.

Achievements as Governor

  • Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas is recognized as a national leader in the areas of education reform and health care reform.

  • In July, Huckabee completed his term as chairman of the National Governors Association where he championed his message of Healthy America. The NGA, founded in 1908, is the group through which the governors collectively influence the development of national policy. Huckabee has served in recent years as one of the NGA's lead governors on the issues of welfare reform and Medicaid reform.

  • Huckabee also is the past chairman of the Education Commission of the States, a highly respected education policy organization, where he led a movement to encourage the stability of art and music programs in public schools. The ECS helps governors, legislators, state education officials and others identify, develop and implement public policies to improve student learning at all levels. The organization, which is based in Denver, was formed in 1965.

  • Last year, Governing magazine named Huckabee one of its Public Officials of the Year, and Time magazine named him one of the five best governors in America. In December, Huckabee also received the AARP's Impact Award.

  • Because of Huckabee's leadership to improve education, Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia -- the governor's alma mater -- has renamed its school of education the Michael D. Huckabee School of Education.

  • Huckabee became governor in July 1996 when his predecessor resigned. He was one of the youngest governors in the country at the time. Huckabee first was elected lieutenant governor in a 1993 special election and was elected to a full four-year term in 1994. He was only the fourth Republican to be elected to statewide office since Reconstruction. Huckabee was elected to a full four-year term as governor in 1998, attracting the largest percentage of the vote ever received by a Republican gubernatorial nominee in Arkansas, and was re-elected to another four-year term in November 2002. He's now the second longest-serving governor in the country. A significant part of his adult life was spent as a pastor and denominational leader. He became the youngest president ever of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, the largest denomination in Arkansas. Huckabee led rapidly growing congregations in Pine Bluff and Texarkana. He said those experiences gave him a deep sense of the problems faced by individuals and families.

  • Arkansas' ACTAAP system is widely hailed as one of the nation's best school accountability programs. Huckabee has pushed through reforms in Arkansas that have significantly expanded the availability of college scholarships, increased the number of charter schools and established new approaches to workforce education. His Smart Start initiative placed a heavy emphasis on reading and mathematics for students from kindergarten through the fourth grade. He then created Smart Step, a similar emphasis for students from the fifth through the eighth grades. Student scores on standardized tests have risen steadily since the creation of Smart Start and Smart Step.

  • In addition to his education reform efforts, Huckabee has been a leader in improving health care for Arkansans. He created the ARKids First program, a nationally recognized initiative that provides health insurance to tens of thousands of children who previously had no access to health insurance. He also led a ballot initiative in 2000 that devotes all of the state's tobacco settlement money to improving the health of Arkansans. Arkansas is one of the few states spending all of its tobacco funds in this way. Huckabee created the Healthy Arkansas initiative to encourage Arkansans to stop smoking, exercise more and eat healthier. He now has expanded that effort to the Healthy America program, which is his NGA chairman's initiative.

  • Huckabee's efforts to improve his own health have received national attention. Diagnosed with Type II diabetes in 2003, he lost 110 pounds. In March 2005, Huckabee completed the Little Rock Marathon, and has since completed the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. and The Road Runners Club of America named him its Southern Region Runner of the Year, and he was named USA Track & Field's Athlete of the Week for the country. Huckabee's fourth book, "Quit Digging Your Grave With A Knife And Fork," was released by Time Warner Book Group in May and has received favorable reviews across the country. Huckabee has traveled widely since the release of the book to speak on the need for Americans to change their lifestyles.

  • Huckabee has partnered with former President Bill Clinton and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to fight childhood obesity, recently working with major food and beverage manufacturing companies to establish healthier guidelines for schools nationwide. Under these guidelines, only lower calorie and nutritious beverages will be sold to schools for consumption during the school day. This was the Alliance's first industry agreement as part of its Healthy Schools Program, and it affects close to 54 million students across the country. President Clinton and Gov. Huckabee are co-chairmen of the Alliance.

  • In 1996 during his first months in office, Huckabee led the fight for Amendment 75 to the Arkansas Constitution. The amendment created a sales tax of one-eighth of a cent that benefits the state Department of Parks and Tourism, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the Department of Arkansas Heritage and the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission. Proceeds from the amendment have allowed Arkansas to build the finest system of state parks in the country along with a system of state-of-the-art nature centers operated by the Game and Fish Commission. The first of those nature centers at Pine Bluff was named after the governor in recognition of his conservation efforts. Huckabee, a noted outdoorsman, was honored in 1997 as the American Sportfishing Association Man of the Year and was inducted in 2000 to the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame.

  • Huckabee also has become known nationally for his focus on technology in state government. He created an automobile license renewal system that's a model for states across the country. He has supported other advancements that have made Arkansas a technology leader among the states. Brown University recognized Arkansas for being first in the country in on-line services.

  • Many Arkansans also have come to know Huckabee as the "highway governor." That's because he developed and led the campaign for a 1999 bond issue to totally rehabilitate the state's system of crumbling interstate highways. Arkansas is now completing the largest road construction project in its history, and two of its most major interstates were recently recognized by a national trucking magazine as the nation's most improved --just a few years after they were identified by the same organization as the nation's worst interstates.

  • Huckabee, a fiscal conservative, pushed through the Arkansas Legislature the first major, broad-based tax cuts in state history. He led efforts to establish a Property Taxpayers' Bill of Rights and created a welfare reform program that reduced the welfare rolls in the state by almost 50 percent.
  • Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    Election 2006 Reality Check

    The case for continuing the GOP majority

    By Cal Thomas

    Source: | Republicans have a fair story to tell about what they've accomplished over the last two years, but their narrative has been interrupted by the trashy subplot of Mark Foley and his trolling for male House pages.

    Democrats are constantly changing their narrative when it fails to match reality. The reason Democrats don't talk about the deficit like they used to is because it has dropped from the $423 billion predicted by President Bush, as recently as last February, to $250 billion, according to projections by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The CBO says the reason for the decline is better than expected tax receipts, especially from corporate profits. There are more tax receipts because individuals and corporations are being taxed at lower rates, giving them increased incentive to earn bigger profits. Bigger profits produce more tax revenue.

    Gasoline prices are down sharply from just a few months ago; the Dow Jones Industrials set a new record high last week. The unemployment rate now stands at 4.6 percent — down from 6.3 percent in 2003, lower than the average of the 1970s, 1980s, or the 1990s, and equivalent to the unemployment rate in September 1998. Since August 2003, the economy has created 6.6 million new jobs.

    What Republicans did not do is conduct a crusade against new spending, as well as waste, fraud and abuse. Instead, too many of them joined the Democrats at the spending trough, setting earmark records. If Democrats win a congressional majority in next month's election, they would increase spending and raise taxes. This would slow and possibly halt the economic expansion.

    The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act is a fine accomplishment. It will create an earmark database that the public can easily access on the Internet. The bill passed largely because of the bipartisan leadership of senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Barack Obama (D-Ill).

    The problem for Republicans is that they seem to have run out of ideas. They now ask for votes on two levels, neither of which is appealing. The first is that the Democrats would do a worse job than Republicans, which is like choosing which of two ugly sisters to take on a date. The second is they crave power for its own sake. Republicans have failed to give voters sufficient reason to vote for them, except for one that trumps all the rest — they can better defend the country.

    Democrats have no plan for keeping America safe, or winning the war against the fanatics. They have opposed most of the Bush administration's domestic surveillance methods. They have opposed aggressive interrogation tactics designed to get information to protect us, including opposition to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where detainees are treated better than they could expect if they were detained in their homelands.

    This election isn't about House pages; it's about survival. In his new book, "America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It," JWR columnist Mark Steyn states this irrefutable fact about the importance of winning in Iraq: "Being seen not to run — or, if you prefer, being seen to show 'resolve' — should be the indispensable objective of U.S. foreign policy. Were these colors to run from Iraq, it would be the end of the American era — for why would Russia, China, or even Belgium ever again take seriously a superpower that runs screaming for home at the first pinprick."

    For all of their promises to do a better job of fighting this war, Democrats have no plan, other than retreat. That is the plan the terrorists have for us. Retreat is not in their playbook. The terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere don't speak of timetables for withdrawal or bringing their fighters home in time for Ramadan. They're in it for the long haul. They believe we are not. A victory by Democrats next month will validate their view and encourage them to fight harder.

    Republicans have been far from perfect in this war. They have barely approached mediocrity in their handling of domestic issues. But to change horses and leaders mid-war is a prescription for a longer engagement, because this is a confrontation that will end only in victory or defeat for one side or the other. That's why the Republicans need to keep their majority and conservatives need to keep the pressure on them to get back to the original GOP principles that brought them that majority. That's a better strategy than Republicans acting like Democrat-lite.

    Don't fall for the propaganda

    By David Limbaugh

    Source: | I don't care how many times I hear it, I refuse to believe that significant numbers of conservatives will stay home in November and thereby assist the Democratic Party to regain control of Congress.

    Democrats and the Old Media have been working hard to create this perception for several months, citing poll after poll to support their claims. It reminds me of the exit poll manipulation orchestrated by the Old Media and Democrat operatives in 2004 to create the GOP-deflating perception that John Kerry was winning big.

    But with the unveiling of the Foley scandal, there is an even bigger spring to their step — kind of like their perverse, gleeful reaction to problems with the delayed federal response to Hurricane Katrina.

    Before Foley I gave conservatives more credit than to believe they would sit this election out over their disillusionment with Republicans concerning immigration and domestic spending. My confidence remains after Foley as well, despite push polling and other techniques designed to discourage conservative turnout.

    Conservatives are generally rational creatures and sophisticated enough to understand that the national interest will not be served by turning national security over to a party wholly incapable of safeguarding it for the sake of punishing Republicans.

    To the argument of some conservatives that losing the election will result in the nation eventually returning to its conservative roots, I say "nonsense." We can't afford the luxury, during time of war and incalculable threats to our national security, our culture, our freedom and our sovereignty, of taking our ball and going home for a few critical years.

    I do not believe conservatives will deliver control to the party of tax and spend because Republicans haven't done enough to curb domestic spending. My assessment is reinforced by news that the Bush tax cuts have unleashed a robust economy and explosive federal revenues that have reduced the deficit to 2 percent of GDP, lower than the 2.7 percent average of the last 40 years.

    I don't believe conservatives will conspire to assign control over immigration to the wide-open border Democrats, notwithstanding the Republicans' tardy and so-far inadequate response to the immigration problem. My assessment is reinforced by news that Congress passed a measure to erect a 700-mile border fence. Conservative angst forced recalcitrant politicians to act. This is how you get results — not by replacing a highly imperfect party with an incomparably egregious one.

    And I especially don't believe social conservatives, because of their disappointment with Republicans over Foley, will turn to a militantly secular Democratic leadership to protect Washington pages from sexual predators. My assessment is reinforced by the immediate resignation of Foley and the Republican leadership's initiation of comprehensive investigations into the matter, promising full accountability for culpable Republicans.

    My optimism that conservatives will not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good and stay home in November is further enhanced by Democrats recently overplaying their hand on the Foley scandal.

    Though they boasted for the longest time that they could trounce Republicans in November by a substantive debate on the issues, they've been studiously avoiding such a debate and resorting only to attacking Bush and scandalmongering. But now that they think the Foley affair is tainting the entire Republican Party, Nancy Pelosi has gotten cocky enough to unveil her agenda for the first 100 hours of her speakership.

    She better hope that she hasn't triggered a true national debate on the issues and unwittingly nationalized the congressional elections, something the Republicans hadn't managed to pull off.

    Can you imagine the Democrats winning a debate over national security when they've vigorously opposed almost every tool President Bush has tried to use to prosecute the war on terror? How would they gain from a true debate over Iraq, when Democrats still don't have a plan and can't even decide whether they favor withdrawal, "timetables" or "benchmarks"?

    Can you imagine Democrats prevailing on a values debate where it would be emphasized that they actively promote the radical homosexual agenda and castigate one of the finest institutional exemplars of traditional values in our nation's history — the Boy Scouts — for their moral refusal to permit homosexuals to be scoutmasters? Does Nancy Pelosi truly support the National American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) or just proudly march in parades with them and receive 90 percent approval from their ACLU enablers? Inquiring minds surely want to know.

    It is time for conservatives to ignore the Democrat and Old Media propaganda and vote in even greater numbers in November. If Democrats and the Old Media keep reporting that conservatives are going to stay home, they might be in store for the upset of their lives on Election Day — just maybe.

    Monday, October 09, 2006

    The Clinton Legacy: North Korea's Bomb by Dave Eberhart


    North Korea's first detonation of a nuclear weapon may have taken place during the watch of George W. Bush — but it was under the Clinton administration's watch that the communist regime began gathering necessary materials and constructing the bomb.

    As Western powers race to confirm that North Korea did in fact explode a nuclear device in Gilju, a remote region in the Hamgyong province, some see it as a culmination of weak U.S. action during the 1990s that led to this fateful day.

    Fateful Beginnings

    After entering into an agreement with the United States in 1994, the Clinton administration ignored evidence the North Koreans were violating the agreement and continuing to build a nuclear weapon. "In July of 2002, documentary evidence was found in the form of purchase orders for the materials necessary to enrich uranium," NewsMax's James Hirsen previously reported.

    "In October 2002, Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly met with his North Korean counterpart for scheduled talks. Kelly confronted North Korea with the tangible evidence of its duplicity. After a day of outright denial, North Korea abruptly reversed its position and defiantly acknowledged a secret nuclear program."

    Timeline of a Nuclear Bomb

    A review of recent history shows that that the Clinton administration gave up a clear and perhaps last best chance to nip the North Korean bomb in the bud:

    1985: North Korea signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

    1989: The Central Intelligence Agency discovers the North Koreans are building a reprocessing facility — a reactor capable of converting fuel rods into weapons-grade plutonium. The fuel rods were extracted 10 years before from that nation's Yongbyon reactor.

    The rods represent a shortcut to enriched plutonium and an atomic bomb.

    Spring, 1994: A year into President Clinton's first term, North Korea prepares to remove the Yongbyon fuel rods from their storage site. North Korea expels international weapons inspectors and withdraws from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

    * Clinton asks the United Nations Security Council to consider sanctions. North Korean spokesmen proclaim such sanctions would cause war.

    * The Pentagon draws up plans to send 50,000 troops to South Korea — along with 400 war planes, 50 ships, Apache helicopters, Bradley fighting vehicles, and Patriot missiles. An advance force of 250 soldiers is sent in to set up headquarters for the expanded force.

    * Clinton balks and sets up a diplomatic back-channel to end the crisis — former President Jimmy Carter. Exceeding instructions, Carter negotiates the outlines of a treaty and announces the terms live on CNN.

    Oct. 21, 1994: The United States and North Korea sign a formal accord based on those outlines, called the Agreed Framework. Under its terms:

    * North Korea promises to renew its commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, lock up the fuel rods, and let inspectors back in to monitor the facility.

    * The United States agrees — with financial backing from South Korea and Japan — that it will provide two light-water nuclear reactors for electricity, send a large supply of fuel oil, and that it will not invade North Korea.

    * Upon delivery of the first light-water reactor, inspections of suspected North Korean nuclear sites were supposed to start. After the second reactor arrived, North Korea was supposed to ship its fuel rods out of the country.

    * The two countries also agreed to lower trade barriers and install ambassadors in each other's capitals — with the United States providing full assurances that it would never use nuclear weapons against North Korea.

    (None of the above came to pass. Congress did not make the financial commitment — neither did South Korea. The light-water reactors were never funded. The enumerated steps toward normalization were never taken.)

    Jan. 2002: In President Bush's State of the Union Address, he famously labels North Korea, Iran, and Iraq as an "axis of evil."

    Oct., 2002: Officials from the U.S. State Department fly to Pyongyang, where that government admits it had acquired centrifuges for processing highly enriched uranium, which could be used for building nuclear weapons.

    * It is now clear to all parties that the promised reactors are never going to be built. Normalization of relations fizzles.

    * The CIA learns that North Korea may have been acquiring centrifuges for enriching uranium since the late 1990s — probably from Pakistan.

    Oct. 20, 2002: Bush announces that the United States is formally withdrawing from the Carter-brokered 1994 agreement.

    * The United States. halts oil supplies to North Korea and urges other countries to cut off all economic relations with Pyongyang.

    Dec., 2002: North Korea expels the international weapons inspectors, restarts the nuclear reactor at Yongbyon, and unlocks the container holding the fuel rods.

    Jan. 10, 2003: North Korea withdraws from the Non-Proliferation Treaty — noting, however, that there would be a change of position if the U.S. resumed its obligations under the Agreed Framework and signed a non-aggression pledge.

    March, 2003: President Bush orders several B-1 and B-52 bombers to the U.S. Air Force base in Guam — within range of North Korea.

    April, 2003: North Korea's deputy foreign minister announces that his country now has "deterrent" nuclear weapons.

    May, 2003: Bush orders the Guam-based aircraft back to their home bases.

    October, 2003: The North Koreans announce they have reprocessed all 8,000 of their fuel rods and solved the technical problems of converting the plutonium into nuclear bombs.

    Michelle Malkin: We are in range; another test coming?


    A military reader sends an illustration of the various ranges of North Korea's missiles. He writes: "Looking at their Taepo Dong 2 (two stage) missile range, nearly half our country is in range."

    Good morning to you, too.


    Taken with a grain of salt, but Russia's defense minister sez:

    North Korea's nuclear test was equivalent to 5,000 tons to 15,000 tons of TNT.

    That would be far greater than the force given by South Korea's geological institute, which estimated it at just 550 tons of TNT.

    By comparison the bomb the United States dropped on Hiroshima during World War II was equivalent to 15,000 tons of TNT.

    In 1996, France detonated a bomb beneath Fangataufa Atoll about 750 miles southeast of Tahiti that had a yield of about 120,000 tons of TNT.

    The U.S. Geological Survey said it recorded a magnitude-4.2 seismic event in northeastern North Korea. Asian neighbors also said they registered a seismic event, but only Russia said its monitoring services had detected a nuclear explosion.

    No one has reported detecting any radiation.

    Pajamas Media editor Richard Fernandez interviews Dr. Robert Ayson of the Graduate Studies in Strategy and Defence at the Australian National University to gauge how Australia and Japan might react to the North Korean nuclear test.

    Update: Via Reuters...

    The chief of South Korea's intelligence agency told lawmakers on Monday it was possible North Korea would carry out a second nuclear test, Seoul's Yonhap news agency quoted one MP as saying.

    The lawmaker also quoted Kim Seung-gyu, head of the National Intelligence Service, as telling a closed-door parliamentary committee meeting that unusual signs had been detected at a North Korean town in the afternoon.