Former Yankee great Murcer dies at 62
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
07/12/2008 5:06 PM ET
Bobby Murcer, a personable, popular five-time All-Star who went on to a successful broadcasting career with the New York Yankees, died Saturday after a battle with brain cancer. He was 62.
After experiencing a general lack of energy, Murcer was diagnosed with a tumor on Christmas Eve 2006, undergoing surgery at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Pathology reports later revealed the tumor to be malignant.
After being diagnosed, Murcer commented in an upbeat spirit, thanking fans for their prayers and warm wishes -- many of which were delivered in the form of letters and e-mails directly to his hospital bed.
"My heart remains true to Yankees fans," Murcer said on Jan. 24. "I've always believed you're the very best in baseball. It's your steadfast spirit that keeps me feeling so optimistic."
Murcer played in the Major Leagues for 17 seasons, including making four All-Star appearances with the Yankees.
A lifetime .277 batter, Murcer hit 252 home runs and drove in 1,043 runs in 1,908 Major League games with the Yankees, San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs.
He was the only Yankee to play with both Mickey Mantle and Don Mattingly, and was arguably the franchise's most popular player of the era immediately following Mantle's retirement after the 1968 season.
Murcer was hailed as another Mantle when he emerged from the Yankees' system in the mid-1960s. Both players were signed out of Oklahoma as shortstops by the same scout, Tom Greenwade, prompting comparisons.
As history shows, Murcer could not match comparisons to the Hall of Famer's lofty credentials, but he assembled an admirable Major League career.
One of his best seasons came in 1971, when Murcer led the American League with a .427 on-base percentage and ranked second in the circuit with a career-high .331 batting average.
After struggling with adjustments to Shea Stadium, where the Yankees played in 1974 and 1975 while Yankee Stadium was being renovated, Murcer was traded to the Giants in 1975 for outfielder Bobby Bonds.
He would be dealt to the Cubs in 1977, only to return and finish his career with the Yankees from 1979 through 1983.
Perhaps Murcer's most memorable moment came on Aug. 6, 1979, in the wake of Yankees captain Thurman Munson's untimely death in a plane crash.
Munson and Murcer had been close friends. As the Yankees returned to New York from Munson's funeral service in Ohio, manager Billy Martin suggested that Murcer -- who had delivered a moving eulogy for the catcher -- sit out that evening's game against the Baltimore Orioles.
Murcer disagreed, telling Martin that something was telling him to play, and that he did not feel tired. Dedicating his performance to Munson, Murcer drove in all of New York's runs in a 5-4 victory, slugging a three-run homer and a game-winning two-run single.
Murcer was also just the fourth Yankee to hit home runs in four consecutive at-bats, joining Lou Gehrig, Johnny Blanchard and Mantle.
For most of the last 24 years, Murcer had worked as a Yankees broadcaster, winning three Emmy awards for live sports coverage.
Murcer worked as a radio color analyst from 1983-85 before moving to television as a commentator in 1987, and also served as the Yankees' assistant general manager in 1986.
He helped the baseball family immensely through his efforts as chairman of the Baseball Assistance Team, which raises funds for former players who have fallen on hard times. Murcer was also the president of the Oklahoma City 89ers Minor League baseball club in the mid-1980s.
Murcer is survived by his wife, Kay, and two children, Tori and Todd.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Former Yankee great Murcer dies at 62
Report: Ex-Bush spokesman Tony Snow dies of cancer
By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL, Associated Press Writer
4 minutes ago
Tony Snow, a conservative writer and commentator who cheerfully sparred with reporters in the White House briefing room during a stint as President Bush's press secretary, has died of colon cancer, Fox News reported Saturday. Snow was 53 years old.
Snow, who served as the first host of the television news program "Fox News Sunday" from 1996 to 2003, would later say that in the Bush administration he was enjoying "the most exciting, intellectually aerobic job I'm ever going to have."
Snow was working for Fox News Channel and Fox News Radio when he replaced Scott McClellan as press secretary in May 2006 during a White House shake-up. Unlike McClellan, who came to define caution and bland delivery from the White House podium, Snow was never shy about playing to the cameras.
With a quick-from-the-lip repartee, broadcaster's good looks and a relentlessly bright outlook — if not always a command of the facts — he became a popular figure around the country to the delight of his White House bosses.
He served just 17 months as press secretary, a tenure interrupted by his second bout with cancer. In 2005 doctors had removed his colon and he began six months of chemotherapy. In March 2007 a cancerous growth was removed from his abdominal area and he spent five weeks recuperating before returning to the White House.
He resigned as Bush's chief spokesman six months later, in September 2007, citing not his health but a need to earn more than the $168,000 a year he was paid in the government post. In April, he joined CNN as a commentator.
In that year and a half at the White House, Snow brought partisan zeal and the skills of a seasoned performer to the task of explaining and defending the president's policies. During daily briefings, he challenged reporters, scolded them and questioned their motives as if he were starring in a TV show broadcast live from the West Wing.
Critics suggested that Snow was turning the traditionally informational daily briefing into a personality-driven media event short on facts and long on confrontation. He was the first press secretary, by his own accounting, to travel the country raising money for Republican candidates.
Although a star in conservative politics, as a commentator he had not always been on the president's side. He once called Bush "something of an embarrassment" in conservative circles and criticized what he called Bush's "lackluster" domestic policy.
Most of Snow's career in journalism involved expressing his conservative views. After earning a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Davidson College in North Carolina in 1977 and studying economics and philosophy at the University of Chicago, he wrote editorials for The Greensboro (N.C.) Record, and The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk.
He was the editorial page editor of The Newport News (Va.) Daily Press and deputy editorial page editor of The Detroit News before moving to Washington in 1987 to become editorial page editor of The Washington Times.
Snow left journalism in 1991 to join the administration of President George H.W. Bush as director of speechwriting and deputy assistant to the president for media affairs. He then rejoined the news media to write nationally syndicated columns for The Detroit News and USA Today during much of the Clinton administration.
Robert Anthony Snow was born June 1, 1955, in Berea, Ky., and spent his childhood in the Cincinnati area. Survivors include his wife, Jill Ellen Walker, whom he married in 1987, and three children.
Associated Press writer Jennifer Loven contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
July 10, 2008
Yesterday, I laid out the very favorable environment for any Democrat running for President this year. I noted that the current Obama lead of 4-5% is very modest, given the structural advantages any Democrat would have in this year's race.
But there is another way to look at the race: namely that absent some of the unique structural or environmental advantages that exist for Democrats this year, John McCain should be running away from Barack Obama.
While this may sound irrational to some, I believe the key to a McCain victory is to focus his campaign and the voting public on the two candidates themselves -- their life stories, their experiences and accomplishments, their visions for the country, and their characters. If the election is decided on these factors, McCain should win.
The Obama campaign has a simple message: you hate (or really, really don't like) the job George Bush is doing. John McCain will run things just like George Bush, and I (Obama) offer a very different and exciting change in approach. The corollaries to the Obama message are a not very subtle pitch that the voter can demonstrate his or her decency and lack of bias by voting for the first African American presidential candidate, and by the way, John McCain is too old.
McCain needs to make the case that he is a far "safer" choice to be the next occupant in the White House. This case should be not that difficult to make. In essence, who is the "untested" candidate, and who is the "riskier" choice? These are specific words, as Frank Luntz might say, that matter.
Secondarily, there are particular choices for the Vice Presidential pick who could add some energy and excitement to the McCain campaign. The Obama-McCain contest has not been a fair fight in the charisma derby. Barack Obama is very good at reading a prepared speech from a teleprompter (John McCain is really bad at this), and Obama has been wowing the media and live audiences reading prepared texts. He has frequently stumbled with off the cuff remarks, which is why his campaign pays such attention to details regarding the setting for events, and on prepared remarks.
While it is likely that McCain will be outspent, and out organized, he should have enough money to get a message across, if it is focused and he stays on script. By accepting federal campaign funding, McCain will also not have to fundraise during the fall campaign, while Obama will likely waste days if not weeks doing this. It is also the case that fund raising events tend to be very partisan, requiring a candidate to pander to activists. In a general election campaign, when a candidate is trying to move to the center to appear moderate and acceptable to more than the party's base voters (an approach Obama has clearly undertaken of late), a shriller pitch to the base can lead to problems, as it did for Obama in San Francisco a few months back.
The Case against Obama
So what is the case for McCain? To begin with in a two party system, a case against Obama. No candidate for President since Wendell Wilkie in 1940 has had as little relevant experience before running for President as Barack Obama. The Illinois Senator served for 8 years, in a generally undistinguished fashion, in the Illinois legislature. He was best known for voting present more often than any other State Senator. When the Democrats took over the Legislature the last two years he served, Obama worked out a deal with the Democratic leader, Emil Jones, to get his name on some bills so he could buff up his resume before running for the open US Senate seat.
After a string of revelations about two opponents' marital problems, Obama wound up effectively running unopposed for the US Senate seat (Alan Keyes was the GOP standard-bearer). In the US Senate, Obama missed many votes in his first term even before he launched his Presidential bid, as he traveled the country speaking to Democratic Party events (and positioning himself with activists for a future Presidential run). Since the campaign began, he has missed virtually all Senate votes and failed to hold meetings of his own subcommittee. So the Obama record is very thin.
His major campaign themes have been lofty messages of change and hope and bipartisan unity. This is a smart course to take, when you have little to show for your years in public office. McCain needs to focus on Obama's record of scant legislative accomplishment and inexperience. What has Barack Obama done, as opposed to claiming to have done?
Obama has argued in the Democratic nominating contest that he showed good judgment by opposing the Iraq War in 2002 while John Edwards and Hillary Clinton voted to authorize the President's use of force, if necessary. But when he was elected to the Senate, Obama admitted that had he been in the Senate in 2002, and exposed to the same intelligence briefings as his two rivals, he might have voted the same way as they did, and as most Democrats in the Senate did -- to support the war resolution. So did Obama show good judgment in 2002, or was he just on the outside looking in, finding a smart way to appeal to anti-war activists in his party for an upcoming Senate campaign?
The real judgment issue comes into play with regard to Obama's call for a quick withdrawal from Iraq, and his opposition to the surge in the spring and summer of 2007. John McCain risked his political future calling for more troops for an unpopular war and said he would rather win the war than the White House. Obama stuck to his left wing anti-war mantra, and has been proven to have been wrong. Obama thought the surge would fail, but it has succeeded beyond anyone's expectations.
When General Petraeus showed up to testify to Congress last September, the group MoveOn.org in one of its vilest displays (and there are many to choose from), called Petraeus a betrayer of America in a full page ad the New York Times willingly ran. Obama, competing for the group's endorsement and contributions, said nothing. He missed the vote in the Senate, when by a 3 to 1 margin, that body condemned the ad. And now Obama wants to be the Commander in Chief and have the respect of the men fighting under Petraeus. Potential McCain ads about this episode, and the debate about the wisdom of the surge, scream off the page.
As opposed to the appearance of limitless ambition of the Democratic nominee, the GOP has a candidate who performed one of the most remarkable acts of personal courage ever displayed in the military -- consigning himself to years of torture and abuse, so as to not to break the morale of his fellow prisoners of war by accepting an early release. A new McCain ad does a pretty good job presenting McCain's decision as part of a long pattern of acts of love and devotion to his country. Generation after generation, the McCains have served in the military. Duty, honor, country are not just words for John McCain. What does Barack Obama offer to measure up? A couple of years as a community organizer? The McCain camp will almost certainly not run an ad juxtaposing Reverend Wright, Bill Ayers, and Michael Pfleger and some of their juicier comments about Åmerica with the McCain record of service to his country, but maybe some group or the RNC will.
The history of the "Chicago friends of Barack Obama" is an uncomfortable one for the Illinois Senator, but it is a commentary on Obama's judgment as to the kind of people he chose as friends, mentors, and even spiritual advisors. Palestinian radicals opposed to the existence of Israel were good friends of Barack Obama. So was Tony Rezko, and the aforementioned Wright, Ayers and Pfleger.
Since entering the Senate, Barack Obama has compiled, in his limited number of votes, the most left wing record of all 100 US Senators. There is reason for Obama to be pivoting right while there is still time to change the script. John McCain on the other hand, has one of the most independent voting records in the Senate. Obama is far closer to Bernie Sanders, the socialist Senator from Vermont, than John McCain is to George Bush. But a hundred million dollars worth of negative ads will have George Bush morphing into John McCain so as to keep the focus on Bush and his unpopularity.
Obama believes in wealth and income redistribution, regardless of its effects on the size of the total economic pie. Most Americans do not. This is not pragmatic, but dogmatic, and certainly not moderate. If Obama wins and the Democrats have much larger majorities in the Senate and the House after 2008 (as they will), the country's politics will move sharply left. If America is still a slightly center-right nation (though clearly it is less so than in 2004) and basically moderate in its disposition, a vote for McCain would be a way to check such a sharp swing to the left. McCain would be smart to talk about this, and the need to serve as a check on what would be a heavy tax and spend Democratic controlled Congress.
The message for McCain needs to be as simple as the one Obama is selling. John McCain offers a a lifetime of love and service to country, an independent (maverick) streak that enables him to compromise and get results, and a strong leader in a time of continuing serious threats and challenges to our national security. This needs to be contrasted to the substantively empty record of Barack Obama -- a thin, but doctrinaire down the line left wing voting record when he shows up to vote . Obama is a candidate committed to taxing his way out of the current economic hard times. He is a candidate with no national security experience who might well convey weakness to our enemies, and thereby serve to invite them to act more provocatively. And Obama is a candidate with a history of long term relationships with people who seem to think very badly of their country.
Finally, there is the energy issue, which is now playing into the hands of the Republicans, if properly handled. Obama and the Democrats say no - to more drilling, and to increased use of nuclear power, and are offering no solutions to the increase in energy costs, which are proving to be a significant and damaging new burden for most American families. The Obama approach: to tax more of oil company profits and to end energy futures speculation, will not change the growing supply demand imbalance, which is a primary reason for rising energy costs. McCain is supporting more drilling, and more nuclear power, and greater conservation. So McCain is for more supply, and reduced demand. Obama and his Party appear to be looking for villains, not solutions.
Energy needed in the campaign
Even if McCain gets the messaging right, it may not be enough unless the candidate can inject some energy into the campaign. More than most Presidential candidates, McCain needs to get a boost from his Vice Presidential selection. There are concerns about McCain's age, and many expect he will only serve one term if elected. In the end McCain may make the decision to commit to only one term and to announce that he will use that term to achieve specific goals: to exit from Iraq with honor and success, to get the economy moving again, and to push the country on the road to energy independence. In any case, voters will look to McCain's VP choice as a more serious one than would be the case for a younger nominee.
The McCain camp can get some momentum in the two summer months before the convention by not only announcing a VP choice, but also some Cabinet choices. An early VP selection would mean that the media would be covering two GOP candidates and Obama for a period of time, a 2 to 1 advantage for the McCain team. That would be the reverse of what happened in the last few months of the Democratic nominating contest. But also announcing some Cabinet picks would magnify the roles and attention to these spokespeople during the campaign.
Several possible Cabinet picks could be very helpful to McCain. Carly Fiorina or Meg Whitman may not be ideal VP candidates, but would be solid choices to be part of a McCain administration. These are women who have had pivotal roles in the new digital economy, and would deliver a positive message to younger voters, the high tech community, and women upset by what happened to Hillary Clinton in the nominating fight. Joe Lieberman and Tom Ridge are very capable men who could serve in an Administration at senior levels in foreign policy or defense roles. Bobby Jindal could be the head of HHS, with a directive to undertake a serious examination of the options for reform of entitlement programs, to ensure that the county does not go broke from Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in the coming decades. None of the three are likely VP picks at this point. But they would help the ticket if their future roles were known.
So who would help the ticket most as a VP selection? One interesting choice would be Alaska's very popular Governor, Sarah Palin. She would be an immediate media sensation and rob the Obama campaign of its monopoly of saturation media infatuation. Given the way the media was perceived to have ganged up on Hillary Clinton, there might be much greater care about avoiding doing it again with Palin. Of course Palin would be challenged for her youth and inexperience in foreign policy matters. But the reality is that Palin, unlike almost all US Senators (including Barack Obama), has actually run something, and with 84% approval for her job as Governor, seems to be running it well. Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton all ran for President directly from service as Governor. Raising the experience issue with Palin would be a risky strategy for the Obama campaign. After all, Palin would only be running for the #2 spot, and Obama, with arguably less of a track record, is running for the top spot. Palin would also be very effective in helping focus the energy issue, and the need to explore and drill for what we have in this country. She could take McCain to ANWR and give him reason to shift on that issue.
Other selections who could help the ticket include Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor, South Dakota Senator John Thune, and Mitt Romney. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty gets lots of mention, but Minnesota is likely not in play even with Pawlenty on the ticket, and he seems like a weaker choice than the other four. Romney proved he is Presidential calibre during the primaries, and would help the ticket in Michigan, which McCain may have to win, and New Hampshire, where McCain has a decent chance to win. Thune adds no state, but is a hero to the GOP base for knocking off Tom Daschle, is a respected leader in the Party, and might energize the volunteers needed for a large get out the vote operation, which was essential to Bush's victory in 2004, particularly in Ohio. Cantor would be a good pick as well. He is a very articulate conservative spokesperson, and would help McCain in Virginia, a state that will be closely contested this year. He is Jewish and would aid McCain's promising effort to significantly increase the GOP's share of the Jewish vote this year. He is also a good fundraiser. Finally, there is Rob Portman, the very capable Budget Director, and former Cincinnati area Congressman. Portman would help the ticket in Ohio, a tossup state and add real economic experience to the ticket. But his ties to the Bush administration may provide too much fodder for the Obama team to risk his selection .
It is worth mentioning that several of the most promising potential VP picks for Barack Obama have pulled themselves out of contention. This list includes Virginia Senator Jim Webb, former Virginia Governor Mark Warner and Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. These three men were arguably the three best VP picks for Obama. All of the top picks for McCain are still in the running. On this front, it is advantage McCain, if he takes advantage.
Richard Baehr is the chief political correspondent of American Thinker.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 7/10/2008 04:49:00 PM
July 7, 2008
RUSH: We have Obama -- and, by the way, folks, on this flip-flop business, let's not use the word flip-flop. I don't think it's going to persuade anybody. It worked with Kerry because Kerry was such n idiot. I mean, his flip-flops were just funny. "I voted for it before I voted against it." You gotta remember one thing about these flip-flops, and I'm going to stop using the term here in just a second. Most people are not really paying close attention right now to all this, despite what might be record levels of attention, those of us who are involved in this on a day-to-day basis, we are absorbed, and we are detail-oriented; we know Obama upwards and forwards and backwards and hindwards and all that.
By the time most people start tuning in, his centrist positions, his so-called flip-flops, are actually going to be the things about him that they know. So we have to portray this guy as inexperienced, far leftist, despite what he's saying about moving to the center. You know what I find most irritating about this, all these moves to the center here, be it abortion, be it Iraq, by the way, did I not tell you a year ago -- I hate doing See, I Told You So's, folks, because it sounds like I've got a big ego and I don't have a big ego. My ego is totally a hundred percent in check. But I told you a year ago, that the Democrats, there's not one of these candidates running for the White House, that if they win are going to pull us out of Iraq if it means we lose. They are not going to saddle themselves with a military defeat, mark my words, and I said that the far-left fringe kooks that define the left wing of the Democrat Party today are going to outraged when this happens, and they're going to say things like, "Hey, you know, Bush was not honest with us. He didn't tell us everything going on and now we find out what's going on, it would be a mistake to pull out now." There was no way this was ever going to happen, and, in fact, Obama now suggesting that he would be pragmatic about this and talk to the commanders -- I knew it. This is just common sense.
I don't care how anti-America some of their fringe is, they, as a political party, are not going to saddle themselves with defeat. They might be happy to try to claim victory on this, because there's a story in the BBC or UK Telegraph or something I have here in the stack -- it's all coming up -- about the amazing success that is taking place over there. The word "victory" is being used consistently in much of the foreign media. But here's what bugs me most about these so-called flip-flops. Every national election, every one of them the liberal Democrats know full well they cannot win. Can you imagine how Hillary Clinton feels today? Obama is now campaigning like Hillary was in the remaining primaries. After Texas, and after Ohio, Obama has now totally taken her campaign, just seized it. She was going after the white working class that was very much upset and disabused of the whole notion of Obama. So now he's moving in that direction. They do this 'cause they know that far-left-wingism will not win national elections.
They may lie to themselves and say that conservatism is cracking up. They may lie to themselves and say that the era of Reagan or the era of conservatism is over, and that we're getting ready to usher in a new, far-left agenda. They're gonna do that if they win, but they're not going to campaign on it, because it loses. Here's what's frustrating. All of these people on our side of the aisle, our so-called media intelligentsia and a number of the country club blue-blood Republicans, the Rockefeller bunch, they think they can't win as conservatives. They think the Republican Party cannot triumph with a conservative identity, so they go moving left. They move to the Democrats and they move to independents and they try to come up with all these policy shifts that deemphasize the Republican Party base, try to attract the Democrat Party base and get the favorable treatment from the media. In the meanwhile, what are the Democrats doing?
The Democrats are moving in our direction. Obama is moving right. Now, they may say he's stopped his move right in the middle and in the center, but when he starts flip-flopping on victory in Iraq, when he starts flip-flopping on abortion, when he starts doing a number of these things, gun control, you tell me conservatism -- this is maddening. This is maddening. So what could happen here is that as we head into August, when we get to the Democrat National Convention, and Obama starts giving his speech, and if he keeps this stuff up, he may end up sounding just as, quote, unquote, conservative on many things as McCain does. You couple that with his mantra for change and so forth, it may be attractive. The Republican Party is going to have a big job to portray Obama as he really is. He is The Messiah, also known as Senator Obama. He's not Senator Obama also known as The Messiah. He's The Messiah also known as Obama.
I was working all weekend. Even though I was not behind the Golden EIB Microphone I'm watching all this stuff Obama is doing and saying, and he's embraced the flag, he's holding the flag now. I got in my chair and chilled out, but I also paid attention because I have a responsibility to my country here.
Obama, from the Los Angeles Times on July the 5th, this little blurb here: "He's not president yet, but Barack Obama has already given some thought to White House decor. Asked at a town hall-style meeting in Fargo, ND, about any decorating plans for the Lincoln Bedroom, Obama described a visit to the White House after he became a US senator. 'You have all these mementos of Abraham Lincoln, but you have this flat-screen TV in there,' Obama told the crowd at the outdoor event. 'I thought to myself, "Now, who stays in the Lincoln Bedroom and watches [ESPN's] 'Sports Center'?" You've got your clicker. . . . That didn't seem to me to be appropriate. So I might take out the TV, I don't know. You should read when you're in the Lincoln Bedroom! Reread the Gettysburg Address. Don't watch TV.'"
I also read a speech, it dovetails with this that Abraham Lincoln gave during predebate with Stephen Douglas on the meaning of the Declaration of Independence, and it is just brilliant, and this attitude of Obama's, you must, we're going to make you do service to your country, we're going to make you do this, you must do that, you must stop driving your car for this or you must stop changing your car, you must change your car, whatever, Lincoln said that's the attitude of kings. That's the attitude of kings and tyrants, that nobody's capable of doing the right thing on their own, they're just a bunch of little victims, we'll give 'em what they need to stay mollified and happy. We're gonna make 'em do things they wouldn't otherwise do because they're not good people. He was accusing Stephen Douglas of this by leaving certain people out from the tenet from the declaration that Thomas Jefferson wrote, that all men are created equal. Douglas, no, they're not. The Germans are not included here. We are a country of English people who came here, the Germans don't count, the Swedes don't count, they don't get the same protections, that was Douglas' position. And Lincoln said, it's impossible, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence says just the exact opposite.
The whole point was, to me, when I was reading this, they say The Messiah, also known as Obama, transcends politics. He transcends nothing. He's not new. He's not unique. There's nothing special about him in terms of, "Gee, we've never had this kind of countenance and presence among us in American politics." Lincoln didn't transcend anything. The Declaration of Independence does not get transcended. You can't transcend it, but they want to transcend the Constitution, they want to transcend the Declaration. Anyway, it was a great piece. This business about flat-screen TV in the Lincoln Bedroom, as you people may remember, I, El Rushbo, have been in the Lincoln Bedroom. By the way, I wonder if Obama even knows what the Lincoln Bedroom was. When Lincoln was in the White House, that was his office, and it's upstairs in the second floor in the residence. Tight across the hall is what's called the Queen's Room. It's another bedroom, but it was an office. That's where Lincoln and his buds ran the civil war. It was not a bedroom. I don't think there was a West Wing then. I don't think there was an East Wing then. And I wonder if Obama even knows this.
Now, when I was there, there wasn't a flat panel there but there was a television, and I didn't turn it on and watch it, I was too busy calling my mom saying, "Hey, guess where I am? You won't believe this." She didn't believe me, so I called her again with the White House switchboard placing the call. But it's like a hotel room, you set the alarm, you get a wake-up call, the White House steward comes and brings you coffee and newspapers in the morning. It's just down the hall from the main living area. I mean, it's a long distance, but it's on the second floor of the residence. I bet there have been tons of people in there, predominantly in the Clinton administration, watching more than ESPN on that TV. I bet they brought in their own tapes. I bet they brought in their own DVDs, if you get my drift.
RUSH: I got a quick question for Obama. Obama, how long does it take, The Messiah also known as Obama, how long does it take to read the living, breathing Constitution in the Lincoln Bedroom? How long does it take to read the Gettysburg Address while in the Lincoln Bedroom? How long does it take to read the Declaration of Independence while in the Lincoln Bedroom? Did you see where The Messiah, also known as Obama, is pondering a major address at the Brandenburg Gate, the spot that once marked the Berlin Wall? Obama is going to go over there, he's going to go to the Brandenburg Gate where the Berlin Wall once stood. I'm wondering what side he'll be on? On what side will Obama make the speech? Just kidding, folks. But I do have a serious question. If he is going, if The Messiah also known as Obama is going to go to the site of the Berlin Wall and make a speech, where is he scheduling the Sermon on the Mount? Is he going to give a Sermon on the Mount, and if so, when? (interruption)Yes, I saw it, Mr. Snerdley. I don't understand it. Obama's plane, his campaign plane was on the way from Chicago down to North Carolina for a campaign appearance, and they had a detour to St. Louis because they had a problem in there; they couldn't control the pitch of the airplane, the elevation of the nose, so they had to touchdown for a maintenance fix, and I was watching this, he gets off the airplane and he's on a cheap MD-80. I wouldn't be caught dead on one of those regardless, and his campaign plane is an MD-80? Nothing against Midwest Airlines, but it's like flying in a sardine can. I don't know how old these things are, but gee whiz, I mean that was disappointing. I mean not even an Obama logo on the side of the thing.
Anyway, let's go to the audio sound bites. I want to add some things to this so-called flip-flop business of Obama. Let's go back on March 19th, 2008, this year, Fayetteville, North Carolina, at a campaign event, here is what Obama said.
OBAMA: In order to end this war responsibly, I will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. We can responsibly remove one to two combat brigades each month. If we start with the number of brigades we have in Iraq today, we can remove all of them in 16 months.
RUSH: Right, 16 months is going to get everybody out of there, start immediately when he was inaugurated, said that back March 19th in Fayetteville, North Carolina. I knew this was a lie. They're not going to pull these people out of there immediately. They're not going to secure themselves with defeat, no Democrat would. Hillary wouldn't do it, either. Then last Thursday in Fargo, North Dakota.
OBAMA: When I go to Iraq and I have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, I'm sure I'll have more information and will continue to refine my policies.
RUSH: Continue to refine my policies? I guess these are policy pirouettes. I guess these are recalibrations. But people did not react to this well. His kook fringe base does not like this. So he had to go out there and do a second reference to this, and he's out there not only wearing the American flag lapel pin, he's out there clutching a flag as he makes these speeches. Here is John Kerry, the haughty John Kerry, who served in Vietnam, from Face the Nation yesterday. Bob Schieffer said, "So, is this a change in policy? Some in the McCain campaign go so far as to say it's a flip-flop, Senator Kerry. Explain this for us."
KERRY: Barack Obama has a plan for ending the war. John McCain has a plan for continuing the war, and he has said so very clearly dozens and dozens of times. What the McCain campaign is trying to do is take the normal statement of anybody smart enough to be president of the United States and is ready to be president, he says he'll refine -- may refine tactically what you might decide to do over the course of that withdrawal and how you protect American troops and how you in fact get the Iraqi army to stand up faster, but it is no change whatsoever in his fundamental determination to end the war.
RUSH: (laughing) I can't take these people seriously. Yes, it is Senator Kerry. He now wants to win the war. McCain doesn't want to continue this thing, either. But I mean here's Mr. Flip-flop himself, John Kerry (laughing) defending (laughing) I thought Obama had all these new things that nobody had ever done before.
RUSH: Poor old DNCTV up there, some poor supporter is questioning whether Obama is shifting policies. That's the point. He is not shifting policies. He is shifting statements. He is a leftist. He is going to remain a leftist. He is going to grow the government as fast and as large as he can, all of this, all these new positions and so forth. You people on the left ought to just cool down, just chill out. If I were you, I'd be asking a different question. Why does Obama hate the environment? Flying around on a junk airplane burns a whole lot of fuel, not efficient at all, cramming all the press people in there in sardine-like conditions. I got nothing against the MD-80, but I wouldn't be on one. I mean, of all the planes out there, and, by the way, speaking of all of this, we keep hearing in California, you know what they're going to make you do? They're going to make you put a sticker or there's going to be some requirement that on your car, the car you drive has to have a score in terms of how much pollution it's causing and how much global warming it's causing and how much destruction to the climate it's causing.
Meanwhile, Big Sur is half gone. Look at the carbon footprint that these fires are causing, and I don't hear one complaint from the environmentalist wackos. I don't hear one complaint from the global warming fools led by Algore. I do not hear it. There's a much bigger carbon footprint with these fires going on than people driving their automobiles around. I can imagine what their reaction will be. "That's right, Mr. Limbaugh, you're exactly right, but the difference is those fires are natural. Those fires were started by lightning." This is the voice of the new castrati, by the way. "We can't stop that, Mr. Limbaugh, those are natural, but cars are manmade, and the fires are not manmade. Mr. Limbaugh, manmade things are destroying the planet." That would be their reaction to this. I got another question: Why is John Kerry, the haughty John Kerry, who served in Vietnam, why is he dumping all over his buddy, John McCain, a man that Senator Kerry, who served in Vietnam, considered making his vice presidential candidate back in 2004? Also on Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer talking to the haughty John Kerry. "I remember back in 2004 you were thinking seriously about adding McCain to your ticket. Now you're being very hard, it seems to me. This is not the first time you've said that McCain didn't understand the lessons of 9/11. You've said he didn't understand them in the least. What's happened here? Has John McCain changed or have you changed?"
KERRY: John McCain has changed in profound and fundamental ways that I find personally really surprising and, frankly, upsetting. He is not the John McCain as the senator who defined himself, quote, as a maverick, unquote. This is a different John McCain. This is, you know, not the "Senator" John McCain, this is "nomination" John McCain, this is "wannabe president" John McCain, and the result is that John McCain has flip-flopped on more issues than, you know, I was even ever accused possibly of thinking approximate. I mean this is extraordinary what he's done. He's changed on taxes. He's now in favor of the Bush tax cut. If you like the Bush economy, if you like the Bush tax cut and what it's done to our economy, making wealthier people wealthier and the average middle class struggle harder, then John McCain's going to give you a third term of George Bush and Karl Rove.
RUSH: This is -- (laughing) -- I don't know. I just have to laugh at these people. I don't even feel like parsing this. It's just difficult to -- I mean, John Kerry, loser? All of these Democrats that lose end up rising to the top of their chart, their depth chart, it's just a resume enhancement, because they become victims, they have been victims of the evil Republican machine. They were denied what was rightfully theirs. As such, they are to be honored as great soldiers who have gone down in a great fight, trying to improve America, ahem, while getting savaged and lied about by the evil Republicans. Right. Just another incompetent United States senator, John Kerry, who wrote the definition. I mean you look up the term "flip-flop" anywhere, you're going to see this giant picture of Lurch standing there, because he's the guy that popularized this. Now, listen to this. This is last Wednesday. This is on CNN's Election Center. This happened after we left the broadcast complex. CNN correspondent Michael Ware talking about Obama. Michael Ware is the guy that had the one-day fling with Lara Logan of CBS.
WARE: And one thing I'd like to hear from Senator Obama. It's fine to have this notion to pull the troops out. Who isn't tired, who doesn't want the troops to come home? But I want to hear Senator Obama say he's prepared to pull those troops out while listing all the costs to American power, interests, and status, not to mention the slaughter that almost certainly will follow. Then he can say that he's ready to pull the troops out. Let's hear him say he knows what it's really going to cost.
RUSH: That's right. You heard it, a CNN reporter, who had an affair with Lara Logan of CBS, wanting to know from Obama, "Hey, do you understand what's going to happen here if we pull out? I want to hear from you, sir." But he's not going to pull out. That's what this is all about. I think what's happened here, to sum all this up, what's happening here is that Obama is now campaigning like Hillary Clinton. He has basically taken charge of her campaign in the remaining months when she was still trying -- during the Operation Chaos phase. He's basically campaigning like Hillary. These reports that he has moved to the center are infuriating because he hasn't moved anywhere. He is talking center, but he's not going to govern center if he wins. But, again, the Democrats have to do this in order to win. Amidst all the arguments that conservatism has seen its better days, that the era of Reagan is over and all of this, what are the Democrats showing once again? That in order to win national elections, they have to be more like us. And what are we doing this time around? For some damn fool reason, we're campaigning like we think we have to be more like them. So we have a meeting here in the center going on as we stand now between Obama and McCain, and on some things, you know, this is a little bit of a stretch, but Obama, just by virtue of what he's saying, may end up occupying a position or two further to the right than McCain.
RUSH: Yeah, might play it once just for the fun of it. I was thinking just a temporary little theme song here for Obama's incompetent, foolish pandering here, Stuck in the Middle With You, by Stealers Wheel. "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right. Stuck in the middle." The problem is that the clowns and the jokers are the ones in the middle. So if we play that song about Obama, we're calling ourselves jokes and lifting him up, so it won't work. It was a nice try. Fertile mind on fire here today, folks.
Read the Background Material...
• LA Times: Obama Has a Vision for the Lincoln Bedroom
• Chicago Tribune: Obama Insists No Shift on Iraq
• Politico: Obama's Iraq Remarks Dominate Sunday Shows
• NewsBusters: Obama Abortion Flip-Flop Buried in NY Times Blog Item about Rove
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 7/10/2008 09:31:00 AM
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
To America's Critics
CALIFORNIA U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter whom Senator McCain describes as an "unequivocal social and fiscal conservative" would be an inspired pick that would unite the party behind him. We will know who McCain picks to be his running mate in about a month.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 7/09/2008 04:31:00 PM
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
In a remarkably short time the public has changed from supporters of environmentalism to advocates of drilling for oil and natural gas in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and/or in the ocean. For the first time since the 1970s liberals in both parties have found themselves responding to significant demands for drilling. Their responses are meant to confuse the electorate in order to turn public opinion back to their position on the environment.
Toward that end liberals have come up with two mantras which we hear on every talk show, in every press conference and in every speech addressing the high cost of gasoline. The first mantra is that it will take at least 10, maybe 30 years before we see a drop of oil coming from the ground at the aforementioned sites. The second mantra is that greedy oil companies already have 86 million acres of leases provided by the Federal Government. They only want more leases to satisfy their greed.
On the first point, correspondent Ken Wood pointed out that Larry Kudlow recently featured on his television show James T. Hackett, President and CEO of Anadarko Petroleum Company. Whereas some liberals are saying it could take 30 years for the oil to be available, Hackett said it would take two or three years, depending upon where the oil was drilled. Indeed, I saw one oil exploration expert on Fox News Channel who said that if the right equipment were available it would take only one year to get the first oil since the oil companies know exactly where the oil is located in the outer Continental Shelf. One oil shale expert told proponents of drilling in the House of Representatives that the first 800 million barrels of oil from shale could be available in two or three years. The remaining estimated two trillion barrels of oil from shale would take longer to have ready because they would be more difficult to extricate. But the initial 800 million barrels would help the U.S. economy.
On the second point, I received two different answers. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), who used to be in the oil business, said the reason oil companies are not drilling on the 86 million acres is that there is no substantial oil available on those lands to make drilling economically viable. He said the government only permits exploration on those leased lands, so oil companies have explored them and found that they would produce little. The second answer came from Hackett. He said the Federal Government is, in effect, guilty of fraud. They accept the lease money and the annual rents but have refused to grant permission to drill there. He implied that some oil had been found that would be worthwhile to extract but since they cannot drill the consumer sees no benefits. Either way, to accuse oil companies of greed is an unfounded assertion.
Neither liberal argument can be sustained if pro-drilling forces launch a campaign to educate the public. Thus far they have done an inadequate job explaining the real answers to these leftist fallacies. I am told by people from around the country who respond to my commentaries that Americans do not want to talk about anything other than the high cost of gasoline. Not Iraq. Not healthcare. Not even change, whatever that means. The only topic these days is $4 to $5-per-gallon gasoline.
That being the case, pro-drilling Members of the House and Senate should issue special orders on the chamber floors. They would be seen on prime time television and possibly would be picked up by the mainstream networks. They should hold daily press conferences. They should appear on national talk shows and talk radio every day. Each Senator should appear on local talk radio in his state and each House Member should do the same with talk radio in his district. They should arrange for editorial board meetings with national and local newspapers. They should organize volunteers to go door-to-door to ensure that everyone knows each side of the issue and which position would be best for the American economy and American consumers.
Given the opinion of the electorate and her own contrary ideological position, it is no wonder Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has pulled measures lifting the ban on drilling from the House calendar. My understanding is that the Democratic Majority Whip's count demonstrated that the pro-drilling forces had enough votes to lift the ban. That would be a terrible embarrassment to the anti-drilling forces and the environmentalists.
Since the House and Senate Leadership do not want to help Americans, pro-drilling Representatives and Senators should initiate discharge petitions. Maybe, just maybe, a majority of legislators would be willing to ignore the Majority Leadership. If they can force a vote and pass pro-drilling legislation, President George W. Bush will sign it into law. If the anti-drilling forces triumph in the 2008 elections, which seems likely, it may be too late; for another generation we will be forced to use less oil and gas because of the high cost. We will be voting to make ourselves miserable and poorer unless we act now.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 7/09/2008 02:26:00 PM
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Bush 34, Congressional Democrats 14
UPDATE: A year later Congress has a 9% approval rating.
The original post:
The new Reuters poll is out and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have pulled an upset: They have managed to make George Walker Bush twice as popular as Congress.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 7/08/2008 02:57:00 PM
Robert Harbison for the Christian Science Monitor Archives at Getty Images
After he was married in May, Buck Wolf and his new bride headed north to spend their honeymoon in the wilds of Alaska. They visited Fairbanks, Anchorage, Mt. Mckinley and Juno. They saw grizzly bears and they hiked the tundra.
Before he voyaged to The Last Frontier, Wolf said he was opposed to the whole of idea of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). After listening to Alaska State residents offer him their reasons, however, Wolf said he has to admit, the argument for offshore drilling is compelling.
As a journalist living in New York, not to mention About.coms Guide to Weird News, Wolf says he is used to being pitched for stories, but not like this.
People in Alaska aggressively talk up ANWR, he said. I felt like I was being lobbied. Theyre really feeling it.
There are a couple forces at work, Wolf said. First, Alaskan residents pay higher prices for their gas than residents in other US states do, and everything is far away. The state is as big as a third of the continental US, which means Alaskans have to drive further to get their gas than most people do in other states. Finally, because of the rugged terrain up there, everybody has big cars.
Its every person you speak to who wants to open it up," Wolf said. "Even the guy at the Sharper Image at the airport mentioned it. It's not just country the clubbers ... although they want it, too.
Apparently, the support for the ANWR project as well as offshore oil drilling seems to be trickling from the top down. Just last week, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, perhaps the most popular governor in the country, sent a letter to Congress, asking them to enact legislation that would allow oil and gas development in a small portion of ANWR.
From her web site:
Governor Palin stressed the need to enact an energy policy that includes oil and gas production from domestic sources, since failure to enact a sound energy policy is having real-life consequences. The Governor reminded members of Congress that the footprint of development would be less than 2,000 acres. She also assured members that any development would be conducted in a responsible and environmentally safe manner.
Palin has also been a vocal supporter of oil companies participating in the Alaskan Oil Pipeline sharing the wealth with state residents in the form of stipends. If ANWR were opened for business, state residents might see a decrease in costs of oil and gas prices, or, at the very least, receive reimbursements because of the stipends.
Despite what he saw and heard from the people in Alaska, Wolfe still opposes offshore oil drilling, but his opinion is tempered with understanding.
I dont think its a great policy, Wolf said. I dont think there are any serious benefits. Our needs are too great.
Wolf notes that much of the oil thats produced domestically is exported to nations in Asia. Nevertheless, the people of Alaska offer a persuasive argument for opening ANWR, he said.
Dick Cheney and Condaleeza Rice go to Saudi Arabia with hat in hand, begging them to give us more oil, Wolf said. You cant blame the Saudis for not upping production when were not willing to do it as well. Unless we can say were doing everything we can to combat high oil prices, its a little hard to ask someone else to, especially when were hoarding 70 percent of our oil reserves.
Although he probably wont vote for him, Wolfe says he likes John McCains comments about letting states make their own offshore oil drilling decisions.
What he was saying about local indigenous people deciding their own future, I think he was saying that because he knows people in Alaska overwhelmingly want it, Wolf said. In my opinion, if they want to look at an oil well outside their back door, thats their decision, not mine. I find that part of his argument persuasive.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 7/08/2008 11:30:00 AM
Friday, May 23, 2008
Barack Obama must be too busy declaring victory to read a newspaper. How else can you explain the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's obliviousness to what is going on in Iraq at this very moment?
Both The New York Times and the Washington Post this week had front-page stories about successful operations by Iraqi forces to root out Shiite militias in Baghdad's Sadr City -- a significant turning point in the war and a huge accomplishment for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. But there Obama was Tuesday evening patting himself on the back for his Oregon primary victory while once again repeating the same old tired formulation about the "failed" Bush policy in Iraq, "that asks everything of our troops and nothing of Iraqi politicians."
Sadr City has been a major problem for Maliki's fragile government. When Sunni tribal leaders last year began to turn against the insurgency -- whose forces were swelled with foreign fighters and which had killed thousands of Sunnis, as well as Shiites and Americans -- Maliki came under increasing pressure to rein in Shiite militias. His first effort to do so in Basra, a Shiite city the south of Iraq, was largely successful despite early reports of massive desertion by Iraqi troops and logistical problems. But Sadr City has always been the toughest nut to crack, with radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militias ruling the streets in the enclave of 2 million people.
Iraqi troops were able to move into Sadr City and restore order there, allowing civil society to function, precisely because Maliki's Shiite-dominated government is making significant strides in political reconciliation with Sunnis. So why can't Obama acknowledge this improvement? Because he's invested too much in the Iraqis -- and the U.S. -- failing.
Now, Gen. David Petraeus, who currently leads U.S. forces in Iraq but has been nominated to take over the entire U.S. Central Command, says that things are going so well in Iraq that the U.S. will be able to withdraw more troops from there in the fall. But this type of good news is bad news to Sen. Obama, and most Democrats.
Obama and his fellow Democrats are stuck in a time warp. The Democratic candidates -- Hillary Clinton only slightly less so than Obama -- have been counting on military and political failure in Iraq. When things started improving with the surge in U.S. troops and the so-called Sunni Awakening last year, they couldn't retool their messages to take account of the improved situation.
It's not so surprising that much of the Democratic Congressional leadership would fall into this trap. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are, after all, baby boomers who came of age during the Vietnam War. Iraq was always Vietnam redux for them. But Obama claims he represents a new generation, new ideas -- in his words, "change."
But he certainly hasn't let the facts change his opinion about what is going on in Iraq or what the United States should do in response. Like a broken record, he just keeps repeating the same old tune. If he really were a new kind of politician, he'd cheer what's happening in Iraq, compliment Prime Minister Maliki for his strides, and rethink his promise to undercut the progress by a precipitous withdrawal of all American troops.
In his stubborn refusal to admit things have changed in Iraq, Obama is looking more and more like a throwback to the Vietnam protestors who actively promoted America's defeat in order to prove they were right in their opposition to the Vietnam War. He may not be old enough to remember firsthand the shouts of "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh," or the Viet Cong flags hoisted at anti-war rallies of that era. But the sentiment that the enemy must win in order for American policy to be thoroughly repudiated seems to hover just beneath the surface of his gloomy assessment of Iraq. Obama's pessimism is simply old school anti-Americanism dressed up in patriotic rhetoric.
Linda Chavez is the author of "An Unlikely Conservative: The Transformation of an Ex-Liberal."
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 7/08/2008 10:27:00 AM
February 15, 2008
Senator Barack Obama is very gloomy about America, and he's aligning himself with the liberal wing of the Democratic party in hopes of coming to the nation's rescue. His proposal? Big-government planning, spending, and taxing -- exactly what the nation and the stock market doesn't want to hear.
Obama unveiled much of his economic strategy in Wisconsin this week: He wants to spend $150 billion on a green-energy plan. He wants to establish an infrastructure investment bank to the tune of $60 billion. He wants to expand health insurance by roughly $65 billion. He wants to "reopen" trade deals, which is another way of saying he wants to raise the barriers to free trade. He intends to regulate the profits for drug companies, health insurers, and energy firms. He wants to establish a mortgage-interest tax credit. He wants to double the number of workers receiving the earned-income tax credit (EITC) and triple the EITC benefit for minimum-wage workers.
The Obama spend-o-meter is now up around $800 billion. And tax hikes on the rich won't pay for it. It's the middle class that will ultimately shoulder this fiscal burden in terms of higher taxes and lower growth.
This isn't free enterprise. It's old-fashioned-liberal tax, and spend, and regulate. It's plain ol' big government. The only people who will benefit are the central planners in Washington.
Obama would like voters to believe that he's the second coming of JFK. But with his unbelievable spending and new-government-agency proposals he's looking more and more like Jimmy Carter. His is a "Grow the Government Bureaucracy Plan," and it's totally at odds with investment and business.
Obama says he wants U.S. corporations to stop "shipping jobs overseas" and bring their cash back home. But if he really wanted U.S. companies to keep more of their profits in the states he'd be calling for a reduction in the corporate tax rate. Why isn't he demanding an end to the double-taxation of corporate earnings? It's simple: He wants higher taxes, too.
The Wall Street Journal's Steve Moore has done the math on Obama's tax plan. He says it will add up to a 39.6 percent personal income tax, a 52.2 percent combined income and payroll tax, a 28 percent capital-gains tax, a 39.6 percent dividends tax, and a 55 percent estate tax.
Not only is Obama the big-spending candidate, he's also the very-high-tax candidate. And what he wants to tax is capital.
Doesn't Obama understand the vital role of capital formation in creating businesses and jobs? Doesn't he understand that without capital, businesses can't expand their operations and hire more workers?
Dan Henninger, writing in Thursday's Wall Street Journal, notes that Obama's is a profoundly pessimistic message. "Strip away the new coat of paint from the Obama message and what you find is not only familiar," writes Henninger. "It's a downer."
Obama wants you to believe that America is in trouble, and that it can only be cured with a big lurch to the left. Take from the rich and give to the non-rich. Redistribute income and wealth. It's an age-old recipe for economic disaster. It completely ignores incentives for entrepreneurs, small family-owned businesses, and investors. You can't have capitalism without capital. But Obama would penalize capital, be it capital from corporations or investors. This will only harm, and not advance, opportunities for middle-class workers.
Obama believes he can use government, and not free markets, to drive the economy. But on taxes, trade, and regulation, Obama's program is anti-growth. A President Obama would steer us in the social-market direction of Western Europe, which has produced only stagnant economies down through the years. It would be quite an irony. While newly emerging nations in Eastern Europe and Asia are lowering the tax penalties on capital -- and reaping the economic rewards -- Obama would raise them. Low-rate flat-tax plans are proliferating around the world. Yet Obama completely ignores this. American competitiveness would suffer enormously under Obama, as would job opportunities, productivity, and real wages.
Imitate the failures of Germany, Norway, and Sweden? That's no way to run economic policy.
I have so far been soft on Obama this election season. In many respects he is a breath of fresh air. He's an attractive candidate with an appealing approach to politics. Obama is likeable, and sometimes he gets it -- such as when he opposed Hillary Clinton's five-year rate-freeze on mortgages.
But his message is pessimism, not hope. And behind the charm and charisma is a big-government bureaucrat who would take us down the wrong economic road.
Lawrence Kudlow is a former Reagan economic advisor, a syndicated columnist, and the host of CNBC's Kudlow & Company. Visit his blog, Kudlow's Money Politics.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 7/08/2008 10:21:00 AM
-- In 2005, Obama traveled with Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., to former Soviet states and visited sites where nuclear weapons were being dismantled.
-- In 2006, Obama visited Africa, where he and his wife publicly took HIV tests in Kenya to encourage citizens there to do the same. He also met AIDS researchers and activists and caused a stir by speaking out against corruption and the corrosive role of tribal loyalties in the Kenyan government.
-- Also in 2006, Obama traveled to the Middle East, where he met Israel's foreign minister, spent two days in Iraq talking to officials and military commanders, and stopped in the Palestinian territory, Jordan and Kuwait.
-- In February 2008, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved Obama's proposal to require a new strategy to reduce global poverty.
Ed comment: Sounds like Miss World contestant
-- In January 2007, the president signed Obama and Lugar's legislation aimed at improving nonproliferation efforts, including eliminating stockpiles of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles. Later that year, Obama proposed creating an internationally monitored uranium reserve that would guarantee fuel would be available for commercial nuclear reactors and dissuade countries from building their own uranium enrichment capability.
-- In June 2007, the Senate passed Obama's resolution condemning violence by the Zimbabwe government.
-- In January 2007, he proposed legislation that would have prevented President Bush from sending more troops to Iraq and required troop withdrawals to begin that spring. Last November, he introduced legislation that would make clear Congress had not authorized military force against Iran. Neither measure received a vote.
-- In July 2005, the Senate passed legislation co-sponsored by Obama to provide $13 million for the Special Court for Sierra Leone to use in the prosecution of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 7/08/2008 09:19:00 AM
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Senate Republicans pressed the chamber's Democratic majority Monday to drop its opposition to more offshore oil drilling as the average price of gasoline hit a new high of nearly $4.11 per gallon.
"The American people are saying loud and clear - there is no ambiguity about it - they want us to do something [about gas prices] and they understand the law of supply and demand," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.
Democrats did not budge, saying oil companies currently sit on unused oil-drilling leases for 68 million acres of federal lands and that they forgo tax breaks to develop alternative energy.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, instead touted bipartisan proposals aimed at reining in speculators in the oil futures market. Speculators have been blamed for creating artificially high prices.
"Even if the Republican proposal were enacted, it would take years - even decades - to conduct exploration and begin drilling," Mr. Reid said on the Senate floor. "And even then, the Republican plan wouldn't lower gas prices."
The energy debate overshadowed other business facing the chamber, including a $300 billion bill to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, a Medicare bill to reverse a planned 10.6 percent cut in payments to doctors and an update of rules for government electronic eavesdropping on foreign terrorism suspects.
Mr. Reid accused Republicans of blocking the housing and Medicare bills and of stalling Democratic tax breaks for developing clean alternative fuels.
JOHN TULLY/THE WASHINGTON TIMES Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell addresses reporters at his office on Monday. The Kentucky Republican pushed the Democrats to accept more offshore oil drilling in a bid to combat rising gasoline prices.
"As the American people endure sleepless nights trying to figure out how to make ends meet and provide for their families, they deserve to know that their Congress is working hard to help," he said. "Instead, they are seeing Senate Republican leaders simply refusing to work with Democrats on legislation essential to our country in this economic recession."
Both sides said mounting pressure from voters would work in their favor.
Mr. McConnell, speaking to reporters in his Capitol office, cited a survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press that showed 45 percent of liberal voters say expanded energy exploration is the top priority, up from 22 percent with that view in February.
"I can't imagine that the majority is going to ignore that indefinitely," he said.
He said he was courting Democratic support for a bill that would give states the option to approve offshore oil drilling and lift the moratorium on oil-shale projects, which could produce as much as 800 billion barrels of oil in the U.S.
The Republican bill also would provide incentives for developing battery-powered cars and crack down on speculation in the oil futures market.
The measure, titled the Gas Price Reduction Act, is co-sponsored by 44 of the chamber's 49 Republicans but has no Democratic sponsors.
"The process of reaching out has begun," Mr. McConnell said. "I wouldn't say we have any on board."
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 7/08/2008 08:56:00 AM
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
As Barack Obama continues to campaign for the general election, his flip-flops increase along the way. Thus, he is jeopardizing the image he has cultivated as an authentic and principled candidate. His reversals are so egregious that, at this rate, he risks snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Mr. Obama's credibility was first breached during the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy. When video surfaced of Rev. Wright making inflammatory statements at Trinity United Church, Mr. Obama took a principled stand: "I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother." Yet, the Illinois senator subsequently denounced his pastor and then left Trinity United Church. Mr. Obama's statements throughout the controversy revealed that he was deceptive: Either he knew that Rev. Wright was a radical preacher and therefore initially feigned ignorance of his ideology, or, Mr. Obama did not know Rev. Wright had so many extreme viewpoints, which means he overstated his commitment and zeal for Trinity United Church. Mr. Obama's mishandling of the Rev. Wright controversy was the first major, visible crack in his public image as a man of principle.
Since then, the flip-flops abound - on small matters and large. Mr. Obama declared during the primaries that he would opt out of The North American Free Trade Agreement if it was not re-negotiated; he then stated that his rhetoric had been "overheated." He pledged to accept public financing; he then decided to forgo public financing because John McCain and the Republicans would "game the system." He stated that he was willing to meet rogue leaders "without preconditions" only to declare later that certain preconditions were necessary before engaging in talks. In a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, he stated that he would support an "undivided Jerusalem;" he then said he had been misunderstood. He declared that the D.C. gun ban was constitutional, only to later praise the recent Supreme Court ruling that the gun ban is unconstitutional. He was opposed to granting immunity to telecommunications companies for wire-tapping and yet he now favors this. When he came under fire during the primaries for not wearing a flag lapel pin, he stated that he stopped wearing it because it "became a substitute for, I think, true patriotism." He now wears a flag lapel pin.
Perhaps in isolation, each of these incidents could be justified. However, there is a pattern emerging: Mr. Obama does not stand his ground when it is not politically expedient. When he reverses course, he is willing to blame others for his errors in judgement. He also makes convoluted, misleading statements. The Democrat is both a flip-flopper and a deceiver. This is indeed a manifestation of audacity - but does not offer voters much hope for "new politics."
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 7/08/2008 08:51:00 AM
Monday, July 07, 2008
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 7/07/2008 04:27:00 PM
Mon, June 16, 2008
It's clear that both John McCain and Barack Obama want the Jewish vote in their run for the U.S. presidency -- but which one are American Jews likely to support?
The Jewish vote is important, not because of their numbers, but because of their influence and money -- not necessarily in that order.
Traditionally, Jews vote for the Democratic ticket.
This year may be different, because of the candidates.
To a non-Jew (me), the choice seems a no-brainer, especially if one is concerned about the security of Israel and its continued existence.
This latter, is not carved in stone, and more uncertain than at any time since the 1950s when the repeated Arab intent was "to drive Israel into the sea."
Since the rise of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the "elimination" of Israel is again echoing across the Middle East, endorsed by Hezbollah and Hamas, both supported by Iran or, more precisely, by Ahmadinejad and those who reflect his hate.
Although he yearns for nuclear weapons (right now limited to enriched uranium), we (the outside world) shouldn't panic prematurely.
Rather, we should realize there's a vibrant democratic movement inside Iran which, if not exactly democratic, at least is uneasy about Ahmadinejad.
Last fall, an Israeli air attack demolished an intended nuclear plant in northern Syria that resulted in minimum publicity -- outrage from the supplier, North Korea, and muted dismay from Syria and Iran.
How about Obama's and McCain's individual pledges to stand by Israel if elected president? Which of them has the most credibility?
Obama's words are silken and honeyed, as he pledges: "Israel's security is sacrosanct, non-negotiable ... I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our ally, Israel ... I will never compromise Israel's security ... do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon." And so on. Sentiments echoed by Hillary Clinton, who seems determined to be vice-president.
McCain, on the other hand, isn't as eloquent on the subject. To him it's a given that he supports Israel. His policies alone, if successful, protect Israel. Words are unnecessary -- his actions speak volumes.
Unlike some, McCain I believable when he says: "There's only one thing worse than military action, and that's a nuclear-armed Iran."
If elected, he intends to keep American troops in the area until there's no need for them. Obama, on the other hand, wants to withdraw U.S. troops -- but would send them back if Israel's survival were threatened. If you believe that, you probably believe in Ahmadinejad's pacifism.
Without mentioning Israel, McCain has made it clear he intends to reduce the threat of Ahmadinejad and Iran. Obama favours unconditional talks with Ahmadinejad, Hamas and other Mideast factions. Small wonder the anti-Israel faction want Obama as prez -- and are uneasy about McCain.
So how will American Jews vote? I'm told by people who know, that two-thirds of young American Jews base their vote on domestic issues, one third on the Israeli question.
California, New York and Florida are states with the most Jews. It's likely California and New York Jews will vote for Obama -- which won't affect the outcome, because these states are Democratic bastions.
Florida Jews are older (retired), and more concerned about Israel. These are likely to vote for McCain, and are a significant factor in a swing state.
In other words, the Jewish vote is irrelevant in California and New York, but critical to both candidates in Florida. Here, McCain's prospects are better because his policies make Israel more secure than Obama's.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 7/07/2008 02:22:00 PM
Sunday, July 06, 2008
The Indonesian Newspaper Banjarmasin Post sheds light on Obama's early years. This report suggests that Obama has not accurately reported his early religious education. It also raises several legal questions relating to the fact that he was an Indonesian citizen, and whether he now needs to renounce his dual nationality. Clarification from Team Obama would be helpful
In summary the article states
1) Obama was active in the prayer room
2) Barry was at one time quite a religious Muslim
3) All his father's relatives were religious Muslims
4) Barry was registered as a Muslim and an Indonesian citizen at his school in 1968
5) Obama has now moved onto be a Christian
Here's a machine generated translation of the article, with the original directly below:
On Sunday, on July 09 2006 02:31
Obama small still was remembered by his teammates in Jakarta. Barry, the Barack call during small, flexible and easy-going. Apart from often played marble and football, he was active to the prayer room.
Barry was previously quite religious Islam. His birth father, Barack Husein Obama was the Muslim economist from Kenya. Before marrying Ann Dunham, Husein Obama married Kenyans and produced seven children. All the relatives a Barry's father were religious Islam. "We previously often asked him to the prayer room close to the house." If with the sarong, funny deh, said Rony Amir, Barry's teammate when living in Street H Ramli, the region Menteng Dalam, Jakarta. In fact, without wearing the sarong, Barry also appeared funny. This was because his body was fat, tall, and he had curly hair. Ronny when remembering the memory with Barry always laughed. "Funny no matter what," he said while terkekeh.
But, at this time Barry has moved the Christian religion. He lived happy with his wife, Michelle, with two daughters. Since being chosen as the US senator from Illinois, Barry's name was increasingly famous. About the challenged taken on by Barry in the USA, Rony took part in feeling proud. According to him, since childhood, Barry indeed liked to socialise. Perhaps this became important for Barry, so as to become a politicians who was respected in the USA. Be most startled enough also Rony when hearing Barry becoming the great person in US. Padahal, since small, Barry did not differ from children Menteng Dalam that liked to play marble and football. "That distinguished with us only, at that time his body was high big and black," said Rony.
In the beginning of the life in Jakarta, Barry the school in the Franciscan PRIMARY SCHOOL. Here he was registered by the name of Barry Soetoro. He entered this PRIMARY SCHOOL with the serial number 203. In his report, Barry was written was born in Honolulu, on August 4 1961. In the school document, Barry was written as the Indonesian citizen.
Barry entered the Franciscan PRIMARY SCHOOL on January 1 1968 and sat in the class of 1B. Agama Barry that was written in the document was Islam.
While his father had a name L Soetoro Ma that worked as the official of Director General's Geography of Topografi TNI Angkatan Darat of the Service.
Barry only went to school three years in the Asisi PRIMARY SCHOOL.
He only studied until the class 3.
In 1970, Barry moved to the Percobaan PRIMARY SCHOOL 04 Besuki, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat.
When moving to the Besuki PRIMARY SCHOOL, Barry also moved the house to Street Dempo, Matraman, Jakarta
Dozens of years did not meet, friends of Barry's PRIMARY SCHOOL in Jakarta then yearned for him.
Initially, they did not know Barack Obama.
However after they saw his photograph, they then just understood that the loop hair had black skin that was Barry.
"Oh... the black that."
He previously his name of Barry.
Intensively he, now he is the great person.
In America again.
When yes he to Indonesia again, said Irma Dewi Sukanti, one of the former friends of the senator who currently is talked about as the US presidential candidate 2008. competed with Hillary Rodham Clinton, the wife former US President Bill Clinton.
Tranlated at http://www.toggletext.com/kataku_trial.php#
Source Banjarmasin Post.
Sunday, 09 July 2006 02:31
SENATOR AS RASA INDONESIA (2-HABIS)
Bocah Negro Gemuk Itu Rajin Ke Mushala
Barack Obama kecil masih diingat oleh teman-teman sepermainannya di Jakarta. Barry, panggilan Barack saat kecil, supel dan pandai bergaul. Selain sering bermain kelereng dan sepakbola, dia aktif ke mushala.
AKRAB - Senator Obama bersama dua pendukung.
Barry dulu memang beragama Islam. Ayah kandungnya, Barack Husein Obama adalah seorang muslim ahli ekonomi asal Kenya. Sebelum menikah dengan Ann Dunham, Husein Obama telah menikah dengan orang Kenya dan mendapat keturunan tujuh anak. Semua saudara sebapak Barry ini beragama Islam.
"Kita dulu sering mengajak dia ke mushala dekat rumah. Kalau pakai sarung, lucu deh," kata Rony Amir, teman sepermainan Barry saat tinggal di Jalan H Ramli, kawasan Menteng Dalam, Jakarta.
Sebenarnya, tanpa memakai sarung, Berry juga tampak lucu. Ini karena badannya gemuk, tinggi, serta berambut ikal. Ronny saat mengingat kenangan bersama Barry selalu tertawa. "Lucu pokoknya," ujarnya sambil terkekeh.
Tapi, saat ini Barry sudah berpindah agama Kristen. Dia hidup bahagia bersama istrinya, Michelle, dengan dua putri. Sejak terpilih sebagai senator AS dari Illinois, nama Barry semakin terkenal.
Tentang sepak terjang Barry di AS, Rony turut merasa bangga. Menurut dia, sejak kecil, Barry memang suka bergaul.
Barangkali inilah yang menjadi modal bagi Barry, sehingga menjadi politisi yang cukup disegani di AS.
Cukup terkejut juga Rony saat mendengar Barry menjadi orang top di AS. Padahal, semenjak kecil, Barry tidak beda dengan anak-anak Menteng Dalam yang senang main kelereng dan sepakbola.
"Yang membedakan dengan kita hanyalah, saat itu badannya tinggi besar dan hitam," ujar Rony.
Di awal-awal hidup di Jakarta, Barry sekolah di SD Fransiskus Asisi. Di sini dia terdaftar dengan nama Barry Soetoro. Dia masuk ke SD ini dengan nomor urut 203.
Dalam rapornya, Barry tertulis lahir di Honolulu, 4 Agustus 1961. Dalam dokumen sekolah, Barry tertulis sebagai warga negara Indonesia.
Barry masuk ke SD Fransiskus Asisi pada 1 Januari 1968 dan duduk di kelas 1B. Agama Barry yang tertulis dalam dokumen itu adalah Islam. Sementara ayahnya bernama L Soetoro MA yang bekerja sebagai pegawai Dinas Geografi Ditjen Topografi TNI Angkatan Darat. Barry hanya bersekolah tiga tahun di SD Asisi. Dia hanya belajar sampai kelas 3.
Pada 1970, Barry pindah ke SD Percobaan 04 Besuki, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat. Saat pindah ke SD Besuki, Barry juga pindah rumah ke Jalan Dempo, Matraman, Jakarta.
Puluhan tahun tidak bertemu, teman-teman SD Barry di Jakarta pun merindukannya. Awalnya, mereka tidak mengenal Barack Obama. Namun setelah mereka melihat fotonya, mereka pun baru paham bahwa si rambut ikal berkulit hitam itu adalah Barry.
"Oh...si negro itu. Dia dulu namanya Barry. Hebat dia, sekarang dia jadi orang top. Di Amerika lagi. Kapan ya dia ke Indonesia lagi," ujar Irma Dewi Sukanti, salah satu mantan teman senator yang kini disebut-sebut sebagai calon Presiden AS 2008. bersaing dengan Hillary Rodham Clinton, istri mantan Presiden AS Bill Clinton. dtc/dws
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 7/06/2008 09:17:00 PM
Employers use federal law to deny benefits
Saturday July 5, 11:31 pm ET
By Mark Sherman, Associated Press Writer
Workers -- and some judges -- frustrated in legal fights over benefits with large employers
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Dying of cancer, Thomas Amschwand did everything he was told to make sure his wife would collect on the life insurance policy he had through his employer.
"He was obsessed with dotting every `i' and crossing every `t'," Melissa Amschwand-Bellinger recalled about her husband, who died in 2001 at age 30.
But Spherion Corp., the temporary staffing company where Amschwand worked, told Amschwand-Bellinger she would not receive any of the $426,000 in benefits she believed she was due. When she went to court, Spherion succeeded in getting her lawsuit thrown out. The Supreme Court on June 27 refused to review the case.
Amschwand-Bellinger received a refund of the few thousand dollars in insurance premiums she and her husband dutifully had paid. The total, she said, would not cover the costs of his funeral.
The story has played out often under the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Designed to protect employee benefits, the law has been used by employers as a shield against suits.
Federal appeals courts, interpreting Supreme Court decisions dating to 1993, consistently have said companies that offer health, life and retirement benefits under ERISA cannot be sued for large amounts of money, or damages. Instead, they can be sued only for typically smaller sums such as Amschwand's insurance premiums.
Several federal judges have bemoaned the unfairness even as they have felt constrained to rule in favor of employers.
"The facts ... scream out for a remedy beyond the simple return of premiums," Judge Fortunato Benavides of the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in the Amschwand case. "Regrettably, under existing law it is not available."
The Bush administration has argued that the appeals courts are misreading the precedents and has asked the high court at least twice to clarify the earlier rulings. So far it has refused.
Congress, which could amend ERISA to make clear such suits are allowed, also has taken no action.
The result, in the view of ERISA experts, the administration and some lawmakers, is perverse.
"The beneficiary under the policy didn't get the promised benefit," said Colleen Medill, an expert on ERISA at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "To say we're just going to return your premiums, that's a total farce. That's not what they paid the premiums for. They paid them for the benefits."
Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said at a recent hearing that before ERISA became law, employees clearly could sue for benefits in state courts.
The court rulings, said Leahy, D-Vt., have left people "more vulnerable than they were before the law was passed."
Spherion's decision to deny benefits to Amschwand-Bellinger turned on an odd set of facts. Spherion, which employs about 300,000 people, switched insurers after Thomas Amschwand was diagnosed with a rare form of heart cancer. The new policy did not take effect until an employee worked one full day. Spherion never informed Amschwand of the requirement.
Amschwand asked repeatedly whether there was anything else he needed to do and was told no. He asked that the new policy be sent to him. Spherion never did so.
He died without returning to work. His widow said he easily could have worked a day if that was what it took to activate the new policy. Spherion could have waived the one-day-of-work provision, as it did for other employees but not for Amschwand.
Spherion spokesman Kip Havel issued a brief statement when contacted by The Associated Press after the high court declined to review the case. "We are pleased the court has made its decision and the matter has finally been resolved," Havel said.
The court also recently turned down an appeal from Louis Gerard "Gerry" Goeres, who sued Charles M. Schwab & Co. over hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement plan benefits.
For 16 months, Schwab mistakenly refused to acknowledge Goeres as the beneficiary in the retirement plan of his domestic partner, Stephen Ward, a Schwab employee who died in 1999. By the time Schwab acknowledged its error, the value of the account had declined by more than $500,000. Goeres sued for the rest. Federal courts dismissed the suit. "Unfortunately, legal relief is not available," U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said in ruling against Goeres.
"You know the Schwab commercial, `Talk to Chuck?'" Goeres said. "I thought if Chuck knew this, he'd say, 'Oh my God, this is so wrong.' I live on naive dreams."
Schwab said in court papers that Goeres could have taken legal action soon after Ward's death, when he first was told he was not the beneficiary.
Amschwand-Bellinger said the cases show the need for either the court or Congress to provide "some sort of meaningful remedy for employees when employers have a breach of fiduciary duty."
A Texas native who lives in an unincorporated Houston suburb, she has since remarried and has an 18-month-old daughter. She is president and executive director of the Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation, which she founded with her first husband.
She recognizes that she is more fortunate than many others who have fought similarly futile battles for benefits under ERISA. "What if we had had children and I was a stay at home mom?" said Amschwand-Bellinger, who previously worked for a public hospital system. "What if I was 60 years old, with no skill sets, and I had to go back to work?"
Bill's Comment: If you are able to get your own health insurance, then go for it. The day will come when employers will say, "To heck with this." If Congress was to pass a bill in which the employee can use it as a tax write-off and not the employer, then that will, at least, get the ball rolling. The sooner we can get rid of the entitlement mentality, the better off we will be.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 7/06/2008 07:50:00 PM