"I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong."-- A. Lincoln
Since Republicans won't approve an increase in the debt limit unless the Administration rules out tax increases as a means of cutting the deficit, since the debt limit must be raised if the economy is to avoid utter disaster, and since tax increases will be necessary in order to substantially address the deficit, Forbes Magazine has a suggestion: simply call the tax increases kumquats.
Hey. It makes more sense than the Republican position does!
David Letterman the other night: "I hear Chris Wallace of (elabortate show of coughing and clearing throat) Chris Wallace of (elaborate show of coughing and clearing throat) Fox News asked Michele Bachmann (sic) whether she was a flake.
"All I have to say is that calling Michele Obachmann (sic) a flake is an insult to the fine folks at Kellogg's."
Letterman used to be a comedian, more or less the way Newsweek used to be a news magazine. Unfortuately, both have given up their previous callings to become purveyors of partisan extremist snark.
He had to wait to get to Dallas to actually win the Cup, but played well enough to do it in 1992. That year the Hawks reached the Finals, only to be swept in four games by the Pittsburgh Penguins Each of those four games, however, was decided by only one goal. If the truth be told, the Penguins were a sgnificantly better team that year than the Hawks were; "Eddie the Eagle" kept it close.
Though he had a bad temper (I remember him once reacting to the elimination of the Hawks from the playoffs by breaking his stick over the crossbar of the goal he'd been defending) and a reputation as something of a problem in the clubhouse, he had a 2.17 goals against average in the playoffs. Compare with the legendary Patrick Roy's 2.30.
Bad news for Jon Huntsman, who favors civil unions for same-sex couples. But of course, Huntsman has already made the decision to skip Iowa and focus on New Hampshire. It should be noted that civil unions would be one way to cut the ground out from under the movement to redefine marriage in order to include same-sex couples. In fact, they would completely destroy the entire legal argument that got the Iowa Supreme Court to mandate same-sex "marriage." Just sayin'
Of far greater concern is that not only have Iowa Republicans apparently not tumbled to the hard, cold fact of life that addressing the deficit meaningfully is going to have to include both massive budget cuts and higher taxes for everybody, but a goodly percentage consider a realistic attitude on tax increases to be a deal-breaker.
From Pawlenty's in speech today to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York:
What is wrong, is for the Republican Party to shrink from the challenges of American leadership in the world. History repeatedly warns us that in the long run, weakness in foreign policy costs us and our children much more than we’ll save in a budget line item.
America already has one political party devoted to decline, retrenchment, and withdrawal; it does not need a second one.
Pawlenty may not have very impressive numbers at this point here in Iowa, but he's the front-runner for this perennial caucus-goer's support.
The article linked to herein dates from 2008, and I frankly agree with Colin Powell and with its author that the comments by Michele Bachman to which they take exception were way out of line.
But so is the article itself. I have to wonder to whom the author of this diatribe considers the Missouri Synod- which he misidentifies as Michele Bachman's affiliation (she was Wisconsin Synod before apparently leaving the Lutheran church to become a generic "Evangelical") to be embarassing. Perhaps to the pseudo-Lutherans in the ELCA?
The picture at the left, which decorates the piece of garbage linked to above, in any case ought to be embarassing to its author. It's just further evidence of the culture of hate and character assassination which is the Far Left.
On one hand, the more I read about Michele Bachmann (whose office has as yet not replied to my inquiry about information I've received from a reliable source that she's left the Lutheran church), the less I think she was ever theologically a Lutheran to begin with.
The interview reported here reinforces that impression. On the other hand, the smarmy tone of the reportage and of the comments by readers of the web page on which it appears make it clear that there are some Americans who actually think it remarkable that a person should seek to conform to God's will in making a major life decision.
I am not an admirer of Ms. Bachmann, and- being a Lutheran in fact as well as in name- I have no particular affinity for her style of Christianity. But I find the religious bigotry of those who both report and comment on her statement and the story linked to above as offensive as it is remarkable.
It's not pretty. But I think it might be interesting comparing the SAT scores from Kansas and Missouri with those from New York.
Iowa, of course, ranks in the top two or three states in literacy and percentage of its population with college degrees. Off hand, I'd guess that Kansas and Missouri probably rank higher in both of those departments than New York does, as well.
Disapproval of a behavior does not equate to hate. Neither does a belief (especially one rather easily defended by fact and logic) that this behavior is not healthy, should not be considered normal, and that while those who practice it have every civil right to do so, it is perfectly appropriate to express that disapproval without being accused of anything other than disapproval of a behavior.
If it were, all those anti-smoking commercials and billboards would be hate speech. Funny the way political correctness works, isn't it?
Goofball Leftist media like Rolling Stone have already begun demonizing Michele Bachmann. Bush Hate gives way to Palin Hate gives way to Bachmann Hate. It seems that the Loony Left is always hating somebody- usually while in the act of accusing the people they're hating on of... well, hate.
"Hate," of course, is- for a liberal- defined as "disagreeing with a liberal." And the really hilarious part of it is that while there are admittedly a whole bunch of right-wing loonies who treat President Obama the same way the Left treated President Bush, and is still treating Sarah Palin (and now, Bachmann), the Bush and Palin and Bachmann-haters act as if the phenomenon began with the advent of Barack Obama.
She replied that it would be "insulting" to say that- which it obviously would.
On the other hand, Ms. Bachmann is far enough from the mainstream of the American electorate that she can count on hearing that charge throughout her presidential campaign. Although one trusts that President Obama will be more polite than to actually use that word should Ms. Bachmann be nominated, you can count on the charge being the essence of a Democratic campaign desperately seeking to distract attention from the economy, and to make Ms. Bachmann the issue.
Personally, I think that handing the Democrats a way to try to wiggle out of taking responsibility for Barack Obama's disastrous presidency would be a very, very large mistake.
So in one sense, for Wallace to ask the question was inevitable. I don't think the fact that the issue was raised in itself is an indicator of journalistic bias. But …
The poll gives Romney 23 percent to Bachmann's 22 percent.. Businessman Herman Cain comes in third, with 10 percent. Rep. Ron Paul and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich- the unraveling of whose campaign in Iowa has been a national news story- are tied for fourth with seven percent. Next comes former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlently with six, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum with four, and former Utah Governor and U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman with two. For some reason, the poll omitted Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is expected to enter the race and to be a major player on the party's Right.
I was called by the poll, but didn't answer my phone quickly enough. I got the questions on my voicemail. If I had been quicker on the draw, I would probably have voted for Pawlenty, tho…
The quotation marks are deliberate. Legal definitions and rights can be changed by the action of a court or a legislature, but changing the most basic institution of human society itself is beyond the power of any government. And theologically, of course, the government may no more change the divine institution of marriage to include couples of the same sex than it can do so to include couples of different species- or, for that matter, between animate and non-animate entities.
Even though the tomato is botanically a fruit (having mutliple seeds), in the United States it is legally a vegetable by virtue of the decision …
Not that I'm trying to rain on the Bruins' parade or anything, but I just came across the You Tube recording below of the home-town WGN Radio call of Patrick Kane's Stanley Cup winning goal in Game 6 of last year's Finals. Just to have it in my archives, and also to share with fellow Hawk fans who read this blog, I thought I'd post it.
In case you've wondered whether Chicago fans take their hockey seriously, this may enlighten you.
A slightly-edited version, synched to the video of the Cup-winning goal can be seen by clicking the next video, "Patrick Kane Stanley Cup OT Goal- Great Call by Announcer" on the right side of the screen after the video ends.
Here's to the Hawks reclaiming their hardware next June!
Nate Silver of The New York Times handicaps the odds of the "first tier" of 2012 GOP presidential candidates getting the nomination- and, not surprisingly, sees Mitt Romney as a strong favorite.
Silver says that "objectively," the odds of Romney's nomination strike him as being about 50/50. But concerns about the resemblance of what Tim Pawlenty has christened "Obamneycare-" the Obama-like health care plan Romney was responsible for getting passed while governor of Massachusetts- cause him to scale Romney's estimated chance of being the nominee down to 40%.
Silver lists the chances of Romney's closest competitor, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, getting the nomination at 18%. He gives Texas Gov. Rick Perry a 12.5% chance of being nominated, and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann- who, he observes, is about as far from the center of the current American electorate as George McGovern was from that of 1972- about 12% chance.
But if we don't get that increase, the government will default- and everything we have all suffered since the late summer of 2008 will seem like a picnic in comparison.
This is not a subject about which it is remotely responsible for either party to be playing "chicken." The debt limit must be increased, come what may. There is no sane option- and to hold the matter hostage as a part of a partisan power play is simply crazy
And the nature of that power play is also problematic. The Speaker of the House- along with the rest of the GOP's congressional leadership- is pulling a real Boehner in demanding that there be no tax increases as part of the deal to raise the debt limit. Taxes are going to have to be raised if we're going to do anything about the deficit.
These are times in which is hard to have much respect for America's leaders- of either party.
On September 11, 2011, 2,977 Americans died as a result of a plot hatched by Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, a sanctuary provided him by his Taliban allies. The United States demanded his extradition. The Taliban refused. We went to war- and ousted the Taliban, installing a democratically elected government led by Hamid Karzaii.
By all accounts that government is fragile, corrupt, and in all ways less than ideal. It "governs" a country with little history of democracy- or, for that matter, meaningful national government of any kind. But the Karsai government is the only alternative to the Taliban taking over again, and once more providing a nation-state to protect and enable al Quaeda and its ilk.
But the Taliban didn't give up. It fought back, and for a while seemed poised to take over again. But President Obama wisely signed off on the surge Gen. David Petraeus- the offic…
Kathie O'Bradovich of the Des Moines Register takes on the fiction that the Iowa Caucuses necessarily produce unelectable winners, and thus should be displaced as the first step in the nominating process.
It is true, as I myself have pointed out more than once, that both of Iowa's political parties tend to be somewhat more extreme than those in other states. The nature of a caucus rather than a primary as the format for a presidential choice exacerbates the problem; participants tend to be the most politically active members of the body politic, who are generally found either on the extremes or within special interest groups, or both. It's the same phenomenon which results in such impressive showings by marginal candidates like Ron Paul in volunteer gatherings of party activists like the Republican Leadership Conference. Contrary to the wishful thinking of the extremist Paulistas, this triumph by an unelectable candidate whom the Republican party would never actually cons…
And rightly so. Like it or not, the United States- even in this time of declining influence- is the place the world looks for leadership, and when bloodthirsty tyrants like Qaddafi start threatening to massacre innocent people, the decent human beings of the world need to respond.
Further, after the price we've paid in Afghanistan, it behooves us not to turn the country over to the Taliban by a precipitate withdrawal, no matter what the polls may say. That, too, is a matter of leadership. True enough, we cannot win the Afghan civil war for the Karsai regime. But to withdraw before we've given it every chance to prepare to win it by its own efforts would mean handing Osama bin Laden victory even in death. It would be nothing short of obscene to waste all those lives by handing al Qaeda and the Taliban Afghanistan t…
Ed Kilgore of the New Republic says that Rick Perry will not save the Republcans. He's right- which is somethng that can't be said often of people who write for the New Republic. Perry is much too far to the Right.
Merrill Matthews of Forbes says that Hispanics will not save the Democrats. He, too, is right- for a whole bunch of demographic, sociological and poltical reasons, concerning each of which it's hard to suggest that he's wrong.
Radical columnist Reka Basu of our beloved Des Moines Register- aka "Iowa's Best Red Newspaper*-" whines that opponents of President Obama should give him a break. She is never Right, and almost never right.
Radicals are called "progressives" or, rarely, "liberals."
Liberals are called "moderates."
Moderates are called "conservatives."
Conservatives are called "right wingers," or sometimes "far right wingers."
And- as Mollie Hemingway points out here- liberals discuss, where as conservatives rail. In this particular case, it's Roman Catholic liberals and conservatives who do these things.
Bachman has taken a great deal of heat for being a member of a church (the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) which considers itself bound by a statement by Martin Luther condemning the papacy as the antichrist refered to in the Bible (the un-Lutheran beliefs of her friend Jan Markel regarding the End Times referred to in the article linked to above are a seperate matter). But has she caved in to that criticism? I'm still awaiting a response to an email asking her campaign about a rumor I've heard from a reliable source that she's left the Lutheran church because of section of the Smalkald Articles in question,namely:
10] ...the Pope is the very Antichrist, who has exalted himself above, and opposed himself against Christ because he will not permit Christians to be saved without his power, which, nevertheless, is nothing, and is neither ordained nor commanded by God.
Sometimes, Peggy Noonan observes, you can sum up a presidency in a sentence.
She quotes Claire Booth Luce to the effect that you don't have to have anybody tell you who they're talking about when you say, "He fought to hold the union together and end slavery," or "He brought America through economic collapse and a world war."
Here's a disturbing- and eye-opening- look by Reformed author and theologian Dr. Michael Horton at the man who is at once one of the primary influences on American "Evangelicalism," and one of the greatest heretics in the history of the Christian Church: Charles Finney (right).
And yes- he's just as frightening as he looks.
Finney's theology contradicted that of St. Paul at nearly every critical point. The arch-prophet of salvation by works alone, Finney went beyond medieval Catholicism and virtually everybody since Pelagius in making human agency and merit the only real factor in salvation. He said that the only sins Christ could have paid for on the cross would have been His own!
Denying the Holy Spirit any real role in either conversion or sanctification, not only did Finney deny original sin and teach that salvation requires absolute moral perfection, but his emphasis on salesmanship, marketing, and other human techniques as methods of "evangelism"…
On Election Day, 2008 I walked into the voting booth, put my marker on the spot next to John McCain and Sarah Palin's names- and hesitated.
It wasn't that I really had doubts. I believed strongly- and still do- that McCain was several orders of magnitude more qualified than Barack Obama to be president, and that his policies would be much, much better for the country. In fact, several months earlier, I had stood before my neighbors at my precinct caucus and urged them to join me in supporting. Sen. McCain's nomination. My route to the McCain camp hadn't been either direct or easy; I had spent brief periods of time supporting Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee before deciding that each was lacking in some critical way. But once I'd settled in the McCain camp, I had no doubts whatsoever that he was the best choice available. I still don't.
But as I stood there in the voting booth back on that November afternoon, just for a moment, the historical signif…
I've already demonstrated the absurdity of left-wing columnist David Corn's bizarre claim in the aftermath of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz) by Jared Loughner that incivility and threats of politically-motivated violence are primarily a phenomenon of the Right. Even though Loughner turned out to be a left winger, that ironic accusation became something of a fad after the Giffords shooting among Loughner and Corn's fellow liberals. Corn's strange column took this game of pots and kettles to extremes. It turned the reality that hate speech and the rhetoric of violence is overwhelmingly a phenomenon of the Left exactly on its head.
In terms of talent, the current line-up is not without hope. Jon Huntsman, Tim Pawlenty and Mr Romney have all been first-rate governors: they can claim the sort of hands-on experience of government that Mr Obama so signally lacked in 2008. Mr Romney could get it right this time; or the more charismatic Mr Huntsman could soar. All the same, there are other current and former governors who this newspaper wishes were in the race—notably Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels and Rick Perry. As for Sarah Palin, her antics are helping no one, other than Mr Obama; she should put up, or preferably shut up. Michele Bachmann, a right-wing congresswoman, can carry the tea-party banner.
Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and Sarah Palin are, of course, irrelevant; none of them would have a chance against Mr. Obama, and only a …
Questioning the viability and future of NATO, Gates excoriated our allies for lacking the political will to carry their fair share of the financial burdens of NATO and instead cutting their defense budgets, counting on the United States to take up the slack.
Gates has made no secret of his frustration and disgust with the restrictions other NATO nations have placed on the missions on which their troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere can be dispatched, and the general lack the political will necessary for the alliance to continue to exist, much less succeed. "Future U.S. political leaders - those for whom the Cold War was not the formative experience that it was for me - may not consider the return on America's investment in NATO worth the cost,&…
Republican front-runner Mitt Romney's decision to skip the Iowa Straw Poll, a fund-raising event held by the state Republican party every four years at Iowa State University in Ames- has at least badly crippled the event, and may eventually kill it.
Iowa Republicans are permitted to cast a ballot in the straw poll if they contribute $35. Candidates traditionally bus their supporters in from all over the state, paying their way in order to get the boost in publicity and momentum that comes from finishing first in the opening event of the campaign leading up to the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses.
But with the front-runner sitting the straw poll out, it's doubtful whether its outcome will matter much. It remains to be seen how many of the other candidates will bother with the time and expense of an event which no longer has the potential to demonstrate an ability to compete with the leader.
The straw poll- which really proves more about the finances of the various campaigns…