[star]The American Mind[star]

February 28, 2006

Weblog Post of the Year

If there was an award for best weblog post of the year Tom McMahon's would be on the short list. As a matter of fact, I'm declaring it already. It's touching, timeless, moving, and full of wisdom.

"What I Have Learned In 15 Years"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 10:32 PM | Comments (0)

Reynolds' Bad Politics

It's important not to make the perfect the enemy of the good. Unfortunately on the school choice compromise that's what State Senator Tom Reynolds is doing. Tonight, on Jessica McBride's show on WTMJ he said he wouldn't support the compromise unless it included some indexing that would help Milwaukee property taxpayers. I wasn't sure what he meant, and even he admitted it was hard to explain.

It's good to be on the constant defense for taxpayers. Madison has too few representatives who do that, but the school choice bill isn't the time or the place. It's a toss-up on whether the State Senate will pass the bill. Governor Doyle has done nothing to get Democrats on board. The only Democrat who has said he'll vote for the bill is Jeff Plale.

Last night, McBride wrote,

He might be right on it in principle. But adding bells and whistles into the choice compromise could doom it. Other Republicans are telling me that this amendment is highly unlikely to pass the Senate (as indicated by the vote today in committee), and that it would likely doom the choice compromise in the Assembly, where rural Republicans feel they can't risk being seen as funneling more money to Milwaukee.

If this bill fails to pass and get signed by Doyle because of Reynolds he can kiss goodbye any chance of examining his school funding concerns. Politics involves compromise (especially when margins are this slim). Politics also involves payback. If Reynolds kills lifting the caps there will be a price he'll have to pay.

I'll echo McBride, "Get this compromise through first."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)

TPA Public Hearing Tomorrow

Tomorrow there is an important public meeting in Pewaukee on the Taxpayer Protection Amendment. Here are the details provided to me by Americans for Prosperity:

Who: Senate Select Committee on Taxpayer Protection Amendmentand Assembly Committee on Ways and Means
Date: Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Country Springs Hotel, Woodfield Room, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee 53072
Topic: Senate Joint Resolution 63

Expect public employee unions, teacher unions, and those that refuse to believe local government can restrain its spending. Defenders of taxpayers' pocketbooks need to come out in force.

Owen Robinson will be there. I won't, but I'll be there in spirit.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

The MSM, the Olympics, and the War

Robert Byers at Watchman's Words compares the Winter Olympics coverage to that of the Iraq War. Here's a portion:

The Olympics coverage didn't have the same knee-jerk opposition that the war does, but it did display the same lack of historical perspective and sense of balance that have marked the media's coverage of the War on Terror, and the war in Iraq in particular.

...

While the press is trying to figure out how many shotgun pellets can dance on the face of a lawyer, progress is happening around the world. The media seem unwilling or unable to place events in any context, and as a result, many Americans are pessimistic about the war and our future. But hopefully events--and the ability of the new media to convey the truth--will catch up with the heirs of Walter Cronkite, and the "disappointments" will continue until morale improves.

"Media Disconnect: The and the War on Terror"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 08:47 PM | Comments (8)

More on Cheney Resignation

James Joyner doubts the Cheney rumor because

if the rationale for dumping Cheney is that he is a political liability, then why wait until after the only remaining election that directly impacts this president? The GOP could certainly use a boost to help ensure that it retains a majority in both Houses of Congress. Whatever buzz a new vice president would generate--and even a historic double like Condi Rice would generate only limited buzz--would long have dissipated by November 2008.

"Cheney to Resign after Midterm Elections?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

Waste of Time

White House correspondents like David Gregory think they're being made foolish by right wing spinners and an administration that considers the media as another special interest:

David Gregory, the NBC correspondent who has been among the most ardent questioners in the briefing room, apologized for yelling at Mr. McClellan over the Cheney incident but said the situation had become particularly frustrating.

"There is a desire by some, particularly on the right, to morph these situations into a different kind of debate — it's the vice president against an angry, left-wing, cynical, hate-filled press corps that wants to expose him as a liar," he said. "This is a false debate, stoked by a president and vice president who have made no bones about the fact that they don't have much respect for the press corps as an institution."


One-time Clinton press secretary Mike McCurry wishes he never made the daily White House briefing a televised event, but current press secretary Scott McClellan has no desire to end the charade event. And why would he since it does such a good job embarassing the MSM?

"Another White House Briefing, Another Day of Mutual Mistrust" [via Betsy's Page]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:03 AM | Comments (6)

Porn Star's Wine is Good...Really

Natalie Oliveros, AKA porn star Savanna Samson, made a wine so good it impressed wine critic Robert M. Parker.

"It's a very fine wine — awfully good," Mr. Parker said by telephone. "It was really opulent and luscious and it had a personality."

I don't think Savanna serviced Parker to get that review.

I'd make another joke, but I'll leave that to someone much more more qualified.

Savanna is also an author as well as a winemaker. If she wrote the book that is.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Food at 09:50 AM | Comments (10)

Charlie's Show Prep #54

  • leaving the White House after the mid-term elections? That's the rumor. All it is is a rumor, but it's fun to play "Cheney's Replacement."

  • With a headline reading, "Paper: Coast Guard Has Port Co. Intel Gaps," I thought Dubai Ports World opponents might have a leg to stand on. John Hinderaker points out later on in the story the Coast Guard's concerns were placated by intelligence agencies.

  • 1300 people died in last week's violence in Iraq. However, "Life is coming back to normal in Baghdad and marketplaces and offices are open again after being shut for 4 days."

  • The spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to brand the organization's CEO, to get mentions on tv shows, and to court celebrities. [via Captain's Quarters]

  • Ricardo Pimentel and the gang didn't rip on the late . But they did call Milwaukee's voucher program "so-called school choice." What makes it "so-called?" With it poor families can choose what school to send their children. It sounds like choice to me.

  • Gee, I missed some fun at Martinifest. Rowdiness and puking. But with the low state of modern art it might be difficult to determine if you're looking at art or someone's vomit.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:58 AM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2006

Lying about an Unprovable Crime

Here's more evidence Scooter Libby is being Martha Stewart'ed: he's being prosecuted for lying about a crime the prosecution can't prove. This from Byron York:

CIA leak prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald argued at a hearing Friday that, as far as the perjury charges against former Cheney chief of staff Lewis Libby are concerned, it does not matter whether or not Valerie Wilson was a covert CIA agent when she was mentioned in the famous Robert Novak column of July 14, 2003. "We're trying a perjury case," Fitzgerald told Judge Reggie Walton. Even if Plame had never worked for the CIA at all, Fitzgerald continued — even if she had been simply mistaken for a CIA agent — the charges against Libby would still stand. In addition, Fitzgerald said, he does not intend to offer "any proof of actual damage" caused by the disclosure of Wilson's identity.

...

"Does the government intend to introduce any evidence of damage or her status?" [Judge] Walton asked.

"We don't intend to offer any proof of actual damage," Fitzgerald responded, adding that he would have more to say on the subject this week in a sealed filing with the court.

"A Trial Without the CIA Leak" [via JustOneMinute]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 01:04 PM | Comments (3)

Michael Joyce: a Tribute

When National Review's John Miller wrote A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America it gave him the opportunity to talk at length with Michael Joyce who ran the Olin Foundation before moving to the Bradley Foundation. Miller briefly collects a few of Joyce's accomplishments.

To have a glimpse into Joyce's influential mind I found this essay "On Self-Government" which attacks the progressive liberal project of the 20th Century. He concludes:

And so today, when progressivism says to us that there is no nature’s God, and so no divinely inscribed "self-evident truths" in the human soul, let us reply that without such truths, there is no sure foundation for human freedom and self-government. When progressivism insists that the human being is utterly free to create or express himself without limits, let us reply that "there can be no moral freedom without moral responsibility and accountability," and no political freedom without civic virtue. When progressivism insists that family, neighborhood, church, and voluntary association are parochial and repressive constraints on our self-expression, let us reply that only through such institutions can we as free people "exist, develop, and seek the higheer purposes of life in concert with others," and come to a proper understanding and practice of self-government.

With our past as the foundation of our hope, let us embrace this new struggle over the meaning of self-government, as the means by which we may once again refresh our flagging spirits at the wellsprings of our national character. Not daring, at such a critical moment, to rely solely upon our own arguments and devices, let us join Pope John Paul II in his prayer that "our country will experience a new birth of freedom, freedom grounded in truth and ordered to goodness."

"Michael S. Joyce, R.I.P." [via Charlie Sykes]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)

Still a Snob

The JB Van Hollen campaign just "informed" me JB has a weblog. Obviously my e-mail address is on one of their media/weblogger lists and no one checked to see I already commented on the weblog. Nothing like an impersonal e-mail to make a weblogger feel special.

To be an equal-opportunity snob (since I have no horse in the state Attorney General race) Paul Bucher's weblog doesn't have permalinks to individual posts and no post authors listed. If I were interested in a post I'd like to directly link to it. And I'd like to know who wrote the post. If it was Paul, great. If it was a staffer, fine. I just want to put a name to the words. Another negative is many posts are squeezed together. The design reminds me of the first version of TAM when I hand coded it and uploaded it to Angelfire every night.

Bucher makes up for the weblog with CatchandReleaseKate.com. The concept is well thought out and it's substantial enough to be more than an online cheap shot.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #53

  • Lefty weblogs love . That's news only to those who don't read weblogs. (Yes, another example of me being a snob.)

  • Michael Joyce is a legend. Maybe the most-important conservative figure of the last 25 years no one has heard of. I know there are many conservatives who don't know who Joyce is and what he accomplished while running the Bradley Foundation. Some on the Left know his impact.

  • Iraq's curfews have been lifted. There's still bloodshed but Sunni and Shia leaders are calling for unity.

  • Pessimism has captured Bill Buckley. He writes, "the American objective in Iraq has failed," and has no faith in Iraqis' ability to self-govern. [via QandO]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 02:56 AM | Comments (0)

Late Night Munchies

My late night hunger pangs kicked in. It's time for a tuna fish sandwich. My standard recipe is tuna fish and Miracle Whip. I raided the pantry and fridge tonight. The sweet pickle relish has an unnatural green color (probably irradiated with gamma rays), but it's sweet and crunchy, the reason it's in there. The cayanne and Tobasco give it a nice kick. What this sandwich needs is white bread. The wheat bread I'm using doesn't have the unhealthy, soft comfort food goodness that would make it perfect. It can't be too bad. I've swallowed two sandwiches before I finished this post.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Food at 01:28 AM | Comments (1)

February 26, 2006

Somebody Better Check Their Bot

Adding this humble weblog to this list of "The Best Global Sites XXX" will help my traffic but not do a thing for those in need of a little carnal stimulation.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

So Wicked

Wicked yet funny.

"Michael Jackson’s Favorite Comic?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 11:33 PM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2006

Weblog Snob

Call me a weblog snob. When someone like J.B. Van Hollen is running for statewide office and their weblog is on BlogSpot I think a few things: 1) they haven't thought much about weblogs and wanted to get something up to make it appear they "get it;" 2) they're too cheap to integrate the weblog with the rest of their website which means they either have money problems or care more about tv and radio ads than an online strategy.

There are a few big-time webloggers who have used BlogSpot for a long time. With my experience using it as a member of the Badger Blog Alliance I have to think Google has set it up so they don't have the same problems as ordinary, peon webloggers. Free places like BlogSpot are good ways to get your feet wet in the wild world of weblogging but serious people should move far away from it as fast as possible.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 10:03 PM | Comments (12)

Getting Fit the Leonardo Way

Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code jumped the shark when so many people thought much of what's inside the book to be true that the Vatican had to assign an archbishop to rebut the book. In a few months the book finally comes out in paperback and the movie starring Tom Hanks will be in theaters.

In his desparate attempt at a marketing hook Joseph Mullen put out The Da Vinci Fitness Code. With it you will have "the exact fitness and exercise guidance to get into your best shape, and to achieve maximum fitness and health in minimum time." And it can be done by working out once every four days. Going through Mullen's life story of how a "skinny and self-conscious" boy became contest judge handing out titles like "New England's Strongest Man," "East Coast's Strongest Man," and "New England Arm Wrestling Champion" I felt I was missing something. Oh yeah, Leonardo da Vinci. He got left out of the story. No mention of the artist, Jesus, the Holy Grail, or a Catholic conspiracy to keep Americans flabby. Hell, I would have given Mullen a pass had he at least mentioned Dan Brown or Opus Dei. Such a let down.

The sole Amazon.com review of the book is a doozy:

Has no value whatsoever Tells you little to nothing, no charts, programs, a rambling collections of useless information. save your money, I would like mine back.

He gets to the point and without all that proper punctuation getting in the way.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 06:19 AM | Comments (3)

February 24, 2006

BlackBerry Addicts Safe for Now

A judge hasn't forced RIM to shut down its BlackBerry service yet. Darn, I wanted to see what effects it would have on crackberry addicts. I'm envisioning shortness of breath, indigestion, headaches, nausea, and a wave of Treo and Sidekick thefts.

"Judge Declines to Shut Down "

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 06:25 PM | Comments (3)

Althouse at Rehnquist Conference

I was so tempted to take yesterday off and hear Justice Scalia, but I really need to be able to afford my trips to D.C. and Arizona (less than two weeks away!). Ann Althouse was there, took notes, and let us know that someday speeches from the program will shown on C-SPAN.

"At the Conference"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 04:33 PM | Comments (0)

A Sense of Calm in Iraq

Curfews in Baghdad have kept people off the streets and have tapped down violence. Friday is often a day when Iraqis go to their mosques then protest after being rallied by imams. Not today. That doesn't mean the threat of religious violence (or "tribal anarchy" to use Lee Harris' chilling words) has passed. It is probably still simmering below the surface. Mohammed @ Iraq the Model is cautiously opptimistic. It's a "good thing is that the Sunni have not returned the attacks and I hope the Shia have satisfied their vengeance by now because I don't want to even think of what can happen if this situation lasts longer than this."

For now, we wait. We wait for the curfews to be lifted and for people to come out of their homes and publically gather. Now is the time to pray for Iraq and our troops in their midst.

"Iraqi Religious Leaders Call for Peace"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 04:20 PM | Comments (1)

Charlie's Show Prep #52

  • The public isn't fond of the UW system. No surprise.

  • The State Senate gave Gov. Doyle a "Real ID" bill. Will he veto it and prevent Wisconsinites from using their driver's licenses to board planes, or will he cave to the illegal immigrant lobby?

  • A Jackson monster used an electric dog collar on his stepdaughter so she would eat her breakfast faster.

  • Wal-Mart's getting railroaded by labor unions and state governments. So CEO said his company will do more to get more workers . I worry about Scott's desire for a government-business partnership to fix the healthcare system. To me that screams socialized medicine.

  • Alex Massie is right, "rocks." [via Tom McMahon]

  • Some are complaining about the new . Me, I'll be staring at the new .

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:56 AM | Comments (3)

February 23, 2006

A Pet Peeve

It's bugged me when I go to a weblog linked by Glenn Reynolds only to find "Welcome Instapundit readers." I thought, "Act like you've done it before." Kevin Aylward had the guts to say it. I'm just the tag-along.

"Our Baby Is Growing Up..."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 11:50 PM | Comments (0)

When Wackos Strike

Some anti-war protesters didn't think Sen. Herb Kohl is pure enough:

The activists asked Kohl to endorse a timetable for troops to withdraw from Iraq as fellow Democratic Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold has done. They also called on Kohl to vote against a supplemental spending bill that includes about $72 billion more for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The group surrounded Kohl following his introduction by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Libby Burmaster. Kohl was preparing to make brief remarks before debuting a 10-minute campaign video to a crowd of about 150 supporters in the theater's lobby.

Instead, Kohl stood and listened attentively to the activists as his supporters looked on in disbelief.


"The Extreme Left vs. The Left"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 07:57 PM | Comments (1)

#1 Difference Between Walker & Green

Scott Walker correctly points out the biggest difference between Rep. Mark Green and himself is on ethanol:

The biggest philosophical difference between the two of us is on the ethanol mandate. While I support farmers (I grew up in a rural town and my mother was born and raised on a farm), I don't support mandates. Incentives are great, but don't mandate the type of gas that we must use in Wisconsin.

Especially in Southeast Wisconsin this issue will hurt Green. With his strange understanding of monopoly I worry if the Congressman will be able to effectively advocate sound, pro-growth, conservative economic policy. On ethanol Walker beats him hands down. Let's see if he can turn that into a real advantage.

Owen Robinson checked the State Senate calendar and saw "no Ethanol on it."

"WTMJ AM 620 Success"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)

Senators Bloviate on Ports Deal

Senators got their first chance to grill Bush administration officials about the Dubai Ports World deal. If Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) is any indication demogoguery was the name of the game:

Brushing aside Bush's assurances, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the panel's ranking Democrat, said the UAE backed the Taliban and allowed financial support for al-Qaida. Levin also charged that the UAE has an "uneven history" as "one of only a handful of countries in the world to recognize the Taliban regime in Afghanistan." He added that millions of dollars in al-Qaida funds went through UAE financial institutions.

Levin at one point noted that a special commission that investigated the terror attacks against the United States on Sept. 11, 2000 concluded that "there's a persistent counterterrorism problem represented by the United Arab Emirates."

"Just raise your hand if anybody (at the witness table) talked to the 9-11 commission," commanded Levin. There was no response among the handful of administration representatives.


Lots of work on the Sep. 11 attacks took place in Germany. Levin's not calling for ending economic relations with them. Terrorists learned how to fly airplanes in Florida and California. There's no call to boot those two states out of the union for being soft on terrorism.

If doing business with the United Arab Emirates is such a threat to national security then why didn't anyone make a stink when the administration began free trade talks with the nation? Do opponents actually think the UAE would go along with an agreement that would open their markets but bar their companies from operating in the U.S.?

Thomas Barnett thinks opponents of the deal should be embarassed:

After lecturing the Europeans over the cartoon flap, it's awfully weird to watch the paranoia, racism, and pure political nonsense at work on the proposed purchase of a British port-managing firm by a Dubai corporation.

The message we send on this is clear: if you're Arab, you're immediately untrustworthy. Dubai seeks to become the Singapore of the Middle East, and watching that rather progressive model of capitalism + Islam reach out for this strand of connectivity in a venue it knows all too well (shipping) makes perfect sense, just like CNOOC reaching for UNOCAL last summer.

On the GOP's tough talk, adds:

But what do you expect from a Republican party that welcomes a woman who calls Arabs "rag heads" and justifies her "joke" as retaliation for the World Trade Center bombings?

I'm cringing because she's right.

To get a good sense that the UAE is ok listen to the latest Glenn and Helen podcast featuring Austin Bay and Jim Dunnigan.

"Senators Say Ports Deal Raises Risks"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

Iraqi Sectarian Violence

Pulling people out of cars and shooting them mark a low point in my hopes for a free Iraq.

Muqtada al-Sadr has raised his ugly head by blaming the government for his powerlessness. "If the government had real sovereignty, then nothing like this would have happened. Brothers in the Mahdi Army must protect all Shiite shrines and mosques, especially in Samara." His lack of support in backing the government has a lot to do with it. Mohammed at Iraq the Model reports, "In our neighborhood the Sadr militias seized the local mosque and broadcast Shia religious mourning songs from the mosques loudspeakers."

Omar at ItM thinks "foreign terror groups" were behind the attack on the Samarra mosque. UK Foreign Minister Jack Straw said, "al-Zarqawi and al-Qaida have been linked as it has the hallmarks of their nihilism."

"Dozens Slain in Sectarian Violence"

"Iraq Sunni Clerics Blame Shi'ite Clerics for Unrest"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 09:09 AM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #51

  • A bill that would end paying accused of crimes passed a State Assembly committee. The police union is already threatening to sue.

  • The bombing of shrine doesn't bode well for stability in Iraq.

  • The Washington Times gives a clearer picture of how valuable the United Arab Emirates has been post-Sep. 11. A big port, a big airfield, and an important location (across the Persian Gulf from Iran) make me understand why the Dubai Ports World deal was allowed to go through. Too bad the editorial page sees nothing good about the deal.

  • The feds required a secret condition to the ports deal: on-demand access to operations records.

  • Harvard is a divided campus with president ' resignation. Now, watchers wonder what direction the university will take.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:02 AM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2006

Conservatives in Favor of the Ports Deal

At On Tap Marshall Manson wants us to "stop being paranoid and start acting like Americans." There's plenty of good discussion there.

Little Miss Attila agrees with me (I always like that) that opponents of the deal haven't made their case yet. However, a commenter offers a pretty good hypothetical problem. It sure beats the "Arab=bad" meme that's infected too many webloggers.

I'm solidly in the "convince me" camp. Give me some instances of Dubai Ports World helping terrorists or having major security problems. I want evidence to demonstrate the deal is bad for the nation.

UPDATE: Add John Cross to the list. He was in the UAE at one time. What I'm finding is those with experience with that nation have a positive view. That's telling. The lesson might be some people need to get out more before going all knee-jerk.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 11:56 PM | Comments (2)

McBride and Ports Issue

Jessica McBride refuses to look at the Dubai Ports World deal on its face. She imposes a politics template on it:

HUH? I just don't get it. Reminds me of the Harriet Miers' nomination. I didn't get that one either. How can Bush be so tone deaf on this. Worse, he's allowing the likes of Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton to move to the right of him on a terrorism issue. He's actually allowing the Dems to look tougher than he is on national security (something they've been unable to do in issue after issue), because the average person doesn't get this.

She offers nothing as to why DPW would be a security threat. Maybe if she offers some information the "average person" might "get" it and support it. Maybe if opponents offer something of substance I will join their opposition. All I'm seeing are people scared of an Arab [GASP!] company doing business in the U.S.

"Bush and Port Issue"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 12:38 PM | Comments (22)

Walker vs. Green I

Charlie Sykes did very well by hosting the first on-air debate between Rep. Mark Green and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. Through much of the debate/discussion I couldn't see glaring differences between the two. Both are conservatives, generally, want to lower taxes and get government off our backs. For conservatives and Republicans trying to figure out who to support the ability to win is the most important criteria. Walker can tell us all he wants that he's been attacked by Doyle flunkies for years the ad put out by the Greater Wisconsin Committee means Green is the front-runner. Polls give him the lead and his support is more state-wide.

Still, there is one big difference between the two: ethanol. Walker won't mandate that gasoline contain 10% ethanol while Green would consider it as long as it didn't burden business. But that's exactly what mandates do. Green worries about our gasoline dollars funding terrorists. If consumers are so concerned about that then they'll consider that at the gas pump. A state mandate rips away that ability to choose. It takes away people's self-govenance. Ironically Green later said he opposed smoking bans in bars and resturants because people have free will. So he thinks they can make decisions about second-hand smoke but can't for what they put in their cars.

I harp on ethanol because Walker and Green are very similar. They both want to cut taxes, control spending, and improve Wisconsin's business climate. Either man will be a much, much better governor than Jim Doyle.

Gov. Doyle, being a wimp, didn't bother to accept Sykes' invitation. I guess he didn't want to be on the same stage as the man who will replace him.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:11 PM | Comments (1)

Charlie's Show Prep #50

  • 44% of voters don't want to run for President in 2008. 48% want Condi Rice to run. I'm going to have to reevaluate my mental preparation for a President Hillary.

  • Republicans in Madison strike again in their quest to remove any sense of limited government from their party's mantra. The State Senate passed a bill required 10% of Wisconsin energy to come from . It's like mandated ethanol: if it's such a good idea consumer will drive companies to do this. Sen. Tom Reynolds will end up being right that this will only lead to higher energy bills.

  • began his re-election campaign by showing off his new DVD. I wonder if there's any director's commentary?

  • is resigning as president of Harvard.

  • Gitmo prisoners "had contact with the terrorist cell responsible for carrying out last July's ." Yes, let's close the place up and let the monsters out to kill some more.

  • Owners of , the show dog that got loose at Kennedy Airport in New York are so desparate they're resorting to psychics' help.

UPDATE: Silly me. Charlie Sykes has been a little busy today.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:21 AM | Comments (3)

February 21, 2006

Bush Standing Firm on Ports Deal

I "misunderestimated" my President. He won't cave on letting Dubai Ports World run six U.S. ports. He even threatened to veto Congress' attempt to stop it. That would be his first veto ever. He told reporters it isn't about politics, it's about policy. More telling is his concern about "mixed messages:"

And the message is, it's okay for a British company, but a Middle Eastern company -- maybe we ought not to deal the same way. It's a mixed message.

At the White House Bush said,
[Dubai Ports World] is a company that has played by the rules, has been cooperative with the United States, from a country that's an ally on the war on terror, and it would send a terrible signal to friends and allies not to let this transaction go through.

Bush pretty much called opponents anti-Arab. And since I've seen nothing substantial from opponents I think the President is right. The best New Jersey Governor John Corzine could offer was a "deep, deep feeling this is the wrong direction for our nation to take."

Let's step away from all the posturing. This is a payoff to the United Arab Emirates for being an ally in the Islamist War. In the Middle East we need as many friends as we can get. Plus, connecting the region into the Core is vital for U.S. security. Hopefully the administration will be watching Dubai Ports World closely just to assuage concerns. Opponents of the ports deal will have to find something of substance, a pattern of security lapses for example, to kill the deal.

"Bush Shrugs Off Objections to Port Deal"

UPDATE: I thought I'd be out in wilderness away from the screaming hordes who fail to understand there are good Arabs out there. Well, I'm not.

UPDATE II: Kevin @ Lakeshore Laments isn't troubled by the deal. He bases it on real-world experience, something most bloviators have little of. Both he and Bryan Preston @ JunkYardBlog are freaked Jimmy Carter came out for it.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 10:56 PM | Comments (9)

Speak #2 Show Notes

Speak #2, 02.21.2006

This show is made up of interviews I took from the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. Politics and books were the themes.

No iPod is needed to listen. Here's the link to the show for you to download. If you want to subscribe (please, please, please) here's the RSS feed.


Leave comments or e-mails on the sound/content quality. I'm impressed that all I used was an iRiver iFP-780 and a cheap PC mic. Like I said in the podcast I'm looking for easier software to make podcasts, but maybe I just have to get more comfortable using Audacity.

UPDATE: With the Instapundit link (thanks, Glenn) I'll have to get moving on the next show. Well, the teaser is it will be featuring a former Speaker of the House. Expect it sometime next week.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Podcast at 10:12 AM | Comments (2)

Charlie's Show Prep #49

  • The local NAACP chapter tosses out the race card by declaring the vote to remove corrupt Lee Holloway as Milwaukee County Board Chairman as tantamount to a "lynching." Holloway then has the audacity to try and squeeze the ethics board investigating him by cutting off funding.

  • Eugene Kane admits he only watches the Winter Olympics when black people are competing. I'll be cheering for Shani Davis, not because he's black, but because he's good. Just imagine if a white columnist, talk radio yapper, or weblogger wrote they only watched the NBA when white people were on the court. They'd be castigated with Kane yelling the loudest. It's shameful the Journal Sentinel continues to pay for his racist words.

  • What does McDonald's get for admitting its French fries contain wheat and milk products? Lawsuits. Why bother? Companies get sued either way.

  • Dubai Ports World's plans to run six U.S. ports is even more dead. Republican governors Pataki and Ehrlich oppose it. Stick a fork in it, it's done.

  • Though a vile "historian" being sent to an Austrian jail as a holocaust denier places a black mark on free speech in Europe.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 02:00 AM | Comments (0)

Carnival of the Capitalists

Lots of capitalist goodness at The Stalwart.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 12:54 AM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2006

Eight is Enough

Because of legal struggles and the loud, consistent outcry that users don't have enough choice in their operating systems Microsoft will release eight different versions of Windows Vista.

Victor Agreda, Jr. at Download Squad writes,

It is true that Windows offers choice for the consumer. You aren't locked into a music player like iTunes, and you now have 8 flavors of Vista goodness to choose from. But perhaps there is a such a thing as too much choice?

I thought "choice" was inherently good. The more choice the better. That's why the ultra-configurable Linux is crushing all opponents in the OS market.

Oh, wait. It isn't.

That's because "choice" in and of itself isn't what many computer users want in an OS. What users want is software that lets them do what they want to do as easily as possible. When looking at the combination of interoperablilty and ease of use Windows wins for many people. It's not perfect, and for many uses it's quite inferior, but it gets the job done for millions.

What Microsoft did with Windows was put together a software package that offered a lot of compatibility and features. More importantly they built a platform for third-parties to write software.

All the talk about Microsoft being an evil monopolists was fluff anyway. No one, not Bill Gates or Steve Balmer put a gun to anyone's head and made them use Windows. It was mainly griping from fallen competitors and users who crave the Platonic ideal of operating systems.

With Apple revitalized and drawing excitement with their Intel-powered computers (I'm waiting for $1000 iBook) and Linux geeks continuing to make that OS more user friendly we have a thriving, innovative OS market.

"The 8 Faces of Windows Vista"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 01:20 PM | Comments (9)

Iraq in Nato

Big strategic news from Iraq:

The senior advisor in the Iraqi defense ministry Mohammed al-Askari told the press today that the ministry is looking forward to seeing Iraq become a member of the NATO and that the minister Sa'doun al-Dulaimi, the chief of staff and the higher commanders are planning to propose this plan to the new government once it's seated.

I say the more the merrier.

How would anti-war Democrats react?

"Iraq Wants to Join the NATO!" [via Instapundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 01:01 PM | Comments (1)

Charlie's Show Prep #48

  • 's bid to run six U.S. ports is doomed. Screaming politicians and webloggers were bad enough but a Miami company is suing.

  • A British Islamic scholar sees a future where "parts of English cities which are controlled by Muslim clerics and which follow, not the common law, but aspects of Muslim sharia law."

  • People are suspicious about Jimmy Johnson's victory. It might have something to do with the fact his crew chief was kicked out off the race track earlier in the week for cheating. [This will proabably be the only mention of NASCAR on TAM all year. Soak it up.]

  • Speaking of cheaters, Barry Bonds decided to retire before deciding against it.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:20 AM | Comments (0)

Found Him

snowthug.jpg

I knew that stalker sneaking around my house looked familiar.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:07 AM | Comments (1)

February 19, 2006

Ann Coulter Syndrome

In response to a report that a Dubai company will help run a number of ports in New York a few webloggers went goofy about how there will be a huge hole in homeland security and how we shouldn't trust anything having to do with "those Arabs." It's sad when smart people get into knee-jerk mode. Then end up looking a little like Ann Coulter who treats Muslims as one big, monolithic, think-alike, act-alike group.

Captain Ed calls Dubai Ports World getting permission to help operate "the cruise-ship terminal on the West Side of Manhattan, one of the biggest cargo terminals in New York Harbor, and terminals in Philadelphia, Baltimore and other big ports" "surrender of port management to Arab-based firms." He then picks out some passages from the Sep. 11 Commission's report (the same report he has justly bashed for not including anything about Able Danger) that mentions the United Arab Emirates. Well, a few of the Sep. 11 terrorists used Frankfurt, Germany to organize their attacks, yet we still allow German firms to do business in the U.S. Could it be Captain Ed is afraid simply because Dubai Ports World is run by Arabs? I would hope that isn't the case. He needs to clarify what his concerns are.

Along with the "evil Arab" argument I reject Sen. Barbara Boxer's belief that "We have to have American companies running our own ports." I guess that means we should be dumping Canadian wood products, Sony televisions, Norwegian cell phones, Hong Kong textiles, British and German financial services, Indian tech support, and a host of foreign goods and services. Yes, economic nationalism will lead to national security. It sure worked in the span between the two World Wars.

My claim isn't that the Dubai World Ports deal is a good idea. It's that opponents' arguments have been flimsy.

Judith Apter Klinghoffer makes a far better case of the problem:

All companies should not be treated alike. State owned or controlled companies must be treated differently. Pretending that private companies located in tyrannies are independent, is bad enough. Treating a government controlled Chinese oil company or Port service company owned by Dubai as mere businesses is absurd. Profits motivate businesses. Geopolitical strategy motivates governments and, ultimately, the businesses they control.

UPDATE: For what it's worth I predict the deal will go down. Congress will investigate, and both Democrats and Republicans will have something to agree on for once. There will be plenty of bloviating and the administration will change its mind.

"Stop the Port Sellout"

"Despite Fears, a Dubai Company Will Help Run Ports in New York"

Poor Ed. I'm not the only one picking on him.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 11:24 PM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2006

Sticker Shock

A $600-700 PlayStation 3 is dead on arrival. If that's Sony's starting price kiss their video game console kingdom goodbye. About the only way I'd consider forking over that much money for a game machine is if there was a way to shunt it directly into my brain. If you own Sony shares sell, sell, sell then sell short.

" Costs $800, Sez Merrill Lynch Mob" [via ]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 11:18 PM | Comments (4)

Pick Your Poison

I'll take -20 weather over massive mudslides anytime. My prayers are with the Philippino victims.

"Philippine Rescue Crews Hope for Miracle"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 09:12 PM | Comments (0)

Smaller Local Government in Name Only

On shrinking local government Jessica McBride worries:

If we can't get government officials to adhere to the conservative principle of smaller government in the most conservative county [Waukesha] in this state, we are in big trouble.

It's not just her neck of the woods. Washington County, arguably as conservative as Waukesha, won't ditch a sales tax.

"The Bloated Waukesha County Board: It Takes a Lot to Support those 35 Supervisors"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 05:42 AM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2006

Game Show Nightmare

Ken Jennings this guy ain't.

[via digg]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 09:43 PM | Comments (7)

Myth Buster

Reading the incident report on Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting accident reinforces my belief that some nefarious plot took place last Saturday night.

The delay in Cheney talking to local police is due to Kenedy County Sheriff Ramon Salinas realizing the accident was just that and ordered a deputy to the Armstrong Ranch the next morning. If there was a cover-up why did the Secret Service call Sheriff Salinas again asking if a deputy would be coming out Saturday night?

In the incident report Vice President Cheney told a deputy he thought Harry Whittington was "approximately 30 yards" from him. After watching this video that probably wasn't the case. Call me a schill for the Bushies but a reasonable explanation is Cheney's bad at estimating distance. I'm bad at it. I know I could call 30 feet 30 yards.

Ultimately the biggest problem of any conspiracy and cover-up is too many people have to keep quiet. In this case the hunting party, the ranch owners, the Secret Service, the local sheriff, and hospitals where Whittington was treated all have to be on it.

"Debunking Cheneygate Myths"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 08:58 PM | Comments (4)

Beware of the Red Marching Hordes

The Glorious Red Shock Army is marching upon Waukesha. They'll stand even less of a chance than Carroll College did against undeated Lawrence University.

Now, that's the way old Soviet propaganda should be used, mockingly. It's much better than Johnny Weir and his naive fondness for all things Russian.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 07:26 PM | Comments (0)

Cheney's Fury

A hunting we will go...
A hunting we will go...

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 05:05 PM | Comments (0)

New Bond Girl

Eva Green
evagreen.jpg
I approve (even though she is French).

"French Actress Eva Green Is New Bond Girl"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 04:32 PM | Comments (3)

Charlie's Show Prep #47

  • The White House has agreed that Congress should pass a law allowing the NSA's controversial spying program.

  • Sen. Russ Feingold is being extreme again Despite the Senator claiming the renewal of the Patriot Act was being "rammed" through Congress 96 Senators voted to end debate. At least the Kosites will still love him.

  • An attempt to get a pro-war question on the ballot failed in Whitefish Bay.

  • A bill is working its way through the state capitol that would stop paying Milwaukee police officers who were suspended and charged with crimes.

  • No charges will be filed in Vice President Cheney's hunting accident. And there's even worse news for the MSM: Harry Whittington could leave the hospital in a few days.

  • Journalism professor Jay Rosen sees how Cheney's hunting accident displayed the administration's far different approach to the MSM. This administration (rightly) believes the MSM is another special interest that doesn't necessarily represent the public. Bush is the first President to understand the new information age. If they want to get their message out they don't need to rely on the liberal, east coast media. There's talk radio, Fox News, webloggers. They treat the MSM like packets treat obstructions on the internet: they route around them.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:24 AM | Comments (7)

February 16, 2006

Kofi: Close Your Hole

I agree with Kofi Annan. We should close down Gitmo. Pack all the prisoners and personel, load them onto planes, and move them into the U.N building along the East River in New York. They can turn Annan's office into the main interrogation room. Then I'd like to see how Annan feels.

"Annan Says U.S. Should Close Gitmo Prison"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 08:14 PM | Comments (4)

Got Your Mojo?

A Fort Meyers, FL newspaper employs "mobile journalists" or "mojos" to teach readers how to gather hyper-local news for the paper's website.

It's a great idea that is boosting online traffic. But what happens when the two mobile journalists are sick on the same day? How can the News-Press survive without its mojo?

[You may begin the groaning now.]

Someone call Austin Powers.

"The Multimedia Reporter"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 07:24 PM | Comments (0)

Secret Earmark Meeting

American for Prosperity sources say a secret meeting of the Appropriations Committee Task Force on Earmark Reform may be happening even as we speak. Why are they hiding? What are they doing behind our backs to "reform" earmarks that bloat an already huge federal budget? The GOP better get its act together. Pissing off the base is the path to defeat in November.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 03:13 PM | Comments (0)

Pretty Pictures

Ann Althouse's snow pictures make mine look like those made by a six-year old given his first Polaroid camera.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 02:57 PM | Comments (0)

Cheney's Replacement

The idea that Vice President Cheney would resign or be booted from the administration over a hunting accident is crazy. I don't care if a smart person like Virginia Postrel thinks that way. So I'm going to pretty much ignore the talk even though I'm amazed at how the story moved from "Cheney accidentally shoots a man" to "Cheney must go."

Still there is something interesting. Jim Geraghty wonders who would replace Cheney if he were to resign. With that decision President Bush could immediately sort out who had the inside track to the GOP nomination in 2004. It would also give a strong hint of what he wants his legacy to be. If Bush picked Rudy Giuliani it would mean fighting the Islamists and terrorism. If Sen. Sam Brownback were picked it would mean social conservatism would be what he'd want to be remembered for.

Here are some interesting choices:


  • John Bolton: Bush would stick it to Senate Democrats who refused to even call a vote on his nomination as U.N. ambassador. It would also signal the administration's strong desire for U.N. reform.

  • John Snow: The invisible Treasury Secretary might (big MIGHT) use is new pulpit to push for permanent tax cuts and tax reform.

  • Tommy Thompson: This choice would signal the administration's focus on health care. That includes Medicare and Medicaid reform, stem cell research, and another push for banning partial-birth abortion.

"Peggy Noonan's Fun Thought Exercise: Who Would Replace Cheney?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:35 PM | Comments (25)

Congress Gets Free Porn

Larry Flynt is a very weird man.

"How Representative Can They Be If They All Turn Down Free Porn?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:16 PM | Comments (1)

Blast from the Past

Dana Milbank's hunter gear is just part of a MSM tradition.

[via Instapundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:06 PM | Comments (0)

Well Stocked

Don't worry about me being trapped in my home during the storm. I've got some food to keep me alive.

spam.jpg

There'll be no version of Alive here.

Don't forget to laug read about Wendy's trek into the snow.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:51 PM | Comments (3)

Imagine Chavez with the Bomb

Iran and Venezuela signed a document that read in part:

We condemn the making, development and accumulation of nuclear arms, (and) we ratify the right of all countries to make peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Of course we should believe them because they have such stable leaders running their free nations.

The only thing worse than Iranian president Ahmadinejad having a nuke is Hugo Chavez with one.

"Iran Open to Helping Nuclear Program"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

Now I Know How NYC Felt

What was I thinking?

snowstorm1.jpg

Theoretically I was to work this morning. I went through my normal preparations, brushed off my car, and got on the highway. From my house it looked like traffic was moving fine. Only when I started zooming south did I notice visibility was less than one-quarter of a mile with snow blowing all around me. After pulling over at the first exit I called it to let the boss know I wouldn't be coming in. He told me everything was fine down there (30 miles away), just rain.

So I turned around and came back home, slip sliding all the way. A little shoveling was done when I heard of all things thunder. Thunder during a snow storm. I've lived in Wisconsin's winter wonderland almost my entire life, and I've never heard thunder during a snowstorm. Snow is now coming down at about one inch per minute. Our wimpy winter has gone the way of the dodo.

snowstorm2.jpg

Mother Nature has giving me a free day. Hmm... what to do? My only real priority is to move some snow around. The rest is up to me. One thing I can do is get a good start into Glenn Reynolds' new book An Army of Davids.

UPDATE: It's 52 degrees in New York City! Get some of that over here.

There are more pictures below the fold.

snowstorm3.jpg

snowstorm4.jpg

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 10:58 AM | Comments (3)

Saddam Speaks

One of the most dramatic moments in the 12 hours of recordings comes when Saddam predicts — during a meeting in the mid 1990s — a terrorist attack on the United States. "Terrorism is coming. I told the Americans a long time before August 2 and told the British as well … that in the future there will be terrorism with weapons of mass destruction." Saddam goes on to say such attacks would be difficult to stop. "In the future, what would prevent a booby-trapped car causing a nuclear explosion in Washington or a germ or a chemical one?" But he adds that Iraq would never do such a thing. "This is coming, this story is coming but not from Iraq."
Those chilling words came from a man who used chemical weapons on defenseless Kurds. The monster had a track record joking addition aside. Saddam with WMD in a post-Sep. 11 world was unacceptable. Whether he had them or not, he certainly acted like he did.

"EXCLUSIVE: The Secret Tapes -- Inside Saddam's Palace"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 08:40 AM | Comments (1)

Featured on Insta-Podcast

The latest Glenn & Helen Show includes an interview with yours truly. I probably burned some bridges by not being pure enough on the immigration issue. Too bad. Other CPAC webloggers as well as some guy named Bill Frist is also on the show.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in CPAC 2006 at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #46

  • George Will delivers the toughest words from any conservative on the White House's NSA spying arguments. He calls it a "monarchical doctrine" but urges Congress to "make all necessary actions lawful by authorizing the president to take those actions, with suitable supervision."

  • Vice President Dick Cheney took responsibility for last weekend's hunting accident. The Journal Sentinel's Tim Cuprisin writes, "It's no surprise that Cheney picked Fox News Channel and its Washington managing editor, Brit Hume, to break his silence." After the White House press corps went goofy Monday I'd avoid them too.

  • Lawrence O'Donnell (of The West Wing fame) started the "Was Cheney drunk?" meme floating inside the heads of Bush bashers. Hugh Hewitt called him on it. O'Donnell mentioned Chappaquiddick six times. Poor Teddy.

  • The Huffington Post wants to destory what little credibility it has by insinuating Cheney was on the hunting trip with his mistress who happens to be the ambassador to Switzerland.

  • Drudge reminds us Senate Minority Leader hid his mini-stroke from the press for three days.

  • Republicans are fighting to keep earmarks in the budget process. Some people just don't get it (and shouldn't be called conservatives).

  • A Louisiana congressman might be indicted. Yes, shocking.

  • American media shows new Abu Ghraib abuse photos but won't show the Muhammad cartoons.

  • Some Canadians think it would be a good idea to erect a statue in honor of Vietnam War draft dodgers.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 02:05 AM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2006

The "Raghead" Saga Continues

Talking about Ann "Raghead" Coulter is almost boring, but reaction is still coming in:

  • Tom Bevan points out that Coulter's remarks pale to AlGore's overseas America-bashing. Ann only stained those that applauded at CPAC as well as those that continue to send me comments and e-mail defending her or write posts like this. AlGore insulted the very nation he wanted to lead. Talk about a sore loser. [via Michelle Malkin]

  • Ace thinks "she needs an intervention." He can go right ahead. I'm not touching her. I don't know where those scrawny legs have been wrapped around.

  • Glenn Reynolds scratched his head when he received e-mails demanding he mention Coulter when, in fact, he did.

  • Ms. Coulter made a bad impression on one UK conservative. He called her the "unacceptable face of American conservatism."

  • Kevin @ EckerNet.Com declares Coulter "The Right's Howard Dean." At least we're not dumb enough to put her in charge of the Republicans.

  • Donald Sensing: "Ann Coulter is the only person I know of who can make Pat Buchanan sound moderate. I have no hope that she’ll just shut up, but I wish she would." To dream, to dream.

  • The American Spectator's David Hogberg went so far as to write, "This year she ruined an otherwise great event." [via Right Wing News]

  • Mark Kilmer writes, "If you seek a serious conservatism, stay far away from Coulter and other clowns who’ve adorned themselves with the label...." Yes, but I'll call her out when she tars the conservative movement I'm proud to be a part of.

  • TMLutas praises TAM for "restraining your own nutters." I'll take it, but I call 'em like I see 'em. It wasn't me protecting the conservative movement as much as me railing on someone uses ethnic slurs just to get a rise out of people. Ann Coulter is treated like a rock star among many conservatives. She doesn't deserve such fame.

  • Josh Cohen: "And really, you’re not that attractive, no matter what the mainstream conservatives say."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in CPAC 2006 at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

Offical Talks of Saddam's Terrorist Connections and WMD

Ali Ibrahim al-Tikriti was a regional commander in Saddam's Iraq in the late 1980s. In an interview he claims Saddam gave "logistical and some material support" to Palestinian terrorist groups, "provided Al-Qaeda with intelligence support and whatever money or munitions they could provide," and had a plan to hid his WMD in Syria to "embarrass the West."

We know Saddam supported Palestinian bombers. Stephen Hayes' work has made a good case Saddam's Iraq was knee-deep with lots of terrorists. I'm skeptical of the claim Saddam's WMD are in Syria. It's too pat. Plus, I don't buy Ibrahim al-Tikriti's claim that the plan was around since the 1980s. Saddam had no fear of invasion by the West until he invaded Kuwait in 1991. Simpler explanations are Saddam made himself appear tougher by acting like he had WMD, or he was fooled by his underlings into believing he possessed them.

"Another Former High-Ranking Iraqi Official Confirms WMD Went to " [via Wiresfromthebunker]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 01:11 PM | Comments (1)

Sherman Goes to Houston

Ex-Packers coach Mike Sherman didn't get another head coaching gig but will be an assistant to Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak.

The Packers still have to pay the rest of his two-year $6.4 million extension they have him last year minus anything anything the Texans pay him.

"Sherman Takes Job with Texans"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 12:56 PM | Comments (1)

Charlie's Show Prep #45

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 03:18 AM | Comments (14)

February 14, 2006

With the Wonkettes at a Watering Hole

Another CPAC means another TAM mention on Wonkette. There was no reference to me and a**f**king. (Although it is mentioned in the post.) One-half of Wonkette, Alex Pareene probably thinks I'm a bible thumper. At the mixer drinking binge I found out Pareene is from the Twin Cities. I gave him my little schpeel about going to school in Duluth then working in the Cities for the Minnesota Family Council. He seemed to take it well although I was buzzed from some strong gin gimlets.

At least this time Wonkette didn't call me a "nerd."

"CPAC-ing Heat: Wonkette Gets Drunk With Right-Wingers"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in CPAC 2006 at 08:43 PM | Comments (0)

Someone Tell PETA

Work on a Kos commercial is underway:

We need people for the commercial, people who look like the Democratic Party -- workers in hard hats, moms with kids, men and women in business suits, hippies, young and old, all colors, enviro types, college professors, young women, someone in a wheelchair, etc.

The concept -- there will be a donkey laying on the ground. There will be a long line of people tugging at the donkey with a rope, trying to get it to move. The donkey won't budge. Some dude (they're threatening to make me do it) will walk down the line up to the donkey, give the animal a look, and then give it a swift kick in the ass to get it moving. (And no, the donkey won't really be kicked.)


Ok, so the donkey's safe. It's the cast that's being exploited:
You'd get paid $1. [Will it be a shiny, politically correct Sacagawea coin?] But I'll get a personalized signed book to everyone who is in the commercial. You'll also get fed. And I suspect it'll be fun hanging out and chatting. I'll be there most of the day.

You'd have to pay me a lot to endure listening to Markos "Screw Them" Moulitsas.

Markos better be in the commercial. I've never seen an ass pull (or kick) another ass before. I wonder how much CGI they'll use to pull that trick? It should give Lord of the Rings a run for its money.

If Kos can't use the four-legged kind they could always put Paul Hackett in its place. Kos kicked him when he was down.

"Let Me Get this Straight - Your Book Ad features Someone Kicking a Donkey?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 10:16 AM | Comments (3)

The Brady's Poor Sense of Humor

Here's supposedly what James and Sarah Brady (of Brady Bill fame) said about the "Cheney's Got a Gun" incident:

James and Sarah Brady made comments today related to Vice President Cheney's reportedly accidental shooting yesterday in Texas.

"Now I understand why Dick Cheney keeps asking me to go hunting with him," said Jim Brady. "I had a friend once who accidentally shot pellets into his dog - and I thought he was an idiot."

"I've thought Cheney was scary for a long time," Sarah Brady said. "Now I know I was right to be nervous."


I say "supposedly" because it has to be a joke. What person with a modicum of P.R. sense would let such insulting drivel be released? In no way does it advance the (incorrect) agenda of gun control and only serves to inflame your opponents.

But it's not a joke:

Sarah and Jim Brady, founders of a leading gun control group, had sharp comments for Vice President Dick Cheney as news of his weekend hunting mishap spread.

Cheney accidentally shot and injured a fellow hunter while quail hunting at a South Texas ranch.

"Now I understand why Dick Cheney keeps asking me to go hunting with him," Jim Brady said in a statement. "I had a friend once who accidentally shot pellets into his dog -- and I thought he was an idiot."

"I've thought Cheney was scary for a long time," Sarah Brady said. "Now I know I was right to be nervous."


Amazing.

Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms executive director Joe Waldron said, "[The Bradys] have raised dancing in blood to a fine art."

"James and Sarah Brady Comment on the Vice President's Hunting Mishap" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #44

  • The push for the begins Wednesday with a hearing of handpicked groups for and against. I'm wary of a 9-page 2500 word amendment. The eloquence of the U.S. constitution this isn't. But Americans for Prosperity approve.

  • Washington Post writer (he no longer deserves the title "reporter") Dana Milbank went on MSNBC in hunting garb. I would hope the Post's editors will have the good sense to publish him only on their op-ed page. Blanton at RedState wants the MSM "to get over yourself."

  • Want some real news involving a Vice President or at least a former one? AlGore bashing America in Saudi Arabia.

  • An Iraq War veteran popular with hardcore Democrats and who has criticized President Bush was pushed out of running for the Senate.

  • Batman vs. al Qaeda.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 03:18 AM | Comments (1)

So True

cheneykennedy.jpg

That's what Mary Jo Kopechne would think.

Get your's now.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 12:47 AM | Comments (1)

February 13, 2006

More Ann Coulter Reaction

Here are two more reactions to Ann Coulter's "raghead" remark:


  • The half-Arab (or his that half-raghead?) Aladdin writes,
    Ethnic slurs are bad because they foment stereotyping and prejudice against an entire group of people based purely on their DNA. From what I know, there's never been a race or ethnicity whose DNA was evil. On the other hand, there have been lots of wholly evil individuals from all races, ethnicities, religions, and walks of life, evil because of the choices they made, the actions they took; Islamist terrorists are such individuals, and they deserve to be condemned along with all other evil persons.
    ...
    I'm one of those such people: a half-Arab, non-Muslim, third-generation American. A few strands of DNA are all I have in common with Islamist terrorists. I find their actions despicable and abhorrent.

    Don't lump me in with them.


    He also posts that CENTCOM Commander Gen. John Abizaid is also Arab-American. It's Ann's nightmare. Those damn ragheads are everywhere!

  • Attila Girl completely accepts the slippery slope the "you're just a pussy for criticizing Ann" crowd thinks we're heading down.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in CPAC 2006 at 01:14 PM | Comments (1)

*Blush*

Thanks, Jessica.

The Pioneers. Lakeshore Laments (http://www.lakeshorelaments.com/), the American Mind (http://www.theamericanmind. com/), Tom McMahon (http://www.tommcmahon.net/wisconsin/ index.html), Badger Blogger (http://badgerblogger.com/), and Jiblog (http://jiblog.blogspot.com/) were doing this a heck of a lot longer than the rest of us. They’re thought provoking. They are the true pioneers.

"Blog on for Fresh Insights"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #43

Back in Wisconsin means it's back to the grind. No offense, Charlie.

  • With the NSA spying flap Democrats are offering a way to not have a constitutional battle with unintended consequences. Rep. Jane Harman and former Senator Tom Daschle both said the NSA's actions are necessary. The way out of this is for Congress to pass a bill clearly allowing warantless wiretapping that's currently happening. The President could sign it but still claim he has executive authority. He'd treat the law like all Presidents treat the War Powers Act. This argument isn't so much politics as a battle of egos. The Democrats think they finally have an issue to really hurt the President with (they don't), and Karl Rove loves labeling Democrats as "soft on terrorism."

  • Immigration is a big issue in the conservative movement. If you read TAM a few days ago you'd already know that. If you read the right side of the blogosphere you'd know the issue has been simmering for a while. Still, Craig Gilbert writes about how Republicans could be harmed. Noteworthy is Rep. Paul Ryan calling CPAC participants "more isolationist, protectionist, not pro-immigration." That's true of an event that still treats Phyllis Schlafly as a rock star. Ryan mustn't be looking for friends on that side of the movement.

  • Ann Coulter's "raghead" remark goes international with this article in the Financial Times. Again, thanks for nothing, Ann.

  • Republicans, Republicans! will criticize the Bush administration's Hurricane Katrina efforts.

  • A number of tech companies will explain their China policies before Congress.

  • I was almost going to thank Eugene Kane for this column chastising those who turned Coretta Scott King's funeral into a Bush bashing rally. I was going to until the last paragraph: "Sometimes, you can't keep folks from acting out. Particularly when they think they have a darn good reason." He's hopeless.

  • Expect a fatawah against the internet to be released today.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:47 AM | Comments (1)

February 12, 2006

TAM on The Corner

TAM gets Jonah Goldberg's attention, and he comments on Ann Coulter's big mouth.

"Ann's Schtick"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in CPAC 2006 at 06:04 PM | Comments (1)

Beware of Cheney with a Gun

A long-time Texas Republican got between Vice President Dick Cheney and some quail.

Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded a companion during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas, spraying the fellow hunter in the face and chest with shotgun pellets.

Harry Whittington, a millionaire attorney from Austin, was "alert and doing fine" in a Corpus Christi hospital Sunday after he was shot by Cheney on a ranch in south Texas, said Katharine Armstrong, the property's owner.

He was in stable condition Sunday, said Yvonne Wheeler, spokeswoman for the Christus Spohn Health System in Corpus Christi.

Armstrong in an interview with The Associated Press said Whittington, 78, was mostly injured on his right side, with the pellets hitting his cheek, neck and chest during the incident which occurred late afternoon on Saturday.

The only more dangerous place to be is between Sen. Russ Feingold and a microphone.

"Cheney Accidentally Shoots Fellow Hunter"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 05:50 PM | Comments (1)

Shaking the Cob Webs Out of My Head

Three pitchers of margaritas and good talk makes for a really slow time getting out of bed. One thing to remember about CPAC: there may be plenty of conservatives but not all of them are conservative.

I'm heading back to Wisconsin this afternoon.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in CPAC 2006 at 10:53 AM | Comments (5)

February 11, 2006

Reaction to Ann

Staff breaking down the exhibition hall kicked me out. Then they proceded to take a break. Gotta love those unions.

Anyway, here are some replies to the blizzard of comments people left on my post "ragging" on Ann Coulter:

  • To afshin who called me a "humorless pussy:" I'd laugh if Coulter said something funny. I didn't know "real men" liked to laugh at offensive racial slurs. I do giggle when she pushes back her hair over and over and over and over and over.

  • Brian writes, "I also believe that Ann doesn't give a hoot about offending the sensibilities of Muslim terrorists and their supporters." I don't care about the feelings of Islamists either. What I do care about is treating civilized people with respect. Tossing around ethnic slurs doesn't do that.

  • Lee wonders why I didn't castigate those who tell bigotted Catholic jokes. If I heard Ann Coulter or any movement conservative toss around ethnic slurs against Catholics I'd rip on them.

  • Larry Knudson thinks I should simply write Ms. Coulter a note politely asking her to refrain from calling Muslims "ragheads." Well, if she'd read my note and seriously take my thoughts to heart I'd consider it, but I know full well toning down her schtick won't help Brand Ann.

To sum it up: I don't resort to the same rhetoric of my uncivilized opponents... and Islamist terrorists.

One funny, funny (yes, I do have a sense of humor) response came from Robert McClelland:

Ah, dear Ann Coulter. She reminds me of an aging porn star who, as her beauty fades, must resort to increasingly depraved sexual acts in order to turn a buck.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in CPAC 2006 at 04:43 PM | Comments (3)

Winding Down

I finally show up for the final day of CPAC and everyone is leaving:

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Coincidence?

But the webloggers are still toiling away:


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As is Cam Edwards and NRANews.com:


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Posted by Sean Hackbarth in CPAC 2006 at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)

The Perfect Storm

It's amazing who will link to you when you point out Ann Coulter's ridiculous remarks. Lucianne.com, Instapundit, PoliPundit.com, Hit & Run, even Total Fark are some who linked to this post. My stats are going through the roof, and it's a Saturday.

I hope the web storm goes better than the snow storm almost on top of me in D.C. No driving for me so that's a relief.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in CPAC 2006 at 01:07 PM | Comments (3)

February 10, 2006

Killer Mom Gets 2 1/2 Years in Jail

What a downer:

A woman whose newborn daughter died after a home birth into a toilet has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

Angela L. Hamilton, 26, formerly of Cudahy, was convicted of two felonies, child neglect causing death and first-degree recklessly endangering safety, after a jury trial in December.

...

But police who interviewed Hamilton shortly after the baby's birth in November 2003 testified that she had confessed to holding the baby underwater for up to a minute.

The baby lived for several days on life support.

Hamilton was sentenced today in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. In addition to the prison term, she must serve six and a half years of supervised release.


Should we be shocked? It's legal to kill a child in the womb. It's legal to partially give birth to a child and then kill him. So it's not a surprise this woman monster got a slap on the wrist.

"Disgusting"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 05:46 PM | Comments (14)

Ann, Thanks for Nothing

With Ann Coulter you should only expect a bad stand-up comedian with a conservative schtick. That's what CPAC attendees got today. My expectations were low, yet she proceded to go below them. She referred to Muslims as "ragheads." She went farther than calling for Justice John Paul Stevens to be poisoned. Muhammad is depicted as a historic law-giver on one of the court's frieses. Coulter wanted Muslims informed so they would burn down the Supreme Court. But just before that happened someone would call Justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Kennedy. She's right when she said, "Our ideas ought to win." Too bad for Ann she doesn't offer any. Bad jokes sell books (unfortunately); they don't persuade voters.

UPDATE: The reaction to Coulter from CPAC webloggers has been negative. Tom Bridge is "going to go be ill." Her words don't help the conservative movement at all. Ryan Sager posted the entire "raghead" quote.

UPDATE II: Jeff Harrell wrote a letter to Ann. Add my name to the bottom.

UPDATE III: "The famous LaShawn Barber" thinks "it’s much ado about nothing."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in CPAC 2006 at 04:27 PM | Comments (87)

Good Material

I wish I wrote satire because Wayne Gretzky being wiretapped by the NSA could make a funny piece.

"Wayne Gretzky Mum About Wiretap Talks"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 11:20 AM | Comments (1)

No Bills No Pay

Sen. George Allen wants Congressmen not to get paid if they can't get spending bills passed on time. Ed Frank of Americans for Prosperity writes,

I'm an Allen fan, but it seems to me that the problem isn't that spending bills aren't getting passed quickly enough - it's that they're too large. And the threat of not getting paid seems like it would lead to LESS discipline - not more. I'd rather have Senators fight it out for spending restraint rather than vote for a bad bill so they can get paid.

"Sen. Allen: Withhold Congressional Pay?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 09:46 AM | Comments (1)

Actions Not Words

Gov. Jim Doyle would sacrifice unborn humans for Wisconsin jobs.

Wisconsin, Doyle said, is a leader in research on the medical benefits of stem cells, which carries strong potential for commercial application in the pharmaceutical industry.

"There are states all over the country that are desperately trying to catch up to us," Doyle said.

Doyle told reporters after his speech that legislative proposals to restrict stem cell research would hurt efforts to develop jobs from that research.


Last year, Doyle vetoed a bill banning human cloning. It would hurt Wisconsin's economy he argued. He said, "Screw you," to everyone who doesn't think economic growth should come from an ethical morass.

While the promise of a stem cell industry in Wisconsin is far in the state's economic future the governor ignores recent events that will have an economic impact much sooner. An Alcoa executive spelled some of them out:

But Wisconsin also carries some disadvantages in competing with other Midwestern states for business investment, said Wilkinson, who is vice president of Alcoa North America's public strategies group.

[Tim] Wilkinson told the audience that the state's advantages include an availability of real estate for business expansions; improvements in the tax and regulatory structure, and dedicated, smart people who work in the economic development field.

Disadvantages, he said, include high energy costs; taxes that remain relatively high; questions about the long-term commitment to funding highway improvements; and publicity from recent rulings by the state Supreme Court on product liability and medical malpractice issues.


Doyle had the ability to improve both the product liability and medical malpractice laws. He vetoed both of them. On the economy his talk is cheap.

"Wisconsin Must Stay at Forefront of Stem Cell Research, Doyle Says"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 07:30 AM | Comments (5)

February 09, 2006

Students for Allen

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The Students for Allen campaign is in full effect. The representative told me Sen. George Allen (R-VA) wouldn't need his arm twisted much to be drafted.

Condi Rice has her fans too.

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tag: cpac

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in CPAC 2006 at 03:59 PM | Comments (1)

Cindy Let Us Down

Cindy Sheehan won't run for Senate:

Cindy Sheehan, the anti-Iraq war activist whose son was killed in the conflict there, put an end to speculation on Thursday that she would launch a long-shot bid to become a U.S. senator from California.

Sheehan, speaking in front of San Francisco City Hall, said she would not run for the office.

"If I thought that running for Senate would bring our young people home more quickly I would do it in a minute, but I am not convinced that that would do so," Sheehan said.

A campaign would have pitted her against California's senior senator, Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat who is one of the state's most popular politicians.

Although experts and polls suggest Feinstein, in office since 1992, will win reelection easily, a campaign by Sheehan would have provided her with a platform for her anti-war message.


Lots of Daily Show writers' work just got tossed into the trash. Thanks, Cindy.

"Anti-War Mom Sheehan Will Not Run for Senate" [via GOP Bloggers]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Cindy Sheehan at 03:26 PM | Comments (2)

Those at Bloggers' Corner

Here's a partial list. There are a lot more webloggers here than last year.

tag:

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in CPAC 2006 at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

Immigration Obsession

Immigration is a thread I thought would run through CPAC. It was noticable at last year's conference and with the Minuteman Project its shadow on conservatism has grown bigger.

There are conservatives like the Minuteman Project's Chris Simcox and Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) who passionately call for sealing the border to illegal immigrants. Hayworth wants "enforcement first." Simcox is "tired of waiting for Mexico to solve its [economic] problem." His goal is to "force an orderly queue into our country."

Then we have the long-time conservative warrior Phyllis Schlafly worrying that a guest worker program will "build[s] a subserviant underclass who won't assimilate." Think the Muslim suburbs surounding French cities. She rejects the notion that immigrant labor is really needed. "There is no job American's won't do." Highly skilled workers like engineers aren't needed because "there is no labor shortage." Employers just want cheap labor.

What company wouldn't want to keep their labors costs as low as they can? What Schlafly fails to mention is low labor costs get passed along to consumers. We'll pay a lot more for produce with a reduced labor pool. Wal-Mart can't offer consumers low prices if they have to pay workers more in wages.

The strident "seal the borders" advocates fail to say how many immigrants they want. Does sealing the borders mean an America closed off to immigrants? Listening to Schlafly she only wants immigrants who want to be "100% American." What does that mean? Would someone be rejected if they don't learn english fast enough or well enough? Would someone fail the Schlafly standard if they continue to dress in the same manner they did in their previous country?

Let me be clear, illegal immigrants flout the law. That cannot be accepted. Guest worker programs may not benefit the nation economically or socially. Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies made some good points. The tone of those like Schlafly borders on nativist, yet they don't stand out and say it. That's a complete rejection of America's history and harmful to her future.

UPDATE: Ryan Sager covered Rep. Tom Tancredo's (R-CO) speech. Sager challenges the political as well as the economic effects of Tancredo's "seal the borders" ideas.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in CPAC 2006 at 02:14 PM | Comments (12)

Ollie's Fan Base

I don't the point of Oliver North's fame. You can argue that he was a patriot in the Iran-Contra scandal, but other than hosting War Stories what has he done for conservatives?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in CPAC 2006 at 01:56 PM | Comments (1)

Asterisk Candidates

With black candidate Lynn Swan and Ken Blackwell having legitimate shots in governor's races Charlie Sykes asks the Journal Sentinel editorial board, "If they win, will they be African-American 'leaders'.... or asterisks?"

[Crickets chirping]

"Asterisks?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 08:37 AM | Comments (0)

Arrived at CPAC

I'm now at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. Checking into , finding "Bloggers' Corner," and plugging in (ethernet not wireless) were all smooth sailing.

The blogosphere has grown since there's about eight other webloggers here and I recognize no one.

G. Gordon Liddy just walked by. The webloggers are right next to the talk radio yappers.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in CPAC 2006 at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)

Islam's PR Problem

Jim Geraghty has a downer post on Muslims opposing the cartoon violence. He worries they're not being heard over the shouting in the street and the sound of embassies being torched. The insight Jim offers is global Islam has had a bad image for some time:

It seems likely that the first time the American public really paid close attention to the Muslim world was the 1980 Iranian hostage crisis. Since then we’ve seen the hostage-taking in Lebanon, the bombing of the Marine barracks, the death threats against Salman Rushdie, the embassy bombings, the U.S.S. Cole... and then the day the world changed, 9/11. Since then, we’ve seen those who celebrated the attacks, Saudi Princes who offer checks to terrorism victims but demand changes to our Middle East policy, the murder of Daniel Pearl, the attacks in Bali, Riyadh, Istanbul, Madrid, Beslan, Jeddah, London, Sharm al-Sheikh, Amman… suicide bombers in Israel, the Moscow theater hostage-taking, and a seeming thousand “yes, but” comments on terrorism, ultimately blaming Western “provocations.”

What positive interactions have these folks had with Muslims? Has there been anything like iconic moment of the Queen playing the Star-Spangled Banner at Buckingham Palace?


The U.S. is spending millions to improve the nation's image overseas. Maybe the Saudis should use their petrodollars to pump up Islam's image instead of spreading virulent Wahhabism.

A man I work with of moderate temperment (libertarian politically) sensing that we are now seeing a clash of civilizations. I hope he's wrong and this is just another outburst of Islamic insecurity.

"Who Speaks for Islam?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 05:48 AM | Comments (2)

February 08, 2006

Same Name, New Address

Leaning Blue now has its own domain name. Please change links accordingly.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 10:38 PM | Comments (0)

Nerve Gas Scare in Senate Building

I pity some Senate workers. A nerve gas scare kept 200 people working at the Russell Senate Office building tucked away in a parking garage Wednesday. They included Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and Jeff Sessions (R-AL). The quarantine method appears to have worked. Since it was a nerve gas scare it's not as important. If there really were nerve gas in the building people would have gotten sick and maybe dropped dead. Now, if it was a biological attack then the quarantine would (hopefully) keep victims from passing on the bio-agent.

The scare came from a false positive from a sensor in the Russell building's attic:

Sen. Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader, said: "It was a false positive. That means an alarm went off, with an indication it was initially positive but with further testing there was no agent of danger found."

[Sgt. Kimberly] Schneider said substances as benign as fertilizer could trigger a false positive result for chemical agents.


Somebody should look into some better sensors.

"Security Scare Forces US Capitol Evacuation"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:33 PM | Comments (1)

So Sleepy

That's what walking around Washington's mall does to you. I don't know if I have the energy to get my interview with Rep. Green up tonight. Let's see if I catch my second (or third or fourth) wind. But then again, I have a big, long day tomorrow at CPAC. Let's just say I'll get it up as soon as possible.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 05:05 PM | Comments (0)

Mark Green on Doyle Scandals and Ethanol

My flight to Washington, D.C. had two passengers many of my readers will be familiar with. Scott Jensen, who's trying to stay out of jail, was on my flight as well as Rep. Mark Green who is running for governor. I didn't get a chance to speak with Jensen, but I did get to ask Rep. Green a couple questions while walking through the airport.

On the Rich Judge remaining on Gov. Jim Doyle's campaign staff while admitting to have broken the law by campaigning as a staff member in the legislature Green said, "It's obviously a judgment Gov. Doyle has to make. We all have to be accountable for our actions." He continued, "We have a stain on state government right now." Green wants to talk about issues. Instead, he's having to listen to people's concern about corruption in state government. "Everywhere I go people express their anxiety" about Doyle's scandals.

I then wanted him to clarify if he supported mandating ethanol in gasoline. Green said, "I wouldn't support any ethanol requirement if it adds to the regulatory burden on business." The reason he's sympathetic to ethanol is he thinks petroleum has a monopoly. "98% of all the gasoline in America is totally petroleum-based. There is no choice right now.... I want to see people have real choices." His idea of what monopoly is is far from conventional thinking. When econonmists think of monopolies they mean a sole producer of a good or service. In the early 20th Century many feared John Rockefeller building a monopoly through his Standard Oil. Today, there are multiple companies selling gas. There may be collusion but there's no monopoly. Also, no one is stopping gas stations from selling ethanol-blended gas. With the bad experiences Southeast Wisconsin has had with reformulated gas the only way consumers in the rest of the state will buy the inferior fuel is to be forced by the government. Rep. Green is wrong. There is choice, and the choice being made is not to buy ethanol.

Another odd element to Green's answer was he doesn't want to add further "regulatory burden on business." Any kind of government mandate would do so. So conceivably any ethanol bill that came before him as governor would be vetoed. This sounds like Green's way of supporting the ethanol industry while trying to improve Wisconsin's business climate.

I'll make the recording of my brief interview with Rep. Green available as the next episode of my podcast Speak later tonight. For now, it's time to do a little sightseeing.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:37 PM | Comments (4)

Mr. Sean Goes Back to Washington

Your's truly is safe and sound in the nation's capital. Lucky for me my room was ready upon my arrival at the hotel. There's no view (just the other side of the hotel), but the internet access is humming (and free!).

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Yeah, I know, nice view.

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Wires! And I thought we were in the 21st Century.

The room's nice enough.

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And if I'm really, really hungry (and too cheap for room service) I can eat the soap.

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Posted by Sean Hackbarth in CPAC 2006 at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)

Monday Night Football Crew Named

Joe Theismann, Mike Tirico, and Tony Kornheiser will be the Monday Night Football announcers when it moves to ESPN next season. Tirico will be fine. He's been doing a solid job as the straight man covering a number of sports. Theismann is too much like the Bill Walton of football in that he tries to dominate the talk with his football knowledge. When he's wrong it's incredibly irritating. But on Sunday Night Football there was Paul Maguire to put him in his place. Next season, Kornheiser steps in. He looks to be the Dennis Miller of the group. He'll make quips but without viewers having to search through encyclopedias or Google to figure out what he meant. I could do without him.

It appeared that Al Michaels was going to team up with Theismann as the MNF team. Now, Michaels is free to join his partner John Madden on NBC for Sunday night games. Michaels must have told ESPN he preferred working with Madden than continuing his MNF gig.

Here's an interesting note: Next season, John Madden will have worked for every major network that broadcasts NFL games.

"ESPN Names Crew for "

"'MNF' Gets 33 Percent More Bald"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 10:39 AM | Comments (7)

Charlie's Show Prep #42

Call this the "I'm on my way to Washington, D.C." edition:


  • Bush bashers "Wellstoned" Coretta Scott King's funeral. President Carter took a shot at President Bush by mentioning how the government wiretapped the Kings. Rev. Joseph Lowery said, "We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there." He received a standing ovation for that jab. All the while President Bush sat a few feet away and took it. President Clinton took the narcissistic route and made his speech all about him and Hillary. What does the Left end of the blogosphere do: they cheer. Here's video of Carter and Lowery.

  • There will much talk at CPAC about . To add to the discussion studies have found immigrants create good job growth in cities.

  • If I weren't in D.C. this Saturday I'd be at watching a hockey game.

  • Pepsi will soon come out with a Ben & Jerry's drink. If it tastes as good and their oatmeal cookie ice cream they'll have a winner with me.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 03:31 AM | Comments (9)

Paul Craig Roberts Has Lost It

Former Reagan official Paul Craig Roberts has gone over the deep end and dove head first into a pool of Bush-bashing kool-aid. He thinks (without a shread of evidence) that the NSA terrorist spying was on media and Democrats. That information is now being used to blackmail both. He writes,

The years of illegal spying have given the Bush administration power over the media and the opposition. Journalists and Democratic politicians don't want to have their adulterous affairs broadcast over television or to see their favorite online porn sites revealed in headlines in the local press with their names attached. Only people willing to risk such disclosures can stand up for the country.

It gets better. Roberts even thinks the no-fly list is a political weapon:
How long before members of the opposition party, should there be one, find that they cannot return to Washington for important votes, because they have been placed on the no-fly list? What oversight does Congress or a panel of federal judges exercise over the list to make sure there are valid reasons for placing people on the list?

I think I just witnessed a mental breakdown in written form. Someone get Mr. Roberts his slippers and a teddy bear.

"My Epiphany"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Paleowatch at 12:26 AM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2006

Torch the Met

Shh! Don't tell anybody, but there's images of Muhammad in museums across the globe. Expect the Metropolitan Museum of Art to be set ablaze in a few days.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 10:24 AM | Comments (4)

Feel the Burn

Peakah's Provocations... hosts this week's Bonfire of the Vanities. I don't think he's completely sane.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 10:15 AM | Comments (1)

Charlie's Show Prep #41

  • In his State of the County address [PDF] Scott Walker showed that despite the fiscal obstacles dropped into his lap by Tom Ament's corrupt pension deals he's holding the line on property taxes. Now, he has go navigate the county through mounting retiree benefit costs. This will be very difficult and could involve state legislation. If actual executive experience mattered in the GOP race to challenge Gov. Doyle Walker would have an edge over Rep. Mark Green.

  • Wisconsin had the distinction of leading the nation in Iraq War referendums. Racine might join the loony Lefty party. These votes are pointless. Local government has no ability to affect the Iraq War in any way. They're a waste of time, emotions, and in the case of Watertown legal fees.

  • Louisiana Governor whined about President Bush not talking about New Orleans enough in last week's State of the Union. But no "thank you's" for the $8 billion in federal money for housing.

  • In a case of abuse Philadelphia tried to take away a woman's home so two Catholic orders could build a school. An appeals court put the nix on that.

  • Justice Souter is safe from being evicted by the ruling he voted for last year.

  • Winter Olympic athletes who test positive for drugs will not only face punishment from international sports bodies but could face Italian prosecution.

  • Brazil's government will hand out 25 million free condoms during Carnival. "It's that time of year when we boost distribution because of the increase in demand," an official from the Health Ministry's anti-AIDS program said. That's an understatement.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 02:34 AM | Comments (2)

February 06, 2006

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Vision of War

Iran's location along with its vast energy supply make it an ever-growing power in its region. With India's and China's economies showing no end to their growth they will look more and more to Iran's oil and natural gas supplies. Simply because of that it will remain an important world player. Part of the reason Iran wants the nuclear bomb is to counter Israel's known but not admitted arsenal. That would seem reasonable except that Iran has a history of supporting terrorism to advance its national interests. Even worse they have a man in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who thinks he has the power to bring about the Shia version of the Apocolypse. Arnaud de Borchgrave writes,

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Shi'ite creed has convinced him lesser mortals can not only influence but hasten the awaited return of the 12th Imam, known as the Mahdi. Iran's dominant "Twelver" sect holds this will be Muhammad ibn Hasan, the righteous descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. He is said to have gone into "occlusion" in the 9th century, at age 5. His return will be preceded by cosmic chaos, war, bloodshed and pestilence. After this cataclysmic confrontation between the forces of good and evil, the Mahdi will lead the world to an era of universal peace.
"The ultimate promise of all Divine religions," says Ahmadinejad, "will be fulfilled with the emergence of a perfect human being [the 12th Imam], who is heir to all prophets. He will lead the world to justice and absolute peace. Oh mighty Lord, I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the promised one." He reckons the return of the Imam, AWOL for 11 centuries, is only two years away.
Mr. Ahmadinejad is close to the messianic Hojjatieh Society, which is governed by the conviction the 12th Imam's return will be hastened by "the creation of chaos on Earth." He has fired Iran's most experienced diplomats and scores of other officials, presumably those who don't share his belief in apocalyptic conflagration.
The Iranian leader's finger on a nuclear trigger would be disquieting under any circumstances. Positively alarming would be a nuclear weapon in the hands of a man who badgers Israel, the U.S. and the European Union in belief a pre-emptive aerial attack on Iran's nuclear facilities will hasten the return of the missing Mahdi. Such an attack presumably would trigger anti-Western mayhem throughout the Middle East.

The question is how to address this problem. Sanctions are the path being taken, but on the energy front they will be ignored by hungary Indians and Chinese. Militarily I don't see how the U.S. could mount an invasion. They could do it by moving all the troops currently in Iraq (which would perversly go along with the anti-war, "get our troops out of Iraq" crowd. Also, Iranians are a very, very proud people. They've set themselves off from the rest of Islam with their language and their past of being a former empire. They would take even less kindly to an American invasion/liberation. Airstrikes could slow their bomb-making a little, but they've learned from the Iraqis that nuclear testing should be hidden in fortified shelters. The best chance is to hope there's an internal revolution. Unfortunately that involves time, a luxury we don't have.

"Later than We Think"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 01:21 PM | Comments (3)

Post-Super Bowl Contrast

A tale of two cities:

Pittsburgh:

No team had ever won three playoff games on the road and then won a Super Bowl, but the Steelers last night completed a magical ride with a 21-10 victory over the Seahawks, igniting celebrations throughout the far-flung Steeler Nation.

Their Super Bowl triumph was the team's first in 26 years and the fifth in franchise history, putting the Steelers in company with Dallas and San Francisco with five Super Bowl wins.

Seattle:

The Seahawks will wake up out of a sound sleep in a cold sweat and remember the dropped passes, the missed field goals, the punt that rolled dead on their 2-yard line, the penalties.

They will look at the game film later this week and realize they should have been ahead about 24-0 at halftime. They will see that they kicked the Pittsburgh Steelers up and down Ford Field.

...

They are better than the Steelers. But the mistakes they made on game day will follow them all the way to next summer, all the way to training camp in Cheney.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #40

  • Can the President order a terrorist killed on U.S. soil? In particular circumstances I should think so. I watch too much 24 so I can imagine wild scenes that probably have no baring with reality. Then again the only people who thought about flying airplanes into buildings were thriller writers and al-Qaeda. In certain circumstances police are allowed to shoot people. Logically it's reasonable to extend that ability onto the President.

  • For some the World Can't Wait...to kill President Bush. Those few demonstrated in Washington, D.C.

  • George W. Bush = Richard Nixon. That's what MoveOn.org wants you to think. [via AdJab]

  • Every once in a while Tim Cuprisin gets it right: this year's Super Bowl ads were boring. The only one I really liked was office workers destroying their office in search of Bud Lights. Anheuser-Busch also won with a hot chick getting tackled in the Michelob Ultra Amber ad. (Ladies, don't feel bad, the babe got her revenge.) There's still no way in hell I'm ever drinking a low-carb beer. Burger King should be beaten over the head with the awful, horrible, dumb, incomprehensible, unsexy "Whopperettes" ad.

  • That yelling you hear in that Riverwest bar is just some guy who lost in the Madden Mondays league.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 03:24 AM | Comments (5)

February 05, 2006

Super Bowl XL Prediction

I could be knee-jerk and just root for the NFC, Seattle. But they're not really an NFC team. Most of their history is in the AFC. I could also root for Mike Holmgren and Matt Hasselbeck both former Packers.

I could do all that and think with my heart, but I want to have a correct prediction. Pittsburgh will win. Their defense is better, their offense has come out of no where with its unpredictability, and Ben Rothlisberger is on fire. It should be a good game since both teams are fairly even. Final score: Pittsburgh 31, Seattle 24.

Here's another prediction I can guarantee: I will hate all of the commercials involving monkeys. I'm looking at you CareerBuilder.com.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)

Violence Spreads to Lebanon

Islamic anger over the Muhammad cartoons isn't easing up; it's spreading:

Thousands of angry Muslim protesters torched the Danish consulate in Beirut on Sunday and damaged property in a Christian area in riots over cartoons of Prophet Mohammad.

The violence fueled sectarian tensions in Lebanon and forced the resignation of Interior Minister Hassan al-Sabaa.

The protesters, waving green Islamic flags and chanting "God is greatest," stoned a church in the eastern part of the capital, provoking an angry Christian outcry in a country that has not fully recovered from its 1975-1990 civil war.

About 20,000 protesters marched on the consulate, some carrying banners that read "Whoever insults Prophet Mohammad is to be killed" and throwing stones at security forces, who fired teargas and used water cannon to disperse the crowd.


It has the potential to make the Lebanese government fall...which may be the ulterior motive for instigators.

A bit of Darwin Award flavor was noticed:

One demonstrator, among those who set the consulate building on fire, was encircled by flames and died after jumping from the third floor, a senior security official told Reuters.

In past history wars have started with attacking a country's embassies. Lucky for the protesters they're challenging militarily-limited Denmark.

At least there are some Muslims who know these violent reactions do no good:

Several Sunni Muslim clerics were on the streets urging restraint and asking protesters, who came from across the country, to leave the scene, a Reuters witness said.

Some protesters stoned a Christian Maronite church nearby and a group of Muslim clerics went to the church to apologize, witnesses said.

The protesters also damaged 50 cars and 40 shops and set fire to a bank, the police official said.

President Emile Lahoud joined scores of Christian officials in deploring the attack on the church. Scores of Christians also burned tyres and briefly blocked the highway linking Beirut to the Muslim-dominated Bekaa Valley.

The police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 21 policemen and 12 protesters were injured. Many suffered from teargas inhalation.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told private Future television: "This has nothing to do with Islam at all."

"Destabilising security and vandalism gives a wrong image of Islam. The Prophet Mohammad cannot be defended this way."

The Arab European League reacted to the Muhammad cartoons by displaying some bigotry of their own in the form of an anti-semitic cartoon. Notice the AEL didn't publish a cartoon insulting the Pope or Jesus (also an Islamic holy figure). They leaped into Jew-bashing.

Stephen Bainbridge found a Christian comparison to Muslim outrage. It doesn't involve burning down a television network's headquarters. Muslims know their history contains stories of empire and dominance. Today, they're just trying to integrate into the global economy. The rage we are witnessing is one of insecurity. Muslims know they can't successfully build an army to crush the infidel. So they resort to riots. In a way this is progress. The cartoons can never be hidden. They'll float through cyberspace until the end of the internet. At some point protesters will realize their violence won't change a thing, just like Iran's death threat never stopped Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses from being published. This is a messy, ugly process.

"Lebanese Torch Danish Consulate over "

UPDATE: Turkey is a Muslim nation farthest down the globalization path. Their reaction has been much different than that in Syria and Lebanon.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 03:02 PM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2006

It's Alive...Again

After hours of Blogger technical issues the Badger Blog Alliance is up and running. Definitely check out Chris' post on making every state legislature race a state-wide one.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 11:52 PM | Comments (1)

Burning Embassies Over Insulting Cartoons

The Danish and Norweigan embassies in Syria were set on fire by angry Muslims reacting to the publication of Muhammad cartoons. The cartoons were an insult to Islam. Depictions of the prophet are forbidden. Those cartoons are as insulting to Muslims as Piss Christ is to Christians. I don't deny the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten the right to publish them. A free press means insulting, hurtful things can be allowed to be published. The reaction from many Muslims has been over the top. It's one thing to be angry, it's another to burn flags, call out death sentences, and to torch buildings. When Piss Christ was publicized you didn't see Christians burning art and museums. They engaged in political speech by writing letters to the editor and contacting their representatives. This violent Muslim reaction is an example of the faith's insecurity. They fear their faith is endangerd merely from cartoons. Their focus on the infidel distracts them from examining the failings of their own civilization that has put them in the historic position they are in.

Erick Erickson writes, "Had it been Christ or the Virgin Mary instead of Muhammad, I guess we would also be supporting the Danish media against the protests of Christians." Dean Esmay is more pronounced: "Oh yeah, and I can utterly condemn this without losing my bearings about who our allies are. You can too."

"Syrians Torch Embassies Over Caricatures"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 05:17 PM | Comments (0)

Google Food

Google would be one of the few work places where someone could photograph their meals and not get any strange looks.

[via Valleywag]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 06:19 AM | Comments (0)

Listen to Peggy Noonan in First TAM Podcast

Behold! I give you the first episode of Speak, TAM's podcast. I got comfortable using Audacity and even added ID3 tags to the mp3 file. It's a long show, 1:23, but that's because I didn't edit any of Noonan's remarks and didn't play with the bit rate enough. The sound quality is pretty good even though I only used an iRiver iFP-780 to record it.

The real bear was hosting. I tried uploading the big file (33 mb) to OurMedia with no success. It would be simpler if I could just FTP to my account. Instead, I'm taking a bandwidth risk and putting the first show on my web server. I should be safe since only a handful of people will download the show.

Here's the RSS feed: http://www.theamericanmind.com/podcast/rss.xml

Here's the URL for the mp3 if you just want to download it: http://www.theamericanmind.com/podcast/speak001_02_03_2006.mp3

I went to all this trouble because I want to podcast from CPAC next week, and for once I'm preparing ahead of time. The RSS feed should stay the same while I look into some podcast hosting solutions like Libsyn. Of course with links in the RRS feed you shouldn't care where episodes of Speak are located.

Please leave feedback. Tell me if you had trouble downloading the show or hearing the show. (It worked for me using iTunes.) I also want to know if you liked listening to the talk and respond to what Noonan said. I may hunt for future speeches to record. Leave a comment in this post or e-mail me at sean--at--theamericanmind--dot--com.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 01:30 AM | Comments (4)

February 03, 2006

Hackers Fave Super Bowl Ad

Geeks and hackers will probably love the Mastercard Super Bowl Big Game ad starring MacGyver. That's, of course, if they even like sports.

"MacGyver to the Super Bowl!"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)

Peggy Noonan at Ripon

Despite the return of winter to Wisconsin Peggy Noonan did speak at Ripon College's "Ethics in Media" conference. I'm working on the write up as we speak, and hope to have a special treat for you.

For those attending tomorrow besides Fred Barnes speaking Charlie Sykes will be part of a panel discussing "The Role of the Public."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 07:21 PM | Comments (0)

The "Long War"

The administration has found a better name for our current conflict than that mouthful "Global War on Terror."

With its formal embrace this week of the term "long war," the Bush administration has turned a simple descriptive phrase into an official name for the war on terrorism, and possibly catapulted it into the ranks of such other era names as "Cold War" and "World War."

The phrase has a long history. It has been applied to the 15-year war between the Habsburg monarchy and the Ottoman Empire that started in the 1590s. It also was a name proposed by University of Texas law professor Philip Bobbitt to cover a collection of 20th-century conflicts, from World War I to the Cold War, which resulted in democracy triumphing over communism and fascism.

Its recent rise to rhetorical prominence in the U.S. military, according to several military officers, began in 2004 with Gen. John P. Abizaid, the Central Command chief who oversees military operations in the Middle East. Abizaid invoked the phrase to underscore the long-term challenge posed by al Qaeda and other Islamic extremist groups.

Gen. Richard B. Myers, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, eventually picked up the term and, at his final news conference before leaving office last September, used it to emphasize the need for political and economic measures -- not just military ones -- to achieve victory.


The "Long War" suggests patience and determination. Looking in dark places for evil Islamists will take time. It will also take time to extend connectivity to the Gap, undeveloped areas of the world that are havens to terrorists.

"Abizaid Credited With Popularizing the Term 'Long War'"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 10:55 AM | Comments (18)

Microsoft Car

Fiats using Microsoft's Windows Automotive will soon show up in Europe. I'm afraid these jokes [and here and here] will soon come true.

"Microsoft-Powered Fiats to Debut in Geneva"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #39

  • Sheikh Yussef al-Qaradawi called for an "" today to protest Muhammad cartoons.

  • Patrick Fitzgerald hasn't refuses to devulge if he'll accuse Scooter Libby or any White House official of outing Valarie Plame as a CIA agent. He's just focusing on proving Libby lied to investigators and a grand jury. This has turned into the Martha Stewart trial where Libby will be accused of lying about crimes the prosecution can't prove.

  • Intelligence agency leaders want the sources of sensational intel leaks to be found and prosecuted.

  • Tim Cuprisin actually defends the over-coverage of Bob Woodruff's and Doug Vogt's war injuries:
    There's a simple reason behind the disparity: The anchor of a network newscast is known to millions of people who tune in nightly - in ABC's case, about 9 million.

    An injured soldier or firefighter or police officer is known to family and friends and neighbors.

    ...

    The national news media usually needs more of a hook to tell a story, either a unique personal story or a big name to give a face to the faceless thousands.

    That's where Woodruff comes in. After all, such a high-profile wounding in a roadside bombing helps remind us of the thousands of Americans who have been wounded in Iraq.


    Yeah right. The media got all teary-eyed over Woodruff and Vogt because they care about the troops. Give me a break. If the MSM really cared they'd cover more of the positive things happening in Iraq instead of counting bodies. There's not lack of material. Here's a good place to start. The fact is the MSM is a narcissistic tribe who circles the wagon around their own.

  • Someone stuffed a deer down a manhole.

  • A naked man in Wittenberg, WI attacked two cars. The cars won, but with permanent scarring.

  • was voted as Australia's hottest babe ever. Good choice.

  • scored 113 points in a high school game. Too bad she isn't going to play for the Badgers. They could use her.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:29 AM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2006

Brokeback to the Future

After watching this mock trailer give me your best Marty McFly jokes.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 11:26 PM | Comments (0)

Disgusting Death Threats

It's one thing to take your state representative to task to being a flip-flopper. It's another to scare his wife with death threats:

Democratic Rep. John Steinbrink said that his wife received two threatening calls to their home late Tuesday afternoon after he voted to sustain Gov. Jim Doyle's veto of the concealed carry bill.

Steinbrink said that the calls were frightening to his wife, Roberta, so he asked Pleasant Prairie police to keep an eye on his home.


To whoever called in that threat you obviously aren't civilized enough to carry a concealed weapon let alone advocate for it. Go back under that rock you crawled out of.

"Key Lawmaker In Concealed Carry Vote Receives Death Threats" [via Boots & Sabers]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

Welcome Back

Spotted Horse has raised its formerly dead head. [No, I don't think Chris is a Dead Head. He kills animals for sport. Dead Heads just kill their own brain cells. --ed]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 10:25 PM | Comments (1)

Boehner New Majority Leader

Rep. John Boehner became the new House Majority Leader on the second ballot. Rep. Roy Blunt, who claimed he had enough votes to get the job, couldn't get majority on the first ballot. That allowed supporters of Rep. John Shadegg to back Boehner instead of DeLay Lite.

Boehner now must get serious reforms passed through the House. Part of it should be some lobby reform. But nothing will squelch the desire of special interests to get tax perks or government benefits than reducing the size and scope of the federal government. If she weren't involved with everything from supporting milk prices, to tariffs, to funding pet projects, to how much water you toilet can use Washington, D.C.'s lobbying industry wouldn't be so active. A Missoula Missoulian editorial put it:

Congress wields immense power through its ability to tax and appropriate money, redistribute wealth and to impose regulation on every aspect of commerce and life. This power corrupts. Obtaining money from the government is worth a lot to various interests. So is obtaining exemptions to taxes or regulations, or to have regulations put in place benefiting one's interests. It's worth so much that individuals, businesses, industries and associations are willing to invest huge sums obtaining beneficial treatment from the government. There is more money and more power involved in this equation to overwhelm the integrity of most mere mortals.

Boehner must have the strength and political skill to re-kindle the shrink government fire that blazed inside the 1994 Republicans. Conservatives will be watching. Conservative webloggers will talking.

James Joyner is loaded to the max with links and blogosphere reaction.

"Rep. Boehner Elected House Majority Leader"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 09:58 PM | Comments (1)

Charlie's Show Prep #38

  • Chuck Chvala goes to jail for campaigning with state resources and all the Milwaukee County prosecutor could calculate for restitution was $2044. Chvala ran the Democrats' entire state senate campaign, and we know 14 worked in his office. Brian Burke has to pay $75,000, and he wasn't as involved as the former State Senate Majority Leader. This smells.

  • Washington County proves even a conservative area won't kill a tax. A county sales tax was created in 1999 for property tax relief. The county board loves the money so much they want to make it permanent.

  • The Washington Post reports on how Justice Alito (damn, that sounds good) got confirmed. In a nutshell: "While Judiciary Committee Republicans and their staff worked closely with the White House and their conservative allies to prepare for the hearings, Democrats were unfocused and divided over their strategy." Thus the winning side has a smiling Alito on the Supreme Court while the losers wonder what Sen. Kennedy was thinking turning red on the Senate floor.

  • Israeli troops clashed with Israeli youth in the dismantling of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land.

  • Last week, Western Union stopped sending telegrams.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 02:26 AM | Comments (0)

Couric Gives Kerry a Pass

Before I accuse Sen. John Kerry of lying about the percentage of kids who graduate from high school I want someone to give him a chance to explain himself. I've backed a President who isn't known for his outstanding use of words. The least I can do is give Senator "I lost in 2004 but am sounding like I'm running again" a break. That someone can't be Katie Couric because she blew her opportunity.

"Katie Turns Off BS Detector as Kerry Trumpets Bogus Stats"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in John Kerry at 01:46 AM | Comments (1)

February 01, 2006

New Orleans Whiners

CNN found some New Orleans residents who thought the President didn't talk enough about Katrina relief. They consider it a "slap in the face." Since Bush didn't declare he'd veto any bill that didn't have basis in the constitution should we constitutionalists consider it a "slap in the face?"

"CNN's Soledad O'Brien: New Orleans Shortchanged"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:39 PM | Comments (5)

State of the Union 2006

Reading a State of the Union speech feels more productive than actually watching it. Rarely do these speeches lay out a big idea. Most of the time they're lists of items put together by policy wonks and politicos then massaged into respectible prose by speechwriters. Most of the items don't even become laws or policy. Some are immediately ignored as soon as they pass through the President's mouth. And the best part is I can ignore all the applause.

President Bush's second State of the Union speech had nothing startling. There was no new philosophy put forward. Bush attempted to advance many of the same ideas from previous years: entitlement reform; tax cuts; and staying the course in the Islamist War. One thing that was different from last year's speech was Bush went back to donning a blue tie.

On controversial NSA eavesdropping that included American citizens President Bush did move away from the defense he uttered when the NY Times broke the story:

So to prevent another attack -- based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute -- I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al Qaeda operatives and affiliates to and from America. Previous Presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have, and federal courts have approved the use of that authority. Appropriate members of Congress have been kept informed. The terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with al Qaeda, we want to know about it, because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.

After failing last year to get anything done on Social Security reform the President again talked about entitlements:

So tonight, I ask you to join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of baby boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This commission should include members of Congress of both parties, and offer bipartisan solutions. We need to put aside partisan politics and work together and get this problem solved.

Great, another commission that will publish a report no one will read and will only be discussed on News Hour.

Democrats showed a lack of class when they applauded not acting on any proposal to salvage Social Security. David J. at ResurrectionSong wrote,

Here’s the fact: Social Security (and all of our big, scary entitlement programs) are a serious growing threat to the long-term well being of our country. There should be no celebrating the fact that we couldn’t find the right solution to the problem, there should be a renewed interest in finding the right solution and a disappointment that we couldn’t create the right framework for attacking the problem. Seriously, folks, our growing entitlement spending is as big a problem (and, arguably, it qualifies as a national security issue) as radical Islamic terrorists. It doesn’t have the immediate sense of threat, I admit, but the problem grows more and more difficult to handle with each passing year.

Unchecked, the bill that comes due over the next few decades could bring this country to its knees more surely than another terrorist attack of 9/11 proportions. It could make us into a younger version of Germany or France and reduce us to standing on the sidelines as even younger, more vigorous economies and political powers shape the future of the globe. Unemployment will rise along with inflation while our political influence plummets. Now is the time to find solutions.

So, yeah, that celebration of failure is a little disconcerting.

Illegal immigration concerns much of the populace. The President delivered an entire paragraph on the subject:

Keeping America competitive requires an immigration system that upholds our laws, reflects our values, and serves the interests of our economy. Our nation needs orderly and secure borders. To meet this goal, we must have stronger immigration enforcement and border protection. And we must have a rational, humane guest worker program that rejects amnesty, allows temporary jobs for people who seek them legally, and reduces smuggling and crime at the border.

Like the botched Miers nomination Bush is listening to his conservative base--not always a good thing. We now see the full effect of the Minutemen Project.

On energy the President spat out conventional wisdom. He said, "America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology." Actually, the best way to change people's behavior is to change their incentives. Gas at over $2 a gallon is driving buyers to look for more fuel-efficent vehicles and encouraging car manufactuers to develop gas-electric hybrids and hydrogen-powered products. Prices in a free market will do more to ease America's "addiction" than Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative. At least he mentioned nukes. The time has come to drive out the nation's irrational fear of that cleaner, bountiful energy source.

On taxes, the President called Congress to make his tax cuts permanent. If it doesn't taxpayers will be hit hard with big tax increases. On the flipside unless this President is willing to veto bloated spending bills than go beyond the government's constitutional authority then we'll sink into more and more debt.

In his laundry list there was only one item of significence to pro-lifers. President Bush wants Congress to "to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research: human cloning in all its forms, creating or implanting embryos for experiments, creating human-animal hybrids, and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos." Despite his truth when he declared, "Human life is a gift from our Creator -- and that gift should never be discarded, devalued or put up for sale," the feds should only regulate the interstate commerce aspects of human cloning. Like abortion, these decisions should be left to the individual states.

No mention of China. Interesting. Beijing mustn't have been pleased.

Someone needs to shake up the State of the Union speech. The laundry list is cliche, the applause are cliche, and the required mention of someone in the gallery is cliche. Given the audience watching the State of the Union Presidents should either advance a grand vision or flesh out new ideas; or else just do like President Jefferson did and send a written statement to Congress and let the talking heads save their breath.

"President Bush Delivers State of the Union Address"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 01:31 PM | Comments (0)

"There's a Lot of Grumbling from Guys at All Ranks about it"

Troops in Iraq noticed the overreaction to Bob Woodruff's and Doug Vogt's injuries:

"Why do you think this is such a huge story?" wrote an officer stationed in Baqubah, Iraq, Monday via e-mail. "It's a bit stunning to us over here how absolutely dominant the story is on every network and front page. I mean, you'd think we lost the entire 1st Marine Division or something.

"There's a lot of grumbling from guys at all ranks about it. That's a really impolite and impolitic thing to say ... but it's what you would hear over here."

At least 2,242 troops have died in Iraq since the war's start, 1,753 of them killed in action. Another 16,000 have been injured, half of them seriously enough to require evacuation from the battlefield. According to the Pentagon, 60 percent of the deaths are the result of IEDs. IEDs have injured more than 9,200 troops, nine times more than gunshots.

"The point that is currently being made (is that) that press folks are more important than mere military folks," a senior military officer told UPI Tuesday.

The unavoidable consequence of war is this: People are savagely wounded and killed. Soldiers in Iraq watching the coverage on satellite television and reading the news on the Internet are getting the impression that the press has only just discovered this fact.


Even with reporters embedded with military units the MSM still feels little connection to those on the front lines. This colors all stories coming out of Iraq.

"Some US Troops Question Coverage" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 03:30 AM | Comments (1)

Charlie's Show Prep #37

  • Clueless Cindy Sheehan does it again. She got a ticket into the House gallery for the SotU speech only to get arrested for demonstrating. Steven Taylor wonders, "She squandered a remarkable amount of free PR–and for what?"

  • ended his 18-year reign over the Federal Reserve. We now enter the Ben Bernanke era.

  • The tour manager who lit the pyrotechnics that set a Rhode Island nightclub on fire killing 100 people in 2003 agreed to a plea bargain.

  • Last year, Democrats improve on their fundraising while Republicans faltered. Could the GOP have a disenchanted base? Still, the GOP has a significant financial edge.

  • Forget Oscar nominations when we have the Razzies.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 02:49 AM | Comments (2)