Print
Oct
06

Listen To The Generals

Remember the meme that the President was obligated to listen to the generals and that it was the height of patriotism for these brave generals to speak out against the Commander In Chiefs policies?  Well apparently those days are long gone.

According to sources close to the administration, Gen McChrystal shocked and angered presidential advisers with the bluntness of a speech given in London last week.

The next day he was summoned to an awkward 25-minute face-to-face meeting on board Air Force One on the tarmac in Copenhagen, where the president had arrived to tout Chicago's unsuccessful Olympic bid.

And just what was it that this braave General said to invoke the ire of the administration?

Click here to find out more!

It started in London last week, when Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who heads U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, told an audience at the Institute of International and Strategic Studies that he does not support a new military strategy being floated privately by Vice President Joe Biden.

The idea, under review at the White House, is to withdraw troops from Afghanistan towns and refocus them on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where Al Qaeda forces are headquartered. The alternative strategy also envisions using more drone missile strikes and special forces ops against the terrorist network.

During his remarks in London, McChrystal predicted that such a plan was "short-sighted," that it would produce "Chaos-istan" and that he would not support it.

Written by LL.

Print
Oct
05

Beyond The Realm Of Reality

I had to send this story to my radio partner Jazz Shaw, because I just could not believe what I was reading....

Congressional Republicans are again demanding that Congressman Charles Rangel step down as chairman of the House tax writing committee, saying his ethics problems make him the poster boy for institutional arrogance.

OK this was not the unbelievable part....

And here's a new twist. Highly placed Democratic sources told CBS 2 HD they have discussed the possibility of using one damaged New York politician to get rid of another...

...this is semi-believable.  Rangel is going to be an albatross to Nancy Pelosi's leadership - especially in light of her promises to "drain the swamp".

It was this that I found to be the stunning line of the whole thing...

...It centers on having Rangel resign, and giving Gov. David Paterson a dignified way to leave Albany by running for Rangel's congressional seat.

I quote Jazz....

Worthy of Onion News: People actually think Charlie Rangel would step down...

...Have any of these people looked at Rangel’s district lately? Take me to Vegas and have me lay odds on any of three possible scenarios. I’ll give you the following odds out of the set:

A: Rangel losing an election in his district: 1%
B: Obama lowering the deficit: 6%
C: Aliens landing and giving us a new, free, limitless energy source that runs on wishes: 93%

Or Utah ever going for a Democrat candidate for President 99%.  Any of those things will happen before Charlie Rangel will ever step down in disgrace.

Written by LL.

Print
Oct
05

And The Cecil B. DeMille Award Goes To...

Senator Bob Bennett is in political trouble.  He is coming into the campaign season with a plethora of challengers all taking the pot shots at his flanks.  Why is he in trouble? Well this is one of many, many reasons.....

Senator Bob Bennett got a $5 million earmark in the defense spending bill for Utah National Guardsmen returning home so they can produce a "video scrapbook" about their tour of duty in conjunction with a Utah company.

CNN points out that $5 million comes from the same fund to pay for the soldiers every day needs.

That $5 million comes from the fund that's supposed to pay for troops' basic needs such as food, fuel and ammunition.

But Bennett says the project saves money in the end.

"It's been proven to be a very strong retention tool, recruitment tool," he said. "The military spends a lot of money to try to get people to re-enlist. We're frankly saving them some money."

Bennett is not the only senator using earmarks to bring cash to their home state.  The story points out Democratic Senator from Delaware Tom Carper earmarked $5 million to buy cold-weather gear for soldiers and Maine Democrat Olympia Snowe who secured $20 million to fix Humvees.

A Pentagon spokesperson says those earmarks should not be in the defense spending bill.

"Every dollar that we are forced to spend on things which we do not need requires us to take money from things which we do need. And the people who lose in that trade-off are our troops and the taxpayers," said Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary.


This is horribly depressing news, especially as we gear up for this years Project Valor IT fund raising competition.  There are many more important needs facing our soldiers now.  That we are taking $5 million out of a fund that is designed to provide necessities like food, fuel and ammunition (during a war for cryin' out loud) and spending it on a "video scrapbook" is the epitome of totally screwed up priorities.

My friend Holly from "Holly On The Hill" had this to say on the subject (emphasis in the original)...

If you want to retain troops, how about making sure they are well-fed, well-clothed and properly supplied. If you absolutely have to take money from the “essentials” column, well why not take that money and put it in their paychecks?   Give ‘em a bonus and some real support.  That goes a long way to retention.


That has to be the common sense "well duh" comment of the century.  Then again when you have been in DC for as long as Bob Bennett has common sense is (obviously) long gone!

Written by LL.

Print
Oct
05

Paper Tiger?

I linked to this article yesterday in my post about the perception that President Obama was the loser in Chicago's failed bid to win the 2010 Olympics but there is a larger truth in this article that needs to be highlighted.

There has been a growing narrative taking hold about Barack Obama’s presidency in recent weeks: that he is loved by many, but feared by none; that he is full of lofty vision, but is actually achieving nothing with his grandiloquence.

Chicago’s dismal showing yesterday, after Mr Obama’s personal, impassioned last-minute pitch, is a stunning humiliation for this President. It cannot be emphasised enough how this will feed the perception that on the world stage he looks good — but carries no heft...

The article then goes on to talk about the President's omnipresence on America's television screens and (more importantly) the one thing that we Conservatives all knew was coming....

Written by LL.

Print
Oct
04

Katie Connolly Is Right, Rush Is (Partially)Wrong...

Friday was one of my rare "Rush Limbaugh Days".  Like many of the right-wing radio pundits, I can take Rush only in small doses.  The stridency of most of these characters just does not appeal to me. I prefer to listen to people like Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt who go beyond the surface level talking points (but since neither one is carried in SLC...) and who prefer clarity of position to total agreement.  When Rush delves into the detail, he can be fantastic, but with so much news going on lately it is hard to cover it all and go into any depth.  I figured Friday would be an in-depth day and it would possibly be well worth it for me to listen.  I figured correctly.  His show started just as the news that Chicago had been eliminated (in the first round of balloting) as a 2016 Olympic host city.  Rush carried a lot of the shocked reaction as I knew he would.  At one point early in the show he said "You watch - the media will try to spin this as a good thing".  It didn't take long for that prediction to come through.  In  the final half hour of his show, Rush tore into the Katie Connelly post over at Newsweek entitled "Losing the Olympics Bid is Good For Obama".....

Chicago has been eliminated in the first round of IOC voting. Wow—I did not see that coming. The way I figured it, this White House is far too protective of the president’s strategically crafted image to allow him to travel thousands of miles only to fail on the world stage. I thought it was a done deal—who's better at vote-counting than the Obama people? I would have bet money that Rahm and Axelrod knew they had the numbers in the bag before they let him step on Air Force One. I was so very wrong. Not only did they fail, they failed in the first round! It's a bad look for the president, especially coming on the heels of this morning’s depressing unemployment figures.

This is pretty embarrassing for the White House. (Especially letting Obama having to fail in front of his wife—ouch!) But ultimately, it’s a good thing for him. As I wrote on Monday, the Olympics are notorious for running massively over budget. The organizing committees are always rife with infighting and power games as all manner of colorful cronies badger members to get their paws on some of those coveted Olympics dollars. Public support for the Olympics in Chicago itself was already lukewarm. Residents would have been facing seven years of disruptive construction and roadwork as their city raced to prepare itself. It’s a recipe for serious disgruntlement.

Written by LL.

Print
Oct
02

Today on Mid Stream Radio

Join Jazz and I in 45 minutes for a special Friday editioin of Mid-Stream Radio.  We will be discussing the news of the week and maybe the 2016 Olympics announcement. It starts at 10am Eastern, 9 Central, 8 Mtn.

Written by LL.

Print
Oct
01

The Will Of Which People?

As long as there has been settlement of the intermountain west, there have been land disputes.  Usually though, those land disputes take place between two residents of the same state/county.  In this case, the dispute is taking place between residents of New York and Illinois on one side and the people of Utah.  You see, Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) have decided that they know better than Utah residents how to use and preserve their lands.  At the heart of this issue is Hinchey's Red Rock Wilderness of 2009.  This is not a new bill (as I learned today).  It will take 9.4 million acres of Utah land and put them under federal auspices.  These lands are, in large part, already protected state parks because they are indeed amazingly beautiful areas.

The reason for the take-over of these lands is a group of environmental lobbyists believe that use of these lands will harm them.  They believe that certain uses (off-road vehicles) are allowed everywhere and they are destroying the landscape.  The thing is, the state does regulate where the ORV's go.  These vehicles are confined to specified trails and those that are caught off trail do face punishment.  The state is perfectly capable of handling these lands themselves as every member of the Utah delegation testified in committee today.

"There are beautiful pristine areas of Utah that need to be protected, but this bill goes far far beyond that," said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, the ranking Republican member of the public lands subcommittee. "This particular bill is a relic of the past. It has not been successful since the age of disco and it will not be successful now or in the future."

Utah's congressional delegation favors smaller county-level bills where local politicians, business leaders and environmentalists agree on what lands deserve the government's highest level of protection, such as the Washington County lands bill that designated more than 250,000 acres of new wilderness earlier this year.

Even the federal agency that would over-see the lands should the bill pass, disagrees with the authors of the bill

Robert Abbey, the director of the Bureau of Land Management, sided with Utah's lawmakers, saying he preferred "an approach that is more geographically focused" instead of a statewide wilderness bill.

In his written testimony, Abbey said: "Many of these lands are extraordinary, with unmatched wild land resources." Yet he also pointed out that the Red Rock proposal would "present serious challenges because of existing and conflicting uses," including active mining and biking trails and OHV trails.

The supporters of the bill claim to have widespread support, but Utah's sole Democrat Jim Matheson doesn't concur.

Utah's lone Democrat in Congress, Rep. Jim Matheson, said he opposes the Red Rock act because it fails to take into consideration the views of those outside of the environmental community. He urged the bill's supporters to follow the "bipartisan road map for future legislative success," that is the Washington County lands bill.

But what rankled Rep. Rob Bishop is...

Closing one-fifth of the state from economic activity would have dramatic negative effects on education funding, employment, local and state tax revenues, energy production and quality of life...

Another problem is this bill, as far as we've seen, has no official maps or descriptions. It just lists areas and acreage. The public is right to be skeptical of a Congress that votes on bills it has not seen. Supporters of the Hinchey bill are now asking politicians to consider a wilderness bill that will be left to bureaucrats to draw up. This is not a serious way to legislate.

But it is what we have come to expect out of this legislature.

One other thing to consider about this bill.....taking these lands out of state control and putting them in federal control would put a large chunk of Utah tourist dollars in the coffers of the federal government.  While I don't know for sure if that is what is driving the push for this bill, you have to admit that is one heck of an incentive for a government that is currently running a $1trillion deficit.

Written by LL.

Print
Oct
01

So Much For Civility...

In the aftermath of Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst at President Obama's speech to Congress, there have been numerous calls for "civility" and showing "respect" for the office...never mind that for 8 years we had Democrats showing no respect for the office when it was held by a Republican - that doesn't count apparently.  Much bandwidth and air time has been spent bemoaning the lack of civility in political discourse today.

Frank Staheli, reporting on Tuesday's Sutherland Institute blogger symposium on civility in politics (which I couldn't attend due to family issues) asks...

Do we sometimes, perhaps subliminally, think that because someone disagrees with us that they are less intelligent? How civil is political debate in Utah? Why does it seem that incivility is more attractive and entertaining? Is a little incivility okay every now and then? If you had to choose between being civil and being honest, which would you choose?

There is a certain amount to that thought process on both sides of the aisle, I will agree with that.  There are too many examples of it out there to be ignored.  However, the one thing that I have noticed is that people are more passionate about politics than they have been in previous generations and I would argue that what we are seeing is that PASSION and that is not something that we should squelch for "civility's sake".

One thing I do take issue with in Frank's post is this...

Rob Miller, chair of the Davis County Democrat Party, opined that Representative Joe Wilson's recent outburst during President Obama's speech--"You lie!"--is not only completely lacking in decorum, but is an outburst without precedent.

Written by LL.

Print
Oct
01

Generation Y's "Stimulus"

Recently I wrote about the waning enthusiasm that young voters have for President Obama.  I wonder if this has anything to do with it.

The unemployment rate for young Americans has exploded to 52.2 percent -- a post-World War II high, according to the Labor Dept. -- meaning millions of Americans are staring at the likelihood that their lifetime earning potential will be diminished and, combined with the predicted slow economic recovery, their transition into productive members of society could be put on hold for an extended period of time.

And worse, without a clear economic recovery plan aimed at creating entry-level jobs, the odds of many of these young adults -- aged 16 to 24, excluding students -- getting a job and moving out of their parents' houses are long. Young workers have been among the hardest hit during the current recession -- in which a total of 9.5 million jobs have been lost.

You don't suppose that THIS had anything to do with it now do you?  Now don't get me wrong, given this rise in the rate of inflation, a minimum wage increase is probably necessary.  However, if you give an employer looking to hire someone the choice between a 16 year old with no work experience and a 60 year old with a work history,  90% of the time that employer will take that 60 year old because of his work record and the incentive that he has to work.  That employer wants someone who will show up for work in the morning and not have a hard time getting to work on time because he is out partying last night.  Those kids who DO have a good work ethic and the incentive to work hard are never given a chance because the employer does not have a way to verify this 16 years work ethic until he is hired and if you guess wrong.....

Written by LL.

Print
Sep
30

Sarkozy - Obama Incredibly Naive and Egotistical

Greta Van Susterin's show on Fox News is the only one of their celebrity evening shows I can tolerate watching for long.  Sean Hannity turns me off and Bill O'Reilly flat out makes me want to puke.  Well recently Greta had Pittsburgh Post Gazette columnist Jack Kelly on to talk about the G-20 meeting and the relationships between Obama and other world leaders.  The clip below is a question that deals specifically about the French PM's assessment of our President.

No further comment.

Written by LL.

Print
Sep
30

Common Sense Not Allowed

Every day as her friends go to work, stay at home mom Lisa Snyder invites their kids to come over to wait at her house for the school bus which stops at the end of her driveway.  It's a way for the kids to have a little fun in the morning before school starts and her friends are happy because they know that their kids are going to make the bus on time even with them not home.  Well you know that something as simple as a friend helping out her friends couldn't go unpunished in this day and age.

Each day before the school bus comes to pick up the neighborhood's children, Lisa Snyder did a favor for three of her fellow moms, welcoming their children into her home for about an hour before they left for school.

Regulators who oversee child care, however, don't see it as charity. Days after the start of the new school year, Snyder received a letter from the Michigan Department of Human Services warning her that if she continued, she'd be violating a law aimed at the operators of unlicensed day care centers.

"I was freaked out. I was blown away," she said. "I got on the phone immediately, called my husband, then I called all the girls" — that is, the mothers whose kids she watches — "every one of them."

Written by LL.

Print
Sep
29

Spurring Voter Participation

Rep Craig Frank has a post up on his personal blog that hits on one of my person pet issues - voter participation.  In it he quotes testimony from former Rep (and current member of the Governors Commission On Strengthening Utah's Democracy) Frank Pignanelli.

Commissioner Frank Pignanelli congratulated Commissioner Dryer on his work in preparing this proposal. Mr. Pignanelli then stated, “Transparency is a great idea. There are some good things in here. I’ve been around this game a long, long time. As a candidate, as a lobbyist, and as a campaign worker for more than 30 years.” Mr. Pignanelli continued, “Not long ago, we were one of the highest states in voter turnout. I often hear that people don’t vote because there aren’t competitive races. Let me tell you what it’s like to be a democrat in the (19)80’s. As much as I love to dump on Republicans, it’s not their fault that people aren’t voting. If campaign contributions are an issue, Orrin Hatch would have lost long ago. So why people may say they hate money, they don’t vote that way. Something deeper is happening. I’ll argue that it’s not the Republicans; it’s not the money; it’s something deeper. We’re building this premise that money is bad. The overwhelming majority of candidates are good people.”

Mr. Pignanelli added, “Who is the most powerful woman in this state? Her name is Gayle Ruzicka. How much does she give candidates? Nothing. She organizes, she gets out and she shows up. Her power is not money, it’s her organization. This proposal will have unintended ill-consequences. We cannot make a general statement that money is bad. We must build around transparency. There are a lot of people who run for the Legislature that cannot afford to run unless they can go out and get donations. So I would ask that we step back and remember that our charge is to get at the root of why people don’t participate.”

Written by LL.

Print
Sep
29

He's Done It Again

President Obama has AGAIN ticked off our closest ally....

Barack Obama's churlishness is unforgivable

The juxtaposition on our front page this morning is striking. We carry a photograph of Acting Sgt Michael Lockett - who was killed in Helmand on Monday - receiving the Military Cross from the Queen in June, 2008.  He was the 217th British soldier to die in the Afghan conflict. Alongside the picture, we read that the Prime Minister was forced to dash through the kitchens of the UN in New York to secure a few minutes “face time” with President Obama after five requests for a sit-down meeting were rejected by the White House.

I choose to highlight the headline of this for a reason.  The use of the word "churlish" is very telling.  For those that don't know, "churlish" is defined as "Of, like, or befitting a churl; boorish or vulgar." and "Difficult to work with, such as soil; intractable."  This is not a commonly used word here or back in the UK and when it is used, it is used to only the most egregious misconduct.  That said, realize that they are saying this about an American President who promised (during the campaign) to heal our relationships with the rest of the world.

What are we to make of this? This country has proved, through the bravery of men like Acting Sgt Lockett, America’s staunchest ally in Afghanistan. In return, the American President treats the British Prime Minister with casual contempt. The President’s graceless behaviour is unforgivable. As most members of the Cabinet would confirm, it’s not a barrel of laughs having to sit down for a chat with Gordon Brown. But that’s not the point. Mr Obama owes this country a great deal for its unflinching commitment to the American-led war in Afghanistan but seems incapable of acknowledging the fact. You might have thought that after the shambles of Mr Brown’s first visit to the Obama White House - when there was no joint press conference and the President’s  “gift” to the Prime Minister was  a boxed DVD set - lessons would have been learned. Apparently not. Admittedly, part of the problem was Downing Street’s over-anxiety to secure a face-to-face meeting for domestic political  purposes but the White House should still have been more obliging.  Mr Obama’s churlishness is fresh evidence that the US/UK special relationship is a one-way street.

Let the healing begin.

Written by LL.

Print
Sep
29

Beating Paralysis

And again without the "benefit" embryonic stem cells.

A three-pronged approach to treating spinal cord injuries allowed paralyzed rats to walk without receiving signals from the brain, scientists report.

Spinal cord injuries result in paralysis when the nerve fibers that carry information to and from the brain are damaged or severed. Much of the focus of research into spinal cord injuries has been exploring ways of regenerating those nerve fibers and connections, which has so far met with limited success in people.

In the new study, rats were treated with a combination of drugs, electrical stimulation of the spinal cord and locomotor training, a rehabilitation technique. The combined treatment enabled the rats to walk with a near-normal gait on a treadmill, without the muscles receiving signals from the brain.

"The study demonstrates that the lower spinal cord has circuitry that is sufficient to support virtually normal, weight-bearing locomotion," said senior study author V. Reggie Edgerton, a professor of physiological sciences and neurobiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The study appears in the Sept. 20 online edition of Nature Neuroscience.

Tell me again why we need to fund a "cure" that we still have no applicable uses for?

Written by LL.

Print
Sep
28

The Next Shoe To Drop?

Is Glenn Beck about to get his next scalp?  The Washington Times editorial board suggests he should.....

A teacher was told by a 15-year-old high school sophomore that he was having homosexual sex with an "older man." At the very least, statutory rape occurred. Fox News reported that the teacher violated a state law requiring that he report the abuse. That former teacher, Kevin Jennings, is President Obama's "safe school czar." It's getting hard to keep track of all of this president's problematic appointments. Clearly, the process for vetting White House employees has broken down.

In this one case in which Mr. Jennings had a real chance to protect a young boy from a sexual predator, he not only failed to do what the law required but actually encouraged the relationship.

Mr. Jennings and his supporters deny the allegations, of course.......

However, the new audiotape contradicts this claim. In 2000, Mr. Jennings gave a talk to the Iowa chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, an advocacy group that promotes homosexuality in schools. On the tape, Mr. Jennings recollected that he told the student to make sure "to use a condom" when he was with the older man. That he actively encouraged the relationship is reinforced by Mr. Jennings' own description in his 1994 book, "One Teacher in 10." In that account, the teacher boasts how he allayed the student's concerns about the relationship to such a degree that the 15-year-old "left my office with a smile on his face that I would see every time I saw him on the campus for the next two years, until he graduated."

The Times suggests that Mr. Jennings' actions should immediately disqualify him from this post and I have to agree.

Mr. Jennings' denials about these events reveal a lack of remorse. He has not admitted that he made mistakes in this case, and he now refuses to answer any questions about the scandal. Don't forget, this is a presidential appointee we're talking about. Mr. Obama should make clear what his standards are for public servants serving at the pleasure of the president. Encouraging and covering up man-boy sexual activity are serious offenses. The White House should force Mr. Jennings to come clean.

Mr. Jennings has made extremely radical statements promoting homosexuality in schools and about his utter contempt for religion that render him unsuitable for a prestigious White House appointment. His job in the Obama administration is to ensure student safety, and this scandal directly calls into question his ability to perform that job. Mr. Jennings and Obama administration officials refuse to answer any questions about this newly discovered evidence. A lot of Americans want answers about this guy and how he was approved for a job in the White House.

To be honest, I don't care about whether Mr. Jennings promots homosexuality or not, but he did violate the law and THAT makes a huge difference.  Heterosexual or homosexual - statuatory rape is statuatory rape and should be reported.

A "Safe Schools Czar" should not be one that encourages statuatory rape.

Written by LL.

Print
Sep
28

Keep Rockin' The Vote

During the 2008 campaign, the much coveted "youth vote" turned out in droves - inspired by the soaring rhetoric of Barack Obama's speeches.  Nine months in, however, those young people surprisingly quiet while the rest of the country debates the realities of health care and cap and trade.

Young Americans showed their collective power when they helped vote President Obama into office. Inspired by his message of "change," they knocked on doors, spread flyers, voted for him by a 2-1 margin, and partied like rock-the-vote stars when he won.

Since the election, though, that fervor has died down — noticeably. And while young people remain the president's most loyal supporters in opinion polls, a lot of people are wondering why that age group isn't doing more to build upon their newfound reputation as political influencers…

…Erin Carroll, a 19-year-old sophomore at LaSalle University in Philadelphia , blames the lack of engagement on her generation's short attention span. They want change — right now, she says — and haven't gotten it.

"I feel like everybody walks around with their cell phone and their laptops. We feel like we need everything immediately. So that's what we've become accustomed to," Carroll says. "We're the 'me-me-me' generation."

Now I happen to think that Erin is being just a tad hard on her fellow youth.  This is not a new phenomenon.  Young people prioritize things differently than their parents do for the most part and politics is never high on their list for very long.  Oh to be sure there is the politician that comes along once every generation or so that captures the imagination of the youth vote but the politician has yet come along that can KEEP these young people engaged in politics.

However, this is a lesson that needs to be learned by both sides in this story.  First lesson is if you are going to court the youth vote (the 19-28 year olds) you have to find a way to keep them engaged.  You also can not promise them things that you know you will never be able to provide.  That is the quickest way to turn off this important block of voters.

But the biggest way to lose any block of voters is to be duplicitous with them.  If you are not honest and upfront with people who so passionately believed in you, they will abandon you (and politics as a whole) in droves.  In doing that you are doing a huge dis-service to the country as a whole by turning off a generation of voters that the country needs to have engaged.

Written by LL.

Twitter Feed

Troopathon

troopathon.org

HAITIAN RELIEF

Graphics by dbrigham.com