People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Monday, June 30, 2008

While Democrats Here Talk Of Raising Taxes ...

... the governor of West Virginia is working to lower them in his tax-heavy state:

Making ends meet in WV — Cuts in gas, food tax welcomed
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

With rising gas and food prices creating an undue hardship upon thousands of families across the region, twin announcements Thursday by Gov. Joe Manchin provided a glimmer of hope to those who are struggling to make ends meet.

Manchin joined several state officials in Charleston Thursday morning to announce the final phase down of the West Virginia food tax at a Kanawha City grocery store. While some Republican lawmakers have called for a complete elimination of the food tax, Manchin and other Democratic lawmakers have instead advocated a coordinated reduction of the food tax.

The governor has been working since 2005 to have the food tax cut in half. Manchin argues that the phase-down of the food tax will help families across the Mountain State save millions of dollars at the grocery store. (link)

There are those who will tell you that the proposed gas tax increase here in Virginia amounts to "just pennies." Just as they argue that drilling in ANWR will result in "just pennies" in savings at the gas pumps. And that drilling off-shore will reduce our dependence on foreign oil by "just pennies."

It appears that the Democrat governor of the Mountain State knows just how far "just pennies" can go.

It's a Class Issue

An interesting dichotomy reveals itself in a Bristol Herald Courier article by Debra McCown (see "Two SW Virginia Towns Have Different Views Of Wal-Mart"). The people of Abingdon are - according to the author - in overwhelming numbers opposed to the world's largest retailer locating one of its stores in their town. Folks over in Grundy, on the other hand, can't wait for the new store slotted to open there sometime in the future (when lease details are worked out) to bring jobs - and guaranteed prosperity - to their tortured area.

The difference? Well, the generous answer is that the residents of Abingdon, as one interviewee for the article suggests, already have plenty of places to shop. But that's not accurate. If Kohl's announced its intention to build a new store next to Kmart (yes, another big discounter has been there for many years, without generating displeasure), the citizenry would be pleased as punch.

No, it's Wal-Mart. They just can't stomach the thought that a ... Wal-Mart! ... would lurk in their neighborhood. Discounter extraordinaire to ... the great unwashed! The one store with the notoriety of bringing smelly, unkempt ... poor people! ... with ... less than acceptable hygiene standards! ... to town to buy their ... cigarettes and beer!


When asked, the good people of Abingdon will tell you that their economic prosperity derives from - and is dependent upon - tourism - the favored plan of favorite son Rick Boucher. And that they don't need a Wal-Mart store in order to maintain their town's growth.


But the folks over in Grundy know what the geniuses in Abingdon don't - that you can count on one hand the number of jobs (all low-paying, no benefit, no skill, part-time seasonal bike repair and canoe rental positions) that have been created by Boucher's years of trying to build the tourism industry in his back yard. They also know that the day a new Wal-Mart opens, 200 to 250 formerly unemployed Americans join the ranks of the employed. One store. One of many. Decent pay. Health/dental/optical. Career opportunity for advancement.

So don't be fooled. It's not about there being an abundance of places to shop. It's a confused attitude about growth, prosperity, how to achieve it, and ... most importantly ... Wal-Mart!

A Punchline Awaits

This story cries out for heaps of ridicule:
16 wounded in French military demonstration
By The Associated Press

Paris - A military shooting demonstration in southeast France on Sunday left 16 people wounded, including children, when real bullets were used instead of blank ones, officials said.

A Defense Ministry official said the incident occurred during a demonstration of hostage-freeing techniques at the Laperrine military barracks. The official said investigators will look into why real bullets were used. (link)
Remind me not to call the French if I ever find myself to be in a hostage situation.

This Doesn't Serve Their Cause

Yesterday, as you may recall, we were treated to an editorial in the Roanoke Times in which the editorial page editor asked that we not look upon the mainstream press with too much suspicion because, in his mind anyway, its members are by-and-large ethical, conscientious professionals. Dan Radmacher's argument is not bolstered by occurrences like the following, brought to us by Roger L. Simon in "Some Fact-Checking Questions for the Editors of The New Yorker":

In his latest New Yorker entry “Preparing the Battlefield” [in Iran] Seymour Hersh seems to be competing for a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the greatest numbers of anonymous sources in one article. The first sentence alone presents a trifecta of the unnamed: “Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources.”

They are never identified.

It goes on in a similar mode for the next seven pages almost to the level of self-parody. So I have some questions for The New Yorker editors. How do you fact-check Hersh and do those methods coincide with your overall policies (if any)? Do you know the names of his anonymous sources? Have you queried those sources to see if the writer fairly represents their opinions or to discover whether they are disaffected civil servants with an ax to grind? When dealing with an issue as incendiary as war with Iran, it should be standard journalistic procedure to do so. I would hope the editors of The New Yorker agree readers deserve a high level of transparency on such life or death issues.

No reason to be suspicious here, eh?

This Is Laugh-Out-Loud Outrageous

You remember that "Bridge To Nowhere" up in Alaska that was intended to take automobile traffic from the inhospitable and sparsely populated mainland to a remote, uninhabited, inhospitable island - with a cost to taxpayers of an estimated $223 million? Remember who was behind that federal pork project that singlehandedly lost the 2006 election for the Republican Party?

Congressman Don Young of Alaska.

It seems an awards ceremony was held in Washington the other night and said Don Young received a couple of awards from several "taxpayer rights" groups. Awards, if you can believe it, for Young's "commitment and dedication to taxpayer’s (sic) interests." (If your heart can take this, see "REP. YOUNG NAMED HERO OF THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER ")

If that's not galling enough, Young's self-congratulation in response was absolutely revolting:

“It is an honor to be the recipient of each of these awards. Making sure that the hard-earned money of the American people stays in the pockets of those who earn it and not the government coffers, has always been a priority of mine."
Are these people that detached from the outside world?

Hat tip to Jon Henke.

A History Lesson ...

... for those of you who see a direct link between the 2nd Amendment and the freedoms we hold dear, from Antonin Scalia in his Heller majority opinion:

The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved.
"The ancient right" of free men. Never to be denied the citizens of the United States as long as we remain free from tyranny. This truth was (self-)evident in 1789. And was therefore recognized and sanctified as the amendment to the Constitution considered more sacred and inviolable than all others - standing shoulder to shoulder with the 1st. It is as precious - and as relevant - today as it was when the Founding Fathers wrote it.

They Won't Give Up

The editorial staff of the Chicago Tribune takes the next logical step in the 2nd Amendment wars. Demand that the right of the people to keep and bear arms be ended:

Repeal the 2nd Amendment

The 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is evidence that, while the founding fathers were brilliant men, they could have used an editor.

On Tuesday, five members of the court edited the 2nd Amendment. In essence, they said: Scratch the preamble, only 14 words count.

In doing so, they have curtailed the power of the legislatures and the city councils to protect their citizens. (link)
What? Are these fools that dense? Do they not understand that the whole purpose in the Founding Fathers' adding amendments to its finished product - what became known as the Bill of Rights - one major portion of which involves the 2nd Amendment - was to curtail the power of the federal legislature (as well as the executive) (and the courts, for that matter). Every amendment.

As we've all become painfully - and in many cases, tragically - aware, the government is under no obligation to protect us. And often doesn't. It is not for that reason principally, but it makes for a damn good reason, that we demand the right to protect ourselves ...

... from bad elements within our society.

... from a tyrannical government.

... from small-minded and woefully uneducated nitwits who write for the mainstream press.

They haven't the first clue and are therefore the most dangerous of all.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

On This We Agree

Roanoke Times opinion page editor Dan Radmacher cites From On High this morning as well as - interestingly enough - one of my regular commenters who goes by the nom de guerre "WD" in a plea to not tarnish the news media because of a few bad apples and because of a few instances of distortion and/or outright deceit. I guess he was thinking about Dan Rather. And Stephen Glass. Franklin Foer. Mary Mapes. Adnan Hajj ...

In his op/ed this morning, Dan (Radmacher) writes:

A free press is vital to a functioning democracy. We all know that. But a free press doesn't matter if no one trusts it.

Of course, speaking of the press as a monolithic entity is a mistake. Newspapers, broadcast news and various outlets on the Internet are all part of the press, all part of how today's citizenry informs itself.

But what happens if I don't trust your media, you don't trust mine and the guy down the street doesn't trust anybody's?

I don't believe any medium should get a free pass. Slap us around when we make a mistake or don't live up to the high ethical standards we set for ourselves. But don't discount an important and accurate story because of the perceived sins of an entirely different news organization.
The degree to which the mainstream press should be considered suspect depends on how closely one has watched the members thereof and their work over the years. And on the various and sundry polls that continue to suggest that the members of the media are monolithic in their personal views of conservative vs. liberal political positions (a sweeping majority are liberal to crazy liberal).

Dan is right, of course. Be wary but try to avoid sweeping generalizations.

It would be nice, though, if Dan practiced
what he preaches.

Who Should We Believe ...

... when it comes to guns and crime statistics?

The Washington Post and some professor of emergency medicine ...

... or a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who, before joining AEI, was a senior research scholar at Yale University’s School of Law, and before that, also held positions at the University of Chicago, Stanford University, UCLA, the Wharton Business School, and Rice University. Who additionally was the Chief Economist at the United States Sentencing Commission in 1988 and 1989, and who has published more than ninety articles in academic journals, including the Journal of Law and Economics and the Journal of Legal Studies. And who is the bestselling author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, and whose current book, The Bias Against Guns: Why Almost Everything You’ve Heard About Gun Control Is Wrong, was just released by Regnery Publishing in March 2003. *

A medical doctor or the leading statistician on the subject in the world. Hmmm. tough decision.

- - -

* Quoted (with a bit of editing) from Free Republic.

Food For Thought

What's Obama's vision for America?
Obama's America is Canada
Washington Times editorial

What kind of "change" does Barack Obama want? He seeks to transform America into Canada. Mr. Obama is not proposing "new politics," but is a champion of the well-known, already enacted policies in the Great White North. His proposals are more reflective of Canadian values than American national ideals.

For example, Mr. Obama's economic plan consists of attempting to redress the disparities of wealth in the United States. He also wants to help the middle class, whom he states has been "squeezed" in the last decade. He rails against overpaid CEOs and an economy that is "out of balance." He will therefore impose higher taxes on those who make more than $250,000 per year, he will increase the capital-gains tax, he will cut taxes for the middle class and ensure that low-income seniors pay no tax. In other words, he will make America a more temperate nation — one in which the lows for those who do not succeed on their merits are not so low, and the highs for those who soar, are not so high. Mr. Obama's policies will result in stifling initiative and rendering America less meritocratic. This economic plan will have detrimental long-term effects, as has occurred in Canada. Canada suffers from a large "brain drain": Every year, many of the most talented, dynamic and enterprising individuals flock to America in order to escape the stagnation and limitations imposed on them by their government.

Mr. Obama is also proposing a host of government programs. He is suggesting increased spending for ... (link)
Why can't Obama just move to Canada where he - and we - would be better off?

Why Blogs Are Superceding The Mainstream Press

Intelligence for one thing.

Don Surber on crime rates, gun ownership, and the dolts who bring down the big bucks in the media:

Just ask me

Question: Did the murder rate really triple under the Washington, DC, gun ban?

Answer: Yes. The murder rate was 26.8 homicides per 100,000 people in 1976, when the ban became law. That would be its lowest rate for the next 30 years. It peaked at 80.6 homicides per 100,000 people in 1991.

Question: What’s the highest the murder rate has been in gun happy West Virginia in that time?

Answer: 6.9 homicides per 100,000 people.

Question: So why did Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post write: “The practical benefits of effective gun control are obvious: If there are fewer guns, there are fewer shootings and fewer funerals. As everyone knows, in the District of Columbia — and in just about every city in the nation, big or small — there are far too many funerals. The handgun is the weapon of choice in keeping the U.S. homicide rate at a level that the rest of the civilized world finds incomprehensible and appalling.”

Answer: Ignorance.

Question: So why did Colbert King of the Washington Post write: “If D.C. street thugs are pleased by anything, it’s probably the fact that five of the justices — a slim majority, but that’s all it takes to win — have come around to seeing things their way.”

Answer: Ignorance.

Question: So why did E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post write: “In knocking down the District’s 32-year-old ban on handgun possession, the conservatives on the Supreme Court have again shown their willingness to abandon precedent in order to do whatever is necessary to further the agenda of the contemporary political right.”

Answer: Ignorance.
Surber gives these ignoramuses the benefit of the doubt by suggesting that they are simply ill-informed. Ignorant of the facts. History, however, tends to suggest that they just aren't all that bright. After all, the information Surber cited is readily available on the internet, if King and Dionne, and all the others knew how to find it. If they knew how to access the internet. If they knew what the internet was.

Ignorance, as far as I'm concerned, is a poor excuse for what these guys get away with.

So It's Okay ...

... to remind voters that Barack Obama has a middle name of Muslim origin? Do these people really want to go down that road?

Obama Supporters Take His Middle Name as Their Own
By Jodi Kantor, The New York Times

Emily Nordling has never met a Muslim, at least not to her knowledge. But this spring, Ms. Nordling, a 19-year-old student from Fort Thomas, Ky., gave herself a new middle name on Facebook.com, mimicking her boyfriend and shocking her father.

“Emily Hussein Nordling,” her entry now reads.

With her decision, she joined a growing band of supporters of Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, who are expressing solidarity with him by informally adopting his middle name. (link)
I don't know if I'd put too much emphasis on the trend. These are, after all, the kind of nitwits who'd have gleefully voted for the other Hussein - the one who slaughtered 300,000 of his countrymen - had he come to them with bullshit about hope and change and unity and ...

So Much For Healing

Can the man who - some say - is a unifier unify his own party? That may require a bit of magic even The Messiah can't conjure:
Bill Clinton says Barack Obama must 'kiss my ass' for his support
By Tim Shipman and Philip Sherwell, London Telegraph

Bill Clinton is so bitter about Barack Obama's victory over his wife Hillary that he has told friends the Democratic nominee will have to beg for his wholehearted support.

Mr Obama is expected to speak to Mr Clinton for the first time since he won the nomination in the next few days, but campaign insiders say that the former president's future campaign role is a "sticking point" in peace talks with Mrs Clinton's aides.

The Telegraph has learned that the former president's rage is still so great that even loyal allies are shocked by his patronising attitude to Mr Obama, and believe that he risks damaging his own reputation by his intransigence.

A senior Democrat who worked for Mr Clinton has revealed that he recently told friends Mr Obama could "kiss my ass" in return for his support. (link)
Ah, the spirit of reconciliation. Suppose a fistfight is inevitable?

How The Heller Case Translates

David Kopel:
One aspect of the Heller majority opinion that has not yet attracted the attention of commentariat, but may be greatly important of the long run, is the presence of natural law.

Heller reaffirms a point made in the 1876 Cruikshank case. The right to arms (unlike, say, the right to grand jury indictment) is not a right which is granted by the Constitution. It is a pre-existing natural right which is recognized and protected by the Constitution:

“it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it ’shall not be infringed.’"

Self-defense has generally been highly regarded by the American public, and it can be argued that self-defense is the epitome of an unenumerated Ninth Amendment right.

Heller moves self-defense from the shadowy limbo of the Ninth Amendment into the bright uplands of the Second Amendment. It is now beyond dispute, in an American court, that self-defense is an inherent right, and that it is protected by the United States Constitution.
Seems we have been arguing that point all along. Still, it's comforting to know that the right to keep and bear arms is now chiseled in stone.

Why Even Go?

If you're planning on attending the Democratic national convention in August, you might want to pack some food to take with you. It appears that all you'll be allowed to eat once you get there, unless you fend for yourself, are leaves and twigs:

Democratic convention to be no-fry zone
By Scott Shepard, Cox News Service

Denver — Warning to Southern delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver this August: it will be a no-fry zone.

As part of the effort to make the August 25-28 convention the greenest ever, the Democrats' guidelines for food catering include one that strikes at the heart of Southern cuisine: no fried food.

No fried chicken. No fried catfish. No fried green tomatoes. No fried okra. No fried anything. In promoting healthy eating habits, the Democratic guidelines say every meal should be nutritious and include "at least three of the following colors: red, green, yellow, purple/blue and white."

"It's the new patriotism," says Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, the driving force behind the greening of the Democratic convention. (link)
And if people want a burger one night while in convention? Too bad.

It's forbidden.

Call it the new patriotism.

NRA Goes On The Offensive ...

... demanding implementation of the Supreme Court's groundbreaking Heller ruling at once:
NRA Files Second Amendment Lawsuits In Illinois And California Following Supreme Court Ruling

Following up on yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling that the Second Amendment protects a private right to possess firearms that is not limited to militia service, the NRA today filed five lawsuits challenging local gun bans in San Francisco, and in Chicago and several of its suburbs.

“The Supreme Court held yesterday that the Second Amendment right is exercised individually and belongs to all Americans,” said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. “These lawsuits will ensure that state and local governments hear those words.”

The San Francisco lawsuit challenges a local ordinance and lease provisions that prohibit possession of guns by residents of public housing in San Francisco. NRA is joined in that suit by the California Rifle and Pistol Association and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

The Chicago case challenges a handgun ban nearly identical to the law struck down yesterday in Washington, D.C. The other Illinois suits challenge handgun bans in the suburban towns of Evanston, Morton Grove, and Oak Park.

All five suits raise the issue of the application of the Second Amendment against the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, known in constitutional law as “incorporation.”
It's high time the "right of the people" was put back into the Constitution. Here's to speedy and sweeping success, guys.

Last Dance, Barry

He can try to have it both ways. And wait for the media to provide the necessary cover. But Barack Obama is in the major leagues now. And his ducking and weaving - with that confident swagger - won't cut it any longer.

Investor's Business Daily:

Obama: Riding Tall In The Straddle

Gun Rights: Obama claims he believes the Second Amendment says you can own a gun but that local communities can still opt out of the Constitution. What will he say as his political hometown is sued by the NRA?

While campaigning in Pennsylvania earlier this year, Barack Obama was having breakfast with his Democratic Senate colleague Bob Casey. A reporter asked Obama about Jimmy Carter's trip to see the terrorist group Hamas. Obama responded: "Why is it that, like, I can't just eat my waffle?"

There's going to be another waffle Obama's going to eat as he tries to explain his simultaneous support for the District of Columbia gun ban he called constitutional and the Supreme Court decision in the Heller case that said it wasn't. Obama has developed an almost Clintonesque ability to take both sides of an issue.

That ability will be put to the test as gun-rights groups sue to overturn similar gun bans in Chicago and nearby suburbs. Hours after the high court's 5-4 ruling was made public Thursday, the Second Amendment Foundation and the Illinois State Rifle Association sued Chicago and its mayor in an effort to overturn the city's 26-year-old ban on handguns.

Reacting to the Heller decision, Obama said he'd uphold the rights of gun owners, rights denied by the D.C. and Chicago bans, saying: "I know what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We need to work together to enact common sense laws."

But such bans don't work anywhere, and Obama once thought the D.C. ban was both common sense and constitutional. (link)

Is it any wonder that Obama now refuses to hold town hall meetings, or that his staff is shielding him from contact with the public?

Hope and audacity got you here, pal. But it's now going to require that you tell us where you stand on the issues. In clear and concise terms. The days of mealymouth are over.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Moment The Western World Began Its Decline

I'm reminded of a fable from my youth, a portion of which went like this:

Everyone said, loud enough for the others to hear: "Look at the Emperor's new clothes. They're beautiful!"

"What a marvellous train!"

"And the colors! The colors of that beautiful fabric! I have never seen anything like it in my life!" They all tried to conceal their disappointment at not being able to see the clothes, and since nobody was willing to admit his own stupidity and incompetence, they all behaved as the two scoundrels had predicted.

A child, however, who had no important job and could only see things as his eyes showed them to him, went up to the carriage.

"The Emperor is naked," he said.

This from the Bristol Herald Courier makes me wish we had a few more children - and a lot more Bristolians - in this world:

Former Bristolian’s Statue Made International History in 1955
By Daniel Gilbert, reporter, Bristol Herald Courier

The sculpture issued from the hands of a leading Italian artist, was praised by Italy’s president and labeled a “divine piece” in art circles. But when it arrived in 1955 to be installed at Virginia High School, Bristolians panned it, dubbed it “Groping Boy” and it sent back to the dealer.

The city’s rejection of the sculpture – a bronze, two-meter-tall affair that depicts an anatomically nondescript nude boy reaching out toward a fawn – stirred an international fracas, angering sculptor Pericle Fazzini, who reportedly snapped, “Where is Bristol?”

For a month in 1955, the Bristol newspaper and Fazzini traded editorial broadsides across the Atlantic, reported by wire correspondents in Bristol and Rome. The national media dug in to the clash of high and hillbilly artistic taste, and the Soviet Union’s Ministry of Culture took a swipe at both parties as an example of another “bourgeois falling-out.”

In the end, Bristol dealt out $2,600 for the artist’s fees to be rid of “Groping Boy,” whose original price was $8,500. A prominent Bristol businessman-cum-philanthropist purchased the spurned sculpture and planted it in his garden, where it slipped out of the spotlight – until now. (link)

If by "planted it in his garden," the author means the prominent Bristol businessman buried the damn thing (see photo above) and put it out of its misery, then I understand fully.

Well, Okay

The Roanoke Times analyzes the living hell out of the Heller 2nd Amendment decision:
"On page 8 of Justice Stevens' dissent (page 75 of this pdf), Stevens attempts to counter the majority's notion that only some "logical connection" between the prefatory clause of the amendment - “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state" - and the rest of the amendment is necessary to justify its preferred reading of the entire amendment. Stevens quotes a legal treatise that asserts, “the settled principle of law is that the preamble cannot control the enacting part of the statute in cases where the enacting part is expressed in clear, unambiguous terms.” (Stevens' emphasis) Stevens then claimed that the enacting clause of the Second Amendment is not clear and ambiguous.

"If it is settled law in the United States that a prefatory clause is not controlling unless there is something unclear or ambiguous in the enacting clause, then I cannot argue with the decision reached by the majority in this case." (link)
Uh, if any of that means the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, we're with you, brutha.

What Was Kaine Thinking?

So the governor calls the legislature into special session. But why? Did he actually think something was going to actually come of it? Have the two sides in the transportation debate changed? Has either the Democrat argument in favor of a broad array of tax increases or the Republican plan for reallocation of existing funds softened? Did he think that by rolling out the identical proposal he had made last time 'round that conditions had changed? Was he stuck on stupid - expecting different results by employing the same failed tactics of 2007? Is he on drugs? What was he thinking?

Republicans - as well as a sizeable number of Virginia voters - are scratching their heads this morning after Tim Kaine's transportation proposal found itself truly dead on arrival (it never even made it out of committee). From "Heat rises in transportation debate":
Republican lawmakers have questioned why Kaine would call a special session when he had only shaky support for his plan. They also have criticized Kaine for saying little about the maintenance funding problem until a February Virginia Supreme Court ruling invalidated regional taxing authorities created for Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

"This has just been a political exercise for the governor," said House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith, R-Salem.
A political exercise. Where governance was called for. Typical. So typical.

Telling It Like It Is

The Motor City Madman on the 5-4 Heller decision:

DC Gun Ban Blown Away
By Ted Nugent, Human Events

As I swab down one of my hundreds of privately owned, individually possessed firearms again this fine morning, I snicker and shake my head in disbelief that there are four "justices" on the "supreme" court that do not believe Americans have individual rights. Sure, I am somewhat pleased that we now have a SCOTUS confirmation of the self-evident truth and God given individual right to keep and bear arms, but the 5-4 ruling is another painful example, like Guantanamo and the decree against the death penalty for child rapist decisions that indicate a divisive culture war raging on, and four supreme justices frighteningly disconnected from the heart and soul of America.

Certain that God gave each of us the individual gift of life, and so very relieved that our founding fathers were prudent enough to write these self-evident truths down on paper for future reference, everybody I know needs no confirmation whatsoever that self defense, individual self defense is not only a God given right, but a moral imperative in the hearts and souls of good people everywhere.

Just as we wouldn't need confirmation that our choice of religion is indeed an individual right, or that we could possibly need a government permit to express our individual thoughts in speech, good Americans will continue to fight for the return of our sacred 2nd Amendment rights where someday soon we will not need a government issued license to keep and bear arms.

After all, from the supreme court of common sense on the not so mean streets of America, everybody I know understands clearly that "keep" means one thing and one thing only: "It's mine and you can't have it". We know without question that "bear" can only mean, "Yes, I have it right here in my hands or within instant grasp", nothing more and nothing less. And dare I explain “shall not be infringed?" I hope not.

That these self-evident truths have been bastardized to the point of "gun free zones" is nothing less than heart breaking in America today. (link)

Read the whole thing. The Nuge still rocks!

Headline Of The Day

Well, yesterday, in the Wall Street Journal:

News Flash: The Constitution Means What It Says

The Bloom Comes Off

And Barack Obama proves to be - can it be? - just another two-bit, lying, scheming, pandering politician. Margaret Talev on Mr. Hope & Audacity:
Is Obama turning out to be just another politician?

Washington — From the beginning, Barack Obama's special appeal was his vow to remain an idealistic outsider, courageous and optimistic, and never to shift his positions for political expediency, or become captive of the Inside-the-Beltway intelligentsia, or kiss up to special interests and big money donors.

In recent weeks, though, Obama has done all those things.

He abandoned public campaign financing after years of championing it. Backed a compromise on wiretap legislation that gives telecom companies retroactive immunity for helping the government conduct spying without warrants. Dumped his controversial pastor of two decades — then his church — after saying he could no more abandon the pastor than abandon his own grandmother.

He said he wouldn't wear the U.S. flag pin because it had become a substitute for true patriotism, then started wearing it. Ramped up his courtship of unions. Shifted from a pledge to protect working-class families from tax increases to a far more expensive promise not to raise taxes on families that earn up to $250,000 a year. Turned to longtime D.C. Democratic wise men to run his vice-presidential search and staff his foreign-policy brain trust.

Presidential candidates often tack toward the center after securing their party's nominations. But all this tactical repositioning by Obama suggests that he's a more complex, pragmatic and arguably more opportunistic politician than the fresh face of "change we can believe in" that he presented during the primary season. (link)
"None of that matters," Obama's sycophants would say. "Read his book. Read the press clippings. Barack is a different kind of candidate. He is a uniter. He's a ..."

Ever wonder how 900 otherwise normal people could have drank the Kool Aid at Jim Jones's insistence and killed themselves en masse? Watch Obama's followers and learn.

The Counteroffensive Claims Its First Victory

The Supreme Court gives the 2nd Amendment its well-deserved exclamation point (!) - after all these years - and would-be fascists slink back into the hellhole from which they came:
Wilmette Suspends Local Handgun Ban

Wilmette, Ill. -- Wilmette has suspended enforcement of its 19-year-old ordinance banning handgun possession in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that appears to invalidate such bans.

In a 5-4 decision, the court struck down Washington, D.C.'s ban on handguns, a prohibition similar to those used in several major cities, including Chicago, and a handful of suburbs including Wilmette, Evanston, Winnetka and Oak Park.

"The Law Department and the Police Department have suspended enforcement of the ordinance pending further review by the Village Board," Wilmette village attorney Tim Frenzer said Thursday. "Based on the decision today, at a minimum it calls into serious question the continued viability of the ordinance."

Frenzer said questions remain about how directly the court's decision will impact ... (link)
I'm lovin' this.

Looking At The Big Picture

It was always about more than just Iraq. A point the other side chooses to forget. Regardless, putting it all together, President Bush's long-term strategy continues to make this world of ours a safer place:

Cheer up. We're winning this War on Terror
By Gerard Baker, Times of London

"My centre is giving way. My right is in retreat. Situation excellent. I shall attack!”

If only our political leaders and opinion-formers displayed even a hint of the defiant resilience that carried Marshal Foch to victory at the Battle of the Marne. But these days timorous defeatism is on the march. In Britain setbacks in the Afghan war are greeted as harbingers of inevitable defeat. In America, large swaths of the political class continues to insist Iraq is a lost cause. The consensus in much of the West is that the War on Terror is unwinnable.

And yet the evidence is now overwhelming that on all fronts, despite inevitable losses from time to time, it is we who are advancing and the enemy who is in retreat. The current mood on both sides of the Atlantic, in fact, represents a kind of curious inversion of the great French soldier's dictum: “Success against the Taleban. Enemy giving way in Iraq. Al-Qaeda on the run. Situation dire. Let's retreat!” (link)

It is inarguable that George W. Bush leaves office with the world a much safer place than he entered it. A legacy to be proud of.

Will his successor be as unrelenting and forceful? Obama. Obama.

This Ain't Good

Both the London Telegraph and the Wall Street Journal blister the Federal Reserve yesterday for the U.S. Central Bank's inability to (disinterest in?) controlling inflation.

The Journal:

"Earlier this month the emperor of interest rates announced to much fanfare that the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee would "strongly resist" inflation expectations and supported a "stable" dollar. In the days since, the Fed has shown it is unwilling to back up that talk with any monetary tightening. The stock market has headed down, and commodity prices have gone up. Index losses yesterday across the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 were all nearly 3%. Crude oil was up $5. Gold rose an amazing $35."

The Telegraph:

"Barclays Capital has advised clients to batten down the hatches for a worldwide financial storm, warning that the US Federal Reserve has allowed the inflation genie out of the bottle and let its credibility fall "below zero."

This is not going to be pretty.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Question For The Roanoke Times

If you favor progressive taxation - that "paying their fair share" "soak the rich" thing you often write about - how can you be in favor of gas taxes, which, by anyone's standards, falls disproportinately on the poor, and claim that they too are fair?

Let It Be Duly Noted

Editorialists at the Washington Post are "deeply disappointed" by the Supreme Court's D.C. handgun decision, wishing that conditions in the murder capital of the world had been kept as they were.

Quote of the Day

From Wesley Pruden:

"'I fear that the District's policy choice may well be just the first of an unknown number of dominoes to be knocked off the table,' Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in dissent.

It was the most encouraging promise in the day's work."

"The Court Defers To Plain Language," The Washington Times, June 27, 2008

Keep It In Your Pants ...

.. or die.

How difficult is it for these morons to understand that message, one that has been broadcast for going on twenty years now?

HIV Rate Up 12 Percent Among Young Gay Men

For the love of God.

Hiding In Their Ratholes

The Supreme Court made an historic ruling yesterday. What did Tim Kaine have to say about it? Mark Warner? Jim Webb?

Nothing. From any of them.

They may be cowards but they ain't stupid.

Battle Lines Are Being Drawn

The issues are falling into place for November. While Barack Obama is backpedaling furiously on the gun issue and finds himself on the wrong side of the American people on the fuel crisis issue, and finds himself being criticized for being blind to the marked progress being made in Iraq, John McCain adds to his woes:

McCain Makes Clear Support for CA Marriage Amendment
By David Brody, CBN News

The Brody File has learned that John McCain has sent a statement supporting a California constitutional amendment to the group Protect Marriage trying to get it passed this fall.

Here is what he said on June 25, 2008:

"I support the efforts of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution between a man and a woman, just as we did in my home state of Arizona. I do not believe judges should be making these decisions." (link)

So where does Obama stand on homosexual marriage? Where every other amoral politician stands - he heartily supports civil unions but professes opposition to gay marriage. Of course, nobody - gay or straight - believes him.

Gay marriage. Gun rights. Fuel crisis. A war being won. How did John McCain get so lucky?

* And we haven't even begun the partial birth abortion debate yet.

He's Starting To Make My Head Hurt

Charles Krauthammer on Barack Obama's continued flip-flopping on the issues:

"To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies. — Obama spokesman Bill Burton, Oct. 24, 2007"

That was then: Democratic primaries to be won, netroot lefties to be seduced. With all that (and Hillary Clinton) out of the way, Obama now says he’ll vote in favor of the new FISA bill that gives the telecom companies blanket immunity for post-9/11 eavesdropping.
"Unabashedly Unprincipled," National Review, June 27, 2008

Newt Gingrich Speaks

Though I don't agree with everything he says in this YouTube video about energy independence, it's hard to argue with a lot of it.

As only Newt can tell it ...

Click on the triangle to activate.

And the Counteroffensive Begins

Within hours of the Supreme Court's 2nd Amendment decision, citizens of Chicago filed suit to have the yoke of tyranny finally and forever removed from their shoulders.

See McDonald, Orlov, et al. v. City of Chicago and Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Understand The Impact

Mike O'Shea on the Supreme Court 2nd Amendment Heller ruling:
It's a momentous day. With the Supreme Court's landmark Second Amendment decision this morning in District of Columbia v. Heller, American constitutional law has just gained a newly enforceable, individual liberty. The imposition by the U.S. government of a U.K.-style system of sweeping gun bans and prohibitions on armed self-defense is now off the table. Such laws are a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Violations of a provision in the Bill of Rights that was actually enshrined nearly 220 years ago, but was routinely violated by liberal politicians many times over the last 40.

It Speaks Volumes ...

... that while the American citizenry rejoices ...

Officials upset by court decision

... the same officials who - until yesterday - prevented people in Washington D.C. from protecting themselves in their homes, and who presided over a holocaust of murder and violent crime as a direct result.

They - and the criminal element they enabled - have had their day. Let them be upset.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Day So Many Have Worked Toward

My president, now and always. If only he'd lived to see this day ...

"From my cold, dead hands ..."

My NRA Speaks

On today's historic Supreme Court ruling (they actually got one right):

Supreme Court Declares That the Second Amendment
Guarantees an Individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fairfax, VA - Leaders of the National Rifle Association (NRA) praised the Supreme Court's historic ruling overturning Washington, D.C.'s ban on handguns and on self-defense in the home, in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller. "This is a great moment in American history. It vindicates individual Americans all over this country who have always known that this is their freedom worth protecting," declared NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. "Our founding fathers wrote and intended the Second Amendment to be an individual right. The Supreme Court has now acknowledged it. The Second Amendment as an individual right now becomes a real permanent part of American Constitutional law."

Last year, the District of Columbia appealed a Court of Appeals ruling affirming that the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms, and that the District's bans on handguns, carrying firearms within the home and possession of functional firearms for self-defense violate that fundamental right.

"Anti-gun politicians can no longer deny that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right," said NRA chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox. "All law-abiding Americans have a fundamental, God-given right to defend themselves in their homes. Washington, D.C. must now respect that right."

A sweeping victory for all who hold freedom dear.

Boucher: 'Pay No Attention To That Pile Of Cash'

To show the world that not all the nefarious lowlifes in the Democratic Party reside in the Senate, our own Representative Rick Boucher seems to be on the receiving end of some hard-to-explain largesse as well:
Boucher Collected Thousands From Telecom PAC, Switched Phone Vote
By Neil H. Simon, Media General News Service

Washington – Southwest Virginia Congressman Rick Boucher received $25,000 from telephone companies that he voted last week to legally protect under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Boucher, D-9th, was one of 94 House Democrats who reversed course last week in support of the telephone companies.

He was the fourth-highest telecom recipient among the 94 Democrats. The top was South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, who has received $29,500 from the AT&T, Verizon and Sprint political action committees since 2005, according to an analysis by the campaign finance watchdog group, MAPLight.org.

Clyburn and Boucher were among House members who voted in March to block legal protection for the phone companies that helped the government eavesdrop on customers under a warrantless wiretapping program that gained speed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Then, on June 20, Clyburn, Boucher and 92 other House Democrats switched positions and voted for a compromise surveillance bill that included effective immunity for the companies. (link)
Boucher's explanation for his sudden reversal is about as pathetic as one could imagine (but will be sufficient for the nitwits who keep voting him back into office):

"The money 'does nothing,' Boucher said. Indeed, he said his position hasn’t changed, despite his vote.

'I remain opposed to providing immunity to the telephone companies that cooperated with the administration in the warrantless surveillance activities,' he said."

In other words: "I oppose that which I voted in favor of. That pile of cash had nothing to do with it."

Sure, Rick.

I'm Shocked

The boys over at the Roanoke Times cough up an editorial this morning that reeks of ... common sense. Did the entire editorial team get replaced while we weren't looking?

Here 'tis:

A house not worth preserving

If the house at 806 Marshall Ave. S.W. was worth saving, it would have been saved. Some urban pioneer, as the neighbors call them, would have swooped in, picked up the dilapidated house for a song and pumped a reasonable sum into restoring it to its four-square finery.

That hasn't happened. Not once in its 20 years of vacancy. Instead, rot has eaten away at the abandoned structure. There isn't a thing left to preserve, including the foundation. The neglect is so profound that the house needs to be rebuilt from scratch.

Time won't heal this old house. Only upward of $300,000 will, a sum that exceeds the value threefold. This house's sustaining value to the neighborhood will be found in its absence. (link)
What, no "We need to raise taxes and rebuild this once-grand manse in order to preserve the integrity of the neighborhood"?

This seems way too ... mature a stance for these guys. Are they finally growing up?

Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.

Wise County is one step closer to having a modicum of economic prosperity handed to it:
Dominion's Coal-Fired Electric Plant to Advance
By David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post Staff Writer

A Virginia regulatory board yesterday approved key permits for a new coal-fired electric plant in the state's southwest corner, handing Dominion Virginia Power a victory in a fight that encapsulates the nation's debate over coal power.

After a two-day hearing in Wise, Va., the Air Pollution Control Board voted unanimously to grant air-pollution permits to Dominion's proposed 585-megawatt plant near St. Paul, Va. The approval by the five-member board cleared the last major bureaucratic hurdle for the plant. The proposal for the plant was approved this year by Virginia utility regulators. (link)
I'm thinkin' Dominion Virginia Power should immediately begin work on another plant. Even bigger. And not far away. Folks up in Alexandria want their electricity but not the nastiness that goes along with its generation? No problem. We can handle it.

A day closer to success ...

Remember Who Your Friends Are

It's worth your while to keep in mind - for election day purposes - who it is that believes the poor folks in Lee County and Buchanan County and Tazewell County should pay even more for their gasoline in order to fix the highways up in breathtakingly affluent Fairfax County.

It's none other than our own state senator - Phil Puckett.

I'm sure he's thinking: "What's another six cents a gallon? All my friends here in Richmond can afford that."

If only he'd occasionally wander back over this way ...

Quote of the Day

From Bjorn Lomborg:

"Consider that today, solar panels are one-tenth as efficient as the cheapest fossil fuels. Only the very wealthy can afford them. Many 'green' approaches do little more than make rich people feel they are helping the planet. We can't avoid climate change by forcing a few more inefficient solar panels onto rooftops."

"A Better Way Than Cap and Trade," The Washington Post, June 26, 2008

A Ray Of Hope

Yeah, it comes from the most conservative state in the Union. But this news still bolsters the argument that if Republicans scheme to walk "the middle of the road," they risk getting run over. Just ask Chris Cannon:
6-Term Congressman Loses Republican Primary in Utah
By the Associated Press

Salt Lake City (AP) — Representative Chris Cannon, one of the most conservative members of Congress, has lost his bid for a seventh term, defeated in a Republican primary that focused on whether he was conservative enough for Utah’s Third District.

Mr. Cannon was beaten Tuesday by a first-time candidate, Jason Chaffetz, a former Brigham Young University football player who served as chief of staff to the state’s popular Republican governor, Jon Huntsman Jr.

Mr. Cannon, 57, had hoped that his name recognition, a large amount of campaign cash and a pool of more moderate voters would propel him again to the Republican nomination. An endorsement from President Bush, who remains popular here, had also been expected to help, as it did in 2006.

The American Conservative Union had said that Mr. Cannon was nearly perfect on its issues in 2007, scoring 96 percent. But Mr. Chaffetz repeatedly attacked him as insufficiently conservative, especially on immigration. (link)
"Insufficiently conservative." A slogan used as a winning strategy by the newcomer. Odd how that works every time it's tried.

I Don't Understand These People

I wonder, if it involved the children or grandchildren of the fossils who sit on the Supreme Court if they'd better understand the balance between punishment and crime. As it stands, the Ivory Tower is so far removed from the lives of the American citizenry that we scratch our heads in disbelief. And shame. And rage:
Court bans death penalty for child rape
By Mark Sherman, Associated Press Writer

Washington - The Supreme Court declared Wednesday that executions are too severe a punishment for raping children, despite the "years of long anguish" for victims, in a ruling that restricts the death penalty to murder and crimes against the state.

The court's 5-4 decision struck down a Louisiana law that allows capital punishment for people convicted of raping children under 12. It spares the only people in the U.S. under sentence of death for that crime — two Louisiana men convicted of raping girls 5 and 8. (link)
Child rape!

In a different time in American history - a more sane time - we'd vote on this. Or vote on representation and ask that those who take up our cause in our nation's capital address our grievances there. It was the way a republic worked.

But no more.

Now five wrinkled old dolts on the Supreme Court make our laws and we are expected to obey.

Just how long are we going to put up with this?

Angering Our Allies?

Obama is up to the task:
Pander to voters at peril, U.S. told
Claudia Cattaneo, Financial Post

Big-city U. S. mayors and presidential hopeful Barack Obama, who joined the parade this week of ill-informed, U. S. anti-oil sands policies, should be careful what they wish for.

While the aim is undoubtedly to pander to the electorate in an election year charged with oil and climate-change debate, what they are stoking is an increasingly angry Canadian energy industry that is seriously looking at non-U. S. markets for its oil.

Yesterday, Mr. Obama vowed to break America's addiction to "dirty, dwindling and dangerously expensive" oil if elected U. S. president -- and he said one of his first targets may well be imports from Canada's oil sands.

Greg Stringham, vice-president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said oil-sands companies are studying the alternatives because they want to keep their options open in case U. S. policies reduce their access to the U. S. market.

It's not the first time the Canadian sector has pondered offshore oil routes. It's time to take them seriously. (link)
This is Barack Obama's solution to the energy crisis. Cut off the ever-dwindling supplies.

And anger our closest ally to the north in doing so.

Madness. Absolute madness.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Who's Being The 'Conservative' Now?

It's interesting that the Republicans here in Virginia have put forth a proposal that will not only bring the price of oil down - considerably - but that will also solve the transportation "crisis" that legislators have been grappling with over the last several years.

It's also interesting that the Democrats have rejected it out of hand.

A press release from Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling's office:


Richmond - Earlier today, Democrats in the Senate of Virginia rejected two Republican proposals to create a special fund for revenue derived from the potential off shore development of energy resources and dedicate a significant portion of these revenues to highway construction and maintenance in Virginia. In response to this action, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling issued the following statement:

“By rejecting this commonsense legislation, Senate Democrats have dealt a double blow to the people of Virginia,” Lieutenant Governor Bolling said. “First, they have shown that they are unwilling to move forward with the development of significant domestic energy sources to help reduce our dependency on foreign sources of energy. Second, they have shown that they are unwilling to address Virginia’s transportation needs through the use of existing revenue sources or future revenue sources, insisting instead that the only way to address Virginia’s transportation needs is through new and higher taxes. They are wrong on both counts.”

SB6011, as introduced by Senator Frank Wagner (R-Virginia Beach), would have created the Virginia Offshore Energy Revenue Fund and directed that any royalties and other moneys paid by the federal government as a result of the development of offshore energy resources be deposited in the Fund. Forty percent of all money transferred to the Fund would have been allocated to the Transportation Trust Fund and used to address highway maintenance and construction needs in Virginia. An additional 40% would have been used to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and other impaired waters.

Similar legislation, introduced by Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-Fairfax) would have transferred 100% of all royalty payments related to offshore energy development to the Transportation Trust Fund.

“One of the most important issues facing our country today is the development of additional domestic energy sources. Likewise, one of the most important issues facing our state is the need to secure additional resources for highway construction and maintenance. By rejecting this legislation, Senate Democrats have turned a deaf ear to each of these issues and shown once again how out of touch they are with the people of Virginia,” Lieutenant Governor Bolling said.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

We Were Right. Again.

We said the increase in minimum wage that the Democrats were so hell-bent on passing last year would have negative consequences on those it was intended to help. The Democrats passed the measure anyway.

Lo and behold:

Summertime blues for local teens seeking jobs
By Erinn Hutkin, The Roanoke Times

At a time when many adults are struggling financially, the summer job market also has been rough on teens. The Department of Labor reported that May's unemployment rate for 16- to 19-year-olds spiked to 18.7 percent. Eight years ago, the rate was 12.7 percent. The Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University indicates the number of unemployed teens this summer will be the highest since 1948, the year the government began tracking work for young adults.

As a result, many teens are still job hunting, going without work or taking whatever is offered, even it's less than ideal. (link)

Yes, the sluggish economy has to be factored into this. But the fact that part-time summer jobs have dried up after employers were forced - at the point of a gun - to raise salaries for their workers was as predictable as the sunrise. They have only X number of dollars to allocate to payroll, and the first employees to go, when those dollars have to reallocated, are those of least value.

To all you do-gooders out there, I'm sure the college students who are sitting at home this summer unemployed are grateful that the minimum wage went up. You did them a mighty service.

It's not like you weren't warned either.

They Gave Their All ...

... We can at least do this.

Building Specially Adapted Homes For Our Injured Veterans

Homes for Our Troops is a non-profit, non-partisan 501 (c)(3) organization founded in 2004. This organization is strongly committed to helping those who have selflessly given to their country and have returned home with serious disabilities and injuries. We assist severely injured Servicemen and Women and their immediate families by raising donations of money, building materials and professional labor and coordinating the process of building a new home or adapting an existing home for handicapped accessibility.

*All services provided by Homes for Our Troops are at no cost to the veterans we serve.

- - -

Homes for Our Troops Named Top Rated Charity by American Institute of Philanthropy

American Institute of Philanthropy, one of the country’s premier charity watchdog organizations, has included Homes for Our Troops in their “Top-Rated Veterans & Military Charities” listing. Only 5 of the 32 Veterans charities rated by AIP are included in the Top-Rated Category.
Learn more about this organization here.

Catch the video. Be proud of your country and of those who serve valiantly. They deserve our respect. And so much more.

Your assistance is requested.

Things Are Looking Up

It appears that John McCain might have a chance after all:

Bill Clinton offers to help Obama, role uncertain
By Nedra Pickler, Associated Press Writer

Washington (AP) — Former President Clinton on Tuesday offered to help Barack Obama win the White House, although what work he'll do for his wife's former rival remained uncertain.

The Obama campaign is still smarting over some of Bill Clinton's criticism in the primary race, while the last Democratic president remains a popular political draw. But before the two can work together, they have to speak. (
It's generally accepted that Ol' Bill's involvement was a major factor contributing to Hillary's surprising loss. With a little effort on his part, he might be able to produce the same result for Obama.

Off With Their Heads

It turns out, the Democrats are as corrupt today as the Republicans were when they were in control:
The ol' Favor Game pops up in Congress
Santa Fe New Mexican

The editorial "we" have often shaken our heads at Republican corruption, remarking that it's, well, behavior you might expect from Democrats.

But during the GOP heyday in the White House and on Capitol Hill, the country watched one elephant after another exposed for selling sacred honor for mere money — usually in denominations far greater than those the donkeys got when they had the chance.

Now, with Democrats holding only the slightest majorities in the Senate and the House of Representatives, but with high hopes of increasing those margins, we're treated to a bipartisan mini-spectacle of ill-disguised groveling for money.

North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad, it turns out, got a nice discount on interest when he refinanced his beach house not far from Washington, then another $10,000 off his loan feeds for an apartment building back home.

And who was so nice as to grant that fine Democrat financial favors ordinary families can't get? The head man at Countrywide Financial.

So here's a member of the Senate Finance Committee, who should have been helping draft rules against Countrywide's fast-and-loose playing with "subprime" home loans — behavior contributing to the housing-mortgage crisis — owing favors to the company's boss.

[M]aybe not much will come of this coziness. But politics' fragrance becomes all the more repulsive. (link)
To provide the coup de grĂ¢ce, Mr. Conrad and Chris Dodd of Connecticut - both powerful Democrats - saw to it that Countrywide got its massive bailout moved through the Senate yesterday.

Crooks. They're all crooks.