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11751  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 06, 2008, 08:40:54 PM

The Recycled Flags of the DNCC; Update: Pathetic spin by Team O

Democrats brought out tens of thousands of American flags to Invesco Field, saluting Barack Obama as he spoke from the Styrofoam columns of the Barackopolis at the conclusion of the Democratic convention.  Perhaps some of them took the flags home as souvenirs, but where did the rest go?  According to David Harsanyi, they went into the trash — and would have gone to a landfill, except for a worker at Invesco who rescued them from the dumpsters:

This morning, Republicans tell me that a worker at Invesco Field in Denver saved thousands of unused flags from the Democratic National Convention that were headed for the garbage. Guerrilla campaigning. They will use these flags at their own event today in Colorado Springs with John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Before McCain speaks today, veterans will haul these garbage bags filled with flags out onto the stage — with dramatic effect, no doubt — and tell the story.

Didn’t anyone make arrangements for better disposal of these flags from Invesco?  At the very least, they were an investment that could have been re-used at rallies in Colorado as well as the rest of the nation during the general election.  Instead, they’ve handed a dramatic moment to John McCain and Sarah Palin, as well as relieved them of the cost of 12,000 such flags — as well as a full 3′x5′ flag that also wound up in the trash.

Remember when the DNCC was supposed to be the “greenest convention ever”?  How they worried about the color of the food and using organic materials in their merchandise?  I guess we can see where the “green” concern ends … at red, white, and blue.

Still … I hope the RNCC did a better job rescuing discarded flags at the Xcel Center.

Update: If you want to know how to properly dispose of flags, you can check the US Flag Code. If you’re still confused, contact your local American Legion or VFW, and they will help you dispose of them.  (h/t: Indythinker in comments)

Update II: I’m getting e-mails saying that we need to “stop the lies” because Team Obama put this out as a statement:

Stories circulating about flags from the Democratic National Convention are false. More than 125,000 American-made flags were distributed at the Convention - any flags removed from the Convention after the event were taken without authorization.  It’s disappointing that someone would take American flags without authorization and then falsely describe their intended purpose. We have the utmost respect for the American flag and it’s sad to see them being used for a cheap political stunt.

They claim that the flags were “bundled” for return to their manufacturer.  If so, it’s the first time I’ve ever heard of anyone bundling returned merchandise in Hefty bags and storing them “in and around dumpsters” while awaiting the RMA.  Here’s the picture that ran in the Denver Post:

I sincerely doubt that these flags got sold to Team Obama in Hefty bags.  And let’s try to parse this story down with some common sense:

Why would a manufacturer provide a refund on open product?  They certainly couldn’t resell them, especially not after being left like this at Invesco.
12,000 flags must have cost at least $2,000 or so, and probably more.  Once Democrats discovered the “theft”, why didn’t they report it to the police?  It’s been more than a week apparently since they were “stolen”, and Team Obama just discovered it?
Leaving material in and around dumpsters, especially in Hefty bags, makes it look like trash.  That’s hardly a way to store American flags, and it’s certainly not a way to keep janitors and waste management people from taking them to landfills.
Instead of just saying that their people made a really stupid error and apologizing, though, Team Obama decided to tell a ridiculous lie to get themselves off the hook.

Update III: David Harsanyi now has several updates to his first report, including this:

I just spoke with the person at Invesco who found the flags and he thinks both sides are exaggerating a bit. The person claims the majority of the bags with flags in them were near the trash, on a dock, and would have been thrown away. The person thinks it was probably an “oversight” by the Democrats rather than any nefarious plot against the flag. But the person doesn’t believe anyone was coming to get them: “The flags were there for a week and a day and no one came looking for them.”

No one suggested here that it was a “nefarious plot”, and like Harsanyi, I hardly think that Obama would have directed his staff to throw 12,000 American flags in a dumpster.  In fact, until Team Obama issued this ludicrous statement, the story didn’t have anything to do with them.   However, the obvious carelessness with which the DNCC treated the flags is a rather revealing moment for them, and the lie for people in Obama’s organization.

Update IV: Gateway Pundit has pictures of individual flags sitting in trash bags, but that’s not the DNCC’s fault; it’s the fault of the individuals who threw out their flags.  The DNCC couldn’t possibly be expected to sort through all of the thousands of bags of normal trash.  They can be expected to know better than to toss 12,000 American flags in with it.

Jazz Shaw’s following the story at TMV.
11752  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 06, 2008, 08:35:58 PM
Pretty much anyone else but Biden would have been a better choice.
11753  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: September 05, 2008, 10:29:07 PM
I've known more than a few Americans that were Jewish and supporters of Israel, but Jewish only in a secular manner with very little religious observance, if any.

Wikipedia isn't a great source, but it's quick.
11754  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: September 05, 2008, 10:09:20 PM
September 05, 2008
Why Obama's "Community Organizer" Days Are a Joke

By Michelle Malkin

Rudy Giuliani had me in stitches during his red-meat keynote address at the GOP convention. I laughed out loud when Giuliani laughed out loud while noting Barack Obama's deep experience as a "community organizer." I laughed again when VP nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin cracked: "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities."

Team Obama was not amused. (Neither were the snarky left-wingers on cable TV who are now allergic to sarcasm.) They don't get why we snicker when Obama dons his Community Organizer cape. Apparently, the jibes rendered Obama's advisers sleepless. In a crack-of-dawn e-mail to Obama's followers hours after Giuliani and Palin spoke, campaign manager David Plouffe attempted to gin up faux outrage (and, more importantly, donations) by claiming grave offense on the part of community organizers everywhere. Fumed Plouffe:

"Both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin specifically mocked Barack's experience as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago more than two decades ago, where he worked with people who had lost jobs and been left behind when the local steel plants closed. Let's clarify something for them right now. Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies."

Let me clarify something. Nobody is mocking community organizers in church basements and community centers across the country working to improve their neighbors' lives. What deserves ridicule is the notion that Obama's brief stint as a South Side rabble-rouser for tax-subsidized, partisan nonprofits qualifies as executive experience you can believe in.

What deserves derision is "community organizing" that relies on a community of homeless people and ex-cons to organize for the purpose of registering dead people to vote, shaking down corporations and using the race card as a bludgeon.

As I've reported previously, Obama's community organizing days involved training grievance-mongers from the far-left ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). The ACORN mob is infamous for its bully tactics (which they dub "direct actions"); Obama supporters have recounted his role in organizing an ambush on a government planning meeting about a landfill project opposed by Chicago's minority lobbies.

With benefactors like Obama in office, ACORN has milked nearly four decades of government subsidies to prop up chapters that promote the welfare state and undermine the free market, as well as some that have been implicated in perpetuating illegal immigration and voter fraud. Since I last detailed ACORN's illicit activities in this column in June (see "The ACORN Obama knows," June 19, 2008), the group continues to garner scrutiny from law enforcement:

Last week, Milwaukee's top election official announced plans to seek criminal investigations of 37 ACORN employees accused of offering gifts to sign up voters (including prepaid gas cards and restaurant cards) or falsifying driver's license numbers, Social Security numbers or other information on voter registration cards.

Last month, a New Mexico TV station reported on the child rapists, drug offenders and forgery convicts on ACORN's payroll. In July, Pennsylvania investigators asked the public for help in locating a fugitive named Luis R. Torres-Serrano, who is accused "of submitting more than 100 fraudulent voter registration forms he collected on behalf of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now to county election officials." Also in July, a massive, nearly $1 million embezzlement scheme by top ACORN officials was exposed.

ACORN's political arm endorsed Obama in February and has ramped up efforts to register voters across the country. In the meantime, completely ignored by the mainstream commentariat and clean-election crusaders, the Obama campaign admitted failing to report $800,000 in campaign payments to ACORN. They were disguised as payments to a front group called "Citizen Services, Inc." for "advance work."

Jim Terry, an official from the Consumer Rights League, a watchdog group that monitors ACORN, noted: "ACORN has a long and sordid history of employing convoluted Enron-style accounting to illegally use taxpayer funds for their own political gain. Now it looks like ACORN is using the same type of convoluted accounting scheme for Obama's political gain." With a wave of his magic wand, Obama amended his FEC forms to change the "advance work" to "get-out-the-vote" work.

Now, don't you dare challenge his commitment to following tax and election laws. And don't you even think of entertaining the possibility that The One exploited a nonprofit supposedly focused on helping low-income people for political gain.

He was just "organizing" his "community." Guffaw.

Copyright 2008, Creators Syndicate Inc.

Page Printed from: at September 05, 2008 - 10:07:16 PM CDT
11755  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: September 05, 2008, 09:52:08 PM
GM; It seems odd for me to be defending Islam and "criticizing Christianity since I am a practicing Christian, truly believe in God's power and attend Church on most Sundays.That said, I beg to differ with your conclusions/questions/comments.

To ignore God's (Christian God) Law and make your own is also not acceptable is classic Christian theology.

I am not a theologian, but I'll try to express my opinion.  However, I think if your read the Bible, a theocratic state is thought to be ideal.  Israel is a theocratic state; while perhaps not Christians,

**Israel is a parliamentary democracy, not a theocracy. Most Israelis are secular Jews.**

 the Old Testament has a strong influence.  The Catholic Church (I am not Catholic) at one time and I bet even today if asked privately would support a Christian theocratic state.  Our founding fathers decided not to be a Christian Nation, but rather a nation for all religions; rather wise of them. 

And "go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing  them..." has nothing to do with feeding the poor, tending to the sick, etc.
albeit all good.  It is very clear, MAKE DISCIPLES all nations, i.e. convert them to Christianity period.  That is the sole objective of missionary work; feeding the poor, educating them, tending to the sick gives them the inside track to conversion, but their objective is to convert people.  The rest is just a means to an end.

**I disagree. I've spoken to more than a few that have gone on missions and they tend to cite such things as:

"On the last day, Jesus will say to those on His right hand, "Come, enter the Kingdom. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was sick and you visited me." Then Jesus will turn to those on His left hand and say, "Depart from me because I was hungry and you did not feed me, I was thirsty and you did not give me to drink, I was sick and you did not visit me." These will ask Him, "When did we see You hungry, or thirsty or sick and did not come to Your help?" And Jesus will answer them, "Whatever you neglected to do unto one of these least of these, you neglected to do unto Me!"**

Yes, Jesus resisted earthly power; he looked upon his power as absolute far greater than any earthly power.  As for material things, they simply are not needed if you have the Lord in your heart and look forward to heaven; your final reward.  Live a good life, fight for the Lord, make disciples of all nations and you will be rewarded in heaven; is that much different than Islam?

**Yes, Mohammed created a political-theological entity with the mandate to make all submit to islam.**

I am not an expert on the Qu'ran (I read it a long time ago and need to do again), but then again, the Bible, especially the Old Testament is full of versus and chapters telling how God punished the disbelieving.  Actually, especially in the Old Testament, God is Love, but God is also a God of wrath; don't mess with him or oppose him or thousands will die and not a tear will be shed.

**The key difference being that in Christianity (at least modern christianity), humans are not tasked with being direct agents of god's wrath. If god chooses to unleash biblical plagues, christians aren't expected to brew up bioweapons to fulfill god's desires. Reading the qu'ran without reading the sunna and ahadith and commentaries doesn't lend to getting a good grasp of islamic theology.**

The Bible has become watered down.  But if you simply read the Bible, it's a "you are with Me or against Me" story; period; it is very black and white. Those that are not with Me and don't believe in Me and/or have a false God are condemned to Hell.  And no tears are to be shed for them.  And if one city after another of non believers is destroyed, well, that's their fault for not believing and following God's word.  And in the Bible a lot of cities of non believers were destroyed by the Lord.

**There is a big difference between the old testament and the new theologically. And again, modern christianity does not teach that christianity should be spread at swordpoint. Islam has been spread at swordpoint since it's inception and is being spread around the world by violence, as we speak.**

That being said, I am truly grateful for the wisdom of our founding fathers not to make the U.S. a Christian Nation, but rather a nation that welcomes and tolerates all faiths.  I do not think any state should be a theocratic state, yet like Israel, I understand the attraction.

**Again, Israel is a secular parliamentary democracy, not a theocracy. A core element of christian theology that allows for freedom of religion is the concept of free will. God gives free will and thus humans are free to accept or reject him. Allah does not grant free will.**

11756  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: September 05, 2008, 08:33:46 PM
**The bold is my emphasis. I suggest you follow the link and read the whole article.**

Why so many Muslims deeply resent the West, and why their bitterness will not easily be mollified

The Roots of Muslim Rage

If the idea that religion and politics should be separated is relatively new, dating back a mere three hundred years, the idea that they are distinct dates back almost to the beginnings of Christianity. Christians are enjoined in their Scriptures to "render ... unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things which are God's." While opinions have differed as to the real meaning of this phrase, it has generally been interpreted as legitimizing a situation in which two institutions exist side by side, each with its own laws and chain of authority—one concerned with religion, called the Church, the other concerned with politics, called the State. And since they are two, they may be joined or separated, subordinate or independent, and conflicts may arise between them over questions of demarcation and jurisdiction.

An interesting observation, but I believe Christianity has been watered down.  I am not sure Church and State are "distinct".  Dating from Biblical times, civil disobedience was promoted if the word of the LORD was different than that of the government.  The Crusades again tried to impose Christianity upon the Middle East. 

Christians are commanded to "make disciples of ALL nations and ethnic groups.  And Jesus commanded, either you are gathering with ME or you are against ME.   Many Christian theologians have said that Christians have a clear choice to accept God's blessing and love or His wrath as the price of rebellion against HIS will in government here on earth.  Either you follow his word or you are damned.  And it is your duty to spread his word...

In Palms it says, "The earth is the LORDs and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein."  And, "Let them know that you whose name is the LORD that you alone are the most high over the earth.  Clearly, the LORD is a higher power and should be obeyed versus government.

**Does this mean christians should create a theocratic state? That's a huge leap.**

And in Matthew 28: 18-19 "And Jesus came and said to them, ALL authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of ALL nations, baptizing them...

**Which in general christians interpret as requiring missionary work, including feeding the poor, clothing them, educating them and tending to the sick. Not imposing a Christian theology.**

And in 2 Corinthians 10:5 it says, "Casting down imaginations and everything high that exalteth itself against the knowledge of GOD and bringing into captivity every thought to the OBEDIENCE of Christ."

My point; if your read the Bible, it is actually rather aggressive; "either you are for ME or against ME!"  And backing it up, especially in the Old Testament there are numerous examples of the LORD striking down or destroying those that oppose him or his word.

Yes, render on to Caesar that which is Caesar'a and unto the LORD that which is the LORD's.  But the point, IF there is a conflict, ALWAYS obey the LORD, forget about Caesar. 

Perhaps the Koran has good and bad as well?

Is it really that different?
Yes, it's very different. Jesus specifically resisted earthly power. His disciples wanted to form an army to push out the Romans. Jesus told them his kingdom was in the spiritual realm, not the earth. Jesus was tempted in the desert by Satan, who offered him all earthly wealth and power. Christian theology recognizes the divide of the physical/material from the spiritual.

Islam recognizes no division. Mohammed was a military/political leader who had people murdered for daring to make fun of him. He married a 6 year old girl, robbed caravans and tortured his enemies to death. Muslims consider him to be a perfect human being, an example of how to live one's life as a muslim. The early "revelations" from allah were pretty benign for the most part, including "There is no compulsion in religion" often touted by those who don't understand the theology, or those wishing to deceive non-muslims. Those tolerant, non-violent parts of the qu'ran were from when Mohammed was powerless. Once he had an army, the earlier verses were abrogated by the verses commanding that non-muslims were to be made to bow to a islamic theocracy.
11757  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: September 05, 2008, 08:10:29 PM

The Myth of Moderate Islam

By Steven A. Cook
Posted June 2008
Supporting moderation in all things Islamic may seem like a no-brainer, but woe betide the policymaker who tries to turn a plausible idea into a workable strategy.

Categorize this: Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi wants Egyptians to pray less, but he also supports suicide bombings against Israelis.
Of all the cures commonly proposed for the many ailments afflicting the Middle East, there is one tonic nearly everyone seems to agree on: boosting moderate Islam.

It sounds eminently reasonable. If Islamic extremism is the problem, moderate Islam must be the solution. It follows that Western governments should therefore find ways to make the moderates more powerful and encourage the extremists to become more moderate. Allow Islamists to compete and accumulate power, the argument goes, and they will have little incentive to radicalize. Furthermore, assuming the mundane tasks of day-to-day governance will compel even the most extreme groups to focus more on filling potholes than on destroying the Great Satan.

But this belief is dead wrong. Not only is it impossible to agree on a working definition of the word “moderate,” but there is scant evidence that extremists really do moderate once they assume power.

Consider, for example, Hezbollah. The Shiite organization provides state-like services such as education and healthcare for the people of south Beirut and southern Lebanon. The organization, which has had representatives in the Lebanese Parliament since 1992, has often demonstrated a surprising degree of pragmatism. It took part in a May 2005 electoral alliance with several of its adversaries in order to maximize electoral returns in crucial districts. Just a few months earlier, during Lebanon’s “independence uprising,” which pushed Hezbollah’s ally, Syria, out of Lebanon, the organization struck a tone of national unity.

But this spring, Hezbollah revealed the extent to which it remains a militant group. Its cadres took over west Beirut in a powerful display of force intended to show that it has no intention of giving up its guns. Much of Hezbollah’s political power is based on the potent idea of “national resistance” to Israeli aggression. If Hezbollah disarmed, it would be no different from Lebanon’s myriad political factions jockeying for advantage. It is precisely the organization’s militancy that provides Hezbollah with a significant political advantage over its rivals. Why give that up?

The same can be said of Hamas. Two years after its electoral victory, a year after its forcible takeover of Gaza, and despite reported strains and splits within the organization, there are few signs that the Palestinian Islamist group has moderated. The clearest sign that Hamas had altered its worldview would be to accept the international community’s conditions. But why would it? If Hamas were to accept Israel’s right to exist, renounce armed struggle, and honor previously signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, it would cease being Hamas and effectively become a shadow of its rival, Fatah. The Islamists have not only beaten Fatah on the battlefield, but have also, and more importantly, sold a winning narrative about the ineffectiveness of dialogue with Israel. In Palestinian politics, bowing to international demands is hardly rational.

The other common, but misleading argument about moderate Islam asserts that if only the voices of moderation were given broader exposure, the extremist ideologies of al Qaeda and other groups would find fewer adherents. Although this seems sensible, good luck trying to define “moderate Islam.”

Take Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an influential TV star in the Arab world. His weekly Al Jazeera show, Sharia and Life, attracts millions of viewers. Qaradawi holds progressive positions on family law, the status of women, and political reform. He recently told Egyptian government employees to “pray less” to improve their productivity. Many Arabs regard him as staunchly moderate. Yet the sheikh has also placed his theological imprimatur on suicide bombings against Israelis, arguing that since all Israelis serve in the military at one time or another, they are all legitimate targets. For those analysts who call for support of moderate Islam, it is hard to believe Qaradawi is whom they have in mind.

Or take Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Inside the Beltway, many Middle East hands are quietly rooting for the ayatollah and former president to win the next Iranian presidential election. Sure, he seems like a moderate in comparison to the incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but Rafsanjani is the guy who once implored Iranians to kill Westerners wherever they could find them, declaring, “It is not difficult to kill Americans or Frenchmen. It is a bit difficult to kill [Israelis]. But there are so many [Americans and Frenchmen] everywhere in the world.”

If there was ever a problem in defining moderate Islam, however, Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) epitomizes it. The party seems to be the paragon of moderate Islamism, undertaking a wide range of reforms and staking its political legacy on Ankara’s entry into the European Union. Yet, Turkey’s archsecularists and a fair number of analysts in the West regard the party with deep suspicion. Citing the AKP’s recent effort to lift the ban on women wearing head scarves at publicly funded universities as only the most egregious example, they argue that the party’s real agenda is to Islamize Turkish society. Whose side should the United States take here?

Given the wildly different criteria for what constitutes “a moderate,” policymakers will run in circles trying to determine who is a moderate and worthy of support, and who is not. One person’s moderate is another person’s radical, and another person’s moderate is little more than a patsy of the West. A policy built on support for moderate Islam is only asking for trouble.

A smarter position is to avoid theological discussions altogether. As with all faiths, there will be heated debates between competing groups within Islam over the proper interpretation of sacred texts and the relationship between religion and politics. Yet because these arguments are so opaque to outsiders, policymakers should resist the urge to jump in. Given that moderation is in the eye of the beholder, Washington should not have an ideological litmus test for whom it wishes to engage. Rather, policymakers should focus on identifying those who can contribute pragmatic solutions to the many problems we confront in the region, “moderate” or not.

Steven A. Cook is the Douglas Dillon fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of Ruling But Not Governing: The Military and Political Development in Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007).
11758  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 05, 2008, 04:31:51 PM

Guess which card Obama pulled out of the deck today?

With both Rasmussen and Gallup showing Barack Obama moving backwards even before the Republican Convention dropped its balloons on Andrea Mitchell, one can excuse the Democratic nominee for hearing footsteps.   How desperate has he gotten?  Looks like he’s playing the race card once again:

“I know that I’m not your typical presidential candidate,” Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., told executives and employees of the Schott glass company Friday afternoon, “and I just want to be honest with you. I know that.”

“And I know that the temptation is to say, ‘You know what? …The guy hasn’t been there that long in Washington.,’ You know, ‘he’s got funny name,’ You know, ‘we’re not sure about him,’” Obama continued. “And that’s what the Republicans, when they say, ‘This isn’t about issues, it’s about personalities,’ what they’re really saying is, ‘We’re going to try to scare people about Barack. So we’re going to say that you know, maybe he’s got Muslim connections or we’re going to say that, you know, he hangs out with radicals or he’s not patriotic.’

Once again, Obama has resorted to a smear campaign against the McCain campaign.  They have never –never — even hinted that Obama has “Muslim connections”.  They have never made even a slight attempt to make his race an issue, despite this fourth repeat of this particular smear.  Neither has the RNC nor any mainstream Republicans.  In fact, the McCain campaign let go one staffer who only Twittered a link to a Jeremiah Wright video earlier this year.

If Obama wants to argue that some misdirected bloggers have made these kind of attacks, he might have a point.  But by that standard, the Democrats have attacked Bristol Palin, smeared Sarah Palin about the maternity of her youngest child, and questioned the mental capacity of John McCain.  If Obama wants to start making these kinds of accusations, then maybe he ought to get his own house in order first.

That’s not the only data point of desperation today, either:

Sen. Barack Obama ditched his normal languid cool today, punching back at Gov. Sarah Palin as he spoke with reporters in York, Pa, hotly defending his work as a community organizer. He said he assumes Palin “wants to be treated same way guys want to be treated, which means their records are under scrutinty. I’ve been through this for 19 months. She’s been through it, what four days?”

Obama’s hackles were clearly raised by Palin’s dismissal of his community organizing –a response to his earlier dismissal of her record as a small-town mayor. “Why would that kind of work be ridiculed?” Obama said. “Who are they fighting for?” The idea that community organizing is not relevant to the presidency, he said, just shows why Republicans “are out of touch and don’t get it.”

The Obama campaign was clearly on the defensive today, acknowledging how appealing Palin came across, and sending out surrogates hitting their talking points that Republicans have spent their time on attacks rather than substance.

Says the man who keeps calling John McCain the same as George Bush.  There’s a word for a man who can dish it out but can’t take it.  I’ll leave it to you to reach your own conclusions.
11759  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 05, 2008, 09:23:37 AM
"He is trying to recapture the enthusiasm of Bob Dole's '96 campaign."

11760  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 04, 2008, 09:50:17 PM

Michael Totten embedded with the Marines in Fallujah. Well worth reading.
11761  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: McCain on: September 04, 2008, 02:39:14 PM

The MSM/left wing smear machine is on it's way to doing real damage to Barry-O and Plagaristic Joe.
11762  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: McCain on: September 04, 2008, 09:26:54 AM
**The dems now know what it's like to be a moose hunted by Sarah Palin.**

Palin delivers a knockout

Perhaps the media and Democrats would have been better advised to set expectations high for Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech tonight at the Republican convention.  After ridiculing her as a small-town yokel for the better part of three days, Palin would have looked good if she managed to avoid drooling during her speech.  In the event, though, they could have set expectations as high as a Barack Obama acceptance speech, and Palin would still have exceeded them in a tremendous debut on the national stage.

Palin made it clear to the condescending media and her Democratic critics that she is no pushover, no cream puff.  Her nickname, “Sarah Barracuda”, seems a lot more fitting after tonight.  Not only did she defend her small-town upbringing, she attacked Barack Obama on almost every possible front, and for good measure went after Joe Biden and the mainstream media as well.

For instance, she sought to underscore Obama’s hypocrisy in talking about his love for working-class families while belittling them behind their backs, and included Biden in that criticism:

Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown.

And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves.

I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a “community organizer,” except that you have actual responsibilities. I might add that in small towns, we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening.

We tend to prefer candidates who don’t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.

And on Obama’s lack of any real reform in his entire career:

We’ve all heard his dramatic speeches before devoted followers.

And there is much to like and admire about our opponent.

But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform - not even in the state senate.

Palin also took a shot at Obama’s rather grandiose view of himself:

But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed … when the roar of the crowd fades away … when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot - what exactly is our opponent’s plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet?

She didn’t forget the media, either:

I’ve learned quickly, these past few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone.

But here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion - I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country. Americans expect us to go to Washington for the right reasons, and not just to mingle with the right people.

In the moments after the speech, I told our on-air listeners that this was the kind of speech Zell Miller could have delivered.  Palin didn’t deliver it in a shrill manner or sound like she had a chip on her shoulder, though.  She sounded like she relished the opportunity to engage.  Palin has no intention of allowing herself to get steamrolled by Barack “Sweetie” Obama, Democrats in general, or a mainstream media that suddenly found itself becoming the echo chamber for anonymous Kos diarists.

She didn’t just play the role of attack dog, although her description of hockey moms as pit bulls with lipstick played very well with the crowd.  Palin delivered a stirring defense of small-town values and middle America, and told Americans that she’s one of them — just a mother who started off wanting a better education for her kids, then wanted to improve her community, and just kept succeeding all the way up the ladder.

Palin also delivered for John McCain as well.  She gave this quote which will certainly resonate for weeks:

In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers.

And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.

They’re the ones whose names appear on laws and landmark reforms, not just on buttons and banners, or on self-designed presidential seals.

She extolled the virtues of McCain, calling him the real agent of change in Washington.  Palin talked about the remarkable story of an American hero who may just finish the final steps of a journey from from a cell at the Hanoi Hilton to the White House, and what that says about his honor and our country.  She evoked a stir of emotions when Palin noted that small towns across America have memorials to men just like John McCain, only he made it home — and that middle America understands McCain because of that.

Palin showed her mettle tonight.  Alaskans tell us that she is “tough as nails” and doesn’t run from a fight.  Tonight, she challenged Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and the media elite to a fight to the finish.  And she has bad news for them: she has no plans to quit.

Republicans should feel cheered and elated by this event tonight.  No matter what happens in this race, we have seen the future of the party, and it looks bright indeed.
11763  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 03, 2008, 11:20:02 PM

Focus Group: Palin Was (Alarmingly) Strong
Several moderate-Democrat friends of mine have been emailing--few if any would ever vote for McCain--but all agree that Palin was very strong. The more liberal among them are a little panicked. 
I completely misjudged how negative she would be. Her lines about Obama were brutally cutting and possibly over the top in places. But she's a far better messenger than an angry white man. (Note, by the way, how both Rudy and Huckabee employed a tone that was more bemused than angry. That's the modern GOP's favorite trick--comedic ridicule in place of outright nastiness.)
--Michael Crowley
11764  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 03, 2008, 10:19:35 PM
My quick answer is it's a matter of degree. Anyone who knowingly places themselves in harm's way for a greater good than themselves has an element of heroism to them, though i'd say that not everyone who puts on a uniform is automatically a hero. I certainly wouldn't describe myself as one. A uniform isn't required to be heroic either. I'd call MLK a hero. I'd say that a teacher with good options that deliberately goes to work in a violent inner city school because he or she wants to give poor kids a chance at a better life is a hero in my book.

Just a few things that leap to mind.
11765  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 03, 2008, 08:51:29 PM
By the way, (separate subject) I have always been curious about the word "hero" and "heroism".  I guess my definition is to do something extraordinary above and beyond your duty and what is expected of you to the benefit of another(s) at risk to yourself.    Simply choosing to be a Policeman, Fireman, or soldier does not make you a "hero".  I respect you, but a "hero" is someone who goes far and beyond their "usual" job.   Following that logic, a soldier who dies on the battlefied or a policeman who is shot by a robber is not automatically a "hero".  Nor is a roofer who falls off a roof and dies.  Or an Iron Worker who falls and dies.  They were doing their job; albeit all deaths are tragic.   But the soldier, the fireman, the policeman, even the roofer or Iron Worker, the individual who goes above and beyond his job at great risk to his own life, now that is a hero to me.  Nor does simply doing your job give you hero status.  Or do you disagree?  Or ?

**Let me give this some thought.**
11766  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 03, 2008, 08:50:09 PM

**On what do you base your assumption that Barry is so smart?**

Definitely higher than a low graduating person at Idaho or someone near the bottom of their class at Annapolis who was admitted on connections. 

**You take cheap shots at McCain, yet I wonder what sort of heroism and sacrifice you could point out that Barry Obama has in his past? Anything to demonstrate he's not just an opportunist and an empty suit?**

I am talking God given brain power "smart".  BO is "smart", ask Crafty, only the "smart", actually the very "smart" get into Harvard Law and become Editor of the Law Review.  BO is smart.

As for "cheap shots at McCain, it is a fact.  The guy graduated very very near the bottom of his class at Annapolis.  And for that matter he would never even have gotten in except for his Daddy.  The guy is not smart; sorry, he's the one who is an opportunist.  Except for his Daddy he would be no where.  However to be fair, his experience is excellent and I think he is a good man.  The issue on the table however is "smarts"; not if he is a nice guy.

**You need to read up on what it takes to be a naval aviator. It's a very difficult career path in the Navy/ Marine Corps and not one for those looking to coast along. The applied math/physics just for basic flight school washes out lots of applicants.**

As for his "heroism and sacrifice" what does that have to do with "smart"?  I mean if he ran a four minute mile I would be impressed, but it has nothing to do with smart.  As for sacrifice or not being an opportunist in an empty suit, again as Marc might confirm, graduating from Harvard Law as Editor of the Law Review gives you wonderful opportunities to make big money.  BO didn't go for it; he chose to help people instead.  I have a good friend, she was "only" third in her class at Berkeley Law School, clerked for an Appeals Judge for one year, and now at the ripe old age of 25 joined a firm downtown LA at $175,000 including a nice little bonus.  Now she is bright, but she couldn't get into Harvard (she tried) so I guess that makes BO even brighter. 

**Yeah, what about the "affirmative action" factor? Did B.O. get in because he's smart or a handsome black guy that met "diversity" goals?**

By the way, (separate subject) I have always been curious about the word "hero" and "heroism".  I guess my definition is to do something extraordinary above and beyond your duty and what is expected of you to the benefit of another(s) at risk to yourself.    Simply choosing to be a Policeman, Fireman, or soldier does not make you a "hero".  I respect you, but a "hero" is someone who goes far and beyond their "usual" job.   Following that logic, a soldier who dies on the battlefied or a policeman who is shot by a robber is not automatically a "hero".  Nor is a roofer who falls off a roof and dies.  Or an Iron Worker who falls and dies.  They were doing their job; albeit all deaths are tragic.   But the soldier, the fireman, the policeman, even the roofer or Iron Worker, the individual who goes above and beyond his job at great risk to his own life, now that is a hero to me.  Nor does simply doing your job give you hero status.  Or do you disagree?  Or ?
11767  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 03, 2008, 10:04:12 AM
Movie review: "Traitor"

The smartest, and best researched movie on the global jihad ever made. In addition, Don Cheadle may now be my favorite actor. He does an outstanding job as the deep cover protagonist caught in the shadow world of terrorism and intelligence and all the moral grey areas he attempts to navigate as a moral man in a dark and deadly war. Best movie I've seen in a long time.

11768  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: September 03, 2008, 09:55:33 AM

In the 1970s the Obama family became friendly with Frank Marshall Davis (1905-1987), a black writer and fellow Hawaiian resident. Davis wrote for the Honolulu Record (a Communist newspaper) and was a known member of the Soviet-controlled Communist Party USA (CPUSA). He soon became the young Barack Obama's mentor and advisor.

In Dreams From My Father, Obama writes about Davis but does not reveal the latter's full name, identifying him only as "a poet named Frank" -- a man with much "hard-earned knowledge" who had known "some modest notoriety once" but was now "pushing eighty." (Several sources -- including Professor Gerald Horne, Dr. Kathryn Takara, and libertarian writer Trevor Loudon -- have confirmed that Obama's "Frank" was indeed Frank Marshall Davis.)

Obama in his book recounts how, just prior to heading off to Occidental College (in California) in 1979, he spent some time with "Frank and his old Black Power dashiki self." Obama writes that "Frank" told him that college was merely "an advanced degree in compromise," and cautioned the young man not to "start believing what they tell you about equal opportunity and the American way and all that sh--."

11769  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 03, 2008, 09:51:32 AM
Look, I went to Columbia Law School-- not Harvard but not too shabby either.  My Constitutional Law prof was Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  I've been around these people and my clear sense of it is that a goodly number of them are as clueless about the real world as they are bright.  They think to cleverly articulate a synthesis of positions matters in the real world.

Definitely "not too shabby"; outstanding actually.  And you are very bright (even if you lapse once in a while and are a Republican)  smiley  And in BO's case being chosen Editor of the Law Review means he too is quite bright.  I understand your point that many of your classmates were clueless; but forgive them they are usually near the age of 25.  Fifteen years later, I bet most of your classmates are bright, articlulate, informed, and accomplished (whatever form that may take).   God (and hard work) gave them, and you, and BO higher intelligence than the average. 

**On what do you base your assumption that Barry is so smart?**

Definitely higher than a low graduating person at Idaho or someone near the bottom of their class at Annapolis who was admitted on connections. 

**You take cheap shots at McCain, yet I wonder what sort of heroism and sacrifice you could point out that Barry Obama has in his past? Anything to demonstrate he's not just an opportunist and an empty suit?**

Intelligence is not a prerequisite for higher office, but it would be nice if they were even above average.

**Well, we know Biden is smart. Just ask him.

PS  I think Ginsburg is fabulous; did you take good notes in her class?  You should review them    grin
11770  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 02, 2008, 10:30:35 PM

Take away Obama's teleprompter, and it's like the end of "Flowers for Algernon" .
11771  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 02, 2008, 08:23:38 PM
Not one law review article, and he was the freakin' editor.  rolleyes
11772  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 02, 2008, 07:30:56 PM
I see no evidence that Barry-O is any sort of intellect. Sure, he adopts pseudo-intellectual poses but his academic career is as accomplishment-free as his career as a "community organizer" or politician. Although given he was never arrested for dealing coke, he might have some ability there. I doubt we'll see that touted by his campaign.

Both McCain and Palin have actually done tangible things in their lives. If you want to talk intellectually rigorous jobs, put naval aviator at the top of the list.
11773  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 01, 2008, 01:39:23 PM

Biden: Obama will surrender on nukes to Iran

Ha’aretz reports that Joe Biden told Israeli leaders that they would have to accept a nuclear Iran if Barack Obama wins the Presidency.  Israelis expressed “amazement” at Biden’s attitude:

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden was quoted Monday as telling senior Israeli officials behind closed doors that the Jewish state will have to reconcile itself to a nuclear Iran.

In the unsourced report, Army Radio also quoted Biden as saying that he opposed “opening a additional military and diplomatic front.”

Biden, chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has long been considered strongly pro-Israel. His nomination as Barack Obama’s running mate had been expected to shore up the Democrats’ strength with U.S. Jewish voters.

For those unfamiliar with Ha’aretz, it doesn’t exactly have a knee-jerk conservative spin.  In fact, it’s at best a center-left editorial board. They’re not terribly sympathetic to the Bush administration or most of its policies.  They wouldn’t have much reason to simply make this up.

If anyone doubted that an Obama presidency would surrender to radicalism and hostile forces abroad, this should clinch it.  Biden has pretty much told the Israelis that they’re on their own, and America won’t bother to support them against the nutcases in the region.  If Obama and Biden don’t have the courage to face Iran’s nuclear ambitions, then exactly when will they defend American interests?

And what of our Western allies?  Europe wants Iranian nukes stopped just as much as we do, especially since they’re more directly threatened by them.  Obama and Biden talk about bolstering our alliances, but it looks like they’re more interested in leaving them holding the bag.

Hugh Hewitt sees this as further evidence that Obama is nothing more than the second coming of Jimmy Carter:

American supporters of Israel have to understand that Obama-Biden is a disaster for Israel’s security.  It would be Carter II, but without the keen insight that Carter brought to Iran policy.

It’s worse than that.  Carter at least had a deranged notion of justice as a foundation; this just looks like cowardice.

Update: The Jerusalem Post says this conversation took place three years ago:

Army Radio reported that the Delaware senator was heard saying in closed conversations with Jerusalem officials three years ago that he was firmly opposed to an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reportedly claimed that Israel would likely have to come to terms with a nuclear Iran. He reportedly expressed doubt over the effectiveness of economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic and said he was against the opening of an additional military and diplomatic front, saying that the US had more pressing problems, such as North Korea and Iraq.

The Ha’aretz report didn’t mention a time frame.  Still, either way, the message is the same: Biden won’t stand up to Iran, and since Barack Obama chose him for his foreign-policy chops, one has to figure that Obama agrees.  After all, Biden is the man who once proposed sending $200 million to Tehran to pacify the mullahs.
11774  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: McCain on: August 31, 2008, 10:04:35 AM
I think she is more qualified than Barry-O. At least the Repubs have the veteran at the head of the and the novice as VP. Everything i've seen about her I like and i'm reminded of one of my favorite movies "The Untouchables". Remember how they couldn't trust the CPD officers so the recruited right out of the academy? This is somewhat like that.
11775  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: McCain on: August 30, 2008, 10:02:22 PM
**Sorry about the formatting. Go to the site to see the tables intact.**

Zogby Poll: Equilibrium in the POTUS Race!

Brash McCain pick of AK Gov. Palin neutralizes historic Obama speech, stunts the Dems' convention bounce

UTICA, New York - Republican John McCain's surprise announcement Friday of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate - some 16 hours after Democrat Barack Obama's historic speech accepting his party’s presidential nomination -  has possibly stunted any Obama convention bump, the latest Zogby Interactive flash poll of the race shows.

Data from this poll is available here
The latest nationwide survey, begun Friday afternoon after the McCain announcement of Palin as running mate and completed mid-afternoon today, shows McCain/Palin at 47%, compared to 45% support for Obama/Biden.

In other words, the race is a dead heat.

The interactive online Zogby survey shows that both Obama and McCain have solidified the support among their own parties - Obama won 86% support of Democrats and McCain 89% of Republicans in a two-way head-to-head poll question not including the running mates. When Biden and Palin are added to the mix, Obama's Democratic support remains at 86%, while McCain's increases to 92%.

After the McCain "Veep" announcement on Friday, Palin was almost immediately hailed as a strong conservative, and those voters have rallied to the GOP ticket, the survey shows. Republicans gather in St. Paul, Minnesota this week to officially nominate McCain and Palin as their presidential ticket.

Does the selection of Sarah Palin help or hurt John McCain's chances of winning the presidential election in November?


Zogby Poll One Week Ago: Does Biden Help or Hurt Obama?

Will help him



Will hurt him



Will make no difference



Not sure



Overall, 52% said the selection of Palin as the GOP vice presidential nominee helps the Republican ticket, compared to 29% who said it hurt. Another 10% said it made no difference, while 10% were unsure. Among independent voters, 52% said it helps, while 26% said it would hurt. Among women, 48% said it would help, while 29% said it would hurt the GOP ticket. Among Republicans, the choice was a big hit - as 87% said it would help, and just 3% said it would hurt.

Pollster John Zogby: "Palin is not to be underestimated. Her real strength is that she is authentic, a real mom, an outdoors person, a small town mayor (hey, she has dealt with a small town city council - that alone could be preparation for staring down Vladimir Putin, right?). She is also a reformer."

"A very important demographic in this election is going to be the politically independent woman, 15% of whom in our latest survey are undecided."

"In the final analysis, this election will be about Obama vs. McCain. Obama has staked out ground as the new JFK - a new generation, literally and figuratively, a new face of America to the world, a man who can cross lines and work with both sides. But McCain is the modern day Harry Truman - with lots of DC experience, he knows what is wrong and dysfunctional with Washington and how to fix it, and he has chosen a running mate who is about as far away from Washington as he could find.

"This contest is likely to be very close until the weekend before the election - then the dam may break and support may flood one way or the other."

The interactive survey shows that 22% of those voters who supported Democrat Hillary Clinton in their primary elections or caucus earlier this year are now supporting John McCain.

Among those who said they shop regularly at Wal-Mart - a demographic group that Zogby has found to be both "value" and "values" voters - Obama is getting walloped by McCain. Winning 62% support from weekly Wal-Mart shoppers, McCain wins these voters at a rate similar to what President Bush won in 2004. Obama wins 24% support from these voters.

Other demographic details are fairly predictable, showing that the McCain/Palin ticket heads into its convention on Monday with numbers that may fuel an optimism they may not have expected, and that many would not have predicted, especially after Obama's speech Thursday night.

Still, storm clouds remain on the horizon for the Republicans, a four-way horserace contest between McCain, Obama, Libertarian Bob Barr and liberal independent Ralph Nader shows.

The Four-way Horserace

























Other/not sure





The online survey was conducted Aug. 29-30, 2008, and included 2,020 likely voters nationwide and carries a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points.

For a detailed methodological statement on this survey, please visit:
11776  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: McCain on: August 30, 2008, 05:44:20 PM

McCain Gets $7 Million Bounce from Palin Pick
By Matthew Mosk

Sen. John McCain has taken in $7 million in contributions since announcing Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, a top campaign aide said today.

The money bounce may owe to Palin's appeal with conservative donors, many of whom said privately they had planned on sitting out the campaign this year. The money comes in just under the wire -- after McCain accepts the GOP nomination Thursday, he will accept public funds and no longer be permitted to raise private money for the campaign.

That will not, however, stop McCain and Palin from raising money for the Republican National Committee. In coming weeks, McCain will host four megafundraising events in major cities aimed at bolstering the accounts of the party. Palin, meanwhile, will be sent out to headline more than a dozen fundraising events for the RNC.

Shortly before Palin's announcement, one senior RNC official said McCain's pick "better like doing fundraising."

Like almost everything else she does, hosting these events will be something of a new experience for Palin. When running for governor of Alaska in 2006, Palin raised a total of just $468,400.

Incidentally, Bill Burton, a spokesman for Sen. Barack Obama, declined to reveal how much money the Democratic nominee took in after his speech to 84,000 supporters in Denver and 38 million television viewers.
11777  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: McCain on: August 30, 2008, 05:23:38 PM

August 30, 2008
McCain and the OODA Loop
By Charlie Martin

Man, is this guy a fighter pilot, or what?

There are two military concepts here that explain the (absolutely spectacular) choice of Governor Sarah Palin.  Both of them are important to the training of a fighter pilot, and while one of them wasn't formulated until after McCain's flying career was over, it was an observation based on what fighter pilots had to know.

One of them is the "envelope" -- which is to say the parameters within which a fighter airplane must operate.  The envelope can be seen as a sort of egg-shape, based on how quickly a plane can turn and maneuver.  If your plane as a "tighter envelope" than another plane, the pilot has the advantage in a dogfight: you can turn inside the other plane, which means you can get into the perfect firing position, behind the opponent.

More important is the "OODA loop" -- which is the envelope for the pilot's thought process.  How quickly can the pilot observe the situation, orient within the situation, decide, and act.  If the pilot's OODA loop time is shorter, the pilot can overcome the slower.

At this point, we're seeing that McCain is completely within the Obama campaign's OODA loop -- they are out-thinking them and out-acting them -- and very problably the McCain campaign has a tighter envelope than the Obama campaign, as well.

Look at the choice of Palin, and the remaining tactics of the last week. It was the week of the Democratic Convention, and while they had their show, he continued to campaign, with immensely effective responses every day (see my day one coverage of Silver Salazar and the Democrats for McCain.) Then, on Thursday, the campaign let it be known that there would be an announcement and ad running that night.

The talking heads chattered about it -- would it be a challenge? Would he announce his VP choice to step on the speech?

It got to the point that the Obama campaign said it would be "political malpractice" to announce his VP pick, and that it was more evidence the McCain campaign was a "war room masquerading as a political campaign" --- on the day that Obama was to say in his speech "But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes."  Then the ad comes out ...
... and it's congratulations on Obama's nomination on the anniversary of the "I have a dream" speech.  In one day, they make Obama's campaign look cheap, they make McCain look gracious, and the get the Obama campaign to belie Obama's own speech.

Then the next day, they announce Sarah Palin -- after a dozen head fakes.  It's Romney.  No it's Pawlenty.  It's Romney again. Oh my God, it's Lieberman.  Instead of the days and days of anticipation, followed by anxiety, followed by boredom, followed by even more boredom when Obama picked Biden, we get a real surprise -- and the air is sucked out of Obama's big day.

Now look at what this means to the running criticisms of McCain.
Age?  Palin is young, beautiful, charismatic and strong. What's more, Biden is going to have to be very careful about an attacks in the vice presidential debate; he'll look like a misogynistic jerk, and then Sarah Barracuda will gut him like a trout. Smiling.

Hit too hard, and Hillary PUMAs they managed to attract back with the campaign's show of unity will flee in droves. Besides, the McCain campaign is all over it already. According to Real Clear Politics' Tom Bevan, "McCain senior advisor Nancy Pfotenhauer just said on Fox -- and I'm paraphrasing: I think the Obama campaign would have learned not to belittle women."
Experience?  The Obama campaign has already tried hitting at Palin as inexperienced --- but every time they do so, they open themselves to the obvious retort: she's got more executive experience than Obama, and she's only running for Vice President. 

Foreign policy? Again, she's been to Iraq as often as Obama has -- and she's got a son going there.  Hugh Hewitt rightly points out "by reason of just her work with Canada, she's light years ahead [sic] Obama." The Democratic nominee has had his own problems with Canada in fact.

Corruption and pork? She got into office attacking corruption among Republicans in Alaska and turned down the famous "bridge to nowhere".
There's one more military concept here, as well: operational security.  Unlike the usual campaign leaks, this really was kept completely quiet -- in fact, they even managed to almost eliminate the usual hints, like aircraft movements.  It was planned and executed like a SEAL op.

All in all, it was masterful.  We just finished the Denver convention, and the self-congratulation last night was thick on the ground.  But this week, it looks like the Obama campaign's "Chicago Rules" have turned out to be bringing a knife to a gunfight.
11778  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: McCain on: August 30, 2008, 05:12:50 PM
This was a brilliant move by McCain. Peel off some PUMAs, bring in a number of the "soccer mom" demo and energize the conservative base while squashing Barry-O's "sermon on the mount" out of the news cycle.
11779  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: August 29, 2008, 11:15:16 PM
Gotta go back to work. If i'm lucky, I get to sleep tomorrow.  undecided
11780  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: August 29, 2008, 09:49:27 PM
I've had very little sleep in the last 48 hours, so i'm not sure if what I just read is some sort of hallucination..... 

Where is the real JDN? What have you done with him?Huh?     evil
11781  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: August 29, 2008, 01:19:06 PM
August 27, 2008, 7:30 a.m.

Obama’s Friend, America’s Enemy
By the Editors

Have you ever been a friend or business associate of a terrorist? Not someone who, to your shock and horror, turned out secretly to have bombed government buildings. No, the question is whether you’ve ever befriended an unreconstructed radical whose past was well known to you when you entered his orbit and walked through doors he opened for you. Have you been chummy with an unapologetic terrorist who, years after you’d known and worked closely with him, was still telling the New York Times he regretted only failing to carry out more attacks — and that America still “makes me want to puke”?

Barack Obama has.

An organization called the American Issues Project, backed by Dallas investor Harold Simmons, is running a campaign ad which highlights Obama’s troubling relationship with William Ayers. Ayers is a former member of the Weathermen terrorist organization that bombed the Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol, various police headquarters, and other targets in the early 1970s.

The Obama campaign’s rejoinder is three-pronged: The first shot was an Obama response ad, which fails to offer any substantive explanation of why Obama maintains ties to Ayers. Obama’s second move was to launch a heavy-handed effort to pressure television stations into rejecting the ad by promising financial retaliation against the stations and their advertisers — which effort has apparently succeeded in intimidating Fox and CNN. The capper is a desperate call for the Justice Department to muzzle political speech through the prospect of a criminal investigation — a demand that provides a disturbing sneak peak into what life would be like under an Obama Justice Department.

Needless to say, none of this is justified. If Obama has a good explanation for his ties to Ayers, he ought to give it. In the meantime, raising questions about that relationship is entirely legitimate.

Obama’s campaign has acknowledged that the candidate and Ayers are friends. Though Obama has more recently minimized Ayers as “just a guy who lives in my neighborhood,” it is clear that the relationship was much deeper than that. Ayers and his fellow-terrorist wife, Bernadine Dohrn (who has spoken admiringly of the infamous Manson Family murders), are icons in Chicago’s hard-left circles, to which Obama sought entrée as a young “community organizer.” In 1995, they hosted a fundraiser that helped launch his career in Chicago politics.

Ayers has never abandoned his indictment of America as an imperialist hotbed of racism and economic exploitation. He has merely shifted methods from violent extortion to academic indoctrination. Through his perch as a professor of education at the University of Illinois, he has been a ceaseless critic of the criminal-justice system (he is essentially opposed to imprisoning even the most violent criminals) and a proponent of what he calls “education reform” but what is actually the use of the classroom to proselytize for the Left’s political agenda.

Writing in the Chicago Tribune in 1997, Obama called A Kind and Just Parent, Ayers’ polemic on the Chicago court system, “a searing and timely account.” Michelle Obama, then a dean at the University of Illinois, invited Ayers to participate in a panel with her husband, then a state senator who, the program explained, was “working to block proposed legislation that would throw more juvenile offenders into the adult system.”

Obama apologists dismiss all this as “guilt by association” based on a single joint appearance. But it was far from the only one.

In fact, by 1997 Obama and Ayers were collaborators on a far more significant level. They sat together for several years on the board of the Woods Fund, a left-wing Chicago charitable organization. There, they doled out tens of thousands of dollars to such beneficiaries as the Trinity Church (where Obama was a longtime member and where another Obama mentor, Jeremiah Wright, preached a radical, anti-American brand of Black Liberation Theology) and the Arab American Action Network (co-founded by Rashid Khalidi, a Yasser Arafat apologist who has supported attacks against Israel and now directs Columbia University’s notorious Middle East Institute, founded by Edward Said).

Even more intriguing, in 1995 Ayers won a $49.2 million grant from the Annenberg Foundation — matched two-to-one by public and private contributions — to promote “reform” in the Chicago school system. He quickly brought in Obama, then all of 33 and bereft of any executive experience, to chair the board. With Ayers directing the project’s operational arm and Obama overseeing its financial affairs until 1999, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge distributed more than $100 million to ideological allies with no discernible improvement in public education.

Until this week, moreover, the University of Illinois at Chicago, where Ayers works, was blocking access to the project’s files (examination of which was being sought by frequent National Review contributor Stanley Kurtz), until finally relenting under public pressure. Less than three months from Election Day, analysis of the records from Barack Obama’s only significant executive experience is just beginning.

The mainstream media has been derelict on the Obama/Ayers relationship. Perhaps now, finally, it will get the scrutiny it deserves.

National Review Online -
11782  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: August 29, 2008, 12:55:27 PM
Well, now that his holiness is done with the "temple", he can ship it to his impoverished half-brother in Kenya. I guess Tony Rezko is too busy to get this other Obama a house.....
11783  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: McCain on: August 29, 2008, 12:18:31 PM
Oh, now experience is an issue?
11784  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: August 27, 2008, 10:11:03 PM
Yes. Forgive my brevity, but I really need to get my run in before work.
11785  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: August 27, 2008, 09:40:45 PM

"Barry-O and the temple of Hubris"
11786  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: August 27, 2008, 03:03:49 PM
**The problem being that Elvis is sighted more often than this hoped for majority of peaceful muslims. **

Don't post an article in which the author himself states that "The Muslim world is far from unanimous in its rejection of the West, nor have the Muslim regions of the Third World been the most passionate and the most extreme in their hostility", and then say that contrary to the author's assertions, peaceful Muslims don't exist. It comes off as hypocritical.

**I'm not saying there are not any, i'm pointing out that that whatever the number globally, they are mostly silent. Those that aren't mostly live the lives of mob informants, even in europe or north america.**

The problem is that the extremists are more visible than their peaceful brethren. Depending on who's numbers you use, there are between .700 billion and 1.2 billion Muslims in the world. IF they were ALL extremists bent on the destruction of the western world, the speed at which they would accomplish this mission would accelerate exponentially.

**Again, i'm not saying ALL.**

Are there Muslims who hate us? Yes. Are there Muslims willing to do whatever it takes to destroy our way of life? Yes.

Are we trying to deal with them? Yes, with varying degrees of success. Should more people be paying attention to extremists. Yes.

We get it.


**I'm glad we can all agree on this point.**

I am just so sick of the "All Muslims are out to get us argument". They're not. IF you've done any travelling outside of the US, you realize that most people, in most countries, are trying to do one thing (no matter what their religion): live their lives. They can't be bothered with thoughts of world domination, submission of the great devil, or how to plan the downfall of any country. They're trying to put food on the table, raise their kids, and keep their jobs. Period. No matter what the guy in the pulpit says.

**During the heights of Hitler's power, most Germans weren't nazis. Not much solace in knowing that for the internal/external victims of the nazi war machine.**

In every religion, there are people that show up to church/temple/synagogue/mosque and believe it and live it 100%. There are those who take it to the extreme. There are those who make an appearance cuz it's what they're supposed to do. There are those that make an appearance because they have to. IF everyone in every religion followed the tenets of their religion to the word, we ALL be screwed. But not everyone does, because not everyone can be bothered. A lot of religions say a lot of things about a lot of things. Most people listen, say, "That's nice.", or "Hmmm, interesting.", or "Whatever...", and go on about their day.

"The Muslims are coming" is getting old. Some of them are. We're working on it. The rest could probably give a flying f*ck. (Pardon my language)

As for my use of radical instead of orthodox...whatever. Radical, extremist, ultra orthodox, medium strength orthodox, orthodox, isolationist, fundamentalist Islamists hate us. And they always will. And they are in the minority. And as I said, we're working on it.

I hate that this rant is the last thing I post before my vacation, but such is life. I'll check back in sometime around late September.

**Enjoy your vacation.**
11787  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: August 27, 2008, 10:18:49 AM
Suddenly, or so it seemed, America had become the archenemy, the incarnation of evil, the diabolic opponent of all that is good, and specifically, for Muslims, of Islam. Why?

I think that should read "...for radical Muslims, of Islam." As the author states earlier in the article, "There are still significant numbers, in some quarters perhaps a majority, of Muslims with whom we share certain basic cultural and moral, social and political, beliefs and aspirations..."

**The problem being that Elvis is sighted more often than this hoped for majority of peaceful muslims. What criteria do you use to define a radical muslim from an orthodox muslim?**

As for why the hatred of America, we offer what radical Islamists do not: freedom of expression, freedom of religion, the right to vote (for men and women), freedom of thought, freedom of movement. All things that are frightening to any radical theology.Theirs just happens to be one that is willing to do whatever it takes to abolish those freedoms.
Our system of government is utterly contrary to sharia law. The problem is that sharia law is the law of allah and to ignore god's law and  make your own is not acceptable in classic islamic theology.
11788  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: August 26, 2008, 09:29:21 PM
**The bold is my emphasis. I suggest you follow the link and read the whole article.**

Why so many Muslims deeply resent the West, and why their bitterness will not easily be mollified

The Roots of Muslim Rage

In one of his letters Thomas Jefferson remarked that in matters of religion "the maxim of civil government" should be reversed and we should rather say, "Divided we stand, united, we fall." In this remark Jefferson was setting forth with classic terseness an idea that has come to be regarded as essentially American: the separation of Church and State. This idea was not entirely new; it had some precedents in the writings of Spinoza, Locke, and the philosophers of the European Enlightenment. It was in the United States, however, that the principle was first given the force of law and gradually, in the course of two centuries, became a reality.

If the idea that religion and politics should be separated is relatively new, dating back a mere three hundred years, the idea that they are distinct dates back almost to the beginnings of Christianity. Christians are enjoined in their Scriptures to "render ... unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things which are God's." While opinions have differed as to the real meaning of this phrase, it has generally been interpreted as legitimizing a situation in which two institutions exist side by side, each with its own laws and chain of authority—one concerned with religion, called the Church, the other concerned with politics, called the State. And since they are two, they may be joined or separated, subordinate or independent, and conflicts may arise between them over questions of demarcation and jurisdiction.

This formulation of the problems posed by the relations between religion and politics, and the possible solutions to those problems, arise from Christian, not universal, principles and experience. There are other religious traditions in which religion and politics are differently perceived, and in which, therefore, the problems and the possible solutions are radically different from those we know in the West. Most of these traditions, despite their often very high level of sophistication and achievement, remained or became local—limited to one region or one culture or one people. There is one, however, that in its worldwide distribution, its continuing vitality, its universalist aspirations, can be compared to Christianity, and that is Islam.

Islam is one of the world's great religions. Let me be explicit about what I, as a historian of Islam who is not a Muslim, mean by that. Islam has brought comfort and peace of mind to countless millions of men and women. It has given dignity and meaning to drab and impoverished lives. It has taught people of different races to live in brotherhood and people of different creeds to live side by side in reasonable tolerance. It inspired a great civilization in which others besides Muslims lived creative and useful lives and which, by its achievement, enriched the whole world. But Islam, like other religions, has also known periods when it inspired in some of its followers a mood of hatred and violence. It is our misfortune that part, though by no means all or even most, of the Muslim world is now going through such a period, and that much, though again not all, of that hatred is directed against us.

We should not exaggerate the dimensions of the problem. The Muslim world is far from unanimous in its rejection of the West, nor have the Muslim regions of the Third World been the most passionate and the most extreme in their hostility. There are still significant numbers, in some quarters perhaps a majority, of Muslims with whom we share certain basic cultural and moral, social and political, beliefs and aspirations; there is still an imposing Western presence—cultural, economic, diplomatic—in Muslim lands, some of which are Western allies. Certainly nowhere in the Muslim world, in the Middle East or elsewhere, has American policy suffered disasters or encountered problems comparable to those in Southeast Asia or Central America. There is no Cuba, no Vietnam, in the Muslim world, and no place where American forces are involved as combatants or even as "advisers." But there is a Libya, an Iran, and a Lebanon, and a surge of hatred that distresses, alarms, and above all baffles Americans.

At times this hatred goes beyond hostility to specific interests or actions or policies or even countries and becomes a rejection of Western civilization as such, not only what it does but what it is, and the principles and values that it practices and professes. These are indeed seen as innately evil, and those who promote or accept them as the "enemies of God."

This phrase, which recurs so frequently in the language of the Iranian leadership, in both their judicial proceedings and their political pronouncements, must seem very strange to the modern outsider, whether religious or secular. The idea that God has enemies, and needs human help in order to identify and dispose of them, is a little difficult to assimilate. It is not, however, all that alien. The concept of the enemies of God is familiar in preclassical and classical antiquity, and in both the Old and New Testaments, as well as in the Koran. A particularly relevant version of the idea occurs in the dualist religions of ancient Iran, whose cosmogony assumed not one but two supreme powers. The Zoroastrian devil, unlike the Christian or Muslim or Jewish devil, is not one of God's creatures performing some of God's more mysterious tasks but an independent power, a supreme force of evil engaged in a cosmic struggle against God. This belief influenced a number of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish sects, through Manichaeism and other routes. The almost forgotten religion of the Manichees has given its name to the perception of problems as a stark and simple conflict between matching forces of pure good and pure evil.

The Koran is of course strictly monotheistic, and recognizes one God, one universal power only. There is a struggle in human hearts between good and evil, between God's commandments and the tempter, but this is seen as a struggle ordained by God, with its outcome preordained by God, serving as a test of mankind, and not, as in some of the old dualist religions, a struggle in which mankind has a crucial part to play in bringing about the victory of good over evil. Despite this monotheism, Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, was at various stages influenced, especially in Iran, by the dualist idea of a cosmic clash of good and evil, light and darkness, order and chaos, truth and falsehood, God and the Adversary, variously known as devil, Iblis, Satan, and by other names.

The Rise of the House of Unbelief
In Islam the struggle of good and evil very soon acquired political and even military dimensions. Muhammad, it will be recalled, was not only a prophet and a teacher, like the founders of other religions; he was also the head of a polity and of a community, a ruler and a soldier. Hence his struggle involved a state and its armed forces. If the fighters in the war for Islam, the holy war "in the path of God," are fighting for God, it follows that their opponents are fighting against God. And since God is in principle the sovereign, the supreme head of the Islamic state—and the Prophet and, after the Prophet, the caliphs are his vicegerents—then God as sovereign commands the army. The army is God's army and the enemy is God's enemy. The duty of God's soldiers is to dispatch God's enemies as quickly as possible to the place where God will chastise them—that is to say, the afterlife.

Clearly related to this is the basic division of mankind as perceived in Islam. Most, probably all, human societies have a way of distinguishing between themselves and others: insider and outsider, in-group and out-group, kinsman or neighbor and foreigner. These definitions not only define the outsider but also, and perhaps more particularly, help to define and illustrate our perception of ourselves.

In the classical Islamic view, to which many Muslims are beginning to return, the world and all mankind are divided into two: the House of Islam, where the Muslim law and faith prevail, and the rest, known as the House of Unbelief or the House of War, which it is the duty of Muslims ultimately to bring to Islam. But the greater part of the world is still outside Islam, and even inside the Islamic lands, according to the view of the Muslim radicals, the faith of Islam has been undermined and the law of Islam has been abrogated. The obligation of holy war therefore begins at home and continues abroad, against the same infidel enemy.

Like every other civilization known to human history, the Muslim world in its heyday saw itself as the center of truth and enlightenment, surrounded by infidel barbarians whom it would in due course enlighten and civilize. But between the different groups of barbarians there was a crucial difference. The barbarians to the east and the south were polytheists and idolaters, offering no serious threat and no competition at all to Islam. In the north and west, in contrast, Muslims from an early date recognized a genuine rival—a competing world religion, a distinctive civilization inspired by that religion, and an empire that, though much smaller than theirs, was no less ambitious in its claims and aspirations. This was the entity known to itself and others as Christendom, a term that was long almost identical with Europe.

The struggle between these rival systems has now lasted for some fourteen centuries. It began with the advent of Islam, in the seventh century, and has continued virtually to the present day. It has consisted of a long series of attacks and counterattacks, jihads and crusades, conquests and reconquests. For the first thousand years Islam was advancing, Christendom in retreat and under threat. The new faith conquered the old Christian lands of the Levant and North Africa, and invaded Europe, ruling for a while in Sicily, Spain, Portugal, and even parts of France. The attempt by the Crusaders to recover the lost lands of Christendom in the east was held and thrown back, and even the Muslims' loss of southwestern Europe to the Reconquista was amply compensated by the Islamic advance into southeastern Europe, which twice reached as far as Vienna. For the past three hundred years, since the failure of the second Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683 and the rise of the European colonial empires in Asia and Africa, Islam has been on the defensive, and the Christian and post-Christian civilization of Europe and her daughters has brought the whole world, including Islam, within its orbit.

For a long time now there has been a rising tide of rebellion against this Western paramountcy, and a desire to reassert Muslim values and restore Muslim greatness. The Muslim has suffered successive stages of defeat. The first was his loss of domination in the world, to the advancing power of Russia and the West. The second was the undermining of his authority in his own country, through an invasion of foreign ideas and laws and ways of life and sometimes even foreign rulers or settlers, and the enfranchisement of native non-Muslim elements. The third—the last straw—was the challenge to his mastery in his own house, from emancipated women and rebellious children. It was too much to endure, and the outbreak of rage against these alien, infidel, and incomprehensible forces that had subverted his dominance, disrupted his society, and finally violated the sanctuary of his home was inevitable. It was also natural that this rage should be directed primarily against the millennial enemy and should draw its strength from ancient beliefs and loyalties.

Europe and her daughters? The phrase may seem odd to Americans, whose national myths, since the beginning of their nationhood and even earlier, have usually defined their very identity in opposition to Europe, as something new and radically different from the old European ways. This is not, however, the way that others have seen it; not often in Europe, and hardly ever elsewhere.

Though people of other races and cultures participated, for the most part involuntarily, in the discovery and creation of the Americas, this was, and in the eyes of the rest of the world long remained, a European enterprise, in which Europeans predominated and dominated and to which Europeans gave their languages, their religions, and much of their way of life.

For a very long time voluntary immigration to America was almost exclusively European. There were indeed some who came from the Muslim lands in the Middle East and North Africa, but few were Muslims; most were members of the Christian and to a lesser extent the Jewish minorities in those countries. Their departure for America, and their subsequent presence in America, must have strengthened rather than lessened the European image of America in Muslim eyes.

In the lands of Islam remarkably little was known about America. At first the voyages of discovery aroused some interest; the only surviving copy of Columbus's own map of America is a Turkish translation and adaptation, still preserved in the Topkapi Palace Museum, in Istanbul. A sixteenth-century Turkish geographer's account of the discovery of the New World, titled The History of Western India, was one of the first books printed in Turkey. But thereafter interest seems to have waned, and not much is said about America in Turkish, Arabic, or other Muslim languages until a relatively late date. A Moroccan ambassador who was in Spain at the time wrote what must surely be the first Arabic account of the American Revolution. The Sultan of Morocco signed a treaty of peace and friendship with the United States in 1787, and thereafter the new republic had a number of dealings, some friendly, some hostile, most commercial, with other Muslim states. These seem to have had little impact on either side. The American Revolution and the American republic to which it gave birth long remained unnoticed and unknown. Even the small but growing American presence in Muslim lands in the nineteenth century—merchants, consuls, missionaries, and teachers—aroused little or no curiosity, and is almost unmentioned in the Muslim literature and newspapers of the time.

The Second World War, the oil industry, and postwar developments brought many Americans to the Islamic lands; increasing numbers of Muslims also came to America, first as students, then as teachers or businessmen or other visitors, and eventually as immigrants. Cinema and later television brought the American way of life, or at any rate a certain version of it, before countless millions to whom the very name of America had previously been meaningless or unknown. A wide range of American products, particularly in the immediate postwar years, when European competition was virtually eliminated and Japanese competition had not yet arisen, reached into the remotest markets of the Muslim world, winning new customers and, perhaps more important, creating new tastes and ambitions. For some, America represented freedom and justice and opportunity. For many more, it represented wealth and power and success, at a time when these qualities were not regarded as sins or crimes.

And then came the great change, when the leaders of a widespread and widening religious revival sought out and identified their enemies as the enemies of God, and gave them "a local habitation and a name" in the Western Hemisphere. Suddenly, or so it seemed, America had become the archenemy, the incarnation of evil, the diabolic opponent of all that is good, and specifically, for Muslims, of Islam. Why?
11789  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 26, 2008, 07:34:15 PM

Charlie Wilson's Slip

Former Texas Rep. Charlie Wilson -- yes, that Charlie Wilson -- was speaking at an anti-war rally when he, um, flubbed a line:

"We should be led by Osama bin Laden," he said, then quickly corrected himself. "I mean Obama and Biden."
How does that Southwest commercial go? Want to get away?

**Honest mistake.  grin **
11790  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: August 26, 2008, 07:26:11 PM
I notice that often on this forum "Front Page Magazine" is quoted (cut and pasted).  Albeit interesting, it is hardly the pinnacle of the sources available in the search for impartial and unbiased truth.  Rather it is an extreme right wing biased magazine who definitely seems to only have a radical conservative agenda. 

**Do me a favor and define what "radical conservatism" is to you.**

As for the issue of faith, IF Obama was or is Muslim, why is that, by itself, good or bad?  IF Obama was or is a Jew, why is that good or bad?  IF Obama was or is a Christian, why is that good or bad?  Fine men and women, peace seeking men and women exist in all of these faiths.  Evil exists in all faiths.  As does good. 

**Were you this upset when Mitt Romney's mormonism was getting skewered from the left? You'll note that christianity's core theology allowed for the evolution of secular government and freedom of religion as a right, concepts not found in islam.**

Our country was founded on the principle of freedom of religion.  We are not a "Christian" Nation, but a free nation - you can choose your religion without worry.  That is the cornerstone of our country.  We preach tolerance; why promote articles of religious hate?

**Where in the article do you see religious hate? It's an examination of the muslim perception of Obama's "muslim" identity.**

I have read many inflammatory and seemingly hateful articles on Obama being possibly Muslim.  Does that seem right? 

**Post-9/11, the US population has taken a hard look at islam and amazingly, it's not very popular.  rolleyes
In addition, I doubt very much that Obama is a practicing muslim, he's been less than honest in addressing the topic. I personally find Obama's adult choice in a racist version of christianity much more disturbing than any exposure to islam he may have as a child.**

 If he was a Jew would such articles be tolerated? 

**What's the current count on Americans murdered by jews motivated by a vision of the world dominated by Judaism ?**

I hope not.  Yet Romney is being criticized for being Mormon.  Again, is that right?  I mean if you don't like the man, fine, yet I know many fine Mormons, Jews, Muslims, et al.  What's the problem?  Kennedy had to go through this because he was Catholic - I had hoped/thought America was finally past such obvious bigotry.  IF you think Obama is/was a Muslim so what? 

**My objection is Obama's lack of candor on the subject. As a child, no one gets to choose their religion.**

IF you like him, like what he says and the direction he suggests, vote for him.  IF not, don't, vote for McCain, another person, or simply abstain.  But if a Buddist or Hindu was running, and you liked them, you should vote for them.  Don't base your decision on the color of their skin or their own belief in their God.  That is not the American way.

11791  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 26, 2008, 12:07:28 AM

"FEMA employs about 2,600 people full-time nationwide, with a reserve of 4,000 more who remain on standby until a disaster strikes."

**If the "BIG ONE" hits SoCal, the entire FEMA entity isn't even a drop in the bucket for what will be needed.**
11792  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 25, 2008, 09:55:20 PM
Due to our constitutional "separation of powers", it is your local level government that is responsible for police/fire/EMS. Then it falls to your state. The USG is 3rd. in line. FEMA is much more of a "check writing" entity rather than a first responder by congressional design.

BTW, you are actually the person who holds the core responsibility for your security and safety. Much of the problems in N.O. result from the entrenched mentality of governmentally based learned helplessness.

Even "Kah-lee-fohr-niah" encourages individual preparation:
11793  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 25, 2008, 01:25:41 AM
What is probably most inexcusable and has been kept relatively quiet is that the Red Cross and the Salvation Army were staged and ready to enter New Orleans with food, water and other emergency supplies. The roads to the Superdome and the Convention Center were open, and other areas of the city remained similarly accessible. But the Louisiana Dept. of Homeland Security denied them permission to go in, saying their presence would “prevent people from leaving.”

In the ultimate, horrible example of a bureaucratic Catch-22, the government kept people from leaving New Orleans, and the Dept. of Homeland Security would not let aid agencies in, saying having aid available in the city would create a magnet to keep people from leaving.

Eventually, of course, aid agencies were allowed in, and within a few days following Katrina, the Salvation Army had in place 10 mobile feeding units, including at the evacuation points, as well as 2 large mobile kitchens, with a total capacity of serving 200,000 meals per day. As of Sept. 30, the Salvation Army has served over 2 million hot meals plus over 3 million sandwiches, snacks, and drinks from its 150 mobile feeding trucks plus 10 field kitchens deployed throughout the region. It has distributed over 35,000 cleaning kits: brooms, mops, buckets and detergent; and 60,000 food boxes. It has sheltered and provided counseling to approximately half a million people. Its Emergency Radio Network, designed to help people locate family members, has received over 60,000 inquiries and found almost 16,000 survivors. A woman from our San Francisco office was dispatched to run the Astrodome operations, returning last week. As Hurricane Rita built up, the Salvation Army deployed office workers, including our webmaster, to Houston to be prepared to provide disaster assistance there—everyone else was already deployed following Katrina. In all, almost 7,000 Salvation Army officers, together with almost 7,000 Salvation Army employees, plus thousands of trained volunteers have served in the affected areas, and they will remain as long as relief is needed. They’re still serving in Florida in the aftermath of last year’s hurricanes there, and they remained onsite at Ground Zero for two years following 9/11, with a large tent facility housing rest facilities, food, clean socks, counseling and other needs for the rescue workers there.

The Salvation Army is being judged the most effective relief agency throughout the Gulf Coast—and, with reason. A front-page story in the September 29 Wall Street Journal praised the Salvation Army for its quick, effective hurricane relief efforts. Based from their operations already well-established in nearly every community, where they work daily in permanent shelters with the homeless and poor and with people trying to put their lives back together after an apartment fire or years of alcohol and drug abuse, they’re well prepared to meet the needs of victims of natural disasters. Its military-style structure is designed for rapid mobilization and puts a premium on training people in advance to deal with disasters. Most people aren’t aware that the Salvation Army is actually a church. Its officers are all ordained ministers and they are in the Army as a calling—their way of ministering to the poorest of the poor in the name of Christ, with love and without discrimination, and for very little pay. The head of the Red Cross draws a salary of $450,000. The head of the U.S. Salvation Army is paid less than $30,000. They do this work from their hearts, and they do it very, very well.

Now I don’t want to make it sound as if I think that every private organization walks on water. Not every private entity did perform well in the disaster. The government says it will bring criminal charges against the owners of a nursing home whose 34 abandoned residents died, and it is proper that they should be held liable for this negligence. But who do the victims of the gross and arguably criminal neglect in the Superdome, the Convention Center—or for that matter, the thousands whose property and lives were lost due to the government’s failure to maintain its levees—sue?

The Lesson

For this is the salient point: private organizations, whether for-profit or non-profit, perform or lose their customers or their donors. When a private entity fails to deliver on its promise, or actually causes harm, it is held liable for the failure and pays the damages. When government fails, it gets a bigger budget and even more power.

Relying on big bureaucracies is itself a recipe for disaster. Bureaucracies do not talk to each other, and they are actually disincented from solving problems. Last year’s 9/11 commission issued a comprehensive, damning indictment of the intelligence community’s failure to perform its basic function. Yet rather than waiting for any facts on which to act, government had instead three years before created a whole new level of bureaucracy that could be guaranteed to only exacerbate the failings we saw 9/11 and now again with Katrina.

And that is exactly the danger we face again now: suddenly, in the heat of the immediate, emotional aftermath of the disaster, frantic calls go up to have FEMA do more, not less. The federal government is jumping in with promises to perform tasks no-one would have dreamed appropriate following previous disasters: reimburse faith-based charities for their expenses in providing relief; rebuilding entire neighborhoods and communities under no-bid, cost-plus contracts.

What’s going to happen when we allow the pre-empting of our very effective charitable sector by bureaucracy? What’s going to happen to the voluntary, charitable sector when people see enough examples of their tax dollars being used for the purpose for which they used to designate their charitable giving? Just as with the tradition of mutual-aid and other voluntary initiatives, private charity will fade as government’s involvement increases.

Although you may not be aware of it, this is already happening. Organizations like the Salvation Army are already dependent on government funding. When that funding is lost in the face of politics, as happened here in San Francisco when the Salvation Army’s faith-based mission fell in disfavor among our extremist city council, we lost $3 million per year in government funding of detox, homeless shelter, and senior feeding programming. Losing the funding forced us to revitalize the board and get back in closer touch with our community—now that we were again wholly dependent upon it for support.

We also took a close look at the programs for which we had suddenly lost funding, and discovered, a bit to our chagrin, that they could actually be run better and more efficiently than government requirements. I dubbed it the “Pentagon model” of social service. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the adage that the Pentagon is always preparing to fight the last war—commissioning weapons systems, for example, designed to defeat the Soviet Union, not fight a dispersed, decentralized War on Terror; and of course its well-deserved reputation for being bloated. While nothing like that scale, several of our government-funded programs turned out to be a bit behind the times, and we revamped them to better meet our community’s needs today. For example, the Federal Meals on Wheels program has an age 60 minimum. Revamped as the privately-funded Meals That Heal, in addition to providing for seniors, we also deliver nutritious meals to younger people homebound by diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

Similarly, there had been excessive administrative and reporting requirements. We were able to cut administrative positions and place a case-worker in every one of our 16 facilities across the city.

Disasters of Government Failure

As the Independent Institute’s research shows time and again, the Katrina disaster aftermath is simply the current most obvious example of government failure. It is not the exception, it is the pattern: a crisis occurs, often because of existing government failure such as inadequate levees, the cry goes up that government must “do something,” it moves in with ambitious new programs that drive out voluntary initiatives, until the myth that government has to do it or it wouldn’t be done is true.

We saw only too clearly in New Orleans what happens when government is allowed a monopoly on disaster response: bureaucratic bungling and mistreatment of those who most need help.

But to me, at least as important as the fact that government performs relief work less well than private initiatives, is the message Tocqueville drew from observing our society: voluntary association brings us closer together and keeps us free and “democratic.” By working together in voluntary association to help one another and solve our own problems, we learn that we as individuals are effective and powerful.

The lessons of Katrina provide a picture-perfect case study of what happens when we surrender these functions to nameless, unaccountable bureaucrats: levee systems that everyone knows are inadequate and no one does anything about; a Keystone Cop scenario of bureaucrats pointing fingers and waiting for the feds to save them; and helpless victims.

I prefer the very real and well-functioning world documented in Tocqueville’s Democracy in America and The Independent Institute’s The Voluntary City. Communities in which individuals working together in voluntary association meet and solve their problems in common.

Unlike the Superdome, the Astrodome was operated as a shelter under the auspices of the Red Cross and The Salvation Army. Government forecasts had predicted that evacuees would be there for months. Instead, less than 4,000 remained in the Astrodome two weeks after Katrina, with all of them placed within a month.

So instead of the Federal government’s disbursing no-bid, cost-plus contracts to rebuild New Orleans (and who on earth is the master planner of what is being built, where, and why?) how about instead declaring the affected region an enterprise zone—exempt from tax and regulatory restrictions? There would be an inflow of investment as dramatic as the phoenix rising from the ashes. Think Hong Kong, that island rock with no natural resources, having even to import drinking water. Yet the economic success story of the 20th century—that could be New Orleans, freed of the most corrupt government at all levels in the entire country. Freed of slums, dead-end lives of hopelessness.

As for the levees, the failure of which was the proximate cause of New Orleans’ devastation, let’s fire the Army Corps of Engineers and turn that agency over to stakeholders who will have incentives to invest in bringing it up to 21st century standards and be held accountable if it fails. You could privatize it as many former iron-curtain countries privatized formerly state-run enterprises, by distributing a share to every citizen of the area; or have the levees be owned and operated through insurance schemes; or bid them out for sale to a consortium of business or other condominium-type holding.

The wonderful thing about the market is that no one has to be prescient—when you get barriers out of the way, innovative entrepreneurs devise ways of solving needs never thought of before. For example, one of the most vibrant economies today is Estonia. This former Soviet satellite was so thrilled to be freed of their hated Russian rulers that they have since 1990 allowed almost no central control. The result is the most booming, energetic, happy place—rediscovering and revitalizing things like traditional native dance. At the same time it is one of the most advanced countries technologically in the world. Estonia leapfrogged traditional telephone technologies and jumped right into the wireless age. You can even pay for your parking meter from your cell phone.

It’s amazing what happens when you set the private sector free.

So, what can we learn from Katrina? First of all, let’s realize that no knight in shining armor is going to come save us, so let’s do what needs to be done ourselves. Let’s believe Mayor Gavin Newsom when he tells us he won’t be able to evacuate San Francisco in the event of an emergency, and that Rudy Guiliani didn’t actually single-handedly save New York post-9/11. They’re just guys, they’re not super-heroes.

The Independent Institute will pursue activities like documenting and publicizing examples like the Business Roundtable’s proactive emergency communication system. Let’s champion those examples, get involved in efforts to promote and replicate them, and support and get involved with organizations like the Independent Institute and the Salvation Army that produce solutions.

And let’s help spread the word to others that this is the way to take care of ourselves and those in our communities who need help. Yes, it’s work, time, and money, and government’s promises to do it for us, at an invisible cost to us, are tempting to believe. But next time we hear a great new proposal for a great new government initiative that’s going to solve everything once and for all, let’s just say, “No, thanks. We’d rather do it ourselves.”

Mary L. G. Theroux is Vice President and Secretary at The Independent Institute and a member of both the National and San Francisco Advisory Boards of the Salvation Army. She is also former Chairman of the San Francisco Salvation Army Advisory Board.

11794  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 25, 2008, 01:23:02 AM

The Ray Nagin memorial motor pool.


Public and Private Responses to Katrina: What Can We Learn?
October 20, 2005
Mary L. G. Theroux

This talk was presented at the Chief Executive Organization's Women's Seminar October 7, 2005.

For the lessons to be gleaned in the aftermath of Katrina, I look to two non-profits with which I have been involved for many years and that I see as providing a two-pronged strategy for solving problems—immediate-term and long-term.

I’ve served for 10 years on the San Francisco board, and three years on the National board of The Salvation Army, which Peter Drucker has termed “the most effective organization in the U.S.” It does an amazing job at addressing and alleviating immediate problems and suffering. It brings people in off the street to become clean and sober and learn to lead productive lives through its detox and transitional housing and programming. It provides job training, character-based after-school and summer camp programming for children, toys at the holidays; shelters for battered women and their children; senior feeding and housing; delivery of hot meals to the homebound, housing and programming for aged-out foster care young adults; and is one of the largest relief agencies worldwide. Based in London, it operates in 109 countries every day, with 65,000 employees in the U.S. alone. So when disaster strikes, the Salvation Army is already there, ready to spring into action.

The Independent Institute, where I am a director and Vice President, tackles many of these same problems on a long-term basis. We commission and produce research into the underlying causes of problems like homelessness, urban problems, health-care costs, energy, the crisis in education, drugs, and global poverty. We use these studies to devise and promote innovative, market-based solutions to these problems.

The Gift of Markets

Why market-based? Well, here are some statistics from 100 years ago that I think well illustrate my point:

In 1905, our average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47. Only 14% of homes had a tub; 8% had a phone; 95% of all births took place at home; women washed their hair once a month, using borax or egg shampoo; and the average worker made about $300 per year.

Our rapid advancement to the bounty found in even the poorest home in the U.S. today is due not to any government program or non-profit initiative, but primarily because profit-pursuing individuals have innovated to produce hitherto unknown prosperity.

And it’s also due to the for-profit, market-based sector that many of our threatened crises never materialize. For example, when I was a girl, it was widely predicted that there would be mass starvation in the near future, as exploding populations would overwhelm the planet’s limits on food production. Instead, the development of higher-yielding plants and better farming methods created an international green revolution.

Yet when was the last time you received an invitation for a gala black-tie event honoring a for-profit hero? Don’t most of us instead find ourselves inundated with celebrations of those who have “given back” or honoring “public servant” politicians?

Social Innovation and Civil Society

That said, there certainly are problems we see in our communities that we would like to be able to do something about, and we form non-profit organizations to do so. And innovation and entrepreneurship can do much to address those as well. Americans have a long tradition of banding together to do just that. Probably the best-documented study of this can be found in Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. A young French aristocrat, Tocqueville toured America in 1831-32, and he made an amazingly extensive study of our society and institutions. One thing that struck him the most was our penchant for forming what he dubbed “associations”:

Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions constantly form associations. They have not only commercial and manufacturing companies, in which all take part, but associations of a thousand other kinds, religious, moral, serious, futile, general or restricted, enormous or dimunitive. The Americans make associations to give entertainments, to found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they found hospitals, prisons, and schools....

Unlike the societies Tocqueville had known—the England of a privileged aristocracy, where Noblesse Oblige would tend to the poor, or post-revolutionary France, whose strong central government was assumed to be responsible for taking care of all such problems, in the American democratic society power and money were widely diffused among individuals, such that they had to combine forces to solve any given problem:

Among democratic nations ... all the citizens are independent and feeble; they can do hardly anything by themselves, and none of them can oblige his fellow men to lend him their assistance. They all, therefore, become powerless if they do not learn voluntarily to help one another. [emphasis added]

So, I think our tradition of innovative individuals forming alliances to solve problems stands us in good stead. The Independent Institute’s book, The Voluntary City, similarly brings together case studies of innovative alliances that historically met and many which continue to meet, needs from housing, transportation, education, medical care, to police and law courts. Long before there was unemployment or health insurance, for example, many people belonged to mutual-aid societies, into which they would pay dues. When they found themselves out of work, facing unexpected medical or other costs, they could receive funding from the society. By 1925, there were 120,000 such societies across the country.

And so we have a rich and proven-effective tradition of voluntary associations solving problems. Yet, in case after case, we see government taking over more and more of our voluntary sector. And that is why I’m so concerned about the calls in the aftermath of Katrina to expand FEMA and other programs.

First of all, there’s just the plain evidence that the public sector doesn’t do the job nearly as well as the private. Let’s take a look at the vast differences in the responses to Katrina from the public vs. the private sector.

Responses to Katrina: Public vs. Private

FEMA, and all levels of state and local governments in the affected areas have claimed that a disaster of Katrina’s proportions could not have been foreseen or planned for and they should thus be given a pass—or better, yet, a bigger budget and more power—for having performed so badly.

Yet let’s take a look at what happened in the private sector:

The giant private hospital company HCA held a “Hurricane Lessons Learned” planning meeting last fall, following last year’s devastating Florida hurricanes. Some key gaps they identified were: cell phones often fail, so alternative phone systems are needed. Roads become impassable, so emergency supplies have to be stored closer to hospitals. Back-up generators are needed. As a result of the meeting, HCA provided its hospitals with satellite phones, hurricane shutters and additional backup generators. It struck deals with local businesses like refrigeration, water, diesel and gasoline companies, to provide supplies quickly in the event of an emergency. In hurricane-prone areas it also warehoused food, medical supplies and other gear closer to its hospitals. In the immediate aftermath of Katrina, senior management set up a “war room” and quickly decided they would need to lease 20 helicopters to evacuate their Tulane hospital. HCA’s chairman and CEO didn’t hesitate in ordering them to do so. They used ham radios to create a makeshift air-traffic control system and immediately began ferrying critically ill patients out, without one mishap.

Literally across the street, the state-run Charity hospital was without emergency supplies and unable to get any governmental help in evacuating. Subsisting on fruit cocktail and a dwindling supply of water, Charity’s patients were only saved by being ferried by boat to Tulane and evacuated by HCA’s privately-leased helicopters.

Similarly, Wal-Mart and Home Depot had emergency-response plans in place and their senior management immediately sprang into action ordering them implemented, sending supplies like generators, food, water, flashlights and batteries into the areas hit. They were able to quickly establish and maintain a supply chain throughout the region. Pfizer distributed needed drugs and medicines via Wal-Mart and other retailers. Budweiser delivered truckloads of water and ice. Ford provided vehicles for search and rescue.

At the heart of the corporate response was a stunning array of advanced communication networks that kept firms in touch and coordinating. Following last year’s tsunami aid effort, the Business Roundtable had arranged for each of its 160 member companies to designate a disaster-relief point man. They were in place and ready before Katrina hit. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce set up a clearinghouse to compile lists of needed supplies. Each donor company indicated what order it could fill, eliminating duplication or delay. Black & Decker’s employees worked through Labor Day weekend to produce more generators.

And on and on.

Meanwhile, what was going on the New Orleans mayor’s and Louisiana governor’s offices? Both expressed frustration and helplessness, caused by having no plans for an emergency of this magnitude. The mayor’s office set up operations in the privately owned and operated Hyatt hotel, judged the safest base. They were equipped with old field-type phones that couldn’t be recharged. Both the governor and mayor claimed they were paralyzed by lack of communication, and pointed the finger at the feds’ failure to come to the rescue. The entire governmental response, from top to bottom, was beset by lack of leadership, action, and absolutely no coordination or communication between any two agencies. It had been immediately pointed out following 9/11 that much of that rescue effort was hindered and many of the deaths of firefighters and police were due to the inability of rescue agencies to communicate among and between themselves. Yet four years later, and despite billions of dollars distributed to and by the new Dept. of Homeland Security, the exact same systems were in place.

When one mayor in Louisiana called FEMA to get supplies, he was put on hold for 45 minutes. Eventually a bureaucrat promised to write a memo to his supervisor. Evacuees on a boat could not receive permission to dock along the Mississippi river. A sheriff was told he could only get the help he was seeking if he emailed his request—of course, his parish was flooded and without electricity.

School buses sat idle in parking lots—contrary to the City of New Orleans’ emergency plan that called to use such buses to evacuate residents to safety—not to the Superdome, which lay within the threatened area. Furthermore, the Superdome had been used as emergency shelter before, and there had been violence and civil disorder within it on those occasions. Yet no provision had been made to prevent the recurrence of such violence that had occurred before and worsened under the “hell-like” conditions following Katrina. The people in the Superdome were essentially held under house arrest, not allowed to leave or even go outside for fresh air. No provision was made to provide them food, water, sanitation, counseling, or even communicate to them what was happening and what they could expect. It’s little wonder that such desperate “Lord of the Flies” conditions led to a breakdown in civil society. It could have been a laboratory study in what happens when you treat people like cattle—only worse, because cattle owners feed and water their stock.

A group of 500 guests in French Quarter hotels pooled their resources to come up with $25,000 to charter buses to come and rescue them, subsidizing those without the means to contribute. They waited 48 hours for the buses whose arrival was said to be “imminent,” only to learn that the military had commandeered them as soon as they arrived in the city. Once kicked out of the hotels, “by orders,” they learned they would not be allowed in either of the two city shelters—the Convention Center and the Superdome—which had descended into humanitarian and health hellholes. Yet neither could they leave the city—those trying to leave the city on foot were turned back by armed police, “protecting” neighboring cities from fleeing evacuees. Only those with transport could leave, yet, as we’ve seen, transport was denied them.

Companies wanting to send in planes and helicopters to rescue their people were prohibited from doing so. One company contacted Louisiana Congressman Bobby Jindal’s office for help identifying who could grant them permission to send in a helicopter to rescue their stranded employees. Unable to find anyone at FEMA, the FAA or the military who would accept responsibility to grant permission, the congressman advised the company to just go ahead.

11795  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Military Life, The Return and Crafty Dog?? on: August 24, 2008, 07:29:26 PM
Outstanding Maxx! Thanks for your service.
11796  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 24, 2008, 05:28:34 PM

More smart leftists at the DNC!
11797  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 24, 2008, 05:24:02 PM

Winning over the swing voters!
11798  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: McCain on: August 24, 2008, 04:22:46 PM
 "Mitt should request no time limit in the debate for Joe Biden to speak."

Exactly!!!!!  grin
11799  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 24, 2008, 03:50:47 PM

Unadulterated leftist "thought" at the DNC.
11800  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: August 24, 2008, 02:17:53 PM
"I knew that the man in charge of disaster preparedness at the Federal Emergency Management Agency turned out to be incompetent and unqualified."

**So, how did the conservatives get the incompetent  DEMOCRATS elected to Louisiana governor and New Orleans mayor?**
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