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Wednesday, May 30, 2007
*** Enter Number Eleven? Fred Thompson makes it (more) official. According to a campaign source, Thompson will file his FEC papers officially on Monday June 4. In FEC parlance, Thompson is opening a "testing the waters" committee, a technical term that allows Thompson to forgo filing a detailed report on June 30 -- though once he's an official candidate, he'll have to file retroactively. The June 4 filing will be coordinated with a first-day fundraising blitz with 100-plus "First Day Founders" raising a significant one day sum in order to send a we're-in-the-first-tier message. The campaign tells us the "first day" blitz totals they report will be "cash" actually raised, not pledges. The source didn't dispute the notion that the one-day goal would be north of seven figures.
*** His Advantages: If there was ever a time for GOP candidate to come out of nowhere and compete for the nomination, it's now. According to the most recent NBC/WSJ poll, just 53% of Republicans are satisfied with their presidential choices (compared with 78% of Democrats who say they are). In addition, as Business Week reported, there is plenty of uncommitted GOP Ranger/Pioneer money out there for Thompson to gobble up (many of whom were on a conference call yesterday with Thompson). And what's not to like about a plainspoken Southerner who happens to be famous and who hasn't had ties to Washington or the Iraq war since he left Congress in 2002?
*** His Disadvantages: But how does he make up on lost time in building the same kind of infrastructure that McCain and Romney have built in the early primary states? (Frist and Allen staffer refugees can account for some of the staff deficit but not all.) On the issues, how is he any different than the front-runners? (A recent Washington Post story said his record was virtually identical to McCain's.) And is he attracting GOPers' attention because who he isn't -- rather than who he is? What, in short, makes him any different than Wes Clark was in 2003-4, sans the military medals?
This sounds frighteningly like socialism:
(AP) Sen. Hillary Clinton outlined a broad economic vision on Tuesday, saying it's time to replace an "on your own" society with one based on shared responsibility and prosperity.What's next? Robin Hood for President?
The Democratic presidential hopeful said what the Bush administration touts as an "ownership society" really is an "on your own" society that has widened the gap between rich and poor.
"I prefer a 'we're all in it together' society," she said. "I believe our government can once again work for all Americans. It can promote the great American tradition of opportunity for all and special privileges for none." That means pairing growth with fairness, she said, to ensure that the middle class succeeds in the global economy, not just corporate CEOs.
"There is no greater force for economic growth than free markets. But markets work best with rules that promote our values, protect our workers and give all people a chance to succeed," she said. "Fairness doesn't just happen. It requires the right government policies." ...
(AP) Republican Mitt Romney said he would likely donate his salary to charity if elected president, a financial freedom he described as a byproduct of a successful business career. ...
A former venture capitalist who headed the 2002 Winter Olympics and served one term as Massachusetts governor from 2003 to 2007, Romney is the wealthiest of all the candidates, Democrats and Republicans. His assets are estimated at $190 million to $250 million.
Later, speaking with reporters, Romney said he would likely accept the presidential salary of $400,000 annually but donate the money. While governor, Romney declined his $135,000 annual salary. ...
Romney is expected to report more precise figures on his assets in the coming weeks when he files a financial disclosure report required of all presidential candidates. He sought an extension from a mid-May filing deadline but provided a broad estimate of his wealth.
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Romney and his fellow Mormons are expected to donate 10 percent of their salaries to remain members in good standing of the church. ...
[Matt] Lauer, compiling a piece for the morning program, followed up on a student question by asking Romney if he would still support leaving U.S. troops in Iraq if the current level of violence extends into the fall.
"I don't want to forecast for anything other than success," Romney said as he stood before an enormous U.S. flag. "I recognize there are bad things that could happen, and we always have the options available to us then that we have today. ... But if there came a time when there's no reasonable probability of a success of that nature, then obviously I'd reconsider our alternatives."
Monday, May 28, 2007
To some, it's a time to get together, have a picnic, drink a few beers, play some volleyball or (the new yard game of the 21st century) corn hole, and just hang together.
For many others, it's a time to get some flowers and other decorations and head out to the cemetery in honor of loved ones who have moved on. They place flowers, or saddles (as they're called), or other decorative paraphernalia at the final resting place of loved ones.
For yet others, it's a time to remember the many, many, many brave young souls that have been sacrificed for the cause of freedom, liberty, and defense of the nation that meant so much to them. Revolutionary war vets long forgotten, who gave their lives to secure the freedom that we enjoy today. Civil war vets who fought -- many times against their own brothers -- to hold this great nation together. World War I and II vets who fought to defend our nation -- and the world -- from evil tyrants bent on world domination. Vets in the Korean and Vietnam wars, as well as the several other actions that our brave men and women have been involved in to defend those of other nations who were unable (or, in some cases possibly, unwilling) to defend themselves.
And today, of course, our brave young troops who have laid down their lives (and those who continue to risk their lives every day) to protect this great nation and the world from those who would seek to destroy us in the name of some misguided religion. Whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere, it is these brave young souls that are fighting to make the world a safer place not just for us, but for those whom we will leave behind: our children and grandchildren.
Remember these brave troops today as you set out to mark the day in whatever way you choose. If you gather with your family -- whether you are a staunch supporter or objector of the war -- say a prayer of thanks that someone values you and your country so much as to be willing to risk his or her life in the cause of defense. Most of these brave young people have never met you. Yet they're willing to risk their life so that you don't have to.
That, my friend, is what this day is all about. And don't you forget it!
Saturday, May 26, 2007
In his weekly radio address President Bush said, On Memorial Day, we rededicate ourselves to freedom's cause. In Iraq and Afghanistan, millions have shown their desire to be free. We are determined to help them secure their liberty. Our troops are helping them build democracies that respect the rights of their people, uphold the rule of law, and fight extremists alongside America in the war on terror. With the valor and determination of our men and women in uniform, I am confident that we will succeed and leave a world that is safer and more peaceful for our children and grandchildren. ... We also pay tribute to Americans from every generation who have given their lives for our freedom. From Valley Forge to Vietnam, from Kuwait to Kandahar, from Berlin to Baghdad, brave men and women have given up their own futures so that others might have a future of freedom. Because of their sacrifice, millions here and around the world enjoy the blessings of liberty. And wherever these patriots rest, we offer them the respect and gratitude of our Nation.
Friday, May 25, 2007
The long awaited, much anticipated artist spotlight with Independent Christian Artist Scot Longyear is finally here.
Scot talks about his music, his "day job," his motivation, and more.
Plus great music from his album Simple Worship.
Used with permission from the artist.
This morning, U.S. Senator John McCain issued the following statement on Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Barack Obama's votes against emergency funding for our troops in harm's way in Iraq and Afghanistan:
"I was very disappointed to see Senator Obama and Senator Clinton embrace the policy of surrender by voting against funds to support our brave men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"This vote may win favor with MoveOn and liberal primary voters, but it's the equivalent of waving a white flag to al Qaeda."
U.S. Senator John McCain has issued the following in response to a statement by Sen. Barack Obama:
"While Senator Obama's two years in the U.S. Senate certainly entitle him to vote against funding our troops, my service and experience combined with conversations with military leaders on the ground in Iraq lead me to believe that we must give this new strategy a chance to succeed because the consequences of failure would be catastrophic to our nation's security.
"By the way, Senator Obama, it's a 'flak' jacket, not a 'flack' jacket."
Sunday, May 20, 2007
In his weekly radio address President Bush said, "This week, my Administration reached an agreement with Republicans and Democrats in the Senate on immigration reform. I thank the leaders in both parties who worked hard to produce legislation that will secure the border, restore respect for the law, and meet the legitimate needs of our economy. This legislation includes all the elements required for comprehensive immigration reform. It will improve security at our borders. It will give employers new tools to verify the employment status of workers and hold businesses to account for those they hire. It will create a temporary worker program. It will help us resolve the status of millions of illegal immigrants who are here already, without animosity and without amnesty. And it will honor the great American tradition of the melting pot by strengthening our efforts to help new arrivals assimilate into our society."
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Friday, May 18, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
It occurred to me, while listening to this talking head, just why the Democrats suddenly seem to be in such a rush to pass a funding bill that mandates a withdrawal date from Iraq. Even those who were against it before voting for it before being against it have suddenly come to the conclusion that it is urgent that we get the heck out of Dodge (read Iraq).
Now, they would like the American public to believe that they really have this sense of urgency because they are concerned about the well-being of our soldiers in harm's way. They try to tell us that what the American people want is to have our troops come home (funny, they never asked me what I want). But I don't think their sudden rush to turn tail and run has anything to do with the safety of even one American, military or civilian. If they were really concerned about the safety and well-being of Americans, they would understand the consequences of leaving Iraq with the job undone.
No, that's not what they have in mind at all, in my opinion. Call it an epiphany, but this is what I think: 2009. Yeah, that's right: 2009. The Democrats think that they have a very realistic chance of winning the White House in 2008. They really think that they can do it. And you know what? The last thing any Democrat moving into the White House in January of 2009 wants to have to deal with is war -- especially the war in Iraq. Because this new President would then own the war, and they could no longer call it Bush's war. This new President would then have the responsibility to do what they keep pushing for George Bush to do -- withdraw, give up, admit defeat, run, come home. Even worse, this new President would then be responsible for the consequences of not finishing the job.
As it stands now, no matter what happens -- withdrawal or not -- the Democrats in the House and Senate can pretty safely lay the blame firmly in the lap of President Bush (blame, I say, because they would certainly try to claim the credit of any successes achieved). If they were to somehow force withdrawal, and the inevitable happened (which, depending on whom you ask, could include all-out civil war in Iraq, more trouble in Iran, and more attacks on American soil), Democrats can still say that it's all President Bush's fault. After all, he's the President, and he is ultimately responsible for what happens with American troops, regardless of the prodding demands of a liberal Congress.
However, if we remain in Iraq long enough for a Democrat to move into the White House, it's a totally different story. This new Democratic President would have to make a choice. Withdraw, as they have all been demanding, and be personally responsible for the backlash. Or remain in Iraq, become the target of all the anti's who want us to run and hide, and be responsible for every American life that might be lost in the cause of Liberty.
So don't let the current Democratic candidates for President fool you -- I don't believe that they are really as concerned about the troops currently serving in Iraq as they would have us believe. It is my opinion that they really only care about two things.
- Winning the White House in 2008 in any way possible;
- Washing their hands of Iraq before Inauguration Day 2009.
With all the chaos surrounding my currently inoperable car and trying to get it fixed, as well as the every day stress of everything that goes on at work (plus a meeting in Dayton, Ohio, plus a visit yesterday by our Divisional Vice President), it can sometimes be tough to take the time to sit down and just blog.
I podcast, because I can do that anywhere. Using my Palm Tungsten T3, I can record while I'm driving, while I'm walking, during lunch, anywhere I go, no matter what I have to do. I can record my comments, then later select the music and put it all together. Sure, I could probably use that podcast-mixing time to do some blogging, but I'm committed to an episode a week, and there's some really great music I just have to share.
So yesterday I went to work hoping to be able to pick up my repaired car after work. I called, and called, and called the mechanic that's doing the repairs for me, and he never answered the phone. During all of this, my District Manager and Divisional Vice President were at my store for a visit (the first time the DVP had ever been to my store). The visit went very well (the DVP said the store looks "great").
After the visitors left to do a performance appraisal, I got into my little rental car (Dodge Caliber: a full review coming soon) and drove to the house of the mechanic that is supposed to be fixing my car. He came to the door armed with excuses. He claims to have a car in his garage on the lift (yes, this guy actually has a lift in his own garage at home) that is waiting on some transmission parts, and can't get mine into the garage yet to begin his work. He expected to have the needed parts for that car today and would call me and let me know how things are going. I haven't heard from him yet today.
My poor wife has something on her face. Or in her eye. Or something. A few days ago, her right eye was swollen and itching. I tried to go get her some Benadryl for it (she has a mild allergy), but she refused. Yesterday, as the problem persisted, she made it out herself to pick up some medicine. Today, the problem remains. In fact, it almost acts like poison ivy now on the right side of her face. Except that she is extremely allergic to poison ivy, and I think if that was the problem it would cover more of her body than just her face. We don't know what it is yet, but we're hoping that calamine lotion will help.
There really hasn't been much more going on. Things have just been so hectic at work since returning from my brief vacation respite that I don't seem to have the time to do much of anything else. Except, maybe, play with the kids and podcast.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
"Land of Lincoln" from "Silent Wings"
by William Brooks
Buy at Magnatune
"Before You Know It" from "I Was King"
by Tom Paul
Buy at Magnatune
Download "Ain't Got Love" (mp3)
from "Watching Waiting"
by Todd Carey
High Wire Music
Buy at iTunes Music Store
Buy at eMusic
Stream from Rhapsody
Buy at Rhapsody
Buy at Napster
"Code Monkey" from "Thing A Week III"
by Jonathan Coulton
Buy at JonathanCoulton.com
"Caffeine & Nicotine" from "Jeremy Rowe"
by Jeremy Rowe
Buy at CDBaby
"Even If I Want To" from "14 Days"
Buy at Magnatune
"Flexible" by Derek Sivers
Download Free at DerekSivers.com
"Halves" from "Between Here and Home"
by David McMillin
Download "Godspeed" (mp3)
from "Earthless - Godspeed (Edit)"
Tee Pee Records
Buy at Tee Pee Records
Buy at iTunes Music Store
Buy at Rhapsody
Stream from Rhapsody
"Memory Lane" from "A Basement On A Hill"
by Elliott Smith
Buy at iTunes