Saturday, February 24, 2007

What A Country!

I split the past week between conferences in New York City and San Diego. As you might imagine it is fascinating to have the opportunity to compare and contrast these cities.I did not spend enough time in either place to have any great insights into them, but I did get a couple of striking impressions about the country.

First, it is clear to me that America remains the greatest land of opportunity in the world. Both New York and San Diego are teeming with immigrants. In fact, it appeared to me that immigrants hold the vast majority of service jobs in both cities. I have had mixed views on our national immigration controversy, but this past week, I was reminded of the place immigrants hold in our country. As we left New York, we could see the Statue of Liberty from our plane. We must continue to welcome immigrants; people who come here to become Americans. We must find a way to stop illegal immigration while continuing to blend new flavor into the melting pot that has been America.

Another thing you can't miss is that this is a big country and its geography is vastly different from coast to coast. The West seems to be comprised of great expanses of desert and mountains. From our plane, the man-made wonder of Miss Liberty gave way to God's natural wonders, the Grand Canyon and Painted Desert. The colors are different. The East is white from snow (but I know its green underneath). The West is multi-hued, red, brown, orange; but it is clearly a lot of rock and sand. Green requires water and there just isn't that much out there. The San Diego paper had a story about water shortages; unthinkable in the Northeast with the Great Lakes brimming.

Finally, the two cities are (at least on the surface) quite different. New York is cold, dark, and crowded. San Diego is warm and bright with lots of open spaces. New York is all business and hubbub. San Diego seems more relaxed and playful (as, I suppose, befits a resort town). San Diego was a nice place to visit, but I feel more at home in New York.

The amazing thing is that its all part of America. 3000 miles and worlds apart, the people in both places are Americans. They salute the same flag and have the same ideals. In the end, the differences are trivial.

What a country, indeed!

Giuliani on the Circuit

Rudy has been making the rounds of conservative talk shows. He knows that his biggest challenge may well be getting the GOP right-wing to get on board.

So far, his performances have been met with accolades. He has displayed self-confidence without arrogance and intelligence leavened with self-deprecating humor. He has explained his more liberal positions without compromise, but he has not been too stubborn to try to reach some nuanced common ground.

This interview with Hugh Hewitt was Rudy at his best. Read the transcript and I think you will agree that the more people get to know Rudy, the more they're going to like him.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mr. Walsh: Steadfast and Courageous!

The Rochester (NY) Democrat & Chronicle ran a story on Sunday morning in its local section regarding the "new" Congressman Jim Walsh. Mr. Walsh, ostensibly a Republican, represents New York's 25th Congressional District (centered in Syracuse and reaching the eastern suburbs of Rochester).

The story told of Mr. Walsh "having heard the voters" in his narrow victory last November. He has reversed long-standing positions to be more "in tune" with his constituents. Among the changes he made was his decision to resign as a House GOP whip. Most notably, he was one of only 17 Republicans to vote against the President on the troop surge in Iraq.

When St. Paul was on the road to Damascus, he was struck by a blinding light and he heard the voice of God. St. Paul's epiphany led him to become the greatest Apostle. Mr. Walsh was on the road to a narrow re-election win when he was struck by the blinding fear of losing his seat in Congress. His epiphany has led him to act as just another dime a dozen politician, who cares only for self-preservation. Rather than being a GOP apostle, he has become (or revealed himself as) an apostate RINO.

Another "boneless wonder"; way to go Jim!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Echoes of 1964

I read an interesting column by Dick Morris in The Hill (which is a non-partisan, weekly publication dealing with Congress and national politics), in which he indicated that conservative Republicans were starting to coalesce around Newt Gingrich as their choice for the GOP Presidential nod.

If that happens, 2008 could look a lot like 1964 for the GOP. The parallels are kind of scary. That was the year when a popular New York politician was the front-runner but he was derailed by more conservative interests in the party. The New York politician was Nelson Rockefeller. He was ultimately deemed, "too liberal" for the GOP. He was particularly criticized for his divorce and remarriage.

The conservatives won out and nominated Barry Goldwater. As you know, Goldwater had his hat handed to him by Lyndon Johnson and the GOP numbers in Congress plunged. Could history repeat itself with Rudy as Rocky and Newt as Goldwater?

I thought about that history as I read Mr.Morris' column on the Gingrich "boomlet".

I think Newt is a great, smart and well qualified man, who would probably be a great President, in the Ronald Reagan mold. He also has absolutely no chance of being elected President. The Gingrich "brand" has been far too damaged in the minds of Americans by the relentless battering of the msm. If the Republican party nominates him, the electoral debacle in 2008 may be unprecedented.

In that scenario, Newt will go down in history as the guy who brought the GOP back to power (1994) and then led them to the fate of the Whigs (2008).

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Melting Pot and Other Old Fashioned Ideas

I heard a radio show in which immigration was the topic. Its a real hot-button issue right now and I have very mixed emotions, being the grandson of immigrants. But one of the things I realized as I listened to the various callers, was how many issues of the day are interconnected. That is why I think so many people have become disgusted with politicians and their "positions" on this or that. Positions that seem to change from poll to poll. Instead, I feel more and more sure that Americans will be drawn towards leaders with strong, consistent ideology rather than supporting issue oriented politicians.

Consider welfare and the minimum wage law in connection with immigration. Not related, you say to yourself. Consider, then, some of the points raised in the aforementioned radio show. The debate was over whether it was true that illegal immigrants do jobs that Americans refuse to do. The consensus seemed to be that Americans did not do those jobs because they did not pay enough. Illegals do these jobs at substandard wages, because they pay better than similar jobs in their home countries and because they are in no position to go to the authorities to complain about unfair labor practices.

It would seem to follow that if illegal immigration were cut off, a shortage of laborers in these job areas would result. That would force the employers to raise the pay for those jobs. Conceivably, the pay for jobs now "beneath the dignity" of some Americans might look good enough to leave welfare for. Some now working in minimum wage jobs might leave for some of these formerly unwanted jobs, thus forcing those employers to raise wages to attract workers. It is true that we would pay more for our salads and other products now provided by low-paid immigrant workers. The trade-off might be quite worthwhile, if the welfare rolls dropped.

It would be nice if politicians spent less time pandering to constituencies and more time actually solving problems. The minimum wage was increased with great fanfare because the Democrats know that it's great PR even if the actual effect may be to cause workers who are only marginally employable to lose their jobs. Politicians in both parties continue to talk up "comprehensive immigration reform" which includes guest workers and amnesty for illegals. GOP supporters are pandering to business interests for whom the status quo of illegals being underpaid leads to bigger profit. Democrats want to pander to the Hispanic community and try to keep them voting as a bloc (an ever-growing bloc) for Democrat candidates.

It remains my view that we should reject the notion of guest workers. Guest workers were needed in Europe to combat labor shortages in the post WWII era. The US does not have a shortage of able-bodied workers. We have simply created a system where the rational choice for many persons is to reject work for welfare benefits. Allowing guest workers and illegals to remain, creates a disaffected, alienated sub-culture which can only lead to unrest, as we have seen in Europe. We should stem the tide of illegal aliens and welcome only true immigrants; persons who want to come to America to become Americans.
Those immigrants came so that their children would be Americans, with all that being an American meant. They wanted to talk like Americans, to act like Americans, to be Americans. I know many old-timers who were embarrassed because they could not speak English without an accent. They didn't feel American enough.

The melting pot, as quaint as it may seem, is the genius of America. Those millions of our forebears, Italian, Pole, German, Irish, etc., etc., etc., came here not just for a job, but for a new life and a new home. We can scarcely imagine their emotions as they sailed past the Statue of Liberty, realizing that they had reached their goal. America!

Continuing to welcome only those who want to join us will allow America to continue to grow and to mix new flavors into the melting pot. We must reject the notions of amnesty for illegals and of allowing guest workers which will only sow the seeds of future problems. Smart immigration policy may also help remedy some home-grown problems, such as welfare and wage inequity. I believe immigration policy (including, as it does, border control and homeland security concerns) will be a key, and perhaps decisive, issue in the 2008 Presidential race.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Ethanol, Politics, and the Law of Unintended Consequenses.

Ethanol is the hottest product since sliced bread!

Politicians and pundits are falling all over themselves to get on the Ethanol bandwagon. The number of ills that Ethanol can allegedly cure, rivals the claims made by the slickest snake oil salesmen. Here are just a few: we can grow corn at home so Ethanol will reduce our dependence on foreign oil; corn is a renewable resource, so Ethanol is better for the environment; most important, (at least to much of the liberal establishment) it will weaken the power and profit of "Big Oil".

But is Ethanol the panacea that it is portrayed to be?

The answer is, at best, mixed. First, there is the question of "energy balance", that is the amount of energy used to create a standard unit of a product. There are some critics who say that it requires more energy to produce a gallon of Ethanol than a gallon of Ethanol provides (See annexed USDA Report). A gallon of oil, on the other hand, produces approximately 5 times the energy needed to get it to market. A recent report by the Congressional Research Service indicated that "most studies give corn-based Ethanol a slightly positive energy balance". One example of this problem: most oil is shipped through pipelines requiring little energy use. Almost all Ethanol is shipped by truck and rail, trucks burning diesel and trains using coal.

There are also questions regarding the environmental impact of Ethanol. Most of the plants that convert the corn to Ethanol are coal burning. Although we have made great strides in coal burning technology, there is still a negative environmental impact.

The unintended consequences are also interesting. Corn prices have skyrocketed. Over the past five years, the amount of corn used for Ethanol has gone from 7% of the total to 18%. Some are concerned that 50% of the corn crop will be headed for ethanol use by 2008. Since over 50% of the crop has traditionally been used for livestock feed and 20% for human food consumption, prices for many food products, including meat and poultry, cereal, soft-drinks and syrups, will soar and/or shortages may result. Proponents counter that more land will go into agricultural production to make up for the difference. But, once again, environmentalists are worried about loss of forests and increased uses of fertilizer.

It all comes down to politics. First, "Big Oil" is the liberals' favorite whipping boy. Anything bad for oil companies is good . Never mind that profit margins in the oil industry are far lower than in most major industries. Never mind that the product they provide has uses in virtually ever aspect of human life. Meanwhile ending our dependence on foreign oil is such a pervasive mantra in Washington, that any alternative to giving Arabs any more oil money is an "obvious" good. Of course, this may overlook the inconvenient fact that more than 50% of the oil we use in the US comes from Canada.

We can't let facts get in the way when there's a Presidential election coming and Iowa is an important early test state. John McCain and Hillary Clinton are now big supporters of Ethanol even though they were both against huge Ethanol subsidies before they were for them. And, with Sen. Tom Harkin (conveniently, from Iowa) as new chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, its likely that Ethanol research and subsidies will steam ahead unabated. Here in the Rochester, NY area, everyone is thrilled about the new Ethanol plant that is being built, again with large government subsidies.

My final point goes back to my general criticism of the media. Have you seen or heard any news report challenging the "good news" about Ethanol? You would really have to be a news geek to find many stories offering the opposing view because they have not appeared in any msm outlets. The US News and World Report just did a cover story on Ethanol (Feb. 12). It is the first major news outlet to even discuss the issue from both sides.

Its a good story, but well overdue. And don't expect them to be congratulated for exploring the issue. There are too many people and organizations with a big stake in the success of Ethanol for this juggernaut to be slowed down. As I noted above, there is a new plant being built near Rochester. The local newspaper, the Democrat & Chronicle, has lauded the plant. Funny though, there was no explanation of how this government-subsidized, coal-burning Ethanol plant fit into the context of earlier stories and editorials critical of pork barrel spending and global warming.

That just wouldn't fit the template.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Giuliani 24/7

Rudy has certainly become the "flavor-of-the-month" or, at least, the week, as far as '08 presidential handicapping goes.

He's being attacked from the right and the left. Its interesting to note that the left is suggesting that he's "too liberal" for the right and so are some on the right.

Rudy understands the stakes. He has started to explain his "liberal" views in a light more palatable to conservatives, without backtracking or flip-flopping. The following Time piece discusses that in detail:,8816,1587264,00.html

He obviously has some work to do. Consider John Hinderaker's views in this Power Line post commenting on a Washington Times story about Conservative dissatisfaction with the GOP front-runners:

Hinderaker properly points out that any conservative dreaming about Newt as President needs a wake-up call. Newt Gingrich might actually be one of the smartest and well-qualified guys around. But, its quite obvious that he is damaged beyond hope from his days as Speaker. If conservatives push him through to the GOP nomination, it would make the '08 election a bloodbath of major proportions for the Republican Party.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Wither Global Warming?

This is a picture we can all relate to in Upstate New York. Especially if you live in Oswego. My kids had a day off because of wind chill.
Still, Global Warming has been declared a unanimous winner in virtually all corners. These days, to deny any of the orthodoxy of Global Warming is to be the equivalent of a "holocaust denier".
George Will had an interesting point in his recent Newsweek column. He asked if we (humans) should be willing to spend billions and to forego unknown billions in future economic growth to preserve our current climate conditions. He pointed out that the Earth has obviously been far cooler and far warmer than today (without human or SUV intervention) at various points in history. Will asked if the climate was morally better when the location of Chicago was buried beneath a one mile deep glacier or when it was warm enough for Vikings to farm Greenland (circa 900 A.D., when Greenland was, in fact, a green land).
The point is that humans and other creatures have adapted to changing climate conditions in the past. Presumably, we could do so in the future. Climate change zealots are, however, demanding that we forego our economic future on the theory that this time the climate change will be catastrophic.
I imagine that the last Viking to leave the then frozen-over Greenland (circa 1000 A.D.) did consider it a catastrophe. But the Vikings didn't cause it, they couldn't stop it, and the human race has gotten along OK without Greenland being green.
I'll bet we could survive without Greenland being frozen.

All the News That Fits Our Views We Print

I have long felt that the mainstream media (msm) has a liberal bias. The bias I am writing of is, not that reflected in editorial pages. Clearly, any newspaper or outlet is entitled to its editorial opinion. My concern deals with the biases that have seemed to creep into what should be objective reporting.

Extreme right-wing writers have gone so far as to accuse some major papers (e.g., the New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times) of being, in effect, house organs for the Democrat Party. I have previously written such sentiments off as over the top, but the recent stories in the Times and Post regarding the maneuvering in the Senate over the Iraq resolutions has me rethinking that view.

For background, take a look at these PowerLine posts on the issue: and .

Clearly, these (formerly?) great newspapers have one set of rules and opinions for Democrats and another set for the GOP. But it is the Washington Post story (linked in the update to the first Power Line reference above) that most astonished me. That story characterized the GOP as having blocked debate for procedural reasons. There was no reporting of the underlying motives of both parties or the fact that it was the Democrats who prevented the full Senate from voting on the full range of choices.

That story was so far from a report on what happened as to have been an intentional falsehood. As I noted in a previous post, Thomas Jefferson must be rolling over in his grave at the demise of the Fourth Estate.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The Steamroller Hits a Snag

Gov. Elliot Spitzer a/k/a "the Steamroller", ran into a snag this afternoon.

Sheldon "Stonewall" Silver, rebuffed Spitzer and his desire to appoint a professional to replace disgraced former Comptroller, Alan Hevesi. Over Spitzer's objections, the State Legislature overwhelmingly elected L.I. Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli as the new Comptroller.

I guess everything didn't change on Day One!

On a side note, local Democrats should probably be happy that Joe Morelle didn't get the job. He will likely now return as Monroe Co. Democrat Party Chairman. He has been the best person in that job since Fran Weisberg left.

Who's Party is it Anyway?

A couple of thoughts on Giuliani's candidacy and the current state of affairs in the major parties.

Much of the reaction to Rudy running centers on the theory that he is "too liberal" on social issues to be nominated. This "theory" is based upon the "fact" that the GOP is completely controlled by the "religious right". My Democrat friends have been chiding me for years on the idea that Geo. Bush and the GOP dance to the tune of the Falwells, Robertsons, Reeds and the like.

Actually, I'm of the opinion that the GOP is the more inclusive party. I do not believe that there is any position that is an absolute litmus test for a GOP candidate. That is certainly not true of the Democrats. No Democrat can be nominated for national office unless he or she is pro-choice. The Dems didn't even let a sitting Governor, Robert Casey (PA), speak at their convention because of his pro-life stance. The NAACP and unions (particularly, teacher's unions) have similar status. Any Democrat unwilling to toe the line is an apostate. Opposition to the Iraq War is quickly becoming one of those ultimate tests.

The GOP certainly has its share of interest groups which demand support. But an objective look at the make-up of the GOP and the candidates it has run on a national level shows that GOP candidates get a little more leeway than their Democrat counterparts.

I'd say the candidacies of Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton will provide a proving ground for my theory. Hillary is facing attacks from the left, particularly on her initial Iraq War stance. Rudy faces the suspicion of the GOP right. If their runs for the White House are scuttled by the extremists in their respective parties, we'll know whether or not the days of moderation are over.

I'll make my prediction here:

Rudy will have an easier time with the GOP nomination than Hillary will with the Democrats.

Time will tell.


V. D. Hanson has a request for our esteemed Congress: Be quiet for a minute and support our troops in Iraq.

Here are a couple excerpts:

"The haggling over various resolutions and nit-picking (inasmuch as no one is seriously going to cut off funding) the surge is surreal. Whatever critics think of its rationale, it is clear that something dramatic is going to shortly transpire, most likely a last-ditch, go-for-broke effort to secure Baghdad that deserves the support of all Americans and our representatives".


"So now General Petraeus is trying to shake-up our forces to believe that they can and will so damage the insurgents that the Iraqi security forces and their government will gain confidence to join the offensive, and the shell-shocked citizens, sick of violence and glad for a last-chance reprieve, will support the efforts to establish calm in Baghdad.Again, our elected representatives can at least call for a moratorium of a few weeks on self-serving bombast and blatant pre-2008 political maneuvering — when so many Americans are now risking their all to take on the jihadists for the future of Iraq".

Read the whole article with this link:

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Rudy Makes It Official

Rudy Giuliani filed the formal paperwork to run for President. I'm really pleased because in the past few weeks there were a number of stories indicating that Rudy might not be serious about running.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I can't think of another example of the man being so right for the times since FDR became President in 1933. We so badly need a leader in America. Not someone who wants to have a conversation with the country. Not someone who is trying to convince us that there are two Americas. Not one of the dime a dozen politicians who are little more than polls and egos.

You can watch Rudy's appearance on last night's Hannity and Colmes (in two segments) here: and here:

Meanwhile, Real Clear Politics has declared Rudy the front-runner.

John McIntyre, writing in the RCP Blog, explained why Rudy has the edge on McCain:

" Leadership is going to be the single most important issue to Republican voters and this is almost certainly Giuliani's strongest asset. As long as McCain remains Giuliani's chief rival for the nomination, Rudy will hold an advantage for the simple reason that conservatives like Rudy Giuliani and do not like John McCain. Leadership and the conservative animus toward McCain are why Giuliani has the edge".

Read the whole piece here:

UPDATE: The RCP Blog has more on Rudy. This time it's the reactions of conservative groups who intend to fight against Giuliani because of his "liberal" social views. Check it out here:

Monday, February 5, 2007

McCain vs. Hagel

John McCain and Chuck Hagel each had a chance to explain themselves on This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

McCain may not be perfect, but he's right on regarding the Iraq troop surge and the "non-binding" resolution to oppose it.

Check out the video, McCain here: and Hagel here: .

If you ask me, the real problem is that so many of these guys (and girls) on the Foreign Relations Committee are running for President. As such, they are all posturing and jockeying for position, trying to get a leg up on their colleagues.

I think McCain made the best point. If the surge doesn't work, all the other options are bad ones.

Sunday, February 4, 2007


I was helping my daughter with some Social Studies homework. She was answering some questions about the Declaration of Independence. In the process, I actually read the Declaration. It is, of course, a stirring document from beginning to end. I was particularly struck by the last line. It reads as follows:

"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor".

Contrast this with the opening lines of John Lennon's well-known song, "Imagine".

"Imagine there's no countries. It isn't hard to do. Nothing to kill or to die for. No religion, too".

It strikes me that we have reached a point in the United States when more people are drawn to Lennon's vision than to the sentiments of the Founders. What is important enough to fight for, to die for? Yesterday's headlines spoke of the cost of the "surge" in Iraq as being 3 times greater than initially estimated. War critics regularly speak of the loss of "life and treasure" in Iraq. The Iraq War and the whole war on terror seem to be just too hard for many Americans.

The Founding Fathers pledged their lives, wealth and honor to the cause of liberty; the right of free people to be governed only by their consent. Many of them did, in fact, forfeit their lives and property. Obviously, it was a great and just cause. Just as obviously, reasonable people can differ on whether the Iraq War and the war on terror are great and just causes. But when I listen to many anti-war critics, the feeling I get is that they do not believe any cause is sufficiently important to fight for.

As I've noted in previous posts, I am worried that America has become a decadent society. We seem more concerned with our hi-tech toys and creature comforts than with any abstract ideas like combatting terrorism or spreading democracy.

We in the West may think Lennon's Utopian vision is attainable. Unfortunately, hard-nosed totalitarian leaders in China and Russia and radical Islamists in the Middle East have different notions. There are ideas and goals they are still willing to kill for. Willing or not, we in the West may die at their hands unless we show there are things we would still fight about.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Rudy Leads GOP Prez Hopefuls

Rudy Giuliani's exploratory committee put out some very positive poll numbers for Hizzoner. Check them out here: .

There are good national poll number for Rudy as well and the Real Clear Politics average has him up by 5 percentage points over McCain.

There is some debate about Rudy's social issue positions (pro-choice, pro-gay marriage) which lead some to doubt that he can win the GOP nomination. (Not to mention my personal view that an Italian from New York has an uphill struggle in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, .... , well the South).

But I truly believe that Rudy's character and steadfast leadership qualities are trumping "positions". Voters know that "politicians" have "positions"; leaders stand for things and get things done. Rudy is one of the few candidates who fall clearly into the latter category.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Latest From Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is one of the finest minds writing about politics and current events today. I find his work intelligent, interesting, and always pertinent. Read his latest column at

In this article, he points out the parallel between today and 1864 and the fact that the fortunes of the major parties and their leading presidential candidates will rise or fall on the results in Iraq over the next few months.

Church and State, Establishment vs. Separation

The furor caused by the lawsuit commenced by the ACLU to stop the Town Board of the Town of Greece (NY) from beginning its meetings with a prayer has led me to a couple of thoughts.

First, I have never really believed that the "Establishment Clause" of the Constitution should have been interpreted to mean that religion and religious beliefs must be banished from government. Clearly, the Founding Fathers rejected the notion of a "State Religion", such as the Church of England. Their experience with theocracy clearly led them to the idea that the government should not establish or support any religion over any other.

I cannot accept, however, that they intended to banish God from public life. Americans have always been a more spiritual people than have our secular cousins in Europe. Religious faith was deeply ingrained in early America. It seems inconceivable that the Founders wanted no mention of God in government.

Second, I find the fact that a lawsuit resulted from the "discomfort" suffered by the person in the audience to be a symptom of a truly uncivil society. If someone has given offense, an offense that was clearly unintended, doesn't it seem appropriate to bring the concern to the offender rather than hire a lawyer? Today, everyone is aggrieved by something. So many individual "rights" clash with others. Resort to lawyers and lawsuits is so common.

I think the "offended" party should be embarrassed for the course of action she took. Launching a lawsuit to stop the Greece Town Board from"offending" her without letting them know there was a problem is a ludicrous act. It may well be that if she had expressed her concern that a Christian prayer gave offense to a Jew, the Greece Board may have acted to change something to prevent such offense in the future. If she had been rebuffed, resort to a lawsuit may have been justified. But a lawsuit from the get-go? It doesn't seem right.

Swaggering Spitzer

An article in today's Rochester (NY) Democrat & Chronicle reported that Gov. Elliot Spitzer's "honeymoon" with entrenched State Legislators may be over. And he may well be responsible for the break-up.

The D & C reported that Spitzer, while in a heated telephone discussion with Assembly minority leader, Joseph Tedisco, alleged referred to himself as a "steamroller" who would "roll over anyone in his way". Moreover, Spitzer went on to say that he had done "more in three weeks than any other governor did in the history of the state".


I wonder if FDR, Averill Harriman, Teddy Roosevelt, Nelson Rockefeller, and Al Smith would agree. Gosh, DeWitt Clinton built the Erie Canal; that was probably worth something. Mario Cuomo is still alive, isn't he? Maybe someone should ask him if he thinks he accomplished anything while he was governor.

During his campaign, Mr. Spitzer clearly had the appearance of a man who was quite sure of himself. I often got the feeling he was channelling Bobby Kennedy. Someone like Lloyd Bentsen might say "You're no Bobby Kennedy".

Mr. Spitzer apparently needs a history lesson if he thinks that there were few accomplished past governors of New York. He also seems to need a humility lesson. I have a feeling that Sheldon Silver and Joe Bruno are working on the lesson plan right now.

Joe Biden's Loose Lips

The mouth that roared has done it again.

Biden's comment regarding Senator Obama has him in hot water. Biden said ... "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American, who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man".

Needless to say, that comment hasn't been well-received in liberal circles, but it hasn't caused the furor it would have if a Republican had said it. Remember Trent Lott's endorsement of Strom Thurmond?

Moreover, this isn't Biden's first verbal faux pas. You may recall the that he was caught on tape speaking with a constituent of obvious Indian or Pakistani descent and saying something to the effect that you really can't go into a Dunkin Donuts or 7/11 without seeing the owner being from that part of the world. Or how about his comment regarding the female escort for him and his son while taking a tour at Princeton? Biden remarked that the woman was smart and attractive. So attractive that he figured his son's hormones would lead him to enroll.

I don't think any of these remarks reflect racism or ill-will on Biden's part. He's just not a politically correct speaker. I'm not sure if that trait should disqualify him for the Presidency.

I do know that a Republican with the same tendencies would be run out of Washington on a rail!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Molly Ivins, R.I.P.

Molly Ivins, an ultra-liberal syndicated writer, has passed away from cancer. Her obit at this link:,2933,249161,00.html

I disagreed with her almost 100% of the time, but I always read her columns when the local paper published them. She was smart, funny, and interesting. That's not a bad thing to have said about you.

Work in Progress

Its a new month and I'm trying a bit of a new look.

I got some comments about the text and colors of the blog, so I'm shifting some things around. I'm fairly confident in my opinions, however, I know I'm not much of a design or style guy.

I welcome any and all suggestions about the look of the blog. I also intend to try to get some feeds into the blog. I'm still pretty new to this. I want the thing to be easy to look at and use and fun to read.

I enjoyed month one. I hope to have more correspondences in month two. I don't mind criticism or differing opinions; actually, I welcome them. There's nothing like a good debate.

I look forward to hearing from you.