Tuesday, July 31, 2007

War Critics are Reversing Course

From Monday's NY Times:

Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.

Ok, so maybe Ken Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon are not completely admitting that they've been wrong all along - but this is a start.
Today, morale is high. The soldiers and marines told us they feel that they now have a superb commander in Gen. David Petraeus; they are confident in his strategy, they see real results, and they feel now they have the numbers needed to make a real difference.

Despite the doom and gloom that one hears through the mainstream media every evening, Pollack and O'Hanlon report the truth about troop morale. It's about time!!

And finally they send a strong message to Congress (emphasis added):
But there is enough good happening on the battlefields of Iraq today that Congress should plan on sustaining the effort at least into 2008.

This just goes to show that if you wait long enough even the naysayers will come around.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Death of an Anti-communist: Mstislav Rostropovich, R.I.P.

From the BBC

The celebrated Russian cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich has died at the age of 80.

A master musician, Mr Rostropovich was also renowned for his backing for human rights and opposition to Soviet rule.

He spent much of his career abroad, in self-imposed exile from the Soviet Union over his support for Nobel prize writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

But he returned as communism collapsed and performed a Bach suite as the Berlin Wall came down.

A month ago the Kremlin lavished praise on him as he celebrated his 80th birthday.

President Vladimir Putin said then the musician was not only "a brilliant cellist and gifted conductor," but also "a firm defender of human rights".

He died at a Moscow clinic after a long illness, his spokeswoman said.

Exile overseas

Mr Rostropovich studied at the Moscow Conservatoire under composers such as Sergei Prokofiev and Dimitry Shostakovich, rapidly building a reputation for himself.

But his support for dissidents such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn - declared in a letter to state-run newspaper Pravda - made him a target for the Russian authorities.

He left the Soviet Union and spent several years in the West with his wife, soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, and their children, as he continued to build an international career. In November 1989, he gave a spontaneous performance amid the rubble of the Berlin Wall, an image that was shown around the world.

A few years later, the cellist was rehabilitated by then Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and he returned there on several occasions to perform.

He latterly divided his time between Russia, the US and France.

In an interview with the BBC World Service in 2002, he said that the letter to Pravda was the best thing he had done in his life.

"The best step was not found in music, but in one page of this letter," he said. "Since that moment my conscience was clean and clear."

Read the BBC obituary here.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Now it's time to focus on property taxes

Now that the special session on property session is in the history books, it's time to start focusing on property taxes.

Be assured, liberals and the MSM will tell you that cutting property taxes will gut local budgets. They'll tell you that tax cutters are taking valuable education dollars out of the hands of educators. Don't fall for it!

Property tax reform will help ease the burden on homeowners and renters. It will also force local governments to cut the wasteful spending and inject some fiscal discipline into their budgetary processes. This is the thrust of Governor Crist's message:

His new pitch: Property taxes must come down, partly because city and county commissioners spend too much money.

Because state and local taxing power is controlled by the Florida Constitution, and thus requires a voter driven amendment to change, Crist and House Speaker Marco Rubio are advocating a special election as early as this summer.
Holding off until the next regular election in November 2008 would mean reforms
likely could not take effect until the following fiscal year, which would begin
Oct. 1, 2009, for many local governments.

"I always feel patience is a virtue, but on this issue I hope we'll be a little impatient," said Rubio, R-Coral Gables.

Under Rubio's scenario, a special election would be held this summer, followed by a special session in September for lawmakers to pass implementing legislation. That way, the reforms would be in place before city and county budgets take effect Oct. 1.

Senate Finance and Taxation Committee Chairman Mike Haridopolos, R-Indialantic, had previously advocated a special election.

Florida Senate leaders have also begun to work on the tax issue. Legislators have scheduled a series of public hearings to give citizens an opportunity to ask questions and give opinions. The first meeting was held today in Panama City. See the complete schedule here.

The Florida Senate has also posted a property tax test to help educate taxpayers. They have also setup an email address for citizens to submit comments.

Governor Crist campaigned on doubling the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $50,000. This would be a good start.

We will continue to follow this issue, and we'll also bring you proposals as they come available.

More proof that Donald is right - she's not very bright!

Thank you Rosie. One more example of Rosie at her best.

FYI Rosie - The United States is a constitution-based federal republic, with a strong democratic tradition. That means we elect people to make the tough decisions, not conduct polls.

Monday, January 22, 2007

FL-13 Saga Continues - now its getting pathetic

It's been a while since we reported anything on the FL-13 situation, but we thought that you all should see this.

Tomorrow evening, while the President delivers his State of the Union address with Rep. Vern Buchanan in attendance for the first time, Christine Jennings will also be watching from inside the House chamber. U.S. Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher (D-CA) gave her one ticket allotment to Jennings, saying:

“I have invited Christine to attend the State of the Union because she should have a seat in Congress. Period.”

This sad affair has hit a new low.

Related News - Would Jennings be this bad?

Rep. Vern Buchanan is already earning high-praise in D.C., it's just not the kind of praise we would have expected.
Sure the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Americans for Tax Reform aren’t very pleased with Rep. Vern Buchanan’s early voting record. After all, he voted to raise the minimum wage and to repeal tax cuts - cardinal sins for those two groups.

But the Longboat Key Republican is already picking up new (and unexpected) friendship from environmental groups, liberal bloggers and labor unions.

Speaking of Americans for Tax Reform, just a few weeks into his first term Buchanan has already broken the ATR tax pledge that he signed:
January 18 -- Today, the House of Representatives voted to raise taxes nearly $8 billion. This is the first vote to raise taxes in 13 years and the first time a Republican has voted to raise taxes in 16 years. All four of the Democrats who pledged to their constituents not to raise taxes broke their pledge (100%). Of the 192 Republicans who pledged not to raise taxes, 28 members broke their pledge (14.6%).

That's right, Vern was one of those 28 Republicans (Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen also broke the pledge). Not what we would call a great start.

Hillary plays Hardball - not really!! But funny!

Hat tip Allah at YouTube

Don't expect much more from the MSM once she hits the TV circuit.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Hillary's in....but is she the new Thatcher?

Attempting to grab the attention of the American people on Saturday morning, which is unusual for this kind of announcement, Hillary Clinton has officially entered the race for 2008. So, why Saturday morning? The Hotline asked the same question:

Simple, says a senior adviser to Clinton.

Announcing today virtually guarantees that Clinton will be the Democratic Party's de-facto foil on Tuesday night, when Pres. Bush gives his State of the Union address.

Hillary chose the now favorite medium for announcing a run for the presidency - online video. Hillary promises to hold online video chats beginning this week. American Idol or Hillary - boy, that's tough.

You'll be particularly interested in the part of the video where she talks about national healthcare. Remember the last time Hillary was excited about healthcare?

Hillary as the new Thatcher?

I know, it sounds crazy. My first tip on this story was over on You Decide 2008. The original story is from today's Sunday Times of London:
HILLARY CLINTON is to be presented as America’s Margaret Thatcher as she tries to become the first woman to win the White House. As she entered the 2008 presidential race yesterday, a senior adviser said that her campaign would emphasise security, defence and personal strengths reminiscent of the Iron Lady.

“Their policies are totally different but they are both perceived as very tough,” said Terry McAuliffe, Clinton’s campaign chairman. “She is strong on foreign policy. People have got to know you are going to keep them safe.”

If your smart enough to be reading this blog, then you probably already know why this is, perhaps, the most ridiculous statement ever made by Terry McAuliffe. And he's made quite a few.

Not even close!!

On the behalf of the people of the United States: We're sorry Lady Thatcher. Terry McAuliffe doesn't know any better.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

MKH brings us Da Bears (and the Fridge)

Now that it's Saturday, just sit back, relax, and enjoy a look back.

And if you get tired of watching some idiot pull out his cell phone after scoring a touchdown this weekend, just come back and watch it again.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Mel sails through - Now it's time to move on

Well, we expected, perhaps naively, that the opposition to Mel Martinez would prove more strenuous than it was. Martinez sailed through will only a hand-full dissenting in the voice vote. We will now find out if Republicans can move beyond this episode, and come together to face the challenges of '08.

In his speech following the vote, Martinez talked about expanding the Republican base to include more Hispanics and African Americans. Those assembled gave their approval with a standing ovation. Read the entire address here. Will give you the high points:

I want to congratulate Mike Duncan. I know for a fact that without Mike’s hard work and support in running the day-to-day operations of the RNC, it would be impossible for me to take this position as General Chairman. Mike is already a good friend, and I know that our relationship will continue to grow and be a strong one as we strive together to lead our party.


My life and my experiences are why I share those ideals with you, and why I am so proud to be able to serve this Party.

My story is like so many other American stories. A story of hope, and the promise of the American Dream. A story of trying to create a better life for the next generation, so that they might have opportunities to succeed in ways that their parents and grandparents were not able to succeed.


The American Dream might take different forms for different people.

To the young families who are the roots of our society, it might mean owning their very first home.

To the single mom who needs medicine for herself and her child, it might mean health care you own and can take with you when you switch jobs.

To the small family business owner who dreams of growing his business, it might mean lower taxes and less regulation.

To our seniors, including members of that Greatest Generation, it might mean knowing that they can control their own retirement.

But to all of them, it means opportunity, and a limitless future. And that is what our Party is all about.


To be the Party of the future means that we also have to be a party that opens the door wide-open so that all Americans feel welcome. There are too many Americans who do not understand that the principles of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan speak to their hopes, their dreams, and their aspirations. I will take the message of our Party to all Americans.

As a member of the Cuban-American community, it was easy for me to understand that the Republican Party, the party of Ronald Reagan, was a party for us.

I want to make sure that we take that message to the broader Hispanic community, to the African-American community, and to all communities that may never have believed that Republican ideals spoke to them. So they, too, understand that if they care about education for their children, accountability in their schools, if they care about entrepreneurship, about beginning a small business and growing it into a large business, if they care about a Party that stands for less government, but more individual freedom … then we are the party for them and their American Dream.


It would be tempting today for me to talk to you about our strategies and tactics as we plan to retake the Congress and elect a Republican president in 2008.

But not today. What I am going to do over the next two years is assist our Party in a renewal of the principles that have made us great: lower taxes, limited government, individual responsibility, freedom here and abroad, and the power of faith. I am going to carry those principles to the American people, explaining why the Republican way of doing things is the best way to solve America’s problems.

And if I do my job right, if we all are successful in communicating our message, if we stand for our principles, we will be rewarded with success … and the high responsibility of governing.

I am going to concentrate on talking about a Republican Party that is the party of optimism, the party of the future, the party that stands for solutions to the American people’s problems. I want to describe my passion for a Party that speaks to America’s hopes, aspirations, and dreams. I want to lead the Party of a bright future.

All in all, a good start. I can only hope that my conservative brethren, those that opposed Martinez, can look beyond any differences that they may have with the new chairman. Without a unified party, we will surely repeat the disaster of 2006.

2008 Prez Primary News

Rep. Feeney Putting His Mouth Where the Money Is

Congressman Tom Feeney has decided to enter the 2008 fray early with his endorsement of Mitt Romney. The addition of Feeney to the Team Romney gives the former Mass. governor a bona fide conservative supporter/defender in Florida. Romney has made some serious financial strides in the state (see this and this), and now he starting to line-up some important political contacts.

In announcing his support for Romney, Feeney focused on fiscal matters:

"With his record of fighting for lower taxes and balanced budgets, Gov. Romney is the right kind of leader to bring fiscal sanity back to Washington,'' Feeney said in a statement.

It will be interesting to see how Feeney, known for his social and fiscal conservative credentials - handles the questions that will surely arise about Romney's past positions on the big social issues. See our post: Potential problem for Romney

McCain spending the weekend in South Florida

Naked Politics reports that Sen. John McCain is heading to Coral Gables this weekend. McCain will be trying to round-up campaign cash and support during a private meeting at the Biltmore.

McCain will follow-up the event with an appearance on Meet the Press via satellite from Miami.

It will be interesting to see who is seen emerging from the Saturday meeting. McCain is playing catch-up in the Sunshine State, following Mitt Romney's early moves in the Florida.

See also:
Peer Review FL's - Romney vs. Brownback