Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Is This Who We Want For Our President?

As I wrote about before, detractors of Barack Obama like to use the "elitist" buzzword when trying to explain why they are not going to vote for him. Last night I saw that same image being portrayed again on the evening news in between shots of him bowling and Hillary doing a shooter when they were interviewing "blue collar" workers in Indiana about their thoughts on Obama.

"He's out of touch with regular Americans", "how can he understand the average worker unless he is or has been one", etc. and again I have to ask: Wouldn't you want someone smarter and more accomplished than you as President? Or is the guy pictured above a better choice? I am sure he can sympathize with us blue collar folks.

And speaking of a candidate representing the regular folks, what did you think about that Hillary staged photo op yesterday in support of her gas tax holiday that would save the average driver like $30 this summer? How did the fact that she admitted that she hasn't pumped gas in years and that she had to have help working the cappuccino machine (see video below) play with the working class that want someone that knows their pain? I can see the next Obama TV ad, and it includes Barack, a cappuccino machine, and a gas pump...

So That Is What He Meant

On this, the day before the 5th anniversary of President Bush declaring "Mission Accomplished" from the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino looks to finally clarify exactly what the President meant when she was asked how he would commemorate his declaration of the ending of the conflict.

PERINO: President Bush is well aware that the banner should have been much more specific, and said, Mission Accomplished For These Sailors Who Are On This Ship On Their Mission. And we have certainly paid a price for not being more specific on that banner. And I recognize that the media is going to play this up again tomorrow, as they do every single year.

So they couldn't fit "Mission Accomplished For These Sailors Who Are On This Ship On Their Mission" on the banner and had to shorten it? Well that explains everything, It took 5 years but now I finally understand.

Dan Scott V. The Argus Moves Forward

The libel suit brought by Dan Scott over Argus Leader editor Randell Beck's column is set to move forward. PP over at the War College has the ruling.

UPDATE: KELO has more:
In Wednesday's ruling, Judge Kathleen Caldwell said there's no clear law that says that a reader would have been able to figure out if the column was actual news or a parody. So, she'll let a jury decide.

A trial date has not been set.

Something else that makes this case unique is that if there are an appeals, this would be the first time South Dakota's Supreme Court has heard a case involving the First Amendment and parody. It could end up setting a precedent for future cases and could affect what you read in the paper and see on TV.

And on blogs?

My Pastor Is Less Of A Bigot Than Yours

UPDATED BELOW

All the attention across much of the media and the blogosphere has been centered around long time Barack Obama Pastor Jeremiah Wright. His outrageous statements including saying that "the government manufactured the AIDS virus to kill blacks" have been plaguing Obama for weeks. Obama finally distanced himself from the reverend whom he still contends played an important role in his spiritual life but for many the damage has already been done.

Funny thing though. If we look on the other side of the isle, John McCain has his very own bigoted pastor stumping for his campaign, the Reverend John Hagee. Hagee is known for such notable quotes as "the Roman Catholic Church conspired with Hitler to kill Jews in the Holocaust" and Hitler and the Nazis were actually working for God, divine agents sent to chase Jews, through the rather inefficient and brutal mechanism of killing them in massive numbers, towards Palestine, "the only home God ever intended for the Jews to have."

While Hagee hasn't been McCain's pastor for years like Wright was for Obama, his endorsement was actively sought by McCain during his unsuccessful attempt to pander to the religious right and he has been quoted as saying that he was "very proud" and "honored" to the have the Hagee endorsement even after being questioned about these statements. So why for the most part has the MSM basically ignored McCain's zealot while hammering Obama for his?

It used to be that potential Presidential candidates needed to check the criminal records of possible large donors and supporters but lately it appears that their pastors need to be vetted just as much if not more. But at least their supporters aren't calling someone, heaven help us, "a pansy"...

UPDATE: Media Matters adds up the numbers and finds a 12-1 ratio of Obama/Wright to McCain/Hagee stories in some of the larger MSM organizations

UPDATE 2: Corrected link for the Hagee quotes paraphrased from his 2006 book "Jerusalem Countdown" (strangely absent from either the incorrect or correct link above were the"little atomic mushrooms superimposed on McCain's head")

Who Said 100 Years?

Oh he did...



The RNC is crying foul over the latest DNC ad that highlights McCain's now infamous 100 years in Iraq comment which has even made it's way onto that bastion of "fair and balanced" news reporting, Fox News.

But of course we are all still more worried about what Barack Obama's former preacher will say next or why he isn't wearing a flag lapel pin.

More On Global Warming

UPDATED BELOW

Yesterday I made fun of a pro-global warming scientist's idea for cleaning the CO2 from our atmosphere using 67 million filters at a cost of trillions of dollars a year. With that in mind, the fight against global warming will likely be won or lost within the scientific community. First they must somehow provide irrefutable proof that the deniers in world governments and big businesses will listen to and then if they can somehow accomplish that impossible task, they must then figure out to stop it before it is too late.

One of the stumbling blocks facing these scientists has been the Heartland Institute. Lately that non-profit group has been touting an article by one of their senior fellows, Dennis Avery, that promotes what they call their "common-sense environmentalism". Avery's article includes a list of 500 scientists that he says agree with the assessment that man made global warming is based on "junk science" or at the very least have serious doubts on the science used. These scientists are often offered as proof to refute many of the claims brought forward in support of environmental change.

Well apparently that list of 500 isn't quite as damning as Dennis Avery and the Heartland Institute would like us to believe. DeSmogBlog decided to write some of the scientists mentioned and so far 45 of them are finding out for the first time that their names appear on this list.
I am very shocked to see my name in the list of "500 Scientists with Documented Doubts of Man-Made Global Warming Scares". Because none of my research publications has ever indicated that the global warming is not as a consequence of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, I view that the inclusion of my name in such list without my permission or consensus has damaged my professional reputation as an atmospheric scientist."

and
Just because you document natural climate variability doesn't mean anthropogenic global warming is not a threat. In fact I would venture that most on that list believe a natural cycle and anthropogenic change combined represent a greater threat."

Yesterday I poked fun at an idea from a scientist that was at least trying to do something to fix this problem. This tactic by the Heartland Institute, if true, isn't a laughing matter and is just another example of the lengths some will go to in order to shelter big business from their responsibility.

(h/t - Daily Kos)

UPDATE: Think Progress points us to the "well respected" and "politically neutral" rag Worldnet Daily's kids contest that asked our future generation to submit essays and videos debunking global warming for cool prizes and wouldn't you know it, the mythical "many scientists" quote is displayed prominently. Click the WND link above to see the winners (if you've had all your shots).

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pizza Hut Is Getting To Be A Pretty Dangerous Place To Work

Just 10 days ago PP over at the War College proclaimed the death of the 2nd Amendment when a Pizza Hut delivery driver in Iowa was suspended for carrying a gun on the job. The driver ended up shooting a would be robber with that gun but PP and many of his readers decided that Pizza Hut was trampling on the driver's right to bear arms when they disciplined him for breaking company policy. You see, Pizza Hut expressly forbids their employees from carrying weapons on the job.
I’m kind of speechless after reading it here. Someone robs you, and puts a gun to your head, and they expect you to use your amazing “pizza hut training” to report such incidents to the police?
Wouldn't you know it this morning's paper gives us an example of exactly why businesses like Pizza Hut do not allow employees to pack heat and as it turns out a Sioux Falls Pizza Hut is involved.
A Sioux Falls Pizza Hut worker was arrested Sunday night after he threatened a co-worker with a 12-inch knife, police spokesman Sam Clemens said.

The 17-year-old suspect and another 17-year-old boy got into an argument while working at the restaurant at 4501 E. 26th St. shortly after 8 p.m., Clemens said.

"One of them went outside to cool off, and the other one grabbed a knife and came outside and threatened the victim with the knife," he said.
Gee, I wonder what would have happened if the 17 year old hot head in question had been carrying a gun instead of the 12 inch knife? Retribution is a lot easier when you can do it from a distance.

Sweeping Away Global Warming

mega maidI saw this headline in the LA Times, "Solving global warming with giant vacuums", and the classic movie "Spaceballs" immediately came to mind. Who could forget Rick Moranis as "Lord Dark Helmet" ordering Mega Maid to suck all the air from the atmosphere of Druidia? Suck, Suck, Suck....

Seriously, the story documents a Columbia University professor's solution to global warming: Vacuuming the CO2 out of the atmosphere with 67 million boxcar sized filters placed strategically throughout the world all powered by bunches of nuclear power plants. All this efficiency at the bargain basement price of an estimated few trillion dollars a year.

Is it any wonder that those of us that believe at least somewhat in the global warming phenomenon have such a hard time touting the science behind it when we have scientists like this guy on our side?

May the Schwartz be with you...

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Rocket Had A Secret?

Apparently steroids are the least of his concerns.
Roger Clemens had a decade-long relationship with country star Mindy McCready that began when she was a 15-year-old aspiring singer and the pitcher was a Boston Red Sox ace, the Daily News reported. Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, confirmed a long-term relationship but told the newspaper it was not sexual.

Clean Cut Kid Is Charged

Updated Below

Chad Schuldt, of Clean Cut Kid fame, was charged with Grand Theft for stealing $200,000 from Obama campaign political consultant Hildebrand Tewes Consulting Inc.
Chad Schuldt, 37, stole nearly $200,000 from his former employer by overpaying himself, misusing a company credit card and causing federal tax penalties, according to a Sioux Falls Police affidavit for an arrest warrant.

Schuldt pleaded not guilty earlier this month to a two-count information charging him with grand theft. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

The old adage that the wheels of justice turn slowly surely hold true here as this story first broke 9 months ago and was all the buzz in the blogosphere but pretty much no where else until now.

UPDATE: This morning's Argus has more details on what Schuldt has been accused of that up until now had only been speculated on and the possible reason why charges have now been filed 9 months after the fact.

According to the affidavit, the accountant found that from April 2005 to June 2007:
Schuldt overpaid himself $28,750;

issued $30,560 in cash advances;

# made $9,988 in unauthorized purchases at hotels, restaurants and retailers using the firm's credit card.

Schuldt is accused of embezzling $69,298, but the total loss to Hildebrand Tewes Consulting is calculated at $198,146, including IRS penalties, professional fees and other costs.

Schuldt admitted to the thefts in e-mails with Hildebrand and said he would cooperate with the investigation. But police said Schuldt did not respond to their interview requests as of Dec. 17 and he had made no attempt to repay.

Reminiscing

Warning if you have sensitive ears, salty words appear below

Just finished watching day 1 of 5 of the latest PBS documentary Carrier, and would recommend it to anyone that wants a taste of what it's like to spend 6 months of your life deployed on a floating city. It actually brings back a few memories for me as it was filmed entirely on the USS Nimitz which was my home for over a year in the early 90's.

For me it actually shows me just how much things have changed as it touches on the integration of women on board to which other than a few times we hosted reserve squadrons, was never an issue. It also reminds me of just how much things haven't changed. A crew made up mainly of lower to middle class teenagers fresh out of high school that continue to prove the old adage that "a happy sailor is a bitchin' sailor".

If you can get past some of the political commentary slipped in by the film makers,

Q - Who is the Secretary of Defense?

A- Cunninglus Rice?,

the first 2 hours at least seemed to be an excellent portrayal of life on an aircraft carrier and It continues tonight through Thursday night on PBS at 8 CST.

And HereIn Lies The Real Problem Part 2

Dave Kranz has a column in this morning's Argus that tries to explain why South Dakota "matters" and how we could now play a big part in deciding the Democratic Presidential nominee. He goes on to explain that Obama and Clinton finally now seem to know where we are on a map with their recent activity that saw Obama opening 2 offices and Clinton recently hiring a campaign operative here.

Putting aside the reservations I have with the Kranz assertion that our last in the nation primary's 15 delegates could be the "last word", as the last time I checked, no matter how the remaining primaries go neither candidate would have enough for the nomination meaning the convention and super delegates will likely be the last word. What caught my eye were the comments from a prominent Sioux Falls businessman.
Consider a recent comment from Porter Williams, a prominent member of the black community, who is a Sioux Falls-area contractor, artist and Hillary Clinton supporter.

"Things were never so good when Bill Clinton was president," he said.

Because of his recall of that period, Williams will keep his vote in the Clinton family.
(emphasis mine)

Who cares about her positions on the issues, her husband did good so I'll vote for her?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

And HereIn Lies The Real Problem

We as a state and a country are facing a lot of issues, unfortunately too many think that these top the list.
The current riot in the Democrat Party is which candidate cares more about guns and religion…Obama or Hillary. Neither, they both care about government too much to care about gun and religious rights.

Another Legislative session has passed in South Dakota in which the education funding question again went unanswered, nationwide skyrocketing gas and food prices, and economic numbers in the tank and all some seem worried about is the perceived lack of focus on gun and religious rights by liberals.

Friday, April 25, 2008

McCain Coming To The Buffalo Chip

John McCain will be making at least one appearance in South Dakota before November when he appears at the Buffalo Chip on the first day of the Sturgis Rally August 4th. The former POW will be participating in the Tribute to American Veterans and Active Duty Servicemen.


McCain, who never fails to remind us of his war hero past and his unwavering support for the troops is following in the footsteps of past guests including Patriot Guard Riders, the U.S. Army Golden Knights, B-1B fly-bys and numerous color guards and flag-folding ceremonies at the annual event.


And maybe while in the company of all those vets he can again explain why he doesn't feel the government should provide them a significantly improved educational benefits program in return for their service in the form of an updated GI Bill.


The new GI Bill modernization legislation introduced over a year ago by Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) that would pay for the college for our vets has received bi-partisan support and has been co-signed by both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton but the outspoken Vietnam vet is strangely reluctant to add his name to the bill. Why?


McCain has said he hasn't had time to read the bill and isn't sure if he could support it.


Nothing but the best for our vets ain't that right John...

Messsage To Wesley Snipes

If your accountant tries to tell you that the government has no authority to make you pay taxes, it might be time to hire a new accountant.
Judge sentences Snipes to 3 years for tax convictions
Thursday April 24 6:04 PM ET

Wesley Snipes was sentenced to three years in prison on tax charges Thursday, a victory for prosecutors who sought to make an example of the action star by aggressively pursuing the maximum penalty.

Snipes' lawyers had spent much of the day in court offering dozens of letters from family members, friends even fellow actors Woody Harrelson and Denzel Washington attesting to the good character of the "Blade" star and asking for leniency. They argued he should get only probation because his three convictions were all misdemeanors and the actor had no previous criminal record.

So what was Snipes' excuse?
Snipes maintained in a years-long battle with the IRS he did not have to pay taxes, using fringe arguments common to "tax protesters" who say the government has no legal right to collect. After joining Kahn's group, the government said Snipes instructed his employees to stop paying their own taxes and sought $11 million in 1996 and 1997 taxes he legally paid.

Like I said, it is past time to find a different accountant.

It's Official

Looks like we have another election season filled with Kate Looby, Leslie Unruh and the abortion debate to look forward to.
Abortion Measure Will Be On Ballot

State Election Supervisor Kea Warne says a measure to ban most abortions in South Dakota will be on the November ballot.

Warne said Friday that more than the required 16,776 petition signatures were verified to qualify the issue for placement on the ballot.

The measure would ban all abortions, unless deemed necessary to preserve the life or health of women, and in cases of rape or incest.

A more-restrictive ban failed two years ago after it was passed by the Legislature but referred to a popular vote.

Too bad some of these folks aren't as committed to issues like school funding, gas prices, the war in Iraq etc. as then something might actually get done...

Obama Campaign to Hold Conference Call to Announce New South Dakota TV Ad

From the email inbox:
CHICAGO, IL— Today, South Dakota Senate Democratic Leader Scott Heidepreim and Obama Deputy Campaign manager Steven Hildebrand will host a conference call at 11:00 AM CST to announce that the Obama campaign will be the first presidential campaign to air ads in South Dakota. They will also give a state of the race update. Video and scripts of the ad will be available after the call.



WHO: Obama Campaign

WHAT: Conference call to announce new ad in South Dakota

WHEN: Today, Friday, April 25 at 11:00 AM CST

HOW: For call-in info please email Kevin Lewis at klewis@barackobama.com.



###



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2008
Contact: Obama Press Office, (312) 819-2423


UPDATE: Here is the first South Dakota Obama ad




Nothing from Hillary yet though she has hired her South Dakota campaign director, Geoff Wetrosky, but has yet to open an office in the state that I know of. So how much money will be spent here to win our measly 15 delegates considering the race is looking more and more like it won't be decided until the convention?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Older Than?

If John McCain wins in November, the oldest individual to begin a first term in the White House at 72 will be older than:



More to come from Younger Than McCain

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bill Maher On Obama "Bitter" Comments

Fresh off of his rant against the Pope and Catholicism that has many seeing red, Bill Maher comments on the outrage generated by the Obama "rural voters are bitter" comments.
Referring to voters who America has left behind economically as “bitter” isn’t an insult. In fact, it’s a compliment, acknowledging that they’re smart enough to understand what’s happening to them. The hopeful, now those are some idiots. So let’s separate the bitter – my people – from the idiots. If you think the Democrats are going to take away your Bible, you’re an idiot. If you think they’re going to take away your gun, you’re an armed idiot. And if you think they’re going to take away your gun and give it to a Mexican to kill your God, you’re Bill O’Reilly.
(h/t and the video - Crooks and Liars)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Obama The Elitist

I just browsed through my 1000th or so blog post ripping Barack Obama for being an elitist so I thought it was time to respond.

Wikipedia defines elitist/elitism:

Elitism is the belief or attitude that those individuals who are considered members of the elite — a select group of people with outstanding personal abilities, intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience, or other distinctive attributes — are those whose views on a matter are to be taken the most seriously or carry the most weight; whose views and/or actions are most likely to be constructive to society as a whole; or whose extraordinary skills, abilities or wisdom render them especially fit to govern (emphasis mine)

Now I can see why the Republicans are so enamored with that term when ripping Obama. Who would want an intelligent individual with outstanding specialized training and skills that render them especially fit to govern as our next President? Or maybe the last 8 years of supporting someone with none of those qualities has just skewed their perception...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Evolution

evolution


This form of evolution is hard to argue against no matter what your belief system might be.

(h/t - Spiral Pocus)

Too Much Advertising?

The latest American Research Group Poll from Pennsylvania now has Hillary Clinton up by 20 points over Barack Obama 57% to 37% but what I find more interesting than signs of a possible backlash for Obama's guns and religion comments (the last poll had them almost even) is this:
Key finding: "23% of likely primary voters say that excessive exposure to Obama's advertising is causing them to support Clinton. This compares to 19% of likely primary voters in Ohio who said that excessive exposure to Obama's advertising in that state caused them to support Clinton."
I for one hate watching local TV during election season because of the continuous barrage of campaign ads so finally seeing even a sliver of backlash for that is refreshing.

Hillary Is Opening Her Mouth Again

Hillary spent the weekend consoling us mid-westerners hurt by Barack Obama's comments on how many of us were "bitter and clinging to guns and religion as a way to explain our frustrations". Among many of her comments meant to show us how she differs from the "elitist" Obama, she made sure she stressed how she was a pro-gun churchgoer that was taught to hunt at an early age by her father.

And then this yesterday:
After a weekend spent making direct appeals to gun owners and church goers, Hillary Clinton said Sunday a query about the last time she fired a gun or attended church services "is not a relevant question in this debate” over Barack Obama’s recent comments on small town Americans.

“We can answer that some other time,” Clinton said at a press conference held in a working class neighborhood here. “This is about what people feel is being said about them. I went to church on Easter. I mean, so?”
So who exactly is supposed to be the out of touch elitist?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Libel Decision Coming Soon?

The AP is reporting that the libel suit against the Argus Leader by Dan Scott could hit the next milestone in the coming few weeks when a circuit judge should decide on whether it will proceed to trial.
A circuit judge says she might issue her decision within a couple of weeks in a libel lawsuit filed against the Sioux Falls Argus Leader and its executive editor, Randell Beck.

Judge Kathleen Caldwell of Sioux Falls heard arguments this past week during a court hearing and said her written ruling will be handed down "hopefully, within a couple weeks."

Dan Scott sued the newspaper over a July 15 column written by Beck. Scott, who was president of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation at the time, argues that his reputation was tarnished because many people were fooled by Beck into thinking that a letter of apology Beck wrote in Scott's name was for real.
The wheels of justice sure turn slowly don't they? And for those that want to again read the column in question, I have posted it here as it is no longer easily available on the Argus' web site.

Supporters: Obama Still Speaking The Truth

The right-wing blogosphere is a buzz as are many of the lefty Hillary supporter blogs over Barack Obama's comments at a fundraiser in San Franscisco. He's an elitist, he's out of touch with rural America, and on and on. But even considering the bluntness of the comments and the less than popular mention of guns and religion, Obama's comments also seemed to have struck a chord with some of the very people he was describing.

Cory over at the Madville Times sums it up pretty well
There's no hicks-and-rubes talk there, just an honest assessment of why some people feel and vote the way they do. As was the case in his March 18 speech on racism and Reverend Wright, Obama once again demonstrated his ability to see how a lot of our politics has its roots in economic issues.

So what must Obama think about us ? He thinks we're adult enough that he can say what he means. He thinks we're smart enough that we won't fall for the Clinton-McCain line that Obama is an elitist. Smart? Yes. Elitist? Bushwah. When Hillary Rodham Clinton calls someone "elitist" and arrogant, it's time to cue the laugh track. The elitist on the Democrat side is Hillary Clinton, playing big states only, saying small states don't count, and hoping to sway the superdelegates to overturn an Obama edge in the popular vote.
Even comments posted on articles documenting the possible damage that Obama's comments could cause are mainly in support of his message.

April 12, 2008 5:28 PM
The truth has become a dirty word, never thought I would see the day. My vote is for Senator Obama. Just call me bitter, angry and frustrated in Houston, Texas.


April 12, 2008 6:16 PM
His comments were correct. People are bitter. To try to say they aren't is foolish. His comments are in tune with his campaign in which he is saying there is something NEW that needs to be done. I know Hillary thinks she has a story, but she does't.


April 12, 2008 7:11 PM
Amen to that. It's funny how when we finally have a candidate who is honest, everybody wants him to lie.


So what will Obama's comments mean for his bid for the nomination? One thing is for sure, despite the rhetoric from the McCain and Clinton camps on how out of touch Obama is, those that support him for the most part are bitter and fed-up with the political status quo and believe now as much as ever that Obama is the answer to a better future. Todd's man crush is spreading...

The Pope Not Attending Dinner In His Honor

Apparently you can count the Pope among the 72% that do not approve of the job President Bush is doing. The White House is holding a dinner in his honor the evening after his arrival in the US but the leader of the Catholic Church will not be in attendance.
From Friday's press briefing:

Q Just to clarify, for the pope's visit to the White House, you said that now there's a dinner in the East Room in honor of the pope?
MR. STANZEL: Yes.
Q Will the pope actually be attending that dinner?
MR. STANZEL: I don't believe so, no.
Q Okay. Thank you.
[...]
Q I'm sorry. The pope doesn't attend a dinner in his honor?
MR. STANZEL: No.
Q (Off mike.)
MR. STANZEL: He doesn't come into the building.
Q Well, then it's not a dinner for the pope, is it?
MR. STANZEL: It's in honor of his visit. There will be leaders from the Catholic community from all over the country who are in town for that visit.
Q Is there a reason the pope doesn't attend the dinner?
MR. STANZEL: I don't know. I don't have the full extent of his schedule.
So what about the Pope's schedule that Mr Stanzel is questioning? The 7:30 dinner conflicts with this:

Transfer by car from the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington. - In other words, back to the Vatican Embassy for the evening in time to catch the prime time TV lineup.

Sounds like a snub to me.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thune Is McCain's VP Choice

At least that is what MSNBC talking head Chris Matthews predicts.
Chris Matthews has made his call -- John Thune, a freshman senator from South Dakota, will be John McCain's running mate on the Republican presidential ticket.

Matthews informed the world -- as well as Thune himself -- of his prediction while the MSNBC John Thune senator from South Dakota and possible vice presidential pick for Republican presidential nominee John McCain of Arizona commentor interviewed the senator a few minutes before President Bush delivered his latest comments on the war in Iraq.

Thune firmly established himself as a comer within the GOP when he knocked off then-Senate minority leader Tom Daschle in 2004. Telegenic and relatively youthful (he was born in 1961, just like Barack Obama, another member of the Senate's '04 class), Thune almost assuredly is on the working list that McCain recently revealed he's put together of vice presidential possibilities.

But Matthews didn't just mention him as a prospect. Ignoring the Condoleezza Rice boomlet that's been in vogue of late, as well as the trench work Mitt Romney has taken on for McCain, the host of "Hardball" (and a one-time aide to legendary House Democratic Speaker Tip O'Neill) flatly said -- twice -- that Thune would be the pick.

What Must Obama Think About Us?

Ken Blanchard asks that question in response to a speech given by Barack Obama recently in San Francisco. The text from the offending portion of the speech is below.
[T]he truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Now I will not go into his religion and gun remarks as those are 2 subjects near and dear to many South Dakotans, and any disparaging remarks on those subjects are sure to alienate many. What I want to discuss is the anti-immigration bitterness and abandonment feelings that Obama discusses and Professor Blanchard takes exception to
What are the symptoms of that pathology, from which we in the Dakotas surely suffer? Anti-immigration and anti-trade sentiment, we learn. Now one might have thought that a person could want the immigration laws of the United States to be enforced without for that being called a dysfunctional personality. And as for anti-trade sentiment, apparently someone with an ivy-league education, from a boom town like Chicago, can suffer from it, as it is a major plank in Obama's platform.
I would submit that while Obama's remarks from a South Dakotan's perspective might cause one to take pause, someone from small towns in rust belt states can surely relate. Remember Obama is looking towards the next primary in Pennsylvania which happens to be one of these rust belt states

I was born and raised in one such town in Northern Ohio. Our economy revolved around manufacturing with a large Ford plant, an even larger Steel Foundry, and a shipbuilding facility that made up the brunt of the decent jobs in the area. During the mid to late 70's, all 3 industries took a major hit. Many of my friends parents lost their jobs when these industries either closed up shop or re-organized and couldn't find anything close to what they lost. For years politicians promised that their government would help and for years they didn't. With that background you would expect many to get frustrated and angry at anyone or anything they feel helped contribute to their situation. In other words cheap labor from illegal immigration and unfair trade agreements forged with other countries.

These are the people Obama was addressing in his speech and Pennsylvania has plenty of listeners.

So when Blanchard asks what must Obama think about us? I would have to answer, right now he probably doesn't think much about us at all. He is a politician only worried about his next contest. In May right before our primary I am sure Senator Obama will be all over agricultural and tourism issues that will have many rust belt residents asking the same questions as Prof Blanchard asks now.

UPDATE: Not surprisingly, Obama is now backpedaling from his guns and religion comments in response to the uproar that has ensued.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Messy Weekend Ahead

I am in the process of upgrading the site to the latest and greatest version of Wordpress so things around here could get a little messy. I hope to have everything done this evening or tomorrow morning but that all depends on how compatible everything ends up being with version 2.5. Cross your fingers and I will update this post once the dust has settled.

UPDATE: Everything is updated to 2.5 and surprisingly the upgrade seemed to go quite smoothly. If anyone comes across any issues please let me know. I still have some tweaking to do but most of the heavy lifting is done.

UPDATE 2 (4/13/2008): I believe I am completely done with the upgrade and as you may or may not have noticed I have added a couple of RSS feeds to the sidebar. The first is a combined feed from the Washington Post that documents the votes by our representatives in Congress John Thune, Tim Johnson, and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. The second is a combined feed made up of the latest posts from several of our finer South Dakota political blogs.

As always please let me know if you run into any issues.

Shameless Advertising

Just a bit of shameless advertising here to let my handful of readers know that I am selling my prized Microsoft Zune MP3/Video player on eBay. Along with everything Microsoft includes I am also including an extra sync cable, a leather case with belt clip, and a Belkin Tunebase car charger with FM transmitter.

If you've been wanting a large capacity (30gb) portable MP3 player now is your chance at a fraction of the cost. Check it out and feel free to bid as I need to pay off it's replacement because unfortunately most of Bush's incentive check arriving next month will probably have to go towards paying for the $4 a gallon gas that is coming around the same time.

What did I get to replace this you ask?



So how cool is that? It's an iPhone minus the phone also known as the iPod Touch. Why not an iPhone? I would have loved to get one but as I have documented here numerous times, AT&T doesn't think us South Dakotan's would would like such cool toys, too bad.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Anyone Know A Good Body Man?

Though I don't believe that all the bondo in the world will help much considering what is left of this B2 bomber that crashed in Guam recently. Both pilots ejected safely but the plane is a $1.2 billion pile of junk.

B2 Tash Heap

(h/t - Gizmodo)

The Evil Empire And Their SD Olympic Ties

During my childhood, the Soviet Union was the evil empire, the bastion of communism, and our hated opponent during the 35 plus year cold war that saw bomb shelters being built in peoples back yards, ballistic missiles being deployed in Cuba, and unknown near misses that could have resulted in all out nuclear war. The late 80's saw the downfall of communism in most of Eastern Europe and now the new century is seeing US citizens representing the former Soviet Union in the Olympic Games.

Rapid City's own Becky Hammon becomes the latest athlete to represent a country that they are not a citizen of when she suits up for the Russian women's basketball team for the Beijing Olympics this summer. I know this is nothing new and in fact I remember several instances of this happening in past competitions including the World Baseball Classic a few years ago but Ms Hammon is taking quite a beating in the comments section of the RCJ story documenting her decision.

Hammon doesn't see a problem
“It will be special, and it will be different, but I have never let myself be defined by the name on the front of my jersey,” she said. “I think people’s reaction is ironic because I look at our country as the best and most giving. I bleed red, white and blue.”
But others do.
Regret wrote on Apr 10, 2008 11:30 AM:
" The only thing she'll be remembered for, is that she couldn't cut the mustard and couldn't accept the fact she wasn't good enough to play for team USA so she settled for second class. All the so called great things she did before will be overshadowed by this...just lide Barry Bonds, Lyle Alzado, Clemens. They won't be known for breaking records, but for the one stupid thing they did in their life.

BTW, how will she explain to her children or grandchildren why she played for a different country during the Olympics? Hard to explain why you supported another country instead of your own.

But then again, she always was for herself. "

Is the fact that she is representing the Russians an issue for anyone and if so would you feel differently if it was say Jamaica? (had to add a "Cool Runnings" reference) Or is this much ado about nothing?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Playing The Oil Card

Theophrastus Bombastus over at Dakota Voice posts this morning on a Drudge Headline and he appears to be chastising the Dems for seeking to use excess Iraqi oil money to help rebuild the country.
I seem to recall not that long ago that all the lib web sites and blogs were ranting about how the Iraq war was all about oil for Bush and his buddies in the oil industry. Does “No Blood for Oil” ring a bell?

It seems that the Iraqis have done pretty well on their oil since Saddam was overthrown to the tune of about 30 billion dollars, and with the rising cost of crude they stand to profit another 100 billion in the next few years. Now, we have the Democrats screeching that we should be demanding some of that profit from our allies, even before the country has been rebuilt and stabilized. They want their piece of the action NOW!

It seems that it was the Dems casting an envious eye on Iraqi crude all along. It is almost axiomatic that whatever the Dems accuse the Republicans of they are already neck deep in and are only trying to divert attention from their illegal or immoral activities.
With the cost of this "war" now bordering on bankrupting our future, what is wrong with this idea? Using Iraqi revenues to fix the Iraqi infrastructure, I seem to remember someone else floating the same idea a while back when trying to sell the war.
In selling the war to voters, Bush administration officials said overthrowing Saddam Hussein would cost as little at $50 billion, and that much of the reconstruction could be paid for with the Iraq's oil revenue. (emphasis mine)
Or is it only ok when the Bush administration suggests this?

Oh and how's that $50 billion in costs thing going?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Silly Season

For your amusement.

Silly Season 3 Stooges

Image courtesy David Dees

Intolerate Pot Meet Intolerant Kettle

Admittedly some of the diaries on Daily Kos go a bit overboard, OK big time overboard, but when one of the most religiously intolerant right-wing blogs on the internet calls them out for being antisemitic, Miriam Webster starts the presses so they can rewrite the definition of hypocrisy.
They just can’t help it. Loony antisemitic diaries keep getting posted at Daily Kos, no matter how much they try to stop them. They’ve encouraged and coddled, and winked and nodded at this kind of hatred for years, and now it bubbles up unpredictably in disgusting articles like this one: Daily Kos: Why I’m Not a Zionist.
This coming from the site that has made it's name by being nothing more than a hate filled anti-Muslim site, Little Green Footballs.

A Way To End The Abortion Debate Instantly?

In 2006 many, myself excluded, thought that the voters in South Dakota had put the idea of banning abortions to bed. At the time, many thought that the voters had spoken and we could now move on to working on other issues facing our residents like teacher pay etc. Fast forward to 2008 and we are again facing another attempt at banning abortions (funny that teacher pay thing still hasn't been addressed) and this time even some pro-life groups aren't happy with the rape/incest exceptions placed on the latest attempt.

Colorado on the other hand is shifting the focus of the debate. Instead of attacking abortion directly, they are looking to legislate when life begins with their Human Life Amendment. If you think about it, determining when human life begins would end the debate instantly. It moves the abortion question away from a woman's choice argument, once the fetus reaches the legal definition, and gives it the same rights as a child that has been born. It would also re-affirm the woman's choice argument for pregnancies that haven't reached the legal determination giving them the opportunity to have the procedure if they choose to do so.

Sounds pretty good doesn't it? On the surface it does until you look a bit deeper into the Colorado amendment. As with many issues of this type, unquestioned beliefs, not science is used when they define personhood as a fertilized egg. This not only effectively outlaws all abortions, it also makes almost all after the fact contraception illegal. Quite the end around isn't it? (Why didn't Leslie or Roger come up with this?)

Personally, I think we as a country could end the abortion debate with one determination. The Colorado amendment has the right idea but not the proper research. Why can't the same science that can cure diseases that only a generation ago used to kill us, be used to scientifically determine when life begins using similar milestones that are used for removing life support?

Once science does that we can finally put the abortion debate to bed. Then we can instead shift the debate to the science used which will surely follow. And as we all know, debating the results of scientific research is something that many of these same groups have plenty of practice doing.

UPDATE: First off thanks to Jon Schaff over at South Dakota Politics for linking to and adding his thoughts and his solution to this question. In this case though, I think Mr Schaff missed the purpose of my post.

While I believe that scientifically determining when life begins could end the abortion debate, the science that would go into making that determination would never be accepted by many (unless of course it fits their beliefs). To these folks science never trumps their belief system no matter what the evidence to the contrary might be. In other words, the debate isn't really a debate to those most passionate on both sides, compromise no matter what might be determined, isn't possible.

Colorado's Human Life Amendment is an example of that as is Rebecca Kissling's Facebook group's opposition to the latest South Dakota ballot issue that PP mentions in his post that I linked to above.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

How Do You Know Hillary Is Lying?

Her lips are moving...

First she was taking fire during a 1996 trip to Bosnia



Now she is having issues involving the "tragic" heath care problem of a pregnant Ohio woman that died when she was denied treatment. The problem in both cases, none of it is true.



It appears she and President Bush do have at least one thing in common, both can tell stories that have very little basis in fact.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Best South Dakota Blog?

On my way out the door to the airport but this post caught my eye.
Yesterday, we got a mention from Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post , who wrote an article asking for the best state political blogs. Lo and behold, Badlands Blue got named as the best political blog in South Dakota.
Badlands Blue??? Feel free to comment on this among yourselves.