March 2007 Archives

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As promised, I do have an exciting announcement for our readers!

Jill Holtzman Vogel will be live-blogging with us here at NOVA TownHall Blog this Thursday, March 29 from 7:00-7:30 PM. Mrs. Holtzman Vogel is running for the 27th State Senate seat (now held by retiring public enemy #1 Russ Potts). The Republican primary is scheduled for June 12th, and Jill will be squaring off against former Middleburg Vice Mayor Mark Tate.

Jill will field your questions; so please leave them in the comment section below.

UPDATE: The Dems have at least one candidate now. Winchester School Board member Karen K. Schultz has signed up to take on the winner of the Republican primary. While this is traditionally a Republican stronghold in almost all elections, growth throughout the district makes this a race to watch. For details on Schultz, see the NV Daily and the Winchester Star.

UPDATE #2: Stay tuned tonight to see Jill answer your questions!

UPDATE #3: We've begun our live-blog with Mrs. Holtzman Vogel. I'd like to thank her once again for taking time out of her busy schedule to join us.

UPDATE #4: We have reached the conclusion of our live-blog. Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment. We look forward to having you back anytime.

As Jill said, she will be answer more questions and email them to me, and I'll do a follow-up post with this post linked to it. There were definitely some extremely good questions asked. Jill did an excellent job, and I'm looking forward to seeing more answers.

FINAL UPDATE (I swear!): I'd like to extend an open invitation to Mark Tate to come on the blog for equal time, and I'll make a formal invitation this weekend.

The worst? I say, man: The best!

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I hope regardless of all our squabbling over peripheral issues here we can join together and declare Vote For The Worst is the funniest thing so far in the current millennium.


While there is still, admittedly, a long portion of the millennium to go, I'm guessing by the end this will still rank in the top five comedic events, alongside Al Gore's 2024 "New Ice Age" mea culpa speech atop the Michigan glacier, and various and sundry culinary pratfalls.

When Fox created this seemingly bulletproof formula of cranking up millions of teenboppers and evening slackers to "buy in" and jam the telephone lines twice a week, they did not consider the gargantuan bounty of the free market was, well, free.

Free to do the opposite.

This episode presents a case study for ascertaining the precise timeline for onset of cynicism regarding truly silly stuff among the American populace. The time table for pop culture has been set, I think we can all agree, at just about four years.

The only big question now is how many millions of dollars will Fox throw at this guy to just make it go away.

So I finally got around to watching last weekend's SNL on my DVR. I haven't watched the show in years, but I have to admit seeing that Peyton Manning was hosting peaked my inerest. Don't get me wrong, I will be a die-hard Bears fan until the day that I die. But as I've said before, I can't hate Manning just because he beat us in the Super Bowl, as much as I want to. Plus his commercials make me wonder if he's got an acting career in store after his NFL retirement.

So anyway, my point is, what's happened to this show? There were a few times I laughed pretty hard (Manning dancing in the locker room), but for the most part, the show was horrible. The actors seem OK and Manning wasn't the problem...

It has to be the writers. Nothing made me laugh. Sorry, the show just isn't funny anymore. I'm longing for the days of "I gotta have more COWBELL!"

Just heard through the grapevine a staffer for Sen. Webb was arrested earlier today for possession of a loaded handgun which was registered to Webb. Capital police confirmed something happened at the Russell Office Building but would not reveal the staff member or Senator in question.

If the rumor is true, maybe it will light a fire under some Democrats to fix DC's highly screwed-up gun laws.

UPDATE: More at Drudge, Wonkette.

The grapevine says Capital police have now confirmed a Webb staffer arrested for a weapons charge.

If the British declare war on Iran over their captured sailors and marines, will the U.S. support them, or will the gutless wonders in Congress abandon our best ally?

Despite Sen. Clinton's "we're going to get it done" rhetoric, she won't say what, exactly, she would do. The fact is, she has no plan.

If she had a plan, and cared about the "nearly 47 million people [who] don't have health insurance," she would draft a bill and put it before the Senate now, not wait two years when, she hopes, she will be the President.

This is the same "plan" that Kerry had to get us out of Iraq when he was campaigning. He didn't have a plan then (nor did he propose one after he won re-election to his Senate seat), nor does she have one now.

It is common knowledge that the younger voters tend to favor Democratis candidates:
http://www.pewtrusts.com/pdf/Circle_FS_04VotingRace.pdf

With modern brain imaging techniques, we now have some idea why:
http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/juvenile-justice/factsheets/braindev.pdf

Essentially, the frontal lobe is not completely developed until "mid-tweens." As such, emotion overrides logic.

Similarly, brain deterioration as one ages could explain the tendency of the elderly to for more Democratic. I suspect, however, that, being more dependent on the government encourages one to vote for Democrats, whose basic modus operandi is "Take from the few, give to the many, and the many will vote for you."

This article shows up the lie that "abortion is not murder." Had all gone according to plan, Gianna Jessen would have been killed six weeks before she was due to be born. She has a life now. Had her abortion been successful, she would not have that life. Taking an innocent life is murder.

While on the one hand screaming for voting rights for DC residents, the House Democrat leadership is not willing to give them those rights if it means granting those same citizens their Second Amendment rights:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/22/AR2007032200683.html

Elections matter indeed. Where we had a republic, we now have a hypocracy.

With the resurgence of his wife's cancer, John Edwards is in a very difficult position.

If he stays in, he will be accused of being callous -- that the stress of campaigning may exacerbate the cancer, that his political career is more important to him than his wife. The truth may be that his political career is more important to HER, and SHE does not want him to drop out.

If he does drop out of the race, he loses what may be his best shot at being President. Furthermore, he may be accused of playing the sympathy card for a later run.

What a load of trash. They're as patriotic as the Rosenbergs.

The Lt. Governor has a fantastic op-ed in the Washington Times today where he hammers Governor Kaine and the Democrats for their lack of fiscal discipline. Below is a juicy excerp:

Unfortunately, Mr. Kaine and the Democrats seem to think that public revenues are inexhaustible, and that it is unreasonable to ask government to prioritize spending like families and businesses must do.

In addition, they seem to think that the public's ability to pay higher taxes is inexhaustible, but it is not. Today, almost 40 percent of the average family's earnings are confiscated by one level of government or another. That is simply too much.

The people of Virginia want something done to address our transportation needs, but they don't support the massive tax increases that have been proposed by Mr. Kaine and Democrats in the General Assembly.

The people of Virginia expect us to use existing revenues to meet our transportation needs before we ask them to pay higher taxes. If the Democrats don't understand that, they will pay a heavy price at the polls this November.

It really makes me sick to listen to Democrats whine and scream that a possible reduction in the rate of growth of some programs (programs that have experienced unprecedented growth for years while transportation funding was basically nonexistent) is a "cut" and stealing money from children, etc. I am thrilled to see Bolling publicly standing up to their arrogance and deceit.

Michelle Malkin in The Witch Hunt Against Gun Owners, asserts that the Roanoake Times' publication of the names and addressess of CCW permit holders "endangered gun owners," and that the list was "a convenient shopping list for criminals."

Yes -- it told them which houses NOT to rob, for fear of being killed.

I can understand the fear of domestic abuse victims who are trying to hide from their assailants, but they should take comfort in this: if he saw your name on the list, he knows he is putting his own life at risk if he attacks you. The fear of hot lead is much more effective than a restraining order.

Was it a violation of privacy? Absolutely.

The indiviual who wrote the article and compiled the database for the Times said, "I can hear the shocked indignation of gun-toters already: It's nobody's business but mine if I want to pack heat. Au contraire. Because the government handles the permitting, it is everyone's business."

Seems to me to be a good reason to go to a Vermont-style carry law, where no permit is required to excercise one's freedom.

I drive a Ford truck with a 5.8 liter engine that gets terrible gas mileage. I love it, and I can sleep at night knowing the insane amount I pay for gas doesn't go to support terrorism or communism.

This is why.

According to the Department of Energy, Shell and Sunoco are the two big companies around here in NOVA that don't get any of their oil from OPEC or Communist Venezuela. So that's where I fill up. And I would encourage my readers to boycott any stations that get there oil from anti-American countries.

I'm sure the marshmallow man is going to say something about how these countries can't make it on their own without their oil industry, so how do we expect them to stabilize if they have no income, blah blah blah.

To tell you the truth, I don't care. Let them stabilize first. Then I'll support them on the free trade market.

Proprietor Going AWOL

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The next two weeks are my really busy time so I expect to be of little help here ... or far less than usual, to be more precise.

As the proprietor of this blog, I hereby announce I expect no horseplay or grab assin' and I want everyone to behave like the gentlemen and ladies you all are. Drinks, as usual, are on the house for those of age. If you have the need to spit, please use a spittoon, but if it is as a result of wine tasting I question your manliness because I've never understood why a body can't swallow a little more wine under any circumstance whatsoever.

I'll make an appearance or two, but most likely under the most ignominious of conditions (watch for reports at Digital Camel), but will not be back in full force until April.

In the meantime, watch these guys.

Carry on.

No, it's not the new movie starring Samuel L. Mohammed.

Seriously though, these guys were just acting weird, what did they expect? Middle Eastern people on planes are going to feel the way I do when I walk through Camden, New Jersey at night. It's reasonable and natural that the staff and passengers of the plane have suspicion, and reasonable suspicion should dictate further investigation. They had to have known this would happen.

A lawsuit? Because they got their feelings hurt? That's just ridiculous.

Duncan Hunter Can Win

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To all of our friends on the local scene who are battling on the illegal immigration issue, I have some good news.

There is reason for hope. The reason is Duncan Hunter.

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One candidate who has formally announced that he is running for president is serious about border security and enforcement of U.S. immigration laws. This candidate is not only serious - he is viable.

Duncan Hunter spoke to a group of Virginia grassroots activists in Virginia last night.

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He explained how the existing fence on the U.S. border near San Diego has greatly reduced crime in that local area. He also explained how his bill to extend the fence for over 800 miles in key sections of the U.S.-Mexico border from California to Texas - a bill approved by the U.S. House and Senate and signed by President Bush - will make a huge dent in smuggling, illegal immigration and other criminal activity coming across from Mexico.

This is the time to focus on the upcoming Presidential election, and we have a real live candidate to support for President in 2008.

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Duncan Hunter can win.

You can learn more about Duncan Hunter here.

Here's what I like most about Congressman Duncan Hunter: Tom Tancredo has had kind words for him, and Hunter talks in depth about three key issues which should be central to the current political debate.

Herndon, VA Approves 287g Training

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Last night, Herndon Mayor Steve DeBenedittis and the Town Council - including Harlon Reece, the sole holdover from the former (ousted) council - unanimously approved the MOA with ICE that will allow up to 7 Herndon Police Department officers to soon begin 287g training.

As a Herndon resident notes:


The mayor and Town Council have provided HPD with another tool to assist them in their efforts to prevent another tragedy like the hit and run murder of Joseph Passarelli.

This places Herndon once again at the forefront of municipalities in the U.S. actively asserting local control over the effects of the influx of illegal aliens.

Read Blog Fu's coverage (and the comments) for the full story of last night's Council meeting.

This is not only significant for western Fairfax County, it is highly significant for Sterling Park in eastern Loudoun because we are right on the doorstep of the Herndon day labor center and whatever problems Herndon is experiencing are mirrored in our communities.

But beyond that, this major public policy development will impact areas north and south of Herndon. Loudoun County, Prince William County, Manassas, Manassas Park and Culpeper are all in the midst of the same conflict, and public officials in all these areas will be called on to consider taking the same measures.

Hazleton on trial, day three

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Mayor Lou Barletta testified today.

More here.


Despite the increase in population, he said, the city's income tax revenues have remained flat, leading him to conclude that a significant percentage are "either not working or working and not reporting income."

The mayor became indignant when ACLU lawyer Witold "Vic" Walczak pointed out that illegal immigrants eat in restaurants, buy groceries and gas, purchase houses, and engage in other consumer spending that benefits city businesses and city government through sales taxes.

"So do other people who commit crimes," Barletta replied. "Do I condone illegal behavior because they buy gas or eat in someone's restaurant? I'm not one who believes that's OK."

Beermaking!

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This is what I call blogging. Seriously, these periodic posts by Kevin are excellent primers which truly add to the national discussion.

Hazleton on trial, day one

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How can you help the city of Hazleton? Send money!

Lozano et al. v. City of Hazleton kicked off yesterday in Scranton, Pennsylvania, with the ACLU arguing the plaintiffs' case against the city and an attorney for the city noting there's something slightly bassackwards about the trial itself:


Unlike a criminal case where evidence goes to the question of "Did he do it," Kobach said this case asks the judge to interpret whether the act is constitutional.

Because the restraining order kept the act from being enforced so far, testimony from business owners and landlords who claim injury is premature, in Kobach's opinion.


But, hey, judges, lawyers and advocacy organization execs have to put bread on the table just like everyone else.

Koback also questioned whether any of the plaintiffs has legal standing, and the city's lead attorney seems to have done an effective job discrediting some of the initial plaintiffs' witnesses:


Jose Lechuga testified that he had to close his grocery store and restaurant after the ordinances were passed because he lost clientele.

On cross-examination, Mahoney referred to Lechuga’s 2005 income tax returns, pointing out that Lechuga’s store was losing money in 2005. He also had Lechuga admit that he had not made a mortgage payment for a year by the time the ordinances were passed.


Also during cross was this interesting exchange with plaintiffs' witness Agapito Lopez:

While cross-examining Lopez, the city's lead attorney Henry "Hank" Mahoney named business such as Michael's Taxi and Crystal Barbecue that Latinos opened since the ordinance passed. Owners invited Barletta to their grand openings, Mahoney said.

During cross-examination, Lopez said he believes nations have the right to control their borders and deport people but thinks the United States government should deal with immigration, not small cities all over the country.

"Do you believe an illegal immigrant has the right to work in the city of Hazleton?" Mahoney asked.

"No," replied Lopez, a veteran of the U.S. Army, who said one of his five children is an immigration agent in Chicago.


Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta has not yet taken the stand, but we have had a sneak preview of his rationale for advocating the Illegal Immigration Relief Act in Hazleton.

The suit brought against the city has caused Hazleton to incur immense legal fees, which you can help offset by sending money.

Hazleton is attempting to do the job the Bush administration just won't do, which is look after its citizens and enforce the law. As such, the city is taking the lead on behalf of every municipality and county in the U.S. which might one day presume to control crime and costs within its boundaries. As Hazleton goes, so go the rest of us, so send that money if you haven't already.

The Emperor's Green New Clothes

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As a follow up to Soph's post yesterday, here is more on the topic of the global warming scam from Melanie Phillips:


Channel Four's devastating documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle has blown an enormous hole in every fundamental claim made to support the climate change obsession - including the claim that the argument is over ....

Moreover, they also testified that the computer models which produced all the forecasts of climate apocalypse were rigged to produce the results that would attract official funds for climate change research, which had increased a thousandfold over the past 20 years; and that any scientists who tried to expose the monumental fraud of global warming theory stood to lose not only funding but also his reputation ...


Read it all.

Call me a cynic, but isn't just about everything, ultimately, about the money?

Wow... I just finished watching this movie.

Very well done examination of the global warming alarmists and the very tragic and real human cost of their political efforts in the developing world.

Their agenda is clear:

"We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have."

-- Stephen Schneider, a leading advocate of the global warming theory in an interview for Discover magazine in 1989

Anyways, check it out.

UPDATED: Some more good stuff on this topic over at Dogwood Pundit.

RIP: The career of Sen. John Chichester

Who will raise our taxes now? That's right. We still have democrats. At least, the leader of the state senate won't be helping them anymore (hopefully).

Stop the Amnesty Bill!

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Act now: Today is the day to call and write your congress person or senator or, preferably, both.

Call the Capitol Switchboard
202-224-3121

Background: Word is out the GOP leadership of both the House and Senate are prepared to back the Bush administration's comprehensive immigration reform bill which provides for definite amnesty for the 12 million plus illegal aliens in the U.S. along with some possible enforcement provisions. The reason to be extremely skeptical about the latter is the Bush administration has shown almost zero commitment to any type of enforcement - and besides, without a complete overhaul of USCIS, which cannot even keep track of the comings and goings of current visitors, tracking compliance with any new rules by millions of people is a pipe dream.

They may talk about enforcement, just like they may talk about reforming social security. But amnesty: THAT they can pull off in a heartbeat.

Call your representative or senator today and tell them you oppose amnesty and demand the border be secured and enforcement of existing U.S. immigration law be implemented before there is any discussion of rewarding those who have broken the rules.

Call early and often. 202-224-3121

Here are some additional talking points courtesy of NumbersUSA:


Anything that provides extra greencards to allow illegal aliens now here to remain permanently in the U.S. is an amnesty.

There is no urgency to deal with the 12 million illegal aliens already here.

They are damaging American workers and communities, so it is important to be using enforcement to cause them to go home over time. If it takes awhile that is far better than giving them legal status and qualifying them for extra taxpayer benefits while thrusting them permanently on the American people.

ATTRITION THROUGH ENFORCEMENT works. More and more reports are arising in other countries that the moderate increase in enforcement here is deterring a lot of people from trying to come here illegally.


Here is some background on the current amnesty bill.

Here is the fax center to quickly send a fax opposing the amnesty scheme.

Here is a story from today's newspaper about yet another company gaming the system and hurting American workers by hiring illegals. More background information here.

Here is a reminder about what happened to American workers who thought they would gain much-needed employment from the Hurricane Katrina cleanup, but were sent packing after the illegal workers arrived.

CALL AND WRITE TODAY!!

St. Patty's Day parade - Potomac Green

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And a fine day it was! Daytime beer and a walk through the neighborhood are such agreeable concepts.

We had a bunch of the HelpSaveHerndon and HelpSaveLoudoun crew out at Potomac Green in Ashburn today for their first annual St. Patrick's Day parade.
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Master of ceremonies Ed Brocke (L) with Sterling district supervisor Eugene Delgaudio.
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Artfully changing the subject

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Ok let's try it this way:

While most of you were still on the tail end of your Friday night festivities, trying to decide whether to go up to bed or just crash in the barco-lounger with a now-warm Budweiser and a colon-cleanser infomercial serenading, I was awake, relatively clean-shaven and on the road.

Photos at Digital Camel (click on each for larger images).

Finally...

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A presidential candidate I can get behind. Thanks to Below the Beltway for the info.

UPDATE: Fox News Sunday had a great interview with my man for President.

The Bigotry Rule

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Recent discussions here reveal that some of our participants have forgotten, likely as a result of advanced age, an important finding from last year. Please allow me to recap the NOVA TownHall Directive Regarding "Bigotry:"


The charge of "bigotry," 99.99 percent of the time, is leveled by individuals who are either A) liars, or B) morons. And according to these individuals, nearly all NOVA TownHall bloggers are bigots.

By reading the sentence above, you hereby assent to the Directive.


Now, can we all please just move on?

Misc. Immigration News

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The Hazleton trial starts tomorrow. Bottom line: In large part it's about the bottom line and steps localities can take to address costs:


Police spent $17,000 in overtime after the murder of Derek Kichline on May 10, 2006. Illegal immigrants were arrested in the case, which hasn't come to trial, and approximately one-third of the overtime budget is spent on crimes involving illegal immigrants, the brief says.

At least 47 crimes have been committed by illegal immigrants since the spring of 2006, and one-third of those arrested in the city for drug-related crimes in 2005 were illegal immigrants, the brief says.

Immigration caused the cost of teaching English as a second language in the Hazleton Area School District to increase from next to nothing in 2000 to $1.145 million last year, the brief says.

At Hazleton General Hospital, the brief says, patients wait for hours at the emergency room, and every visit by illegal immigrants costs $1,500 to $2,000.


The trial beginning in Scranton tomorrow is only the first step for this particular case, however. Key plaintiff's, who are illegal immigrants, have been permitted to remain anonymous. In addition to a robust smack in the face to Hazleton taxpayers, this ruling by the judge likely will contribute to the stack of reasons this case is going higher.

On a related note, Virginia localities are attempting to determine the costs:


Culpeper's study is not yet complete, but officials in Prince William County found in a study released in January that their agencies spent more than $3 million last year on public services for illegal aliens.

We need to see data for Loudoun.

Georgie Anne Geyer: Amnesty and citizenship? It's bad-idea deja vu all over again.


Interesting point: With the 1986 amnesty, which was to solve the problem forever, only one-third of those granted the "precious" privilege of American citizenship deemed it worth taking. Two-thirds did not apply for it. The explanation is actually a healthy one: Most illegals come here to work, make money and go home, not to become Americans.

But the U.S. Congress, led by the eternal Teddy and supported by a White House desperate for a victory -- somewhere -- seems to want to continue with the "Balkanization" of America.


In Massachusetts: Illegals taking more and more jobs:

"It's blatant and it's everywhere," he said. "It's happening in prevailing wage jobs and it's happening in state projects. It's happening all over the place."

John O'Connor, a senior organizer with the carpenter's union, said the employment situation in Massachusetts has been so changed by illegal labor that it is even becoming impossible for high school students to find such traditional part-time positions as bus boys, landscapers or painters.

And it's not just a problem of the immigrants undercutting high wages by working cheap, he said.

"They're taking the lower-wage jobs from Americans who work in lower-wage jobs."


(That story is worth reading if only for the take by Barney Frank ... maybe the message will get through, eventually, to the Democrats).

Meanwhile, the national Republican Party steadfastly holds to its policy of national suicide:


In his previous bill, "We had so many penalties and what not on these people, by the way, and trying not to make it amnesty, and it still got called amnesty. So this time around I'm going to be a little lighter on the sentences and try to just say call it what you will. We've got 12 million people, we've got a broken-down system, we've just got to find a way to come to some sensible outcome."

Spokesman Ken Lundberg said Martinez didn't mean the sentences would be lighter, but that he would talk less about the punitive aspects of the bill.


This is at least a mildly refreshing bit of honesty from the national GOP.

As a side note, anyone who has sent money to the national GOP in the past several months or intends to do so in the future should report immediately to the nearest medical facility to have their head extracted from their ass. If you select an emergency room, obviously, be sure to set aside sufficient time.

I happen to know someone who is now attempting to gain citizenship legally, who likely will not qualify for the "grandfather" clause in the upcoming Senate amnesty bill. You want to talk about the GOP alienating a huge bloc of potential future voters? It's not the illegals of Latino descent they should be worried about, it's all those who played by the rules over the past 20 years.

Finally - and I don't know what made me think of this - the domain johnwarneryousuck.com is surprisingly available. Point of interest.

I've heard that the 27th State Senatorial Committee has decided that there will be a primary to pick the nominee to replace Russ Potts. The date for the primary will be June 12th. While I prefer conventions/mass meetings to pick nominees because they get activists involved to a greater extent rather than just voting, I'm just glad that Russ Potts will not be on the ballot.

It appears that there is some rumormongering going on over at Not Larry Sabato as to whether Russ Potts has put up a candidate that doesn't agree with any of his core principles in an attempt to defeat Mark Tate. This is about as far fetched as a rumor could be. While I agree that Russ Potts is along the lines of a movie monster, everyone in politics knows who Russ Potts is and what he stands for at this point, and I don't think someone who would seriously run for state senate would base his entire campaign on Russ Potts telling him to run. In addition, Russ just recently attacked both candidates in the press.

This reporter is going to do some more digging before he starts believing a conspiracy on this grand a level.

Update: I think I came off sounding a little biased earlier this morning so I've edited my previous entry a little.

While the rumor about the Potts plant may be true, it is, at this point, uncorroborated, and it does strike as me as a little too reminiscent of some of the whisper campaign that was going on previously. I think Mark Tate is a great guy and would make a fabulous nominee (just as Jill is a fabulous woman and would make a great nominee). It's always been my goal to help keep this race clean until the primary and accusing Jill of being the Potts annointee is neither clean nor constructive.

The bleeding edge of the illegal immigration problem in the U.S. is at the local level.

The excellent organization Judicial Watch held a panel discussion recently with several speakers experienced on the front lines, including Hazleton, PA Mayor Lou Barletta.

We'll have full coverage of the panel within a week or so; today we'll start with the mayor because Hazleton's date in court begins Monday and we will be tracking the proceedings here daily.


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How can a city that is 2000 miles away from the nearest southern border have an illegal immigration problem? That's a question I ask myself often. And if you were the mayor, what would you do about it? Most importantly, what could you do about it?

I think it's important for me to give you a little background about what Hazleton is about so you'll be able to see the motivation I had to pass the Illegal Immigration Relief Act.

Hazleton is a small city of about 30,000 people that sits on top of a mountain in Pennsylvania. Its greatest asset is the quality of life that we enjoy. Many senior citizens enjoy sitting on the porch and children, myself in my own childhood, usually grow up on the playgrounds and traveling about the city without much fear.

It's a city that might average one murder every seven years, so you'll have a background on what Hazleton, Pennsylvania was like. I became mayor in the year 2000 at a time when the city was bankrupt. We had a $1.2 million deficit in only a $6 million budget. And that is important as to what motivated me to get to the point where I'm at.

I'll admit it...

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I read Raising Kaine. I'm always fascinated with what makes the opposition tick. Usually, it makes me laugh (for unintended reasons), but with two consecutive general election victories, the democrats have to be taken seriously.

However, posts like this make me wonder if they are really ready for primetime. They still seem to be the looney crew that Henry Howell and company led into the wilderness in the '70s, but, in this political climate, we can't rely on their craziness alone to defeat them. The dems' success seems to be solely fueled by the Iraq war, and that issue doesn't seem to be going away any time in the foreseeable future so I'll keep reading RK.

Hopefully, this year, their fearless leader Gov. Timmy Kaine will kill his party's chances to control redistricting by vetoing the transportation bill, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Cebar and Superman

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Sunday was the Paul Cebar show at Wolf Trap - another complete humdinger. Cebar manages the band like a conductor - which is important when the repetoire varies from 12-bar blues in 4/4 to zydeco to African- and Caribbean-infused funk in time signatures I am certain have Frank Zappa looking down from heaven with approval. He was in control. Cebar is one wild, funky dude, and when he smiles in the midst of some particularly intense section everyone present knows that all is right with the world. Such it was Sunday night.

Much of the material was from the latest album, "Tomorrow Sound Now For Yes Music People" (unfortunately not yet available at the online store, but here is a nice oldie if you want an immediate taste). Good stuff!

On top of that, our esteemed fellow blogger and culinary stylist Kevin of Digital Camel came down for the show (and he snuck a photo - HA!)

He brought down from B'more a generous supply of the legendary Superman Was Black batch from January and all I can say is WHOA people. That is one kick-butt brew. Kevin was already near the top of my list of favorite liberals, but this skill of his has pushed him toward the pinnacle.

If anyone out there has contacts in the brewing profession, perhaps with a highly-paid apprenticeship position available, you tell them they could do a lot worse than to give young Kevin a call. Superman, indeed.

I think I heard a whisper this past weekend, from the realm of the politically undead...

The Ann Coulter remarks from Friday have created quite a to-do and resulted in some unfortunate confusion which I herewith intend to clear up.

Here is the exact quote from Ms. Coulter's address at CPAC:


I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot.' So I'm kind of at an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards, so I think I'll just conclude here and take your questions.

First, some initial points that need to be made:

Let me state for the record that I do not recommend anyone use the word "faggot" under any circumstances. It upsets people such as the folks at Equality Loudoun, who became quite agitated and unwittingly added to the confusion by making a number of misinformed claims - such as that this was Ms. Coulter's biggest applause line of the afternoon, when in reality it was about 5th. Furthermore, "faggot" is inarguably a pointed epithet which can evoke strong negative emotions from listeners and, as a general rule, for the sake of one's well-being, it is prudent to avoid doing this in the course of everyday life. It is also goes without saying it is a VERY rude thing to say in reference to gay people, in the same class as the n-word, although as will be noted I think such usage is about as common as the n-word nowadays.

Also, it is important to note that Ms. Coulter did not call John Edwards a faggot. The sentence structure is a combination of the pluperfect and future subjunctive forms and yields a hypothetical statement regarding both Mr. Edwards and the term in question. There is no reason to assume she did not choose her words carefully, because regardless of whatever else one might say about Ann Coulter few accuse her of being a poor writer. Her actual statement concerned what happens if you use a particular word. Considering that the public response to her statement has precisely confirmed what she said, there is a simple factual accuracy to the remark. In addition, as John Hawkins observes in the course of denouncing the remark, she was without doubt referencing an incident several weeks ago in which an actor went into rehab after publicly using the word 'faggot'. Ms. Coulter simply took a joke that was already half-made and plugged herself and Mr. Edwards into it.

Finally, before the false idea that Ms. Coulter's remark was representative of the outlook of "conservatives" in any degree goes any further, it must be noted that the universal "conservative" reaction has been negative. As noted in both the New York Times and Washington Post, the major Republican candidates have denounced it. In addition to Hawkins, every major right-of-center blogger I've found to have commented on the remark has denounced it: See Michelle Malkin, Ace, Captain's Quarters, American Mind, Right Wing Nuthouse, American Spectator, The Corner. I spoke with several bloggers at the conference and to a person they also denounced it.

The contention of this essay is that Ms. Coulter's remark is undeserving of the degree of opprobrium that has been heaped upon it and that conservatives, such as they are, do not need to be sprinting away from Ms. Coulter with such knee-jerk haste. In order to prove this point, we will focus on the word in question, Mr. Edwards, Ms. Coulter, and the context in which the word was used.

While I'm a little late posting this, I wanted to put it up anyway because LG Bolling lays out a pretty good summary of the legislation that was passed or defeated that is important to me. To read, click below the fold.

In another example of classic left wing hypocrisy, Ann Coulter is cited in the NYT, the SF Chronicler, and the Washington Post (WP) for her remarks regarding Edwards. Personally, I don't like the remarks. Comparing Edwards to gays via the old term 'faggot' is cruel to gays. The word 'faggot' was always used as a pejorative and the Edwards comparison is itself really nasty. Edwards is an opportunistic money grubbing, girlie-man, shyster-lawyer who claims to commune with the dead. The left wing mob (Dean, Kos, the DU) one and all denounce Coulter and demand that she apologize. If you go the the Kos, the DU or to any Democrat convention you will hear far more nasty things said about Republicans but MSM will simply not report it. How typical.

Note however the Bill Maher's remarks wishing that the vice president had died in the bomb blast has not received any attention from the NYT, or the WP. The SF Chronicler also has decided that Maher's murderous (and treasonous) death-wish is not news worthy. Nope, wishing the VP of the US to be killed by someone who is at war with the US is just a normal everyday occurrence. ABC understandably did not make a big deal out of this event and NBC did notice. Ann made the news on the three networks, but not Bill. UPI and Rueters carried the Coulter story, but not Mahers. No left wing bias here; its just what is news worthy. Nothing to see move along.

Our resident moon-bat, Zimzo, came out of his cave to denounce Coulter. We all were entertained by his usual spew. He is shocked and appalled that Ann could say such a thing; poor dear, hope he does not blow a gasket. I was worried he had 'movedOn'. But did Maher's wishing the enemy could score a victory in this war against us cause zimmzo any outrage? Nope.

Conservatives are a bigger threat in Zimzo's eyes than Al Qaeda. More tellingly the conservatives are a bigger threat in the eyes of the liberal press than is Al Qaeda. The enemies of this country are always given the benefit of the doubt. Note the interviews CBS had with Hussein, or with the Iranian President. On the other hand, the interviews Dan Rather had with either Bush, were hit jobs. No such clean slate for conservatives, their actions are always impugned with negative intentions.

Hypocrisy is on display. Bill Maher is given a pass, Ann Coulter is pilloried. She may need it. But some public scorn for Maher is way overdue. Will it happen? Don't hold your breath.

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A great turnout by the Tancredo supporters!

First, a quick roundup of the presidential candidates so far.

I just got informed that, as the Sean Hannity session broke about 5 minutes ago, with literally hundreds of people streaming out of the ballroom like an ebb tide through a narrow isthmus, a man and woman stood outside the doors holding clipboards and buttons, vainly attempting to stop someone, anyone. The message? "Students for McCain ... students for McCain..."

This was John McCain's footprint at CPAC.

Tancredo's impromptu appearance before the college kids Thursday night was as good a speech as any of the candidates so far. (Web site here).

Duncan Hunter hit a home run. (Web site here).

Mike Huckabee seems like a decent guy, as does Sam Brownback, but I don't think either of them gives a rat's patoutie about immigration enforcement. Brownback devoted exactly 5 seconds of his half-hour speech to border security. About as long as it takes to verbalize "secure borders."

Huckabee gave the topic about 5 minutes, drawing a parallel between his experience as governor having to jump through all the security hoops at the airport, and the requirements would-be immigrants should be expected to meet in order to be allowed into America. But a person very informed on the issue told me that, with regard to addressing illegal immigration, Huckabee is "slime." Because I am the trusting sort, slime he shall ever be.

Furthermore, like the very nice gentleman Jim Demint (not running for president, just speaking), who spoke Thursday morning, Huckabee and Brownback are talking about the need to revitalize conservatism, to return to core principles, extolling the greatness of all that is virtuous and good, and how it is good, in the end, to be good. Blah blah blah.

I think this is all rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic until the borders are secured and immigration enforcement is in place. If the latter are not accomplished soon, the only virtuous America that will be left to extol will be a wistful reminiscence. If you need your memory jogged on this matter, watch Roy Beck's video.

Rudy Giuliani I missed on the basis of life being too short. He's pro-gun control, pro-abortion, totally untrustworthy on immigration enforcement.

Mitt Romney will get a separate post later on, and we will post the audio of his speech. For now, as the paper of record notes, we can just say it was very well-delivered. Of 27 minutes he devoted 75 seconds to immigration enforcement, but because he does give the appearance of being "flexible," maybe there is hope if that's what it comes down to.

Now, on to Tom.

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Everyone knows Tom's main issue. For him, immigration enforcement and border security is not simply an "issue" but a central principle of governance. As you will hear from his address to the full CPAC audience, immigration is not his sole focus but part of a larger concept of culture which might best be summarized as "America is unique and worth preserving." Additionally, as he states at the outset, Tom does stand firmly within the "conservative" movement and he calls into question whether certain others do ... Lot of others, actually.

There was a PHENOMENAL turnout of "Team Tancredo" folks in the audience - a bunch who came over from Virginia just for this event, along with a lot of college students. Sign-and-noise wise, Tancredo had as big a showing as any except Romney, which is pretty amazing since the entire organization is tiny. As in: this one guy, and a couple others of us who helped him carry his boxes in. (By contrast, Brownback appears to have conscripted a small army of students with t-shirts and all varieties of flair.)

Here's Tom.

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There turned out to be no chance of getting into position to sneak a photo of myself with Ann Coulter because it turns out Ann Coulter is guarded better than all the gold in Fort Knox.

As she certainly should be.

I could have gotten in line behind like 400 other people to get the book signed and perhaps a perfunctory few words from her, but after seeing her absorb one EXTREMELY rude a-hole's remarks to her during the audience Q and A, and then the unbelievably long line of fans - and poor Ann gamely keeping the smile and soldiering through the ritual - I just wanted her to be able to get out of there and have a scotch on the rocks.

My feelings for her are that pure.

Anyway, here she is. Later in the week I may have video but I think you will enjoy this. Turn the volume up.

CPAC 2007, Day 2: Duncan Hunter wow's 'em

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Duncan Hunter is on the 2008 map. He woke up the Day 2 CPAC audience with a machine-gun like 20 minute address focused largely on the issues of our misbegotten trade policies, the war and illegal immigration. Did not try to do too much, and he did it very well.

Listen to Hunter's address here.

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The result was numerous standing ovations and a huge scrum outside the ballroom with press and audience members seeking additional time with the congressman.

Mike Huckabee, who spoke about an hour later, was by contrast too cerebral and tried to cover too much, and consequently received a more subdued response. (Huckabee was not bad though. That coverage will come tonight).

CPAC 2007, Day 1: Tom Tancredo!

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March 1, 2007. Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo addresses crowd of young folks at an evening which was not on the agenda and appeared to be hosted by the Leadership Institute.

After having heard Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush in person during recent weeks, I will suggest that anyone saying Tancredo is "not presidential" either has not listened to Tancredo or has not listened to the other people often spoken of as having the right stuff.

Listen here:

Here's an excerpt:


This is so much more important than the argument over jobs, the argument over the costs of education, of helath care - all the rest of it. All those things are true and real problems we have with massive illegal immigration in the country. But beyond that, I'm telling you, there's something much more dangerous that we have to deal with, and it is an assault on the culture itself.

And it has nothing to do with race, ethnicity - that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about an assault on the idea of America. We are losing connection to that. And we are doing so for a lot of reasons. There is this cult of multiculturalism for one thing, that permeates our society.

It pushes us in directions that I think are dangerous. It separates us. It does nothing but continually draw us apart and divide us into camps and hyphenated Americans, and camps that are ethnically or linguistically separated - and we say, yeah that's good. We'll teach you in a language other than English. Yes, absolutely, keep your connections, your philosphical, your ethnic, your linguistic, your cultural - keep all your connections to the places you came from. Do not connect with America, after all what good is it to connect with America? Why would you want to do that? What do we offer you

This is the problem; this is the cult of multiculturalism, and that's what's happening here. It's not driven necessarily by immigration: It's exacerbated by it. It's exacerbated by millions of people coming here who do not want to be Americans. They come for the purpose of a variety of things, and certainly the economic opportunities that America affords them, and that is wonderful. That's why my grandparents came; that's what most people's parents or grandparents or great grandparents came for. Most of them came for that economic opportunity.

I do not fault them for that. But is it too much to ask, that along with that economic opportunity that this country affords you, that you accept something else: And that is the idea of being an American. That's it: American.

This is the battle we're fighting. As I said, it's more important than some of the other peripheral issues that we seem to get involved with and get in arguments about when we talk about immigration.

These are big issues; they are controversial. They're worthy, however, of your involvement; they're worthy of your commitment; because the country is worthy of it. What we're trying to say is worthy of it. It is western civilization that is at stake.

We are not simply a lot of people who happen to reside on the North American continent - which is what a lot of people want us to think of when we think about ourselves: It's just one big happy family that extends from Canada to Teira del Fuego.

No, it's not. Sandwiched in there is this place called America. And it's not the continent I'm talking about. It's the country. And there's something good, and unique, and different, and admirable, and worthy of saving. And it takes more than just the force of arms to do it. It takes the force of ideas.


By the way, there is a group of people coming over from Virginia for Tom's address this afternoon at 1:00 pm. IIf you are in the area, drop by the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

CPAC 2007, Day 1: Random sightings quiz

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First one to guess each of the 10 celebrities gets a Tom Tancredo sticker and a free one-year subscription to the NOVA TownHall Blog:

ANSWERS NOW POSTED

We'll start easy:
Number 1:

G. Gordon LIddy


This one's a tiny bit harder:
Number 2:

Michelle Malkin



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More to come ...

CPAC 2007, Day 1: Campaign flair

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One thing you can enjoy about presidential campaigning 21 months before the election is the early positioning each candidate maneuvers into; after carefully scanning the issues and the opposition, cagily eying the lay of the land, relying on top people for advice and insight - it's like watching the early moves in a great chess match in which the stakes are nothing less than the future of our world.

It can be mind boggling to try and comprehend the innumerable factors that make or break the early strategic game. What you can take to the bank, however, is the rock-solid evidence of who is pounding whom with the first tactical artillery rounds of campaign flair. And there is no better place to observe these early salvos of soul-searing cheeriness than at CPAC.

We hope to continue this survey throughout the conference, because in my experience it gets more and more competitive until by Saturday morning the opposing flair companies will be smacking each other across the face with their penny loafers.

For now, all is so cheery it's a bit hard to take early in the am. The early winner is certainly Brownback, but I sense a Romney surge on the way.


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(This above is for Jim Gilmore. Great looking kids; need to work on their flair visibility.)


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At this moment, nary a sign that either Rudy Giuliani or John McCain still walk the Earth.

UPDATE: The flair wars heat up!


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UPDATE II: Oh, yeah: Probably worth mentioning why the early positioning here.


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Sort of a de facto early primary, until everyone goes on vacation this summer and forgets all about who won the 2007 CPAC straw poll. But a bump is a bump ...

CPAC 2007, Day 1: A bracing start

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Whew. This is going to be amazing. Right off the bat I've made a major - and I mean MAJOR - networking coup here, as one of the fellow bloggers at Bloggers Row is the one and only Captain Ed of the now-legendary Captain's Quarters blog.

You'll be interested to know that the Captain is, despite the lofty status, quite approachable, especially if you sneak up while he is on the phone and get someone to snap a photo real quick before Ed knows what's happening. Works like a charm.

I am 100% confident that before these three days are up, I will exchange words with Captain Ed. That will be cool.

Needless to say, this stealth photo technique will be fine-tuned in the hours to come, in preparation for the "Coulter project."

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