Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fred Thompson: "Setting The Record Straight"

I'm going to let Fred's words speak for themselves on this one, as it is refreshing to listen to someone speak that isn't consumed by ego...

"Setting The Record Straight" - Fred Thompson

Every once in a while I am more thankful than ever for today’s technology which allows me to talk to you directly instead of having to go through the filter of the main stream media.

Some of them are intent on making the outcome of the campaign dependent upon their pre-conceived notions. Every once in a while their incomplete and slanted coverage makes this clear.

Today I had this story written about me regarding what I said at a Town Hall event in Burlington, Iowa by a reporter who wasn’t even at the event. Incidentally, I declined to be interviewed by this particular reporter yesterday for reasons which will soon be apparent.

In referring to me, she reported “he doesn’t like modern campaigning, isn’t interested in running for President, and will not be devastated” if he doesn’t win.

Below is a transcript of what I actually said in response to a question by a local Burlington resident which was the basis of the reporter’s story.

It is clear that there are those in the media who will exact a high price for candor and from those whom they consider to be insufficiently ambitious. But it is with increasing amazement that we see that those who are willing to slant or leave out important parts of a story to make their point.

If a candidate succumbs to this he will be reduced to nothing more than a sound bite machine.
As for me I am going to continue to say exactly what is in my heart and is on my mind and give straight and honest answers to those who ask straight and honest questions.

Incidentally, the audience in Burlington broke into applause in the middle of my answer. The reporter wouldn’t know that because she wasn’t even there.

The transcript is below the fold . . .

Q: (Courtesy ABC News) My only problem with you and why I haven’t thrown all my support behind you is that I don’t know if you have the desire to be President. If I caucus for you next week, are you still going to be there two months from now?

That is a very good question, not because it’s difficult to answer, but I’m gonna answer it in a little different way than what you might expect.

In the first place, I got into the race about the time people normally get into get into it. The fact of the matter is people get into it a lot earlier than they used to. For some of them, they were juniors in high school.

The first place, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. I wouldn’t be doing this. I grew up in very modest circumstances. I left government and I and my family have made sacrifices to be sitting here today. I haven’t had any income for a long time because I figured to be clean, you’ve got to cut everything off. I was doing speaking engagements and I had a contract to do a tv show. I had a contract with abc radio…and so forth. A man would have to be a total fool to do all those things and to be leaving his family which is not a joyful thing if he didn’t want to do it.

I am not consumed by personal ambition. I will not be devastated if I don’t do it. I want the people to have the best president they can have.

When this talk first originated from people around the country both directly and through polls, liked the idea of me stepping up and of course, you always look better form a distance.

But most of those people are still there. I approached it from the standpoint of a deal. A kind of a marriage. If one side of a marriage really has to be talked into the marriage, it probably ain’t going to be a good deal. But if you mutually decide it’s going to be a good thing. In this case, if you think this is a good thing for the country, then we have an opportunity to do some wonderful things together.

I’m offering myself up. I’m saying that I have the background, the capability and concern to do this and do it for the right reasons. I’m not particularly interested in running for president, but I think I’d make a good president.

Nowadays, the process has become much more important than it used to be.

I don’t know that they ever asked George Washington a question like this. I don’t know that they ever asked Dwight D. Eisenhower a question like this. But nowadays, it’s all about fire in the belly. I’m not sure in the world we live in today it’s a good thing if a president has too much fire in the belly. I approach life differently than a lot of people. People, I guess, wonder how I’ve been as successful as I’ve been in everything that I’ve done. I won two races in TN by 20 point margins in a state that bill Clinton carried twice. I’ve never had an acting lesson. I guess that’s obvious by people who’ve watched me…

When I did it, I did it. Wasn’t just a lark. Anything that’s worth doing is worth doing well. But I’ve always been a little more laid back than most. I’m only consumed by very, very few things. Politics is not one of them. The welfare of our country and our kids and grandkids is one of them.

If people really want in their president super type-a personality, someone who has gotten up every morning and gone to bed every night and been thinking about for years how they win the presidency of the united states, someone who can look you straight in the eye and say they enjoy every minute of campaigning, I ain’t that guy. So I hope I’ve discussed that and didn’t talk you out of anything. I honestly want – I can’t imagine a worse set of circumstances [than] achieving the Presidency of the United States under false pretenses. I go out of my way to be myself.

(h/t United Conservatives of Virginia)

Virginia Democrats Winners and Losers of 2007


They were motivated, organized, and took back the State Senate. They also gained seats in the House of Delegates and put together some great grassroots efforts in quite a few races. They made serious inroads in the Tidewater region as well as continued their efforts to solidify Northern Virginia, epsecially Fairfax County, as "blue" territory.

Sen. Creigh Deeds
Another good year for Mr. Deeds, who supports nonpartisan redistricting (much to the chagrin of Senate majority leaders), continues to hold his State Senate district despite being surrounded in a sea of "red" districts, and has already staked his claim as THE candidate for Governor in 2009.

Former Gov. Mark Warner
He announces a run for Senate, and is the presumptive favorite already. While Warner will have to answer questions about his record (such as his record of tax increases), Warner is by far the best candidate the Dems have put up to run for Senate in the past 2 comparison, Jim Webb won last year due to "macaca", and Chuck Robb took advantage of a GOP split in support to win in 1994. Warner, unlike Webb and Robb, should be the first Dem Senate candidate that can win without controversy on his opponent's side.


While taking back the State Senate, they did not quite make the gains in the House of Delegates that they thought they would, and they only made inroads in the Tidewater area...however, central Virginia and the Valley (Creigh Deeds the exception) remain GOP strongholds. Also, a "NoVa vs. RoVa" split has reared it's ugly head, and if we see Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds face off in a primary for Governor, things can only get worse for that split.

Pro-Illegal Alien Democrats
In fact, you did not hear much in the way of opposition from Democratic politicians to the movement to enforce immigration laws on a local level due to the popular support throughout the state for this movement. In Prince William County, which is the biggest focal point of the immigration debate in Virginia, it was pro-immigration enforcement candidates that won election/re-election.

Grassroots Outside NoVa/Tidewater
Connie Brennan, Michael Breiner, Eric Ferguson, Carolyn Frank...these were all candidates that were supposed to push forward a blue-ward shift in areas like The Valley, Central Virginia, and Roanoke/Salem. None of these candidates won. Ferguson was the odds-on favorite and lost due to excellent grassroots work on the GOP side, Frank never had a campaign, Breiner faced candidate (Ralph Smith) who knocked off an incumbent (Brandon Bell) in a narrowly contested GOP primary and lost. Brennan never got any traction on the ground against Watt Abbitt. All of these candidates had problems with getting going with the grassroots, and it seems that in many areas outside of NoVa and the Tidewater region, the Dem grassroots just can't provide any push.


Governor Tim Kaine
The Gov scored well this year in his post-Va Tech leadership, raising his national profile by becoming a vocal support of Barack Obama's, and in attempting to put together a somewhat fiscally prudent budget, without tax increases, in the face of a revenue shortfall. However, his narrowing of abuser fees to Virginia drivers only, general misery on the transportation front, conflicting with harder-left Dems on taxes, and going back on a campaign promise by drawing from the transportation fund to cover budget expenses has made this a 50/50 year for the Governor.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Virginia Republican Winners and Losers of 2007


Reps. Rob Wittman and Eric Cantor
A virtual unknown statewide, Wittman came from nowhere to win the GOP nomination and handily win the 1st Congressional District special election and ascended from little-known state delegate to sitting in the U.S. House of Representatives. Wittman's election, and the effort shown by the RPV to secure his election, is the first step in healing the rift between moderate and conservative Republicans.

Cantor is quickly becoming a thorn in the side of Congressional Democrats. He has been slowly emerging from the ashes of K Street to become a key leader on Capitol Hill as the Chief Deputy Whip of the House GOP. He also exerts influence as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, fighting to keep taxes low and trade agreements strong and favorable. His humorous video criticizing Democrats in Congress has been a hit on the web, as well.

Northern and Central Valley Republicans - Sen. Mark Obenshain, Sen. Emmett Hanger, Sen-Elect Jill Vogel, Del. Todd Gilbert, Del. Chris Saxman.
Where to begin...Obenshain has become a party leader in the Senate, Hanger fended off a strong challenge in the primary and still swept the general election in convincing fashion, Vogel took over from RINO Russ Potts despite Dems trying desperately to knock her off. Gilbert was a 2007 workhorse, introducing over 30 bills in 60 days and leading the fight to stop illegal immigration. Saxman went from semi-recognizable Valley figure to statewide sensation by teasing a possible run at the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Ken Cuccinelli
Cuccinelli won his district by running an efficient campaign and by sticking to his principles and pointing out his opponent's flaws in a precise manner. The Democrats threw everything but the kitchen sink into getting Janet Oleszek elected, and even the demographics in Fairfax had seemingly fallen out of Cuccinelli's favor. However, by sticking to his conservative principles and just "being Ken", Cuccinelli won reelection by a slim margin in a blue-trending region of Virginia.

Attorney General Bob McDonnell
McDonnell has announced a run at the Governor's mansion in 2009, and he also has been a standout figure all year long. From challenging the legality and authority of undercover agents from the City of New York (authorized by Mayor Michael Bloomberg) to his reaching out for bipartisan support of law enforcement and sound policy-making, Bob McDonnell has positioned himself well for a shot at becoming the next Governor of Virginia.


State Senate RINOs
Russ Potts and John Chichester retired, but could not get anyone to succeed them ideologically and talked themselves into irrelevance, Potts especially. Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis was such a RINO that she was considered to be running to the left of her Democratic opponent Chap Petersen, and even gushed that she was proud of her RINO status.

The Davis Family in General
Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis was an example of how a time bomb can go off more than once, as she (along with her campaign) had several implosions and horrid missteps along the way. Tom Davis got so involved with saving his wife's campaign that it came at the cost of his own image, and now Rep. Davis suddenly does not a appear to be actively seeking re-election next year...which leaves an open seat, a few well-known Dem challengers, and nobody in particular to succeed Davis on the GOP side.

Dave Albo
Let's see...most ardent supporter of the abuser fees, ran unopposed and yet a whopping 12.35% (1,402 votes) went for a "write in" name instead of him. Now, he wants to introduce jail time for those who can't pay their abuser fees. He's one of those Republicans that will see a serious challenge in 2009 unless something drastic happens.

Iowa Polls: Huck and Mitt Still Lead, Fred Entrenched in 3rd Place

Courtesy of Real Clear Politics, here are the latest Iowa polls.

LA Times/Bloomberg (12/20-12/26)
- Huckabee 36%, Romney 28%, Thompson 10%, McCain 8%, Giuliani 8%, Paul 1%

Research 2000 (12/26-12/27)
- Huckabee 34%, Romney 27%, Thompson 11%, McCain 8%, Giuliani 8%, Paul 8%

Strategic Vision (12/26-12/27)
- Huckabee 29%, Romney 27%, Thompson 15%, McCain 14%, Giuliani 4%, Paul 4%

Interesting, even though all 6 candidates place in the same general order, some conclusions can be drawn from these polls.

First, while Huckabee leads in all 3, his amount of support wavers quite a bit between the 3 polls. Romney seems to have the steadiest base of support. Fred's numbers go up 4-5 points from pre-Christmas to post-Christmas. McCain has spotty, but all-over-the-place support. Giuliani has no hope in Iowa, and Ron Paul goes from 1% to 4% to 8%...which one is it?

Nonetheless, I'm coming to the conclusion that Huckabee/Romney will be a 1-2 finish either way, but the coveted 3rd spot (which candidates need to carry momentum past Iowa) should go to the now-resurgent Fred instead of John McCain, who seems to be betting on New Hampshire as his true launching point.

Podium Positions: Federal Budget

Budgetary Viewpoints from The Podium...

Understandably, it's hard to reduce spending while fighting two separate military operations. However, as the situation continues to improve in Iraq, we can start projecting how we can save billions just by coming to a favorable end to our occupation of that nation. $145 billion has been allocated for the Global War on Terror, Iraq consumes a large part of that in and of itself. Once Iraq is done with and we wind things down a bit more in Afghanistan, we could cut the current budget deficit of $240 billion in half.

However, we must currently continue to create a favorable outcome in Iraq now, as future U.S.-involved conflict due to leaving Iraq in bad shape would mean future military operations there. To leave Iraq now would lead to more spending later.

Entitlements - Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid/SCHIP/Welfare/Unemployment
Until then, some trimming around the edges of other government programs will be necessary, we need to find a way to do this without hurting those who actually need government assistance.

The introduction of privatized Social Security (at least in an optional sense) would help. The U.S. federal budget will spend $608 billion dollars on Social Security for the fiscal year of 2008. It is the single-most expensive item of spending in our budget, and it gets more expensive each year.

$324 billion will be spent on welfare/unemployment, this can be cut down if we can stimulate job growth "from the ground up", so to speak.

The combined $595 billion spent on Medicare/Medicaid/SCHIP could be made a lot cheaper if we opened up health insurance to the free markets just like car insurance, life insurance, et cetera. You, the individual, find the plan and the price that is right for you. In fact, we can probably even set up government-funded assistance for people who don't quite know what to look for when shopping around for insurance and still cut down on this price tag.

Also, by adopting a more federalist approach, we can defer funding for abortions to the state level, and there the states can decide whether or not they choose to provide funding and assistance for abortion practices on their own, thus removing financial responsibility from the federal government.

With lowered spending comes less of a need for taxes. While I'm not calling for the dissolution of the IRS just yet, the combination of lower spending and a simpler tax code would lessen the need for any future tax increases, and may lead to a call for tax decreases.

Whether we're talking federal, state, or local levels, fiscal prudence will always be an appealing cornerstone for conservatives. The George W. Bush-style of budgeting money has not been fiscally prudent overall. While his tax cuts have kept money in the pockets of those who earned it, spending has continued to increase.

However, the reigning in of spending increases has occurred over the past few years. The federal budget deficit has gone from $390 billion (FY 2006) to about $240 billion (FY 2008). Continued reduction at this rate will lead to a balanced budget, or budget surplus, by Fiscal Year 2011.

We must continue on this track, and find ways to "trim the fat" from our budget.

Optional privatization of social security allows people to make a choice to invest their social security funds, which allows for less spending on social security itself. Lower taxes puts money back in the pockets of those who earned the money in the first place. Less federal spending makes our government less cumbersome and more nimble and flexible to foreign and domestic changes. Finally, the reduction and streamlining of entitlement programs increases the amount of independency American citizens have from the federal government.

Fred Thompson's "Red Truck Challenge"

The Fred Thompson "Red Truck Challenge" is winding down, and it has been a success so far as all but one objective has been reached, money-wise.

If you want in-depth, common sense leadership in the White House, click on the "Fred 08" link on the right sidebar of this blog and donate what you can. $25, $50, $100...whatever you can spare.

Support Fred and support honesty and common sense in politics

John McCain on Health Care Reform

The New Hampshire Union-Leader, which has endorsed John McCain for the GOP presidential nomination, carried a column today by the Arizona senator on health care reform and using a conservative, free market approach to tackle this issue.

I agree that a free market approach would be a very good solution to reforming the health care system in this country. Medicare is a mess, people are cheating the system left and right (I know people who are doing this, and freely admit to doing so), and many on the left want to expand Medicare coverage...which will only lead to more corruption of the system itself.

However, is McCain really the man to do this?

He talks about using a conservative approach, but McCain (the so-called "maverick") hasn't always taken a conservative approach to any of the larger pieces of legislation he has created/supported. Look at his immigration reform bill that he co-sponsored with Ted Kennedy, a far cry from conservative (or even common sense) legislation.

Then again, he did vote against Bush's tax cuts in 2001 because he wanted a decrease in spending tied to the cuts. He also was one of the people who exposed the whole Abramoff affair, which qualifies him as someone who supports honest government. He also supports privatized social security accounts, free trade, and has vocally opposed universal health care reform...which, in itself, at least puts McCain on the conservative side of the fence on this issue.

Nonetheless, McCain can talk about supporting free market health care all that he wants, but Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Ron Paul, and Duncan Hunter have all supported this as well, and pushed similar proposals. While I believe that McCain is right to support such a concept as free market health care reform, he's not the only GOP candidate supporting this.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fred Thompson on the Bhutto Assassination

View it here. Good answers from Fred.

A Break From Politics: Top 10 Songs/Albums of 2007

Let's take a second to get away from politics for a moment, and step into my boombox ;)

My 12 favorite albums of 2007, in no particular order (some of these are 2006 releases that were more relevant in 2007)

Amy Winehouse - "Back to Black"
- C'mon, this album put Winehouse on the map in a huge way, providing a new mix to a classic sound.
Linkin Park - "Minutes to Midnight"
- One of the most anticipated albums of the year, very good...not quite as good as "Meteora" or "Hybrid Theory", though.
Norah Jones - "Not Too Late"
- Smooth, mellow...the perfect soundtrack for romantic moments and/or smoky, dimly-lit jazz clubs.
Nas - "Hip Hop Is Dead"
- Nas continues to cement his status as a hip-hop icon with this album. One of the best rappers ever.
Modest Mouse - "We're Dead Even Before The Ship Sank"
- Fun indie rock, I've been a fan of Modest Mouse since the first time I heard the first line of their hit "Float On" a few years ago. Solid album by these guys.
Rihanna - "Good Girl Gone Bad"
- The best pure mainstream pop album to come down the pike in a while.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Is Is"
- A 5 song EP makes this list? You bet. This band is that good. If you haven't discovered the goodness that is Yeah Yeah Yeahs, pick up this album or 2006's "Show Your Bones".
Chamillionaire - "Ultimate Victory"
- Got lost in the noise that was the 50 Cent/Kanye album release battle...but is a better album than both. Also, if you look at the album "Parental Advisory" sticker. That's right, not only is it a really good hip-hop album, it's also a CLEAN hip-hop album.
The White Stripes - "Icky Thump"
- Can this band ever put out a "bad" album? Or a "mediocre" album? I'm convinced they can't.
Common - "Finding Forever"
- The best hip-hop album of the year, period. This is the album you play to people who don't like hip-hop and convert them.
Timbaland - "Timbaland Presents Shock Value"
- Timbo has gone from one of many "well-known" producers to THE top producer in hip-hop and pop music within the past decade. Timbaland is causing a shift in pop music's sound. - "Songs About Girls"
- Probably the only other "blown up" hip-hop producer that's working in pop-music production besides Timbaland. The leader of Black Eyed Peas puts out another great solo effort that has mostly simmered just under the radio radar.

My Top 12 Songs of 2007, again in no particular order...

Chamillionaire (feat. Slick Rick) - "Hip Hop Police"
- Great video, solid rhymes with a good back-and-forth between Cham and himself (as a police officer), Cham and Slick Rick...just great hip hop thats been sorely lacking over the past few years.
Justin Timberlake - "LoveStoned/I Think That She Knows (Interlude)"
- Funky, well-produced pop music. Being someone who is still nostalgic for New Jack Swing, funky dance pop/R&B like this gets my head nodding.
Killswitch Engage - "This Fire Burns"
- Although it was first released in the middle of last year, it became notable this year due to it being the theme song of pro wrestler CM Punk. One of my five favorite metal songs of all time.
Maroon 5 - "Wake Up Call"
- Any song that talks about catching your woman in bed with another man, and then you "shoot him dead" (as the song goes) works for me. Great song.
Fergie - "Fergalicious"
- The production on this by alone makes this a frickin' good song. The heavy sampling the old-school classic "Supersonic" by JJ Fad kicks a good-time nerve for old schoolers like me ;)
Avenged Sevenfold - "Bat Country"
- This song is 2 1/2 years old, but was getting HEAVY rotation until this past summer. Hell, they put out a new album 2 months ago, and this song still gets played on rock radio more than their new stuff. Epic metal.
Shop Boyz (feat. Lil Wayne, Jim Jones, and Chamillionaire) - Party Like a Rockstar (Remix)
- Hip hop meets heavy guitars and southern bass...and Lil Wayne puts out one of the most off-beat verses this side of Kool Keith (I'm heartless and iced-out see/I've got an icebox where my heart used to be)
Joss Stone (feat. Common) - "Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now"
- Stone's epic, soulful voice combined with Common's smooth flow equals hip-hop/soul goodness. Stone's voice is a cut above the rest in a crowded pack of wannabe female crooners.
Timbaland presents OneRepublic - "Apologize"
- 2007 was Timbo's year, and he tops it all off by giving us a remix to a song by an Alternative Rock band, OneRepublic, that had only been a "buzzworthy" band up until the release of this song.
50 Cent - "I Get Money"
- Look, I'm not Fiddy's biggest fan...but any song that pays tribute to Audio Two's "Top Billin'" like this song does will work for me. It's fun to just nod your head and let Fiddy tell you how rich he is in this song...where it usually becomes tiresome in other songs.
Paramore - "Misery Business"
- This is real "girl pop-punk", not Avril Lavigne, got it? Actually, this band sounds like Jimmy Eat World with a female lead. Nonetheless, it's loud pop-punk and extremely many other artists signed to Fueled By Ramen who have gone on to big things.
Mastodon - "Colony of Birchmen"
- This band picks up the baton dropped when Pantera broke up 4 years ago. It is probably the only real "metal" metal song I've seen in real rotation at MTV, and for good reason...this song ROCKS.

Ron Paul Running as a Consitution Party Candidate?

Interesting, I thought he would run on the Libertarian Party's ticket, due to his base of support there and the fact that the Libertarian Party has better name recognition and fundraising capabilities.

Paul could conceivably score 5-10% on a national ballot running as a third party candidate. He already pulls about 30-35% when matched up against Dems as a possible GOP candidate. If he runs on a third-party ticket, he would be a serious blow to GOP support in the actual election as Paul draws most his support from the libertarian and constructionist wings of the GOP.

Don't think the Dems don't know this, either. In fact, the article referenced above cites the fact that Paul has received funding and/or support from 9/11 conspiracy theorists, anti-war supporters, and possibly from both George Soros and However, it should be noted that once MoveOn's Paul supporters were "found out" by other Paulites (which are made up of largely "small-l" libertarians who don't like Democrats), they were not greeted with open arms.

(h/t Spark It Up)

A Little Speculation Over Bhutto's Assassination

Two thoughts that have come to mind with the sound and the fury going on in Pakistan...

- Is anyone else reminded of the assassination of Ahmad Masood (a leader Afghan rebels against Taliban and Al-Qaeda) that occurred 2 days before 9/11 occurred? Now, here we are, only a few days from New Years Eve...

- If further insurrection/violence/civil war occurs in Pakistan, who will be watching the nukes? Al-Qaeda would love to get their hands on a few nuclear weapons, I'm sure...and Pakistan is the only Muslim nation that we know has them in their arsenal.

Just some random thoughts.

D.J. McGuire Makes a Good Case for Bob Marshall

Del. Bob Marshall is one step away from a full-on run at the U.S. Senate. In anticipation of this run, D.J. McGuire (The Right-Wing Liberal) has made some compelling cases as to why he thinks Marshall can win against Mark Warner (or Julien Modica, should something crazy happen during the primaries), and how he can do it.

"How Bob Marshall Will Win" - Part I and Part II

He's actually convincing me to start throwing my support behind Marshall. I was getting pretty big on the idea of Chris Saxman running, but Saxman decided to bow out of a bid for John Warner's soon-to-be-open Senate seat.

Whoever runs for the GOP nomination will have to contend with former Governor Jim Gilmore at a party convention.

BREAKING: Benazir Bhutto Assassinated, UPDATE: Al-Qaeda Leader Admits They Were Behind It

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, and the first female leader of a Muslim nation, Benazir Bhutto was killed this morning in an attack by a suicide bomber.

Bhutto was shot in the neck and chest by the bomber, seconds later the bomber blew himself up and killed 20 others in the process. This attack comes with only a little over a week before the January 8th Parliamentary elections in Pakistan, where Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party was expected to do well because of their wide base of support throughout the country.

This bloody massacre is the latest in a string of events that has left Pakistan teetering on the brink of chaos and anarchy. Pakistan is a key ally of the United States in the Global War on Terror, especially in neighboring Afghanistan, and a nuclear weapon-possessing country.

This event will have global repercussions, as Bhutto was a key figure in the Muslim world and this will surely upset those who supported her and galvanize those who opposed her.


- Minutes after Bhutto was announced dead, Bhutto supporters at the hospital erupted in anger and changed "Killer, Killer, Musharraf" in reference to Bhutto's political opponent, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

- The last photo taken of Bhutto before her death.

- There was also another attempted attack today against another anti-Musharraf leader, Nawaz Sharif, that was thwarted by police. Also revealed in this article is the fact that Islamic militants have had it out for Bhutto, due to her support for women's rights, secular politics, and the American war on terror.

- State Department, President Bush both condemn the slaying of Bhutto.

- Live coverage on Sky News. The scene can only be described as mass anger and violence.

- Some blog reactions, courtesy of the Times Online. Also, a list of the main suspects who could be behind this.

- Reactions from 2008 Presidential hopefuls.

- AP: Musharraf administration states Al-Qaeda is behind attacks. Musharraf also makes a plea for peace in the nation.

- Al-Qaeda commander Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid claims that they indeed were behind this attack.

- D.J. McGuire has an excellent analysis regarding Bhutto's assassination, how things got to this point, and what it means for Pakistan in the future.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Kudlow: "President Bush had a very good year"

In a Washington Times column today, Lawrence Kudlow noted that, despite all of the negativity and criticism of his campaign, President Bush has had a good year.

The troop surge in Iraq is succeeding. America remains safe from terrorist attacks. And the Goldilocks economy is outperforming all expectations.

True enough, especially when you look at these numbers...which come despite the subprime crisis and overall housing market downturn.

- Headline inflation - 2.5%
- Core inflation - 2%
- Real GDP growth - 3%
- Consumer spending - 3%
- Jobs increasing at rate of 100,000/month
- Stock market continues to go up despite obstacles

Kudlow also notes Bush's legislative victories, economic optimism, and his crusade against wasteful spending and pork-barrel earmarks.

Mr. Bush's optimism is well-earned, in Congress too. He has stopped a lot of bad legislation on higher taxing and spending. He won on S-CHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program) and the alternative minimum tax. He mostly prevailed on domestic spending. And he got much of what he wanted on war funding without any pullout dates.

And he is not yet finished. In the most dramatic statement of his holiday news conference, Mr. Bush said he will not stand for continuing congressional proliferation of pork-barrel earmarks.

"Another thing that's not responsible is the number of earmarks the Congress included in the massive spending bill," said Mr. Bush. "The bill they just passed includes about 9,800 earmarks. Together with the previously passed defense spending bill, that means Congress has approved about 11,900 earmarks this year. And so I am instructing Budget Director Jim Nussle to review options for dealing with wasteful spending in the omnibus bill."

This is huge. The statute of limitations for Republican overspending, over-earmarking, and over-corrupting that caused huge congressional losses in last year's campaign will not run out until the GOP shows taxpayers it again can be trusted on key issues of limited government and lower taxes.

In these matters, Republicans must be holier than the pope. And while President Bush has been doing the Lord's work with his newfound veto pen, he must continue to wage war on earmarks if the GOP is to cleanse the political memory of Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, and Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

This behemoth spending-bill was porked-up with such essential items as rodent control in Alaska ($113,000); olive fruit-fly research in France ($213,000); a hunting and fishing museum in Pennsylvania ($200,000); a bike trail in Minnesota ($700,000); a post office museum in Las Vegas ($200,000); and a $2 million monument to Rep. Charlie Rangel in New York.

Will Rangel's monument be inscribed with his quote that "Dick Cheney is a real son of a bitch"? Just wondering, since my federal tax dollars are going to support a project like this.

Kudlow finishes with some optimism and advice for how the GOP should go forward in making the economy even better.

Republicans also can take credit for outmaneuvering the Democrats on a patch for the AMT. The Democrats were made to waive the pay-as-you-go budget rule that might have forced tax increases on businesses and investment pools. Stopping this tax hike is a singular Republican achievement, while the AMT will now be indexed for inflation, thereby sparing more than 20 million taxpayers.

Looking ahead, the economy also would benefit from a corporate tax cut for both large and small businesses, including corporate capital-gains. The U.S. dollar would reap the rewards as new investment flowed in from the world. Several recent studies also show businesses would pass on tax-cost savings to the work force, thereby bolstering wages and ultimately creating new jobs.

Hokey ideas for temporary tax rebates? They should be ignored. But if the president and Republicans wipe out earmarks, hold down spending, and pass a bold corporate tax cut, Goldilocks will be nourished and sustained. Come November 2008, Republicans might be back in the driver's seat.

President Bush's Statement on H.R. 2764

Otherwise known as the Omnibus Spending Bill.

Today, I signed into law H.R. 2764, legislation that will fund the Federal Government within the reasonable and responsible spending levels I proposed - without raising taxes and without the most objectionable policy changes considered by the Congress. This law provides a down payment for the resources our troops need, without arbitrary timelines for withdrawal. The Congress should quickly take action next year to provide the remainder of the funding needed by our troops.

I am disappointed in the way the Congress compiled this legislation, including abandoning the goal I set early this year to reduce the number and cost of earmarks by half. Instead, the Congress dropped into the bill nearly 9,800 earmarks that total more than $10 billion. These projects are not funded through a merit-based process and provide a vehicle for wasteful Government spending.

There is still more to be done to rein in Government spending. In February I will submit my budget proposal for fiscal year 2009, which will once again restrain spending, keep taxes low, and continue us on a path towards a balanced budget. I look forward to working with the Congress in the coming year to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.

Finally, this legislation contains certain provisions similar to those found in prior appropriations bills passed by the Congress that might be construed to be inconsistent with my Constitutional responsibilities. To avoid such potential infirmities, the executive branch will interpret and construe such provisions in the same manner as I have previously stated in regard to similar provisions.

Hopefully, we can have less earmarks and "pork-barrel" spending, and we can further reduce the budget deficit, which has been on a steady decline over the past few years.

(h/t News Blaze)

Sing-A-Long-Derb 2007

John Derbyshire uses Christmas tunes to parody what's going on in politics right now.

Click here to read some of Derbyshire's funny little ditties.

Top 10 Virginia Political Blog Stories of 2007

The stories that made the blogosphere buzz...

10) GOP politicians join the blogosphere - Jim Gilmore, George Allen, Brandon Bell, and Marty Williams all started their own blogs in the 2nd half of 2007 in an attempt to help conservatives catch up to liberals in terms of how loud their digital voices were heard.

09) The quick rise and fall of Virginia Oddsmaker - This was everyone's favorite Virginia blog for one hot second (including me), then inexplicably collapsed for no known reason.

08) The near-implosion of Roscoe Reynolds' campaign - When Roscoe angrily dodged questions about his questionable campaign consultants on a local TV show, the ensuing words that were typed by bloggers were deafening.

07) Blogs United - Some thought it went well, others did not. Many people believe that there will not be another bipartisan conference of this kind with bloggers due to their mostly-partisan nature. To this, I (and others) say "nay", but many disagree with me.

06) Joe Stanley/ODBA - Joe Stanley, a political consultant, likens the ODBA to Satan's Children (well, to sum it all up) and then links a false ODBA website to the NAMBLA website. Ben Tribbett at NLS (and friend of Stanley's) attempts to set up Daily Whackjob (Whackette in particular) as the fall guys for this revelation, and then attempts to smear the ODBA itself.

05) Blogging Ethics - Was the buzzphrase for most of the spring and summer as bloggers argue over what constitutes "good" blogging ethics.

04) SWAC vs. The World, the Hanger/Sayre primary - Conservative bloggers who supported Scott Sayre in the 24th Senate District primary got into it with other conservative bloggers, liberal bloggers, the Staunton News-Leader...the tension and ill feelings were quite palpable for a while.

03) Election '07, Dems Take State Senate - Riding momentum from the 2006 national elections, strong grassroots work in the Tidewater area, and a growing "blue" trend in NoVa, the Dems took control of the State Senate and made a few gains in the House of Delegates.

02) Abuser Fee Uproar - Most people hate it, the Dems blame the GOP, the GOP blames the Dems, Gov. Kaine applies fee to Virginia drivers only, and the ensuing debacle that occurred.

01) The Virginia Tech Massacre - I don't think this needs any description as to why it was so important.

Any other stories that hit the blogs this year that you feel warrants inclusion, any stories here that need to be excluded? What's your take?

When Senators Have Nothing Else To Do

Sen. John Kerry wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner regarding the fact that the game between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants will be shown on NFL Network on Sunday evening, instead of on NBC where it can be seen by many more people without having to subscribe to the NFL network. Both teams have clinched playoff spots, but the game is notable as the Patriots look to become the first team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins to go undefeated in a regular season, and the first team to go undefeated since the schedule was expanded to 16 games in 1978.

In fact, Sen. Kerry is threatening to hold Senate hearings against the NFL if they don't make this broadcast more available.

"I remain deeply troubled that today as many as 250,000 Massachusetts households, and millions of Patriots fans nationwide, may be denied access to this historic sporting event," Kerry wrote.

Err, deeply troubled? We've got military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, rumblings about the economy, a Senate that will be back in session full-time in a few weeks, divisive feelings across the political spectrum, Russia selling a missile defense shield to Iran, and we're coming up on an election year.

With all of that going on in the world, what "deeply troubles" John Kerry is that not enough people will see the New England Patriots (who also happen to play in Foxborough, Massachusetts...the same state from which Kerry hails) finish an undefeated season.

Now, tell me Sen. Kerry, would you be as troubled if it was...oh, let's say, the Washington Redskins that were on the cusp of an undefeated season?

Yeah, I didn't think so...

Romney vs. Huckabee

An article by Laura Meckler and Elizabeth Holmes at the Wall Street Journal's website discusses the difference between the two GOP frontrunners in Iowa, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee.

They are very contrasting figures. Romney is a northern-bred fiscal conservative who comes from a business and political background, has a carefully polished image, and relies on many tactics of the business world (PowerPoint presentations and the like) to accentuate his points.

Huckabee, in comparison, is a southerner (born and raised) who was raised in a working class family, wears his faith on his sleeve due to his past as a Southern Baptist minister, and uses "good ol' boy" humor, southern charm, and biblical references to make his case to the public.

Interestingly enough, I can identify with both men on a personal level. I'm the son of a firefighter and grew up middle class, just like Huckabee. However, much like Mitt Romney, I am more of a northerner by birth, I tend to keep my religion to myself unless it's brought up by someone else, and I like a good suit.

While Huckabee says things in a down-home, folksy manner that appeal to the common man, Romney has experience and leadership advantages over

If asked to choose between the two, Romney would be the man I would vote for. He's produced results in the business world and the political realm by using sound fiscal prudence and intelligent decision-making skills.

Huckabee, in my opinion, has not proven himself to be a fiscally prudent executive based on his record as Governor of Arkansas and may continue to expand government, which is the opposite of the true solution. His foreign policy knowledge and stances are rather weak, as is his stances and history on illegal immigration.

But alas, outside of Iowa, I don't think the Huckster's momentum will carry him to many more victories. Between Romney and Giuliani's strength in other states, and the resurgence of John McCain and Fred Thompson, Huckabee needs some meat behind his campaign talk...relying on religion and the FairTax alone does not make one a qualified candidate, in my opinion.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas From The Podium

Merry Christmas To All of the Readers of The Podium.
May this glorious time bring you peace, joy, and love. The Podium will resume blogging on December 26th :)
Peace and Love, Phil C.

IHT's Early Odds on the Presidential Candidates

A lot of BS being shucked around in this one, but worth a look anyway. This is the International Herald Tribune's odds on who will be the 44th President of the United States as of right now.

Hillary Clinton: 3-1
Barack Obama: 7-2
Mitt Romney: 5-1
John McCain: 8-1
Rudy Giuliani: 10-1
John Edwards: 10-1
Mike Huckabee: 12-1
Fred Thompson: 20-1
All Other Republican Party Candidates: 25-1
All Other Democratic Party Candidates: 40-1

A Little Christmas Playlist :)

The Christmas Playlist at Podium HQ, because the term "mixtape" is apparently out of style, I named artists if a particular version is what I was looking for :)...

- "O Holy Night" - My personal favorite
- "Let It Snow" - Boyz II Men and Brian McKnight
- "Hark, The Harold Angels Sing"
- "Angels We Have Heard on High
- "Adeste Fideles" (O Come All Ye Faithful)
- "12 Pains of Christmas" - Bob Rivers (brilliant "12 Days of Christmas" parody)
- "Santa Baby" - Madonna
- "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" - Alvin and the Chipmunks
- "Jingle Bell Rock" - Brian Setzer version
- "All I Want For Christmas Is You" - Mariah Carey
- "Silent Night"

What Did I Tell You?

The "reverse migration" of illegal immigrants has already begun.

I was advocating this "solution by attrition" over at Daily Whackjob in a heated discussion I was having with others over illegal immigration. I stated that if you take away the jobs/handouts available to illegal immigrants, and that if you make them believe that we're going to actually get serious as a nation on immigration control, they'll start to leave on their own.

Now, the article admits that part of the reason is the slowdown of economic growth has some illegals worried that the number of jobs available are going to shrink. This, combined with states cracking down on employers of illegal aliens, does not make many places that were once safe havens for illegal immigrants very appealling anymore.

Want to know who else has stated this theory as part of the solution to the illegal immigrant problem? Fred Thompson, of course.

Redskins Take Matters Into Their Own Hands

The Redskins came into the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome last night with a sense of purpose, drive, desire, and momentum.

Combining a grinding running attack with a timely passing game and a punishing defensive effort, the Washington Redskins walked out of last night's game 32-21 winners over the Minnesota Vikings.

Clinton Portis ground out 76 yards and a rushing touchdown against the top-ranked rush defense in the NFL, and also threw a touchdown pass to Antwaan Randle-El in the 2nd quarter. Todd Collins, starting again in place of the injured Jason Campbell, had a magnificent performance. Collins completed 22 of 29 passes for 254 yards and two TD's, with no interceptions.

The receiving corps had one of their better days overall, as well. Santana Moss caught 4 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown, and Antwaan Randle-El had 5 catches for 66 yards and the aforementioned touchdown reception from Portis.

The defense forced 3 turnovers, including two interceptions off of the arm of Vikes QB Tavaris Jackson, and stuffed rookie sensation Adrian Peterson to just 27 yards on 9 carries. Peterson, as you may recall, set an NFL single-game record with 296 yards rushing against the Chargers earlier this year.

The Redskins (8-7) did not turn the ball over once, and even led 25-0 at halftime. When the Vikings (8-7) closed the gap to 25-14 in the 4th quarter, the Redskins marched down the field and scored another touchdown to make the game 32-14 with less than 6 minutes to go and solidified their victory. A Viking touchdown with less than 2 minutes remaining in the game rounded out the scoring.

This is their 3rd win in a row, and also a big win as the Redskins HAD to beat Minnesota to keep their hopes alive for the playoffs. Now, they control their destiny, as a victory against the 13-2 Dallas Cowboys next week at FedEx Field will give them a playoff berth. In fact, if the Skins lose next week, they're still in the playoffs if Minnesota loses next week, as well.

They have been playing solid football all-around over the past 3 weeks, ever since Sean Taylor's funeral and the injury to Jason Campbell, it seems this team is turning tragedy into triumph. After falling to 5-7, the Redskins won 24-16 over Chicago, 22-10 over the Giants, and now an 11 point victory over the upstart Vikings, none of these wins have been flukes, and they have all come against good football teams.

With the Cowboys having wrapped up the division, and Terrell Owens injured, many suspect that this gives the Redskins (who nearly beat the Cowboys in Dallas) a good shot at winning and earning their 2nd playoff trip in the last 3 years.

History tells us that this could be a Redskins win, as well...any time the Skins and Cowboys play a game that has anything beyond the rivalry at stake, and the game is in Washington...the Skins win.

- 1972 NFC Championship - Redskins 26, Cowboys 3
- 1982 NFC Championship - Redskins 31, Cowboys 17
- Dec. 1992, Skins need to win to earn playoff berth - Redskins 20, Cowboys 13
- Dec. 1997, Last game at RFK - Redskins 37, Cowboys 10
- Dec. 2005, Skins need win to keep playoff hopes alive - Redskins 35, Cowboys 7

Need I go on? I didn't think so. This Redskins team is refocused, re-energized, and ready to roll!