Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Seems that My Hero is keeping it going (insert Jarhead grunt/growl here):
In Following His Own Script, Webb May Test Senate's Limits
By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 29, 2006; A01
At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia's newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn't long before Bush found him.
"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.
"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.
"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"
"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.
Webb was narrowly elected to the U.S. Senate this month with a brash, unpolished style that helped win over independent voters in Virginia and earned him support from national party leaders. Now, his Democratic colleagues in the Senate are getting a close-up view of the former boxer, military officer and Republican who is joining their ranks.
If the exchange with Bush two weeks ago is any indication, Webb won't be a wallflower, especially when it comes to the war in Iraq. And he won't stick to a script drafted by top Democrats.
A strong backer of gun rights, Webb may find himself at odds with many in his party. (K-Rom: MAY!?!) He expressed support during the campaign for a bill by his opponent, Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), that would allow concealed weapons in national parks. But an aide said this week that Webb will review Allen's legislation.
"I think he's going to be a total pain. He is going to do things his own way. That's a good thing and a bad thing," the staff member said. But he said that Webb's personality may be just what the Senate needs. "You need a little of everything. Some element of that personality is helpful."
Keep it up. . . the entrenched leadership in the Senate needs a good rear-kicking.
Contrast these happenings with the Maryland Democratic Senators:
"Feminization" of society
(decline of male competence, rise of metrosexual culture)
My wife thinks I may be a closet gay because "no straight guy dresses that well." LOL
Anyway, I have been all to aware of this phenomena among my 30-something peers(esp. "New Urbanists") who can barely function apart from holding court at happy hours or dinner parties. Good thing their high salaries allows them this "lifestyle." Hope their isn't an economic downturn or anything.
I doubt it is because of lack of male influence because most of these acquantainces of mine have two-parent homes. I think it is more "lifestyle" than parenting that contributed to this sad state. At 19 I was out of the house. Nowadays, people seem to keep living at home and sponging off the folks until nigh near 30. Also, among higher-income types, manual labor of any sort is seen as "unseemly" because brain-smarts are supposed to be where it's at. Possibly, it might also be a status symbol of sorts to be able to say you have the cash to throw at a repair guy, but you justify this by claiming helplessness and being "forced" to pay someone to unclog your toilet.
Soil my hands with that wrench? Why would I do that when I just got a manicure?
Hunting? Forget it - too barbaric, "but call me T-Bone".
Plant a garden box? Too much dirt involved.
Mowing the lawn? That's for "Mexicans" (direct quote from a DC "Urban Liberal").
Car won't start? Call AAA ("what are jumper cables?").
Self-protection? "If there's a problem, just dial 911!! Guns and stuff?! That's the police's job"(another direct quote).
You get the point.
As a father for a 2 y/o, I believe it is my duty to teach my son how to do all of the above plus more. Heinlein was right: Renaissance men are needed if society it to continue. (Read Dan Simmons' Ilium to see one of the latest incarnations of this archetype)
I can guarantee you that Mujahadeen Abdul in Fallujah, or Muja Hafeez in Kandahar can do all of the above. That is why when the US completes its self-destruction within the next 20 years, Hafeez and Abdul will be telling their grandkids about The Great Satan that was, while many "New Urbanists" won't have been around long enough to have grandkids.
"The National Guard, funded by the federal government, occupying property leased to the federal government, using weapons owned by the federal government, punishing trespassers under federal law, is a state militia."
I have to remember that one. I alse read somewhere that the Congressional Record has a statement that Congress made when it passed the NG enabling statutes back in th eearly 1900's. This statement was to the effect that Congress' power to pass the NG statute came from its "standing armies" authority under the Constitution.
I will have to do some digging . . . .
Monday, November 27, 2006
Trapped in MD
Ages 1-9 = Brooklyn, NY
Ages 9-16 = Pasadena, TX
Ages 16-18 = Brooklyn, NY
Ages 19-24 (c.1990-95) = Camp Lejeune NC, and a host of places in all hemispheres and four continents; below the Equator and above the Artic Circle
Ages 24-33 = Virginia, northern and "real"
Age 33-present = MD(!) due to marraige and my wife already owning a house in MoCo. I tried my darndest to get her to move to Arlington, but with her being an equestrian person, MD made more sense.
The things we do for love.
Mike Miller on the way out
According to the Baltimore Sun, there are three leading contenders for Miller's Senate Presidency:
The generally accepted front-runners in the race are the three veteran committee chairmen: Sen. Ulysses E. Currie of Prince George's County, Sen. Brian E. Frosh of Montgomery County and Sen. Thomas M. Middleton of Southern Maryland.
Sen. Joan Carter Conway of Baltimore, who takes over the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee in January, will also have a strong perch from which to position herself for the post over the next four years.
Other names that have been suggested by current members of the Senate include Sen. P.J. Hogan, a Montgomery County Republican-turned-Democrat who is vice chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee; and Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer, a Howard County Democrat who has been Miller's go-to guy on slot machines, BGE rates and other complex issues.
A dark horse possibility is Sen. Robert J. Garagiola, an attorney and Army veteran from Montgomery County who is well-liked and respected in the chamber but who has served only one term and has not held a leadership post.
I can tell you right now that Currie, Frosh, Carter Conway, and Garagiola would be disasters for this state. Anyone who supports a ban on so-called "assault weapons" fails the logical reasoning litmus test and shouldn't be in charge of a pair of safety scissors, much less the state senate.
That leaves Hogan, Middleton and Kasemeyer. Unlike those other three, these guys appear pretty reasonable at first glance:
Middleton, Hogan and Kasemeyer are known as moderate or conservative Democrats, making them philosophically similar to Miller.
I don't know much about these three, but will be doing some research in the coming years. . .
A new Senate president might do more to demonstrate the leanings of the membership than to change the body's direction, said Sen. John C. Astle, an Anne Arundel County Democrat. Miller kept his leadership post for so long largely because he kept himself in tune with the mood of the Senate, Astle said.
"He did it by keeping everybody happy," Astle said. "I haven't really seen the current president driving things. He's been pretty good about letting the membership decide what is on the agenda and what is not. I wouldn't think that's going to change."
I really like and trust Astle, so I will take his word for how Miller has actually been handling things. From where I sit, it seemed that Miller ruled with an iron fist; maybe I am mixing up Miller with Mike Busch, Speaker of the MD House. . . .
I take untold grief from both sides of the political spectrum for my RKBA views. RW loonies say I am "schizophrenic" and "voting against my self interest" by being a Democrat. LW loonies claim I am a "closet RW" because I don't think gun owners are evil incarnate.
The RW actually has the stronger, fact-based argument against me (Nancy Pelosi/Ted Kennedy anyone?!), but I guess I can only do what I can to change these legislators' view. However, with the ascendancy of Webb and others, maybe the crackpot left will now STFU and pay attention to the real problems in this country.
In the meantime, here is a great essay (except for the claim that firearms are the province of rural Democrats):
I'm a Democrat - and gun control is for the birds
By C. Michael Arnold
Published: Sunday, November 26, 2006
As a card-carrying member of the Democratic Party of Lane County, I enjoyed Michael Moore's "A liberal pledge" (Register-Guard, Nov. 22). He had some good tongue-in-cheek thoughts on how disheartened conservatives can rest assured that the new government will not harm them. However, I take exception to Moore's flippant comments regarding our Second Amendment right:
"We will not take away your hunting guns. If you need an automatic weapon or a handgun to kill a bird or a deer, then you really aren't much of a hunter and you should, perhaps, take up another sport. In the meantime, we will arm the deer to make it a fairer fight."
I agree with Moore quite often, but he sometimes makes us look silly to outsiders. He apparently doesn't realize that you are a superstar marksman hunting god or a stalking savant if you can kill a bird or a deer with a handgun.
Without tons of practice, I can hardly hit a target 20 feet away with a handgun. However, I could shoot my 30.06 once a year and hit the same target 100 percent of the time.
Other than alienating virtually every rural Democrat, there is no practical reason to ban handguns. We cannot take handguns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens when criminals would still buy them illegally or steal them.
Besides, handguns are a tool for a specific job. For instance, they are smaller than rifles and shotguns. I'd be happy to walk into Market of Choice with a shotgun over my shoulder, but that tends to freak people out. Discrete, concealed handguns are a little more inconspicuous and safer; there's no point of advertising that you carry.
Furthermore, handguns are often the best tool for home defense. A lot of people find handguns easier to handle; comfort with a firearm is 90 percent of the battle. At 6-1 and 205 pounds, I prefer my 12-gauge, but many women prefer smaller, longer-barreled handguns.
When I do my farm chores, I prefer my handgun on my hip as opposed to a bulky rifle or shotgun on my shoulder. I don't want to be running back to the house for the rifle while an animal suffers or a dog-at-large threatens livestock.
Most importantly, gun ownership, including handguns, is the biggest deterrent to a totalitarian government or military coup. If the neoconservatives use the next terrorist attack to set aside more of our rights, we'll eventually run out of them. I'll be thankful that our "well regulated [neighborhood citizen] militia" has a "right to bear arms" that is not "infringed." Those are quotes from the Constitution. I wish gun banners and neocons would read it and love it.
Several years ago when I successfully moved to strike the gun control plank from the Democratic Party of Lane County's platform, no rural Democrats vocalized support. That wasn't surprising, because no rural Democrats were present. We certainly have been rectifying that, as our recent gains have illustrated.
Nonetheless, I recently saw the gun banners' threat to rural Dems first hand, when my union Democrat mother-in-law and my Democrat farmer father-in-law were contemplating a vote for Republican Jim Talent for Missouri senator, solely because of Democrat Claire McCaskill's alleged views on gun control. Thankfully my wife talked them down.
My wife practices in some of the most dangerous areas of law (child custody, divorce and termination of parental rights), and our lives have been threatened more than once. I can watch out for those people; it's the ones who don't vocalize their intentions that worry me.
You are welcome to rely on the government to cover 100 percent of your life, but I plan on exercising a little personal responsibility.
Going after handguns has no chance of success anyway. You would have trouble taking my handgun away, and would have zero percent chance of taking any of my neighbors' handguns. If you want to do something about handgun violence, fund crime prevention and Eddie Eagle gun safety programs at our schools, and vote Democratic (as fiscal responsibility increases, the economy improves and crime decreases).
I respect Moore's opinion, and I don't find him to be a traitor or unpatriotic for it. But it is my quest to not alienate my neighbors from our party. It's sometimes tough being a Democrat outside of Eugene. However, I consistently and proudly tell my neighbors that they are wrong about Lane County Democrats being "spooky south Eugene dirty hippy wack jobs" (their words, not mine, cleaned up a bit for viewing by children) who are out to take their guns and make them drive Volvos. And then they share their venison with us. Yum.
For now, I think I'm going to feed my hog, shoot my grandfather's World War II-era semi-automatic .22 pistol, drive my SUV to town, and then have a glass of pinot noir to celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs' win over the Broncos as I read the new Mother Earth News.
C. Michael Arnold (mike@ arnoldlawfirm.com) is a city prosecutor, a Creswell School Board member, a Democrat, a farmer, a civil litigator and a member of the National Rifle Association.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
The most important--and unfortunately the least debated--issue in politics today is our society's steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century.
That's just the beginning.
This class-stratification is something that I have been railing about since I got out the Marine Corps in 1995. My ranting got me labelled as the Cassandra who should be treated nicely and left alone in the corner (by "liberals," no less).
I wish that either (a) Webb was my senator, or (b) I was the hell out of MD and back in VA . . .
More from Webb:
This ever-widening divide is too often ignored or downplayed by its beneficiaries. A sense of entitlement has set in among elites, bordering on hubris. When I raised this issue with corporate leaders during the recent political campaign, I was met repeatedly with denials, and, from some, an overt lack of concern for those who are falling behind. A troubling arrogance is in the air among the nation's most fortunate. Some shrug off large-scale economic and social dislocations as the inevitable byproducts of the "rough road of capitalism." Others claim that it's the fault of the worker or the public education system, that the average American is simply not up to the international challenge, that our education system fails us, or that our workers have become spoiled by old notions of corporate paternalism.
Still others have gone so far as to argue that these divisions are the natural results of a competitive society. Furthermore, an unspoken insinuation seems to be inundating our national debate: Certain immigrant groups have the "right genetics" and thus are natural entrants to the "overclass," while others, as well as those who come from stock that has been here for 200 years and have not made it to the top, simply don't possess the necessary attributes.
Expect to see Senator Webb have a "plane accident" soon, like Paul Wellstone.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Both are pragmatic, and institutionalists--not bomb-throwing anti-Establishment revolutionaries. They are both dealmakers, not rabble rousers. And, following an election where stopping rampant corruption was among voters' top concerns, both men admittedly have liabilities that put them at odds with the new "clean up Washington" mandate. Hoyer, for instance, spent the last many years bragging to reporters about his efforts to establish a Democratic version of indicted-Rep. Tom DeLay's K Street Project--the operation that trades legislative favors for money from corporate lobbyists. He famously trumpeted an article about his K Street Project on his official congressional Web site at the very same time Democrats were campaigning against Republicans' "culture of corruption."
Then again, Murtha is no saint. He is known as a sometimes-too-close friend of defense industry lobbyists, using his considerable clout to steer special "earmarks" (pork) to allies. He was also tainted by the Abscam scandal in the late 1970s.
But while Hoyer and Murtha's similarities are obvious, their paths sharply diverge on Iraq and "free" trade--the two issues that made the difference for Democrats in this landmark election.
Exit polls showed that opposition to the war in Iraq was a major factor across the country on election day. Meanwhile, as a new report from nonpartisan Public Citizen shows, opposition to America's job-killing "free" trade policies was used by candidates in 115 campaigns nationwide, resulting in "fair" trade Democrats capturing an astounding seven new Senate seats and at least twenty-seven new House seats, many in traditionally Republican areas.
On Iraq, Murtha is the congressional leader most responsible for shifting the national conversation on the war. As a Marine, Vietnam War hero and longtime hawk who supported the invasion of Iraq, he shocked Washington last year with a call to begin withdrawing American troops from the increasingly chaotic quagmire. As Pelosi said in supporting Murtha, the announcement "changed the debate" on Iraq, with various Democrats, military leaders, media pundits and candidates soon following him.
Hoyer's reaction to Murtha's Iraq announcement was telling. He ran to the Washington Post, not to praise Murtha for his courageous leadership in shifting the debate on the most important national security issue in a generation, but instead to say Murtha's announcement "could lead to disaster." Days later, he tried to publicly humiliate Pelosi for supporting Murtha's withdrawal idea, with the Post reporting that Hoyer "told colleagues that Pelosi's recent endorsement of a [Murtha's plan for] speedy withdrawal [from Iraq] combined with her claim that more than half of House Democrats support her position, could backfire on the party."
On trade, it's the same thing. Murtha represents Johnstown, Pennsylvania--the type of hardscrabble, working-class district Democrats have too often lost since President Bill Clinton joined with Wall Street to push free-trade pacts in the mid-1990s. In representing this kind of district, Murtha has opposed many of the most destructive trade agreements that sell out American workers. In the most high-profile example, he went up against Clinton by voting against the China free trade deal in 2000.
Hoyer, by contrast, voted for the China pact, and a number of other "free" trade agreements opposed by Murtha and progressive Democrats. He has parroted much of the rhetoric of the Democratic Leadership Council--the corporate front group that has relentlessly pushed Democrats to provide the crucial congressional votes necessary to pass "free" trade pacts. As Lori Wallach of Global Trade Watch said when Hoyer ran against Pelosi in a previous leadership race: "Hoyer has repositioned himself--one can only assume for political purposes -- as the DLC, business candidate."
Neither candidate, of course, is perfect. But this is far more than merely a lesser-of-two-evils choice.
If Democrats are looking for a follower to speak for their majority--a person who regurgitates the Beltway's conventional wisdom of the day, no matter how bad for the party and the country--then they have their candidate in Steny Hoyer.
But after a mandate election like this year's, Democrats do not have to settle. They have a rare opportunity to define themselves for the long-term on the crucial national security and economic issues key to changing our country and keeping control of Congress. They must find the courage to choose not a follower, but a majority leader. His name is Jack Murtha.
Murtha loses/ Hoyer large-and-in-charge
by G S. @ 4:36am - Thu Nov 16th, 2006
You weren't listening!
You were put in power by us moderate Democrats. Just because we didn't like how far right this adminstration has gone, doesn't mean we want you to go all the way left.
Anyone in the last 8-10 years who claims to have a mandate to govern from the extreme (right or left) isn't paying attention. The close votes clearly show the bulk of the population resides somewhere near the middle.
You are about to make the same two mistakes as the Republican leadership did. 1. Govern for your extremists. 2. Surround yourself with like-thinking people in your leadership and exclude those who represent the bulk of moderate Americans.
I for one, don't think it will be possible for Democrats to get much corrected given what has been done in the last 6 years and the slim majorities, but the clock is ticking to see if what you attempt is at least what the bulk of Americans, who are in the middle, want!
The vote was 149-86 against Murtha. Night of Long Knives, indeed. Who will be next?
happenings in MD gun owner front
Those six JPR pro-gun-owner votes (3xD, 3xR) beat out the five anti votes (all D) AND the entire anti-gun-owner smear machine of the Baltimore Sun and WashPost, not to mention Ceasefire MD's massive PR operation.
Now that two of these six pro-votes are not returning to office, and a total anti-gunowner administration (including a veteran - what a disgrace!) is coming into office, the makeup of JPR is crucial for the preservation of civil rights in MD.
After the election, if the prior members were getting their committee positions back, there were four unknowns to be chosen.
Two of the unknowns are now known: Jim Brochin (D-pro) and Lisa Gladden (D-anti) have been selected for JPR. Brochin was formerly on JPR before PO'g Senate Pres. Mike Miller, who replaced Brochin with Norm Stone (D-pro) last session.
Rob Garagiola (D-anti, author of state senate AWB) may be moving to another committee next year. If he goes, that means there are three open JPR seats, with the post-Gargiola stats being 5-pro:3-anti.
Del. Don Dwyer (R), the broken clock who is wrong on everything but the 2d Amendment, may pull off a squeaker against Joan Cadden and return to the MD House. Dwyer is to be credited with threatening to get a fair-issue CCW law stuck like-white-on-rice onto any AWB that appeared on the MD House floor. I am not sure how he would have done this, but reliable reports are that the anti-gun-owner house legislators feared the idea so much that they stifled the House AWB as much as they could. Dwyer's results will be known TOMORROW.
Stay tuned . . . .
Hit piece on Murtha
The tattered cloak of legitimacy that is trying to be be pulled over this disgrace is a supposed 25-year-old non-incident where Murtha refused to take a bribe.
That's right. The wingnuts are claiming that because he refused a bribe he shouldn't be in office.
Here's the "smoking gun evidence":
FBI agents pretending to represent an Arab sheik wanting to reside in the United States and seeking investment opportunities offered bribes to several lawmakers. When offered $50,000, Murtha was recorded as saying, "I'm not interested ... at this point." A grand jury declined to indict Murtha, and the House ethics committee issued no findings against him.
"I told them I wanted investment in my district," Murtha told MSNBC's "Hardball" on Wednesday. "They put $50,000 on the table and I said, 'I'm not interested.'"
Give me a break . . . this attack on Murtha is nothing less than the start of the purging of moderates and conservative Democrats now that control of the Fed legislature has been returned to the Democratic Party.
It's not like there hasn't been historical precedent. Romans, English Civil War winners, and French Revolutionaries did it. Lenin & Stalin did it. Hitler did it. Now the Conyers/Hoyer/Waxman crowd is doing it.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Here in MD, though, we will have to see if all-style, no-substance, O'Malley-Brown can live up to the hype. The only real policy difference between them and Bob E./Cox is concerning gun issues. The O'Malley-Brown crowd is firmly in the ban-em-all camp, which is sad since Brown is an Army officer.
I guess one other difference is that O'Malley-Brown also fail to grasp simple economic principles ("living wage," "Wal-Mart bill," tax policy, "use magic to pay for more stuff," etc.)
Here is my take on the MD future for firearms owners:
It doesn't look great, but it is not over . . . then look at the
legislative committee makeups in the spring, esp. in the MD Senate.
The important Senate cmte is Judicial Proceedings (JPR), the one that hears all the gun-related bills.
Election results for JPR:
Pro-gun-owners: down two
Giannetti is out, Jimeno retired, so JPR will need these TWO slots filled. Stone is coming back. These three guys made up almost half of the eight Democrats on the JPR committee, and these three were all pro-gun-owner.Sens. Jacobs (R), Haines (R), and Mooney (R) are coming back. All pro-gun-owner. So with Stone (D), we have four pro-gun-owners coming back, and then we need two more to have a majority.
Anti-gun-owners: down two
Leo Green, the cmte co-chair, and Ralph Hughes, both (D) rabid anti-gun-owners, have retired. Lose two for the anti-gun-owners.
So, we need to see who will fill these FOUR open (D) slots on JPR before employing the siege engine and declaring that "it's ON!"
The MD House has been a lost cause, and now with Ceasefire MD Board Member Doug Gansler in the AG's office, the potential for a rough ride is at hand. Look at CA and MA for examples of how that could happen.
At moments like this I really miss VA.
Mark Warner? Jim Webb? Dems I could be proud of that reflect my views.
Peter Franchot? ROFL! I respect his Army service, but not his legislative record.
PA is looking pretty good right now . . . . but I refuse to throw in the towel.