Wednesday, June 30, 2004

What is the GOP going to do?

Okay, Jack Ryan is out of the race. The main committee of the Illinois Republican Party is fighting back and forth with Judy Baar Topinka over how the vetting process should go. We've got a lot of choices. There's Steve Rauschenberger, whose state legislative experience could be a bonus. There's Jim Oberweis, a guy who knows how to get his name out, even if he's considered an anti-immigration zealot by the press. There's guys like Andy McKenna, who has the support of downstate Congressman Ray LaHood.

Who can we choose to replace Jack Ryan?

I have a few criteria: no weird undisclosed sex life, pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, and personal experience that shows a guy can improve what's been given to him or has built himself up. Government experience is nice, too. If he's got a weird sex life, he needs to get that out in the open immediately. Admittedly, that won't go over well with Republican stalwarts, but it's a sign of honesty.

While none of the above fits that last part, I can definitely say I'd like Andy McKenna as my personal choice out of the above guys. I trust Congressman LaHood's judgment.

I'd really like to get Jim Edgar in there as far as dream picks go. It's a pity he won't do that. He's got experience, is likeable, and can get folks in the GOP who disagree with him on issues to say "Eh, I can compromise on this one."

So, out of the guys from the primary, I'd like McKenna. From the entire GOP cast, Jim Edgar. Where is the GOP's savior in its hour of need?

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Light blogging? Yeah.

Sorry I haven't kept up with regular updates. Work and moving is really taking up a lot of time. I'll try to post more when I can.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Questions I Never Thought I'd Ask Myself, Part One

"Quick! What's a synonym for 'jeremiad'?"

Note: There's no need to answer this, I'm going to look it up later.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Ex-wife says Ryan pushed sex clubs

This seems to be typical "he said - she said" stuff from a nasty divorce process. If any of the allegations are true, Jack Ryan's campaign just sputtered and died right here. Remember what happened to Blair Hull? This is the same thing right here. These are some pretty salacious accusations from Jeri Ryan, and as such should be taken with a grain of salt.

Senior Republicans like Ray LaHood and Judy Baar Topinka are justified in their shock and surprise about these documents. We've got some very nasty accusations about Jack Ryan being a control freak, and about being a voyeur to boot. Illinois Republicans do not need someone like that running for office with the party's money. This still assumes that Jeri Ryan's accusations are true.

So here's the big question: who's telling the truth? If Jack Ryan is telling the truth, then his ex-wife had better admit to lying during the divorce proceedings and face whatever punishment comes from that. If Jeri Ryan is telling the truth, then Jack Ryan needs to do the proper thing and get out of the Senate race. We have two big "if" statements here.

My own personal assumption is that Ryan did what his ex-wife accused him of doing and that he's hiding it to protect his political career, much like Bill Clinton did until recently. Until he can provide irrefutable proof that he didn't do any of those things, it's best to err on the side of caution.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

Okay, from the statements here (especially Statement 15), the 9-11 Commission is saying there was no credible evidence of a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda. Yet in some of these very statements we have testimony from al-Qaeda members saying that they kept in communication with Iraqi intelligence agents. One of the security thugs at the al-Qaeda meeting in Malaysia in January of 2000, a man named Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, was a member of the Saddam Fedayeen. What, did the commission think that Shakir was doing this like some guys are part of an Elks lodge? That helping to provide security and driving services for al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah was sort of a community-service thing? He's right there in Statement 16, outline of the 9-11 plot.

On top of this, we've got evidence from Czech intel describing both a meeting between Iraqi intelligence and Mohammed Atta as well as British intel confirming US reports that Iraq and al-Qaeda were coordinating efforts not to step on each others' toes in the fight against their common foe, the United States. While there are no documents that name Salman pak as an area where al-Qaeda was allowed to train, it is conceivable that information-sharing was going on between the former Iraqi government and the terroist group. How is it conceivable? You've got a member of Saddam's fanatical death squad doing al-Qaeda scutwork. It's very conceivable that other members of Saddam's network of sycophants were providing technical assistance to al-Qaeda.

So, if the Commission is denying the evidence right in front of them, then why should we trust anything they say about the entire event? In fact, why should we not be surprised when articles like this one from National Review Online get no mention in the press yet a Reuters hack job can be seen as serious journalism.

Again, this is all the more reason for Bush to be re-elected. Screw the Europress. We've done the right thing for more reasons that have shown true than you needed.

1. WMDs: remnants of one used on a US convoy were found marked like a regular Iraqi artillery shell to disguise them. Once we can check the rest of the conventional caches that are buried throughout the country, who knows what else will come up?

2. Terror links: the Commission is just plain wrong, and half of them are using it against the President thanks to it being an election year.

3. Humanitarian Horror: Right, we still haven't seen the prewar videos of what Saddam's bullyboys did in his name, have we? You know the ones that the tv news programs won't show because they're too graphic for American audiences? Yet US Senator Rick Santorum was able to show them to members of Congress.

Spread the word. Those videos need to be released to the public through every channel possible.

We have enough evidence that the war in Iraq is just. There is enough evidence that the Bush administration is right and that its critics are wrong. So, why is the Commission so intent on saying that the evidence shows the opposite of what it shows? What are they trying to do to the current administration?

Monday, June 14, 2004

And in other news...

My lease stuff is done and I am no longer going to be with Village Green in Wheeling.

I'm moving to Evanston. It's one of those places that screams "intellectual-poseur socialist-wannabe hell" to the uninitiated. Most of the liberals there aren't bad, just really missing out by not trying to muddle through situations, instead demanding ACTION NOW! on even minor points. They'd be a lot nicer if they understood that not everyone who owns or wants to own a gun is evil or stupid or both. It would also help to stop acting like Republicans are evil. Someone who disagrees with you on how taxes should be spent, on the right of the unborn to exist until such time as they can defend their actions, and on the right to protect oneself in a preferred manner is not evil. That person is not even willfully ignorant or merely uninformed. That someone just realizes that not every social ill can or should be fixed through government intervention, that human life is worth protecting at its beginning, and that things that are truly worthy of the term "evil" are fought against, repelled, and destroyed.

Evanston would certainly be less likely to harbor "peace activists" if that was the case. Fortunately for the town, there are a lot of decent places to take care of daily life, so they get a passing grade from me. Evanston gets a C minus, but you can't have everything.
Court sidesteps Pledge question

Heh. Motion for dismissal. I'd rather they didn't do it through a technicality, though. Mr. Newdow is going to have to find another way to vent his hatred of God, I suppose.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

A Wandering Voice

Ali, one of my net pals from Southampton, UK, has started her own blog. Do have a look at it. She's a film student at the university there, and trains in Shaolin kung fu. And she has a boyfriend. (Dang it all.) Go there anyway. She's got some great writing skills, and I hope she'll put them to use on her blog.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

SJ-R.COM - A Nation Mourns

Ronald Reagan was the first President I remember in any detail. I remember a few things about Ford and Carter, but Ronald Reagan was the first who I remembered as doing anything to help bring the country out of its funk. He was inspirational, even to a little boy in the Midwest. He was reassuring, confident, and kept his sense of humor even in dark times. Ronald Reagan was exactly the man we needed to face down Soviet aggression. He was exactly the man who was willing to tell Communists that there was no place for them in the United Staes, or the community of free nations. I always remember the adults, those who were my parents' age, who seethed at every mention of Reagan's name, whose voices dripped tiny amounts of bile and venom whenever the subject of Ronald Reagan appeared. He was hated for refusing to compromise on socialism. He was hated for wanting to bring back the honor that comes with wearing the uniform of military service. He was hated for not allowing dissidents, capitalists and those who loved liberty to be sacrificed on the altars of communist totalitarianism. No matter what, those who hated him always found something to hate. Read the article I've linked above, and you'll see what I mean. The writers certainly don't want to remind you that the nation improved during his term as President.

Ronald Reagan did return honor to the military. He returned patriotism to its place in American hearts. He allowed our nation to use tools of democracy such as free speech and free press to provide support to nations like the Phillippines and South Africa, to provide them with more accountable governments. His words stiffened our spines and gave us the resolve to become the greatest nation in the world. Ronald Reagan led by example, exhorting other nations to follow his lead.

I remember President Reagan's visit to Springfield in 1986. I was so sad that I missed a chance to see this man who was born in a town just a few hours north of my hometown. I wanted to hear him speak the words that assured us that our nation was still capable of great things, capable of leading the world. He'll never be able to set foot in Illinois again, but his leadership will be emulated for years to come. Resolve tempered with humor is the best way to remember him.

Goodbye, sir. Thank you for your service.
MSNBC - Leaders honor D-Day veterans in Normandy

Sixty years ago today, Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy to embark on what Dwight D. Eisenhower called the "Great Crusade" against the forces of fascism and evil. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers from fourteen nations drove forward to remove the forces of a madman from a nation held in terror and fear. They fought and died not simply for one country, but to destroy a totalitarian government and spread the virtues of liberty and democracy. They fought and died to save the lives of people held in the grip of fear and tyranny. These brave men fought and died to make the world right once more. The world owes these men a debt of gratitude that can never be fully repaid.

At Butler School in Springfield, Illinois, I first read the story of these men in a book simply titled D-Day. I read it so many times that I'm surprised the librarian just didn't give the book to me when I left the school to go on to fifth grade. Each time I read it, I wondered if I could ever be as brave as these men who fought in World War II. I am very thankful that my military service was nowhere near as exciting or dangerous as theirs, but I do know that I was willing to sacrifice as these men did if it was necessary to defend my nation. A simple book in grade school taught me that freedom isn't free. Freedom and liberty require vigilance to ensure that they are protected, they require a constant reassurance that someone will be there to defend them and spread them to all who seek it. When necessary, they also require action to uphold those ideals. That action must involve a willingness to fight to bring those ideals to those who are unable to secure it for themselves.

Every man and woman who puts on the uniform of our armed forces should understand this before they even think of enlisting or taking a commission. Military service is not a vehicle of social promotion as some would like to believe. It is a duty to protect those who have come before us, to thank them for protecting us when we were young and unable to protect ourselves. It is an obligation to protect those who come after us, to ensure that they have a future where they can achieve their fullest potential. It is an honor that we bear this burden for those unwilling to do it for themselves, to make them understand that their selfishness must be changed into a desire to benefit their fellow man. It is also an honor we bear the burden for those unable to serve, that they may live without fear of being preyed upon in their moments of weakness, that they can be assured a strong arm is there to protect them. The veterans of World War II have borne this burden with grace, humility, and dignity. It is only fitting that we honor them in their last years, giving them the assurance that they have entrusted the future to the right people.

I salute those who have gone before me in military service and those who have come after me. Your sacrifices and your inconveniences will not go unnoticed, nor will they go without a message of thanks.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

'Partial-birth' abortion ban struck down

Okay, I can see how this can get into a serious furball of an argument. My own position is that abortion is a waste of human potential, and I'd like to see a world where people can be responsible enough to not conceive a child in the first place, thus making abortion unnecessary.

Here's where I get angry at the decision:
U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton's ruling came in one of three lawsuits challenging the legislation President Bush signed last year.

She agreed with abortion rights activists that a woman's right to choose is paramount, and that it is therefore ''irrelevant'' whether a fetus suffers pain, as abortion foes contend.
She certainly wouldn't want prisoners on death row to suffer pain when they're executed (which is why lethal injection is in vogue), but a fetus? Their pain is irrelevant. Unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

Tell ya what, Judge Hamilton. Give these children a chance to prove themselves to society before deciding how much or how little pain they're supposed to endure.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

SJ-R.COM - No budget passed

Hey wait a minute. Ol' Blaggie and Emil Jones are at odds with Mike Madigan? They're all fighting over a budget they couldn't agree on?

I thought it was only us Republicans who had trouble with funding issues. I won't forget the Illinois FIRST debacle that George Ryan foisted on the state. (I still say that Glenn Poshard should have won that election; he was definitely more pro-2A and pro-life than Ryan was, though that may not be saying much. He was the more conservative of the two, despite being in the traditionally more state-oriented party.) Rod Blagojevich had better grow a lot more spine if he wants to stay Governor of the state.

This does give Illinois Republicans more leverage, though. It states in the article that a three-fifths majority is needed to pass the state budget if nothing is passed by the set deadline. Checking Article VIII of the Illinois State Constitution online, I don't see the 3/5 clause in there. It may be buried elsewhere. It would make sense to have it in the article regulating state finances, though.

I wonder if this isn't some weird internecine fight between Chicago Dems that started out as some kind of personal issue of hurt feelings. After all, Ol' Blaggie said no to a Chicago casino when Hizzoner Junior, Richard M. Daley, demanded one. Maybe Daley is leaning on Madigan?