Archive for May, 2007

Appalachian Pride

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

Just finished reading The United States of Appalachia: How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independence, Culture, and Enlightenment to America by Jeff Biggers. I don’t want to get into a review of the book, except to say that it is a fascinating work that expels numerous myths about Appalachia. Read it and be enlightened yourself. And if you have any friends or family who take a dim view of Appalachia, force them to read it also.

Please Stand By

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Apologies for  the lack of posting lately; I have had only unreliable access to the Internet. But hopefully this will be corrected in the next few days, and I can get back to more regular postings. Thanks for your patience.

Ron Paul Loves Him Some Fred Thompson

Monday, May 7th, 2007

Bill Hobbs continues to encourage Fred Thompson to enter the presidential race. He raises some decent points in his latest entry (although he tends to overstate the “disastrous” implications of the “Big Three” somewhat). However, this tidbit at the end really takes the cake:

Simply put – Thompson is more likely than any other candidate to gain most of the support from the also-rans as they, almost inevitably, drop out. Even Ron Paul’s support as Fred Thompson, like Paul, believes in a federalist approach to government.

Fred Thompson would be a great candidate, and I certainly hope he enters the race. But comparing him to Ron Paul? Please. No way are Paul’s supporters jumping ship to Thompson until he at least locks up the nomination. And even then many still won’t.

Into the Great Unknown

Monday, May 7th, 2007

Commencement – com·mence·ment [kuh-mens-muh-nt] –noun, an act or instance of commencing; beginning: the commencement of hostilities.

Sarkozy Wins

Sunday, May 6th, 2007

CNN reports:

Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy greeted news of his election Sunday to a five-year term as France’s president with a vow to serve as a leader for all people of France.

“The president of the republic must love and respect all the French,” he told cheering supporters at his campaign headquarters. “I will be the president of all the French people.

Sarkozy won with 53 percent of the vote, according to polls for France’s state-run network, France 2.

“The French people have called for change. I will carry out that change, because that’s the mandate I have received from the French people.”

Sarkozy added that he wanted to tell his “American friends that they can rely on our friendship … France will always be next to them when they need us.”

But, he added, “Friends can think differently.”

Obviously, French opinion will probably constrain Sarkozy a little in his willingness to be a friend to America, but he is clearly pro-America. His election continues a minor shift in European politics. Just four years ago, France and Germany were being called the “axis of weasels” due to their opposition to U.S. policy. Today, Germany is governed by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkzozy is soon to be president of France. Both are friends to America.

With the departure of Tony Blair, it’s not unreasonable to think that France may become America’s best friend in Europe. Who wouldathunk it?

DDT and Malaria

Friday, May 4th, 2007

A letter in today’s Sentinel:

The National Academy of Science states that, between 1945 and 1970, DDT saved more than 500 million lives by the elimination of malaria. An example they give: There were more than 1 million deaths from malaria in India in 1945, reduced to a few thousand by 1960 through the use of DDT.

Oxford University scientists reported recently that there were more than 500 million people worldwide infected with malaria in 2002, and annual deaths easily exceed 3 million. Since 1972, more than 50 million people have died as a result of the resurgence of malaria.

Indeed. Today, people in Africa die every day of malaria. Meanwhile, many environmentalists are proud of themselves for banning DDT.

Headline of the Day

Friday, May 4th, 2007

A Knoxville News-Sentinel headline: “Porn pilferer slips away with booty”.

The first line is also pretty funny: “A sticky-fingered adult bookstore customer allegedly shoplifted a handful of magazines this morning and then ended up driving over a clerk’s ankle while speeding away in a car, according to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.” I thought the Sentinel was a family newspaper.

On the Road to Serfdom

Friday, May 4th, 2007

Sigh. It certainly looks that way.

Thank God It’s Tuesday

Friday, May 4th, 2007

A Western NC based group wants Congress to establish five day weekends:

The idea actually first started as a promotional gimmick by the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is spending more than $500,000 on the campaign.

The group, from of Asheville, N.C., then used its “Work Less Express” bus, live music and giveaways today to raise awareness of unused vacation days and pressure Congress for a two-day workweek.

Quasi-Live Blogging the GOP Debate

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

8:09: Got to give Tommy Thompson some credit; his response on Iraq was pretty good. He does have a plan.

8:11: Romney’s got his image down. He came across well.

8:13: Huckabee is offering some mild criticism of Bush for holding Rumsfeld too long. But he does stress the importance of winning in Iraq. Not sure if a question about Rumsfeld would have been my choice in such a debate.

8:15: Gilmore offers some defense of Bush, and Reagan gets invoked for about the 8th time. Not that I’m complaining.

8:16: Here we go. Ron Paul! He’s defending a “foreign policy of nonintervention.” I like Paul (and props to him for invoking the Constitution – few politicians do that anymore), but he’s off base here.

8:19: McCain is sounding hawkish on Iran. Not sure if that’s a politically smart thing to do, but I do believe that’s what McCain actually believes. Thus, I respect him for taking an unpopular position. Yet, he still won’t say what his “trip wire” is for war on Iran – I don’t think he can.

8:21: Tancredo is just weak when he’s not talking about immigration. When asked if he’d support an Israeli attack on Iran, he says he’d do the appropriate thing. I would hope so. Too bad he doesn’t say what the appropriate thing is. At least he didn’t respond by saying he wants to nuke Mecca.

8:23: Nothing particularly interesting from either Rudy or Gilmore, but they handled themselves well.

8:24: Romney stresses the importance of the war on terror.

8:25: Would McCain be comfortable with Tancredo as head of INS. “In a word, no,” he replies. I concur.

8:26: No support for amending the Constitution to allow naturalized citizens to be allowed to run for president, except from Huckabee and Rudy. For the record, I think they’re right. But this hardly seems like a pressing issue right now.

8:27: “What do you dislike most about America?” What kind of question is that? Romney doesn’t answer. I don’t blame him. But he does manage to mention Reagan.

8:28: Gilmore won’t answer if he believes Global Warming is real, but stresses environmental issues. Pragmatism on his part, I guess, given that most polls show over 80% of Americans believe it is real.

8:29: Tancredo responds to a question about organ donation by denouncing cloning and stem cell research. Say what?

8:31: Paul gives good speech on getting rid of the IRS. Time for values issues now.

8:31: Everyone wants Roe v. Wade repealed, even Rudy, who also says that leaving it in place is acceptable. Interesting nuance, but I guess taking the position of deferring to the courts and supporting constructionist judges is all the wiggle room he really has.

8:34: Romney fields a flip-flop question on abortion. Handles it well, invoking Reagan.

8:35: Brownback says he could support a pro-choice Republican for president. Keeping your options open for a VP slot from Rudy there, maybe?

8:36: Rudy’s abortion stance is not being clarified at all here with his various contortions, but seems to be trying a federalist approach.

Random thought: I have to say that all of the candidates right now are very articulate and clear in their explanations.

8:40: Paul is stressing his foreign policy stances a lot tonight. I wish he’d talk more about domestic issues, but I guess he’s trying to find his niche as the anti-war Republican.

8:41: Thompson is caught off guard and says that a business should be able to fire an employee for being gay. The look on his face was like a deer in the headlights. This is a tough issue for the GOP; they seriously need to get away from the homophobia (although, for what it’s worth, a business should be able to hire and fire who they want).

8:42: Huckabee is defending faith in politics, and doing an admirable job of it.

8:43: As of right now, it looks like Romney is winning.

8:44: Brownback is also defending faith.

8:46: Hunter is channeling Tancredo, responding to a question about the need for nonpartisanship by bragging about a border fence in San Diego and urging a longer fence.

8:47: Tancredo is back in his element, discussing immigration. He comes across better on this topic.

8:48: Rudy likes Christian conservatives, and everyone else. He needs to more effectively address Christian conservatives and try to assuage their concerns better.

8:48: Tommy Thompson is impressive. If this election was decided solely on qualifications, he should be the nominee.

8:51: Tancredo doesn’t want a centrist nominated for president. Of course he wouldn’t; he wants to win.

8:53: McCain is raising the specter of evil “special interests,” a tried and true political strategy. But he is nailing the GOP for lack of fiscal restraint.

8:55: Rudy explains his view of abortion. He supports a ban of partial birth abortion, but would respect a woman’s right to choose. He did a better clarifying this time around. He should stick to this message. Some Republicans won’t like it, but some will respect his honesty.

8:56: Tancredo doesn’t like anyone else who is running for president, again discussing immigration which he thinks no one else addresses. Ever heard of Ron Paul or Duncan Hunter, Tommy (in fairness, he might not have – few Americans have)?

8:58: McCain defends a comprehensive immigration solution and a guest worker program. He’s sounding pretty good.

9:00: I’ve got to admit the Politico’s readers are asking some good questions – organ donations, mothers in prison, etc. They aren’t questions that are hugely salient, but it’s good that they are being asked, and it’s nice to hear about some lesser known issues.

9:02: No one likes funding for embryonic stem cell research, except McCain, Rudy to some extent, and maybe Thompson. Paul opposes on constitutional grounds.

9:04: Romney defends his healthcare plan in Massachusetts. Not a bad defense of a bad plan.

9:05: McCain apparently flip flopped on the Bush tax cuts, saying they should be made permanent. Good to see him reach the correct position, finally.

9:11: Brownback and McCain want a flat tax, Huckabee and Tancredo want the Fair Tax (no IRS or income tax, consumption only). Either one sounds good to me. All generally want to extend the Bush tax cuts, end the death tax and the alternative minimum tax, and are strongly emphasizing fiscal conservatism. Good stuff.

9:12: Hunter is basically running as a Tancredo clone. From a strategic standpoint, one of them should drop out else they split the immigration restrictionist vote.

9:13: A few of the candidates apparently don’t believe in evolution – I saw a few hands going up when it was asked if anyone didn’t believe it, but was able to only identify Tancredo. I’m sure we’ll soon find out who the others were.

9:15: Rudy knows the difference between Sunnis and Shiites. Obviously a “gotcha” question.

9:16: Paul is opposed to regulating the Internet. I like.

9:18: Brownback again declines to criticize Rudy.

9:19: Huckabee strikes a populist pose on corporate greed.

9:20: Another “gotcha” question, this one for Thompson. Fortunately, he knows how many soldiers have been lost in Iraq.

9:24: No one wants a national ID card, but most do want an ID card for non-citizens (Brownback doesn’t, and Paul was unclear). Sounds like a reasonable position.

9:26: Terri Schiavo is being brought up again. Brownback and Gilmore defend congressional involvement, Romney, McCain, Thompson, and Rudy don’t.

9:29: “Would be it be good to have Bill Clinton back in the White House?” What kind of question is that? What do they expect them to say? I guess they’re trying to encourage them to attack Hillary, which they hadn’t until this point.

9:30: McCain brings up activist judges and the need for constructivist appointees. Good.

9:30: Rudy reiterates that Hillary would put us on the defensive in the war on terror. Good.

9:32: The candidates are asked to contrast themselves to Bush. Only McCain offer harsh criticism on mismanagement in Iraq (Paul reiterates foreign policy also), although Huckabee criticizes Bush’s centralization of power. Brownback wants a three state solution in Iraq, and Tancredo criticizes him on spending (curiously, not immigration). Giuliani praises Bush for protecting us since 9/11.

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Immediate thoughts: With ten candidates, it’s hard for any single person to dominate, and no one did. Everyone came across fairly well. I think Mitt Romney, however, won. He looked the most presidential and best defended his positions. McCain and Rudy delivered solid, but unspectacular performances. At times they did very well, at others they struggled. Huckabee might have done the most to boost his position; he was articulate and frankly seemed presidential. Paul appears to be trying to find his niche as the anti-war Republican, but with about 75% of Republicans still supporting Bush, that’ll be a tough sell. He also didn’t get enough time to adequately define his positions, which is unfortunate.

Ultimately, I think after this debate, the Big Three will remain the Big Three. None of them had any spectacular gaffes and all came across well enough. There was nothing especially notable in this debate.

UPDATE: Reaction and roundup from Michelle Malkin.

UPDATE II: According to Joshua Claybourn, the candidates who don’t believe in evolution are Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee, and Tom Tancredo.

UPDATE III: California voters Say Rudy won. Via Glenn Reynolds.