Friday, September 30, 2005

I think we're getting warmer...

Just yesterday, I was writing about the carless abandon with which modern scientists and activists embrace the theory of global warming. Today Live Science has an article on the findings of two Duke University scientists which seem to back up my personal theory of what might be causing the planet to heat up. Namely... the SUN!

Increased output from the Sun might be to blame for 10 to 30 percent of global warming that has been measured in the past 20 years, according to a new report.

Increased emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases still play a role, the scientists say.

But climate models of global warming should be corrected to better account for changes in solar activity, according to Nicola Scafetta and Bruce West of Duke University.

The findings were published online this week by the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Scientists agree the planet is warming. Effects are evident in melting glaciers and reductions in the amount of frozen ground around the planet.

The new study is based in part on Columbia University research from 2003 in which scientists found errors in how data on solar brightness is interpreted. A gap in data, owing to satellites not being deployed after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, were filled by less accurate data from other satellites, Scafetta says.

The Duke analyses examined solar changes over 22 years versus 11 years used in previous studies. The cooling effect of volcanoes and cyclical shifts in ocean currents can have a greater negative impact on the accuracy of shorter data periods.

"The Sun may have minimally contributed about 10 to 30 percent of the 1980-2002 global surface warming," the researchers said in a statement today.

Many questions remain, however. For example, scientists do not have a good grasp of how much Earth absorbs or reflects sunlight.

"We don't know what the Sun will do in the future," Scafetta says. "For now, if our analysis is correct, I think it is important to correct the climate models so that they include reliable sensitivity to solar activity. Once that is done, then it will be possible to better understand what has happened during the past hundred years."

10 to 30% over the past 20 years? If this turns out to be true it will turn all conventional scientific wisdom on it's ear. It would also ruin a lot of careers which is why Scafetta's hopes of correcting the climate models is not going to be happening any time soon. Still... verrrrry interesting...

An interview with a twisted mind

"Dr. Death" will be up for parole on two years. Jack Kevorkian, the physician responsible for some 130 deaths recently told to MSNBC's Rita Cosby that he would pursue his cause a little differently if allowed to walk free:

LAPEER, Mich. --If released from prison, former doctor Jack Kevorkian says he'll still campaign to legalize assisted suicide but won't resume helping people to die that way.

Kevorkian, 77, is serving a 10- to 25-year sentence for second-degree murder for giving a fatal injection of drugs to a patient with Lou Gehrig's disease in 1998. Kevorkian, who has said he assisted in at least 130 deaths, is not eligible for parole until 2007.

In an MSNBC interview recorded at a Michigan prison and broadcast Thursday night, Kevorkian said he also hopes to travel and visit family if granted parole.

He emphasized that he would not help those who want to die by breaking the law or encourage other doctors to do so.

"I have said publicly and officially that I will not perform that act again when I get out," he said. "What I'll do is what I should have done earlier, is pursue this from a legal standpoint by campaigning to get the laws changed."

When asked by interviewer Rita Cosby if he regretted the actions that put him in prison, Kevorkian replied: "Well, I do a little."

Kevorkian also discussed the case of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman whose feeding tube was removed in March after her husband won a court order to allow her to die.

Kevorkian said that had the woman's situation come up 10 years ago, he would have considered taking her as a patient.

And then like many of his past patients he would have left her body in a van for authorities to find. So much for dying with dignity.

I know that assisted suicide is a touchy issue, especially with those who have had to watch a family member suffer in a hospital bed day-in and day-out. But trust me when I say that Jack Kevorkian is nothing less than a serial killer. His high intelligence and charisma have enabled him to couch his sick obsession in the pretense of a noble cause but I honestly believe the man gets a perverse enjoyment out of watching the life slowly ebb out of his patients. And don't believe for a second that he won't return to his "practice" after being released -- like others of his kind he won't be able to resist.

Pandemic not panning out for WHO

Every year or so the World Health Organization feels the need to remind us that our doom is imminent:

A top U.N. public health expert warned Thursday that a new influenza pandemic could come anytime and claim millions of lives unless officials to take action now to control an epidemic in Asia.

Dr. David Nabarro of the World Health Organization called on governments to take immediate steps to address the threat at a news conference following his appointment as the new U.N. coordinator to lead a global drive to counter a human flu pandemic.

"We expect the next influenza pandemic to come at any time now, and it's likely to be caused by a mutant of the virus that is currently causing bird flu in Asia," he said.

Sure it could happen. A hot-dog cart could also fall on your head while walking to work. Personally, I choose not to spend too much time worrying about either.

Don't think there is not a certain amount of dissapointment within the WHO (and the press) every time a flu outbreak doesn't turn out to be "the big one".

New Flu Pandemic Could Kill 150 Million

Invading on the Sly

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez seems to rank second only to Kim Jong-il on the paranoia scale. The U.S. on Thursday refuted Chavez claims that they were planning to invade his country:

CARACAS, Venezuela --The United States is not planning to invade Venezuela, the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela said Thursday, disputing claims by President Hugo Chavez.

Chavez has said his government has documents showing Washington has a "Plan Balboa" to invade his oil-producing countrywide aircraft carriers and planes. He said Venezuela is preparing to repel any attack.

"No 'Plan Balboa' exists," Ambassador William Brownfield said.

What is a "Plan Balboa" you ask?

Brownfield told reporters that Spain, not the United States, had included Venezuela in a simulated military exercise titled "Operation Balboa" more than four years ago.

So it's not some covert operation involving Rocky (you know you were thinking it).

Times reporter Miller testifies

NYT reporter Judith Miller has been released from jail and is appearing before a federal grand jury today. The odd thing is that she had apparently already recieved a waiver to testify more than a year ago from her source, now known to be I. Lewis Libby:

WASHINGTON -- New York Times reporter Judith Miller appeared for testimony before a federal grand jury Friday, throwing a spotlight once again on the White House role in the leak of a covert CIA officer's identity.

Freed after 85 days in a federal detention center, Miller arrived at about 8:30 a.m. at the federal courthouse to testify for Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation about her conversations in July 2003 with Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Miller said in a statement that her source -identified by the Times as Libby - had released her from her promise of confidentially. But Libby's lawyer said Friday he and his client had released Miller long ago to testify, and was surprised when Miller's lawyers again asked for a release in the last few weeks.

"We had signed a waiver more than a year ago," Attorney Joseph Tate said. "We didn't think this had anything to do with Scooter. I was under the impression from talking to (Miller attorney Floyd) Abrams that she was protecting a number of other sources."

Tate said Miller's lawyers called recently and said there was "a misunderstanding and Judy wanted to hear it straight from the horse's mouth" that Libby was releasing her to talk to the grand jury about their conversation. Tate said his client did not know or hear about Plame's identity until it appeared in a newspaper column by Robert Novak

Judith Miller Out of Proson, Testifies in CIA Leak Probe


It now looks as if President Bush will wait a few days before announcing his nominee to replace Sandra Day O'Connor:

The White House has slowed the announcement of President Bush's next pick for the Supreme Court to bask _ at least for a few days _ in John Roberts' confirmation. Women and minorities remain atop what is said to be a narrowing list of candidates.

Bush initially was expected to name his second nominee to the nation's highest court soon after Roberts was sworn in as chief justice on Thursday. White House advisers now say the announcement probably won't come until next week.

Advocacy groups on the right are expecting Bush to name a rock-solid conservative to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Liberal groups are making a last-minute push for a moderate conservative. Senate Democrats, meanwhile, say if the president sends up any of the nominees they filibustered _ including federal appellate judges Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown, William Pryor and Hispanic lawyer Miguel Estrada _ they will fight to the bitter end.

And Bush's own "short list"?

"It's not that long," was all White House press secretary Scott McClellan would give up in the way of hints on Thursday.

Outside observers suggest the list has been narrowed to about five or six candidates, federal appellate judges and perhaps a few people who have never worn a judicial robe.

Mentioned most frequently in recent days are U.S. appeals judges Owen, Karen Williams and Alice Batchelder; Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan; White House counsel Harriet Miers; Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and PepsiCo attorney Larry Thompson, who was the federal government's highest ranking black law enforcement official when he was deputy attorney general during Bush's first term.

Others mentioned less frequently include federal appellate judges J. Michael Luttig, Edith Jones, Samuel Alito, Michael McConnell and Consuelo Callahan.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

McCoy cartoon on Michael Brown

This is great!

by Glenn McCoy

To the moon and beyond

In a meeting with USA Today's editorial board on Tuesday, NASA administrator Michael Griffin revealed that he thinks that the space program is way off course -- and has been for the past 30 years:

"It is now commonly accepted that was not the right path," Griffin said. "We are now trying to change the path while doing as little damage as we can."

The shuttle has cost the lives of 14 astronauts since the first flight in 1982. Roger Pielke Jr., a space policy expert at the University of Colorado, estimates that NASA has spent about $150 billion on the program since its inception in 1971. The total cost of the space station by the time it's finished -- in 2010 or later -- may exceed $100 billion, though other nations will bear some of that.

Only now is the nation's space program getting back on track, Griffin said. He announced last week that NASA aims to send astronauts back to the moon in 2018 in a spacecraft that would look like the Apollo capsule.

The goal of returning Americans to the moon was laid out by President Bush in 2004, before Griffin took the top job at NASA. Bush also said the shuttle would be retired in 2010.

Griffin has made clear in previous statements that he regards the shuttle and space station as misguided. He told the Senate earlier this year that the shuttle was "deeply flawed" and that the space station was not worth "the expense, the risk and the difficulty" of flying humans to space.

But since he became NASA administrator, Griffin hasn't been so blunt about the two programs.

Asked Tuesday whether the shuttle had been a mistake, Griffin said, "My opinion is that it was. ... It was a design which was extremely aggressive and just barely possible." Asked whether the space station had been a mistake, he said, "Had the decision been mine, we would not have built the space station we're building in the orbit we're building it in."

I have always been a big supporter of our space program but I have to admit that I always preferred the rocket over the shuttle. There is something about the Apollo days that captures the imagination and I regret that I was too young to remember Man first setting foot on the moon. That was when America knew how to dream big. It's time we started heading back in that direction.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Reflections on a hot topic

The ice caps are shrinking. And so is my patience with all these muttonheads who insist that all anomalies found in nature can be traced to the excesses of selfish humans. Today's installment comes from the New York Times:

The floating cap of sea ice on the Arctic Ocean shrank this summer to what is probably its smallest size in at least a century of record keeping, continuing a trend toward less summer ice, a team of climate experts reported yesterday.

That shift is hard to explain without attributing it in part to human-caused global warming, the team's members and other experts on the region said.

It is? Why?

This summer was the fourth in a row with the ice cap areas sharply below the long-term average, said Mark C. Serreze, a senior scientist at the snow and ice center and a professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Dr. Scambos said the consecutive reductions in the ice cap "make it pretty certain a long-term decline is under way."

Why is that pretty certain?

A natural cycle in the polar atmosphere called the Arctic oscillation, which contributed to the reduction in Arctic ice in the past, did not appear to be a factor in the past several years, Dr. Serreze said.

How could he possibly know this?

Do you see what I'm getting at? The facts are real but the conclusions are conjecture. These scientists are observing real phenomena -- the melting of polar ice caps -- and then filtering it through their own pre-decided worldview and packaging it as science. Any other possible cause for the melting -- such as a cycle of nature -- is then promptly dismissed because it doesn't fit the mold.

Well, here's something else that doesn't fit the mold. The Canada Free Press in an article from Sept. 23 lets us in a little known fact -- the ice caps are melting on Mars:

An interesting tidbit of information emerged from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs some four years ago that United Nations climatologists and the "sky-is-falling" climate change crowd has failed to acknowledge. Simply put, earth isn’t the only place in the solar system that is currently undergoing significant climate change. NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Extended Mission has documented significant shrinking in the Martian ice caps at a rate of approximately 10 feet per year.

"A study of the ice caps on Mars may show that the red planet is experiencing a warming trend. If both Mars and Earth are experiencing global warming, then perhaps there is a larger phenomenon going on in the Solar System that is causing their global climates to change."–Current Science and Technology Centre

So we have warming on the red planet, now. That -- to borrow a favorite phrase from television news anchors -- "changes the equation". Is it possible that the rising temperatures on our planet and on Mars are due to an increase in solar activity? Just a hunch.

I'm not discounting the possibility of global warming but I do get wary of those scientists who observe data and statistics, then promptly blame Man for any changes that occur. It is important to keep an open mind and not let ourselves be intimidated into accepting the status quo. It is also important to be aware that a lot of global warming advocates have an agenda which is rooted in their own extreme political ideologies rather than a genuine concern for the environment.

Don't throw the theory out, completely... just be watchful.

Roberts confirmed to the Supreme Court

The final vote was 78 to 22. He is expected to be sworn in later today:

Roberts Confirmed to be Supreme Court Justice

Let the frenzy begin

Democrats and the MSM are licking their chops over the Tom DeLay indictment as no less that three major newspapers have published articles today about the imminent fall of a "scandal-plagued" GOP. Here is a small sampling from today's New York Times:

At the same time, the White House is grappling with a criminal investigation into whether anyone leaked the name of a C.I.A. operative, an inquiry that has brought both Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's top political adviser, and I. Lewis Libby, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, before a grand jury.

And the administration is struggling to steady itself after the slow response to Hurricane Katrina and defend itself against sweeping accusations of incompetence and cronyism in domestic security.

Joe Gaylord, a longtime Republican consultant and an adviser to Newt Gingrich when he was House speaker, said, "When you couple Iraq, Katrina, DeLay in the House, Frist in the Senate," and other ethical flaps, "it looks like 10 years is a long time for a party to be in power."

Yes you read it right. Iraq and Katrina are now ethical flaps! This has given rise to what Nancy Pelosi calls the "culture of corruption" coming from the Republican party (the media version is "stench of corruption").

Hmmmm... all this talk about corrupt administrations has suddenly brought some names from the past to mind... Ron Brown.... Harold Ickes... Craig Livingstone... Billy Dale... Catherine Cornelius... Nathan Landow... Jim McDougal... Susan McDougal... Ron Espy... Monica Lewinsky... Webb Hubble... Johnny Chung... John Huang... Kathleen Willey... David Watkins... Zoe Baird... Anthony Marceca... Jorge Cabrera... Jaunita Broaddrick... Henry Cisneros... Denise Rich... And going by our new definitions let's add Iraq (yes Bubba went in there too) and any hurricane that happened to hit America in the 90's.

Yes, the left is depending on short memories of Americans to help usher in a new administration of "change". Somehow I doubt the voters will be buying it.

But back to the Tom DeLay front... The Houston Chronicle has talked to several legal experts and the general consensus seems to be that Travis County D.A. Ronnie Earle has overreached his bounds. Most are agreeing that unless Earle has gotten someone to "flip", his case against DeLay will crumble:

Most legal experts looking at the conspiracy indictment of U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay said Wednesday that either an insider has turned against DeLay or the prosecutor may have gone too far.

"I can't imagine indicting a majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives without having a smoking gun, and that means someone who flipped on DeLay," said Buck Wood, an Austin lawyer who filed a related civil lawsuit on behalf of Democratic congressional candidates. "He's got to have corroborating evidence, too, bills and things proving where DeLay was at key times."

Several lawyers and law professors said Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle could have talked the grand jury into a questionable indictment if he hasn't secured key witnesses who were "in the room" with DeLay. Otherwise, this conspiracy case could be too hard to prove with just circumstantial evidence, they said.

DeLay was indicted, along with two political associates, by an Austin state grand jury Wednesday. The three were charged with conspiracy to violate a Texas election law that bars giving corporate money to candidates.

The brief indictment accuses DeLay's two co-defendants with specific acts such as collecting corporate contributions through a Texas political action committee. It says they sent a $190,000 check to a branch of the Republican National Committee with a list of Texas congressional candidates who were to get funding.

But all the indictment says DeLay did was "enter into an agreement" with one or both men to knowingly violate the election code. Earle must prove to a jury that DeLay agreed to a felony when he denies it.

'Someone in the meetings'
Houston lawyer David Berg said the case against DeLay could possibly be proved with a lot of circumstantial evidence such as cryptic e-mail, hotel and travel bills placing him at meetings, and his "fingerprints" somehow on the transactions.

"But what a prosecutor wants is someone in the meetings. I think someone has to have rolled over on DeLay," Berg said.

He said prosecutor Earle has too much at stake to move forward without strong evidence. Earle has to be careful because he has taken heat over his public anti-DeLay comments and is marked by his failure to convict U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, some years ago, Berg said.

Attorneys familiar with the case said that key anti-DeLay cooperators, if they exist, could be co-defendants, insider Republicans or even witnesses from the contributing corporations.

Criminal conspiracy charges are common in federal court where they are used against drug gangs, organized-crime types and white-collar criminals.

The Texas conspiracy law is used infrequently. State courts are filled with murder, robbery, burglary and other cases that often don't lend themselves to conspiracy charges.

The Texas law invoked against DeLay is loosely worded and casts a wide net. It merely requires that a conspirator must intentionally agree with at least one person that they or someone else in the conspiracy will commit an act to further a felony.

University of Houston professor David Crump said the government is nevertheless going to have to show the jury, no matter how many Travis County Democrats are sitting on it, that DeLay did something to promote a campaign-fund transfer that was against the law.

"Yes, it's possible to have a conspiracy in which one conspirator didn't do anything but merely agreed. But I've never seen it happen in reality. The agreement can't be that passive or tacit," Crump said.

Moonshine cases
Crump said a "granddaddy of conspiracy cases" comes from moonshine charges. "Courts said delivering sugar, knowing it would be used for moonshine, just wasn't enough," Crump said. "They required an agreement with the intent to promote (moonshine production)."

Crump said he doesn't know all the DeLay case background but doesn't "necessarily infer that there has to be a turncoat insider." His reading of the indictment is that the case against DeLay looks "dubious and vague."

Dick DeGuerin, an attorney for DeLay who beat Earle in the Hutchison case, said Wednesday that the prosecutor doesn't have just one cooperating witness — he has many. "I think everybody has cooperated with the government, and the evidence showed Tom DeLay did nothing wrong," he said.

He said none of the three accused men committed a crime since the funds were never improperly used.

The indictment does not follow the corporate-sponsored $190,000 into any specific account from which it was then used to improperly pay candidates. DeGuerin says it wasn't alleged in the indictment because it didn't happen. Any money sent to the candidates came properly from a separate individual donor account.

"Still, no case is easy when somebody's career is at stake. It won't be a walk in the park," DeGuerin said.

Explosive case in store
Mike Ramsey, a Houston criminal defense lawyer, said the case will be easy for the prosecutors only if they have a turncoat witness with a lot of credibility.

He said no matter what the evidence, the case promises to be explosive.

"At any rate, this is a wild card indictment," Ramsey said. "There's a wild card prosecutor and a wild card defendant."

Technorati Tags: , ,

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The conservative buzz on DeLay

Here is talk show host and constitutional lawyer Mark Levin's take on today's indictment of Tom DeLay:

The "facts" in the indictment do not make a case for illegal contributions by the corporations because the indictment doesn't even allege that the corporate contributions were made within 60 days of an election. The essential argument is that a contribution was made to the RNC from a Texas PAC, which had received these corporate contributions (the dates of which we don't know), and certain candidates in Texas received money (presumably from the RNC), although not necessarily tracking with the corporate contributions to the PAC. If this sounds convoluted, it is. Based on this information, I see no illegal contribution, let alone no tie to Tom DeLay. I also note that none of the corporations that made contributions have been indicted. (And, by the way, the Texas conspiracy statute requires evidence that those charged actually intended to commit a crime. So, the bar for the government is significant.) The more I analyze this, the more outrageous this appears. I only hope the mainstream media will do a better job reporting on this than on Hurricane Katrina.

DOJ official Barbara Comstock in an email to Michelle Malkin details what she sees as problems with the prosecutor's case:

Ronnie Earle argues that Tom DeLay conspired to make a contribution to a political party in violation of the Texas Election Code. There was no contribution to a political party in violation of the Texas Election Code. There was no conspiracy. Ronnie Earle is wrong on the facts. Ronnie Earle is wrong on the law.

According to the indictment, the conspiracy was to unlawfully make a political contribution of corporate funds to a political party within 60 days of an election.

The Texas Election Code clearly states that "A corporation or labor organization may not knowingly make a contribution [to a political party] during a period beginning on the 60th day before the date of a general election for state and county officers and continuing through the day of the election." Title 15, Texas Election Code, § 253.104. Texas law also states in part that "A person commits criminal conspiracy if, with intent that a felony be committed: (1) he agrees with one or more persons that they or one or more of them engage in conduct that would constitute the offense; and (2) he or one or more of them performs an overt act in pursuance of the agreement."

The Problems with Earle's case:

In an effort to contrive jurisdiction over DeLay, Earle charges that because Congressman DeLay may have known about the transaction before it occurred, he was then part of a conspiracy.

However, Earle's office has sworn testimony and other exculpatory evidence showing that Congressman DeLay did not have knowledge of the transaction.

In addition:

No corporation or labor organization was indicted in this conspiracy. Neither Jim Ellis nor John Colyandro is a corporation or labor organization.

No corporation or labor organization made a contribution during 60 days of an election.

What constitutes a contribution under the Texas Election Code is not strictly defined.

Neither the RNC nor RNSEC constitute a political party under Texas election law. They are considered PACs, just as the DNC is.

Corporations in Texas could have legally made contributions to the RNC or RNSEC during the period in question under Texas election law.

There was no violation of the Texas Election Code. There was no conspiracy. The underlying transaction was legal. Had corporations sent money directly to the RNC or RNSEC, the transaction would be legal. How could anyone conspire to do indirectly what could legally have been done directly?

Conservative blogger Tacitus was not so kind:

"Conservative leaders across the country are working now to make sure that any politician who hopes to have conservative support in the future had better be in the forefront as we attack those who attack Tom DeLay."

-- Morton Blackwell, 31 March 2005

Good call, Morton. Now that the indictment of the erstwhile House Majority Leader is an accomplished fact, the wisdom of chaining the conservative movement to Tom DeLay is apparent even to the most fervent of the true believers. The fall of Tom DeLay is not merely a parable of hubris in one man: it is the tale of ego begetting ill-judgment in the conservative movement at large.

The pity is that Republicans who care more about their party than about the cult of personality attendant to its key figures have long warned of this day. We knew all along that Tom DeLay was a bully -- ask the Heritage Foundation about his penchant for petty grudges. We knew all along that he was, on a fundamental level, unprincipled -- ask him about the fat in the Federal budget. We knew all along that he was mostly interested in power for its own sake -- recall, please, that he sought a House rules change to protect his leadership position in this very circumstance. And we knew that if it came to an indictment, it would be the end.

Our task, then, was to make it the end for him, and not the Republican House majority or the conservative movement in power. In this, we failed. It is not a failure we were forced into: it is one we embraced, and hence one we deserve.

But still thinks the charges are bogus:

What of the charges against him? His antagonist, Ronnie Earle, is a Democratic hack and a dishonest prosecutor. The probability is that Tom DeLay will be acquitted of the single charge against him, and rightly so. On a legal level, he is almost certainly guilty of nothing more than a poor choice of friends. This, though, is politics: he's done. And being done, a man who truly has the best interests of conservatism at heart would have stepped down to save the movement he purported to love. Tom DeLay has not, and that tells us all we need to know about what he values most.

Technorati Tags: ,

Trouble for DeLay

If you cant beat 'em... prosecute 'em. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been indicted by a grand jury:

WASHINGTON Sep 28, 2005 — A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, an indictment that likely will force him to step down as House majority leader.

DeLay attorney Steve Brittain said DeLay was accused of a criminal conspiracy along with two associates, John Colyandro, former executive director of a Texas political action committee formed by DeLay, and Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay's national political committee.

GOP congressional officials said the plan was for DeLay to temporarily relinquish his leadership post and Speaker Dennis Hastert will recommend that Rep. David Dreier of California step into those duties.

Naaaaaah... put Curt Weldon in there.

Some of the duties may go to the GOP whip, Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri. The Republican rank and file may meet as early as Wednesday night to act on Hastert's recommendation.

"The defendants enetered into an agreement with each other or with TRMPAC (Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee) to make a political contribution in violation of the Texas election code," says the four-page indictment. "The contribution was made directly to the Republican National Committee within 60 days of a general election."

The indictment against the second-ranking, and most assertive Republican leader came on the final day of the grand jury's term. It followed earlier indictments of a state political action committee founded by DeLay and three of his political associates.

The grand jury action is expected to have immediate consequences in the House, where DeLay is largely responsible for winning passage of the Republican legislative program. House Republican Party rules require leaders who are indicted to temporarily step aside from their leadership posts.

However, DeLay retains his seat representing Texas' 22nd congressional district, suburbs southwest of Houston.

DeLay has denied committing any crime and accused the Democratic district attorney leading the investigation, Ronnie Earle, of pursuing the case for political motives.

Here is the text of the statement released today by Delay's spokesman, Kevin Madden:

"These charges have no basis in the facts or the law. This is just another example of (Travis County District Attorney) Ronnie Earle misusing his office for partisan vendettas.

"Despite the clearly political agenda of this prosecutor, Congressman DeLay has cooperated with officials throughout the entire process. Even in the last two weeks, Ronnie Earle himself had acknowledged publicly that Mr. DeLay was not a target of his investigation. However, as with many of Ronnie Earle's previous partisan investigations, Ronnie Earle refused to let the facts or the law get in the way of his partisan desire to indict a political foe.

"This purely political investigation has been marked by illegal grand jury leaks, a fundraising speech by Ronnie Earle for Texas Democrats that inappropriately focused on the investigation, misuse of his office for partisan purposes, and extortion of money for Earle's pet projects from corporations in exchange for dismissing indictments he brought against them.

"Ronnie Earle's previous misuse of his office has resulted in failed prosecutions and we trust his partisan grandstanding will strike out again, as it should.

"Ronnie Earle's 1994 indictment against Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison was quickly dismissed and his charges in the 1980s against former Attorney General Jim Mattox-another political foe of Earle-fell apart at trial.

"We regret the people of Texas will once again have their taxpayer dollars wasted on Ronnie Earle's pursuit of headlines and political paybacks. Ronnie Earle began this investigation in 2002, after the Democrat Party lost the Texas state legislature to Republicans.

"For three years and through numerous grand juries, Ronnie Earle has tried to manufacture charges against Republicans involved in winning those elections using arcane statutes never before utilized in a case in the state.

"This indictment is nothing more than prosecutorial retribution by a partisan Democrat."

It does look that way and with Bill Frist also under investigation it is easy to believe that some political strings are being pulled behind the scenes. Washington can be a nasty place to do business.

On the other hand... there must have been something that was pretty compelling to the grand jury. We'll find out more later.

Technorati Tags: ,

Bloomberg having second thoughts

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been feeling the heat with his support of the proposed International Freedom Center. And now he's starting to think that maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all:

After standing by plans to house the International Freedom Center at Ground Zero, Mayor Bloomberg suggested for the first time yesterday that he may now be iffy on the controversial project.

Speaking to reporters, he said directors of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. should study the IFC's new outline of its programming plans to "see if we can't come to some resolution."

He added: "If you can't, then you just can't do it."

I'm glad to see Bloomberg and other local politicians finally coming around on this nonsense. While it is certainly not a bad thing to celebrate examples of freedom around the world, this brand of PC inclusiveness has no place in a memorial for the victims of 9/11.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Contract with catastrophe

The sharks are swimming on Capital Hill in the wake of the Katrina disaster:

Already energized by the president's declining poll numbers, House Democrats may have also sensed some ironic convergence in the events that brought former FEMA Director Michael Brown to Capitol Hill to testify about the federal response to Hurricane Katrina on the anniversary of the day in 1994 when House Republicans unveiled their Contract With America.

Tormented by GOP control for the past 11 years, Democrats have been looking for a way to void that contract for more than a decade, and now they think they have a chance.

"I can sense that the winds of change are about us," says Rep. Bob Menendez, chair of the House Democratic Caucus. Katrina has quickly become shorthand for government ineptitude, and Brown, the early fall guy, emerged as the poster boy for a government out of touch. The disastrous aftermath of Katrina cost Brown his job and is costing the president dearly in public opinion. And Hill Republicans are rightfully nervous. So Democrats wasted no time pouncing.

"Corruption, cronyism, and incompetence," was the assessment of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi about the Bush administration and its allies in Congress. "We need a change."

Not gonna happen, Nance.

It is bizarre that comparisons would be drawn between the Contract with America and the fallout from the Katrina disaster. The former was an innovative strategy to present voters with a positive vision for America's future accompanied by a plan to make it happen. The latter is a negative campaign of exploitation and finger-pointing accompanied by... absolutely nothing. No vision. No solid plan for "fixing" the bloated bureaucracy (which was there, by the way, well before Bush ever took office).

Winning for the Democrats is not going to be accomplished by taking certain Republicans that have had a slide in the polls and running them out of office. That is because ultimately Americans are smart enough not to associate a politician with an ideology.

What the Dems have to come to terms with is that it is conservatism the country has embraced -- and that is what they will need to address if they want to regain their power. If that means biting the bullet, admitting that they are liberals and then aggressively pushing their convictions then so be it. Howard Dean may not have many friends on the right but at least he has their respect because they know exactly where he stands. If the rest of his party would follow suit we might finally have a real fight.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Another day, another dollar

CNSNews tells us how Cindy Sheehan supports herself while she tours the country:

College Park, MD (CNSNews.com) - Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan recently signed on with a speakers' bureau, and her appearance on the lecture circuit drew mixed reaction Tuesday night, especially from her younger supporters at the University of Maryland.

Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in the Iraq war in 2004, took part in a discussion organized by the Democracy Collaborative, a university-sponsored group that works to "strengthen democracy" by addressing "democratic dilemmas in theoretical and practical ways," according to its website.

Sheehan left before the floor was opened to students for a question-and-answer session. Event moderator Gar Alperovitz, a professor at the university and the founder of the Democracy Collaborative, told students that Sheehan was not well. "She's in the back and very, very ill and I think also upset so she's not going to be coming back." He did not elaborate.

Before the event, Sheehan met with reporters to discuss her plans for the future. She said she didn't think her contract with Speaking Matters LLC will distract from her message.

"This is a society where people make money doing what they do and I have to pay my bills, too," she told Cybercast News Service.

"I love doing this and I do it for free," Sheehan continued. She said she has been spending her own money to travel around the country in recent weeks to rally opposition to the war in Iraq.

Sheehan previously told Cybercast News Service that she was not taking money from organizations like MoveOn.org or private financiers like George Soros but that her recent 51-city bus tour was funded by "grassroots fundraising."

She said her contract with Speaking Matters, which has not yet disclosed how much a Sheehan appearance will cost, will help her "finally make some money ...'cause Casey's insurance money's going to run out pretty soon."

Hey, it's a free country and she is allowed to make a career any way she wants to. My purpose here is simply to show how this woman's mind works and where her priorities are. If she's going to continue to thrust herself in the public eye then the world has a right to know who they are dealing with.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

New SCOTUS pick soming soon

The list has narrowed and a new nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy is emminent:

President Bush, close to nominating a successor to retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, has narrowed his list to a handful of candidates that outside advisers say includes federal judges and two people who have never banged a gavel _ corporate attorney Larry Thompson and White House counsel Harriet Miers.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Tuesday that Bush had pledged to consult with senators about his selection and said, "I think we were essentially wrapping that process up as early as today."

He declined to say if the president had interviewed any candidates and wouldn't speculate about Bush's favorites, but legal analysts monitoring the selection process say others often mentioned are federal appellate judges Alice Batchelder, J. Michael Luttig, Edith Jones, J. Harvie Wilkinson, Priscilla Owen, Samuel Alito, Karen Williams and Michael McConnell. Also said to be on the list are Maura Corrigan, a judge on the Michigan Supreme Court, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Bush is expected to announce his nominee quickly after Thursday's anticipated confirmation and swearing in of John Roberts as chief justice.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The ghosts of the NOPD

Something interesting is brewing in New Orleans:

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The chief of the New Orleans police is
stepping down from that post

Eddie Compass made the announcement this afternoon. He gave no reason, and asked that people respect his privacy and his decision.

Compass says he'll remain at the helm for a transition period of
30 to 45 days.

The announcement comes as the city still struggles to recover
from the impact of Hurricane Katrina.

The city's police force came under fire for its conduct in the aftermath of the storm. Officials now say about 250 officers -- some 15 percent of the police force-- left their posts in the days after the storm hit.

Judging from reports that have been circulating around the blogosphere, something huge may be coming down the pike. Just hours before Compass' resignation, Tony Snow reported on his radio show that reliable sources on Capital Hill had been telling him about a federal investigation that is targeting the NOPD.

According to Snow, the FBI has been trying to get a list of names of the officers who had left their posts during the Katrina aftermath. As it turns out, the number of missing officers is actually closer to 500 rather than the 250 that were being reported. But here's the kicker -- so far investigators have only been able to match 16% of the names on this list with real people. That means that New Orleans may have at least 420 phantom cops on their payroll. If this is true some heads are going to roll, and don't be surprised if one of them is the Mayor's. Stay tuned...

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Would you believe... gone at 82

The star of one of my favorite 60's TV shows died this past Sunday. Don Adams was best known for his role as bumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart in the Mel Brooks spy-spoof "Get Smart". This show is famous for it's main character's memorable catch phrases as well as some hilarious high-tech inventions that never quite seemed to work as designed (remember the "cone of silence"?). What a classic!

We'll miss you, Don.

Smells like kook spirit

FoxNews editorial writer Mike Straka penned a hilarious Grrr! column on Monday detailing his encounters with what he called the "Protestors from Hell" in Washington D.C. :

The protesters invaded Washington over the weekend.

From stem cell research advocates to Cindy Sheehan sympathizers, protesters of all shapes, sizes, colors and odors found a cause.

Unfortunately for me — since I was traveling by train — a whole lot of them originated from or passed through New York's Penn Station, and a train delay made matters worse.

A steel girder collapsed on the tracks just outside of the station, and it was just what the doctor ordered for a bunch of anxious, ready-to-protest-just-about-anything, jobless folks — err, demonstrators — who gathered with their anti-Bush cardboard signs and their 1967-era wardrobe.

As if the tie-dyed clothes weren't stereotypically Grrring enough, they just couldn't help but to break into song.

Yup. You guessed it. "All we are saying, is give peace a chance." Yeah, all I'm saying is get a grip.

A lot of these people would join a rally against Dr. Suess if "Sam I Am" actually ate his green eggs and ham earlier in the book. I'm actually surprised PETA hasn't called for a widespread burning of the popular children's tome.

Of course, the right to demonstrate against one's government is the mark of a true democracy. Unfortunately for my nasal passages and sense of smell, most of the demonstrators feel that the mark of a true democracy is the right not to bathe.

At lunch at D.C.'s Union Station with fellow FNC staffers Jason Ehrich, Andrea Macey and Alyson Donnelly, we were treated to more anti-Bush fodder from a trio of demonstrators who appeared not to have taken showers for at least three months.

What is it about protesters and poor hygiene? Maybe they double as anti-war and pro-water conservationists?

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Fighting the good fight

For those who are tired of this goofiness...

and for those who genuinely support our troops fighting overseas, please visit Families United for Our Troops and Their Mission. This grassroots organization has recently been very active in countering Cindy Sheehan and her band of tinfoil troublemakers by giving the "other" families a voice (including Diane & Von Ibbotson, whose son died in the same battle that took the life of Casey Sheehan).

The following is from their "About Us" page:

Families United for Our Troops and Their Mission is a grassroots coalition of Gold Star families, veterans, families with loved-ones in harms way and Americans that share a deep appreciation our men and women in uniform and support them in their efforts to make America safer by winning the War On Terror.

Collectively we will ensure that the sacrifices of our courageous warriors and continue to make are not in vain, and that the heroic soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have been charged with such a vital mission will be given the support they need to complete their mission.

Families United for Our Troops and Their Mission provides a means for our Gold Star Families, who have lost loved ones in the defense of our nation, to find solace in each other's company, and know that their love, admiration and support for our armed forces is shared by the overwhelming majority of Americans despite the media attention to a small, albeit vocal, minority.

We want all the friends and families of our soldiers to know that we share their vision of finishing the incredibly vital task at hand and look forward to welcoming them home when the inevitable victory is achieved.

To our heroic military men and women, and their families, we offer a humble and especially sincere, "Thank You".

Technorati Tags: , ,

Monday, September 26, 2005

Timing is everything

I got a kick out of this Jim Huber cartoon:

Buh bye

Al Qaeda's #2 man in Iraq has just met up with U.S. Special Forces for the first and last time:

U.S. Special Forces killed Al Qaeda's No. 2 terror mastermind in Iraq, Defense Department officials say.

FOX News has confirmed that Abu Azzam, who was believed to have been in charge of the financing of terrorist cells in the war-torn country, was killed during a raid in Baghdad Sunday. Azzam is thought to be the top deputy to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Iraq's most wanted terrorist.

Azzam is the latest in a series of top Zarqawi deputies that been killed or captured by coalition forces in recent months. Zarqawi's Al Qaeda in Iraq group has taken responsibility for some of the country's most horrific acts of terror including car bombings, kidnappings and beheadings of Iraqi civilians and westerners.

Earlier this month Zarqawi, a Sunni Muslim, pledged war on Iraqi Shiites in response to the U.S. and Iraqi military offensive on the town of Tal Afar near the Syrian border.

The U.S. military says it is continuing to make progress dismantling Zarqawi's operations. Officials credit much of the success increasing tips coming from Iraqi civilians. A top U.S. commander in northwestern region of the country said that 80 percent the terror network has been affected by coalition operations in his region.

Zarqawi's number is coming up soon. Now that the Iraqi's are getting bolder with their tips, it is only a matter of when.

Nice job, Special Forces (who, by the way, are bad to the bone).

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Sheehan arrested

About a month ago I had compared Cindy Sheehan to an infant sitting in the middle of the floor crying and then looking up periodically to make sure everyone was watching. She has proven this to be the case today as she steps up her efforts to make it back to the front page:

WASHINGTON Sep 26, 2005 -- Cindy Sheehan, the California woman who has used her son's death in Iraq to spur the anti-war movement, was arrested Monday while protesting outside the White House.

Sheehan and several dozen other protesters sat down on the sidewalk after marching along the pedestrian walkway on Pennsylvania Avenue. Police warned them three times that they were breaking the law by failing to move along, then began making arrests.

Sheehan was the first taken into custody. She stood up and was led to a police vehicle while protesters chanted, "The whole world is watching."

Yes they are. But that's not a plus for your side.

**Update 6:32 pm**

Drudge has posted a photo of the "grieving" mom being carried off to jail. This is what the "whole world is watching"...

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Yet another reason to homeschool

WorldNetDaily brings us the ordeal of a Massachusetts dad who dared to take on the PC establishment at his son's school:

While the trial of a Massachusetts parent arrested while attempting to secure a promise from school officials to notify parents before teaching about homosexuality in his son's kindergarten class has been postponed until next month, the school district is taking a hard line against such notification.

Paul Ash, the superintendent of schools in Lexington, has announced his instructions to all teachers in the district to give no notice to parents of efforts to teach "diversity" lessons about "alternative lifestyles" – even in primary grades.

In April, David Parker of Lexington spent a night in jail and was charged with criminal trespassing after refusing to leave a scheduled meeting with officials at the Estabrook Elementary School unless they provided parental notice of such lessons and gave him the option of pulling his child out of those classes.

Parker says the officials had indicated they would agree to a notification policy, then suddenly refused. He insists he has done nothing wrong and is willing to contest the charge rather than plea-bargain.

David Parker's son brought home the book 'Who's in a Family?' in school's 'Diversity Book Bag' (Image: Article 8 Alliance)

The dispute began last spring when Parker's then-5-year-old son brought home a book to be shared with his parents titled, "Who's in a Family?" The optional reading material, which came in a "Diversity Book Bag," depicted at least two households led by homosexual partners.

The illustrated book says, "A family can be made up in many different ways" and includes this text:

"Laura and Kyle live with their two moms, Joyce and Emily, and a poodle named Daisy. It takes all four of them to give Daisy her bath."

Another illustrated page says:

"Robin's family is made up of her dad, Clifford, her dad's partner, Henry, and Robin's cat, Sassy. Clifford and Henry take turns making dinner for their family."

Following the meeting in which he was arrested, Parker was also ordered to keep off school grounds. He says he is not even permitted to pick up his own child from the school.

Meanwhile, Ash explained in a written statement on the controversy that the school district has no obligation to provide parental notification of such lessons because they are not about "human sexuality," but rather about "tolerance and respect."

Apparently this "tolerance and respect" doesn't extend to David Parker. This is a classic example if the liberal "we know what's best for you and your kids, so shut-up" mindset.

Below is a picture of the book that was sent home with David Parker's son.

Imagine the pandemonium that would have ensued if Parker had sent his son back to Estabrook with a Bible under his arm.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,,

Dumb ol' hurricane

Every time Cindy Sheehan opens her mouth it becomes more apparent that her primary cause above all others is... Cindy Sheehan. Now, even members of the famous liberal weblog Daily Kos are growing weary of her desperate cries for attention. In a post from Saturday -- the day of her much-hyped anti-war march in Washington D.C. -- Sheehan pouted about how that little storm in Texas was stealing her thunder:

rita (3.33 / 3)

i am watching cnn and it is 100 percent rita...even though it is a little wind and a little rain...it is bad, but there are other things going on in this country today...and in the world!!!!

by CindySheehan on Sat Sep 24th, 2005 at 06:29:15 PDT

A resident of Southeast Texas took exception to this:

Shame (3.20 / 5)

it is 100 percent rita...even though it is a little wind and a little rain

I'm in Southeast Texas with family on the coast and in Lake Jackson, LA.

I'd like you to tell us it's just a little wind and rain. They've lost their homes, jobs and businesses and gone through fear and panic while you bask in your fan's adulation, party with your celebrity friends and play the star.

Shame on you, you're jealous of media coverage of other's suffering. You've become a caricature and I no longer support you. I'm ashamed I ever did.

by hibsnet on Sat Sep 24th, 2005 at 18:19:40 PDT

To which Sheehan sheepishly apologized:

i am sorry (2.75 / 4)

when i was watching cnn this morning, that's what it was...i know it was much worse earlier and it was devastating, i didn't make myself clear and i apologize.

i also know that the media will cover anything else besides the war.

by CindySheehan on Sat Sep 24th, 2005 at 20:08:28 PDT

But hibsnet wasn't buying it:

Before today I would have just believed you, but.. (3.00 / 7)

Cindy, these posts have time stamps.

when i was watching cnn this morning, that's what it was

Four hours before your post, the eye hit just east of Port Arthur and west of Lake Charles. Between then and two hours after your post, hurricane force winds were tearing through Beaumont and Orange, TX and all through Vermillion Parrish, LA..

Imagine, if you can, what was happening to those poor people while you were watching tv and getting upset about them covering "a little wind and a little rain" rather than your special day.

it was devastating earlier

And during. And after.

You might also realize that the people in a hurricane's wake don't suddenly get happy and whole an hour after the eye passes over. It's still not a little wind and a little rain to them. Do you know they are still very afraid down there - right now, Cindy, trying to find 1,000 people lost in Vermillion as I type..

You can find the story now on CNN's website. I'm very sorry, it's slightly above the story about you - that's just so unfair too isn't it.

i also know that the media will cover anything else besides the war.

Well Joan Baez sang for you today, and you got your smiling-happy picture taken with Jesse Jackson today, and your story is still front page on CNN.com today. So it was a very good day. Yes it was a beautiful day for Cindy wasn't it?

Except for a little wind and a little rain earlier.

by hibsnet on Sun Sep 25th, 2005 at 01:24:13 PDT

After hibsnet was finished with her, the rest of the ants piled on and proceeded to rip her to shreds.

Give it a rest. (2.50 / 8)

Sorry Cindy, but I must say that the suffering in Texas right now is quite pertinent. In fact, at a time when we have people suffering, left homeless and devastated from "a little wind and a little rain," I think you can take a break from the camera just for a moment.


by Rationality on Sun Sep 25th, 2005 at 06:38:51 PDT
[ Parent ]

Loss of focus and purpose (2.66 / 6)

I have been a staunch supporter of the Anti-War movement, but when you make statements like these, you lose the credibility and support of most rational people.

Peoples lives are being destroyed and in many case ended by Rita and Katrina before it. You of all people should understand this! Every life is important, that has been your argument!

If I brushed off Iraq "just a bit of unrest." I would rightfully be troll rated and shunned. Don't fall into the trap of thinking your suffering is more important than someone else's. We are all Americans, and everytime we suffer, be it in Iraq or on the Gulf coast, it is important.

by hackeynut on Sun Sep 25th, 2005 at 07:13:43 PDT
[ Parent ]

rita (2.85 / 7)

That is damn stupid. The death toll from these hurricanes is still rising, and you really think the Iraq war doesn't get covered? What a selfish woman! I'd be downright ashamed to read anything else you have to say from here on in.

by abuali on Sun Sep 25th, 2005 at 06:54:59 PDT
[ Parent ]

Casey re enlisted (none / 1)

I'm beginning to doubt Cindy Sheehan's veracity. It is about HER not Bush, or his war.

by tar heel on Sun Sep 25th, 2005 at 15:18:11 PDT
[ Parent ]

I have to sadly agree :( (none / 0)

I'm originally from Beaumont, birthplace of the greatest guitar player to ever live -- Mr. Johnny Winter! My family moved to Dallas and I've been living in Canada since I married a Canadian a few years ago. It has been a nightmare for me to not be able to get news on family members who still live in and around Beaumont. They evacuated and are safe. One of my uncles was allowed back in yesterday. Two of my cousins are not.

I felt a lot of sorrow for your loss, Ms Sheehan, and I hate this war every bit as much as you (allegedly) do -- but other people suffer, too. If I had lost family in this hurricane, my pain and sorrow and anguish would have been every bit as great as yours. I wouldn't turn around and say, "Oh, that little war in Iraq. Why are they talking about it when I lost family in Rita?"

I'm very disappointed. The right-wing media has painted you as a self-centered, self-absorbed woman and you're living up to that image. Stop making terrible, insensitive comments like this, PLEASE! You are not the only person in the world who is hurting right now.

I have been visiting Kos for months and this is my first post here. Your comments made me angry enough to stop being anonymous and SAY something. Your comments are not helping ANYONE!

by oglethorpe on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 07:00:41 PDT

Ouch! Get out the Neosporin.

As you can see, the illusion of the docile grieving mom is quickly disintegrating and Sheehan is finally being seen for the self-absorbed, publicity addict she is. Fame can be a fickle thing, can't it Cindy?

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Patently Patriotic Post of the Week (9/26/05)

Stars and Stripes Forever

In late 1896, [John Philip] Sousa and his wife took a much-deserved vacation to Europe. While there, Sousa received word that the manager of the Sousa Band, David Blakely, had died suddenly. The band was scheduled to begin another cross-country tour soon, and Sousa knew he must return to America at once to take over the band's business affairs. Sousa tells the rest of the story in his autobiography "Marching Along":

"Here came one of the most vivid incidents of my career. As the vessel (the Teutonic) steamed out of the harbor I was pacing on the deck, absorbed in thoughts of my manager's death and the many duties and decisions which awaited me in New York. Suddenly, I began to sense a rhythmic beat of a band playing within my brain. Throughout the whole tense voyage, that imaginary band continued to unfold the same themes, echoing and re-echoing the most distinct melody. I did not transfer a note of that music to paper while I was on the steamer, but when we reached shore, I set down the measures that my brain-band had been playing for me, and not a note of it has ever changed."

The march was an immediate success, and Sousa's Band played it at almost every concert until his death over 25 years later. Sousa even set words to it:

Let martial note in triumph float
And liberty extend its mighty hand
A flag appears 'mid thunderous cheers,
The banner of the Western land.
The emblem of the brave and true
Its folds protect no tyrant crew;
The red and white and starry blue
Is freedom's shield and hope.

Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom's nation.

Hurrah for the flag of the free!
May it wave as our standard forever,
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.

Let eagle shriek from lofty peak
The never-ending watchword of our land;
Let summer breeze waft through the trees
The echo of the chorus grand.
Sing out for liberty and light,
Sing out for freedom and the right.
Sing out for Union and its might,
O patriotic sons.

Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation,
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom's nation.

Hurrah for the flag of the free.
May it wave as our standard forever
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with might endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray,
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.

From the Dallas Wind Symphony website

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Update on Rita

From Foxnews:

PERRY, La. — For the storm-shattered Gulf Coast (search), the images were all too familiar: Tiny fishing villages in splinters. Refrigerators and coffins bobbing in floodwaters. Helicopters and rescue boats making house-to-house searches of residents stranded on the rooftops.

But as the misery wrought by Hurricane Rita (search) came into clearer view — particularly in the hard-to-reach marsh towns along the Texas-Louisiana line — the lasting signs that emerged a day after the storm's 120-mph landfall were of an epic evacuation that saved countless lives, and of destruction that fell short of the Katrina-sized fears.

"As bad as it could have been, we came out of this in pretty good shape," Texas Gov. Rick Perry (search) said after taking a helicopter tour Sunday

Gov.: Texas 'in Pretty Good Shape' After Rita

Patently Patriotic Post of the Day (9/25/05)

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

--John Adams, October 11, 1798