The New York Times has a pretty cool interactive map that rates the probability of Democratic and Republican victories in Senate, House, and Governor's races around the country. Not surprisingly, Stephanie Herseth and Mike Rounds are predicted to win their respective races.
Preparations are being made for the planned visit by Bill Clinton, whose October visit to Mitchell won’t be the city’s first brush with a president.
Several future presidents have campaigned here over the past century, although Clinton’s visit may be the first time an ex-president has come to Mitchell.
Clinton will be the keynote speaker for the dedication of the George and Eleanor McGovern Library and Center for Leadership and Public Service on Saturday, Oct. 7. Lori Essig, vice president for university relations at DWU, said she now expects much larger crowds and more security since Clinton confirmed he will attend.
It may be the first time an ex-president has visited Mitchell, but Mitchell still has had several future presidents — and possibly one sitting president — pass through.
Ninety-eight years have passed since William Taft, William Jennings Bryan and Eugene Chafin all came to Mitchell on three consecutive days stumping for the office of president during the 1908 Corn Palace Festival.
They came by train and Taft spoke from outside the Omaha Depot, now the site of CorTrust Bank on Main Street.
A photo of Jennings Bryan, a three-time presidential nominee for the Democratic Party, shows him riding in a buggy outside the Corn Palace surrounded by crowds.
Mitchell Historical Society member Lyle Swenson said he has seen a photo of a visit to Mitchell by President Harry Truman, but cannot determine the date of the photo. The photo shows Truman stepping off his plane at the airport. If the visit was during his 1948 presidential campaign, that would make Truman the only sitting president to have ever visited Mitchell.
In 1960, McGovern’s influence in Congress paid off for Mitchell residents wanting a glimpse of high-profile presidential nominee John F. Kennedy. A story in The Daily Republic said 5,000 people packed the Corn Palace while another 1,500 stood outside just to hear Kennedy speak.
Eight years later, his younger brother would make the same stop on his ill-fated campaign tour and would also speak at the Corn Palace. He was shot and killed before the election.
In 1988, George Bush Sr., then vice president and Republican Party nominee for president, visited Mitchell.
Some clever fellow once wrote that if Apple had allowed any manufacturer to build a machine that could work their operating system, the Justice Department would have ended up suing them instead of Microsoft. I suppose that this is the ultimate sign of success in the modern world economy: the Justice Department takes you to court. Another is that the Democrats in Congress denounce you. From the New York Times:
DES MOINES, Aug. 16 — Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, a likely Democratic presidential candidate in 2008, delivered a 15-minute, blistering attack to warm applause from Democrats and union organizers here on Wednesday. But Mr. Biden’s main target was not Republicans in Washington, or even his prospective presidential rivals.
It was Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer.
Among Democrats, Mr. Biden is not alone. Across Iowa this week and across much of the country this month, Democratic leaders have found a new rallying cry that many of them say could prove powerful in the midterm elections and into 2008: denouncing Wal-Mart for what they say are substandard wages and health care benefits.
Six Democratic presidential contenders have appeared at rallies like the one Mr. Biden headlined, along with some Democratic candidates for Congress in some of the toughest-fought races in the country.
“My problem with Wal-Mart is that I don’t see any indication that they care about the fate of middle-class people,” Mr. Biden said, standing on the sweltering rooftop of the State Historical Society building here. “They talk about paying them $10 an hour. That’s true. How can you live a middle-class life on that?”
Rich Karlgaard, at Forbes, has this to say:
OK, I would not want to try a middle-class lifestyle on $10 an hour. Neither would you. But a question for Mr. Biden: When in history has a store clerk had a claim on the middle class life … home ownership, a late model car or two? (Answer: never) Why must Wal-Mart uniquely bear the responsibility of supplying middle-class incomes to checkout clerks and shelf stockers?
I note that 10 bucks an hour is almost twice the minimum wage. Wal Mart is doing what Congress doesn't know how to do. But Karlgaard is right. My teenage son works at KMart. He has enough dough to eat at McDonalds whenever my wife and I prepare meals with too many exotic vegetables, and he can afford to fill his room with even more impressive audio-visual hardware. Is it realistic to expect KMart to provide him with a house and a car of his own? If it did, how could I persuade him to go to college?
With respect to Wal Mart, the people vote with their feet (and occasionally, as the referendum in Aberdeen proves, by voting). Shoppers want the big box stores. Workers want the big box stores (well, except for union workers). The big boxes create jobs at an amazing clip, and better still, they are astoundingly productive. Contrary to conventional wisdom, they benefit the communities they move into. Karlgaard again:
“After looking at 25 small towns in different states where Wal-Mart opened stores in 2002, economists Richard Vedder of Ohio University and researcher Bryan O'Keefe of the American Enterprise Institute concluded that employment growth was stronger in Wal-Mart communities than in others."
“In a separate study, economist Emek Basker of the University of Missouri found that, on average, a new Wal-Mart kills 50 local retailing jobs, but creates 100 others—a net gain of 50. And, contrary to Democrats' claims, local wages don't decline."
“Labor Department data show that labor productivity for "big-box" discount stores like Wal-Mart rose at a sizzling 7.6% pace from 1987 to 2004. And according to the McKinsey Global Institute, productivity gains at Wal-Mart alone accounted for an amazing 13% of all productivity gains in the U.S. from 1995 to 1999—smack in the middle of the so-called Internet boom.”
Now that is a menace that the Democrats can mobilize against!
I suspect that if Chad Shulte were shooting at you, the safest place to stand would be right in front of him. He is a very poor reader, and a very bad shot. I note this post:
One of the Thune bloggers' favorite websites has been investigated for anti-Muslim threats.
I am not sure who the "Thune bloggers" are, but I suspect that SDP is included. The "favorite website" mentioned is Little Green Footballs, Charles Johnson's blog. Johnson has focused on the threat from modern Islam, and recently exposed the doctored photos that embarrassed Reuters. I do have LGF bookmarked, but if I have ever cited it I don't remember the occasion.
The link Chad provides leads to a parody of LGF, Little Green Fascists. It's funny, and if I were Johnson, I'd be flattered. It's like the Northern Valley Beacon in spirit only, well, clever. The Faux LGF mentions a Washington Post story, but provides no links. I couldn't find the original WaPo article from their search engine, but I did notice this in the material LGFascists provides.
The FBI, according to Hooper [spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations], recently investigated several threats of physical harm against Muslims posted by Little Green Footballs readers [emphasis mine].
Assuming the WaPo/LGF story is genuine, at least LGFascists is honest in reporting that the FBI investigated threats posted by LGF readers, and not the LGF website or Johnson himself. That is more honesty than you can expect from CCK.
CCK recently required each commenter to register in order to control some of the nastier posts, if I recall the event correctly. So Chad knows full well that he cannot be responsible for what readers post in his comments section. This is one reason why SDP doesn't have a comments section. No one here is interested in policing it.
I do not think Chad was intentionally lying. He is just a careless reader and, as usual, got it wrong.
SDWC notes an upcoming Senator Thune appearence in Brookings this Monday:
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) will be the guest of honor at the grand opening of the Brookings County GOP Office this coming Monday, Aug. 21.
The senator will preside at a 10:30 a.m. dedication ceremony at the party headquarters, located at 404 Fifth St. in downtown Brookings. Also in attendance will be local and state elected officials and candidates.
"We are honored to have Sen. Thune in Brookings to dedicate our county Republican campaign office," said Chairwoman Jackie Diedrich.
In case you have been following a story of truly cosmic dimensions, the International Astronomical Union seems poised to strip Pluto of its status as a planet. The official reason for this action is that Pluto has never really been a team player along with the eight other members of the Planatary caucus. Its orbit is eccentric, it's smaller than Rhode Island, blah, blah, blah. The real reason for Pluto's sudden plunge in the polls is its support for the war in Iraq. If Pluto does lose the IAU primary next week, we here at SDP urge it to run again in November as an Independent.
See this about Senator Johnson, who seems to be remaining neutral about Lamont's win in the Connecticut primary:
But let's look at the Democratic Senators in our new category, which I'm calling "firm about not being firm" when it comes to the interesting situation in Connecticut.
Drey Samuelson, Chief of Staff for Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), responded quickly and very nicely saying he would get in touch with the Senator and inquire. He then got back to me, saying "Tim sees no need to endorse either candidate—it's up to the voters of Connecticut to decide who represents them."
And emailer writes in response to my post on Stephanie Herseth's mailer on energy that many of us got this week:
I agree with your comments on the 'campaign' presentation of the newletter. What are your thoughts on the viability of energy independence? Is this an appropriate discussion for the blog?
If baseball, coffee and Famous Dave's are appropriate for the blog, you bet energy independence is. I have recently penned a piece on the subject. We'll see if it ever sees the light of day. Let me summarize what I think we should do, leaving aside obvious objections to some of the proposals (e.g., legitimate environmental concerns).
1. Increase domestic supply by expanding drilling in Alaska and off-shore.
2. Promote alternative energy sources. This includes biofuel (as Rep. Herseth is rightly trumpeting), solar power, wind power, and nuclear power. We also need to promote greater fuel efficiency in automobiles by furthering tax incentives for hybrid automobiles and raising CAFE standards. I'd like to see government policy advocating all these things.
Americans should not be overly optimistic. The days of sub-$2.00 gas are probably over. And the government can do very little to effect global supply and global demand, which is what drives oil prices in the first place. I seriously doubt we can ever be truly independent when it comes to energy. This is not an excuse not to act where we can.
After spending some time perusing the web world, it is fair to say that yesterday's ruling against the Terrorist Surveillance Program will not withstand review. This is not to say that Judge Taylor did not come to the correct result, but that her legal reasoning is so shoddy that it will not withstand scrutiny by higher courts. For example, here is Orin Kerr at Volokh (with my emphasis):
I've just read through the Fourth Amendment part of Judge Taylor's opinion on the NSA domestic wiretapping opinion, and, well, um, it's kind of hard to know what to make of it. There really isn't any analysis; rather, it's just a few pages of general ruminations about the Fourth Amendment (much of it incomplete and some of it simply incorrect) followed by the statement in passing that the program is "obviously" in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Or how about Bryan Cunningham:
We can sympathize with her motives, and even share some of her gut feelings of uneasiness about the program. But we cannot accept the stunningly amateurish piece of, I hesitate even to call it legal work, by which she purports to make our government go deaf and dumb to those would murder us en masse. Her bosses on the Court of Appeals and/or the United States Supreme Court will not accept it.
Much will be said about this opinion in the coming days. I’ll start with this: I wouldn’t accept this utterly unsupported, constitutionally and logically bankrupt collection of musings from a first-year law student, much less a new lawyer at my firm.
See the rest of Cunningham's excellent piece for a review of the procedural and legal abuses by Judge Taylor.
I am no 4th Amendment expert, but it seems to me that question at hand is whether the 4th Amendment even applies here. The 4th Amendment is designed to protect our rights in regards to criminal procedure, but in this case the government is not gathering information for prosecution but rather for national defense. Second, at least one person being monitored in TSP eavesdropping is outside the nation. It is not clear the 4th Amendment even applies if the subject of the search is a foreigner overseas. The case against the TSP, it seems, must be based on whether it violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Then the question becomes whether FISA restricts these kinds of searches and, if it does, does it restrict the president in ways that violate his constitutional prerogatives. On these issues I don't feel expert enough to comment, namely because I don't know the precise content of FISA as it pertains to this program.
Just as a terrorist plot was thwarted by vigorous surveillance, a U.S. judge has decided that such surveillance is unconstitutional. From the Washington Post:
A federal judge in Detroit ruled yesterday that the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program is unconstitutional, delivering the first decision that the Bush administration's effort to monitor communications without court oversight runs afoul of the Bill of Rights and federal law.
U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ordered a halt to the wiretap program, secretly authorized by President Bush in 2001, but both sides in the lawsuit agreed to delay that action until a Sept. 7 hearing. Legal scholars said Taylor's decision is likely to receive heavy scrutiny from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit when the Justice Department appeals, and some criticized her ruling as poorly reasoned.
I suspect that Judge Diggs Taylor's ruling will be overturned in short order, for it is not consistent with previous law on this topic. The Wall Street Journal has this:
Before yesterday, no American court had ever ruled that the President lacked the Constitutional right to conduct such wiretaps. President Carter signed the 1978 FISA statute that established the special court to approve domestic wiretaps even as his Administration declared it was not ceding any Constitutional power. And in the 2002 decision In Re: Sealed Case, the very panel of appellate judges that hears FISA appeals noted that in a previous FISA case (U.S. v. Truong), a federal "court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information." We couldn't find Judge Taylor's attempt to grapple with those precedents, perhaps because they'd have interfered with the lilt of her purple prose.
My friend at CCK has this:
The problem with Bush's practice of wiretapping anyone he wishes isn't the practice of wiretapping in and of itself.
The problem is that he's doing it without oversight. He claims oversight, but that oversight is from within his own branch of government.
We have something in this country called checks and balances on the powers of each branch of government. And Bush and his apologists have forgotten that.
I emphatically agree that oversight is required, but the question is whether it should be judicial oversight. Consider for example the Fourth Amendment, as brought to you by EPublius:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
When the FBI or MI5 is scrambling to stop terrorists from blowing ten airliners out of the sky, either has to be able to follow any piece of information instantly to its source. The prior warrant regime of the Fourth Amendment is no more applicable here than in a house to house search in Baghdad.
The only oversight that can work in this environment is Congressional oversight, which is in fact in place. If the Democrats in Congress think the current scheme is inadequate, let them propose a new one. But caution is in order. I gather Judge Diggs Taylor was worried that the government might listen into a conversation between Osama and some New York Times reporter. Maybe it wouldn't be too savvy to frame the issue as one between the next Pulitzer prize and a High School Choir from Boise returning from a trip to London.
Does he really believe this crap?
If Carter were President and terrorists were shooting rockets into the U.S. from, say, Cuba, would he strike back? Probably not ...
And if he does really believe it, what else is going on inside his head?
Chad seems to mistake me for Professor Schaff, and erroneously attributes my post to my colleague. I can't come down too hard on him for this, as we at SDP have made the same mistake regarding the various bloggers at CCK. At any rate, the quote above is mine. Here is what else is going on inside my head.
My comment rested on two facts. First, when the U.S. embassy in Tehran was captured during the Iranian revolution and the embassy personnel taken hostage, that was an explicit occupation of American soil. It was an act of war against the United States. The territory inside an American embassy is U.S. territory. Carter did nothing about it for over a year, and only acted when he grasped that his reelection was on the line. Instead of bringing American power to bear in an impressive way, he attempted a Hollywood rescue that ended in disaster. So we know what Carter actually did when American soil was attacked.
Second, in his Der Spiegel interview, Carter is clearly saying that the Israelis should have allowed Hezbollah to shower Israel with missiles without attacking "the entire nation of Lebanon." That would mean fighting Hezbollah without trying to cut off its sources of resupply from Syria and Iran. It would mean that Lebanon would be protected from the consequences of allowing Hezbollah to operate from its territory. Now I took this as an honest statement of what Carter believes, and has always believed. So I assumed that he would act as he now thinks the Israeli's should have acted (grin and bear it) were he President and were we to be similarly assaulted. If so, we know what Carter would have done if American soil was attacked by missiles: nothing.
Of course there are alternative interpretations of Carter's remarks. Maybe he expects Israel to act in a way that he would never have acted if similar circumstances has arisen while he was President. If Chad thinks so, he might have attempted to make the argument. But that would be out of character.
A powerful essay by one Julia Gorin over at the WSJ. An emigre from Russia, where abortion commonplace, Gorin discusses the personal ramifications of the abortion culture. Her essential points are that you never know what great things the aborted child may have achieved and also that, in her experience, the regret over children aborted is considerable in later years. I note that her essay is on the personal costs of abortion, which does not necessitate any particular legal regime. I also note, by the by, that Russia's population is currently dropping at an average of 750,000 people per year. Here's a sample from Gorin, but read the whole thing:
My husband, also a second-born, and I were lucky to have been two such afterthoughts, each brought into the world thanks to one of two parents' change of heart. (Actually it was Anya Isaakovna, my mother's usual at the public clinic, who sensed a tinge of reservation and kicked her out.) Coincidentally, both my husband and I were to be the third abortions, each of us having had two siblings who weren't so lucky, which unfortunately was lucky for us.
Not quite so for my parents. Life's turns dealt them a hand they couldn't have foreseen 30 years ago while aborting, an act that people living in a nation of miserables can't exactly be judged for. Indeed, among Soviet émigrés from the 1970s and '80s, it's very rare to see families with more than two children, the self-imposed quota among Russians of that wave. But in hindsight, as my mother said a few months after my newlywed elder sister and her husband died in a five-vehicle collision in 2000, had she known she would outlive one of her only two children, she would have had more.
In America there is room to judge, despite what the "sanctity of choice" crowd wants us to believe. Yet rather than do that, my intention is to plant a seed of consideration that may otherwise never occur to America's reluctant with-child women and even girls. It's a consideration that, for all our endless debating, goes unspoken, but that could alleviate heartache in later life and enrich our lives in ways we can't predict.
Taking a look at the major league standings, notice this little anomaly. As was mentioned during last night's Twins broadcast, the Cleveland Indians have outscored their opponents, yet are significantly under .500. After last night's 7-2 loss to the Twins, Cleveland is 13 games below .500 (53-66) while outscoring its opponents by 52 runs for the season (647-595). Meanwhile, over in the National League and down the interstate from Cleveland, the Cincinnati Reds have been outscored by 29 runs (593-622) yet are three games over .500 (62-58) and in contention for a playoff spot. Who said the game made sense?
Ed Morrissey: "The Democrats have finally found a unifying theme for the mid-term elections, one that appears to unite all ends of the political spectrum in their party. Instead of fighting a war on terrorism, though, they have decided to fight a war against Wal-Mart."
Did you receive a newsletter today from Stephanie Herseth about biofuel? I bet you did. Here are some reactions.
1. This is a very wise move on her part. The price of fuel is the second most important issue to Americans, behind only Iraq/terrorism. The mailing is well done, touting energy independence and Herseth's self-described lead role in promoting ethanol and other biofuels. Clearly this mailing was done as a bit of campaign promotion.
2. Here's an example of incumbency advantage. This mailing is almost indiscernible from campaign literature, except that it never says "vote for Herseth." It is instead "constituent education." Thus she gets the federal government to pay for what is essentially a campaign document. This is not a criticism, just an observation. Many incumbents do the exact same thing. If it is "official business" they can use their congressional account to pay for it. Because this mailing is "educational" it need not be paid for by campaign dollars.
3. Herseth has a little survey on the mailing where you can send a postcard back to her and tell her what is the most important issue facing the nation. You get four choices: Achieving energy independence, improving health care, improving education, and "other." It is worth noting that if you want to say "securing America against terrorism" is the most important issue facing the nation, you have to put it under the "other" category. Does this tell us something about Herseth's priorities? Or about ours?
In an interview with Der Spiegel, Jimmy Carter shows once again that he possesses no ordinary mind.
SPIEGEL: You also mentioned the hatred for the United States throughout the Arab world which has ensued as a result of the invasion of Iraq. Given this circumstance, does it come as any surprise that Washington's call for democracy in the Middle East has been discredited?
Carter: No, as a matter of fact, the concerns I exposed have gotten even worse now with the United States supporting and encouraging Israel in its unjustified attack on Lebanon.
SPIEGEL: But wasn't Israel the first to get attacked?
Carter: I don't think that Israel has any legal or moral justification for their massive bombing of the entire nation of Lebanon. What happened is that Israel is holding almost 10,000 prisoners, so when the militants in Lebanon or in Gaza take one or two soldiers, Israel looks upon this as a justification for an attack on the civilian population of Lebanon and Gaza. I do not think that's justified, no.
No mention of the fact that Lebanon allowed itself to be the staging ground for a proxy war wagged by Iran against Israel. If Carter were President and terrorists were shooting rockets into the U.S. from, say, Cuba, would he strike back? Probably not, which helps to explain the 1980 Presidential election.
If you will be in or around Mitchell today or tomorrow, be sure to stop by Dakotafest east of town. Yesturday the four candidates for governor, Mike Rounds, Jack Billion, Tom Gerber, and Steve Willis, squared off on the Dakotafest grounds. Mitchell Daily Republic excerpt:
Two minor-party candidates added some flavor to a gubernatorial debate Tuesday at the Dakotafest farm show near Mitchell, where all four hopefuls were planted behind vanilla milk shakes under an open-air tent.
Tom Gerber, a Libertarian, and Steve Willis, a member of the Constitution Party, participated despite being omitted from the official show program. Their statements during the hour-long debate, along with those of Republican Mike Rounds and Democrat Jack Billion, provided the estimated 200 people in attendance with a veritable buffet of political philosophies to choose from.
Rounds, 51, the incumbent governor from Pierre, said state government is doing a good job with the resources it has.
Billion, 67, a retired surgeon from Sioux Falls, said the government can and should do more.
Gerber, 81, a retired management consultant from Sturgis, said the government is doing the wrong things.
And Willis, 51, a Wells Fargo employee and small-business owner from Sioux Falls, said the government is doing too much.
Read the whole thing. The Daily website also has the closing statements made by each candidate, so check those out as well. If any readers attended and would like to weigh in, drop us an email and I'll post your observations.
As for the schedule for Dakotafest today, this morning a forum was held on "The Future of Farm and Fuel Policy." At 1 p.m., they will be discussing the farm bill, and at 3 will be "How the FSA Should Look in the Future."
Given how much I enjoy coffee, here's some good news from the New York Times:
Coffee is not usually thought of as health food, but a number of recent studies suggest that it can be a highly beneficial drink. Researchers have found strong evidence that coffee reduces the risk of several serious ailments, including diabetes, heart disease and cirrhosis of the liver.
Among them is a systematic review of studies published last year in The Journal of the American Medical Association, which concluded that habitual coffee consumption was consistently associated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. Exactly why is not known, but the authors offered several explanations.
Coffee contains antioxidants that help control the cell damage that can contribute to the development of the disease. It is also a source of chlorogenic acid, which has been shown in animal experiments to reduce glucose concentrations.
Caffeine, perhaps coffee’s most famous component, seems to have little to do with it; studies that looked at decaffeinated coffee alone found the same degree of risk reduction.
Larger quantities of coffee seem to be especially helpful in diabetes prevention. In a report that combined statistical data from many studies, researchers found that people who drank four to six cups of coffee a day had a 28 percent reduced risk compared with people who drank two or fewer. Those who drank more than six had a 35 percent risk reduction.
Some studies show that cardiovascular risk also decreases with coffee consumption. Using data on more than 27,000 women ages 55 to 69 in the Iowa Women’s Health Study who were followed for 15 years, Norwegian researchers found that women who drank one to three cups a day reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease by 24 percent compared with those drinking no coffee at all.
But as the quantity increased, the benefit decreased. At more than six cups a day, the risk was not significantly reduced. Still, after controlling for age, smoking and alcohol consumption, women who drank one to five cups a day — caffeinated or decaffeinated — reduced their risk of death from all causes during the study by 15 to 19 percent compared with those who drank none.
World now has more fat people than hungry ones.
The world now has more overweight people than hungry ones and governments should design economic strategies to influence national diets, a conference of international experts have heard.
The transition from a starving world to an obese one had happened with dramatic speed, US professor Barry Popkin told the annual conference of the International Association of Agricultural Economists on Monday.
"The reality is that globally far more obesity than undernutrition exists," Popkin said, adding that while hunger was slowly declining, obesity was rapidly spreading.
There are more than a billion overweight people in the world and 800 million who are undernourished, he said at the Gold Coast convention centre near Brisbane. The world population is estimated at about 6.5 billion.
On my list of global threats, this one is weighted pretty light. My wife has me on the weight-watchers diet right now, so I speak as an expert. About being heavy that is. I've been hungry before, but never really starving. But I do suspect that it is easier to lose weight when there is plenty of food available than to gain weight when you have nothing to eat. So I count this as progress.
And I say: be afraid. Be very afraid. Any day now it will be illegal to rip open a bag of pork rinds within thirty feet of a doorway, and some New England town that went 80% for Howard Dean will fine somebody because the fat molecules from his grilled baby-back ribs tempted a neighbor to head for Famous Daves.
The Democrats have an image problem, as Dionne writes, but the image problem springs from divisiveness and the lack of any coherent ideological message or policy platform. That divisiveness springs from one main source: Howard Dean. He has spent far too much time railing on about his hatred of "Republicans, and everything they stand for" and not enough time building the kind of relationships with elected party leaders and donors to create a consensus direction for the Democrats. People pointed out this probable result at the time of Dean's appointment as chairman of the DNC, and apparently no one but the DNC is surprised by the result.
Howard Dean will be in Rapid City tomorrow. The Rapid City Journal quoted Donald Carr as saying Dean "connects with the typical South Dakota Democrat." Do the majority of South Dakota Democrats agree that Republicans "are bad for democracy. They are not interested in ideas but interested in power and they are not interested in the best interest of the American people.” (MSNBC’s “Hardball,” 10/6/05)? Or that “[R]epublicans . . . have never made an honest living in their lives.” (DNC Chairman Howard Dean, Remarks At Campaign For America’s Future “Take Back America Conference,” Washington D.C., 6/2/05)? Or “[W]e need to remember that the enemy here is George Bush, not each other.” (CNBC/The Wall Street Journal Democratic Presidential Candidate Debate, New York, NY, 9/25/03)?
Unfortunately for the Democratic party, the only people that have responded favorably to Dean has been the MoveOn.org/Daily Kos/George Soros crowd. Dean recycles the same anti-Bush vitrol that has cost Democrats three successive national elections. His leadership has resulted in a feud between the DNC, DCCC, and DSCC which hurts the chance the Democrats have in the midterm elections. Dean and other party leaders have the same problem: there has been no indication on how they will improve government, foreign relations, and the economy. They're only strategy on the War on Terror is to attack Bush and Republicans. But this isn't going to win the war against Islamic terrorists. We've heard Democrats say time and again that "we can do things better," but they don't elaborate how they would make things better. If they think they can fight the war better, how? National security and the GWOT will remain the biggest election issues for quite some time, and the Democrats have said nothing about security in their "New Direction for America" platform.
I would doubt a majority of South Dakota Democrats "connect" to Dean's philosophy.
From FOXNews.com, President Ford has checked into the Mayo Clinic:
The statement gave no details about why the 93-year-old former chief executive went to the clinic in Rochester, about 75 miles southeast of Minneapolis.
"No further releases or updates are anticipated prior to early next week," said the statement issued from Ford's office in Beaver Creek, Colo. Ford also has a home in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Mayo Clinic spokesman John Murphy confirmed the statement but said he had no additional information.
A message seeking comment from Ford's chief of staff, Penny Circle, was not immediately returned.
Last month, Ford spent a few days in Colorado's Vail Valley Medical Center because of shortness of breath. In January, he was hospitalized for 12 days in Rancho Mirage for treatment of pneumonia.
Ford suffered two small strokes five years ago and spent about a week in a hospital.
He became the nation's oldest living former president after the death of Ronald Reagan in 2004.
Here's the link.
Writer Jamie Glassman has this in the London Times:
Wandering through the streets of Edinburgh during the world’s largest arts festival, you never know what sight or sound you will be bombarded with next. Half-naked men on 6ft stilts meander by, half-naked girls rush to sell you their show, troops of Japanese acrobats tumble past. But I wasn’t prepared for the verbal assault I got when I wandered into a comedy gig this week.
There have always been anti- Semitic jokes. But you know times are changing when you go along to a stand-up show at the Pleasance Courtyard at the Edinburgh Fringe and you hear audience members shouting “Throw them in the oven” when the comic suggests kids should stop playing Cowboys and Indians and replace it with Nazis and Jews.
Stand-up comedy is as good a prism as any through which to look at the changing attitudes in our society. If my past few days are anything to go by then it is becoming increasingly acceptable to hate the Jews. Again.
I’ve seen two comics so far who have been happy to amuse their crowds with Holocaust gags. I’m not sure which to be the more concerned about.
One was a left-leaning angry Australian conspiracy theorist, Steve Hughes, whose show The Storm is an assault on all things Western. “I want to bash Condoleezza Rice’s brain to bits and kill that f****** Jew Richard Perle.”
And that's the left, mind you.
Kevin Woster from the Rapid City Journal has this piece in today's edition. In the article, the Whalen campaign asks Rep. Herseth and the SD Democrats how they feel about Howard Dean and many of his offensive comments which include calling Republicans "brain-dead" (Peter Gorrie, "Speading the Message," Toronto Star, 3/20/05). But, Rep. Herseth won't denounce her support of him while she tries to maintain the support of Republican voters in South Dakota, voters who in the eyes of Democratic leadership are apparently "brain-dead." In a state with a plurality of Republican voters, wouldn't she try distancing herself from such comments? Here's an excerpt from the article:
Breard said there was no need to use Dean to divert attention from the Internet rumors about Herseth. The campaign has much larger issues, including Herseth's avoidance of debate challenges from Whalen, Breard said. But Breard agreed with Wetz that Herseth should clarify whether she rejects Dean's past attacks on Republicans, who represent the majority party in South Dakota.
"Howard Dean stated that 'I hate Republicans and everything they stand for,'" Breard said. "Does Herseth now stand with Dean in a state that has more registered Republicans than Democrats?"
Carr and Levsen declined to respond to that question directly.
"I think it's a red herring, a transparent attempt to change the subject," Levsen said.
It appears that the Whalen campaign and many South Dakota voters want to know whether our Congressional Representative supports Howard Dean, but she'd prefer not to "change the subject." Maybe she'll tell us how she feels when she makes it to a debate. Read the whole RCJ article here.
Though it takes some reading between the lines, Dave Kranz of the Argus Leader notes that Howard Dean is not the best cheerleader for SD Democrats who are bringing him to the state. Check out this bit:
Sometimes I wonder if South Dakota Democratic Party officials just like to beat themselves up.
A long-anticipated e-mail arrived Monday announcing a Wednesday visit to Rapid City by Howard Dean, Democratic National Committee chairman. Dean has an in-your-face style that might be refreshing and even motivating at times, but he is also a high-risk speaker.
Read it all here.
This Old West town where Jack McCall killed gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok while he played poker in 1876 again figures in a capital punishment case in South Dakota, which may be facing its first execution in 59 years.
McCall was hanged for shooting Hickok in Saloon No. 10. It was the first recorded execution in what would become South Dakota 12 years later.
Now, Elijah Page wants to die.
Page, 24, has asked to fire his lawyer, forgo appeals and die by lethal injection for his role in the March 13, 2000, slaying of 19-year-old Chester Poage. Page and two other men beat, stabbed and tortured Poage in Higgins Gulch near Spearfish in the Black Hills of western South Dakota.
10) "I think with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, you can't play, you know, hide the salami, or whatever it's called." --urging President Bush to make public Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers's White House records
9) "You know, the Republicans are not very friendly to different kinds of people. They're a pretty monolithic party. Pretty much, they all behave the same, and they all look the same. ... It's pretty much a white Christian party.'' --speaking about the lack of outreach to minority communities by political parties
8) "I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks."
7) "I'm a metrosexual." –employing the buzz phrase for straight men who are in touch with their feminine sides, then later admitting he didn't know what the term means
6) "We've gotten rid of (Saddam Hussein), and I suppose that's a good thing."
5) "The idea that the United States is going to win the war in Iraq is just plain wrong."
4) "This president is not interested in being a good president. He's interested in some complicated psychological situation that he has with his father."
3) "Now that we're on dog pee, we can have an interesting conversation about that. I do not recommend drinking urine…but if you drink water straight from the river, you have a greater chance of getting an infection than you do if you drink urine." —teaching an eight-grade science class in La Crosse, Wisconsin
2) "You think people can work all day and then pick up their kids at child care or wherever and get home and still manage to sandwich in an eight-hour vote? Well Republicans, I guess can do that. Because a lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives."
1) "Not only are we going to New Hampshire ... we're going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we're going to California and Texas and New York! And we're going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan. And then we're going to Washington, D.C. to take back the White House, Yeeeeeaaaaaargh!" --Iowa concession speech
In a weekend post I argued that the Muslim immigrant population in England represents something new: immigration as a geunuine demographic threat to national security. The London Times was only a half step behind me.
It is now self-evident that there is an enemy within Britain who wants to destroy our way of life. Most of this relatively small group of fanatics are British-born Muslims who have been educated here and brought up within our tolerant democracy. Those looking for the outward signs that identify them as full of hatred would be hard-pressed to find them. Many seem all too ordinary, perhaps enthusiastic about football and cricket and living “normal” westernised existences in neat terraced houses. They work, study or run small businesses. Most show little indication that they have signed up to the distorted ideology of radical Islam, with its millennial ideology of bringing destruction to the corrupt West. As “sleepers”, they are perfect.
Here is the Times's recommendation, similar to my own but with less concern for the civil liberties side of the equation.
If terror is to be defeated, you have first to drain the swamp. Muslims have to be persuaded that we are on the same side, that there is no witch-hunt against Islam and that the wars involving British troops are about stopping Islamists and the corruption of their religion. This means Muslims being alert to extremists in their ranks and being prepared to identify them to the police. It means Muslims becoming intolerant of radical mullahs and hounding them out of their mosques. Equally the authorities have a responsibility to crack down on extremists in universities and in prisons, to close internet sites and bookshops that spread hatred and violence, and to take all reasonable measures to protect their citizens.
At times this may seem unjust. Muslims who visit Pakistan will have to be more closely scrutinised and it may seem that they are being systematically targeted. But Muslims will have to understand that it is their co-religionists who are bent on bombing trains and planes and that requires extraordinary measures. A mature Muslim response will be to co-operate and help to eradicate extremists in their midst. It requires the vast majority of Muslims to believe that their future is tied to Britain, a country in which their religion can be respected and freely practised. If the radicals succeed, it will foster only hatred and intolerance.
From Gramma International, a Cuban Government website, from what I can make of it. Under the heading "An Unbelievable Afternoon Between Brothers," is this picture, which I don't quite know what to make of.
Check out this interesting article from the Rapid City Journal's Kevin Woster. Its a short read, but very interesting. Here's an excerpt, but I really recommend reading the whole thing here. (RCJ; Aug 14, 06)
The Thune-McCain connection made the news last week. Turns out Sen. John Thune is bringing Sen. John McCain of Arizona to South Dakota this October for an event in Sioux Falls.
That's pretty cool. McCain makes news wherever he goes. And he and Thune are getting to be pretty good pals through their work on the Senate Armed Services Committee and an earlier trip to Iraq.
But there's another Thune-McCain connection. And this one goes back to World War II and the militarily stormy skies over the Pacific.
Thune's dad, Harold, was a Navy pilot flying some pretty hairy combat missions against the Japanese under the wide umbrella command of McCain's grandfather, John Sidney McCain.
Actually, that's Admiral John Sidney McCain Sr., a major figure in U.S. military history and the guy who signed the letter authorizing Harold Thune to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross back in December of 1944.
David Perlmutter who obviously knows more about the subject than I ever will, corrects me concerning the famous Iwo Jima photo shown above. I produced it as an example of an obviously staged photograph. Dr. Perlmutter replies:
I just wanted to drop you a line, not as complaint but for clarification. I
read regularly and respect your blog--as Jon Lauck will vouch, I hope, about
this--but...The Iwo Jima (second) flag raising was NOT staged in any way.
Really. One of my areas of research is icons of photojournalism (2 books, dozens
of articles) and I vouch for this. Also, read the book Flag of Our Fathers.
The data virus that the IJ2FR was staged arises from several sources. 1)
Confusion about there being 2 flag-raisings-the second was because the first
flag was too small for Marines fighting elsewhere on the island to see, (2) it
looks so well composed, (3) Joe Rosenthal did not know that the pic would become
famous, and as it did he was not in touch with the home press, still in the
Pacific, and had never even seen the developed images, (4) he assumed that
another shot, of the men posed around the flag, would be the more attractive
image for home-front audiences, (5) when Rosenthal was first told that an image
of his was a huge success, he assumed it was the posed picture, so said
something like, "Yeah I staged that one." But every testimony on record, the
motion picture film of the flag-raising, and the chronology of shots on
Rosenthal's negative role prove: it was an actual, unstaged event that he
captured on film. There are staged photos of war out there-but this was not one.
David D. Perlmutter. Photojournalism and Foreign Policy: Framing Icons of
Outrage in International Crises.
David D. Perlmutter. Visions of War: Picturing Warfare from the Stone Age
to the Cyberage.
Okay, but what else are we going to try?
Maybe the problem is that the rain was actually on fire:
And if burning water isn't enough, the State is trying to discourage cannibalistic fish in North Island Lake.
Hymenoptera shake their booty.
I bet he has to ride the horse, and she gets the Harley.
Maybe, if he wanted to get there a lot faster. But if I was going to Jerusalem for the same reason He was, I'd have traded in the donkey for a galapagos turtle.
I can't improve on this one.
First he gives up cigars, now he has quit drinking. The SOB's going to outlive all of us.
The campaign of Republican Rep. John Kline has accused Democratic challenger Coleen Rowley in Minnesota of using a blogger as a "double-agent," the Star Tribune reports.
Kline's campaign alleged that the blogger, David Bailey, attempted to make an illegal campaign contribution and hurt Kline's re-election effort. "Our campaign has never sent anyone in there to do anything like that," Rowley campaign manager Terry Rogers said in denying the charge.
Bailey, currently Rowley's director of "earned" news media, said he did attempt to make the contribution in order to get on the mailing list because he wanted to learn more about Kline's beliefs. But he was only a volunteer for the campaign at the time and said he acted independently of it.
Kline spokesman Marcus Esmay said Bailey gave his real e-mail address and home address.
The Star Tribune noted that Bailey "was a Rowley volunteer and blogger who posted an Internet blog critical of Kline" at the time of the incident. Since May, Bailey has been a staffer on the Rowley campaign and writes much of the content for its blog, The Blotter. He posted a disclosure to that affect at John Kline's Record when he quit writing entries there.
Rowley's campaign finance report for the quarter that ended June 30, available electronically through the Federal Election Commission, does not indicate any payments to Bailey. Walter Winger, the policy research director for the campaign, said that's because Bailey is filling a "nontraditional position" that evolved out of his work as a blogger/volunteer for the campaign.
Bailey is not paid for his work as earned media director. Winger said the campaign "wanted to give him a title when he was talking to radio producers." He added that Bailey also interacts with blogs, "trying to get Coleen's name out there."
At The Blotter, Bailey called the latest story about his attempt to get on Kline's mailing list "an attack against me, in yet another effort to distract the media and the public from the issues that matter."
"I live in the second district; I'm one of John Kline's constituents, and as a constituent, I was trying to get answers about his position on the issues," Bailey wrote. "I didn't get answers that day, and John Kline is still stonewalling about his positions today."
Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters, a conservative blogger based in Minnesota, is not buying Bailey's explanation of what transpired. He also questioned Bailey's decision not to blog about his "attempt to donate money to Kline's campaign on [his blog about Kline]. It would seem to be a bloggable event, having met with Kline staffers in both his district office and his campaign headquarters."
Reading through the Des Moines Register this morning on the way out of Knoxville, I came across David Yepsen's column entitled "Parties pulled to extremes." Excerpt:
Two events of the past week - Joe Lieberman's defeat and a foiled terrorist plot - will alter American politics in the weeks ahead.
Neither is likely to help Democrats. They could even foul what should be a good year for the party.
It didn't get as much attention as Lieberman's defeat, but GOP conservatives in Michigan denied renomination to a moderate congressman on Tuesday. In the GOP, these folks are dubbed RINOs, or Republicans in Name Only. In Lieberman's case, he was called things we can't print in a family newspaper.
The hijacking of American politics by people at the extremes is something that contributes to the alienation most Americans feel toward both parties. (Try being a pro-choicer in the GOP today. Try being a pro-lifer or a hawk in the Democratic Party.)
Instead of a dialog between the two parties about our problems, we have shout-a-thons and Internet incivilities. It's liberal bloggers versus conservative talk-show hosts. The pragmatic, civil politics of the Jim Leaches and Leonard Boswells are out. Steve King and Al Sharpton - who conveniently posed behind Lamont Tuesday night - are in.
For many Americans, it becomes too much. They tune out. And that's fine with the politicians. Political consultants in both parties urge their candidates to instead "fire up the base" and engage in "turnout-suppression" efforts against opponents. So, Democrats step up their anti-war rhetoric. Republicans bash gay marriage.
The trashing Lieberman took for his views brings to mind the anti-Vietnam War activism that savaged Hubert Humphrey in 1968. Humphrey was as good and decent a liberal as you could find, but the anti-war movement just couldn't stomach him because he was Lyndon Johnson's vice president. Enough people on the left stayed home, or did little to help him, that the country got Richard Nixon as its president. Which was not a good thing.
So will the ascendant anti-war movement today become as impractical and counter-productive as it became in the 1960s and 1970s? If so, the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 is likely to be won by a candidate so far out on the fringe he (or she) can't appeal to America's mainstream.
For the last two election cycles, Republicans have convinced voters they would do the better job protecting the nation from terrorists. Can the Ned Lamonts do that? We shall see.
In a move that has received little attention, the folks backing Jack for Governor have brought on Farmers Union Communications Director and former Democratic campaign operative Rick Hauffe. Hauffe, who was once the SD Democratic Party Communications Director, received mention from PP at SD War College last August as a possible cause for concern for Republican candidates, and in some quarters he is known as "Chainsaw Rick." Here is an excerpt from War College's archives (August 8, 2005):
When I noted that Rick Hauffe was posting on the Grassroots Dems blog early this year, I pointed that out to some GOP friends as something to watch, because the possibility of Rick being active in elections this year is a cause for concern on our part.
Here's a link to the excerpt.
Michael Barone has an exceptional column in the WSJ about American exceptionalism. His reading of the Joe Lieberman defeat/Ned Lamont victory is that it is a sign that significant portions of the Democratic Party have parted ways with its traditional "lunch pail" constituency. The new constituency is a an wealthy, educated and elite one that does not believe that American traditions are worth defending. Evidence?
As an observant Orthodox Jew, [Lieberman] has consistently portrayed himself as a man of religious faith, while one-quarter of John Kerry voters in 2004 described their religion as "other" or "none." He has been a critic of vulgarity and obscenity in television programs and movies, while the Democrats enjoy massive financial and psychic support from Hollywood. He has supported school-choice measures, while one of his party's major organized constituencies is the teachers' unions. And he has been an American exceptionalist--a believer in the idea that this is a special and specially good country--while his party's base is increasingly made up of people with attitudes that are, in professor Samuel Huntington's term, transnational. In their view, our country is no better than any other, and in many ways it's a whole lot worse.
Now it's different. In 2004, pollster Scott Rasmussen asked two questions relating to American exceptionalism: Is this country generally fair and decent? Would the world be better off if more countries were more like America? About two-thirds of voters answered yes to both questions. About 80% of George W. Bush voters answered yes. John Kerry voters were split down the middle, with yeses outnumbering noes by small margins. That's reminiscent of the story about the Teamster Union business agent who was in the hospital and received a bouquet of flowers with a note that read, "The executive board wishes you a speedy recovery by a vote of 9-6." Not exactly a wholehearted endorsement.
It is unclear what what proportion of the Democratic Party such voters make up. For the sake of the Democratic Party and the nation, let's hope it is relatively small.