During last nights Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton ended up having a disastrous night. Her worst gaffe was her reversal that occurred in a period of two minutes, when she flipped her position over giving licenses to illegal immigrants on national television:
McKinney said Clinton grew testy when pressed on whether she agrees with a proposal her home state governor has to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. She first expressed support for the idea. But when Dodd objected, Clinton grew defensive and said she wasn't saying it should be done, although she recognizes why the governor is trying to do it even though she doesn't think it's "the best thing for any governor to do."
Edwards pounced. "Unless I missed something, Senator Clinton said two different things in the course of about two minutes," he said. "America is looking for a president who will say the same thing, who will be consistent, who will be straight with them."
Obama piled on. "I can't tell whether she was for it or against it," he said. He said he supports the idea.
Her answer made her look pandering, unsure and, even worse, indecisive. How many voters look for indecisiveness in their presidential hopefuls? It's the same thing John Kerry had to deal with in 2004 after his "I was for the $87 billion before I was against it" remark. And Mrs. Clinton had to know the issue would come up in the debate. Governor Eliot Spitzer's approval rating has plummeted thanks to policies like this. Immigration has been on the front burner of politics since last summer, so why she wasn't prepared for this is beyond me.
According to a clip over on Matt Drudge, the Clinton campaign is blaming Tim Russert for being "unfair" and "bordered on the unprofessional." He's a debate moderator! These guys, whether its Russert, Chris Wallace, or Chris Matthews, are suppose to be tough on the candidates. The only person Clinton has to blame is herself for boggling her answer. You can bet this will move to the center of the Republican critique of Hillary, and probably will gain traction among her Democratic rivals also.
When you watch the video (see below), Clinton tries to shift the blame on (who else?) George W. Bush. Recall, however, the Bush supported her side on immigration reform. She created a straw man to deflect her bad answer. This has been disastrous for Hillary Clinton, and she will live with it for the next year.
UPDATE: A couple additional observations. For one, Dodd has the best answer that licenses are a privilege, not a right. He also notes the bureaucratic mess that the three-level New York plan would introduce (different classes of driver's licenses: one gets you on an airplane, another is a "regular" drivers license, and another ID's illegal immigrants.). Clinton has always struck me as more politically savvy than this. Amazing.
In the weird last minutes of the debate (the period, by the way, when The Fix made it onto the basketball court in high school) Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) gave us a highlight.
Asked about the statement by actress Shirley MacLaine that Kucinich had seen a UFO at her house, Kucinich said that he had. He quickly sought to clarify -- an "unidentified flying object" he said holding up his hand -- but man oh man.
The big news tonight: DENNIS KUCINICH HAS SEEN A UFO.
Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, also claimed the government hasn't come clean or released documents on Roswell, although he doesn't believe in their existence. Right. Is he serious? Everyone knows that the zombie menace is a far more important issue, anyways.
Via Instapundit comes this story about the University of Delaware's plan for, as it's referred to in the university's own materials, the "treatment" of incorrect attitudes and beliefs of the 7,000 students in its residence halls. John Leo comments: "The basic question about the program is how did they think they could ever get away with this?"
My colleague Prof. Blanchard below writes about the possibility of a successful Mike Huckabee campaign. People have started criticizing Huckabee's economic record and claiming that he's a populist liberal like Bill Clinton. The criticism is based on his tax issue, which John Fund discussed last Friday when he declared Huckabee was no fiscal conservative.
Fund reports that Huckabee raised some taxes and dramatically increased state government spending. Lucas Roebuck responds to John Fund's article, Joe Carter at the Evangelical Outpost defends Huckabee's economic record, and Huckabee himself has said he pushed a large tax cut through a Democrat-controlled legislature, indexed the state income tax, and eliminated the capital gains tax on home sales. I think Fund misses the context of the story. He may have raised taxes, and if the tax structure he inherited as governor and the condition of roads, schools, and other infrastructure were weak, as Roebuck contends, it may have demanded he do so to fund improvements. Huckabee isn't the strongest economic conservative compared to his GOP rivals, but fiscal conservatives shouldn't give up on the man. He supports a balanced budget, the presidential line-item veto, the elimination of earmarks, and a flat tax. I respect Huckabee and I like the guy, but I don't know that he has enough behind him to make a serious presidential run. In any event, the criticism leveled at him for his fiscal conservatism seems misplaced.
Might I suggest another addition to Prof. Blanchard's campaign literature? We Like Mike! [Update: Just for fun, here's a list of political slogans.]
Sibby has removed his accusation that Argus Leader political columnist Dave Kranz attempted to prevent Barnes and Noble from distributing Jon Lauck's book after receiving an email from Randell Beck. Good. It was a serious allegation to make against Kranz without any substantial proof, and unfair to Kranz. And it resulted in a rather intense blog drama between the SDWC and Sibby. We can criticize the content of the paper and the coverage they provide to people and events (or lack thereof), but singling out Kranz without proof and without naming names made the contention hard to believe. However, it would be interesting to examine each side here and determine what the truth is. Will that happen? I doubt anyone in the media will pursue this story, so Kranz will never be asked if he really did contact Barnes and Noble and Sibby will never be asked who his sources were by them. But the blogs will be looking in to the story. If Sibby turns out to be correct, this is the story of the year. Otherwise, Sibby loses credibility. We will wait and see.
Just right now the only interesting story in the Presidential campaign is former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. When every Republican presidential candidate wants to trick-or-treat as Ronald Reagan, maybe the Incredible Huck will be the next hot costume. But so far the only story here is the story itself.
David Yepsen at the Des Moines Register puts it this way:
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's been the hot candidate in the Republican race since he finished second in the Iowa GOP's straw poll back in August. ...In recent days, that talk has escalated to a new level of buzz: Huckabee's doing so well in Iowa, he just might be able to win the Iowa Republican caucuses.
The Politico wonders whether Huckabee is conservative enough for the Republican base. The Washington Times wonders whether Huckabee can really keep right wing evangelicals from bolting the GOP to form a third party. Fred Siegel continues the theme on his Commentary blog. He calls the new guy from Hope, with his call for "applied Christianity wowing some of the values crowd, William Jennings Huckabee. According to this view, Huckabee is the candidate for Southern Whites who drifted into the GOP but aren't exactly comfortable with the party's business interests. Salena Zito at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is impressed at the candidate's "Huckappeal." That's a lot of Huckabuzz over three days.
Zito notes what Huckabee's rise doesn't consist in.
Huckabee is rising among the GOP candidates, not by money. (He has little.) Nor by establishment support. (He has none.) And not by slick television or radio ads. (Again, no money.) Huckabee is there because he has earned it, says Charlie Gerow, a Republican strategist in Harrisburg.
But where, exactly, is "there." Nationally, Huckabee is barely registering the polls. The Republicans split between Giuliani, with about 30%, and Thompson, McCain, and Romney making up another 40% in total. Iowa looks best for Huckabee. He has about half of Mitt Romney's 28%, to give the Huck second place. But he has no resources to flood the state with, as Romney does. Beating Giuliani in Des Moines would be cool, but might not be enough to get him the resources he needs. Romney is also ahead in New Hampshire with the same 28% to Giuliani's 20%; but there Huckabee has about as much support as Budweiser has alcohol. I don't think he makes it into the top four in any other state.
It is hard to see that Huckabee is rising anywhere except in the bored imaginations of bloggers and pundits. As a native Arkansan, I am a little disappointed. As a blogger, I am very disappointed. Nobody in the race on either side has a name that so readily lends itself to puns. But perhaps where there is this much smoke, there really is a fire burning under Huckabee's candidacy. If he does get the nomination, I am available for the campaign. My first blow will be a poster of the White House, with the words blazing above it: The Huck Stops Here.
[I]t wouldn’t be fair to Jon to have somebody here review a book in which we’re criticized. It puts the reviewer in an impossible spot, and it doesn’t give the book a fair shake. That’s why we’ve been looking for an independent reviewer.
We finally found somebody on Friday. Look for the review in the coming weeks.
I did my annual post on Halloween movies. It's time to add another feature to the ever-expanding galaxy of services offered by SDP: Halloween audio. If you want to put together a quick mixer disk for a Halloween party, I suggest the following:
All of the above are available on iTunes. You can have one or two Halloween disks burned in minutes.
If it's spooky stories you are looking for, podcasting has revived audio storytelling, mostly dead since TV eclipsed radio. One site is so good that it's no use mentioning any other this year. Pseudopod is a weekly horror podcast. I am a devoted fan. The stories are excellent and well-read, and each one will chill the blood to the recommended Halloween temperature. You can download them to your iPod, but if you don't have one of those (who are you?), you can download from the website or into iTunes and burn it on a CD.
I highly recommend Pseudopod 52: That Old Black Magic, a tale of demonic contracts and old girlfriends, told in a film-noir voice. P51, Brothers, weaves the Jewish story of the Golum (a clay man animated by magic) together with the Holocaust. P50 is a nice Lovecraftian tale with a Victorian science of the occult subtext. My recent favorite is P49 Big Boy. It is the story of a boy trying to save himself and a little girl from adults turned into murderous faux-zombies by a chemical plant explosion. It opens in a day-care center rocked by a distant tremor. This one pushes all my buttons. And then there is P46 The Hanging at Christmas Bridge, another Lovecraftian piece about a bridge on a lonely road that you really shouldn't look at as you drive by. If you are in the mood for a spooky story, and you have an internet connection, Pseudopod is your ticket.
The Washington Post's Susan Levine has some good news concerning teen pregnancy rates in D.C.
Teen pregnancy and birth rates have dropped sharply across the Washington region in the past decade, with the District cutting its numbers by more than half to historic lows.
Wow. Historic lows! I am guessing that there were times when the rates were lower than they are now. But I am being peevish.
"We think kids are making better choices," said Donald Shell, health officer for Prince George's, where the birthrate for females age 15 to 19 fell by nearly a third between 1996 and 2005. "Our efforts finally are bringing forth some fruit."
The District has accomplished dramatic improvement. In 1996, its pregnancy rate for the same age group was 164.5 per 1,000. Appalled by the triple digits, a coalition of nonprofit groups and city agencies began reaching out to various communities, holding public discussions and trying to teach parents how to talk to their children about love, sex and relationships. ...Advocates vowed to reduce the rate to the mid-70s by 2005. Instead, as statistics released this month show, it plunged to 64.4.
The deliciously cheeky Mickey Kaus at Slate tilts his head and rolls his eyes toward the elephant in the room that Ms. Levine seems not to notice.
Did something happen in 1996? Might be worth mentioning! Not to take anything away from "coalitions of non-profit groups ... reaching out," but one of the post-1996 things they could "teach parents" to tell their children was "welfare won't necessarily be there for you if you have a baby."
What happened in 1996 was welfare reform: the end of welfare as an entitlement, guaranteed to anyone who qualified by having a baby without a legal husband in the house. Welfare reform was possible because of the unusual combination of Bill Clinton triangulating policy, and Republicans willing to sit at one corner of the triangle. I have frequently written that Bill Clinton was the most successful conservative reformer ever to land in the White House. Not only did he pass conservative policies that would have been nearly impossible for any Republican President (welfare reform, NAFTA, a balanced budget), but the policies were astonishingly successful. Clinton did this by grafting obedient Democrats to Republican majorities. That he did so not out of principle but for pure political strategy, well, that proves another point.
What Kaus points out is the blindness of a Washington Post reporter. It was inexcusable not to mention welfare reform, having focused on the year it was passed. I have heard it said that success has a thousand fathers, while failure is always an orphan. But in this case, a remarkably successful policy is loved only by its mother.
In today's Argus Leader, Dave Kranz has a good article about the several possible state senate races that are shaping up, including an intriguing primary battle forming in my hometown of Mitchell:
District 20: Sen. Ed Olson, term-limited. Possible candidates: state Rep. Mike Vehle, Joe Graves, Steve Sibson. Possible challenger: former Democratic state Sen. Mel Olson, but there is no certainty about him running for anything.
Comment: State Republicans make it clear. They want Vehle in the Senate race. That means you might find Graves and Sibson competing for the vacant House seat. If Mel Olson is out, you might see Rod Hall, former state senator and a former Mitchell school board member, enter the race in an area where the once-strong Democratic Party is decaying.
In what seemed would be a fairly smooth Attorney General confirmation process, Judge Michael Mukasey has hit a snag after telling Congress he wasn't sure if waterboarding constituted torture. Mukasey has refrained from calling waterboarding torture, and therefore illegal, despite calls by the Senate Judiciary Committee that he do so for the confirmation. Herein lies the absurdity. Congress, represented by the Judiciary Committee, demands that an AG candidate declare an act specifically illegal. But, this is backwards. Congress is responsible for passing laws and determining the legality or illegality of a measure. The AG has the responsibility to enforce those laws.
If Congress is so concerned about making waterboarding explicitly illegal, they should fulfill their Congressional responsibility and introduce a measure to outlaw the practice. Odds are favorable that they would have enough votes to pass cloture in the Senate; John McCain, who has long opposed the practice, would certainly stand with them on this issue and probably carry over more supporters. Once the measure passes and gets through a Presidential veto, the AG would have no options but to enforce the law. Interrogators would lose waterboarding as a technique against detainees. All violations of the new law would be subject to prosecution by the Justice Department. This is a straightforward legislative practice, yet since Congress seems to be abdicating its role as legislator, we have this ridiculous spectacle demanding the AG create laws instead of enforce them.
Last week was "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" (IFAW) on many college campuses. Conservative campus groups promoted this week as an effort to support moderate Islam and to highlight the extremism of the radical politicized Islam. The naming of the week may be inartful, but the cause is reasonable.
This appeared today at NRO's "Phi Beta Con" blog, which keeps watch on political events on campus. I want to disassociate myself from the extreme language of the following piece, especially where Jim Abourezk is described as "an outspoken enemy of his own country." I am on record as suggesting Abourezk is more a fool than a knave. It is also my opinion that the author of this attack, David Horowitz, is too often intemperate, willing to discuss the ideas and actions of his leftist opponents in the most inflammatory language. Still, the following represents an all too typical low concern for free speech on campuses when it is speech that offends left-wing sensibilities.
In an email David Horowitz comments on what Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week achieved. Here is an excerpt:
The attacks on IFAW exposed the broad scope of the alliance between radical Islam and American leftists who regard it as their political task to run interference for America’s enemies: Iraq yesterday, Iran today. These attacks were spear-headed by the misnamed American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee whose founder James Abourezk is an open supporter of the terrorist army, Hizbollah, and an outspoken enemy of his own country. Under the Orwellian banner of defending tolerance, Abourezk’s group sent letters to the presidents of all the colleges hosting events, in an attempt to get administrators to shut them down and silence their speakers in advance. Abourezk’s Committee was joined by offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, including the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Muslim American Society, the Council on America Islamic Relations, and the Muslim Students Association, all of whom set out to stigmatize the students organizing the events as racists and bigots and haters of Muslims.
Fresh off aligning itself with the left-wing American Prospect, now the South Dakota Democratic Party site Badlands Blue site is quoting the far-left Daily Kos. Does not seem ironic that one quotes Daily Kos about anger on the political right and, adding to the irony, one has to edit out the expletives?
Here are a couple pieces from Daily Kos that took me about five minutes to find. The Kossacks really hate Joe Lieberman (they have a whole thread dedicated to him). Not on untypical is this quote: "Listening to Joe "Sanctimonious Prick" Lieberman at today's AG hearings..." The first commenter calls Lieberman "toadying, bleating, sanctimonious, Bush-kissing GOP lickspittle."
Here's one posted this morning, which includes this gem: "Sure, I also believe that these neo-conmen are cynical bastards..." and concludes:
The Republicans that offer us cynical and cowardly crazy talk are espousing something else—rather than appeal to the better angels of our nature, they exploit and expose some of our most devilish flaws.
If there were an ideology we could label “terrorist”—that is pretty much how I would describe it.
One commenter writes, "The absolute greed of these death merchants is appalling," and concludes, "This asshole just flat out wants to kill and plunder." But at least they aren't angry at Kos.
Sen. Johnson, who will no doubt campaign as a moderate, might want to caution his supporters from aligning themselves with and drawing arguments from left-wing sources such as American Prospect and Kos. BTW, the National Journal ranks Senators on a liberal scale and conservative scale. As you can see, overall Sen. Johnson, in the 2006 rankings, voted liberal 69.2% and conservative 30.8% of the time. Readers can decide whether that counts as "moderate." I happen to think Sen. Johnson can reasonably run as a moderate Democrat, but his supporters are making his job harder.
Looking at next year's election from that point of view, I would be very concerned that the Donkeys have peaked way early. All the conventional wisdom favors the Democrats, and that is not necessarily a good thing more than a year out. Besides, the Democrats keep losing on the issues that they seem most to care about.
Michael Barone, at RealClearPolitics points out that Bush is showing a remarkable degree of control over the agenda for a lame duck President. It wasn't too long ago that the majority leaders in both houses of Congress were planning to impose a withdrawal date for American forces in Iraq. That project has utterly collapsed.
That leaves the left wing of the party angry at its leaders and the party split on the war, much as it was in 2002, when about half of congressional Democrats voted to authorize military action.
The Democrats here suffered from a lack of imagination. They could not imagine that the United States military could perform more effectively in 2007 than it did in 2005 and 2006.
George W. Bush seems to have had a similar lack of imagination until the November 2006 elections woke him up. But he chose a new commander and a new strategy, and things have changed. Democratic leaders have acted on the assumption that the status quo of November 2006 would persist indefinitely.
You can look at Bush's "surge" as a strategic innovation that may be showing dramatic results, or as a political strategy to design to maintain control of the agenda despite Democratic control of Congress. Either way, the Bush Administration is running circles around the Democrats. Lack of imagination is indeed the Democrat's problem, but it is far deeper than Barone indicates. The Democrats are very good at complaining about Bush's military policy and his national security policy, but they have no imagination for drafting a policy of their own.
Barone also mentions the Democrat's retreat on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and on the resolution condemning the Turkish massacre of Armenians in 1915. Of course, a string of defeats on the floors of Congress does not necessarily indicate electoral weakness for the party of Clinton, Reid, and Pelosi. But then there is this:
Last week, Democrat Niki Tsongas won a special election with only 51 percent of the vote, in a Massachusetts district where John Kerry won 57 percent in 2004 and would have run much better in 2006.
Now if you are a nervous Democrat, that looks suspiciously like the canary in the coal mine. It would be wishful thinking on a Republicans part to count this one piece of data as an indication of Republican strength. But it is rather hard to explain otherwise.
I would add to this list the election of Bobby Jindal to the State House in Louisiana. Louisiana was one of the last one party states in the South, and so it had a run-off election system. Jindal won 54%, so he goes straight to the Governor's seat. His three strongest Democratic rivals got a mere 45% in total. Piyushnabu "Bobby" Jindal will be the nation's first Indian-American governor. He would be the nation's first Hindu governor, except that he converted to Catholicism when he was a teenager. Son of immigrants from Punjab, he was born in Baton Rouge. The sky's the limit. Rumors of the death of the Republican party are perhaps premature.
See S.D. Watch at Keloland. Apparently, "zombie walks" have become rather common in cities around the U.S. My brother and fellow zombie movie fan witnessed one in Memphis. At ZombieWalk.com there were about 20 scheduled around the U.S., and a handful in other cities around the world. Readers of World War Z will not be surprised at this, as refugees fleeing from the areas where the infection first appears die, reanimate, and spread the infection in population centers around the world.
I do thank Todd for one vital new idea: lutefisk. Zombies are only interested in the flesh of the living. Lutefisk is, however, more than dead flesh. I would suggest it is "anti-living" flesh, even deader than zombie tissue. Perhaps it will even repel zombies? That new weapon might turn the tide. At the first sign of the next zombie outbreak, we at SDP plan to smear Epp with lutefisk and stake him to a Daschle for Senate sign in order to test the theory. Whether it works or not, the experiment will advance the cause of humanity.
I have reliable information that Dave Kranz twice contacted store management and requested that they not carry the book. So what’s up with that? Is it that Kranz only wants his worldview on politics to be available for the masses? Or is there something(s) in the book that he doesn’t want the masses to know?
Sibby has no physical source for the information, so take it for what it's worth. It's a rather serious allegation, so we'll have to see who explores this and watch how it plays out. HT to SDWC.
Via John Hinderaker comes this video of Sonny Rollins playing St. Thomas, which is on his Saxophone Colossus album. As the album suggests, Rollins is a giant on the tenor sax, on par with John Coltrane and Dexter Gordon, and it's hard to go wrong with anything he's recorded. He's backed by Max Roach on drums, Tommy Flanagan on piano, and Doug Watkins on bass. St. Tomas in particular is important because he mixes Caribbean and Afro-Cuban sounds with traditional jazz instrumentation, anticipating Latin Jazz before it became mainstream. If you like Saxophone Colossus, you might also enjoy his Freedom Suite, or move on to Joe Henderson's work, especially Page One.
I cannot say I agree with Bill Clinton often. I don't agree with him on matters of U.S. policy, and I don't really care to see his wife win the White House, but I have to give him props for what he said during a speech in Minneapolis on Wednesday. While addressing a crowd, 9/11 Truthers showed up and interrupted him, shouting that 9/11 was an inside job. A local affiliate in Minnesota has the footage:
Here's the full quote:
One heckler shouted that 9/11 was a fraud, and Clinton bristled. "No, it wasn't a fraud. I'll be glad to talk about it if you'll shut up and let me talk." The heckling continued, and he told another heckler "these people did not come here to hear you speak. If you don't have any self-control, we can deal with that."
When a third called 9/11 an "inside job," Clinton snapped back "How dare you? I live in New York, and I know who did that. You guys have got to be careful, or you're going to give Minnesota a bad reputation."
Hat tip to Ed Morrissey.
Don't forget that Jon Lauck will be at Barnes and Noble in Sioux Falls today at 2 p.m. signing copies of the book the Argus Leader doesn't want you to read, Daschle Vs. Thune: Anatomy of a High Plains Senate Race.
Woodstock and Hillary Clinton have made it in to John McCain's latest campaign commercial, which contains his great line about being "tied up at the time":
UPDATE: Happy birthday to the former First Lady, by the way.
Earlier today Jon Lauck's Daschle Vs. Thune topped out at #3 in books covering elections:
Amazon.com Sales Rank: #4,298 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)
Popular in these categories: (What's this?)
|Books > History > United States > State & Local > South Dakota|
|Books > Nonfiction > Government > Elections|
|Books > History > United States > 21st Century|
It's currently settled at #7:
It's clear that Dave Kranz loves to write about books in his column, yet the gatekeepers of political news at the Argus Leader cannot seem to bring themselves to discuss Jon Lauck's new book:
October 5, 2007
-- Article about the book “Three Cups of Tea”; promotes Daschle staffer Steve Kinsella’s book “900 Miles from Nowhere”
September 28, 2007
-- Marshall Damgaard book about state capitol
September 14, 2007
-- Ken Burns’ book “The War”
September 12, 2007
-- Anti-Bush book “Dead Certain”
September 7, 2007
-- Complete article on “Dead Certain”
July 18, 2007
-- Article entitled “Trio of political books have S.D. connections”
June 8, 2007
-- Bernie Hunhoff’s "South Dakota Curiosities"/signing at Barnes and Noble and David Volk’s "Draftee”/signing 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Reader's Den
May 4, 2007
-- Dave Volk’s "Draftee”/signing at Zandbroz
April 23, 2007
-- Dave Volk book
March 30, 2007
-- Lois Hatton's “book based on the smiles she had from people she met on her way through life” and William O. Farber's book, "Footprints on the Prairie."
December 22, 2006
-- Joe Kippley, a Brookings High School and University of Notre Dame graduate and former page for Sen. Tom Daschle during the 9-11 terrorist attacks, signs his book, "A Page in History," from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Zandbroz in downtown Sioux Falls.
December 11, 2006
-- Reports no Janklow book will be written
November 27, 2006
-- McGovern, signing his book, "Out of Iraq," at Zandbroz
November 24, 2006
-- Article on Kippley book
October 25, 2006
-- Mark Fuhrman's book "Murder in Brentwood"
October 20, 2006
-- Paul Horsted's book “The Black Hills Yesterday and Today" / signing Zandbroz.
October 18, 2006
-- McGovern's book, "Out of Iraq," getting some good reviews in its early weeks of publication/Anna Quindlen of Newsweek praised the work on Public Television's "The Charlie Rose Show."
October 13, 2006
-- Authors Steve Kinsella, John Egan and George McGovern and photographer Paul Horstad will discuss and sign their new books here in the next few days.
September 21, 2006
-- A new book, “Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War,”…included in the book is a mention of the president and an incident involving then-Sen.Tom Daschle.
September 17, 2006
-- Juan Williams new book/V.J. Smith “The Richest Man in Town” and James McLaird on “Calamity Jane”
August 24, 2006
-- Article on McGovern’s new book
September 15, 2005
-- Gilbert C. Fite's book "Peter Norbeck: Prairie Statesman" is being released this month.
July 5, 2005
– New Iowa book, "Beyond the Facts: Faith Sees the Deepest Truth"
June 7, 2005
-- New Oscar Micheaux book, "The Wind from Nowhere"
February 22, 2005
-- Thompson's book, "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, '72".
January 9, 2005
-- "Bush Survival Bible," by Gene Stone
September 26, 2004
-- McGovern speaks Friday at Zandbroz in downtown Sioux Falls about his new book, "The Essential America."
August 6, 2004
-- George McGovern has written nine books during his public life, but he thinks the newest one is the best.
June 23, 2004
-- Clinton's new autobiography, "My Life"
March 28, 2004
-- Thomas Patterson book "The Vanishing Voter."
December 14, 2003
-- Daschle will sign his book, "Like No Other Time," at noon Monday at Zandbroz in Sioux Falls .
November 30, 2003
-- Daschle also signs his new book, "No Ordinary Time," at noon Thursday at Zandbroz in Sioux Falls.
October 28, 2003
-- “Book tells why Daschle rejected run for president”
October 28, 2003
-- “Author expects criticism of work”
October 28, 2003
-- “Books examine state’s politics”
October 19, 2003
-- Daschle is promoting his new book.
October 5, 2003
-- Daschle tentatively has set his first book signing for Nov. 4 at Barnes & Noble in
Sioux Falls. The book, "Like No Other Time," will be first released that day.
August 17, 2003
-- Book-sellers are being told that Sen. Tom Daschle's book, "Like No Other Time," published by Crown Publishers, will be on their shelves Nov. 4. Daschle's staff says it still is a work in progress.
February 16, 2003
-- Former Sen. Jim Abourezk is a key figure in four recently published books. The books each have a chapter on Abourezk, a former U.S. senator and now a Sioux Falls lawyer.
February 9, 2003
-- “Daschle is working his way toward completion of his book, but that is taking a disappointing direction. Unfortunately, he will include events only from 2000 to the present. Daschle is a student of Senate history, and his role as minority and majority leader has come during critical times in the nation's history.”
January 20, 2003
-- A book on the 2002 races.
November 24, 2002
-- Pat Halley has written a book on his life with the first lady throughout the
United States and around the world.
November 11, 2002
-- Brokaw book
From the Rapid City Journal:
A proposal in the Senate farm bill to promote cellulosic ethanol could open up more ethanol opportunities for the West River area, according to a spokesman for Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.
Thune announced this week that the farm bill being taken up by the Senate Agriculture Committee includes his provision for incentives to grow switchgrass and other grasses and to promote biomass material such as wood chips for the production of ethanol. Thune is a member of the Senate Ag Committee.
So far, most ethanol production has come from corn, which has benefited farmers primarily in the eastern part of South Dakota, Thune spokesman Kyle Downey said. "The whole cellulosic thing could open it up to the entire state," Downey said.
A planned ethanol plant in Belle Fourche will begin using corn, but company executives are also looking at developing ways to produce cellulosic ethanol in the future.
A Rapid City company, KL Process Design Group, has built a new plant on the outskirts of Upton, Wyo., that produces ethanol from wood chips, sawdust and logging refuse. The plant has been operating for about 30 days now, KL president Randy Kramer said Tuesday.
Badlands Blue, the internet mouthpiece of the Johnson campaign, brags about Tim Johnson's vote for cloture on the so-called Dream Act, which indicates his support for the bill, and takes John Thune to task for opposing the same. Let's take a look at the bill and what the Johnson supporters are saying about it.
Here are the basics of the bill, which I am stealing from Wikipedia. If there are errors here, please let me know:
This bi-partisan bill called The DREAM Act is a one time solution intended to provide a path to a permanent legal status for persons brought to the United States by their parents or guardians as children. This includes individuals with a current legal immigration status, individuals whose parents attempted to immigrate legally but were then denied legality after several years in application, and those initially brought here illegally at a young age.
To qualify, the immigrant student or soldier would have to meet certain requirements such as:
- Proof of having arrived in the United States at age 15 or younger.
- Proof of residence in the United States for a least five (5) consecutive years since their date of arrival.
- Must be between the ages of 12 and 30 at time of bill enactment.
- Having graduated from an American High School, or obtained a GED.
- "Good moral character," essentially defined as the absence of a significant criminal record (or any drug charges whatsoever).
Lowell says that this bill deals with the immigration status of "certain alien students" and quotes the American Prospect saying that this bill "enables undocumented-immigrant young persons to stay in the U.S." Lowell claims John Thune wants to "penalize children" by opposing this bill.
By "alien students" and "undocumented immigrants," what Lowell means is people who are in this country illegally. What "stay in the U.S." means is amnesty for those who are in this nation by violation of United States law. By "children" he means people as old as 30. Indeed, since you must have a high school diploma to be eligible, it is safe to say that no "children" are covered by this bill. I'd say that's three strikes on Lowell's accuracy.
Take a look at this backgrounder (pdf alert) from the Migration Policy Institute, who I understand to be a supporter of this bill. Note that they say that this bill gives immediate amnesty to 360,000 people aged 18-24 (not children) who are in this country illegally (MPI calls them "unauthorized"). Total numbers eligible for amnesty through this bill would total several hundred thousand more (read this backgrounder for various scenarios). This is from a supporter of the bill. The Center For Immigration Studies, who opposes the bill, estimates about 2.1 million illegals given amnesty. While not everyone covered by this bill is an illegal alien, even the supporters agree that hundreds of thousands are.
Do not misunderstand me. Last year I posted here and here giving qualified support for amnesty (or, as I said specifically, "some method of legalization"). I certainly agree that those who serve in the military should be given citizenship. But any amnesty program must go hand in hand with tighter border security, and the border security must come before the amnesty.
On a more political note, if Tim Johnson is going to run as the amnesty candidate and if Mr. Moderate is going to start taking his political bearings from the left-wing American Prospect, then perhaps his re-election will prove more difficult than most think.
My Keloland colleague and NSU colleague emeritus, Professor David Newquist, has this on the Iraq war at his original blog:
A friend who served in the military the same time I did spotted a pickup in a parking lot while we were chatting that carried a bumper stick that said support our troops by supporting Bush and his war on terror. My friend fumed over the absurdity of supporting a leader who tosses away the lives of soldiers as if they are used nose tissues. ...They are insisting that Iran will start World War III, and they are using the phony nuclear weapon scam again. I don't think we can wait for a year to get these maniacs out of office, he said.
I would be curious to learn that the Iranians aren't trying to get nuclear weapons. I suspect this would come as a surprise to the Iranian theocrats, the North Koreans, and pretty much every leader in Europe. I am even more interested in what my colleague's friend thinks we can do about Bush's next year in office.
As it happens, I spent an hour this afternoon talking to a Marine Staff Sergent in my living room. Staff Sergent M spent a year in Iraq. He was part of a helicopter crew, responsible for all of the protective equipment for the rest of the crew, as I understand it. He was guardedly contemptuous of the way the Press reports the war in Iraq, and was proud of the role he has played in his country's service. I don't think he would have appreciated the remarks in the quote above.
A reasonable person might certainly conclude that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. Only an adolescent, or someone stuck in permanent adolescence, would blame the war on "maniacs" in the White House. What the Staff Sergent put his life on the line to serve is a Republic. President Bush secured the support of Congress before he launched the invasion. You may recall that Hillary Clinton voted to give Bush permission to do so. So did John Kerry, before he voted against it. It was not George W. Bush who invaded Iraq. It was the United States of America.
So where are we now? Here is the New York Sun on the maniacs running the Republic:
The People. United. Can in fact be defeated. Well not exactly, but this must be what America's anti-war movement is thinking as Congress and the president iron out the funding for the war with no danger of the Democrats attaching a withdrawal date to the bill. The Dems don't have the votes.
The Democrats control both houses of Congress. They have the power to bring the troops home. All they have to do is refuse to fund the war. So why don't they do so? They do not do so because then they would be responsible for the outcome. If the US withdraws from Iraq too soon, the result will be a real civil war. And that will produce an Iraq controlled either by Iran or Al Qaida. So they continue to support President Bush. But that means that they share responsibility for his policy. In case you are wondering, that is what a Republic looks like.
I have nothing but admiration for my Staff Sergent acquaintance and his comrades in arms. They have chosen to serve a genuine Republic, and among human institutions, there is none more worthy of allegiance.
Responding to my inestimable colleague Professor Schaff on the subject of laptop computers in schools:
1. No, you are.
2. A "bee in one's bonnet" does not imply irrationality; it implies only a preoccupation with some subject beyond what it warrants.
3. I do indeed concede that giving students laptop computers (or other computers) will not improve educational performance, but I added "in itself." Teaching someone to read, write, or type, in itself, will not make him more educated. These are tools only. What he reads, writes, types, or downloads will make the difference. Learning to read is nonetheless vital to getting an education. I argue that the use of computers is an essential skill, at least as important as typing has been since the advent of computers.
4. Professor Schaff says this:
Like Prof. Blanchard I learned keyboarding in school (it was called Keyboarding and Word Processing). But that is a far cry from making the use of computers central to the curriculum.
In the various articles that my colleague cites I find nothing about "making computers central to the curriculum," whatever that might mean. There was some mention of teaching teachers how to integrate computers into the curriculum, which means nothing more than showing them online resources that they can use for their regular classes. What all the articles focus on is providing more computers to teachers, schools, and perhaps directly to students. If it's practical, I am for it.
5. I don't accuse my colleague of being a Luddite, though the bee in his bonnet may be a bit of a Luddite. We agree that computers can be effectively used in genuine education, and that, in the absence of a genuinely liberal curriculum (see point 3), no use of technology will come to any good. But just as providing technology cannot in itself promote education, so it cannot in itself do any harm. What matters is the curriculum.
6. I do believe that someone without access to an internet connection is likely to be increasingly isolated as time goes on. I pointed out that the internet is making vast cultural resources available to anyone almost anywhere, and many of them available free and for the first time: classical art and architecture, thousands of hours of great music, great texts along with translation tools, etc. Integrating these riches into the classroom and homework environments presents practical challenges, and I see no reason not to help teachers overcome them. But at the same time, a lot of stuff that used to be sitting in file cabinets or boxes in library stacks will soon be available only online.
Education has always depended on highways. Athens and Jerusalem, London and Rome, were all centers of commerce. The information highway is more of the same. Besides, how much poorer is the man who cannot log on and get access to Professor Schaff's lucid and penetrating prose. Or even mine.
Many interesting votes in recent days. For example, the House of Representatives voted to recognize native Hawaiians as an Indian tribe allowing them to set up their own government. According to the bill, if one can trace back one's ancestry to a native Hawaiian from 1893, you too are a member of this "tribe." So this is something like the old Jim Crow "one drop rule." Apparently this bill is a response to a 2000 federal court decision striking down an attempt to create "native only" elections in Hawaii. This obviously violated the 14th and 15th amendments. So the reaction is to define natives as an "Indian tribe," thus allowing them to set up a racially separate government and hold their own elections. Rep. Herseth-Sandlin voted for this bill. In the Senate last year Republicans filibustered the bill. John Thune was for the bill's defeat, Tim Johnson against. President Bush has threatened a veto of this bill. The US Commission on Civil Rights has urged rejection of this bill. Commission member Peter Kirsanow has called it "the worst piece of legislation ever analyzed by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights."
In the Senate, David "Ladies Man" Vitter proposed an amendment denying funds to organizations who perform abortions. John Thune favored the amendment, Tim Johnson opposed. Note, this is different from the Hyde Amendment, which denies federal funds for actual performing of abortions. This amendment would have denied funds to organizations who get federal grants for other matters but also perform abortions. Thus Planned Parenthood, for example, because it performs abortions, would have lost its considerable federal monies that go to "social services" that Planned Parenthood also provides.
Finally, Senator Tom Coburn offered an amendment "To require Congress to provide health care for all children in the U.S. before funding special interest pork projects." Tim Johnson voted against this amendment while John Thune was for it. I wonder if Coburn had said, say, 95% of children instead of "all children" the vote would have been different? Readers might recall that in the SCHIP debate President Bush's position was that states should be required to cover 95% of all eligible children before SCHIPs money could be used to cover non-eligible persons such as adults or those who make too much money to normally qualify for the program.
NEWS RELEASE: Sioux Falls signing of Jon Lauck’s new book, “Daschle v. Thune: Anatomy of a High Plains Senate Race”
This Saturday (October 27, 2007), author Jon Lauck will sign copies of his new book “Daschle v. Thune: Anatomy of a High Plains Senate Race” at Barnes & Noble in Sioux Falls, South Dakota at 2:00 PM. The Sioux Falls Barnes & Noble is located at 3700 West 41st Street. “Daschle v. Thune” is currently ranked as the top-selling book about South Dakota by Amazon.com.
Michael Barone, Senior Editor of U.S. News & World Report, has said that "Jon Lauck’s account of one of the hardest-fought elections in the 2004 campaign should be must reading for Democrats as well as Republicans." Joseph Bottum, writing in the Weekly Standard, said "Jon Lauck has written what should be required reading for anyone interested in how to win--and how to lose--a modern senatorial campaign." Professor Larry Sabato, Director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said “Jon Lauck spins a good tale about the contest that was arguably second only to the Bush-Kerry presidential battle in 2004. … This is a great read, and one that students and politically interested citizens alike will enjoy.”
Prof. Blanchard says I have a "bee in my bonnet," which is what one usually says when a person is irrationally perturbed over a small matter. I assure our readers that on this matter my rationality is solidly intact.
Prof. Blanchard makes a large concession to my view:
[Prof. Schaff] is right about one thing: giving computers to students will do little or nothing in itself to improve their performance in education. It is possible that it does some small measure of harm, in so far as it adds to the distractions that they are exposed to.
I am against spending large amounts of money for something that will at best do nothing and at worst produce even a "small measure of harm." I say take that money and give it to the teachers.
Prof. Blanchard's fundamental misunderstanding is that he confuses the issue of giving students a background in technology (I am for it) with giving every student a laptop and then creating a curriculum around the use of computers. Prof. Blanchard assumes that one is keeping students "isolated from the world network" if we do not create a curriculum based around laptops. A couple points. First, I am not against teaching computer courses. Like Prof. Blanchard I learned keyboarding in school (it was called Keyboarding and Word Processing). But that is a far cry from making the use of computers central to the curriculum. Second, Prof. Blanchard and I have plenty of students who do not own laptops. Are they "isolated from the world network"? I should think not. To the extent they are, it can be cured by a one credit class in online data bases provided through our university library. No need to burden our students (or the taxpayers) with the expense of buying a laptop. I take class time in American Government classes to show students how to look up various kinds of information online (for example, we look at both the House and Senate sites, as well as the sites the White House and various Executive Branch agencies). Use of the online world can be taught as needed to supplement curriculum as opposed to creating a new curriculum around a piece of technology.
Lastly, I'd ask Prof. Blanchard to consider what he knows about the eduction profession and then ask himself whether the ubiquity of laptops will be used to teach classics to students. Again, I am not a Luddite. I do not oppose technology in education. So by all means use the Blue Letter Bible in class (although those teaching in public schools may face a lawsuit for accessing that particular data base). But I suspect that laptops will be used for trendy software that contain lots of bells and whistles and provide scads of visual and audio stimuli but do not really teach much. "Interactive" learning will replace memorization, contemplation, imagination, and proficiency in the use of language.
I've heard Stuart Taylor on the radio outlining the arguments of his book Until Proven Innocent in which he and coauthor K.C. Johnson lay out the various injustices that occurred in the rape case brought against Duke lacrosse players. As we now know, all charges where dropped and the DA who brought the case has lost his job and law license. Taylor shows no mercy to the field of journalism, which he argues bought into a false storyline because it made good copy and also fit the political predilections of most reporters on the case.
Could the same thing have happened regarding the so-called "Jena 6"? A reporter from Jena, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, thinks so. If he is right, Mr. Taylor may have his next book waiting for him in Louisiana. Here is part what Craig Franklin of the Jena Times writes today:
By now, almost everyone in America has heard of Jena, La., because they've all heard the story of the "Jena 6." White students hanging nooses barely punished, a schoolyard fight, excessive punishment for the six black attackers, racist local officials, public outrage and protests – the outside media made sure everyone knew the basics.
There's just one problem: The media got most of the basics wrong. In fact, I have never before witnessed such a disgrace in professional journalism. Myths replaced facts, and journalists abdicated their solemn duty to investigate every claim because they were seduced by a powerfully appealing but false narrative of racial injustice.
Read the whole thing for various "myths" that Mr. Franklin claims have been reported as fact. He offers alternative explanations.
Read Robert Turner in the WSJ on the constitutionality of warrantless searches for national security reasons.
When Congress passed the first wiretap statute in 1968, it expressly declared that nothing in it would limit "the Constitutional power of the President" to collect foreign-intelligence information. Every administration from FDR to (and including) Jimmy Carter engaged in warrantless foreign-intelligence wiretapping in the belief that this was one of the "exceptions" to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement. Others include border searches and searches of commercial airline passengers and their luggage (not to mention the requirement, imposed by Congress, that citizens entering a congressional office building to exercise their constitutional right to petition their government for redress of grievances must submit to a warrantless search absent the slightest probable cause).
Heroin addiction famously took out a lot of rock stars and jazzmen. It may be one of the most insidious characteristics of the stuff that, while it inevitably destroyed people, it did not prevent many jazz giants from producing extraordinary music while it was flowing through their veins. It was a common view among jazzmen (and later, rock musicians) that mind altering drugs actually promoted genius. I have contempt for that idea, because I am sure that it killed a lot of beautiful minds. But I confess that I am not sure it was always wrong. I think it is silly to believe that heroin or LSD opened up any new pathways in the brain. Beethoven didn't need LSD. But heroin may have kept at bay certain personal demons that otherwise would have put a stop to the music. Genius often goes hand in hand with a dysfunctional personality, and that is the setting for tragedy.
One of the epochal recordings in jazz is Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section, which I recently acquired from EMusic. Pepper was a piece of work: brilliant alto player, heroin addict, convict. His wife arranged the gig for him, but didn't tell him until just before it happened for fear he would get cold feet and run off. He hadn't played for six months when he shot up with smack, grabbed a horn held together with bandaids, and went into the studio with what might be the greatest rhythm section in the history of jazz: Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on base, and Philly Joe Jones on drums. That was the same trio that laid the foundation for Miles Davis' first quintet (with Coltrane).
The music is indescribably delicious, so I won't try to describe it. Heroin did eventually kill Art Pepper, but it it didn't kill his genius, at least on this occasion. High as a kite, he worked his saxophone with a brilliance that precious few gods or human beings could match. I am not sure there is any moral to this story. It is a clue to how deep and uncharted the human soul is that so much of it could be submerged beneath the orgasm of heroin, and yet room is left for the saxophone.
Professor Schaff, has a bee in his bonnet about laptops in public schools. It is not a large bee or a particularly aggressive African sort of bee, but it does buzz around rather frequently. While I agree with a lot of things that my colleague says, I still think the policy of providing schools and hopefully students with computers is a good one.
He is right about one thing: giving computers to students will do little or nothing in itself to improve their performance in education. It is possible that it does some small measure of harm, in so far as it adds to the distractions that they are exposed to. But keeping them isolated from the world network would be too high a price to pay to avoid those distractions.
One of the things that education up through high school needs to do is teach certain basic skills. In addition to the most obvious-reading, writing, arithmetic, etc.-some of those skills are technological. I learned to type in a home economics course in eighth grade. It is hard to think of a basic skill (after reading and writing) that had more impact on my subsequent education. I think that this is the right analogy for teaching basic computer skills to young students. A student whose household has no desktop or internet connection will depend on libraries (which he or she may never visit) and the school house. Otherwise the student remains isolated from the world net, where most public conversations are happening. Isolation has always been the greatest obstacle to education.
I certainly agree with my colleague that an education in classics is the foundation of the most developed mind. Some time ago a student achieved one of the highest scores on the SAT exam after she prepared by reading the Norton Anthology of English Literature all the way through, twice. The classics teach you how to think about whatever you happen to confront or become curious about. But these days, a household without an internet connection probably doesn't have a copy of the Norton Anthology either.
Moreover, the internet offers resources to a student that I, as a graduate student in political philosophy, could only dream about. Consider, for example, the Blue Letter Bible site. Using that site, one can look up any passage in the Old or New Testament, and see the original Hebrew or Greek. Now it would be a wonderful thing if we taught our high school freshmen either or both of these ancient languages, and to be sure no translation software is any substitute for mastering the language. But the Blue Letter Bible site allows the reader to look up any word in the Bible, and consider the range of ancient meanings. The student can find out, for example, that the word spirit in Genesis 1:2 is originally the word for breath. He can learn that the word for gentiles in Romans means nations or tribes and the student may recognize that the Greek word is the basis for the modern word "ethnic". There is a lot to chew on there.
Professor Schaff's hero out of Evelyn Waugh, Mr. Scott-King, says this:
"If you approve, headmaster, I will stay as I am here as long as any boy wants to read the classics. I think it would be very wicked to do anything to fit a boy for the modern world."
I suspect that Mr. S-K could do a lot with the Blue Letter Bible to make sure that his students are not fit for the modern world.
Jon Lauck's Daschle Vs. Thune: Anatomy of a High Plains Senate Race has officially moved into the number one spot on Amazon.com's best-selling list for South Dakota (see this post for why it wasn't officially considered number one). The Argus Leader also seems to be getting the message.
Meanwhile, ladies and gentlemen, the Bush administration has been accused of covering up the good news from Iraq.
The Laptop Revolution continues apace:
Three Stanley County teachers and a parent are getting a chance to see how the new high school Computer Connections program is working at local high schools.
Stanley County is looking to join the state’s high school computer program where tablets are provided to both teachers and students. The group toured both the Winner and Riggs High School programs last week and plan to tour at least one more in Kadoka later.
Teacher Laura Snow, who is chairperson of the school’s Classroom Connections program, says at both schools, the group got to talk to both staff and students about the program. She says they got a lot of comments.
Snow says the group’s mission is fact finding in nature. Snow says a survey of Stanley County high school teachers show that an "overwhelming number" support the idea.
In the program, the school would pay most of the cost of purchasing the needed 200 tablet computers for staff and teachers and there would be some state financial assistance as well. Snow says cost is an important factor.
Snow says the group will present a recommendation to the school board later this year, which will make the final decision on whether to apply to be part of the program next fall.
Indications are that the laptop hegemony is coming to the state university system:
The university system will convert to wireless, Jewett said.
“We will fix that as fast as humanly possible,” he said. Students will have to pay for the laptops, but by law the cost can be part of college loans, he said.
It's “clearly wrong,” Jewett said that the state's university students studying to be K-12 teachers are not being trained in a wireless laptop environment when that's the environment they will be placed in once they take teaching jobs.
“It's the way the world is going.”
My thoughts on laptops in education are not a secret, although, it should be noted, they are my own, not my employer's.
Let me repeat a story I have told before. In Evelyn Waugh's short novel Modern Europe, one of those Englishmen with a hyphenated last name, Mr. Scott-King, serves as a classics instructor at a finer public school. After an adventure in continental Europe, he arrives back at his school only to be informed that, once again, his school will be teaching fewer of the classics. The headmaster who delivers this news to Scott-King says, "As you know I'm an old Greats man myself. I deplore it as much as you do. But what are we to do? Parents are not interested in producing the 'complete man' anymore. They want to qualify their boys for jobs in the modern world. You can hardly blame them, can you?" To which Scott-King replies, "Oh yes. I can and do." The headmaster suggests Scott-King teach some more "relevant" subjects along side the classics, and Scott-King responds, "If you approve, headmaster, I will stay as I am here as long as any boy wants to read the classics. I think it would be very wicked to do anything to fit a boy for the modern world."
A reader of SDWC writes:
I was intrigued by your comment that “Daschle v. Thune” by Jon Lauck was the #2 best-selling book about South Dakota on Amazon.com now. I checked to see what was #1 and found out it was a book NOT about South Dakota, but about Virginia, the James River in particular (”the 340-mile river, stretching through the heart of Virginia”). I guess there was confusion because South Dakota also has a James River. Regardless, this is a major mistake by Amazon.com. The truth is that LAUCK’S BOOK IS THE #1 SELLLING BOOK about South Dakota on Amazon.com these days. Which makes the Argus Leader’s attempt to blacklist the book that much more outrageous.
Lauck’s book is also #14 nationally in books about elections, which is very good, and makes it even more crazy that an election and political “expert” like Dave Kranz is trying to purge the book from the public’s memory.
#14 in Books > Nonfiction > Government > Elections
Here’s the list of the best-selling Amazon.com books about South Dakota.
Ouch. So do your part: read the banned book!
It was appear that the Clinton dynasty, recalling the once and future Gore and Chinese Templegate, regards Chinese Americans as a vast campaign money-laundering network. The Washington Post has this bit about "Dishwashers for Clinton."
DONORS WHOSE addresses turn out to be tenements. Dishwashers and waiters who write $1,000 checks. Immigrants who ante up because they have been instructed to by powerful neighborhood associations, or, as one said, "They informed us to go, so I went." Others who say they never made the contributions listed in their names or who were not eligible to give because they are not legal residents of the United States. This is the disturbingly familiar picture of Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign presented last week in a report by the Los Angeles Times about questionable fundraising by the New York senator in New York City's Chinese community. Out of 150 donors examined, one-third "could not be found using property, telephone or business records," the Times reported. "Most have not registered to vote, according to public records."
This appears to be another instance in which a Clinton campaign's zeal for campaign cash overwhelms its judgment. After the fundraising scandals of President Bill Clinton's 1996 reelection campaign, the dangers of vacuuming cash from a politically inexperienced immigrant community should have been obvious. But Ms. Clinton's money machine seized on a new source of cash in Chinatown and environs. As the Times reported, a single Chinatown fundraiser in April brought in $380,000. By contrast, 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry raised $24,000 from Chinatown in the course of his entire campaign.
The LATimes article can be found here. It includes these tid bits:
The tenement at 44 Henry St. was listed in Clinton's campaign reports as the home of Shu Fang Li, who reportedly gave $1,000. ...A tenant living in the apartment listed as Li's address said through a translator that she had not heard of him, although she had lived there for the last 10 years.
A man named Liang Zheng was listed as having contributed $1,000. The address given was a large apartment building on East 194th Street in the Bronx, but no one by that name could be located there...
Salespeople at a store on Canal Street were similarly baffled when asked about Shih Kan Chang, listed as working there and having given $1,000. The store sells purses, jewelry and novelty Buddha statues. Employees said they had not heard of Chang.
Another listed donor, Yi Min Liu, said he did not make the $1,000 contribution in April that was reported in his name. He said he attended a banquet for Clinton but did not give her money.
It is pretty clear that Ms. Clinton has a network of money launderers working for her in Chinese immigrant enclaves. There is no reason to believe that she herself has anything to do with this, but if she doesn't know about then she doesn't know what her own campaign is doing. This could be very bad if someone in her campaign is indicted in, say, February.
Money will find its way into political campaigns, by legal means or some other means. The only thing campaign finance reform accomplishes is to drive fund raising underground and make it more difficult to tell who is behind what political activity. Full disclosure without limits on contributions would bring almost all of this out into the light, where we could judge it. But the advocates of campaign finance control cannot resist the temptation to try to purify politics.
Reporters Without Borders ranks nations based on press freedom. See the latest rankings here. Of the 169 nations ranked, Eritrea is the worst offender. The fourth nation for press freedom is Iran, and the sixteenth worst nation for press freedom is Syria. So perhaps going to these nations to denounce the United States (ranked #48, btw), is a bit silly. Of note, Iraq is ranked as the thirteenth worst offender of press freedom. This is not surprising given the presence of war in the country. If the efforts to create a free Iraq are to be successful, though, this will have to change.
No thinking person would look at last year’s weather reports to judge whether it will rain today, yet we do something similar with Iraq news. The situation in Iraq has drastically changed, but the inertia of bad news leaves many convinced that the mission has failed beyond recovery, that all Iraqis are engaged in sectarian violence, or are waiting for us to leave so they can crush their neighbors. This view allows our soldiers two possible roles: either “victim caught in the crossfire” or “referee between warring parties.” Neither, rightly, is tolerable to the American or British public. (snip)
Anyone who has been in Iraq for longer than a few months, visited a handful of provinces, and spoken with a good number of Iraqis, likely would acknowledge that the reality here is complex and dynamic. But in the last six months it also has been increasingly hopeful, despite what the pessimistic dogma dome allows Americans and British to believe. (snip)
But it wasn’t until I spent that week back in the States that I realized how bad things have gotten. I believe we are witnessing a conspiracy of coincidences conflating to exert an incomprehensibly destructive force on the free press system that we largely take for granted. The fact that the week in question also happened to be when General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker were delivering their reports to Congress makes me wonder if things are actually worse than I’ve assessed, and I returned to Iraq sadly convinced that General Petraeus now has to deal from a deck clearly stacked against him in both America and Iraq.
Here is the amazing part of Yon's post and it should be spread around South Dakota and elsewhere. Yon is offering to members of National Newspaper Association the right to use excerpts and photos from his reporting for free. Here are the South Dakota members of the NNA. I note that The Rapid City Journal is a member. I urge all South Dakota member papers to take Yon up on his offer. See Yon's post on the details.
It's was big day for South Dakota hunters Saturday. Pheasant season kicked off at noon. Hunters from across the state were welcomed in to the state. Senator John Thune was among the many who donned the orange gear and took aim at a few pheasants.
Walking the fields with his friends at the Rubendall Ranch near Artesian is something Senator John Thune has looked forward to the entire year.
"It's something I've been doing literally since I was 12 years old when I hunted with my dad and now I'm hunting with my brother and friends and some nephews," Senator John Thune said.
Out of state hunters bring lots of money to South Dakota, $153 million to be exact. And Thune knows the experience is what always brings the hunters back each fall.
"It's a tradition that gets passed down from one generation to another and just on a family and friend level. It's a great opportunity to experience something truly unique," Thune said.
Senator Thune says along with the economics and sportsmanship pheasants bring to the state, for him opening day is one big holiday.
"When I was a kid, this was a bigger deal than Christmas, I mean opening day of pheasant season was the day of the year. And its nice now to have a more abundance of pheasants," Thune said.
Add to that an abundance of sunshine and everybody in todays group had an excellent hunt.
"It's something I think we're blessed to have in South Dakota and hopefully we're able to enjoy for a lot of generations to come," Thune said.
And it's the younger hunters who are helping to spread the tradition.
The South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Department says for the most part, Saturday's opening day was a success. But some hunters didn't like the muddy conditions. Officials also say at least five hunting accidents were reported but none were life-threatening.
It's not my question. It belongs to Terrence Samuel, writing at The American Prospect, a journal of "liberal intelligence." The conventional wisdom is that all the momentum is on the side of the Democrats. But Samuel points out a few inconvenient truths.
They can't stop the war or override the president's veto on S-CHIP. Harry Reid is less popular in his home state of Nevada than the president is in the country, and, if you listen to the pollsters and the pundits, the Democrats are about to choose one of the most divisive political figures in the Republic’s history to be their 2008 presidential nominee. Which begs the question: When should Democrats begin to panic?
The answer is "not yet." But the truth is that unless they can re-establish some of their 2006 momentum, Democrats may find themselves going into the next election tagged as the party that couldn't stop Bush when given a chance, or as the party that did not try hard enough.
Samuel puts his finger on one of the most interesting facts of the current political environment. Bush's popularity is indeed very low, almost as low as that of Congress. And the latter reflect displeasure with Congress as a whole, not specifically the Democrats. On the other hand, Bush is enjoying a high degree of control over the national agenda for a lame duck President. This is in large part because the Democrats can't get their act together.
The underlying problem is the act itself. This was evident in the recent dust-up over Congressman Pete Stark's hissy fit on the House floor. From the Boston Herald:
“You don’t have the money to fund the war or children,” he told House Republicans. “But you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people, if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.”
Here it is on YouTube. What's important here is not that Stark was over the line, which he was. It is that his hatred of Bush eclipses his passion for any other part of the Democratic agenda. He had to know that his tirade couldn't help his part advance the SCHIP legislation, and he should have known that it would allow the Republicans to make him the issue. But he just couldn't help himself.
Something similar when the Democrats advanced a resolution to condemn Turkey for the Armenian genocide. Not a bad move, perhaps, solely on its merits. But just right now, when the US desperately needs the cooperation of the world's most moderate and democratic Islamist government, it is probably a very bad move. So why did the Democrats move this issue now, only to have to back away with egg on their faces?
In the hours before a House panel approved the resolution Oct. 10, Pelosi was told in a tense meeting with Turkey's ambassador that the vote would endanger his country's alliance with the U.S. She had a warmer session with an Armenian cleric and representatives of Armenian-Americans, who have a large presence in her home state of California. In both, she made clear she intended to bring the resolution to a full House vote.
Since then, Pelosi, 67, has been in retreat. Her vow to bring the measure to a vote outraged Turkey, which recalled its ambassador and threatened to cut off the use of its military bases to resupply U.S. troops in Iraq. On Oct. 17, Pelosi said it ``remains to be seen'' whether the vote would occur after more than a dozen lawmakers pulled their names from the measure and some Democrats asked her to drop it.
``It's a good resolution but a horrible time to be considering it on the House floor,'' said Representative Mike Ross of Arkansas, one of the Democrats who withdrew his support.
The answer is that they couldn't resist causing trouble for George W. That passion not only overrode their concern for American foreign policy, it overrode their concern for not looking like idiots.
And therein lies the reason why Democrats should be worried. They have become a party of one shining principle: the humiliation of one George Herbert Walker Bush. But pretty soon now they ain't gonna have Dubya to kick around anymore. And that may leave a party as hollow as a Thanksgiving parade balloon.