Saturday, May 31, 2008
Obama will speak to this decision later today. My bet is he will attempt to do the same thing he did with Reverend Wright and make it about how the Church has changed recently.
If that is the case then Obama needs to explain how he can change his mind about his church of 20 years when facts on the ground change but is unwilling reevaluate or even visit Iraq or General Petraeus to see how the facts on the ground there have changed!
Is this really the judgment of a leader?
The timing of Obama's change of mind about Trinity is quite interesting -- now that the nomination is pretty well locked up and he is no longer being called, "not black enough," by black leaders .
British pensioners who cannot afford to heat their homes. European hauliers and fishermen whose livelihoods are under threat. Palestinians forced to fill up their cars with olive oil. Americans asked to go down to a four-day week.All around the world, in a multitude of ways, the soaring price of oil is hurting rich and poor alike.
Congress are sitting on enough oil and coal to fuel America for decades and they are allowing the world to go cold and hungry by preventing its use! (A preview of An Obama Nation?)
Those resources would help feed and heat the world!
Why does Congress hate the world? Why do they want to starve the poor? Is the Polar Bear more important then a poor child?
Imagine the damage to our reputation when the world discovers how much oil the Democrats have hoarded for ourselves! It is irresponsible as citizens of the world to hoard these resources when we know it is there and could be used safely!
The Independent UK -- Shocked! How the oil crisis has hit the world!
It has already begun:
A new report out today on the worldwide food shortage castigates the west and especially the United States for their biofuels policies which the report says has exacerbated the crisis without much of a savings in crude oil:
American Thinker Blog -- Food Report Critical of Biofuels
Congress has made us look like selfish fools and has damaged our reputation in the long run far more then the Bush administration ever could!
Americans are already getting frustrated, not enough to get the tar and feathers yet, but enough for over 100,000 to sign a petition urging the Congress to allowing drilling here drill now!
For the record, I don't believe there is an oil crisis, but I do think it is extremely irresponsible to not use the known resources while realistic alternatives are developed to replace them.
Remember, "I could no more distance myself from Pastor Wright than I could from my white grandmother"?
I guess grandma is on notice.
Obama could no more keep his pledge then he could keep his membership at his church!
CNN is reporting that Obama has resigned his membership at Trinity Church.
That twenty years of hate just now became too much! Just NOW!
Ace of Spades -- Obama Resigns His Church Membership
As of right now, 85% of the U.S. coastline is off-limits to energy production because of (anti-capitalist) environmentalists. Most of this includes huge reserves off the Florida coast. The problem is that the politicians (Mel Martinez and Bill Nelson in particular) are not willing to become a part of the solution. But here's an idea that is so logical, there is no way in hell Florida politicians will ever consider it.
Representative Sue Myrick of the House Energy and Commerce panel wants to let coastal states decide whether drilling would be environmentally risky. In other words, don't let drilling be stopped on a national level ... let the individual states decide. It would essentially give coastal states that want offshore drilling the power to opt out of the federal Interior Department's offshore restrictions. There's only one problem with that ... what if coastal state don't want to drill. What if they are most concerned about the view their residents will have from their beach condos than actually becoming part of the solution?
Of course, there are incentives in Myrick's bill. She proposed letting states in on federal revenues from leases. It would also give states the ability to control energy production up to 100 miles off their shores and extend their territorial waters.
So we'll leave you with some information from Investor's Business Daily about America's energy security.
- Less than one one-thousandth of a percent (0.001%) of the 7 billion-plus barrels of oil that Washington has allowed to be produced offshore over the past 25 years has been spilled, according to the Interior Department.
- A whopping 63% of petro pollution in North American seas comes not from offshore rigs, but from natural seepage from the sea floor. Source: National Academy of Sciences.
- There hasn't been a major oil spill from an offshore well since 1969 even though rigs since then have been lashed by Katrina and other major hurricanes.
Chinese hackers pose a clear and present danger to U.S. government and private-sector computer networks and may be responsible for two major U.S. power blackouts.
National Journal Magazine -- China's Cyber-Militia
As smart and credentialed as he is, Sen. Obama is often an indifferent speaker without a teleprompter. He has large gaps in his knowledge base, and is just as likely to dig in and embrace a policy misstatement as abandon it. ABC reporter Jake Tapper calls him "a one-man gaffe machine."
Over the years, reporters have tagged a long list of conservative public figures, from Barry Goldwater to Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush, as dim and uninformed. The reputation of some of these men has improved over time. But can anyone name a leading liberal figure who has developed a similar media reputation, even though the likes of Al Gore, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have committed substantial gaffes at times? No reporter I've talked to has come up with a solid example.
Read the list and why they were gaffes! It makes you wonder if he really has core beliefs?
WSJ -- The Obama Gaffe Machine
On MSNBC today, David Axelrod said that Barack Obama "never disputed the fact that if you throw a surge of American soldiers in an area that you can make a difference."
Oh really? Here's what Obama said on January 14, 2007: "We can send 15,000 more troops, 20,000 more troops, 30,000 more troops: I don't know any expert on the region or any military officer that I've spoken to privately that believes that that is going to make a substantial difference on the situation on the ground."
Watch it at The Weekly Standard.
Responding to Kerry's claim, RNC spokesman Danny Diaz said: "It’s absolutely critical that the next Commander in Chief understands the challenges America faces. Yet it’s clear that Barack Obama has a thin understanding of history and fails to grasp the threat of terrorism."
"After a week’s worth of examples demonstrating Obama’s lack of preparedness to serve as president, his campaign is understandably desperate to shift the focus. Considering it’s now been 873 days since Obama visited Iraq, any suggestion that he even understands what’s happening on the ground is laughable."
McCain campaign's response to John Kerry's assertion that on 9/11 we were basically at peace forgetting that Osama had declared war and attacked the USS Cole just the previous October as part of their long line of attacks.
I have attended many different services at many different houses of worship and they have all left me with feelings of love and hope.
Not one left me with the feeling that I was oppressed, or that there were a group of people whose desire was to do me harm -- people I should resent, hate, and oppose. Yet that is what I have seen from both Pfleger and Reverend Wright.
Almost every service I have attended left me with a passionate desire to love God, myself, and my fellow man.
"America has been raping people of color and America has to pay the price!"
Hearing Pfleger give a sermon would leave me with a different type of passion. He is a powerful speaker and I have no doubt those in attendance had a desire to take action, I'm just not sure what that action would be when hate is the message.
Watching this clip reminded me of the undercover radical mosque special in the UK, or in a sense of the mosques that stir up riots and to a milder degree the Friday Tehran services you see on the news every now and then.
This is hatred. This is the type of message that causes resentment and hatred toward those who are different then you are. The listener is resolved of their actions because they are a victim, in Pfleger and Wright's mind it is white America. In Iran and radical Muslim's case it is Israel and America, the Jews and Christians!
The similarities are striking and I just can't imagine hearing that every week or every few weeks and not absorbing and believing some of it.
Obama has to explain why he attended for 20 years, why his wife believes America is mean and not worthy of pride, and what he took from the services if it is different then what his wife appears to have taken from this church.
Things just don't add up, there is a big piece of information still missing about Barack Obama.
Here are a couple of videos that show some of the radicals I am thinking of. Some of the messages are far more extreme then those of Trinity and some seem on par with Wright and Pfleger.
Glen Beck, Extreme Agenda Exposed:
Radical Islam: Terror in its own words:
Dispatches - Undercover Mosque
Friday, May 30, 2008
Less than a year after his agency warned of new threats from a resurgent al-Qaeda, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden now portrays the terrorist movement as essentially defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and on the defensive throughout much of the rest of the world, including in its presumed haven along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
In a strikingly upbeat assessment, the CIA chief cited major gains against al-Qaeda's allies in the Middle East and an increasingly successful campaign to destabilize the group's core leadership.
While cautioning that al-Qaeda remains a serious threat, Hayden said Osama bin Laden is losing the battle for hearts and minds in the Islamic world and has largely forfeited his ability to exploit the Iraq war to recruit adherents. Two years ago, a CIA study concluded that the U.S.-led war had become a propaganda and marketing bonanza for al-Qaeda, generating cash donations and legions of volunteers.
All that has changed, Hayden said in an interview with The Washington Post this week that coincided with the start of his third year at the helm of the CIA.
Next week, the Senate will vote on the Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade climate control bill. The proposed statute is a nightmare that would devastate our economy. The Wall Street Journal calls it "the most extensive government reorganization of the American economy since the 1930s."
The EPA estimates that by 2030 it will reduce GDP by 0.9% to 3.8%, and that is based on assumptions that appear hopelessly optimistic. Even the EPA's assumptions contemplate an additional increase of 44% in the cost of electricity over what would occur without Lieberman-Warner.
There is a chart provided by the Chamber of Commerce of how complicated the regulations would be for businesses.
A Democratic year? How do you figure? Because the New York Times says so? Look at 2006! Yes, let's look at it. In the preceding 6 midterm elections where the incumbent President's party lost seats the average loss in the Senate was 6.1, in the House 29.33. In 2006 the Republicans lost 7 in the Senate and 30 in the House. Pretty ho-hum.
American Thinker Blog -- A Democratic Year?
Energy: Exxon Mobil's CEO says his energy company's "corporate social responsibility" is to produce more energy. While Congress wants to tax oil profits, he wants to spend them to find more oil.
While some companies like British Petroleum run endless ads touting their capitulation to the global warming religion by saying they are "beyond" petroleum, Exxon Mobil has been refreshingly unapologetic about developing the resources beneath our feet and making money doing it.
Speaking to reporters after the annual meeting of Exxon stockholders Wednesday, CEO Rex Tillerson shoved political correctness aside and insisted the science on climate change is not settled and "that to not have a debate on it is irresponsible" and that to "suggest we know everything about these issues is irresponsible."
According to the Institute for Energy Research, "The United States has 2 trillion barrels of oil shale. This is more than 7 times the amount of crude oil reserves found in Saudi Arabia, and is enough to meet current U.S. demand for over 250 years."
Out west we may have what could be called a "Persia on the Plains."
A Rand Corporation study says the Green River Formation, which covers parts of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, has the largest known oil shale deposits in the world, holding from 1.5 to 1.8 trillion barrels of crude.
Of that, some 800 billion barrels are recoverable with current technology — roughly triple Saudi Arabia's current known reserves.
Nick Loris of the Heritage Foundation says: "If full-scale production begins within five years, the U.S. could completely end its dependence on OPEC by 2020." That's quite a forecast, given that nearly a half of our oil today comes from that monopoly.
Indeed, there is enough North American petroleum trapped in oil sands and shale rock to form our own OPEC.
While OPEC, the Saudis, and even the U.S. Congress are telling us to pound sand, at least one U.S. company wants to get energy from it.
The Democrats in Congress would rather tax the oil companies then allow them to use those profits to drill for our own oil!
Foolish Washington that keeps costing you every day.
By the way, we are the Saudi of Coal also -- WTF is our government stopping us from using our own resources.
IBD -- Getting Oil From A Stone
Here's one "change" presidential candidate Barack Obama apparently believes in: higher prices. Witness his letter last week urging President George W. Bush not to submit the U.S.-South Korea free-trade agreement to Congress for ratification.
Mr. Obama's objection, as stated in his letter, is that the deal "would give Korean exports essentially unfettered access to the U.S. market and would eliminate our best opportunity for obtaining genuinely reciprocal market access in one of the world's largest economies." In other words, ordinary American consumers would get too good a deal.
For an idea of how good, look at automobiles, about which Mr. Obama professes particular concern. The free-trade agreement would eliminate America's 2.5% tariff on most Korean car imports. Even better, it would phase out the 25% tariff on pick-ups and light trucks. Overall, the Korean trade deal would boost the U.S. economy by $10 billion to $12 billion.
Mr. Obama thinks this benefit to U.S. consumers isn't worth the risk that South Korea might not live up to its promise to eliminate its own 8% tariff on U.S. autos and cut its bewildering array of nontariff barriers, such as arcane safety standards. This despite the fact that the deal includes enforcement provisions if Korea backtracks.
On the record so far, Mr. Obama is the most protectionist U.S. presidential candidate in decades. In February he inserted a statement opposing the Korean trade deal into the Congressional record only days before securing the endorsement of the powerful Teamsters union. He also opposes the U.S.-Colombia pact, and he has called for rewriting Nafta – unilaterally if Canada and Mexico don't play along. Mr. Obama's economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, told Canadian officials this was all for primary show, but the candidate is backing himself into a political corner should he win the White House.
Mr. Obama is promising change you can believe in. But on trade, it is closer to the status quo Americans will be paying for.
DKK...the latest news of Michigan's deepening budget woe is a national warning of what happens when you raise taxes in a weak economy.Officials in Lansing reported this month that the state faces a revenue shortfall between $350 million and $550 million next budget year. This is a major embarrassment for Governor Jennifer Granholm, the second-term Democrat who shut down the state government last year until the Legislature approved Michigan's biggest tax hike in a generation. Her tax plan raised the state income tax rate to 4.35% from 3.9%, and increased the state's tax on gross business receipts by 22%. Ms. Granholm argued that these new taxes would raise some $1.3 billion in new revenue that could be "invested" in social spending and new businesses and lead to a Michigan renaissance.Not quite. Six months later one-third of the expected revenues have vanished as the state's economy continues to struggle. Income tax collections are falling behind estimates, as are property tax receipts and those from the state's transaction tax on home sales.
American Thinker Blog -- The liberal vortex
Of the two likely nominees this year, Obama is closest to Carter in background and policy leanings. The parallels between his campaign so far and the one Carter ran in 1976 are striking. Like Carter, Obama had little national experience when he started to run. Neither was given much chance of winning the nomination. Instead of running on a detailed platform, Carter told crowds that what Washington needed was "a government as good as its people"—just as Obama promises "change we can believe in." Carter's message sold well after Richard Nixon's disgrace, and press accounts from the time suggest that people found the born-again Carter to be charismatic. That parallel is a promising one for Obama.
But his Carterish echoes come with two potential dangers. The first is that running as the embodiment of hope can lend itself to a certain self-righteousness—what critics have already started to call �litism. The second danger is that the public will come to see Obama as naive about America's enemies abroad, as it eventually concluded Carter was. Ever since Obama said he was willing to negotiate with those enemies directly and "without precondition," Republicans have been trying to tag him as the son of the Georgia governor.
To date, not one "mainstream media" journalist has pressed the leading advocates of unconditional surrender to describe in detail what might happen after we "bring the troops home now."
There's plenty of unchallenged sloganeering, but no serious debate. This selective political softball and pep-rally journalism serves neither our country nor our political process well.
So, let's bring those quit-Iraq time-travelers back to mid-2008 and fill them in on what's happened since they were ideologically stranded five years ago:
What don't the critics like? Democracy? The defeat of al Qaeda? Muslims turning to the US military for help? Troop cuts? The dramatically improved human-rights situation? What's the problem here?
The answer's simple: Admitting that they've been mistaken about Iraq guts the left's argument for political entitlement. If the otherwise deplorable Bush administration somehow got this one right, it means the left got another big one wrong.
Ralph Peters penned thoughts that reinforce my post on Obama's famous, "Dumb War," speech and how it doesn't quite make the grade today. Lots of good information on what has really happened in the NY Post piece, read it all.
Korman died at UCLA Medical Center after suffering complications from the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm four months ago, his family said. He had undergone several major operations.
"He was a brilliant comedian and a brilliant father," daughter Kate Korman said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "He had a very good sense of humor in real life. "
He was a stellar comedian whose talent I will miss. His work with Tim Conway on Carol Burnett and his work with Mel Brooks was genius, as if his laughter healed something inside us all.
Despite its pious denunciations of the behavior of U.S. investor-owned oil companies (IOCs), Congress by its actions over the years has ensured the economic viability of the national oil company cartel.
It has done so by preventing the exploitation by IOCs of reserves available in nonpark federal lands in the West, Alaska and under the waters off our coasts. These areas hold an estimated 635 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas – enough to meet the needs of the 60 million American homes fueled by natural gas for over a century. They also hold an estimated 112 billion barrels of recoverable oil – enough to produce gasoline for 60 million cars and fuel oil for 25 million homes for 60 years.
This doesn't even include substantial oil shale resources economically recoverable at oil prices substantially lower than those prevailing today. In an exchange between Sen. Orin Hatch (R., Utah) and John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Company during the May 21 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the point was made that anywhere from 800 million to two trillion barrels of oil are available from oil shale in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
If Congress really cared about the economic well-being of American citizens, it would stop fulminating against IOCs and reverse current policies that discourage, indeed prohibit, the production of domestic oil and natural gas. Even the announcement that Congress was opening the way for domestic production would lead to downward pressure on oil prices.
The economy logged slightly better -- but weak -- growth in the first quarter, spurred by improved sales of U.S. products overseas. While that's heartening, the country's economy is still far from being out of the woods.
The numbers were increased from .6% to .9% primarily on lower imports and improved exports.
AP - US logs better but still weak growth
Lawmakers on Tuesday rejected Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey’s plan for red-light cameras at intersections after several senators from both parties and from around Illinois derided what they called a government money grab and “Big Brother” intrusion.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Meanwhile, the president of the San Francisco Fed is sounding cautiously optimistic about the economy.
Democrats counting on the two issues of Iraq and the US economy to help them this November, need to start paying attention. The reality is that in both instances, a “surge” has brought stability out of the turmoil. The comparison is obvious.And George W. Bush isn’t running for the third term.
Say Anything Blog --The “Other” Surge - A Light at the End of the Tunnel
The founder of Chicago's "Black Disciples" and co-founder of the violent "Gangster Disciples" was remembered this Memorial Day with a parade held in his honor.
The Gangster Disciples is one of the largest criminal organizations in the United States.
Chicago's radical politics. Obama/Wright brand!
Gateway Pundit -- Chicago Celebrates Memorial Day with Parade Honoring Dead Gang Leader
Liberals view talk as an end in itself. They never think through how these talks will proceed, which is why Chamberlain ended up giving away Czechoslovakia. He didn't leave for Munich planning to do that. It is simply the inevitable result of talking with madmen without a clear and obtainable goal. Without a stick, there's only a carrot.
The only explanation for liberals' hysterical zealotry in favor of Obama's proposed open-ended talks with Ahmadinejad is that they seriously imagine crazy foreign dictators will be as charmed by Obama as cable TV hosts whose legs tingle when they listen to Obama (a condition that used to be known as "sciatica").
Because, really, who better to face down a Holocaust denier with a messianic complex than the guy who is afraid of a debate moderated by Brit Hume?
Ann Coulter -- YOU CAN'T APPEASE EVERYBODY
TV Newser -- May ratings, FNC Stays On Top
They had two trucks, a van, and a mobile lab/repair trailer with it's own generator and everything right down the road.
Last night they claimed it was scheduled maintenance, but as I asked them, "Since Comcast took over from Insight you have sent me 3 messages on the box about PPV WWE events, but you can't send me a message telling me you're going to shut me down all night?"
I know of no one who has been happy with Comcast since the transition earlier this year from Insight. Don't get me wrong, their customer service is friendly, but so far the internet is slow and unreliable.
Lets hope last nights maintenance takes care of that!
Wow, it looks like Comcast had their entire Email system hacked last night:
Blogosphere: Comcast Web Site, Email Hacked
Cable giant Comcast had its Web site and possibly some subscriber email accounts hacked early Thursday morning, according to numerous reports online.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
What I don't hear is what he actually said in that famous speech.
What did he say that confirms his judgment claims today? Was he accurate and knowledgeable and is he consistent today? Does that speech demonstrate that Barack Obama knew the right thing to do when all the rest were flailing around for an answer?
Lets take a look at the key points in Barack Obama's now famous (but rarely quoted) 2002 Iraq speech:
Now let me be clear: I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.
Check, We know today that that Obama was right about one thing, Saddam was a brutal, ruthless, butcher and the world would be better without him!
(+1 Obama Judgment point (OJP))
But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.Obama was wrong about the containment policy working against Saddam. In addition Saddam's hold on his people wasn't even close to weakening. As a matter of fact thanks to Oil for Food the only thing that was weakening was the resolve of the UN.
We also know that petty dictators:
For the most part, dictators tend to stay in power for a very long time. Or they're deposed only to be replaced by another dictator. It takes a long time to change an entire governmental structure, and often it doesn't happen without the intervention of the United Nations, the United States or other governmental organizations. Currently, more than 70 countries in the world are ruled by dictators. Many of them are guilty of atrocities against their own people. (How Stuff Works -- To End Dictatorships)
(Oow, sorry that is -1 OJP. Since the President said we needed to act before Saddam was an imminent and direct threat that is not scored.)
I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.
Well, he was right about that -- but strangely he is willing to ignore his own judgment on this one. He said REQUIRE, but is now willing to forgo that requirement for the sake of political posturing.
(-1 OJP = +1 for accuracy, -2 for ignoring his own advice)
I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the middle east, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Queda.
Well, the middle east didn't erupt in flames, to the contrary, the Arab world proved quite rational overall.
This week the US Ambassador to Iraq stated that Al Qaeda in Iraq has nearly been eliminated (something time will tell) and Bin Laden's most recent tape indicated he was diverting his resources from Iraq, what he had called the central battle against the US, to the support of the Palestinians.
Recruiting of foreign fighters may have increased as they went to Iraq to help the Jihad, however this appears to have had the affect of draining the jihadi swamp in a manner advantageous to the US as our trained forces were able to deal with them in Iraq rather then worldwide or at home. In addition many, including Bin Laden himself believe a defeat in Iraq will damage al Qaeda.,
I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.(Huh?)
So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the president today.
The key word in this sentence is WORLD. Let's remember what Obama said earlier, a few short paragraphs earlier:
Now let me be clear: I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.
Would leaving a brutal, ruthless, butcherer who thwarted the world's attempts at eliminating the danger, developed chemical weapons and coveted nuclear capacity -- A BAD GUY who the world would be better off without -- really have left a just more secure world? Does Obama really believe that? How DOES he define just and more secure, because it seems he really mucks this one up.
Is this the lesson he took away from the stories of his Grandfather and Great Uncle liberating Nazi death camps in Europe? Is that the lesson you or I would have gotten from their honorable service in a horrific liberation of people oppressed by a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butched his own people. A man who repeatedly thwarted the world's attempts at peace?
(-3 OJP = -1 for just and -1 for secure and -1 for his interpretation of his own family history!)
So, as far as the infamous speech that has made Obama the candidate with the judgment, how does he score?Final Score -- Minus 6 -- Obama Judgment Points.
Sorry, but even in public school that is a failing grade.
The graduation ceremony for the class of 2008 will be held as scheduled on May 31, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. With the support of the FSD 145 Board of Education, central office personnel, FHS personnel and law enforcement agencies the following security protocols will be used:
1. The graduation ceremony for the FHS class of 2008 will be held in the gymnasium. This facility is easier to supervise and secure.
2. School personnel, law enforcement agencies, and/or trained canines will make multiple searches of the high school buildings and grounds. Admittance to our facilities will not be granted until the law enforcement agencies advise us that it is safe.
3. Only indoor ticket holders will be admitted to the gymnasium and may begin entering at 1:00 p.m. Purses, bags, camera cases, beverage bottles or cans, coolers, and clothing that could conceal other items are prohibited. Cameras outside of the cases may be brought into the gymnasium. Law enforcement officials and school personnel will do a visual check of everyone entering the ceremony. All indoor ticket holders will enter the gymnasium through the Empire Street entrance. Anyone choosing to leave the high school will not be readmitted. Ticket holders will not be admitted after 2:00 p.m.
4. Graduating students may enter the cafeteria only through the
doors located in the west teacher’s parking lot beginning at 1:15 p.m. Students will not be admitted to the cafeteria after 2:00 p.m. Students are instructed to carry their graduation robes into the cafeteria. School and law enforcement personnel will do a visual check of everyone entering the cafeteria. Students that leave the high school after they have checked in will not be readmitted. North West
5. Diplomas will be distributed at the conclusion of the ceremony in the cafeteria. Only the graduates will be permitted in the cafeteria at this time.
Police Department will block off Empire Street from West to Locust at 2:00 p.m. Parents and guardians may meet their FHS graduates in this area at the conclusion of the ceremony. Freeport
7. Vehicles will not be permitted to park or stand in the fire lanes around FHS.
8. Bottles of water will be available in the gymnasium lobby compliments of
and Freeport High School Black Alumni. Freeport High School
9. Convocation and graduation practice for the class of 2008 will be held on Thursday, May 29 as scheduled. Practice at 9:30 a.m. in the gym and Convocation at 7:00 p.m. at the
. Additional security will be provided for both of these events. Jeannette Lloyd Theatre
10. Other security protocols are listed on the FHS website: www.freeportschooldistrict.com
These security measures that are in place will be strictly enforced and are necessary to ensure all of our safety as we recognize and honor the graduates of the class of 2008.
In the web site of the New Zealand Centre for Political Research, Fred Singer offers an excellent summary of the skeptics' view of anthropogenic global warming. If you haven't followed the issue in detail and want to review the basics, it's a good place to start.
Singer makes one point that cannot be repeated too often: the AGW theory depends entirely on computer models, but we know for sure that those computer models are wrong. They do not accurately explain either the Earth's climate history, or the present distribution of global temperatures. This simple diagram shows how the "fingerprint" predicted by AGW models fails to conform to observed atmospheric conditions; click to enlarge:
If you think about it, it is rather remarkable that Al Gore and his confederates have been able to stampede millions of voters, based on computer models that are indisputably contradicted by the facts.
I have repeated the entire post because there was really no way to clip it and still get the point and the image.
Powerline -- Global Warming: A Primer
Throughout history corrupt leaders have found ways to spin public opinion and Chavez is no different. Often it seems the far left, as the previous mayor of London was, tend to be willing.New London Mayor Boris Johnson wasted no time in taking his city off Hugo Chávez's PR payroll.Elected earlier this month, Mr. Johnson has announced that the city won't renew a deal with the Venezuelan strongman to get cheap oil to subsidize bus fares for London residents. "I think many Londoners felt uncomfortable about the bus operation of one of the world's financial powerhouses being funded by . . . a country where many people live in extreme poverty," the Conservative Mayor explained Sunday.
American Thinker -- Getting off Hugo Chavez's payroll
John McCain, for all his faults, is the one Republican candidate who can lead us through our wilderness. Mr. McCain is not running on a messianic platform or as a great healer of dysfunctional Republicans who refuse to help themselves. His humility is one of his great strengths. In his heart, he’s a soldier who sees one more hill to charge, one more mission to complete.
Hot Air -- Coburn to GOP:
Czech President Vaclav Klaus said Tuesday he is ready to debate Al Gore about global warming, as he presented the English version of his latest book that argues environmentalism poses a threat to basic human freedoms.
'I many times tried to talk to have a public exchange of views with him, and he's not too much willing to make such a conversation,' Klaus said. 'So I'm ready to do it.'
Klaus was speaking a the National Press Building in Washington to present his new book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles - What Is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?, before meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney Wednesday.
'My answer is it is our freedom and, I might add, and our prosperity,' he said.
Klaus, an economist, said he opposed the 'climate alarmism' perpetuated by environmentalism trying to impose their ideals, comparing it to the decades of communist rule he experienced growing up in Soviet-dominated Czechoslovakia.
'Like their (communist) predecessors, they will be certain that they have the right to sacrifice man and his freedom to make their idea reality,' he said.
'In the past, it was in the name of the Marxists or of the proletariat - this time, in the name of the planet,' he added.
M&C Czech President Klaus ready to debate Gore on climate change
Note to Iran apologists: Even the United Nations nuclear watchdog - a notoriously anti-American group and obsessively non-confrontational - isn't satisfied with Iranian explanations about its nuclear enrichment activities:
American Thinker Blog -- IAEA Takes Iran to the Woodshed over Nuke Program
My opinion? I don't know and don't really care what he writes. What I do know is that there wasn't a week that went by that I didn't wonder how he got and how he kept his job.
He did the President a disservice every time he opened his mouth to whine about something. He wasn't convincing and just seemed to get frustrated rather then being able to communicate the administration's positions. In my opinion, McClellan and his inability to communicate had a major role in the administration losing the war of popular opinion.
So, read his book if you want, but if is anything like his press conferences it will be a poorly communicated and painful experience.
Okay, so we have supposedly learned that it was Obama's Great Uncle that liberated a sub-section of Buchenwald, not an uncle at Auschwitz. But if sources are correct and unless there's some arcane military history in his favor, Obama still has a problem.
His only Great Uncle is Charles W. Payne. It at least appears that no one by that name from Kansas served in the Army during WWII.
Charles W. Payne of Kansas, with a similar birth era, served in the Navy during WWII.
Of course, since he used a similar story about his grandfather in a previous speech that he has on his website:
I have no idea how accurate the sources for this post are, but if they are accurate then it means that this story was either a family myth or was really embellished.
My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton's army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain. I don't oppose all wars.
Strange he didn't mention his uncle then.
Wonkette: Dissent is terrorism.
Since 9/11 the lefty mantra has been “dissent is patriotic.”
Proving Sam Johnson right; patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.
But Wonkette let out of the bag what to expect once President Obama is sworn in on Jan. 20, 2009.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The man who located the wreck of the Titanic has revealed that the discovery was a cover story to camouflage the real mission of inspecting the wrecks of two Cold War nuclear submarines.
When Bob Ballard led a team that pinpointed the wreckage of the liner in 1985 he had already completed his main task of finding out what happened to USS Thresher and USS Scorpion.
Both of the United States Navy vessels sank during the 1960s, killing more than 200 men and giving rise to fears that at least one of them, Scorpion, had been sunk by the USSR.
Dr Ballard, an oceanographer, has admitted that he located and inspected the wrecks for the US Navy in top secret missions before he was allowed to search for the Titanic.
Titanic: The Final Secret will be shown on the National Geographic Channel at 9pm on June 8.
This is reminiscent of the Hughes Glomar Explorer that Howard Hughes said was intended to mine minerals off of the ocean floor but was really used to recover the sunken K129 Soviet submarine. The effort was only partially successful.
The content of the RRStar (online Rockford Register Star) blogs have an overwhelmingly liberal slant in both content, links, and quantity.
I established this blog in an attempt to provide Rockford with political balance and to demonstrate the type and quality of content the RRStar could offer to its readers.
Checking the stats of their political blogs it is clear that they need more of a balanced portfolio of political blogs.
Again, here are the political blogs available at the RRStar:
The Stats for May 19, 2008 through May 25, 2008:
* Applesauce 23 posts with 28 out links 12 YouTube.
* In Chambers 1 posts with 6 out links 0 YouTube.
* Sweeny Report 2 posts with 0 out links 0 YouTube.
* Why We Blog 4 posts (3 left, 0 right, 1 center) 0 out links 0 YouTube.
Totals since I started counting March 27, 2008 through May 25, 2008:
* Applesauce 211 posts with 289 out links 50 YouTube.
* In Chambers 34 posts with 260 out links 1 YouTube.
* Sweeny Report 47 posts with 20 out links 0 YouTube.
* Why We Blog 31 posts (28 left 1 right 3 unknown) 1 out links 0 YouTube.
If your interested in balance in the RRStar blogs keep coming back and let the RRStar know.
The most popular jihadi web forum has posted an "unofficial" video urging Muslims to use nuclear weapons against the U.S. and the West. The video is titled "Nuclear Terrorism". By unofficial they mean that it was produced by forum users, and not by al Qaeda's official video production arm.
The lengthy video uses reports popular in the Arab and European Leftist press that the U.S. used chemical weapons in Fallujah as justification for using WMD against the United States. The star witness is Jeff Englehart.
UPDATE II: Shibumi does a rough Google translation job of an Italian article discussing the ending "code" which appears in the video. Apparently, the code has reference to a specific date in which the threatened attack--a "plague"-- should take place. They seem to think it has reference to a bacteriological attack. When?
DKKCounterterrorism Blog says appears to be a hoax:
For the record: there is no indication whatsoever that Al-Qaida's As-Sahab Media Foundation is preparing to release anything in the next 24 hours. There has been no notification posted on the usual channels, there are no glitzy advertisements, and there is no credible electronic chatter, period. Rather, the intel community appears to have (once again) fallen victim to poorly researched open source news reporting.DKK
To the Parents and Guardians of FHS students and to the Freeport Community:
is in receipt of a written anonymous threat indicating a bomb will be set to go off during this year’s graduation ceremony. This document has been turned over to the Freeport Police Department and with the assistance of other law enforcement agencies, an investigation is taking place. Freeport High School
Freeport High School, with assistance from the Central Office staff, the Board of Education, and local and state law enforcement agencies, will make a decision regarding the cancellation of/or the implementation of additional security measures for this years graduation ceremony. This decision will be made by the end of the day Wednesday, May 28, 2008. Check the FHS web site after 4:00 p.m. tomorrow. The website address is www.freeportschooldistrict.com.
It is not necessary to call
for additional information. Since this is an ongoing criminal investigation, we are not at liberty to make any additional comments. Freeport High School
The Freeport Journal Standard has the story and local reactions.
The Freeport Journal Standard has the story and local reactions.
Update May 28, 2008 16:15:
Update May 28, 2008 16:15:
David Miliband has raised questions over Barack Obama’s policy on Iran, which officials in Washington and Europe fear threatens to undermine the tough stance adopted by the West towards Tehran over recent years.
The Foreign Secretary, on his visit to the US this week, has held talks with all three presidential campaigns, including those of Hillary Clinton and John McCain.
But when he met Mr Obama’s team of foreign policy advisers on Wednesday, Mr Miliband is understood to have queried the presumptive Democratic nominee’s declared willingness to meet leaders from rogue states such as Iran.
Before starting his unconditional talks with Ahmadinejad, would Obama present a new resolution at the Security Council to cancel the three that he Islamic Republic president does not like? Or, would Obama act in defiance of the UN, thus further weakening the authority of the Security Council?
Gateway Pundit --Obama's Iran Policy Freaks Out Brits & Breaks 3 UN Resolutions
Oh, you skeptics are going to rue the day you doubted global warming! Hot off of NASA’s website, we have undeniable proof of “large-scale global warming,” photographic evidence taken from space that shows the increased temperature generating new, violent storms. Deniers will have to eat some crow over this.
Of course, they’ll first have to talk about the right planet
:New storms confirm global warming on Jupiter!
Here is a picture of the new storm spots:DKK
Hot Air -- Proof of global warming!
On Thursday Obama told the Orlando Sentinel that he would meet with Chavez and "one of the obvious high priorities in my talks with President Hugo Chavez would be the fermentation of anti-American sentiment in Latin America, his support of FARC in Colombia and other issues he would want to talk about."
OK, so a strong declaration that Chavez is supporting FARC, which Obama intends to push him on.
But then on Friday he said any government supporting FARC should be isolated.
"We will shine a light on any support for the FARC that comes from neighboring governments," he said in a speech in Miami. "This behavior must be exposed to international condemnation, regional isolation, and - if need be - strong sanctions. It must not stand."
So he will meet with the leader of a country he simultaneously says should be isolated? Huh?
On Friday in an interview with the Miami Herald, Obama also used language suggesting that he's not as positive that Venezuela is supporting FARC.
"When I asked him what he would do about the estimated 37,000 Interpol-certified Colombian FARC guerrilla computer files that indicate an active support from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa to the Colombian rebels, Obama went farther than the Bush administration," wrote the Herald's Andres Oppenheimer.
Said Obama: "I think the Organization of American States and the international community should launch an immediate investigation into this situation. We have to hold Venezuela accountable if, in fact, it is trying to ferment terrorist activities in other borders. If Venezuela has violated those rules, we should mobilize all the countries to sanction Venezuela and let them know that that's not acceptable behavior."
"If" Venezuela "is trying to ferment terrorist activities in other borders"? Just one day before Obama had asserted that Chavez was supporting FARC in Colombia.
On the stump, Barack Obama usually concludes his comments on Iraq by saying, "and it hasn't made us safer." It is an article of faith on the left that nothing the Bush administration has done has enhanced our security, and, on the contrary, its various alleged blunders have only contributed to the number of jihadists who want to attack us.
Empirically, however, it seems beyond dispute that something has made us safer since 2001. Over the course of the Bush administration, successful attacks on the United States and its interests overseas have dwindled to virtually nothing.
It should also be noted that the decline in attacks on the U.S. was not the result of jihadists abandoning the field. Our government stopped a number of incipient attacks and broke up several terrorist cells, while Islamic terrorists continued to carry out successful attacks around the world, in England, Spain, Russia, Pakistan, Israel, Indonesia and elsewhere.There are a number of possible reasons why our government's actions after September 11 may have made us safer.
There is a run down of the major terrorist attacks against US interests since 1988, it is well worth the read!
Powerline -- Are we safer?
Er, okay. But, before we start suing distant sheikhs in exotic lands for violating the NOPEC act, why don’t we start by suing Congress? After all, who “limits the production or distribution of oil” right here in the United States by declaring that there’ll be no drilling in the Gulf of Florida or the Arctic National Mosquito Refuge? As Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz herself told Neil Cavuto on Fox News, “We can’t drill our way out of this problem.”
With this gem!
Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz knew the routine: “I can’t say that there is evidence that you are manipulating the price, but I believe that you probably are. So prove to me that you are not.”
Had I been in the hapless oil man’s expensive shoes, I’d have answered, “Hey, you first. I can’t say that there is evidence that you’re sleeping with barnyard animals, but I believe that you probably are. So prove to me that you are not.
Maxine Waters(D-CA) threatened to, "Sociali..." she meant nationalize -- the oil companies! (Via Gateway Pundit)
John Hoffmeister from Shell Oil: I can guarantee to the American people because of the inaction of the United States Congress ever increasing prices unless the demand comes down and the five dollars will look like a very low price in the years to come if we are prohibited from finding new reserves and new opportunities to increase supplies.
Rep. Maxine Waters: And, guess what this liberal will be all about? This liberal will be about socializing... uh, will be about, basically taking over and the government running all of your companies.
Our oil companies, as large as they are are very small players in the total world oil market -- most of which is controlled by nations hostile to the US. Powerline notes:
I hadn't realized, until the hearings on energy that were held this week in House and Senate committees, that the United States doesn't have any big oil companies. It's true: the largest American oil company, Exxon Mobil, is only the 14th largest in the world, and is dwarfed by the really big oil companies--all owned by foreign governments or government-sponsored monopolies--that dominate the world's oil supply.
The United States--unlike, say, France--actually has vast petroleum reserves. It would be possible for American oil companies to develop those reserves, play a far bigger role in international markets, and deliver gas at the pump to American consumers at a much lower price, while creating many thousands of jobs for Americans. This would be infinitely preferable to shipping endless billions of dollars to Saudi Arabia, Russia and Venezuela. So, why doesn't it happen? Because the Democratic Party--aided, sadly, by a handful of Republicans--deliberately keeps gas prices high and our domestic oil companies small by putting most of our reserves off limits to development.
That worked in the Democratic primaries because the hard core of the party were willing to believe that Hillary was acting like the evil Republicans thus making her actions taboo!
Well, as I expected Obama's campaign pulled this trick on McCain this weekend.
While discussing the fact that Obama hasn't been to Iraq in at least 2 years and hasn't even bothered to sit down with Petraeus or members of the military from his own state (Vets For Freedom -- Senator Obama, Talk to Commanders or Meet with Dictators?) recently this was reported:
"I go back every few months because things are changing in Iraq," he said. McCain questioned whether Obama has ever been briefed by Petraeus. "I would also seize that opportunity to educate Senator Obama along the way."
Obama spokesman Bill Burton declined to respond directly to McCain.
"Senator Obama thinks Memorial Day is a day to honor our nation's veterans, not a day for political posturing," Burton said.
However as Powerline Blog points out, most of what Obama did Monday, Memorial Day was political Posturing:
What was really offensive about Obama's New Mexico appearance, however, was what followed his very brief, but generally appropriate, tribute to America's war dead. He continued with a town hall-style question and answer period that cast veterans in the only role with which the Democrats are comfortable--victims--and sought to politicize the holiday. A few excerpts:
Number one, is what we just talked about which is making sure that the G.I. bill for a 21st century is passed. And although George Bush has threatened to veto it, our intention is to override that veto when it comes back to the House and the Senate...
OBAMA: Well, obviously, the problems you just listed affect veterans and nonveterans alike. And part of what this president hasn't understood that I think the American people understand is that part of our security is our economy -- our economic security.
Political posturing in its raw form!Do as I say, not as I do duplicity -- watch for this to continue with more intensity and to be picked up by the MSM and talking heads as they swoon over, "New Politics," that is really nothing but the old politics.
Somebody tell John McCain the neutering scalpels are out!
Monday, May 26, 2008
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps."
Do your part today at 3pm and remember our fallen heroes.
Memorial Day History
In An Obama Nation:
This is where I would love to have for dinner on this Memorial Day Holiday:
This is the what I will have to settle for. All for the sake of being a good world leader! After all we've been told we eat too much!
But wait, charcoal BBQ's produce CO2, so I guess I will have to use this instead -- but only for a few minutes MAX!
Don't worry, while you and I will feel like Iranian hostages the academics and the media will hail this leadership as being even better then freeing 50 million from tyranny, right up there with winning a world war or cold war.
See all the Obama Nations
Sunday, May 25, 2008
That is the heroic Barack Obama somehow blaming Bush for Hugo Chavez' election 2 years before Bush took office and 5 years before Iraq.
Since the Bush Administration launched a misguided war in Iraq, its policy in the Americas has been negligent toward our friends, ineffective with our adversaries, disinterested in the challenges that matter in peoples’ lives, and incapable of advancing our interests in the region.
No wonder, then, that demagogues like Hugo Chavez have stepped into this vacuum.
I don't think Obama's knows anything at all about history.
Now, as an aside, if your policy in the Americas is so bad why do we have congress blocking a free trade agreement with Columbia, an ally whose ties have only grown closer to the US under Bush? As a matter of fact, Columbia just eliminated a terrorist leader of FARC and has possibly decimated that terrorist organization. Reports are that FARC terrorists are now offering to give up their US hostages in return for their freedom.
Not bad for being a neglected America's policy, is it now?
LGF -- Obama: Bush is Responsible for Chavez (Bzzt! Wrong!)
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
The price of oil is not a mystery borne of conspiracies, it's simple supply and demand. In the late 70's we were in the same situation we are in now. What was the Democrat's solution then? The same as it is now: alternative energy and tax the oil companies.
Before we start down that path again why don't we take a look back and see how it all worked out.
When Jimmy Carter came into office the price of oil was around $14.00 per barrel. A lot happened during the Carter years, most of it bad. Investor's Business Daily has a good summary here. By the end of the Carter Administration we had: the Synthetic Fuels Corp., the Energy Department, price controls on domestic oil, oil import quotas, and the Windfall Profits Tax. And when he left office the price of a barrel of oil was $35.00; that was a 154% increase.
The Democrats are now proposing more regulation, more taxes on oil companies and less drilling. What do you think will be the result of those policies? Just ask Jimmy Carter.
American Thinker Blog -- It's Supply and Demand, Stupid
It was nothing less than a show trial. The Senate brought the leaders of the largest oil companies to Washington DC for a little grandstanding yesterday. Right there in the middle of all of this was Illinois Senator Dick Durbin.
I'm sorry, but this has to be said. Dick Durbin is either a shameless demagogue or a complete dumbass. I'm going with dumbass. This fool couldn't tell you the difference between a profit and a profit margin if his reelection depended on it. He sat up there on his fat ass and said to these oil company executives "Does it trouble any of you when you see what you're doing to us?" So ... there you go. These high gas prices? This is all being done to us by the evil oil companies. They're doing it to us with their huge profits.
We have increasing demands worldwide ... and a diminishing supply of oil ... and Durbin wants the uneducated people of this country to believe that these high gas prices are something that the oil company executives are "doing to us."
Why can't these guys defend themselves? Why can't just one of them say: "Tell us, Senator, do you honestly believe that this government; the government that gave us Social Security and pork spending, could run these oil companies any better than we do? The American people instinctively know that if this was a government operation they would be waiting for days just to be able to put ten gallons of gas in their tank. Frankly, Senator, you don't know the difference between an profit and a profit margin, and you would be hard pressed to make a successful attempt at running a corner gas station."
Yeah .. I know. In my dreams.
Fewer Americans than forecast applied for unemployment benefits last week, indicating companies are reluctant to fire more workers even as the economy slows.
First-time jobless claims fell 9,000 to 365,000, from a revised 374,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The total number of people collecting benefits was unchanged at a four-year high of 3.073 million for the week ended May 10.
An Iranian university is holding an international conference on the liquidation of the Jewish state, according to Iran's state run news service.
I wonder how that liquidation is going to fit into Obama's schedule?
Gateway Pundit --Iran Plans International Conference on Liquidation of Israel
He began pounding McCain for seeking the third term of George W. Bush. At the same time, Obama implores McCain in the interest of "one nation" and "one people" not to attack him. The shorthand, widely repeated by the news media, is that the Republican candidate must not "Swift boat" Obama. That amounts to unilateral political disarmament by McCain.
McCain is not about to disarm. His campaign has no intention of fighting this battle on Democratic turf. During the more than five months ahead, Republicans will explore the mindset of this young man who is a stranger to most Americans. That includes his association with the Chicago leftist William Ayers, who has remained unrepentant about his violent role as a 1960s radical. This will not be popular with McCain's erstwhile admirers in the mainstream news media, but America has not heard the last of Bill Ayers in this campaign.
McCain responded to Obama, here it is in full because the media snips do not do it justice. It is a great read, but the soundbites miss much !
"It is typical, but no less offensive that Sen. Obama uses the Senate floor to take cheap shots at an opponent and easy advantage of an issue he has less than zero understanding of," McCain said in the statement. "Let me say first in response to Sen. Obama, running for president is different than serving as president. The office comes with responsibilities so serious that the occupant can't always take the politically easy route without hurting the country he is sworn to defend. Unlike Sen. Obama, my admiration, respect and deep gratitude for America's veterans is something more than a convenient campaign pledge. I think I have earned the right to make that claim."
"It is typical, but no less offensive that Senator Obama uses the Senate floor to take cheap shots at an opponent and easy advantage of an issue he has less than zero understanding of. Let me say first in response to Senator Obama, running for President is different than serving as President. The office comes with responsibilities so serious that the occupant can't always take the politically easy route without hurting the country he is sworn to defend. Unlike Senator Obama, my admiration, respect and deep gratitude for America's veterans is something more than a convenient campaign pledge. I think I have earned the right to make that claim.
"When I was five years old, a car pulled up in front of our house in New London, Connecticut, and a Navy officer rolled down the window, and shouted at my father that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. My father immediately left for the submarine base where he was stationed. I rarely saw him again for four years. My grandfather, who commanded the fast carrier task force under Admiral Halsey, came home from the war exhausted from the burdens he had borne, and died the next day. I grew up in the Navy; served for twenty-two years as a naval officer; and, like Senator Webb, personally experienced the terrible costs war imposes on the veteran. The friendships I formed in war remain among the closest relationships in my life. The Navy is still the world I know best and love most. In Vietnam, where I formed the closest friendships of my life, some of those friends never came home to the country they loved so well.
"But I am running for the office of Commander-in-Chief. That is the highest privilege in this country, and it imposes the greatest responsibilities. It would be easier politically for me to have joined Senator Webb in offering his legislation. More importantly, I feel just as he does, that we owe veterans the respect and generosity of a great nation because no matter how generously we show our gratitude it will never compensate them fully for all the sacrifices they have borne on our behalf.
"Senators Graham, Burr and I have offered legislation that would provide veterans with a substantial increase in educational benefits. The bill we have sponsored would increase monthly education benefits to $1500; eliminate the $1200 enrollment fee; and offer a $1000 annually for books and supplies. Importantly, we would allow veterans to transfer those benefits to their spouses or dependent children or use a part of them to pay down existing student loans. We also increase benefits to the Guard and Reserve, and even more generously to those who serve in the Selected Reserve.
"I know that my friend and fellow veteran, Senator Jim Webb, an honorable man who takes his responsibility to veterans very seriously, has offered legislation with very generous benefits. I respect and admire his position, and I would never suggest that he has anything other than the best of intentions to honor the service of deserving veterans. Both Senator Webb and I are united in our deep appreciation for the men and women who risk their lives so that the rest of us may be secure in our freedom. And I take a backseat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans. And I will not accept from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did.
"The most important difference between our two approaches is that Senator Webb offers veterans who served one enlistment the same benefits as those offered veterans who have re-enlisted several times. Our bill has a sliding scale that offers generous benefits to all veterans, but increases those benefits according to the veteran's length of service. I think it is important to do that because, otherwise, we will encourage more people to leave the military after they have completed one enlistment. At a time when the United States military is fighting in two wars, and as we finally are beginning the long overdue and very urgent necessity of increasing the size of the Army and Marine Corps, one study estimates that Senator Webb's bill will reduce retention rates by 16%.
"Most worrying to me, is that by hurting retention we will reduce the numbers of men and women who we train to become the backbone of all the services, the noncommissioned officer. In my life, I have learned more from noncommissioned officers I have known and served with than anyone else outside my family. And in combat, no one is more important to their soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen, and to the officers who command them, than the sergeant and petty officer. They are very hard to replace. Encouraging people not to choose to become noncommissioned officers would hurt the military and our country very badly. As I said, the office of President, which I am seeking, is a great honor, indeed, but it imposes serious responsibilities. How faithfully the President discharges those responsibilities will determine whether he or she deserves the honor. I can only tell you I intend to deserve the honor if I am fo rtunate to receive it, even if it means I must take politically unpopular positions at times and disagree with people for whom I have the highest respect and affection.
"Perhaps, if Senator Obama would take the time and trouble to understand this issue he would learn to debate an honest disagreement respectfully. But, as he always does, he prefers impugning the motives of his opponent, and exploiting a thoughtful difference of opinion to advance his own ambitions. If that is how he would behave as President, the country would regret his election."