Archive for March, 2011

Rawhide Down–30 years later

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Thirty years ago yesterday, President Ronald “Rawhide” Reagan was shot.

Deranged lunatic John Hinckley Jr. shot President Reagan solely to impress actress Jodie Foster.

Mr. Hinckley did not appear to have any ideological motive, and the original target was Massachuetts Senator Ted Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy exited a speech through a back entrance, having no idea that Hinckley was waiting for him at the original front entrance.

President Reagan and Press Secretary James Brady were no so lucky. Mr. Brady has been confined toa  wheelchair for the last 30 years.

Yet of all the things that have been said and written about that horrible day 30 years ago, the one thing I keep coming back to are the words of President Reagan.

Upon seeing his loving wife Nancy Reagan, he said, “Honey, I forgot to duck.”

His comments to the doctors will always be legendary. Just before the surgeons were about to save his life, he looked at them and said, “I hope you’re all Republicans.”

The lead surgeon replied, “Mr. President, right now we are all Republicans.”

Think about why so many people love and revere Ronald Wilson “Dutch” Reagan. It was not his conservatism, although conservatives everywhere claim his mantle.

Ronald Reagan put his country before himself. In a land of many selfish individuals, Ronald Reagan at his darkest moment was focusing on the American people.

By making light of a horrendous situation, he was trying to put the entire nation at ease.

How many people would have the fortitude to do this?

Roberto Benini won an Oscar for the movie “Life is Beautiful.” It is the story of a father who makes jokes to his son while they are in a concentration camp. Despite the evil of the Holocaust, the father let humor save his son rather than compound the immense suffering.

That was a story of sacrifice for one young boy.

Ronald Reagan did not face the Holocaust, but he was shot and nearly killed. Yet even at that dark moment, he sacrificed for the 250 million Americans he cared for.

With help from a first rate medical team and luck that can only be described either to almighty God or something we humans do not fully grasp, President Reagan lived another 24 years.

He remains an inspiration to many people all across the world, from Eastern Europeans now free from the tyranny of the Berlin Wall, to virtually every American conservative everywhere.

Many people love him because of policy. Yet it is easy to love people we agree with.

When life is going well, anybody can be gracious and friendly. Ronald Reagan stared death in the face, and spent his almost dying moments making sure we the American people were coping.

There will never be another one like him.

An evil act almost took him away from us only a couple of months into his presidency.

His acts of selflessness helped us heal.

The act against him was an act against all of us. He rose to the challenge, and we followed his lead.

Like the American spirit in tough times, I know we will bounce back. With the spirit of Ronald Reagan inspiring us, we will meet the toughest of challenges and continue on to greatness.

To quote President Reagan during his first inaugural, “Why shouldn’t We? We are Americans.”

Thank you President Reagan, and many thanks to the Secret Service agents and doctors who saved his life and allowed some of the greatest moments in world history to take place shortly after.


Khadafi, Bob Herbert, and Detroit

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Every once in awhile a bully and a tyrant decides after decades of abusing people to voluntarily give up power.

Yes, Bob Herbert is finally leaving the Jayson Blair Times.

While Herbert never killed anybody like Khadafi did, his verbal bomb-throwing poisoned the well of discourse for an entire generation. The New York Times became the Jayson Blair Times by allowing ideological bigotry to trump anything remotely resembling hard news backed up by facts. Hatred of conservative Republicans was the only requirement for having a column.

Arthur Sulzberger Jr. has seen his circulation collapse as normal Americans everywhere grow weary of Maureen Dowd’s hysteria and Bob Herbert’s diatribes about evil conservative cracker honky whitey.

So as Barack Obama tries to wage a kinetic conflict with one hand tied behind American military backs to remove Khadafi, Americans of all stripes can be thankful that at least Herbert was unwilling to obtain weapons in keeping with his anti-gun views.

Just to be clear, Bob Herbert is nowhere near as bad as Khadafi. Herbert is however worse than most people.

So what do we do with people like Khadaf and Herbert now? What would be an appropriate way for these men to spend their final years in exile?

The solution is obvious. Send them both to Detroit.

If the ACLU tries to prevent this under the Eight Amendment clause about cruel and unusual punishment, then judges should force ACLU lawyers to live in Detroit as well.

Khadafi is a genocidal maniac who should be shot in the town square. Forcing him to live in a Detroit housing project is the next best thing. He could be dead in a week. Forget Guantanamo Bay. That would be too high class for him. If he has to live in a prison where there is no hope for improvement, Detroit will fit the bill.

There is no evidence that Herbert has broken any laws other than the laws of civility and decency, but if district attorneys prosecuted those crimes there would be few liberals in existence anywhere.

Herbert should be forced to live in Detroit because his entire life has been devoted to blaming everybody else for leaving the inner cities. Does anybody think Herbert lived in an inner city while working at the Jayson Blair Times? I suspect he lived in one of the better New York neighborhoods. It is time for this limousine liberal to be among the down-trodden he has championed for so long.

Detroit has long been the butt of jokes, but this time it is different. The census numbers have come out, and Detroit has truly hit rock bottom in a way that the local junkies could feel proud.

It was one thing when whites fled the city. The Herberts of the world could cry racism. Now it seems that blacks, particularly educated successful blacks, have fled as well. For all the phony racial myths, most crime against blacks is committed by blacks. So those who can afford to live better are fleeing to the South of all places.

How could this be? Aren’t Southerners racist white rednecks?

Apparently not. Apparently living in peace away from drugs and gunfire is not a black or white value, but a good human being value. Bad human beings of all stripes have wrecked cities with help from liberal enablers.

One can debate whether the pen is mightier than the sword, but while Khadafi was exploiting his people through violence, Herbert was using his written column to make excuses. He dismissed radical violence and supported failed liberal policies that exacerbated the decline of a once proud city that gave the world Motown and the Big Three automakers.

The days when the Four Tops or the Temptations can croon on the street corner are gone. Now Eminem sings, accompanied by guns and bodyguards. Michael Moore waxes slovenly from his safe haven in his wealthy enclave where he can toss his leftovers out of his house for the poor to sift through.

This is Detroit. The city now has less than 750,000 people, rendering it ineligible for much federal and state aid. This means it cannot even declare itself a disaster area. When the most optimistic aspect of an entire region is the Detroit Lions, it is time to give up.

(Ironically the perennial losers ended the season with four straight wins and looked optimistically to the next season only to find out the season may be canceled.)

The 2011 riots in Libya are every bit as out of control as the Detroit riots of the 1960s. Poverty did not cause the lawlessness. Lawlessness led to the poverty. Civil rights include the right to vote, not burn down businesses. Shockingly enough, businesses responded to the terrorism inflicted upon them by leaving to states where burning down businesses was considered a negative occurrence.

The low water mark may have been Kwame Kilpatrick, who made Marion Barry look useful. From the 1960s to Mr. Kilpatrick, the left spread misery. When asked about their failures, they blamed Ronald Reagan.

Given that the Governor of Michigan will probably not try to sell Detroit on Ebay or perhaps donate it to Canada for a tax deduction, there are only two viable solutions for this failed city.

The few remaining people can show the courage of Afghanis and Iraqis. They can risk being shot to death to make it to the polls and elect better leaders. Those leaders can engage in the tough love necessary to take back Detroit from the stranglehold of liberal poison.

The second option is to just declare the city uninhabitable and relocate the entire populace to Wisconsin or Illinois. Like Alcatraz, Detroit can become one big prison. The world’s most hardened terrorists can be joined by the liberal media bigots who verbally brutalized the conservatives actually trying to kill those terrorists.

Force Khadafi and Herbert to live in Detroit with no guns, pens, or keyboards. Neither man should be allowed to videotape any more screeds.

Khadafi, Herbert, and Detroit liberal politicians have spread misery for decades to people they were supposed to care about. They should be forced to live in the same squalid conditions so that future individuals do not become corrupted by absolute power.

It is too late to save Detroit, but Tripoli and Manhattan are already on the verge of making a comeback.

To Khadafi and Herbert, goodbye and good riddance.


Mr. Obama’s War in Libya

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

President Obama had to speak to the nation about Libya, and he did.

This is no joke. We are at war, and it is his war. It was vital that he explained to the American people the exact purpose of the mission, and what was being done to achieve victory.

This was no time for platitudes or waxing poetic about high speed rail or green energy.

This was when Mr. Obama had to be at his best to reassure a very jittery American public.

His most effective critic has been Charles Krauthammer, who offers what Mr. Obama too often does not…succinctness and clarity.

Yet we only have one Commander in Chief at a time, and Mr. Obama had the oversized ear of the world.

Mr. Obama did not drift off into domestic policy. He stuck to the purpose of the speech the entire 30 minutes.

His remarks were sobering, stern, and provided clarity into his mindset. One can vigorously argue with his view, and I emphatically do. Yet at least this speech was not fluff. It was very substantive, and now the real discussion Americans must have can begin.

Mr. Obama did begin with his necessary self-praise, pointing out that thanks to him, “countless lives have been saved.”

He then waxed poetic about past military ventures that had nothing to do with him.

It would not be an Obama speech without meaningless platitudes.

“When our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act.”

Yet thankfully there was meat to this speech, and Mr. Obama delivered the beef with words that actually mattered.

“Ghadafi…murdered opponents at home and abroad and terrorized people around the world, including Americans.”

Yes. Precisely.

“We took a series of swift steps in a matter of days to answer Khadafi’s aggression.”


“We froze his assets,” “brought in sanctions,” and had “an arms embargo.”

Better than nothing, but far from sufficient.

“Ghadafi chose to escalate his attacks. Innocent people were targeted for killing.”

Again, correct.  Mr. Obama then listed Ghadafi’s bad deeds with precision and clarity.

“I ordered warships into the Meditarranean.”

They are actually kinetic conflict ships, but it is still better than the Love Boat.

“At my direction, America led an effort with our allies to pass a historic resolution authorizing a no fly zone…authorizing all necessary measures to protect the Libyan people.”

Everything with him is historic, except when there are plenty of precedents.

“The international community offered Khadafi one final chance. Ghadafi continued his advance.”

“The United States and the world faced a choice. Ghadafi declared he would show no mercy to his own people, compared them to rats, would go door to door killing people.”

“If we waited one more day, Bengazi, a city size of Charlotte would suffer a massacre”…that would have “reverberated around the region and stained the conscience of the world. I refused to let that happen.”

These were very powerful words, and delivered forcefully.

“After consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action.”

He has been criticized for not consulting Congress. He claims he consulted the leadership. The leadership must corroborate or refute this. If they corroborate his claim, good enough. If not, Mr. Obama has lied. He gets the benefit of the doubt unless proven otherwise.

“Tonight, we have stopped Khadafi’s deadly advance.”

This is very debatable, and at the heart of the problem. Is slowing his advance and even forcing a retreat good enough? Mr. Obama says yes. The answer is no.

The man who for some reason pronounces Pakistan as “Pahkistahn” (picture his nose high in the air) for some reason went hillbilly and pronounced Qatar as “Cutter.” This only matters because those who bash a pair of conservative women may wish to apply the same standards of linguistics before arbitrarily declaring Mr. Obama to be as erudite as his media toadies claim him to be.

Mr. Obama then went back to praising himself at the expense of Bill and Hillary Clinton, which was odd but accurate.

“In Bosnia, it took the international community more than a year to intervene. It took us 31 days.”

“NATO has taken command of enforcement of the embargo and the no fly zone. NATO decided to take on the additional responsibility of protecting Libyan civilians.”

“I am fully confident our allies will keep pressure on Ghadafi.”

Based on what metric? How does he know this? He never said what separates the historically French-acting French from acting French.

“The United States will play a supporting role.”

“The risk and costs of this operation will be reduced significantly.”

The short-term risks are lower but the long-term is a roll of the dice under this approach.

“The USA has done what we said we would do.”

“This is not to say that our work is complete.”


Mr. Obama then got to the very best and very worst aspects of his speech. He absolutely shined when explaining to the left why staying out of Libya was not an option. Getting involved was absolutely the right thing to do. Mr. Obama offered an argument that was clear and noble.

He did ask about “What kind of political effort is needed to pressure Khadafi?”

He pointed out that “our military mission is narrowly focused on saving lives.”

Yet despite the fact that acting carries risks and can lead to deaths, Mr. Obama was totally right when he said, “That cannot be an argument for never acting.” He alluded to “violence on a horrific scale.”

“To brush aside America’s role as a leader…that would be a betrayal of who we are.”

“I refuse to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”

“America has a strategic interest.”

“Refugees would be a strain on fragile situations in Egypt and Tunisia.”

“I am convinced that a failure to act in Libya would have characterized a far greater price in America.”

This was all excellent, and worthy of praise. Yet condemnation had to come when he attempted to triangulate this war and enrage those who want any and all means necessary to be used to forcefully…as in using force…remove Ghadafi from power.

“We would be better off with Ghadafi out of power. I have embraced that goal. I will pursue it through non-military means.”

This is nonsense.

“Broadening the task beyond this…regime change would be a mistake.”

This is where Neocons had to decide whether to take baseball bats to their television sets. An excuse to buy a big screen and replace the pile of electronic rubble in the living room was an even money bet.

“To overthrow Khadafi by force…our coalition would splinter, we’d need US troops on the ground. Our shares and costs of responsibility would be greater.”

“We went down that road in Iraq. Regime change there took eight years, thousands of lives, and a trillion dollars.”

In converting to Obama dollars, that would be about 10% of his domestic agenda.

This is where Neocons need to get out bigger bullhorns than the one George W. Bush wielded after 9/11 when speaking to those New York firefighters.

Invading Iraq was the right thing to do. Force was the only option. Saddam is dead. The world is better off. Diplomacy was a total failure with a madman bent on wanton destruction. The Iraq war was legal, moral, justified, and absolutely worth the cost.

Mr. Obama’s desperation to be the anti-Bush resulted in timidity.
“We will support the aspirations of Libyan people…we will assist the opposition…”

This is meaningless blather.

“It may not happen overnight.”

It could if Mr. Obama would shove a predator drone up Ghadafi’s rumpus and be done with it.

“History is not on Ghadafi’s side.”

Really? How does he know this?

“The burden of action should not be America’s alone.”

It has to be. The rest of the world are a bunch of gutless screwups that have allowed genocide from the Holocaust to Rwanda to Bosnia and other instances. If America does not lead, nothing will get done. This was understood during World War II while a certain “ally” liberals have so much faith in today was busy waving white flags and preparing to speak German.

“Progress will be uneven.”

Translation, don’t hurt Mr. Obama in the polls. When Donald Rumsfeld warned Iraq would be a “long, hard slog,” liberal revisionists claimed he said it would be easy. Yet “uneven progress” is code for giving Mr. Obama a free pass no matter how badly things may go. Like “jobs saved or created,” setbacks must not be allowed to be categorized as progress just because Mr. Obama says so.

“The US will not be able to dictate the pace and scope of this change.”

Well we should.

Mr. Obama needs to go back and learn American history. Truman did not drop nuclear bombs on Japan because he wanted to kill hundreds of thousands of people. He did it to save millions of people.

Mr. Obama is trying to do war on the cheap. He has not told us what he will do if Ghadafi stays in power. Just ask George Herbert Walker Bush what happens when victory does not involve regime change.

If Mr. Ghadafi is cornered but alive, he may engage in scorched Earth tactics. Picture $200 a barrel oil when he sets the fields on fire. Picture thousands of innocent civilians being shot to death.

The only solution is to kill or capture Ghadafi. The only successful outcome is regime change.

Mr. Obama was admirable in his clarity but honestly stating that he is against this approach. He did not hide or engage in weasel words. There was no doubletalk. He was honorable in his speech. He stated his beliefs in a crystal clear manner.

He is horribly wrong. His way can cause much more death and destruction in the long run.

Nevertheless, this speech did matter. This is Mr. Obama’s war in Libya, despite his desperate attempts to walk away and avoid leaving fingerprints like he does with every policy issue on his watch.

The speech was honest. Now the equally honest conversation can begin.

Force removed the Taliban and Saddam. Force ended World War II. Force works.

America should either go Roman or go home. Mr. Obama rightly refuses to do the latter but wrongly refuses to do the former.

It is right to pray that Mr. Obama’s strategy works.

It is also right to fear it will not. It never has.


Election 2012–Already getting it wrong

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Before getting to 2012, I offer condolences to the family of Geraldine Ferraro. I disagreed with her politics, but respect her accomplishments. Being the first woman on a presidential ticket matters. Without her, Sarah Palin may not have gotten the opportunity.

Yet Geraldine Ferraro also was the first Italian American on the ticket as well. This was rightfully a source of pride for that community.

It says a lot about her that in her later years she became friendly with the man who defeated her in 1984, George Herbert Walker Bush. Also, she was not the reason the ticket lost. Ronald Reagan defeated Walter Mondale. It is always about the top of the ticket. She excited the Democratic base.

She was a patriotic American who loved this country, and I offer solace and condolences to her family.

Now on to 2012.

As I predicted, I am already totally right about my getting it totally wrong.

In March of 2007 I began blogging with some individual portrayals of the candidates I considered to be the four serious adults running for the 2008 GOP nomination. They were Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Fred Thompson, and Mitt Romney. I also did a profile on Newt Gingrich although I was convinced he was not running. He is all about solutions, and i figured the American people were not ready for solutions.

In March of 2011 I will have profiles of Haley Barbour and Tim Pawlenty, along with updates on Gingrich and Romney. They are the big four this time.

For anybody else to even be worth a mention, they have to have a specific niche.

Rick Santorum can run as the true socially conservative candidate. This most likely will get him as far as Mike Huckabee in 2008, since after Iowa social conservatism is not enough. If Huckabee runs again, Santorum will be finished faster than Sam Brownback in 2008.

I did not think Michele Bachmann had any niche at all, and I was also convinced she was sitting this one out. If Sarah Palin enters the race, that destroys Bachmann. Yet Palin seems to be sitting it out, and Bachmann really can run as the Tea Party candidate.

John Bolton can run purely on a foreign policy platform. This will crowd out Rudy Giuliani, although if Rudy gets in first it may be Bolton who gets edged aside. Either way, there is room for a specific foreign policy candidate.

I am holding off on endorsing anyone until Giuliani decides. If he is in, I am backing him again. If he is out, Haley Barbour is most likely my choice.

Romney, Pawlenty, Gingrich, Bachmann, Palin, Santorum, and Bolton are all acceptable to me. None of them raise any concerns in terms of agreement on issues. Huckabee must explain his position on taxes so the Wall Street Journal editorial pages do not crucify him.

As much as I love Donald Trump the entertainer, I will not cover him as a presidential candidate unless he officially runs. I am convinced that he is absolutely not running. The guy is a brilliant promoter of his brand, which is him.

The only candidate that is totally unacceptable to me is Ron Paul. Unless he actually wins something, ignoring him is best.

I predicted Gingrich and Bachmann would sit this one out. I may already be wrong on both counts.

Herman Cain would like to run as the self-made millionaire businessman, but Mitt Romney already has that covered. Mr. Cain inspires crowds, but time will tell if that translates into votes.

Tim Pawlenty is the epitome of the default candidate after Romney. Pawlenty is the guy that everybody personally likes and nobody hates. I still insist he is running for Vice President. If he runs a positive campaign refusing to criticize anybody else especially Romney, this will be confirmed.

In a field with bland Caucasian Midwestern Governors, Mitch Daniels gets crowded out by Romney and Pawlenty, especially Romney.

The bottom line is Romney has tons of money and has been campaigning since the day he lost in 2008.

Despite the media’s insistence that the race is wide open, they say that every four years and every four years the GOP takes the guy next in line in the hierarchy. Until that trend is broken, it remains firmly in place. GOP voters are not known for boldness.

Romneycare and Mormonism will not be issues.

So who has the best chances to take him on?

Palin is a rock star. If she enters the race, he is in trouble from an enthusiasm standpoint. He will argue that he is more electable, but the GOP primary may decide to go with excitement over safety.

Barbour is the best fundraiser in the GOP. His entry means money, which keeps him in the game. Plenty of pols around the country owe him, and he will cash in the chits. His accent will not be an issue.

Gingrich is the intellectual heavyweight. If he runs, it will be because he believes the American people are finally adult enough to listen to straight talk about real solutions to serious problems. The other candidates will all attack Romneycare, but many will not offer alternatives. Gingrich is a walking wonk. He clearly knows policy.

If all of these candidates tear each other to bits, that will turn off Iowa voters. They like nice politics, unlike the people of New Hampshire who like the rough and tumble stuff. In 2004 Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt obliterated each other, allowing John Kerry and John Edwards to slide through. Edwards ran the positive campaign.

The beneficiary of top tier mud slinging, assuming they run positive campaigns, would be Pawlenty first if he sticks to the nice guy strategy, or Santorum if he just stays on message as the real social conservative.

By New Hampshire Iowa will be forgotten faster than Huckabee in 2008. His supporters like to say he came in second, but that is misleading. Other candidates with more support dropped out while he stubbornly stayed in the race after the outcome was all but settled. Giuliani, Romney, and Thompson rallied around McCain quickly.

The one thing hurting Romney is that in 2008 he was the least liked by the other candidates. They may not want to rally around him so quickly. Yet like Barbour, he has been spreading cash to GOP poobahs all around the country. He will call in those favors.

Lastly, will somebody besides me get a buzz going for former Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle to be considered for the vice presidential slot? I can’t do it all by myself.

As I said, in the coming days and weeks I will have profiles of the candidates, but nothing more. I refuse to start the 2012 election ad nauseum for another few months unless there is actual news.

Between the Middle East and the American economy, the last thing Americans need is another neverending campaign cycle.

Besides, I am tired of making predictions. I am always wrong.


Deep Southern Fried Religious Beauty

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

“Come in, come in, we’ll do the best we can…
Come in, come, bring your whole bloody clan…
Take it slow and easy, and I’ll shake you by the hand…
Sit you down, and treat you decent, I’m an Irishman.”

No, I have not officially lost my marbles. A 10 day barnstorming tour of the Deep South led to some awesome foods, interesting social interactions, and cultural experiences I will always cherish.

I was invited to speak in Alabama at the Birmingham Irish Cultural Society St. Patrick’s Day Dinner.

For those wondering, to the best of my knowledge I am 0% Irish. So I was as floored about the invite as anybody else. I am a Brooklyn born New York Jewish fella who was offered an olive branch by Irish Catholics in Alabama. I would like to thank Shana Kluck for setting it up.

I only spoke for about 5 minutes, and then got to observe traditions that were as foreign to me as they were enjoyable. There was the “Tapping of the Furcan,” where a sledgehammer is used to lightly tap the handle on the beer keg in place, making it official to drink from.

Yes, there was a whiskey tasting part of the evening, but I was not interested in perpetuating negative stereotypes. People in the room ate, drank, and were merry, but nobody was falling down drunk. There was no fighting. There were just good people having a great time.

I did not know what to say. It is one thing for a person to poke fun at his own culture, but as an outsider I was not going to make Irish jokes based on overplayed stereotypes. So instead I decided to poke fun at those who do not understand the Irish.

“I called my dad and asked him if I should make a joke about Haggis. He pointed out that Haggis was Scotland, and wanted to know how I could not know the difference between Ireland and Scotland. I reminded him that I went to a New York public school.”

One thing I was able to reinforce within myself was that the Irish and the Jews do share some common bonds. They came here for a better life, faced discrimination, and yet emphatically embraced the American Dream. Despite “Irish need not apply” signs, they helped build this country. Irish communities found the perfect balance between maintaining their heritage and loving their new nation.

The only exposure to Irish culture I had before this evening was watching a few episodes of “The Cavanaughs” a couple of decades ago. It was actually a good show, with Barnard Hughes as the lead character and Art Carney occasionally showing up as the older brother that Hughes referred to as “The Weasel.”

One of the band leaders playing Gaelic music told me he was actually Irish Jewish. There truly are Jews everywhere.

As for the Birmingham Irish Cultural Society, I cannot thank them enough for welcoming me into their hearts and extending a hand of friendship. Irish people are known for this warmth, and so are people from Alabama. The kindness was understandable.

Yet at some point it was time to leave corned beef and cabbage behind and get back to my traditions involving matzoh ball soup. March 17th was St. Patrick’s Day, but the Jews also have a holiday involving heavy doses of libations to the point of incoherence. We actually have two of these holidays, and March 19th was Purim.

My favorite Purim moment was when one of my inebriated friends  a decade ago yelled out “Who is that Amish guy and why is he wearing the Rabbi’s pants?”

This Purim had me in Bristol, Tennessee. By sheer coincidence, this was the week where over 100,000 NASCAR fans from across the country descended on Bristol for the race. For the fifth straight time, Kyle Busch won at Bristol.

The town does not have an official Rabbi, but Rabbinical student  Jason Levine comes from Cincinnati twice a month to provide Jewish life for the small but proud Jewish community in Northeastern Tennessee.

He explained to us why dinosaur meat was not kosher, but the main theme of his remarks was a special NASCAR Purim. He blended in the traditions of Judaism with the best traditions of stock car racing.

Afterwards the community played Jewish trivia and NASCAR trivia, and indulged in some March Madness college basketball games.

While Alabama and Tennessee alone would have been Dayenu (sufficient, a Passover reference coming up), Georgia added a whole new level of religious fun.

Ahavath Achim Synagogue in Atlanta had AAbsolut Shabbat. Perhaps an alcohol reference would be better had the initials of the temple not been AA, but everybody is a critic. It was a great service.

A rock band blasted out the Jewish tunes. Guitar solos had me thinking about how cool it would be if Aerosmith or Guns n Roses were Jewish.

(I looked years ago. They are not.)

I had never been to such an intense awesome service before. The band rocked on for close to two hours as passengers chimed in and people danced with passion.

Most Jewish services are followed by some wine and bread, or maybe coffee and cakes. This one had a taco bar. For those wondering how a taco bar fits in, I have no idea. All I know is that tacos are tasty. It was a great Sabbath.

From the Irish in Alabama to the NASCAR Jews in Tennessee to the Hard Rocking Jews in Georgia, Birmingham, Bristol, and Atlanta made for an exciting 10 days.

I hung out with a gay Democrat in Birmingham, encountered one woman who on a whim moved from Birmingham to Bogota, Columbia, and found people in Tennessee who like me love Pat Summitt and loathe Lane Kiffin.

Oh yeah, and the politics was great. The Republican Women’s Federated ladies are real conservative in these parts. I spoke to their state delegation in Alabama and a local Tennessee chapter. I also got to meet the Republican Jewish Coalition of Knoxville. Yes, they exist, and they are loud and proud.

Also, as we all know, Southern women are some of the hottest women in America. When a Southern woman bats her eyelashes, I end up doing things I would not normally do.

One woman who put the hot in Hotlanta suggested I try eating “Beaver Balls.”

There are so many remarks I could make, all of which would get me an angry phone call from my parents.

So all I can say is that I ate Beaver Balls, and the cliche is true. They tasted like chicken, and aren’t half bad with taters. I also enjoyed eating at the Garage Cafe and Sweet Lips Diner, despite neither of them serving Beaver Balls.

So between food, women, and cultural and religious experiences, there was some serious Deep Southern fried religious beauty on this trip.

A flight back to Los Angeles is temporary. The Deep South is too beautiful not to go back to. Maybe there is an Indian festival in Mississippi I could attend. If not, they should start one and give me the credit. If there is alcohol, it could be called  “Saki and Seikhs.” Given that they do not drink, perhaps this idea should stay on the shelf.

As for me, I know where I will be soon enough, after some stops in Florida, New York, Kentucky, and Ohio.

I’ll be flying down the highway headed West…in a streak of black lightning called the (bandit) Tygrrrr Express.

On to the next adventure.


RIP Elizabeth Taylor

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

This past week America and the world lost a true national treasure.

At age 79, actress Elizabeth Taylor died from congestive heart failure. She had been sick for several weeks.

While I have seen very little of her actual acting career, the fact that I even know of her work decades earlier is a tribute to her staying power.

For many people under age 40, Liz Taylor was seen as “famous for being famous.” She was some former actress who hung out with George Hamilton, liked Michael Jackson, and struggled with booze, pills, and weight problems. She got married every other week

This is not who she was, not by a long shot.

Long before celebrities became celebrities by simply chasing down cameras and announcing it, Liz Taylor was a real celebrity. In fact, she was “the” celebrity. She got that way by being one of the premiere actresses of her time. She was no psuedo-celeb. She earned her fame by being fantastic at what she did. She earned her plaudits.

She was the first actress to be paid 7 figures when she appeared as Cleopatra. Her gorgeous purple eyes made her one of a kind.

She was the original bride in “Father of the Bride” with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn.

She used her fame for so much good, taking up the cause of fighting AIDS years before it became trendy. Once again, she was an original.

Only in reading her obituaries this past week did I even learn that she was Jewish. I never knew that. She converted to the faith decades ago, and she was active in fighting anti-Semitism. Maybe I never knew this because as famous as she was, she did not announce every good deed she did. She just did good deeds. Her already existing fame just led to others reporting on her good deeds.

Yes, she was married eight times. Yes, in her later life she struggled with addictions. Yet she always maintained her dignity, and her eyes and gorgeous smile even in her later years allowed her to appear in commercials for diamonds and perfume with much believability.

She was a classy, dignified woman who used her fame to improve the world.

Her talents were many, and now she is in Heaven. Like many people, she left us too soon.

RIP Ms. Taylor. You will be missed.


Questions about Libya, Obama, and Kinetic Conflicts

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Unlike domestic policy, I am loathe to criticize President Obama on matters of war while we are at war.

Then again, apparently this is a kinetic conflict and not an actual war, so maybe there is some latitude.

Critics will say that President Obama has absolutely no idea what he is doing. Sycophant supporters will drool that he is so cool and calm that he knows exactly what he is doing. Either he is just not telling us because we are too dumb to understand it, or he did tell us but we did not realize it because we are too dumb to understand it.

His sycophant supporters will also point out that because he is not George W. Bush, of course he did everything perfectly right. If that argument fails to sway people, the left will point out that Obama is smart and Palin is dumb, and that ends the discussion for them.

I want President Obama to remove Khadafi from power. He must talk to the nation. Sometimes he weighs in on matters where he should mind his own business, but on this issue he must speak up.

All of the Huffington Post columns in the world will not be able to allow Obama to claim that Libya was an inherited problem, unless one accepts that Libya existed as a nation when he took over. George W. Bush did not obliterate Libya or Iran. I forgive him. He did not have a third term.

Anyway, I will hold off on the hard questions for now. We will know more by then as events develop. On this day, other questions will be asked.

How does Khadafi rule an entire nation for over 40 years without getting beyond the rank of Colonel?

For a dictator, this guy’s military career is fairly undistinguished.

Colin Powell became a General in 35 years. What kept Khadafi from getting his stripes?

More importantly, why can’t the greatest military in the world remove a guy who can’t even climb above Colonel in four decades?

How is it that Ronald Reagan can target Khadafi’s home and eliminate one of his kids long before internet access or Google Maps existed, yet Barack Obama can’t shove a predator drone up Khadafi’s rumpus?

Given that the Obama answer to everything is “Yes, we can,” then the issue is less about “can’t” then “won’t.”

So why won’t he?

Some will argue that Khadafi did not attack us, but the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 certainly was an act of war every bit as evil as Pearl Harbor or 9/11.

What will Mr. Obama do if by some shocking turn of events, the French fail to get the job done in their great post-Napoleonic tradition of failing at everything?

If the French succeed, are they the new superpower? Will we all be forced to get on our knees and pray five times a day toward Paris?

Will Billy Crystal then be arrested for “Forget, Paris?”

(I tried to. It was not his best work, despite the Rush Limbaugh and Charles Barkley cameos.)

What is a kinetic conflict? How does it differ from a war?

Americans are fairly good at winning wars, but our record on kinetic conflicts I believe is 0 for 0. Obama supporters will point out that we have never lost a kinetic conflict. We have never won one either. The fate of future kinetic conflicts rests on Libya. Given the NFL Lockout, perhaps a kinetic conflict is the equivalent of using replacement players.

Also, George W. Bush had 33 nations in his coalition and Obama has 16 (Thank you Brent Bozell). So how does Obama have a coalition while Dubya acted unilaterally?

Obama has France. They count for 40 nations. So liberals should now brag that Obama has 55 nations in his coalition and Dubya had negative 7. The Politico and MSNBC now have another reason to hate Bush.

Maybe my time in Tennessee has left me biased, but I say we just send in Pat Summitt to finish things.

(In Tennessee the 3 world evils are Radical Islam, radical leftism, and Lane Kiffin. I agree with them.)

Is Barack Obama paying Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, and Louis Farrakhan money to speak? If so, maybe Mr. Obama really is a genius. Every time these lunatics speak, Mr. Obama looks as reasonable as can be. If Mr. Obama truly was behind their remarks, he would have trotted them out the week before the 2010 election. Maybe the charmed lucky life Mr. Obama has led just keeps continuing.

Is Donald Trump on the Obama payroll? Every minute talking about our Hawaiian born Christian leader as a possible Kenyan Muslim subversive helps him in the polls and moves Libya from the major news.

On Celebrity Apprentice, Trump asked Cyndi Lauper if she liked Mr. Obama. She said yes, and he said, “I like him too.” She was praising his support for a gay rights bill, which was not mentioned at CPAC. I like Donald Trump, but can’t we all just admit that there is no way on Al Gore’s green Earth that he is running? He is more likely to run for the presidency of Libya than America. Libya fits with his autocratic style. This is not an insult. To do what he does, you have to often make decisions without consulting others. Debate ends when he says so. In American political life, debate never ends.

Given that it is now racist to ask about Mr. Obama’s birth certificate (again, I don’t care at all about this issue), is it also racist to ask Khadafi for his? Is he really Libyan? I suspect he is martian. If Khadafi is not Libyan, can we impeach him?

Hey if an entire civilization such as Palesimians can be invented from some defective Arabs from Egypt and Jordan, then maybe Khadafi might be constitutionally ineligible to lead Libya.

Shazamm! Maybe that is why he has not gotten past the rank of Colonel.

Wow, a perfect little bow tied up just nice.

Well, almost. A certain failed not-quite-a-general is still slaughtering innocents while the rest of the world…well whatever it is they are doing. Like those entities, I have only questions and no answers.


Liberals, Libya, and France

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

After weeks of dithering, the First Dillitante in Chief finally decided to borrow a pair from Hillary Clinton and take action in Libya.

While President Obama waited way too long to stop Khadafi Duck from slaughtering his own people, that criticism should immediately be relegated to the back burner until the war is over. President Obama did the right thing by intervening, and he has my support.

My main concern at this point is that the mission does not seem clearly defined. In the 1991 Gulf War, President George Herbert Walker Bush had a mandate to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. We did not have a mandate to go into Iraq and remove Saddam from power. Colin Powell accurately pointed out that doing so would fracture the coalition.

In 2003 President George W. Bush had a clear mandate for regime change. The resolution authorizing war specifically allowed for this.

Is the goal to stop the slaughter and nothing more? This would leave Khadafi in power. Or is he being removed? This must be stated. So far the United States is claiming not to be targeting Khadafi while our allies are saying otherwise.

Yet the bigger question is not about Mr. Obama, but about liberals falling all over themselves to support this war. While some leftists such as Dennis Kucinich have shown consistency in opposing the war, most on the left are Obama sycophants praising him for doing this “good war” the “right way.”

I support the war. Khadafi needs to go, and force is the only way to get him out of power. Yet why are so many liberals so willing to praise this action?

Liberals claim that Mr. Obama did things totally different from his predecessor. Mr. Bush acted “unilaterally” while Mr. Obama employed “multilateralism.”

This is nonsense, but it is finally time that these words get exposed. It gets to the heart of American liberal attitudes about any actions about anything.

George W. Bush had 33 nations in his “Coalition of the Willing.” Barack Obama has many nations in his coalition. So what was George W. Bush missing in his coalition?

Only one thing separates these two men.

Obama has France.

Yes, this is all about American liberals shoving their heads so far up French anuses that separation of the heads from the hides is impossible.

When liberals claim we need to work with allies, they mean Europe. Yet George W. Bush had England, Italy, Spain, Holland, and Poland.

When liberals claim we need Europe, they mean France.

So why is this the case?

One theory is that this is all about the Jews. Germany slaughtered the Jews. France collaborated. The left in America hates the Jews and Israel, giving them a bond with France and Germany. France maintains vicious anti-Semitism to this day, giving them special love from the American left.

While that view is fun, even I confess that many issues have nothing to do with the Jews. This theory is thrown out solely for amusement.

Another theory is that France likes losing wars and suffering from humiliation and emasculation. After Napoleon, their track record is not very stellar. So if France is willing to go to war, then it will result in a humiliating defeat, which the American left can support.

While this theory is delightfully cynical, even I cannot credibly claim that the American left wants to get our own Americans killed. Their anti-war platform is sincerely about avoiding getting Americans killed.

Why do the people that Homer Simpson referred to as “cheese eating surrender monkeys” matter so much to the American left?

Some on the left point to Europeans as “sophisticated” and “classy.” Americans are lazy slobs, but Europeans are so elegant and refined. Again, European does not mean the Polish, who are the target of cheap jokes about their lack of intelligence. It does not refer to the Vatican, because religious institutions must be discredited. Europe means France.

Some could argue that the French share the American liberal character trait of arrogance. These two groups are both “intellectuals.” They are much better than the low class American commoners who go to shopping malls and eat hot dogs.

This is why American liberals were so horrified when Nicholas Sarkozy went to Maine with President Bushes 41 and 43 and ate hot dogs and fries. “Sarko the American” likes us. What were Francophiles to do?

Liberals get angry when conservatives bring up the notion that too many liberals hate America. Liberals get indignant that their patriotism would be questioned. Yet what is their rationale for worshiping France? Outside of hating America, what does France do in this world that is notable? How should conservatives react when liberals cozy up to people who despise us?

(They do this with Radical Islamists as well, but that is more naivety.)

Is it a mutual hatred of American Republicans and conservatives? Was hatred of George W. Bush that powerful a uniting factor?

Is the issue about religiosity vs secularism? The American left hates organized religion, preferring to worship the almighty environmental goddess Gaea. This would explain why the left loves “Europe,” but does not seem to like the Vatican. France is the epitome of secularism, although it gives an exemption to Radical Islamists trying to burn France to the ground. American liberals have this same schism with reality in terms of loathing peaceful religion of any kind while embracing a virulent strain of Islam that uses violence to spread its doctrine.

At this point the only thing the left can do to have any credibility on this issue is to admit that any military action must have French approval. Once this is admitted, the question to ask the left is…why?

France can’t stand the fact that they are irrelevant and they know it. The 2003 Iraq War was proof of this. The Americans and British did just fine without them. The Australians were a more than adequate replacement. Does anybody in their right mind think that George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and John Howard would have had a better outcome if Jacques Chirac would have taken his nose out of the air and his head out of his hide and supported the war?

Can the left one day finally admit that Chirac and France were up to their eyeballs in the corrupt oil for food scandal? Is it possible that Germany, Russia, and the United Nations allowed personal crooked financial dealings with Saddam Hussein to supersede principles of honor and liberty?

Barack Obama not only got a permission slip from the French, but he let them (publicly) play the lead role. France has not had a relevant world role since Napoleon Bonaparte. They hate America out of jealousy. Does anybody think Le Monde or the Jayson Blair Times praising the French leadership in this war will suddenly make the French stop acting like envious spoiled brats and start liking America? Sarkozy is a good man, but the attitudes of his people toward my nation are worthless.

(The left conversely finds that the many nations with a positive view of America from Australia to Poland to Italy are worthless. Any nation not France is ignored.)

It is a sad day in America indeed when the President of France is ready to fight while the President of America is taking a back seat to the French.

This is not multilateralism. It is timidity, and it may lead to Khadafi staying in power.

The American left does not believe in American exceptionalism. They believe in French exceptionalism.

Alex De Tocqueville was a proud Frenchman who believed in American exceptionalism.

Only America at this point in history has the muscle to take down Khadafi and other bloodthirsty dictators. All the media reports about brave French soldiers leading the charge are as comical as they are false.

With all due respect to the French, who have shown us virtually none, it is Americans who have liberated much of the world, including the Vichy Regime loving French.

So let’s stop this leftist nonsense about John Kerry and other French looking liberals requiring “global tests” before taking actions.

America must lead. If we don’t, our nation will soon be as irrelevant as American leftists and the French secular leftists they worship.


Leftist mobs and the Second Amendment

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

If the left wants bipartisanship, fine by me.

Despite being a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, it is time for a compromise on gun control that will make conservatives happy and liberals less miserable than usual.


My conference call with Wyoming Senator John Barrasso

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Last week I participated in a conference call with United States Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming.

With the one year anniversary of the dreadful Obamacare healthcare law now upon us, Senator Barrasso focused his remarks on that law.

“2 1/2 million Americans were granted waivers so they don’t have to live under Obamacare. A lot of these waivers have gone to union members who lobbied for the health care law.”

“This health care law is going to break the backs of the American economy. They played all of these games and gimmicks and accounting tricks. Anybody looking at it knew they were not telling the truth.”

“The SEIU now admits that meeting the targets of Obamacare are financially impossible.”

“There are now over 1000 waivers to 2.6 million Americans. 46% of these people receiving waivers are union workers.”

“You can’t put 16 million more Americans on Medicaid, a program that is already broken.”

“When Jerry Brown and Andrew Cuomo are speaking out against Medicaid…states ought to be able to opt out. Lindsey Graham and I offered a bill for opt outs.”

What many people do not know and Senator Barrasso astutely pointed it out as that all waivers had to be reviewed on an annual basis and resubmitted. The reason for this is simple.

“These are one year waivers but the law doesn’t fully take effect until 2014. Groups are being told that if they complain, they will not get the waiver next year when they reapply. This is hardball.”

It does not take millions of words to get to the heart of the deep problems with Obamacare.

Some very fair questions need to be asked and answered.

If Obamacare is such a great law, why are so many groups who supported the law requesting waivers?

What legitimate reason exists for any group at all to be given a waiver?

If only certain groups are given waivers, doesn’t this possibly violate the fifth and fourteenth amendments about equal protection under the laws?

Given that almost half of the waivers granted are given to ideological soulmates of President Obama, couldn’t this be seen as an abuse of power? Isn’t this rewarding friends and punishing enemies?

Isn’t it reasonable to ask for a public explanation from Attorney General Eric Holder or Health and Human Services Czar Kathleen Sebelius what the criteria is for granting waivers?

Why is Congress exempt from the law? Shouldn’t Congress be subjected to all laws that it passes?

Many critics of Obamacare claimed that the law does not do what Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi promised when they rammed it through. Yet once the law was passed, it was supporters that asked for and were granted a plurality of the waivers.

Either the law should be repealed or zero waivers should be granted.

The law either applies to everybody or nobody.

With tough questioning from Senator Barrasso and his house Republican colleagues, there is a chance the American people may finally get the truth.

I thank Senator Barrasso for helping to get through the fog clouds and getting below the surface of the healthcare law that seems so bad that even supporters are fleeing from it.