Wednesday, August 31

BLOGGERS JOINING FORCES FOR HURRICANE RELIEF DAY (9/1/05)

NOTE TO MY READERS: I'm bumping this post up to the top!

I am pleased to be participating in what "The Truth Laid Bear" has headlined as HURRICANE RELIEF BLOG DAY, which will be held tomorrow, September 1st. It is described as:

A day of blogging focused on raising awareness of and funds for relief efforts to aid those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Here is the registration page if you'd like to join and add your blog (and your time and effort) to the fund-raising campaign for Hurricane Katrina victims.

To his credit, this is the brainchild of Hugh Hewitt and with the solid support of the widely-read Glenn Reynolds; and, to be sure, "The Bear" deserves kudos for applying his technological know-how to this important enterprise.

My site -- A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT -- will be soliciting your kind willingness to make a donation to "CATHOLIC CHARITIES" on behalf of the thousands of victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Here's the link that will facilitate your charitable donation.

Thank you for your consideration in helping the less fortunate!


INDICATIONS NOW THAT GOVERNMENTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND ORGANIZATIONS MAY STEP UP

Here's an Associated Press (AP) story indicating that certain governments, private citizens, and organizations in the international community of nations may be stepping up to lend a hand to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. As I promised, I will post on this information as it is confirmed and the relief efforts and contributions implemented.

If you're a visitor to this site and reside in a country other than the United States and intend to make a donation, I applaud you and extend to you my thanks on behalf of the thousands of displaced victims of Katrina.

FOLLOW-UP: Here's the other side of the coin vis-a-vis Germany in particular and the reactions of Americans to it and Europe in general(courtesy of "Spiegel Online").

Proof that I haven't been a lone wolf crying (or "grousing," as one of my fans characterized it) in the wind:

When a tsunami hit South Asia in December, the world mobilized to help and aid poured in. Now that parts of America are underwater, the US is handling the relief work virtually alone. What is going on? By Jody K. Biehl in Berlin more...



THE EGREGIOUS, GAD ABOUT, GRIEVING MOM

My favorite anchorman is Brit Hume of Fox News and I'd make that statement regardless of the network with which he was affiliated. But, Hume and Fox News editors in combo ought to be more politic than to do a short news segment on Cindy Sheehan's opinion of Hurricane Katrina and its root cause, which she claims, of course, is President Bush's "failed environmental policies." They did this this evening and I'm annoyed.

If the death of her son in combat in Iraq gave her some platform and cachet to denounce President Bush and the war in Iraq, so be it. I, for one, think she's a miserable spokesperson -- vulgar, inarticulate, and convoluted. But, if George Soros and Michael Moore want to adopt her as one of their own, and she willingly goes along for the ride, well ... then the Left will be heard and her credentials as a war protestor are as good as anyone else's on that side of the political spectrum, I suppose.

But for a major news network to decide that she should be heard on national and international television opining on how the president caused Hurricane Katrina, well that's just plain over the top. Everyone has a right to his or her opinion in this country; but no one has a right to have his or her voice carried around the globe by a compliant, fawning media. Unadulterated ignorance ought not to be marketed on television except in boring television sitcoms and on so-called reality T.V.

Put Cindy on Jerry Springer where, in the context of her growing blather on a range of subjects of which she is patently unstudied, she'd be right at home; but, Brit, dear Brit, not on the nightly news! Cindy is so far in over her head and the Soros/Moore/Sheen/Sharpton levee that surrounds her so irrevocably ruptured, that the whole bunch of them are drowning in their own poisoned hyperbole.



NO DATA; NO LINKS; NO NOTHING

I went into The United Nations site searching for any information today on U.N.-sponored, international relief efforts, forming or already underway, to bring medical teams and search & rescue personnel, supplies (including foodstuffs and portable shelters), and hard assets to the massive relief efforts underway in the Gulf Coast region of the United States, owing to the widespread Hurricane Katrina devastation.

Incredulously, I found that: 1) yesterday's U.N. daily news briefing made no mention of Hurricane Katrina, but did include what was termed a "flash appeal" for $88 million in aid for "acute food insecurity" in Malawi (I'm sure there's none of that in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama right now); 2) that the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs doesn't appear to be dealing with the aftermath of Katrina at this juncture, but has expressed dismay that "Niger is dying while the world is watching" (New Orleans isn't exactly thriving at the moment, nor is Biloxi for that matter); but, 3) good news/bad news, I did find this for the Hurricane Katrina disaster -- i.e., "no data reported" and "no links at this time" for the largest natural disaster in the history of the United States of America.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is sympathetic, however.

Wonder if a "dues invoice" is sitting on President Bush's desk? Should he sign it?

POSTSCRIPT (8/31 @ 4:30PM CT): I just completed watching President Bush's sober address to the nation from the White House Rose Garden, following an emergency cabinet-level meeting, on how the federal government and its various agencies are dealing with the Hurricane Katrina disaster, and what their priorities will be. Not word one was given that the president had received any personal calls or messages from heads of state or Kofi Annan of the United Nations with offers or pledges of assistance to the United States. The president, of course, has just returned to the White House, but such messages could have been received at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, or onboard Air Force One. This is not to say that none have been forthcoming or that none will come in time; but, it is to say that this blogger continues to be unable to find reports of any such gestures from the international community of nations.

"ONE AMERICAN FAMILY"

I just watched on CNN Cable News Texas Governor Rick Perry issuing a statement regarding Texas' willingness to provide shelter, food, water, medical assistance, fuel, prayers, and good, old-fashioned neighborliness to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. He even indicated that the school-age children of displaced families will be enrolled in Texas public schools. It was an impressive, heartfelt statement.

He concluded his remarks with:

We're going to get through this together as one American family.



NYT'S EDITORIAL -- MORE ELITE MSM BUSH-BASHING

Not to be outdone by the Associated Press (AP), the "New York Times" (registration required) in an editorial today couldn't resist doing the very thing it said was uncalled for given the massive devastation of Hurricane Katrina in what may well be the worst natural disaster to have ever struck the United States of America since its founding.

In one breath the editorialist writes "this seems the wrong moment to dwell on fault-finding," and in the next proceeds to do just that:

But this seems like the wrong moment to dwell on fault-finding or even to point out that it took what may become the worst natural disaster in American history to pry President Bush out of his vacation.

It's uncalled for, of course, and unkind, but underscores the depths to which the Gray Lady has sunk in its inimitable elite MSM bias. True, "New Orleans is in peril," but so, too, is whatever vestige of credibility may remain in NYT's editorial board.



HOUSTON TO HELP KATRINA VICTIMS

The Houston Astrodome -- once dubbed the "Eighth Wonder of the World" -- will soon become a wonderful and welcomed contrast for approximately 25,000 displaced Hurricane Katrina victims, who have been enduring insufferably horrid conditions at the New Orleans' Superdome. Soon they'll at least have air-conditioning, working bathrooms, potable water, food, a secure roof over their heads, and medical care. They'll also have, most assuredly, the open-arms friendship and goodwill of a city well-known for those caring qualities. Makes me proud to be a Houstonian.

SOURCES: "1st Headlines" and "USA Today"

ASSOCIATED PRESS (AP) BIAS ALL TOO APPARENT

Liz Sidoti of the Associated Press (AP) doesn't waste any time in this article to betray the bias against President Bush and the Bush Administration typically found in AP news releases. And she isn't even subtle about it.

To wit:

Bush cut his monthlong vacation by two days even though aides have long contended that his duties are uninterrupted when he spends time at his ranch in nearby Crawford that has White House-level communications capability.
Don't you just love the aides have long contended line. Such objectivity. Apparently the Associated Press remains unconvinced that the president engaged in any work-related duties during his time in Crawford or the trips away from Crawford during his monthlong vacation. It would appear that neither Ms. Sidoti, nor her colleagues at the AP, have corroborated the aides' contention that the president's vacation was indeed a "working vacation."

This vacation certainly has had the elite mainstream media in an uproar. The audacity of the President of the United States to seek a little "R&R" from the tremendous pressures of the job and the fishbowl existence of life in the White House and in Washington D.C.

Don't you think Ms. Sidoti ought to demand a full accounting of what the president did hour by hour each and every day to satisfy her mind that he properly earned his vacation pay? Goodness, there must be a log!

Two other lines of hers jump off the page:

Returning to Washington ahead of schedule also could insulate the president from criticism that he was on vacation during the (Katrina) crisis ...

A one-time oilman, Bush has rejected charges that the war in Iraq is a struggle to control the nation's (Iraq's) vast oil wealth.
The latter of the two is a real MSM classic and ought to be placed in the MSM Propaganda Hall of Fame. Bush -- the one-time oilman.

Since the MSM couldn't unearth the United Nations' Oil-For-Food scandal, I guess it can only speculate on, rather than confirm or dismiss, whether or not the Bush Administration has diverted Iraqi oil, or proceeds from its sale, to U.S. storage tanks or treasury coffers.

Nice hatchet job, Ms. Sidoti.


Tuesday, August 30

SHOW ME THE MONEY (OR SUPPLIES, FOODSTUFFS, AND VOLUNTEERS)

Frank Laughter of "Common Sense Junction" (bless him) has agreed to keep a tally at his site in response to the questions I posed in this post of mine.

So far the TOTE BOARD isn't exactly lit up. A call for some timpani won't be heard anytime soon, I'm afraid. Not sure at this juncture that even Jerry Lewis and Ed McMahon could prevail upon Jacques Chirac or Kofi Annan to lend us a hand.


SO WHERE'S THE HELP AND PLEDGES OF FINANCIAL AID FOR OUR KATRINA VICTIMS?

I've asked previously. Now I'll ask again: where are the foreign countries and international charitable organizations with their volunteers, pledges of financial aid, foodtsuffs, and hard assets to help the United States and its Gulf Coast victims of our own catastrophic tsunami equivalent -- Hurricane Katrina? Are cargo planes and steamships en route?

Which countries and foreign-based relief organizations have stepped up to lend a hand now that the United States of America and its citizens -- the most charitable people on the planet -- are in need?

Remember this or this or this?

President Bush appointed former presidents George Bush ('41) and Bill Clinton to lead a huge fund-raising drive here in America to assist the international fund-raising efforts on behalf of the Asian Tsunami victims -- a drive that was hugely successful.

Will foreign dignitaries step up to lead a similar massive relief effort on our behalf?

I haven't seen a press release yet from the United Nations' Information Center on the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

But, I do recall this from a U.N. official. Where's Kofi Annan?

How about our neighbors, Canada and Mexico? What can we expect from them besides illegal border-crossers? Will we see Canada's Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in the Gulf Coast?

I'm not being entirely rhetorical, although I admit some of my questions contain implicit sarcasm. But if readers of this blog can point me to hard information of such noble efforts that my repeated Google searches have yet to turn up, then kindly inform me and I'll willingly post the information here.

POSTSCRIPT: I'm watching/listening to CNN Cable News and hearing a number of accounts and favorable comments on FEMA's coordination of massive disaster relief efforts. And I just read this informative post of Frank Laughter's that enumerates the federal government's response thus far. But with New Orleans filling with water from broken levees and horrific scenes of Katrina's devastation, I must say the following, and at the risk of redundancy: The United States of America -- its federal, state, and local governments, its military, its emergency responders, its volunteer organizations, its churches and charities, even its businesses -- will go anywhere at anytime for anyone at nearly any cost when catastrophic natural disasters strike and peoples of the world need our help. Where are they now for us -- our allies, our neighbors in the hemisphere, international relief organizations, the countries of Europe and Asia we've helped rebuild, the United Nations ...? If in the days, and weeks, and months ahead they are no-shows, we must never forget. Ever!



PRESIDENT BUSH BELATEDLY ENTERS THE POROUS BORDERS' FRAY

Ah, don't you love politics and the propensity of politicians to look you straight in the eye and try to disarm you with patent baloney?

I love our president (I truly admire him in many ways) and voted for him twice, but this is one center-right (sometimes right-of-center) Republican blogger who isn't buying George W. Bush's sudden epiphany (trust me: don't hold your breath) or disingenuous claim that he fully understands that "we have an obligation to enforce the borders." He's done anything but.

He's late to the game, not because he subscribes to that statement professing a commitment to border security, but because two late-to-the-game politicians in their own right -- Governors Richardson and Napolitano of New Mexico and Arizona, respectively -- have suddenly beat him to the punch in declaring states of emergency and there's nothing worse than being embarrassed politically by two prominent democrats who were as much apologists for open borders, as has been the president. Indeed, don't discount their hypocrisy.

But the noise level has increased markedly of late on border security issues and the ol' melting pot is about to boil over if President Bush and the Congress don't do something (and I'm not talking about amnesty for illegals). Bush is battling a three-front war right now -- Iraq, Illegal Immigration, and Gasoline Prices -- and these thorny issues in aggregate are beginning to overwhelm his presidency.

Interesting that he's now talking in terms of more U.S. Border Patrol agents when he's had the appropriations to do so, but has purposefully dragged his feet in gearing that manpower up adequately. The result of that bullheadedness: an unprecedented number of assaults on those agents. And American property owners along the border haven't fared much better.

The president has been derelect in his duty to do what it is he says he understands: his obligation as this country's Chief Law Enforcement Officer "to enforce the borders." The evidence is clear of that dereliction of duty: 11+ million illegals already in the country and 10,000/day breeching our borders!

SOURCE: The "Houston Chronicle" (registration required)

KATRINA, NOT SHEEHAN, GETS BUSH'S ATTENTION

In the wake of the catastrophic impact (far from being entirely assessed at this point) of Hurricane Katrina -- the death, destruction, and large-scale displacement of people -- President Bush has cut short his already disrupted vacation in Crawford, Texas, to return to Washington D.C. to "coordinate the federal response."

Appropriately, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, not the vulgarity-laced tizzy-fit of Windbag Sheehan, is getting the president's attention.

SOURCE: The Associated Press (AP)


KATRINA'S FOUR-LEGGED EVACUEES

Lost in the shuffle of our natural concern for our fellow Americans in the Gulf Coast whose lives have been so thoroughly upended by the fury and cataclysm of Hurricane Katrina is the sobering fact that many pets could not be saved or taken along by displaced families to the emergency shelters.

Here, however, is a story that cheers, provided of course that these animals are soon adopted here in the Houston area.

Here's some useful information (and here as well) for the next time a natural disaster strikes if you're a pet owner and live in an area of the country prone to such catastrophic events. You might want to print this information off for safe-keeping.

HAT-TIP: Anne Linehan of "blogHouston.net"


POSTS WITH SOME MEAT ON THE BONES

Here's a handful of posts that will rev you up more than a 12-cup pot of fresh-ground Starbucks. Fasten your seat belts!

Frank Laughter of "Common Sense Junction" applauds one of his (and mine as well) favorites -- the brilliant columnist Mark Steyn -- and, in doing so, dissects the "9/11" Commission and rightly declares its report as full of crap. Frank never minces words and that's his charm. He doesn't diddle, but cuts right to the chase.

La Shawn Barber mirrors my disdain for the white elephant bureaucracy President Bush ushered in post/"9/11" to save us from terrorists -- the Department of Homeland Security (an agency which undoubtedly, given this nation's porous borders and the Feds' patent indifference to 11+ million illegal aliens afoot in our land and 10,000 more breeching our borders every day, has to be the biggest misnomer ever foisted upon the American people). La Shawn's writing is the antithesis of political-correctness and therein lies her infinite appeal. By the way, and as with me, she's not holding her breath that the DHS's belated epiphany is going to result in anything substantive, as Bush wants amnesty for the lawbreakers, pure and simple.

Carl at "No Oil For Pacifists" delivers this knock-out punch to the ill-advised Bush strategy of placating and nurturing the Palestinians, with their rich tradition of terrorism, while invidiously violating our ally Israel and its Jewish citizens living in Gaza (past tense now) and portions of the West Bank. Bush is doing for what should be the persona non grata of the Middle East (i.e., Yasser Arafat's colony of thugs) what he's been doing for millions of lawbreakers pouring into this country from Mexico -- acceding to their geopolitical wishes and conferring amnesty. Nice job, Carl.

"Stop The ACLU" (a hard-hitting blog now listed in my site's blogroll) reveals the sinister alliance forming between the ACLU and CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) and asks: When will America wake up from this politically correct nightmare? Terming the linkage between the two organizations a "deadly combo," Jay points to "the Trojan horses ... marching disguised in patriotic camo ..." and describes the ACLU and CAIR as "two of the most dangerous organizations in America." You need to get up-to-speed on this nefarious commingling of left-of-Left agendas.

ACE echoes Frank Laughter in his disgust of the shallow work and purposefully distorted conclusions of the "9/11" Commission and pulls no punches (would he be ACE if he ever did otherwise?) in stating that the "9/11" Commission "suppressed evidence of links between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein." To aver otherwise, says ACE, is to lie.

Good reading!



Monday, August 29

"APOCRYPHAL NOW REDUX"

With "APOCYPHAL NOW," starring Cindy Sheehan and Martin Sheen, already out on DVD after a huge bust in attendance in theatres over the weekend, its producer, George Soros, moved quickly today to get a "REDUX" version into distribution with cast additions and an even more duplicitous story line. The question, of course, is whether he's just chasing good money after bad.

Al Sharpton joins the cast as a misguided, self-serving, man-of-the-cloth who tries fitfully to bring respectability to an otherwise ignoble cause, but in the end succumbs to his own penchant for bias and cheesy respectability. His hard-to-view, candle-lit love scene with Cindy Sheehan comes near the end of the movie and purportedly cost the sequel an "R" rating ("R" for regretable) and many theatre-goers their cookies.

Michael Moore makes his first film appearance since "Fahrenheit 9/11" as the smartass swiftboat captain, who commandeers the boat from Jimmy Carter's slip(s), and takes Sheehan, Sheen, and Sharpton up the Potomac River on their ill-advised mission, eventually taking a spear to the chest from a rabid, right-wing evangelist, when he draws his craft too near the eastern shoreline. In a cameo appearance, Jessie Jackson is seen chasing after the assassin, sporting a "Keep Hope Alive" T-shirt and a Venezuelan flag lapel pin.

Perhaps the best action sequence in the entire remake comes early on after the fuming foursome leave dusty Crawford and the endormophic Moore leads his unsavory team of Sheehan, Sheen, and Sharpton up the fog-laced Houston Ship Channel in a stealth commando raid on Republican House Majority Leader Tom Delay's offices. Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" blares over the swiftboat's speakers and adds considerable drama to the scene.

NOTE: Hammer & Sickle give "REDUX" a two-thumbs-up!

SOURCE OF PHOTO: Lorie Byrd via Michelle Malkin

SOURCE FOR SOUND CLIP: Link


THE CAST OF "APOCRYPHAL NOW"

Greg Wallace provides the photo of what I would dub the cast of "APOCRYPHAL NOW"-- a Hollywood-style production of an epic journey of deceit.

Can't you just hear Martin Sheen in the background:

Crawford ... shit; I'm still only in Crawford ... Every time I think I'm gonna wake up and it's going to be a pleasant 72 degrees, with low humidity and a balmy ocean breeze, I'm in Crawford. When I'm here, I wanna be there; when I was there, all I could think about was getting back to Cindy, and this dusty, roadside culvert tent-city, and these ragamuffin, bead-wearing, war protestors who idiolize me.



SOUND CLIP SOURCE: Link

A WAR TO BE PROUD OF; AN MSM TO DISDAIN

I'm going to ask something special of you -- my regular readers and those of you who may be visiting for the first time. It's a request of you that's going to take a little more time out of your day than you may be used to in this age of sound-bytes, video-clips, instant-messaging, and Instapundit-pithiness. Indeed, I want you to spend some quiet time reading two columnists of widely divergent views: one, Christopher Hitchens, who I think is spot on, and the other, Michael Ryan, who I'm convinced has lost his marbles.

If you're not prepared to do so now, than kindly bookmark my site and come back to this post and these links at a time more suitable for some careful reading and contemplation. I'm suggesting to you that both columns are must reads: the former, by Hitchens, because it makes the case for the war in Iraq more cogently, more compellingly, than, sadly, anything the Bush Administration and our president have ever done; and, the latter, by Ryan, because it's symptomatic of the head-in-the-sand contention that the mainstream media has gone along willingly for the ride, a purposeful dupe of the Bush Administration, countenancing an unjust war in Iraq by failing to do their job. Hitchens is a thorough thinker; Ryan is a rank propagandist. Hitchens' kind of thinking and facts-based analyses get obscured all too often by the tidal wave of Ryanesque-style pandering to the Left and its anti-war, anti-America agenda.

But, I'll let you decide. But do read each column in its entirety, please!

Snippets from Hitchens' piece to pique your interest:

This state -- Saddam's ruined and tortured and collapsing Iraq -- had also met all the conditions under which a country may be deemed to have sacrificed its own legal sovereignty. To recapitulate: It had invaded its neighbors, committed genocide on its own soil, harbored and nurtured international thugs and killers, and flouted every provision of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

One might have thought, therefore, that Bush and Blair's decision to put an end at last to this intolerable state of affairs would be hailed, not just as a belated vindication of long-ignored U.N. resolutions but as some corrective to the decade of shame and inaction that had just passed in Bosnia and Rwanda. But such is not the case. An apparent consensus exists, among millions of people in Europe and America, that the whole operation for the demilitarization of Iraq, and the salvage of its traumatized society, was at best a false pretense and at worst an unprovoked aggression.

It is out of the question -- plainly and absolutely out of the question -- that we should surrender the keystone state of the Middle East to a rotten, murderous alliance between Baathists and bin Ladenists.
Snippets from Ryan's piece to test your credulity:

The news media are failing to acknowledge their own responsibility for the invasion of Iraq, even as they report with glee Cindy Sheehan's antiwar protest outside George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford.

But the news media ought to explain why they broke their moral covenant with the American people to provide complete, balanced, fair and accurate information about the charge to war.

The media could have found out what was really going on. Many individuals and groups tried to get journalists to look beyond the administration's exaggerated and false claims.

Most journalists failed to observe the tenets of an objective approach to journalism.

They failed because writers and editors were not skeptical of official sources; they did not evaluate evidence and alternative interpretations themselves, relying instead on the official sources' interpretations; and they were not creative in seeking information and opinion that did not support the administration's views.
I wonder how many Americans in the heartland have ever discerned a moral covenant that the elite, mainstream media has with them in providing "fair and accurate" information?

And I wonder how many Americans in the heartland, if polled, would agree that the MSM has been supportive of President Bush, our American armed forces, and the decision to go to war in Iraq, and to remain there until the job is completed?

SOURCES: "The Weekly Standard"; and, the "Houston Chronicle" (registration required).

HAT-TIPS: "Common Sense Junction"; "Ace of Spades HQ"; and, "Polipundit".

NOISE LEVEL ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION APPROACHING A CRESCENDO

A "Fox News" report today cites a growing restiveness and pronounced impatience among Americans for immigration reform and would appear to underscore the contention of this blogger that the noise level in the United States is fast approaching a crescendo on the issues of porous borders, an 11+ million illegal alien population, and do-nothing Washington's insistence on pro-amnesty, rather than pro-deportation, legislation to deal with a runaway problem that is threatening homeland security, assaulting taxpayers' wallets, and renting this country's social fabric. Even Senator John McCain, who thinks he can march to the beat of his own drum (and that of Senator Ted Kennedy's) on immigration reform, walked into a buzz saw in his home state of Arizona.



LARGEST MOBILIZATION IN RED CROSS HISTORY

The American Red Cross has undertaken its largest relief mobilization in its history in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's furious assault on the United States' Gulf Coast.

The American Red Cross is launching the largest mobilization of resources in its history for a single natural disaster. Hurricane Katrina, a deadly Category 4 storm, is barreling ashore this morning along the Gulf Coast and has the potential to leave widespread devastation in its wake.

The Red Cross is mobilizing on all fronts to bring relief to storm victims. More than two hundred Red Cross shelters are housing thousands of residents who fled Katrina's wrath. All available resources from across the country, including thousands of staff and volunteers are being moved to safe areas, so additional relief efforts can begin immediately after the storm passes. More than 200 emergency response vehicles (ERVs) and countless other Red Cross resources are en route or on the scene to provide hot meals, snacks, bottled water and distribute other much-needed relief supplies. In coordination with the Southern Baptists, preparations have been made to provide more than 500,000 hot meals to storm-weary residents each day.

"We are prepared at every level for what will likely be a catastrophic disaster," said Lois Grady-Wesbecher, Manager of the Disaster Operations Center at American Red Cross national headquarters. "When Mother Nature is at her worst, the American Red Cross is at its best."



You may make a secure, online, charitable donation to the American Red Cross via this link.

Or, if you prefer calling:

1-800-HELP-NOW



MCCAIN'S EARS BENT ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

Seems voters in Arizona aren't as amenable to Senator John McCain's (RINO-AZ) tired song and dance routine, as they once were.

This article by J.J. Hensley in "The Arizona Republic" suggests that Arizona's citizens are fed up with porous borders and illegal aliens and a homestate Senator who has aligned himself with Ted Kennedy, of all people, on immigration reform.

The presidential election is still more than three years away, but the campaign season started early for East Valley residents who attended Sen. John McCain's town-hall style meeting in Mesa on Thursday night.

McCain shared his views on broad topics such as the need to win the war in Iraq and the government's lack of fiscal responsibility, but it was his controversial opinion on immigration reform that drew the strongest reaction from several hundred people at Mesa Community College.

McCain has introduced a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States if they pay a fine and participate in a guest-worker program.


HAT-TIP: "The Dan Stein Report"
SOURCE: "The Heritage Foundation"

ACLU -- A MISNOMER IN FULL MASQUERADE

The "Houston Chronicle" (registration required) reports this morning (via an Associated Press story) that the American Civil Liberties Union is busy in El Paso, Texas, doing a disservice to American citizens everywhere and the volunteer-patriot Minuteman Project members in particular. This certainly comes as no surprise from this pseudo-guardian cabal of left-wing attorneys which masquerades as a stalwart defender of our country's founding documents.

Our job is to conserve America's original civic values -- the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Yeah, right. Here's what they're up to:

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union on Saturday began training volunteers in El Paso who plan to monitor the Minuteman volunteers during their planned patrols along the border in October.

The Minuteman Civil Defense Corp. said it plans to patrol Texas' border with Mexico in October, repeating an action it took along Arizona's border in April. The group, which seeks to reduce illegal immigration, also has said it will watch day laborers in Houston and write down the license plate numbers of contractors who pick them up.

The ACLU plans to have volunteers, wearing clearly marked shirts, watch to ensure there are not civil or human rights violations along the border.

"When you go and you actually talk to them, you'll see that the underlying reason they're here is not because of immigration or drugs, but because this country is changing," Claudia Guevara, a coordinator from Los Angeles for ACLU's Legal Observer program, said in a story in Sunday's online edition of the El Paso Times.


America is changing, to be sure, but not in a manner that deserves this brand of "protection."

Why doesn't the ACLU help James Johnson and his family of New Mexico whose ranch land along the U.S.-Mexico border has U.S. Border Patrol-declared "forbidden zones" -- sections of Mr. Johnson's property so over-run with illegal aliens that federal officials have advised family members to stay away for fear of harm befalling them.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is denied this American family. But the ACLU is bound and determined to ensure that its distorted view of the "rights" that illegal aliens should enjoy once they breech our nation's southern border is preserved. And to do so, they'll harrass and intimidate (with threat of lawsuits) an organization and its American citizens that did this nation proud in April in the Tucson corridor. It's disgraceful. And I ask: where's the outrage?

It's become an upside down world in the United States. The invaders (10,000 per day) are looked after zealously by brash legal teams and emboldened activist groups; by contrast, the hapless victims of the invasion are left to their own devices, not even protected by their own government, and are, to be sure, at every turn, intimidated or challenged in courts of law.

It's disgraceful. Bloggers ought to be pounding this issue.



Sunday, August 28

"PROCESSION FOR AVERTING TEMPEST"

One of the Roman Catholic Church's "Masses For Various Needs" is the "Procession For Averting Tempest."

It seems appropriate to post a prayer recited during that Mass before retiring this evening given what the city of New Orleans and its people face before daybreak -- they and the hundreds of thousands of people in harm's way along the Gulf Coast and inland along Hurricane Katrina's predicted path. One feels so helpless in watching the newscasts and in reading the accounts of Katrina's fury and the likely devastation and death it may bring.

Almighty and ever living God, spare us in our anxiety and take pity on us in our abasement, so that after the lightening in the skies and the force of the storm have calmed, even the very threat of the tempest may be an occasion for us to offer You praise. Lord Jesus, Who uttered a word of command to the raging tempest of wind and sea and there came a great calm: hear the prayers of Your family.


RECOMMENDED: This post from "The Happy Catholic"

WHO IN THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY WILL HELP US?

The United States leads the world in humanitarian assistance and food aid. It is a country which helped to rebuild Europe and Japan after the devastation of World War II. It is a country that pours its treasure into less fortunate nations, secures liberty and freedom for the oppressed, and whose people, and the charitable organizations and churches they've formed, open theirs hearts and their purse-strings to the less fortunate.

I just heard estimates on Fox News that Hurricane Katrina could cause catastrophic damage to the tune of $15 - $30 billion dollars (USD).

On the heels of all that the United States has done in response to the Asian Earthquake and Tsunami disaster, and all it has done throughout its history for needy people throughout the world, the thought occurs to me:

Who will be here to help us after Hurricane Katrina leaves a path of catastrophic devastation throughout the United States' Gulf Coast?



THE PERFECT STORM IS ON A COLLISION COURSE WITH THE CITY LEAST ABLE TO WITHSTAND IT

I've been to New Orleans a number of times on business. So it's hard for me to fathom how the Crescent City, which virtually sits in a bowl 6 feet below sea level, surrounded by a levee system to keep Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River from flooding it, will be able to withstand Hurricane Katrina, which is shaping up to be the perfect storm -- a "monstrous" Category 5 hurricane with New Orleans right in its crosshairs.

Many may not know, but the Mississippi River's deepest channel is 200 feet deep at Algiers Point in New Orleans. Ironically, however, it is the lake that presents the more serious threat in a hurricane because of its shallowness at only 25 feet in depth. A 28-30 foot storm surge could push the lake into the city, right over the tops of the levees and those same levees would then keep the water trapped in the city like a fishbowl. The city under normal conditions has to pump out its rainwater!

This impending natural crisis is literally unimaginable.

FOLLOW-UP: Read this and this published at Matt Drudge's site.
FOLLOW-UP II: Read this report from CNN.
FOLLOW-UP III: Here's a Yahoo map of New Orleans that shows the location of Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River in relation to the city.
FOLLOW-UP IV: A grim description from the Associated Press on what may happen to New Orleans.




Filed in:

HAS CALIFORNIA BECOME A STATE OF MEXICO?

One must wonder what the answer is to that provocative question when one looks at a photograph of California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez saluting Mexico's flag (and a curious salute it is for an American). No surprise that the Associated Press takes it all in stride.

But it is a big deal. One wonders if Mr. Nunez is a proponent of El Plan de Aztlan.

For more on Fabian Nunez's recent conduct in Mexico City, I urge you to read this post by Brenda Walker at the "VDARE Blog."

And before any of you are too quick to dismiss that photograph and what it implies, think about examples of the kinds of things going on in California and the Left's symbiotic relationship there with the corrupt government of Presidente Fox and its affinity for open borders and the protection from deportation of a huge population of illegal aliens.

Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's liberal, democratic predecessor, Gray Davis, said while he occupied the governorship in Sacramento:

... in the near future, people will look at California and Mexico as one magnificent region.


A WINNABLE STRATEGY IN IRAQ?

No surprise here, but the thoughtful David Brooks of the "New York Times" (registration required) provides quite a contrast in style and substance to his acerbic counterpart, Frank Rich, in this morning's edition.

Unlike Rich, who offered no prescriptions for winning in Iraq, Brooks points to what he thinks may be a productive strategy for defeating the insurgents, but one which would undoubtedly be at loggerheads with what he terms "the key Rumsfeldian notions about how the U.S. military should operate in the 21st century."

Brooks cites a book by West Point graduate Andrew Krepinevich and a Krepinevich-authored essay published in the current edition of "Foreign Affairs," both of which postulate, according to Brooks, that effective counterinsurgency requires of the U.S. military that it not "go off on search and destroy missions trying to kill insurgents," but rather that it "set up safe havens" to protect civilians and "establish good security." The key is that the civilian population must be protected and its support secured, and "concrete signs of progress" must be clearly in evidence in "regenerated neighborhoods." Win the hearts and minds of the people for whom you're trying to secure their freedom and you'll defeat insurgents. Why? Because "through intimate contact with the locals you begin to even out the intelligence advantage that otherwise goes to the insurgents."

As Brooks writes:

The core insight is that you can't win a war like this by going off on search and destroy missions trying to kill insurgents. There are always more enemy fighters waiting. You end up going back to the same towns again and again, because the insurgents just pop up after you've left and kill anybody who helped you. You alienate civilians, who are the key to success, with your heavy-handed raids.

Instead of trying to kill insurgents, Krepinevich argues, it's more important to protect civilians. You set up safe havens where you can establish good security. Because you don't have enough manpower to do this everywhere at once, you select a few key cities and take control. Then you slowly expand the size of your safe havens, like an oil spot spreading across the pavement.

Once you've secured a town or city, you throw in all the economic and political resources you have to make that place grow. The locals see the benefits of working with you. Your own troops and the folks back home watching on TV can see concrete signs of progress in these newly regenerated neighborhoods. You mix your troops in with indigenous security forces, and through intimate contact with the locals you begin to even out the intelligence advantage that otherwise goes to the insurgents.

Most damning of the U.S. military effort to date in Iraq is that, according to Brooks:

There is no clear strategy. There are no clear metrics.
Were there, Brooks contends, one could drive safely from the heart of Baghdad out to the airport, without risking life and limb.

Most telling among Brooks' observations is the following (of which I'm in agreement):

Today, public opinion is turning against the war not because people have given up on the goal of advancing freedom, but because they are not sure this war is winnable. Why should we sacrifice more American lives to a lost cause?

This blogger thinks the president has worn out his welcome with those careworn cliches he's been relying upon to explain our need to be in Iraq in order to defeat international terrorism. We all know them by heart by now. Contrary to what the NYT's Frank Rich thinks (see my prior post), we're not idiots. The president must tell us how we're going to win the war and regularly update the American people on the broad strokes of our military strategy, the key metrics being employed by our commanders in the field, and how results on the ground there square with those metrics.

I no more want to hear from the president that "we're fighting terrorists in Iraq, so we don't have to fight them here at home," than I want to listen to the tired refrain from the Camp Casey crowd that "the president lied to us ... there were no WMDs in Iraq." I want substance over blather and bromides.

And, I want to win.

And as I have written before and posted in this blog, it's increasingly hard for me to have faith in George Bush's credibility and skills as a Commander-In-Chief in the war on terrorism, when he recklessly leaves our borders unprotected here at home and supports amnesty for 11+ million illegal aliens. His strategy in Iraq and his uninterest in securing our borders here at home are contradictions in terms.

And I must say, in the context of the Krepinevich prescription for winning, that the president and our do-nothing Congress can't even secure "safe havens" for American property owners along our contiguous U.S. border with Mexico or protect our U.S. Border Patrol agents and their assets!

Talk about a credibility gap!


SO NOW I'M "INTELLECTUALLY BANKRUPT" -- WHAT A WAY TO START THE DAY

The eggs won't taste quite as savory, the coffee smell as good as it should, or the sunrise glisten as sublimely across the lake this morning, as it normally does: the New York Times' Frank Rich has slandered me as being intellectually bankrupt.

Rich has come out swinging like a drunken sailor in this morning's edition (registration required) and he spares hardly anyone, from we "die-hard cheerleaders" of the war in Iraq to the Democratic Party that, in Frank Rich's estimation, has "no standing in the debate," to the "reckless" George W. Bush, and on even to that nervy, self-styled centrist herself, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who Rich burnishes as irrelevant owing to her preoccupation with children's violent video games, rather than a violent Iraqi insurgency.

Seems Rich is quite opposed to the war in Iraq, is duty bound as an MSM leftist to limn it another Vietnam, and is convinced that if he can just coldcock enough people in his column that all of the insufferable idiots on the right and left sides of the debate will come to their senses.

Is this columnist's sarcasm never spent? I think not. That's how he makes his living.

This paragraph stood out:

The Democrats are hoping that if they do nothing, they might inherit the earth as the Bush administration goes down the tubes. Whatever the dubious merits of this Kerryesque course as a political strategy, as a moral strategy it's unpatriotic. The earth may not be worth inheriting if Iraq continues to sabotage America's ability to take on Iran and North Korea, let alone Al Qaeda.

Come on, Frank. If we took on Iran or North Korea, your keyboard would short-circuit, and your vitriol would run three quarts low. Who are you trying to kid? And what's this reference to "America's ability?" Thought guys like you wanted the U.N. and the international community of nations to do the heavy lifting? Iraq isn't sabotaging America's ability to defeat Islamic terrorists. It's guys like you who live in knee-jerk opposition to most anything and everything, and offer no alternative solutions to defeating those committed to doing us harm, let alone the support necessary to see America and its brave troops through their chosen course of action.


Saturday, August 27

"A MAN'S MAN" -- SUITS ME!

"The Anchoress" must have recovered nicely from yesterday's MRI and feeling out of sorts, as she's taking funky personality tests today and providing links for her readers to do so as well.

Well, I'm kinda bored with it all at the moment, as a 110+ degree heat index and insufferable humidity in the Houston area have kept me indoors today, so I took the test, too, just to kill some time, and here are my results:

John Wayne
You scored 38% Tough, 14% Roguish, 19% Friendly, and 28% Charming!
You, my friend, are a man's man, the original true grit, one tough talking, swaggering son of a bitch. You're not a bad guy, on the contrary, you're the ultimate good guy, but you're one tough character, rough and tumble, ready for anything. You call the shots and go your own way, and if some screwy dame is willing to accept your terms, that's just fine by you. Otherwise, you'll just hit the open trail and stay true to yourself. You stand up for what you believe and can handle any situation, usually by rushing into the thick of the action. You're not polished and you're not overly warm, but you're a straight shooter and a real stand up guy. Co-stars include Lauren Bacall and Maureen O'Hara, tough broads who can take care of themselves.

Find out what kind of classic dame you'd make by taking the Classic Dames Test.




My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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You scored higher than 99% on Tough
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You scored higher than 50% on Roguish
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You scored higher than 25% on Friendly
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You scored higher than 75% on Charming
Gee, am I that unfriendly a sort? Didn't think so. What is it I said?!?! The other scores suit me.

Did any of you know "THE DUKE" played football for the University of Southern California until a bad shoulder injury from body surfing in the Pacific Ocean forced him to end his athletic career? Ironically, I wanted to play for USC, but that opportunity ended with knee injuries my senior year of high school. I was actually invited to the campus during USC's spring football practice and got to meet the then Head Football Coach John McKay. I was a 3-year varsity football letterman at a southern California high school with a strong, championship football program, but never got to play collegiate football, as I had hoped to. My dream was to play for the Trojans against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame in South Bend.

Anyway, sorry for the digression. What concerns me is that my wife of a zillion years (we were high school sweethearts back in the Pleistocene Epoch) cannot stand John Wayne, refuses to watch any of his movies (what's not to like about "The Sands of Iwo Jima") and this damn test The Anchoress directed me towards has just come up with ol' DUKE himself as an apt description of me! I'm in trouble now!

That's the bad news. The good news is the test results indicate I would gravitate to a Maureen O'Hara type. That's ironic, too, as I've always found her VERY ATTRACTIVE whenever I've watched any of the movies in which she's appeared.

By the way, and for what it's worth, my favorite John Wayne movie is "Red River" and my favorite line of his is: I found something in these keys worth fighting for. Nights on watch I'll see you like this, Loxi, with your hair catching fire in the sunset, and that look in your eyes, ten fathoms deep (from "Reap The Wild Wind").

Now, then, I'll have to ask my friend Ilona of (ironically enough) "True Grit" (yes, that's the name of her blog ... honest!), as she's into this sort of thing, if the personality profile given above for John Wayne squares with my "ISTJ" personality temperament score?

What say you, Ilona?

FOLLOW-UP: Here's the link for you men who want to take the test.

POSTSCRIPT (08/28): My wife took the test and she's a Carole Lombard type and, so the results claim, would prefer a Clark Gable or Fredric March. The test results indicated she could be a bit of a "fruitcake." Not sure The Anchoress has done our marriage a service with this test, as John Wayne and Clark Gable strike me as polar opposities. Thoughts, Ladies (reassurances would be warmly appreciated)?

POSTSCRIPT II (08/28): Well, my wife decided to have some fun with this test. She asked me to take the women's test, declare myself of the female gender, use her birthdate, and answer the questions not as I thought she would, but in the context of how I perceive my wife and in a manner consistent with that perception. She, in turn, took the men's test, and did the same thing on the basis of how she perceives me to be. The upshot: my test results for her declared her to be Carol Lombard; however, her test results for me had me as Cary Grant! Should I be flattered and leave it at that? Or should I wonder why my wife sees me one way and I see myself another, and with those results at opposite ends of the spectrum?!?! (Are we having fun yet?)


PALESTINIANS LOCKED IN A VIRULENT TIME WARP

This post of Richard's at "Hyscience" will not give any of the Jews forced to leave their homes in Gaza any comfort, nor those who are likely to be evicted by their own government from their West Bank residences. I concur with Richard's assessment and that of Felicia Benamon in this column for "The Conservative Voice."

If my readers will allow a movie analogy, Michael Corleone had it right in "Godfather I" when he prevailed in making the case to the family that Sollozzo, the drug kingpin, had to be taken out, because, as Michael correctly foresaw, Sollozzo wanted Don Vito Corleone dead and wouldn't be satisfied until that was accomplished. "It's a key for him," observed Michael.

Well, sadly, that's what the Palestinians are all about --taking out Israel is a key for them. And no amount of political accomodations will satisfy them.

FOLLOW-UP:

Charles Krauthammer, in a column carried in today's edition of the "Houston Chronicle" (registration required), concludes with this trenchant observation:

What is at stake is whether the world, led by the United States, will demand Arab acceptance of that single Jewish state, or whether the United States will continue to push Israel from one concession to another until one day another arch is erected, this time in Jerusalem itself, commemorating the destruction of history's third and last Jewish commonwealth.


FRAGILITY OF CALIFORNIA'S POWER GRID; POROSITY OF ITS SOUTHERN BORDER

You have to be a disciplined reader these days to ferret out misinformation or, perhaps better put in this instance, misrepresentation. It comes in all forms, shapes, and guises. But mostly, it's the result of misguided political correctness and the near universal subscription to it.

Oh, I'm not referring to the identification of California's power grid problem -- i.e., its "fragility" -- as was on display this week in southern California. Rather, I'm pointing to the disingenuousness of the "Los Angeles Times" in not challenging/clarifying the following statement made by a San Diego Gas & Electric spokeswoman in the context of describing the vulnerability of the Golden State during peak demand periods for electricity in the hot summer months.

To wit:

"We have a fragile system in California, and we have more people moving to this state," said Anne Silva, a spokeswoman for San Diego Gas & Electric, which was forced to cut power to more than 51,000 customers for nearly an hour.
The only significant population of "people moving to this state (California)" are coming across the Mexico-California border illegally. Setting aside the quantum growth in California's burgeoning illegal immigrant population, there has been a net reduction in the Golden State's population for some time owing to high tax rates, the high cost of housing, congestion, crime, and the insufferable red-tape that is chasing away many businesses. Californians are fleeing their state.

A Frosty Woolridge writes:

In 2003, 800,000 Californians fled their own state.

This is one Californian’s story:

Jane Powell said, "After living in Southern California for 56 years, we are "fleeing" this tarnished state. I was born here and believed I would never leave family and friends, but California’s policies have resulted in intolerable living conditions that have pushed my husband and me to seek a more livable environment. California’s generous welfare system and the federal government’s refusal to limit immigration and to stop illegal immigration have over-crowded Southern California so that social systems and infrastructure are unable to handle the heavy population burden. The near future, no doubt, will see Southern California become a third-world territory. The once "golden" state has become tarnished beyond recovery by massive immigration."

A sobering aspect of Powell’s experiences finds harsh realities by the fact that California adds 600 cars to its highways and 1,500 new people every 24 hours—all due to immigration, both legal and illegal. Time Magazine exposed the borders being overrun at 10,000 nightly. They must go somewhere. California harbors over three million illegal migrants.


Need more corroboration? Then read this sobering post of Californian Joe Guzzardi's at "VDARE." Joe writes:

Once considered to be the land of milk and honey, California is now synonymous with overcrowding, traffic, gangs, the high cost of living, exorbitant taxes, the country’s highest gas prices, sprawl, rotten schools, air pollution—and, of course, illegal immigration, which has exacerbated all of the above.

Proof of immigration’s deleterious effect on California is everywhere. It’s why the Sacramento Bee’s respected columnist Daniel Weintraub has said that illegal immigration

"…sits just below the surface of almost every major issue in California, from education to health care and the state's deteriorated infrastructure." [Recall Election is Generating Random Acts of Politics, August 19 2003


So don't be duped into thinking that California is a magnet for red-white-and-blue Americans from other parts of the country. No, the Golden State is a magnet for Mexican nationals and OTMs ("other than Mexicans").

More aptly described:

Certainly one of the top problems confronting California is the unrestrained legal and illegal immigration from Mexico as well as Latin America, Asia, Russia, and the Middle East. The sheer size of this immigration invasion has already Balkanized large parts of the state and transformed many areas into Third World enclaves that are unlikely to assimilate any time soon. These huge and expanding foreign populations present serious challenges relative to national security and the threat of terrorism.
Illegal immigration is impactful in so many deleterious ways that it's become difficult to fathom just how enervating a problem it is to the United States of America.

"Brown-out" has become a double-entendre in California.

SOURCE: "Free Republic"


NYT'S PAUL KRUGMAN REFUSES TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN LEGAL AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

Steve Sailer's current post at the "VDARE" blog is a must-read in understanding how keen open borders' apologists think and propagandize through purposeful deceipt. The New York Times' avowed Bush-baiting columnist Paul Krugman comes under the scalpel of Mr. Sailer's deft post-mortem of several of Krugman's columns on immigration and the corpus is ready for burial by the time Steve Sailer puts a period at the end of his final sentence.

It'd be gratifying if more Americans read blogs and more devoted themselves to the crisis of illegal immigration and the utter lunacy of porous borders in a post-"9/11" world. Whether you're already convinced that 11+ million illegals afoot in our land and 10,000 breeching our borders every day constitutes a lethal threat to homeland security and a devastating renting of this country's social fabric, or you're still on the fence and need more convincing, do read Sailer's post in its entirety. It puts to rest the absurd notion that illegals are necessary to do the work that Americans refuse to do and that the quantum growth in this country's Hispanic/Latino population, owing to illegal immigration, is an irrefutable economic boon.

Krugman, of course, chooses to lump illegal immigrants in with legal immigrants, as if they're one and the same. Any immigrant is a good immigrant from Krugman's convoluted point of view and the economic impact is inevitably salutary. Sailer lets the air out of Krugman's balloon and its inflated optimism, and reveals the "smug, anti-rationality" of his arguments for what they mostly are -- "sentimental cant."

Do read the post. It's excellent.


DEMOCRATIC PARTY HELD HOSTAGE BY ITS LEFT WING

Mark Noonan has put up a good post at "GOPbloggers" making the case that if Hillary Clinton secures the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2008, the lunatic Left that has for so long held the party hostage will either sit out the election altogether or field an anti-war, Third Party candidate, which, in either scenario, renders Hillary's run at the White House unsuccessful. Ironically, however, Mark theorizes that a Hillary Clinton-headed Democratic ticket, with Hillary running as a bona fide centrist, is perhaps the only way to chase the extreme Left from the party. Either scenario costs the Dems the election, but pseudo-centrist (my description) Clinton or any legitimately moderate candidate will lose the battle, but win the war, by restoring an equilibrium in the Democratic Party and a less extremist posture.

As Mark concludes:

The hope is that a strong Democrat will fall on his political sword and do it by getting the Democratic nomination and forcing the left out...the loss in 2008 would be reparable on such terms, while a loss in 2008 while running an anti-war candidate would likely end the Democrats forever.
This, of course, presumes that the Bush conservative base will hold and not splinter into factions come the nominating process in 2008 and that the war in Iraq will not have thoroughly degenerated into an inescapable mire or, God forbid, transformed itself into an internecine civil war. It also dismisses implicitly a viable Third Party candidacy by a break-away Republican (e.g., John McCain) or strong anti-war Independent. Either could upset the apple cart for the Republicans and drain off enough Republican votes to land the Clintons back in the White House.

The war in Iraq is the swing vote.