Sunday, February 26, 2006

Time for a Focus on the Insurgents

Some excellent reporting and analysis (for a change) on the state of the war in Iraq from (of all places) the Washington Post (HT: Power Line). An excerpt:

The war [in Iraq] has gone through three distinct phases, each with its own feel and style of operation.

The first period, from May 2003 to July 2004, was characterized by drift and wishful thinking, military insiders say, with top U.S. officials at first refusing to recognize they were facing an insurgency and then committing a series of policy and tactical blunders that appear to have enflamed opposition to the U.S. occupation.

The second phase began in the summer of 2004, when Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. replaced Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez as the top U.S. commander in Iraq and developed -- for the first time -- a U.S. campaign plan. That plan, which looked forward from August 2004 to December 2005, gave U.S. operations a new coherence, directing a series of actions intended to clear the way for Iraqi voters to establish a new government.

Now, after parliamentary elections held in December, the U.S. effort has entered a third stage. The current emphasis is on reducing the U.S. role in the war, putting Iraq army and police forces in the forefront as much as possible -- but not so fast that it breaks them, as it did in April 2004, when a battalion ordered to Fallujah mutinied. Eventually, Casey said, the hope is that U.S. forces will be able to focus on foreign fighters, while Iraqi security forces take on the native insurgency. But that hasn't happened yet. The hardest fighting, especially in rural areas, still is being done by U.S. troops.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Lardball's Chris Matthews was just on the Today show a few minutes ago pontificating on how President Bush has always sounded the 911 alarm with Democrats when he couldn't get what he wanted. Now that the UAE comes up in the context of the ports, he's saying that Bush is taking it from the Dems. I call it good old fashion prejudice. The UAE has been much more friend than foe, and better to have an Arab country in our court than not. The pols are playing to people's emotions and prejudice. Our enemies are our enemies, and lets not run over our friends in the mean time. Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit said it well in today's WSJ.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Either "Brokeback Mountain" is a slur or it's not. You can't have it both ways. Or can you? (HT: Galley Slaves)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

As Chafee mumbles and grumbles about something to do with a Rasmussen report which has him in "a better position" than his opponent against either Democrat in November; said opponent (Laffey) begins to offer new, constructive ideas with, I would speculate, more to come. In the mean time, an excellent discussion on the pros and cons of Laffey's idea on the Big Pharmas over at Rising.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Ask Your Doctor...

Steve Laffey is proposing some changes to make prescription drugs cheaper. His ideas may be good or bad - that will need some thinking before commenting - but there is one area that he doesn't seem to address: immense volumes of advertising by the pharmaceutical companies. It cannot be denied that one reason for the higher costs is that the companies are spending billions to pump up demand. It may help the MSM and drug company's bottom lines, but at what cost to the consumer? Big cost, that's what. And needless cost as well. Let's look into a way to limit the advertising expenditures as a very real way to reduce the costs.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Rhetoric, Taxes and Other Things Rising

My good friend Sol Venturi - the sage of the Blogosphere - has brought to my attention an interesting dialogue over at Anchor Rising on the Chafee - Laffey US Senate race. Read the comments from this post by Marc Comtois to catch the drift.

Also at Rising is this interesting follow up discussion on the difference between Mayor Laffey and Senator Chafee regarding tax policy. A lot of criticism has come upon Laffey regarding the raising of taxes in Cranston that was necessitated by the fiscal debacle there prior to his signing on as mayor. But at about the same time, Chafee was raising our Federal taxes - and significantly. A quote from Anchor Rising's Carroll Andrew Morse:

At about the same time that Mayor Laffey was dealing with the budget issues in Cranston that [Chafee apologist Ian] Lang refers to, Senator Chafee was fighting in Congress to impose a Federal tax burden on the country that was
hundreds of dollars more per-household than the President wanted. Why, at this time, was it OK for Senator Chafee to favor high tax rates, but not OK for Mayor Laffey?

My question exactly. Plus Laffey was pulling Cranston out of bankruptcy. What was Chafee doing?

Friday, February 17, 2006


If you are given lemons, as the saying goes, make lemonade. And I suppose that's what the Johnston Town Council is trying to do. But, c'mon; are out-of-state folks really that eager to vacation at the Trump-a-Dump Destination Resort Casino and State Records Repository?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Time to Break the Weakest Linc?

Last week, the Weekly Standard's Duncan Currie had a piece in the magazine (did not notice it on the Daily Standard) on the Laffey - Chafee row. A couple of insightful excerpts below:

Lincoln Chafee is often "the only Republican," or one of very few. He was the only Senate Republican to vote against the Iraq war resolution, and one of three to oppose a ban on partial-birth abortion. He was one of two Senate Republicans to vote against both of President Bush's principal tax cuts, in May 2001 and May 2003 (the other was John McCain). Just last week, he was the only Republican to vote against Sam Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court.


Talk about an odd couple! The only thing Laffey and Chafee have in common is bulging bank accounts. But where Laffey is a former Wall Street whiz and self-made millionaire who never tires of discussing his up-by-the-bootstraps life story, Chafee comes from one of the "Five Families" that used to dominate Rhode Island politics. He is the son of the late governor-turned-senator John Chafee, and, to boot, he married into the Danforth family fortune. From there the contrasts only multiply. Laffey is a populist, Chafee a patrician. Laffey is garrulous, Chafee reserved. Laffey is blustery, Chafee soft-spoken. Laffey is a boat-rocker, Chafee a boat-steadier. While Laffey claims the support of "Reagan Democrats," Chafee is a throwback to the Rockefeller Republicans against whom Reagan rebelled.

Although Currie wimps out in the conclusion, his piece is still worth reading. Read the entire piece here.

The article concludes that if RI loses the currently "Republican" held seat to a Democrat, that "If we lose that seat, it'll be gone forever."

To which I say, unless Chafee is ousted, we will have a forever continuance of his blithering nonsense, and no chance to replace him with someone exceptional.

After the polling done last week by Brown University, many are coming to the conclusion that only Chafee could beat the stilted Sheldon Whitehouse or the obsequious Matt Brown. But I disagree, and think that the poll itself sets in place some of the perception. When the public sees Chafee fall, they will view Laffey as a giant killer, and Brown and Whitehouse will be swept away. Chafee has a lot of explaining to do to rank and file Republicans who will be voting in the primary. He may be trying to attract popular votes now with liberal positions, which I think is idiocy, but he's first got to win over Republicans. And by the way, how do you win over a population that has some italo-american audience by being the only Republican to oppose Alito and for no really apparent reason? Maybe he thinks there are too many on the court already?

Look. We have a fairly conservative Republican governor. How did that happen in this so-called "liberal" state? Think about the dynamics of Governor Carcieri's race - Carcieri was the outsider who did not have the entrenched Republican backing, and then consider what will happen after Laffey wins his primary. The races, in my opinion, are analogous. That's why the National Republican Senatorial Committee is making a huge error in supporting Chafee.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Maybe I'm Amazed, but then again this IS Rhode Island

When we don't have snow and ice to worry about, things can get a little boring. I know let's build a casino on the central landfill in Johnston. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Chafee: Bottom to Top

Life has been whizzing by, and I have not had much chance of late to comment on the myriad of interesting events from the State of the Union on down. So I’ll begin at the bottom and work up.

The bottom: Senator Lincoln Chafee, ever the enigma, as Gary notes below, voting against the filibuster to hinder the Alito confirmation, and then voting against now Supreme Court Justice Alito, who has, at the time of this writing, already demonstrated a moderation in his initial votes on the Supreme Court. And this from a Senator who represents a state made up of, among other ethnic cultures, a fairly substantial Italian-American demographic. Something is being added to his morning coffee, and it isn’t Sweet & Lo.

Chafee is either a fruitcake or a sage. Or maybe he’s the sage in the fruitcake? Nah! He’s definitely a piece of work because no one, not even his beloved Providence Journal, whose never met a Chafee or a Slocum it didn’t like, can figure out what he’s doing.

What he’s doing really is making it more and more possible for Stephen P. Laffey, the more conservative mayor of Cranston, to win big in the Republican primary next September.

The Middle: So now, Chafee, who has bragged about his NOT voting for President Bush because of his many disagreements with the President, patronizingly issues a statement about the President’s State of the Union address. He says, in essence: Good job Mr. President! An excerpt:

"In his State of the Union speech last night the President put forward a number of issues and ideas that all Americans can and do support. By urging all of us to put aside our partisan differences, the President called on all public officials to put the good of the country before politics, and to work together to achieve great things for the American people.”

He goes on to bore us to death about how proud he is of his moderate record, blah, blah, blah, and oh, by the way, “I look forward to working with the administration and my colleagues in the Senate to advance these worthy goals in the coming year. If we work together, we can do good for the American people and move the country forward." And this from a man who has never easily worked with anyone in his life except the bottom of a horse’s foot, but for whom you’d have better luck at Lincoln Park playing slots and predictably winning than figuring out where he’s coming from on any particular issue, or what he’s decided upon, or whether he’ll support his own party or not. The man should host the Oscars, he’s so amusing.

Well, if he’s not amusing, at least he entertains those of us fond of Hitchcockian episodic suspense.

The Top: But though he did not say it, he continues to disagree with the President about the war in Iraq, and this at a time when information is beginning to leak out about all those documents that American troops found and gathered during the early days of the war. Remember that? Remember that our troops were finding and absconding with huge amounts of intelligence? Well, only now are we beginning to learn what’s in those documents. Stephen F. Hayes at the Weekly Standard has written a piece about the content of only the first 50,000 documents of the zillions we have gathered. Guess what?

Saddam was training terrorists!


And guess what that means in the wake of 9-11?

It means we did the right thing going into Iraq, but Lincoln Chafee looks at all wars as the same – wars shouldn’t be fought in his view of the world. War is hell. Indeed it is.

You’ve got to have a certain appreciation for people who feel that way about war. You know, I’d like to tell my teenage children that life will be breeze, that they won’t have to work for a living, and that all good things will surround them in an Eschaton that has been made more imminent by wise policies and the perfection of man that takes place everyday, but I’d be lying to them, and doing them a grave injustice. And wars, unfortunately, and it pains even a curmudgeon like me every time a young, brave man from our country is required to lay down his life in this awful war, are an unfortunate reality. William Buckley once said that war was the second worst evil to mankind, the first being acquiescence in slavery. Wars are fought for freedom and the protection of the many, and those, like Chafee, who oppose the war, lessen the value of the sacrifice of these great young men and women who love their country and who have paid the ultimate for their beloved country and what it stands for; and those, like Chafee, also further risk our own safety and security, by sending the message to our ferocious enemies: attack us and we won’t fight back because war is hell.

In short, Chafee has proven himself to be a naïf, and like it or not, he has set the stage for his own ouster in a little over 6 months. That’s the view…from the top.

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