Thursday, February 23, 2006

Will we let our ports go? HELL, no!

The recent decision to hand over port operations of our 6 major ports--in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami, and Philadelphia--to Dubai Ports Authority, a state-owned United Arab Emirates company--is ridiculous. President Bush is completely tone deaf on this issue. This is one issue, along with illegal immigration, that the President just does not get it. He can't even defend it without resorting to a "liberal" time-honored tactic of implying his critics to be racist bigots. "There is no difference between a British company and an Arab company running the ports," Bush says. Yes, Virginia there is a santa clause and there is a difference between an ally like Great Britain running our ports and an "ally" in the middle east, where 2 of the 9/11 hijackers are from, where Bin Ladin has operated, where transfers of nuclear and biological weapons have taken place, and where a majority of the population believe the U.S. is an evil, imperalist nation (according to recent polls). But the point is NO foreign country or company should be allowed to control our ports, British or Arab, period. Especially a state-owned company like Dubai Intl. American companies should be put in charge of American ports. And those who use the free trade argument--don't give me that. I am perhaps one of the staunchest free trade advocates in my circle of Republican friends, but national security trumps free trade any day. Anyone who's taken Econ 101 knows that certain areas of our life (such as defense, government, police, emergency) are not effective when subject to the laws of the marketplace--they require special rules and regulations (although, I believe that there are still certain government-controlled industries that would be more efficient if privatized, such as Amtrak and the post office, should have been privatized long ago). If Bush is so willing and trusting of this company, why not put Dubai in charge of airport security for our country? How come Bush went so far as to nationalize airport security under one new government agency, the TSA, yet he won't budge when it comes to control of our ports? Can you say inconsistant? And a veto threat from the president who hasn't used his pen in 5 years? I say bring it on...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

DC local politics/Election 2008

Seeing as how I'm in D.C. interning on Capitol Hill, I'd thought I'd comment on D.C. politics. the District of Columbia is a Democratic bastion (it has given every democrat for president all 3 of its electoral votes). Kerry got 90% here, Bush got 9%. Republicans are such a rare breed in this city, that when I saw a small Ford Focus with D.C. plates and a George W. Bush sticker, I had to snap a picture. The Maryland Suburbs (Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park, Rockville) are also very Democratic (both Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, which surround D.C. You have to go an hour north of D.C. to Frederick, Maryland before you get some Republican representation and a GOP congressman. DC's inner suburbs in NOVA (Northern Virginia) such as Arlington and Alexandria are also very democratic, but not by as much as D.C. and Maryland. You can go just 15 minutes south into Fairfax County and be in some GOP territory, although the Dems are gaining ground quickly in this last Republican stronghold in the DC area. Bush lost Fairfax County in 2004 (the first time a Rep. running for Prez has ever lost the county) an the county went for a democrat, Tim Kaine, for governor by wide margins. George Allen, the current GOP senator from Virginia, while a conservative, has the ability to make some gains in Virginia if he ran for president. I met him here in the halls of congress and he's very likeable. I would prefer to see Condi Rice at the top of the ticket, but an Allen/Rice ticket would also be very attractive...

GOP nominess for KS 3rd District

Besides West Point grad-businessman Chuck Ahner, state rep. Scott Schwab of the 46th District (Olathe, KS) has entered the primary to take on 4th term Dem. Rep. Dennis Moore for congress. Which has the advantage? Ahner's website is more developed, but Schwab just entered the race, so he has a lot of time left. Ahner is also getting early backing and financial support from GOP bigwigs like Bob Dole. Ahner already has over $100,000 in his campaign, so in the race for dollars, he's ahead.
Here are their sites:

Where have all the moderates gone?

What irks me most about this Danish cartoon controversy is the timidity of these so-called "moderate clerics" to condemn the violence. Oh yeah, they come out and criticize the media for running the ads and provoking the extremists and say they are even to blame for the resulting violence--and then they may make some soft statement about how "violence is not the answer." These "moderates" are trying to play both sides and personally may disagree with the means (violent riots, torching of embassies, etc.) but they don't disagree with the ends (a world where Islam is not only respected, but where the press has no freedom to question or criticize it--a world devoid of our modern freedoms). So in essence, the means justify the ends, even if they don't come out and say that.
And somebody explain this to me. If Muhammad is such a revered prophet by Muslims that his image cannot be painted, drawn etc. (apparently, it's wrong even for non-Muslims to portray him in any way) why do so many Muslims take his name as their own? Isn't that disrespectful or sacriligious in some way?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The New, Intelligent Government

I attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this weekend in Washington, and everyone from Rick Perry to Sean Hannity to Dick Cheney was there. The last speaker was Newt Gingrich, who was greeted with chants of "Newt, Newt" and rowdy applauding. It was like being at a Cardinals game. If there is an indication of Newt running for president, this may be it. Newt criticized the government's handling of Katrina, the Capitol Hill corruption probe, Homeland Security's failures, and spoke of his idea of a New, limited, intelligent government which he referred to many times as the "New Intelligent Government." Newt is a great speaker and he outlined a broad, far-reaching plan for government reform and consolidation of federal agencies (along with more funding, transparency, and outside oversight) that no one else has come close to emulating.
You have now heard it from me: This speech was Gingrich's entry into the 2008 GOP presidential primaries. It was the most energetic, uplifting yet critical speech I have heard from any candidate so far, covering everything from taxes to health care to Iran. McCain is not the only reformer. If anyone can bring us a "New Intelligent Government" in 2o08, it will be the man who gave us the "Contract with America."
The revolution continues...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Scenes like this only reinforce my perceptions that the Middle East has a LONG way to go towards democratic reform and progress

The publication and re-publication of offensive cartoons to Islam in Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, and France has met with violent reaction throughout the Middle East. Imagine if Christians or Jews reacted to offensive material on TV and print by rioting, burning embassies, and taking hostages? And Middle Eastern nations who demand an apology or that the Danish government force a retraction or shut down the newspaper only draw attention to the the fact that there IS no freedom of the press in those nations, and no democracy among any nation in that region (except for Israel). More power to the those newspapers, keep printing those offensive cartoons until the fanatics learn the democratic way of showing their dissatisfaction: by boycotting the paper and writing letters to the editor, not rioting and demanding government censorship. With Muslim protesters in Britain chanting pro-Osama slogans and Danish Muslims burning Danish flags, the question must be asked: As Europe's Muslim population continues to grow, should there be some cause for alarm if the Muslim minority grows large enough, say in France, to influence public policy to a point of reversing Europe's proud heritage of freedom of speech, religion, and press? A point to ponder...