April 2004


30 Apr 2004 12:47 pm

Headline AP: More Agents Track Castro Than Bin Laden

30 Apr 2004 03:13 am

The National Review sums up nicely what happened on Tuesday in Pennsylvania. Bush and Santorum campaigned for Specter, giving the victory to a man who will oppose conservative legislation in Washington D.C. They did not support him because of his views, but because he is the incumbent.

Toomey’s campaign had legions of motivated young conservatives volunteering — the college Republicans from schools throughout the state, and young Capitol Hill staffers up from Washington, D.C.

But Arlen Specter had something far more powerful on his side. He had the machine on working for him. He was able to pour $5 million into a get-out-the-vote effort in the final 72 hours, and drive up turnout in the moderate white-bread suburbs of Montgomery County. Specter had George Soros and well-heeled Main Street Republicans teaming up with the National Republican Senatorial Committee for him at the last minute.

The party was not trying to advance Specter’s liberal policies. The party was doing what the party exists to do: protect its own….

Pat Toomey didn’t lose to liberal Arlen Specter. Toomey lost to the entire Republican party. That Republican victory was at the cost of the conservative cause.

Meanwhile, the Washington Times points out that many conservatives are blaming Santorum for Specter’s win.

“The person our members are most infuriated at is Rick Santorum,” said Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, which helped lead a conservative crusade in support of Rep. Patrick J. Toomey’s Senate primary bid against Mr. Specter….

“Santorum undermined fellow conservatives in a really ignoble way, telling people a conservative can’t win. Our members won’t forget that for a long time,” said Mr. Moore, whose national organization contributed million to the Toomey campaign and spent another million in television ads on the candidate’s behalf.

Mr. Santorum campaigned on behalf of his colleague, despite pleas from notable conservative groups. And fueling their anger is the considerable help that the White House and the national Republican leadership gave Mr. Specter, even though during his 24 years in the Senate he often voted with Democrats against Republican-sponsored legislation backed by Republican presidents, including President Bush.
Even in Mr. Santorum’s home state, anger abounds over what some fellow conservatives regard as his apostasy….

“Had we been able to count on the people who we should have been to count on, Toomey would have been our senator,” said Sandy Usher, a well-known state Republican activist.

And now that he has the Republican nomination, Snarlin’ Arlen is back to his true self and has already jettisoned the faux-conservative mantle.

“I intend to retain my independent voice, a voice I have always had,” Mr. Specter said. “The 12 million people of Pennsylvania have not elected me to be a rubber stamp, and I will speak out where I think the necessity calls for it.”

In other words, back to the old liberal Arlen. Thanks, Mr. President. Thanks, Senator Santorum.

29 Apr 2004 03:24 am

The AP has an article on the latest changes proposed to get people to use the dollar coin. Every few years, they redesign the dollar coin with the idea that this time around, people will use it, but every time it ends up the same. People like the novelty of the new coin, but they don’t spend it. This time around, Congress is proposing to remove Sacagawea from the face of the coin and replace her "with a rotating design approach honoring presidents in the order they served the country. The face of the coin featuring a president would change four times a year. The back of the coin would feature the image of the Statue of Liberty." Similar to the state quarters. I doubt this will entice people to spend the new dollar coins any more than they spend the old ones.

But buried in the middle of the article is this lovely little sentence.

Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., an architect of the presidential dollar coin bill along with Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said he didn’t intend to mount a campaign against the dollar bill.

I’d love to be called the architect of the presidential dollar coin bill. I think I’d like to own a dollar coin bill. But somehow I don’t think I’d spend it.

29 Apr 2004 03:03 am

Headline AP: U.S. Forces in Iraq Receiving More Tanks

28 Apr 2004 10:45 am

Specter defeated Toomey yesterday in a close election for the Republican nomination to run against Joe Hoeffel in the general election in November.

The race, one of the GOP’s most closely watched contests this year, tested the strength of the party’s conservative wing. Specter’s win also was a victory for President Bush, who endorsed Specter and is counting on his supporters to help him carry a state he narrowly lost to Democrat Al Gore in 2000….

If Specter is reelected, I doubt Bush will think it is a victory this time next year. Specter is currently opposing Bush’s judicial nominees. He will have even more power to stop Bush’s nominees when he is the chairman of the judicial committee. I believe Bush will rue campaigning for Specter.

“Now is the time, now that we’ve settled our family disagreement in the Republican Party, to unite for victory in November for the president,” Specter told cheering supporters in a two-minute speech early Wednesday morning.

Actually, it is a victory for pork, abortion, and liberal politics rather than for the president.

28 Apr 2004 02:57 am

AFP Photo:

Caption: “Sky High : A Bulgarian boy somersaults as others look at him on the Black sea coast in the biggest sea resort of Varna, some 450 kms north-east from the capital Sofia, just a month before the tourist season in the city. (AFP/Stringer )”

Thanks for the help with the title, NV32.

28 Apr 2004 02:45 am

We couldn’t decide on the best headline for this picture, so we’ll leave it up to you, with a few of our own (unsatisfactory) suggestions.

  1. Athletes are limber

  2. Hey! My feet are on backwards!

  3. Gumby plays soccer

AFP Photo:

Caption: "Practice session : Guatemala’s Anthony Pezzarossi of the Bolton FC, practices with his national selection teammates in preparations for upcoming friendly games. (AFP/Orlando Sierra)"

28 Apr 2004 02:13 am

Headline Reuters: Half of Germans too fat

27 Apr 2004 03:37 am

Headline AP: Flames Know Series on Line at Home Again

27 Apr 2004 03:30 am

As I drive around the Pittsburgh area, I see a good number of Toomey signs, but I have yet to see a single Specter sign. That certainly doesn’t mean that Toomey will win, but I think it is indicative that Toomey supporters are energized and excited about their candidate. I don’t know anyone who is excited about six more years of our dear Arlen. They expect him to win, and to continue to bring home the pork to PA, but they don’t particularly like him. They don’t call him Snarlin’ Arlen for his endearing personality.

The National Review has an article from Friday calling Arlen the Democrat’s water boy, and relates an episode when Democrat Tom Harkin needed to leave an appropriations committee meeting when the Republicans were actually trying to cut pork out of a domestic spending bill.

So there were the negotiations going full-bore, and there was Harkin looking at his watch, and then there was Harkin tapping Specter on the shoulder and pulling him aside. Two minutes of very friendly conversation later, after (quite literally) a chummy backslap or two, Harkin left for some other engagement, and Specter returned to the table. A few minutes later, Specter moved to insert (or to block the deletion of; I don’t remember which) some egregious pork project for Iowa — I think I remember it being a water project — that, in a year where GOP appropriators were assiduously fighting special earmarked projects, stood out (at least to me) like a thumb sore from plugging a dike. Lots of grumbles ensued. But Specter pushed back his chair as if to exit the room. No project for Harkin, no deal — even though Republicans controlled majorities in both chambers of Congress.

Compromises get made in Congress all the time, of course, and projects slip in under the radar. Ronald Reagan traded some sugar subsidies to Louisiana Sen. John Breaux in return for a crucial tax-cutting vote, and the trade was well worth the effort. But Specter’s favor for Harkin seemed made not in pursuit of any broader ideal, not for any greater good, but just because porkers watch out for each other.

Arlen is actually proud of his ability to spend our tax money. The Opinion Journal quotes him as saying:

“My adversaries accuse me of voting for pork,” he told me last year. “I call it bringing home the bacon.”

Arlen forgets that he took that money out of our pockets (or out of our children’s pockets) to do us the favor of giving it back to us in exchange for our votes.

I’ve always wondered why Arlen wasn’t actually a Democrat, since that would agree more with his politics. It turns out, he was a Democrat, but changed parties out of political expedience rather than out of political conviction.

Mr. Specter developed his tireless work ethic early as he rose from humble origins to graduate from Yale Law School. He then moved to Philadelphia to enter politics. Originally a Democrat, he became a Republican at 35 when in 1965 the local Democratic machine turned down his request to be nominated for district attorney. The GOP nomination was his for the asking, but he covered his bases. He changed his party registration only after he had won.

So, who’s going to win tomorrow? Toomey says he will, but that’s what you’d expect him to say. I’ve got a pretty good record of voting for the loser in most political races, so if that holds true, we can expect our dear Arlen to be around at least until November.

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