Saturday, January 31, 2009

Arizona Cardinals will Shock the World in Super Bowl XLIII

27 Cardinals
17 Steelers

Predicted MVP: Kurt Warner

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Obama-Biden: A One-Term Wonder

When Barack Obama takes the oath of office to become the 44th President of the United States of America, he will have the support and good will of a large majority of Americans including that of many conservatives and Republicans. We want our presidents to succeed and for the nation to prosper regardless of party.

Ideology ought to inform us as to the correct path, not be a blind faith that we follow like cultists.
Conservatives believe liberal-left policies will lead to a poorer and weaker America. If Barack Obama leads the country in a leftward direction, our nation and his presidency will fail. However, throughout the transition, he has shown a remarkable ability to surprise on what direction he will lead us. But the brutish world and our fragile economy will be the great tests of his moderation and leadership. Moreover, it remains to be seen how centrist the Hard Left Congress will allow President Obama to be.

Unlike many in the Lefty blogesphere who reflexively denounced anything George W. Bush identified with, conservatives tend to have a higher “patriot quotient”. What do I mean by “patriot quotient”? Conservatives tend to be small “n” nationalists who care far less for the feelings and esteem that Europeans hold our nation in than liberals. We are America homers. We want the scoreboard to show an American victory, even if our quarterback, or pitcher, or point guard isn’t our first choice.

The Left proved throughout the Bush 43’s administration that they didn’t really want America to win if that meant George W. Bush would win too.
Does that make conservatives more vulnerable to demagoguery and less able to answer the challenge that Leftists present? Perhaps, but that’s where our greater “patriot quotient” comes in. We’d rather lose an election than lose a war… where have I heard that before?

That being said, I truly hope that Joe Biden savors the pomp and celebration of the inaugural. Like day following night, a Vice President Biden will embarrass President Obama and the nation on a regular basis with his over-the-top pomposity and blowhardedness. I don’t believe he will be retained on the Obama ticket in 2012.

Therefore, January 21, 2009 begins the search for the Democrat’s 2012 vice presidential nominee. Keep an eye on Virginia’s Tim Kaine (believed to have been the choice of Obama’s heart for veep in 2008) and four-star Gen. David Petraeus, the Commander of U.S. Central Command and hero of the Iraq surge. An Obama-Petraeus 2012 ticket would be awfully tough to match for the Republicans. But that all assumes that President Obama maintains his apparent intention to have continuity in foreign and defense policy. If he tacks left on national security, all bets are off on the Petraeus pick… though Biden will still be a goner from the ticket.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

One Last Whack at that Poor, Dead Horse

At the risk of keeping this dust up alive for another day, I've got one last post concerning the Great STS-Quinlan Snarling Match between the Sonoran Alliance blog and the Willet Creek Dam blog.

Brett Mecum on staff at the state party sent me a nice note clarifying the situation surrounding the seven-page December 31, 2008 mailing from the state party on the state of the party and their record over the last two years. In the interest of putting this matter to rest with everyone getting a fair shot at making their best case, here is the note in total:


I hope that you and your family had Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I’ve been watching the exchange between your blog and Sonoran Alliance with quite a bit of amusement. I’m willing to bet that you’ve been getting some pretty decent traffic hits today. While I agree with the axiom that a man’s blog is his castle and that you should be able blog whatever you would like (after all, it is free speech), you are mistaken on at least two counts:

  1. The mailing we did was $0.59 not $0.95 (In fact, the entire cost of the mailing was $67.26, if you want to get technical);
  2. The report in questions was a report to the Executive Committee, not the entire State Committee.
The Executive Committee consists of the officers, three members at-large from each congressional district, the chairman, 1st vice chair, and 2nd vice chair from each county. The chairmen of the legislative districts serve as ex-officio non-voting members.

The reality is that we sent that mailing to just over 100 people who serve on the AZGOP Executive Committee, not to the 1,018 State Committeemen. You should view the Executive Committee on the same level as a corporate board of directors. Being new to the internal workings of the Party, I can understand your confusion. The seven page mailing was designed as a year-end report to the Executive Committee and shouldn’t have been construed beyond that. We have done reports such as this in the past to update the committee with various operations of the State Party. And just as you [Note: Farrell Quinlan is chairman of LD20 Republicans] are allowed to communicate with your district PCs, the AZGOP should communicate with its Executive Committee.

In the interests of accuracy, I trust that you will correct these errors with your readership. In the future, you should know that you can call the office and talk to Chairman Pullen or myself on such matters for clarification before you decide to send them into the public sphere.

All the best,



Brett Mecum

Political Director, Arizona Republican Party

3501 North 24th Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85016

Fair enough. I stand by my concern that though arguably "OK" and technically defensible, the recent flurry of mail to state committeemen from the state party extolling Chairman Pullen's tenure was/is too much and borders on and might actually be an abuse of office. These relentless mailings implicitly seek to "make the case" for his re-election while hiding behind official communications from the party.

I hated that practice when Rick Romley,
on his way out as county attorney and preparing to run for other elective office, published his die-cut hagiography on the taxpayer's dime.

I hate it now.

Brett and I just disagree.

Does this make Randy Pullen a bad guy who a Republican state committeeman should under no circumstances vote for? Not at all. They should vote their conscience on January 24th. I know I will.

My only regret in all this is that Sen. Jim Waring's outstanding legislation got lost in the imbroglio (or is that imbloglio?)

Monday, January 05, 2009

Lighten up, Francis

When I read this post on Sonoran Alliance, I was reminded of the scene from the Bill Murray comedy "Stripes" where members of the platoon were sitting around telling stories about themselves, where they come from.

Psycho: The name's Francis Soyer, but everybody calls me Psycho. Any of you guys call me Francis, and I'll kill you.
Leon: Ooooooh.
Psycho: You just made the list, buddy. And I don't like nobody touching my stuff. So just keep your meat-hooks off. If I catch any of you guys in my stuff, I'll kill you. Also, I don't like nobody touching me. Now, any of you homos touch me, and I'll kill you.
Sergeant Hulka: Lighten up, Francis.

All I could say while reading the post, “Lighten up, STS.”

Who or what is STS and what did I ever do to him… her… them… ah… whatever?  STS must be one of the Sonoran Alliance’s bloggers who doesn’t feel comfortable being “out-of-the-closet” yet (to use SA’s own formulation).  All I know is that when someone posts a entry brazenly proclaiming “Policing the Blogosphere” as its title, I’d really appreciate the ability to face my accuser, or at least know them as a real flesh and blood human being.  But who am I to judge the judge, right?  Let’s put aside STS’s manifest cowardice… er, no… I mean… spunky use of a pseudonym and address some of the indictments in his/her/its 1,264 words of breathless, over-the-top caviling.  

I’ll take them in order…

Correcting other blogs?  Absolutely, but doesn’t everything STS then goes on to write about fall into the “disagreeing with other blogs” category rather than being placed in the correction pile?

Bias Disclosure? Again fair point for some blogs, but in what way precisely am I hiding my biases on Willet Creek Dam?  It’s a personal blog that I use to comment on all manner of topics ranging from books to movie, from sports to politics.  I’m confused how I’m false advertising.

Hardliner on Immigration?  This is refreshing.  Quinlan has “an extremely hardline position in favor of ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ and he is a consistent advocate for businesses being able to hire illegal aliens, essentially without consequences.”  Interesting turn of phrasing.  I’ll admit, I don’t wake up at 3 a.m. in a pool of sweat anxious about the Rise of Atzlan and how I’m going to get screwed exchanging my dollars for Ameros from our new North American Union overlords.  If that makes me an apostate and not a REAL conservative in the eyes of some, I’ll live with that and be happy.  I wholeheartedly support the 2008 Republican Platform plank on immigration as well as the 2004 Republican Platform plank on immigration. ‘Nuff said.

My State Political Contributions?  No secrets, do a name search here.  On the federal level, I gave money to Mitt Romney, John Shadegg, Jeff Flake, David Schweikert, Jim Ogsbury, Laura Knaperak, Mark Anderson, Tim Bee and McCain-Palin.

My Lobbying Clients? Click here.

Bogus Franking?  STS goes to great lengths to defend Randy Pullen’s innocent one-page congratulations letter to state committeemen dated December 23, 2008.   If that letter was what had caused me to suggest some abuse of official communications then STS would be correct to criticize me for being unfair to Mr. Pullen.  But I wasn’t cheesed off about that mailing.  It was bent about the indefensible seven-page “2007-2008 Report” mailed on December 31, 2008 at $0.95 a pop.  Now that one really reeks of using Arizona Republican Party resources in a strategically-timed manner to aid in Randy Pullen’s re-election campaign.  Since that’s what I was referring to, then much of STS’s hair-trigger defense of Randy Pullen is moot.

Political Agenda?  My “self-serving… political agenda” is just that, self-serving because it’s mine.  No mystery here or need for Surgeon General-level consumer warnings to the blogosphere that STS condescends to (“Quinlan’s complaint is clever to a casual reader, but…”).  And where is STS’s evidence that my clients give fig about my blog posts?  Really?  The Arizona Landscape Contractors’ Association has not put me up to liking the movie Dark Knight or my disappointment with the U.S. Mint’s four reverse designs for the 2009 penny.  Sometimes there really aren’t wheels within wheels and the world is as straightforward as it presents itself.  Can’t I just believe that abusing official communications for campaign purposes is shabby without being a member of the Trilateral Commission or the Illuminati?

Quinlan Endorsement:  Then STS really gets his Castroesque and Kim Jong-il-like cult of personality rant really into high gear making all kinds of assumptions and conclusions about which candidates I am supporting for various party positions.  Here’s the deal, I’m a homer.  I’m supporting Diane Ortiz-Parsons for Maricopa County Republican 1st Vice Chair and Mike Middleton for Maricopa County Republican 2nd Vice Chair.  Why?  Because they are LD20 folks and I know they will do a good job.  Did I also endorse Jerry Brooks for Maricopa County Republican Chair?  Sure.  Why?  Because Diane and Mike are running on a ticket with him and I trust their recommendation.  I wouldn’t know Jerry Brooks or Rob Haney if they waved at me at Wal-mart.  All I know is that Jerry is from Chandler and so am I.  He’s already sent me two mailings (on his own dime!) asking for my support.  I’ve got nothing from Haney and it being a week out, I’ve decided that Brooks is my man.  (By the way, the West Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance and the Arizona Contractors Association don’t really care and have released my from my feudal vassalage to make this decision on my own.)

Pot Calling the Kettle Black:  Ah-hah!  STS reveals that LD20 GOP Chairman Quinlan e-mailed his PCs with info about the upcoming county meeting and endorsed Brooks, et al… HYPOCRITE!!!  Lighten up, Francis.  My e-mail was from my personal account and wasn’t an official communication to anyone.  The official communication came in the mail from the county party a couple days ago.  And it didn"t have a list of candidates in it (only the announcement, resolutions and proxy form).  Comrade STS, am I not allowed to communicate with the PCs in my district?  

Finally, STS really begins to show the effects of oxygen deprivation when he concludes with soaring rhetoric about “the kind of Republican” I am and how I’ve “forfeit[ed] the mantle of integrity” and all that.  Yikes.  STS really has very thin skin about Dear Leader.  Or maybe, STS has a hidden, integrity-diminishing agenda against Farrell Quinlan and all his ilk!  


Blogging should be fun.  That’s how I approach it.  STS, good luck and be well.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Sen. Jim Waring Bill Seeks End of Officeholders' Abuse of Official Communications

Bravo to Sen. Jim Waring on his new legislation that seeks to keep public officials from abusing the public trust to promote themselves. It really angers me when officeholders use their position to inappropriately insinuate themselves into official communications from their agencies in blatant attempts to gravy train off a government expenditure. Incumbency is powerful enough.

Now if we could only get Arizona Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen to stop using official party communications with GOP state committeemen to push his accomplishments ahead of the January 24th election of the next state GOP chairman. In that race, Pullen is running for re-election in a rematch with Lisa James who Pullen bested by a slim 4-vote margin in 2006. Regardless of Pullen's case for a second term, it's a risky strategy to play so loose with his "franking" privileges with an electorate that is so proud of its conservative credentials. I guess we'll see on January 24th how ideologically consistent these state committeemen are.

Read this account from the Arizona Capitol Times of Sen. Waring’s legislation here:

Arizona Capitol Times
January 2, 2009

Bill curbs public funds for media announcements

By Luige del Puerto

Three years ago, Gov. Janet Napolitano was featured on a state-sponsored billboard to promote Arizona tourism and safe driving on the state’s highways. The move was lambasted by her Republican opponents as a way to grab free publicity as the 2006 election approached.

But she isn’t the only elected official who has used state money to promote a public cause – and to reap the residual benefits of name recognition.

In 2007, the office of Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall published a 56-page booklet that included several pictures of LaWall herself. One photo showed LaWall next to a toddler with a caption that read “Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall believes our children are our future.”

And last year, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas followed suit with a 45-page handbook called “Roadmap to Crime Prevention” that included several references to Thomas and featured his smiling portrait.

This year, however, Sen. Jim Waring will try to end the practice of using public money on frivolous promotional material. The Phoenix Republican has sponsored legislation that would prohibit the use of public money for print or broadcast media announcements or Web site campaigns featuring elected officials or their employees.

The filing of SB 1002 on Dec. 9 represents Waring’s second try to get the bill passed. Last year, a similar Waring bill was not heard in the Senate.

SB 1002, though, includes new language to outline that the use of public funds for public announcements would be banned only when they refer to an official who is elected or appointed to elective office.

The bill also contains language effectively saying it should not be construed to prevent the official from “performing the duties” of his or her office, and it does not restrict an elected official’s right to communicate on “matters of public concern.”

The bill raises a couple of questions: How do you determine whether a print or broadcast media announcement is relating a matter of public concern? When is it in line with executing the duties of an elective office?

For instance, Thomas has vigorously defended publication of the handbook, saying it was an effective way to distribute public safety information.

The money used to pay for LaWall’s report came directly from funds seized in connection to criminal activity in the county.

And Napolitano has defended the decision to put up the billboards, saying she was just doing her job. At the time, she also pointed out that there were similar billboards featuring political figures all across the nation.

The legislation has a new sense of urgency, given the tough budget climate the state faces, Waring said.

“We do not have money to waste,” he said.

The Phoenix lawmaker said some of the ads or public announcements he has seen these past few years were neither efficient nor effective use of public money.

“The worst are the billboards with the governor’s picture — totally pointless,” he said.

Waring admitted that the bill is open-ended, but emphasized he needed a place to start, given that his previous bill did not go anywhere this past session.

“I am going to tighten it up and make it so it is clear, with no potential loopholes or ambiguities or it is not going to go,” he said.

Last session’s bill was assigned to the Senate Government Committee, chaired by Sen. Jack Harper, a Republican from Surprise. Harper did not hear the bill in committee.

Harper said there were complaints about the rigid language of last year’s bill. He said he hasn’t read the new version yet but added he supports its intent.

“It’s a great concept. I think it’s very taxpayer-friendly,” Harper said.

Jeff Kros, legislative director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, said his group’s concern over the previous bill was that its language was “probably too broad” and “too restrictive.”

“I think we have the same concerns as everybody else in that a lot of our elected officials have to use the media to do their jobs, and this seemed to be really restrictive,” Kros said.

Waring introduced his bill last year after Thomas’ handbooks had unleashed a firestorm across the state, with Maricopa County supervisors questioning the wisdom of using public money to produce them.

Waring, though, has said the bill was not intended to target any particular official.

Theoretically, under SB 1002, Thomas’ handbooks still could be produced — but minus the county attorney’s name and picture.

Friday, January 02, 2009

1,000th Anniversary of the Adherents of the Religion of Peace’s destruction of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre

This year is the 1,000th anniversary of the destruction of The Church of the Holy Sepulchre by Caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, the Islamic Fatimid ruler based in Egypt. Though not the immediate cause of Western (Christian) military reaction, it is interesting to note that this provocation by Muslims against Christians occurs 86 years before the first papal call for a Crusade in 1095.

Constructed in A.D. 326 on the orders of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, the church is where the New Testament says that Jesus was crucified and is said to also contain the place where Jesus was buried (the sepulchre). It passed from the control of the Christian Eastern Romans (or Byzantines) to the Muslin Arabs in A.D. 638. On October 18, 1009, Caliph Al-Hakim’s orders for the complete destruction of the church were carried out. It is believed that Al-Hakim was aggrieved by the scale of the annual Easter pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Though not the immediate casus belli for the Crusades, the Muslim destruction of the Church in 1009 serves as a clear refutation of the claim that the later Crusades were an unprovoked and imperialistic adventure perpetrated by the bad Europeans against innocent and peaceable Muslims.

September 11th, 2,000 years ago: "Quintilie Vare, legiones redde!"

Two-thousand-nine is the 2,000th anniversary of one of the most important battles in European history. September 11, A.D. 9 saw the conclusion the three-day Battle of the Teutoburg Forest between the Roman legions of Augustus Caesar under the command of Publius Quinctilius Varus and the Germanic tribes under the leadership of the Roman-trained Arminius or Hermann the German. Caught over extended and, more importantly, over confident, Varus was ambushed in a heavily wooded area and cut down along with three legions and auxiliary troops, about 20,000 troops in all.

According to the Roman historian Suetonius in his Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Augustus was so traumatized by the defeat that until his death in A.D. 14 at the age of 77, he would often cry out Quintili Vare, legiones redde! ('Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!'). Moreover, to place an unmistakable exclamation point on the taboo associated with the shameful defeat, the three legionary numbers (XVII, XVIII and XIX) were never used again by the Romans for any of their armies, unlike other legions that were restructured — a case unique in Roman history.

The great loss caused Augustus to abandon his goal of establishing the Elbe River as the empire’s permanent frontier and withdrew to the Rhine River to mark the boundary between the Latin and German speaking worlds. Ever since, the French and Germans have been disputing Augustus’ settlement to the detriment of Europeans and the whole world for almost two millennia.

For the Romans, the Rhine border was defensible and held for 400 years until New Year’s Eve A.D. 406. On that momentous night, the Rhine froze over solid allowing a motley group of Vandals, Alans and Suebians to simply walk across at Mainz, initiation the beginning of the end for the Roman Empire in the West. Within three years, the Visigoths sack Rome itself accelerating a decline that ends in A.D. 476 with the cessation of the use of the title “Emperor of the Romans” in the West until the Frank Charlemagne revives the office in the year 800.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2009: Anniversary of Some Dubious as well as Distinguished Events

Today is the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Arizona icon Sen. Barry Goldwater who was born on New Year’s Day 1909 in Territorial Arizona. The Year A.D. 2009 will also see the 200th anniversaries of the births of Abraham Lincoln and British naturalist Charles Darwin who were born on the same day, February 14, 1809.

Aside from Barrack Obama’s relentless efforts to associate himself with the 16th U.S. President, Lincoln is set to get a well-deserved though probably over-the-top attention from our media this year. This includes a generally uninspiring commemorative redesign of the reverse side of the penny with four depictions of scenes from Honest Abe’s life.

The log cabin and rail-splitter designs are nice and appropriate. But the last two, outside the Illinois Capitol building and the inexplicable construction view of the U.S. Capitol Dome, are mistakes. The final two designs should have depicted something to do with freeing of the slaves and the Emancipation Proclamation or perhaps the Lincoln-Douglas Debates on the topic of slavery. The final design should have focused on the universal values embodied in the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural. Maybe a depiction of attention-starved Lincoln Administration domestic policy achievements like the railroads and creation of land grant colleges could have been featured instead of the Capitol scaffolding.

This year also sees the sad anniversaries of the Castro Bros. Communist Dictatorship on Cuba (50th, 1959) and Hugo Chávez’s socialist paradise in Venezuela (10th, 1999).

It’s the twentieth anniversary of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s fatwa calling on adherents to the “Religion of Peace” to murder “The Satanic Verses” author Salman Rushdie (which has yet to be successfully carried out.) It’s also the 20th anniversary of .the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing. Pete Rose’s lifetime ban from baseball for gambling on the sport also began in 1989.
But 1989 should not be remembered for those dreary events. Instead, the iconic scene of Germans dancing on the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 signaled the end of the Cold War with the West’s victory over Soviet Communism. What was so remarkable about the collapse was how peacefully it was accomplished. The notable exception to the bloodless revolutions toppling communism was in Romania where Christmas 1989 saw the lynching of dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu.

As a native Vermonter, I cannot let pass the 400th anniversary of explorer Samuel de Champlain’s “discovery” and claiming the Lake Champlain area of Vermont for France in 1609.

June 11th will see the 500th anniversary of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII of England to Catherine of Aragon. Seven-hundred years ago saw the beginning of the “Babylonian captivity” (1309–77) of the papacy in Avignon by the French crown.
I’ll stop here. My next post will take a closer look at a pair of historic events, one 1,000 years ago and the other 2,000 years ago, that have define today’s world.