Monday, February 26, 2007
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Read it, and then re-read it...ingest it, study it, and then make up yer own mind!
Friday, February 16, 2007
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
-- Douglas Adams
House Passes Resolution Opposing Bush's Plan to Send More Troops to Iraq
House Passes Resolution Opposing Bush's Plan to Send More Troops to Iraq
Friday , February 16, 2007
House Democrats on Friday sent the Bush administration the clearest message to date on Iraq by passing a resolution that opposes the president's plan to send an additional 21,500 troops to the war-torn country.
"The bipartisan resolution today may be nonbinding, but it will send a strong message to the president: we here in Congress are committed and supporting our troops,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the House floor. “The passage of this legislation will signal change in direction in Iraq that will end the fighting and bring our troops home safely and soon.”
House lawmakers wrapped up a four-day marathon debate leading up to the vote Friday. The Senate is expected to take up the debate for a test vote on Saturday. The resolution vote, however, won't alter Bush's policy in Iraq or stop the surge of troops into Baghdad.
Bush pitched his plan last month to send an additional U.S. forces into Iraq to quell sectarian violence there, igniting opposition from Democratic leaders and some Republicans.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., called Iraq a "defeat."
"What we now have in Iraq is a defeat. We cannot achieve the illusions of the Bush administration that we will be able to create a stable unified liberal democracy in Iraq that is pro-American," Waxman said on the House floor. "Instead, we have sectarian fighting, death squads and a disabled Middle East that threatens to be engulfed by the nightmare that we have unleashed."
Republicans warn the vote will embolden terrorists and insurgents, and send the wrong message to the troops on the ground, while Democrats argue that the troop surge will risk more American lives.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., asked fellow lawmakers to vote against the resolution, calling it "misguided and dangerous."
“You cannot support the troops if you are undermining their mission and challenging their commander in the field,” King said on the House floor. “By opposing this new policy, the supporters of the resolution are clearly undermining our new commander in Iraq at such a vital time at the conduct of this war.”
• Click here to read about Republicans' reaction to Democratic proposals to limit Iraq war funding.
Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., who chairs the House panel that oversees military spending, said he plans to introduce legislation that would end Bush's plan by setting limits on which troops can be sent and would prevent them from being sent back too soon or too poorly equipped. Troops going overseas for another tour would have to stay in the United States at least one year before being redeployed.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., told FOX News that Democratic attempts to cut off funding would put the nation at risk.
"It's going to make us more vulnerable. Democrats cannot walk away from this threat," Hoekstra said. "They cannot cut off funding on a larger scale because it will make us more vulnerable but I think that's exactly what they are doing. They are going to slowly squeeze this funding and limit the president's options."
Bush said Thursday he hopes Congress supports the troops.
"We have a responsibility. Republicans and Democrats have a responsibility to give our troops the resources they need to do their job and the flexibility they need to prevail," Bush said.
Republican military veteran lawmakers spoke in opposition to the resolution on Thursday.
"The enemy wants our men and women in uniform to think their Congress doesn't care about them," said Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, who was a prisoner of war during Vietnam. "We must learn from our mistakes. We cannot leave a job undone like we left in Korea, like we left in Vietnam, like we left in Somalia."
Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., who plans to vote for the resolution, said the goal in Iraq is undefined.
"The American troops are over there fighting so that we can exercise our constitutional rights and obligation to debate these issues and have an opinion on them," Tierney said. "If you listen to the troops when they come home or read their letters or the letters of their parents, they don't understand what the mission is anymore, the goal is undefined."
On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada announced that he would keep the Senate in session this weekend to force debate on the House-drafted resolution.
The decision means a delay in the scheduled President's Day recess, and will force Republicans to confront a "yes" or "no" vote on the president's new Iraq security strategy.
"It's a vote on whether or not Republicans support the surge," Reid said.
Reid said the Senate will consider the House resolution and no other alternatives dealing with Iraq. Reid has even given up on a resolution by Sens. John Warner, R-Va., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., that he championed two weeks ago. At that time, Republicans tied the Senate in procedural knots demanding debate and votes on a separate measure prohibiting Congress from cutting off funds for ongoing military operations in Iraq.
FOX News' Major Garrett and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!" (author unknown)
Thursday, February 15, 2007
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 20
Grab your Mardi Gras beads and head to downtown
“Fat Tuesday – Nawlins Party” celebration! The fun begins at 5pm on Tuesday,
Cadillac Pizza Pub (
Each of these three participating restaurants will feature live blues bands and drink specials that are guaranteed to get your party started. Join in on the fun of a crawfish boil at Poppy’s Garden Café or Cadillac Pizza Pub (reservations encouraged) or have a casual bite to eat at Aparicio’s and then stroll the beautiful streets of historic, downtown McKinney, Nawlins’ style!
For further information, please call either:
REVIEW & OUTLOOK
Awaiting the Dishonor Roll
Congress "supports the troops" while emboldening the enemy.
Thursday, February 15, 2007 12:01 a.m.
Congress has rarely been distinguished by its moral courage. But even grading on a curve, we can only describe this week's House debate on a vote of no-confidence in the mission in Iraq as one of the most shameful moments in the institution's history.
On present course, the Members will vote on Friday to approve a resolution that does nothing to remove American troops from harm's way in Iraq but that will do substantial damage to their morale and that of their Iraqi allies while emboldening the enemy. The only real question is how many Republicans will also participate in this disgrace in the mistaken belief that their votes will put some distance between themselves and the war most of them voted to authorize in 2002.
The motion at issue is plainly dishonest, in that exquisitely Congressional way of trying to have it both ways. (We reprint the text nearby.) The resolution purports to "support" the troops even as it disapproves of their mission. It praises their "bravery," while opposing the additional forces that both President Bush and General David Petreaus, the new commanding general in Iraq, say are vital to accomplishing that mission. And it claims to want to "protect" the troops even as its practical impact will be to encourage Iraqi insurgents to believe that every roadside bomb brings them closer to their goal.
As for how "the troops" themselves feel, we refer readers to Richard Engel's recent story on NBC News quoting Specialist Tyler Johnson in Iraq: "People are dying here. You know what I'm saying . . . You may [say] 'oh we support the troops.' So you're not supporting what they do. What they's [sic] here to sweat for, what we bleed for and we die for." Added another soldier: "If they don't think we're doing a good job, everything we've done here is all in vain." In other words, the troops themselves realize that the first part of the resolution is empty posturing, while the second is deeply immoral.
All the more so because if Congress feels so strongly about the troops, it arguably has the power to start removing them from harm's way by voting to cut off the funds they need to operate in Iraq. But that would make Congress responsible for what followed--whether those consequences are Americans killed in retreat, or ethnic cleansing in Baghdad, or the toppling of the elected Maliki government by radical Shiite or military forces. The one result Congress fears above all is being accountable.
We aren't prone to quoting the young John Kerry, but this week's vote reminds us of the comment the antiwar veteran told another cut-and-run Congress in the early 1970s: "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" The difference this time is that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha expect men and women to keep dying for something they say is a mistake but also don't have the political courage to help end.
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), that
(1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and
(2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on Jan. 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.
Instead, they'll pass this "non-binding resolution," to be followed soon by attempts at micromanagement that would make the war all but impossible to prosecute--and once again without taking responsibility. Mr. Murtha is already broadcasting his strategy, which the new Politico Web site described yesterday as "a slow-bleed strategy designed to gradually limit the administration's options."
In concert with antiwar groups, the story reported, Mr. Murtha's "goal is crafted to circumvent the biggest political vulnerability of the antiwar movement--the accusation that it is willing to abandon troops in the field." So instead of cutting off funds, Mr. Murtha will "slow-bleed" the troops with "readiness" restrictions or limits on National Guard forces that will make them all but impossible to deploy. These will be attached to appropriations bills that will also purport to "support the troops."
"There's a D-Day coming in here, and it's going to start with the supplemental and finish with the '08 [defense] budget,'' Congressman Neil Abercrombie (D., Hawaii) told the Web site. He must mean D-Day as in Dunkirk.
All of this is something that House Republicans should keep in mind as they consider whether to follow this retreat. The GOP leadership has been stalwart, even eloquent, this week in opposing the resolution. But some Republicans figure they can use this vote to distance themselves from Mr. Bush and the war while not doing any real harm. They should understand that the Democratic willingness to follow the Murtha "slow-bleed" strategy will depend in part on how many Republicans follow them in this vote. The Democrats are themselves divided on how to proceed, and they want a big GOP vote to give them political cover. However "non-binding," this is a vote that Republican partisans will long remember.
History is likely to remember the roll as well. A newly confirmed commander is about to lead 20,000 American soldiers on a dangerous and difficult mission to secure Baghdad, risking their lives for their country. And the message their elected Representatives will send them off to battle with is a vote declaring their inevitable defeat.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
AUSTIN (AP) -- Gov. Rick Perry ordered Friday that schoolgirls in Texas must be vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer, making Texas the first state to require the shots.
The girls will have to get Merck & Co.'s new vaccine against strains of the human papillomavirus, or HPV, that are responsible for most cases of cervical cancer.
Merck is bankrolling efforts to pass laws in state legislatures across the country mandating it Gardasil vaccine for girls as young as 11 or 12. It doubled its lobbying budget in Texas and has funneled money through Women in Government, an advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country.
Details of the order were not immediately available, but the governor's office confirmed to The Associated Press that he was signing the order and he would comment Friday afternoon.
Perry has several ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company's three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, his former chief of staff. His current chief of staff's mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government.
Toomey was expected to be able to woo conservative legislators concerned about the requirement stepping on parent's rights and about signaling tacit approval of sexual activity to young girls. Delisi, as head of the House public health committee, which likely would have considered legislation filed by a Democratic member, also would have helped ease conservative opposition.
Perry also received $6,000 from Merck's political action committee during his re-election campaign.
It wasn't immediately clear how long the order would last and whether the legislation was still necessary. However it could have been difficult to muster support from lawmakers who champion abstinence education and parents' rights.
Perry, a conservative Christian who opposes abortion rights and stem- cell research using embryonic cells, counts on the religious right for his political base.
But he has said the cervical cancer vaccine is no different than the one that protects children against polio.
"If there are diseases in our society that are going to cost us large amounts of money, it just makes good economic sense, not to mention the health and well being of these individuals to have those vaccines available," he said.
Texas allows parents to opt out of inoculations by filing an affidavit stating that he or she objected to the vaccine for religious or philosophical reasons.
Even with such provisions, however, conservative groups say mandates take away parents' rights to be the primary medical decision maker for their children.
The federal government approved Gardasil in June, and a government advisory panel has recommended that all girls get the shots at 11 and 12, before they are likely to be sexually active.
The New Jersey-based drug company could generate billions in sales if Gardasil _ at $360 for the three-shot regimen _ were made mandatory across the country. Most insurance companies now cover the vaccine, which has been shown to have no serious side effects.
Merck spokeswoman Janet Skidmore would not say how much the company is spending on lobbyists or how much it has donated to Women in Government. Susan Crosby, the group's president, also declined to specify how much the drug company gave.
A top official from Merck's vaccine division sits on Women in Government's business council, and many of the bills around the country have been introduced by members of Women in Government.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Super Bowl XLI is over...it was wet and wild!...the Colts won...
Never again do we have to hear that an AFC team cannot beat an NFC team...
Never again do we have to hear that Peyton Manning had not been able to take his team to "the big game"...
Tony Dungy became the first black coach to win a Super Bowl...
Finally...these discussions can be laid to rest!!!