Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Note: First Source for Political News: "There is a creeping fear among some Democrats that they are up against a party that knows and lives by the following:

"First Rule of Politics: 'It ain't beanbag.'

"Second Rule of Politics: 'Never lose control of your public image, but force your opponent to lose control of his.'

"Third Rule of Politics: 'In times of battle, all hands on deck.'

"Fourth Rule of Politics: 'Keep your candidate above the fray, but force your opponent to debate and defend against surrogates and shadowy, ferocious enemies.'

"Fifth Rule of Politics: 'Say things that get under your opponent's skin, and which will sound so implausible to his ear that at first he won't bother to defend himself.'"
John Fund on the Trail: "Party conventions no longer determine presidential nominees, but they still serve two major purposes: pep rallies for the party's themes and a chance for political reporters to have a giant reunion.

"There's another item of business at this year's GOP conclave. Like actors on Broadway, a raft of candidates are quietly auditioning for the 2008 nomination, when the fight for the GOP nomination is guaranteed to be wide open."

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Keynoter Zell Set to Rip Kerry: "John Kerry's 'miserable record' over the course of his 19-year Senate career will be a focus of Sen. Zell Miller's highly anticipated speech at the Republican National Convention, the renegade Georgia Democrat told The Post.

"The 72-year-old Miller, who next Wednesday will become the first member of an opposing party to deliver the keynote address at a national convention, plans to hit Kerry over his political career—one that Miller claims has been spent pushing and voting for far-left issues."

"'John Kerry's record in the Senate is a miserable one—it is a disgraceful one,' Miller charged. 'His record is far from the mainstream on nearly every issue. He is where 15 or 20 percent of people are.' Miller said many Americans are still in the dark about Kerry's voting patterns—primarily because the candidate himself has avoided discussing it.

"'Watching the Democratic convention, the bio of John Kerry seemed to be "I was born. I served in Vietnam. I am running for president,"' Miller said.

"They overlooked 20 years in the Senate. That's where you'll see the real John Kerry."
Bush Takes On Direct Role in Shaping Election Tactics: "President Bush will accept his party's nomination in New York this week on the crest of a campaign that aides say reflects an unusual level of involvement from the president himself, particularly in driving attacks on Senator John Kerry that have characterized his re-election effort since the spring."

"Mr. Bush has always had a strong taste for politics, and was an important player in his father's presidential campaigns of 1988 and 1992, as well as in his own race in 2000. But his intense involvement this time reflects what aides said was his concern about his prospects, a determination not to repeat the mistakes that he watched his father make in 1992, and lessons he drew from the close election of 2000.

"Mr. Bush has put to use the knowledge that he accumulated working on his father's campaigns, like the political dynamics and history of battleground states, and the names of important local Republicans.

"As Mr. Bush was flying from Texas to New Mexico on Thursday, Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, turned to him on Air Force One and suggested that Albuquerque was heavily Democratic, White House aides said. Mr. Bush responded by saying the city was split politically, and he talked about the importance of its suburban counties.

"In an interview, Representative Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, recounted a campaign trip with Mr. Bush this month on Air Force One to Traverse City. 'We talked a lot about northern Michigan; I was amazed at how much he knew,'' Mr. Camp said. 'He's very strategic in the way he thinks. He had an understanding of the makeup of the district, of the nature of the registration and of the voting patterns.'

"Representative Rob Portman of Ohio, a top campaign adviser, had a similar observation. 'He understands the distinction between the Northeast and the Southwest, and he understands that central Ohio is a battleground,' Mr. Portman said. 'He knows what it takes on the ground to win a campaign. Not every candidate has that feel.'"

"Mr. Bush said in the interview last week, … 'If the question is, "Is it different running this time now that you're the president?" the answer is yes. I've got a job to do.'"

"Mr. Bennett, the Ohio party chairman, said … 'I'm astounded at the amount of knowledge that he has about Ohio—the names of little towns, talking about the farmland,' he said. 'When his father ran for president, he spent a lot of time in Ohio, in 1992,' Mr. Bennett said. 'People underestimate this president, and they underestimate his knowledge.''"
Official: 'We're like the Marines of the church': "Seven young adults gather for informal Sunday worship in a rude, two-room house fashioned from plastic sheeting and lumber that they cut themselves. Clad in shorts and jeans and clutching well-thumbed Bibles, they join in song to guitar accompaniment."

"The melody drifts across a surrounding makeshift encampment where 28 students have spent the last two weeks, the final exercise in a unique training program for the most exotic vocation imaginable.

"This is the Missions Institute of New Tribes Mission, a yearlong boot camp that's far more rigorous than the usual orientation programs for foreign missionaries—and for good reason."

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Club of the Most Powerful Gathers in Strictest Privacy: "Three times a year for 23 years, a little-known club of a few hundred of the most powerful conservatives in the country have met behind closed doors at undisclosed locations for a confidential conference, the Council for National Policy, to strategize about how to turn the country to the right."

Friday, August 27, 2004

Going Up?: "The private space industry is expected to grow by $7.7 billion in 2004. But many of the fledgling ventures seem extremely risky. Like, say, the company that wants to build an elevator to the stars."
The J. Edgar Hoover Award: James McGreevey: "gay and … supported the Federal Marriage Amendment."

"While the Human Rights Campaign made the biggest 'non-statement' of the entire story, … Concerned Women for America found it necessary to post a story on its site that slams the 'largest homosexual rights organization in America.' A surprise? No and Yes."
Polls Continue to Trend Pro-Life...: "A new Pace Poll confirms a growing pro-life trend and even suggests Kerry voters tend to be significantly more pro-life than the Senator and the Democratic Party. According to the poll, 44 percent of those surveyed are pro-abortion while 54 percent are pro-life.

"What is especially noteworthy is that key Democratic constituencies are significantly more pro-life than the general public. First-time Latino voters poll 61 percent pro-life to 34 percent pro-abortion. Among blacks the breakdown is 59 percent pro-life to 42 percent pro-abortion."

The Pro-Life Vote and the 2004 Senate Elections: "Thirty-four senators are up for re-election in November, and with Republicans holding onto a slim majority (51-48-1), every race will be pivotal in determining which political party will control the Senate in the 109th Congress. Overall, Democrats have 19 seats to defend; the Republicans, 15.

"As part of these 34 races the Democrats have five open seats—seats without an incumbent candidate—to protect (Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina), while the Republicans have three (Colorado, Illinois, and Oklahoma)."
For the President, Special Setup Is Planned at Convention: "Moving to bring a special intimacy to the carefully scripted atmosphere of a political convention, President Bush will give his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention next week from a small circular stage in a sea of thousands of delegates and other guests."

Sunday, August 22, 2004

NASA prepares to catch a falling star sample: "NASA's three-year effort to bring some genuine star dust back to Earth is set for a dramatic finale Sept. 8 when Hollywood helicopter pilots will attempt a midair retrieval of a descending space capsule."
The Call Is Cheap. The Wiretap Is Extra.: "Wiretapping Internet phones to monitor criminals and terrorists is costly and complex, and potentially a big burden on new businesses trying to sell the phone service.

"Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to move forward with rules that would compel the businesses to make it possible for law enforcement agencies to eavesdrop on Internet calls."

Saturday, August 21, 2004

The Capital Area's Best Kept Floating Secret: "It's time that Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens was exposed for what it really is … an exotic oasis in an urban jungle. This near pristine plot—part of the 700-acre Anacostia National Park—barely shows any signs of human intrusion.

"On a postcard perfect mid-August afternoon the frogs, birds, butterflies and turtles pretty much have the lily ponds, lotus pools, boardwalk and river trails all to themselves. But this surprising local treasure in northeast D.C. is bursting to be discovered by an admiring public with a taste for water and wildlife."

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

School-choice program in Fla. rejected by state appeals court: "Another state court has dealt a setback to school choice.

"A Florida appeals court upheld a lower-court ruling against the state's 'opportunity scholarship' program Aug. 16. In a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel of the First District Court of Appeals ruled the voucher plan violates the state constitution's prohibition on aid to religion because it 'uses state revenues to aid sectarian schools.'

"The next stop for the case is the Florida Supreme Court."

Sunday, August 15, 2004

The (Political) Science of Stem Cells: Laura Bush: "You might not know about it from listening to the news lately, [but] the President also looks forward to medical breakthroughs that may arise from stem cell research. Few people know that George W. Bush is the only President to ever authorize federal funding for embryonic stem cell research."

"As Mrs. Bush gently reminded her audience in Pennsylvania this week, far from banning embryonic stem cell research, George W. Bush is the first President to expand federal funding for it. The nearby table shows that, as a result of his decision, federal funding went from zero in 2000 to nearly $25 million today—and this doesn't include the many tens of millions more being spent by the private sector. As Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson points out, the supply of embryonic stem cell shipments available is today greater than the demand.

"In other words, this is not, as Ron Reagan characterized it during his prime time slot at the Democratic convention, a battle between 'reason and ignorance.' It's an argument about taxpayer money and how to draw the lines around it."

"The issue is federal subsidies. The need for a Presidential decision arose from an appropriations rider passed by Congress in the mid-1990s forbidding federal funding for any research that creates, injures or destroys human embryos.

"The President's answer was that there ought to be no restrictions on the private sector but that federal subsidies should be limited to lines that had already been harvested and should not be used to encourage the destruction of embryos. In short, it was a reasonable middle ground. It's worth noting that other countries, such as Germany, Ireland and Austria, ban even the private sector from creating embryos for stem cell research.

"The potential for embryonic stem cells is that they are malleable and can differentiate themselves into needed cells. That gives them tremendous potential, but it also presents a liability because we can't yet control what these cells will turn into. In one animal study, a fifth of the mice injected with embryonic stem cells developed brain tumors.

"Which helps explain why we still have not had a single human trial for embryonic stem cells. And it means that political claims that cures for diabetes or Parkinson's are just around the corner are cruelly raising false hopes.

"Meanwhile there is another alternative we don't hear much about in the headlines: adult stem cells. Unlike embryonic research, adult stem cells do not get us into questions about the destruction of human life. In addition, a report in the journal Nature this summer suggests that adult stem cells may have a broader differentiation potential than previously thought."

Friday, August 6, 2004

Deutsch, BlackBerry share stage at debate: "BlackBerrys have become must-have gadgets for many busy politicians, one step better than cell phones because there's no need to leave a meeting or interrupt a conversation to receive instant messages. But political strategists said they have never heard of mid-debate BlackBerry e-mails.

"'They call them "CrackBerries" because they are so addictive, but I've never heard of a candidate needing it so badly that they took it with them to a debate podium,' said Republican consultant David Johnson, who coached Charlie Crist before his 1998 debate with Sen. Bob Graham."
Follow 10 Commandments to Casey Jones: "A nationally known statue sits atop a rented flat bed truck as it awaits its next move through West Tennessee to make it to Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis by the 8 a.m. Sunday service.

"The controversial Ten Commandments Monument has made its way from Montgomery, Ala., to the Casey Jones Village in Jackson, where it will be on display until 1 p.m. today."

"American Veterans in Domestic Defense are sponsoring the monument's trek across several states to eventually end up in Washington, D.C., for the Oct. 22 America for Jesus Rally.

"'We're asking people to rent buses and let God fill them,' Rod McDougal said. McDougal, a Vietnam veteran and chaplain for VFW Post 2111 in San Francisco, said the goal is to get a million people in the National Mall for the rally.

"The monument started making headlines in 2002 when then-Alabama Chief Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore refused to move it from the judicial building in Montgomery. Moore had placed the monument in the building after business hours one night without warning. Moore was later removed from the bench after the State Court of the Judiciary found him in contempt of court.

"'Judge Roy Moore asked me to go to Washington, D.C., with him, and we were standing in the rotunda (at the Alabama state judicial building), and he said, "That monument needs to be in this building with all these beautiful paintings," and I said the veterans are the ones to do it,' AVDD President and Korean War veteran Jim Cabaniss said.

"The veterans group asked Moore if they could take the monument around the country so it could be put on display and taken out of the dark closet where it was stored, Cabaniss said."

Thursday, August 5, 2004

The Note: "Every Aug. 5, for the last 17 years, The Note has handed out its annual 'Best in Politics Awards.'"

"Best ability to hide seething anger: George W. Bush and John Kerry (tie).

"Best ability to make a party salivate before winning a statewide race: Barack Obama."

"Best political reporter you (probably) aren't paying enough attention to: Jeff Zeleny of the Chicago Tribune."

"Best examples of entertainers supporting BC04 that Mark McKinnon could come up with: Lee Ann Womack, Kid Rock, and Jessica Simpson.

"Best list of states that will determine who wins the White House: Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin, and Ohio.

"Best unwritten newspaper story: 'Barack Obama's Very Liberal Voting Record.'"

"Best job staying off of TV: Karl Rove."

"Best back-to-school gift for the young children of those busy with the 2004 campaign: the fantastic new Disney Dream Desk PC."

"Best August headline on a Jennifer Steinhauer story: 'Foreigners Shun New York, Keeping Hotel Rates Down.'

"Best headquarters security: Bush-Cheney '04.

"Best leveraging of a Bush Cabinet job towards future White House ambitions: n/a.

"Best bad job of vetting of the cycle: whoever hired Dr. Brenda Bartella Peterson, the DNCs' first-ever director of religious outreach, and one of the co-signers of an amicus brief filed to support Michael Newdow's plea to get "under God" removed from the pledge. (Note news: She resigned yesterday.)

"Best on-message regional press shop: BC04, bar none.

"Best job keeping his background quotes anonymous: Richard Armitage."

"Best luck of the Bush Administration: Henry Kissinger stepping down as head of the 9/11 commission.

"Best manipulation of the adolescent sensibilities of some of America's leading political reporters: the deployment of Bruce Springsteen.

"Best ability to hide quality Jonathan Weisman and Jeff Birnbaum stories from public view: the Washington Post business section.

"Best badge of honor achieved in a Bob Novak column: Ginny Wolfe, who is today branded 'supremely uncommunicative to this column'!!!"
Would John Kerry as President of the United States Change the Course of History in the Middle East and throughout the World considering "a litany of the pro-Israeli stances the Senator has announced in recent months"?
Pandering To The Choir: "The national Democratic Party's strategists are paying attention to the 'religious' vote this year.

"More than likely that party's strategists have reached an amazing discovery: There are millions of believing Christians in this country. Many live in 'flyover country'—the expanse of land between Manhattan and Hollywood—and their votes count. In fact, in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, devout Catholics and Protestants represent crucial blocs of voters, enough to swing elections.

"Well, what should the Democrats do after their Party has ignored the religious voter for decades—going to deliberate lengths to exclude them by selling the Party's soul to the likes of the National Abortion Rights Action League (now repackaged as 'Pro-Choice America')? Why not set up a committee to handle 'Religious Outreach'?

"Indeed, that is exactly what the Democratic National Committee has done. And guess who is one of the senior advisors? Rev. Brenda Bartella Peterson. Rev. Peterson is one of 32 clergy members who signed an amicus brief in support of Michael Newdow's case to strike the words 'Under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance."

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Inspirational and Paraplegic Joni Eareckson Tada on Larry King Live: "I think, Christopher Reeve's best chances and people that we serve at Joni and Friends, thousands of disabled people and their families, our best chances, my best chance as a person with a spinal cord injury to get a viable cure is through pouring all the effort and all the attention in developing therapies using adult stem cells."
Liberal Elites Defile King's Dream: "A little less than a century after slavery's end, King rose from obscurity proposing a radical idea—a colorblind society. While he knew he'd never see it in his lifetime, he gave his life for equal justice. King would surely be disappointed by liberal elites and career politicians who exploit his vision for their own gain.

"He'd be alarmed that his so-called successors consistently fail to address urgent matters in the black community, such as the cycle of poverty associated with black illegitimacy and the high rate of black-on-black crime."
Preachers and pastors deserve freedom of speech: "Rep. Walter Jones, (R-North Carolina) is a very quiet man. He seldom gets excited … except when he is talking about the right of churches to be involved in the political process. Then he gets downright passionate."

Monday, August 2, 2004

The Cost of Getting Over Your Fear & Becoming Dangerous, by Steve Brown: "When you get right down to it, most people are not as interested in freedom as they are in security. Given the clear option between freedom (with its attendant responsibility and problems) and dictatorship (with its attendant structure and limits), most people pick dictatorship every time. Why? Because we want to be secure and safe, not free and responsible.

"The point is this: Freedom sounds good until you get right down to what it costs and, when that happens, most people will opt for something less than freedom."

"Christian boldness presupposes that you will sometimes fail because you are required to risk. The easiest way I know to avoid failure is never to risk. In my pagan days I played a lot of poker. As a matter of fact, you can learn a lot about life and people from playing poker. When you play poker and you are never willing to risk, you must face the prospect that you will never win."

"You will be safe, but you will never know the excitement and the great rewards of risk."

A Stronger Kerry Forces Bush to Make a Compelling Case: "But more likely the president will win a second term only if he can reverse the demand for change by restoring faith in his own leadership and direction."

"For months, his campaign has mostly stressed the risks of change." As if not changing now means we wouldn't then change anyway in four years?

There is a strong correlation between security and violence. Why? Because security is based on limitations of freedom. But as men are born to be free (despite aforementioned fears thereof), man is determined to be free. The stronger the limitations and control on one's freedom, the more violent is one's liberation from those restraints.

The president in seeking a second term would do well to abandon his current risk-averse strategy. Where is the president who campaigned on responsibility at home? (before, after) Where is the president who championed freedom in Iraq? Why the perpetual state of fear from a president who heralded his former opponent as having nothing to offer but fear itself?

US terror alert: Are you worried?