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Archive for December, 2009

Cartoon of the Day

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Suddenly Jimmy Carter’s Apologizing for Being an Anti-Semite

Boy, this was unexpected after years of complete support for the Palestinians and calling the Israeli stat

Former President Jimmy Carter apologized for any words or deeds that may have upset the Jewish community in an open letter meant to improve an often-tense relationship.

He said he was offering an Al Het, a prayer said on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. It signifies a plea for forgiveness.

“We must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel,” Carter said in the letter, which was first sent to JTA, a wire service for Jewish newspapers, and provided Wednesday to The Associated Press. “As I would have noted at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but which is appropriate at any time of the year, I offer an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so.”

Carter, who during his presidency brokered the first Israeli-Arab peace treaty, outraged many Jews with his 2006 book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” Critics contend he unfairly compared Israeli treatment of Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza to the legalized racial oppression that once existed in South Africa.

Israeli leaders have also shunned him over his journey to Gaza to meet with Hamas, considered a terror group by the U.S., the European Union and Israel.

Carter’s apology was welcomed by Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League and a vocal critic of Carter’s views on Israel.

“When a former president reaches out to the Jewish community and asks for forgiveness, it’s incumbent of us to accept it,” he said in a telephone interview from Jerusalem. “To what extent this is an epiphany, only time will tell. There certainly was a lot of hurt, a lot of angry words that need to be repaired. But this is a good start.”

It’d be a real shame if there was an ulterior motive for this…uh huh.

The letter comes weeks after his grandson, Jason Carter, said he would run for a Georgia state Senate seat being vacated by President Barack Obama’s nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Singapore. If David Adelman is confirmed as ambassador in January, Jason Carter will be a candidate in a March special election in the northeast Atlanta district.

Jason Carter, who is running in a district with a vocal Jewish population, said in a statement that his grandfather’s letter was unrelated to his campaign and hailed the apology as a “great step towards reconciliation.”

President Carter’s letter said he hopes bloodshed and hatred will yield to mutual respect and cooperation between Israel and its neighbors. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate has long said bringing peace to the Middle East remains one of his unfulfilled goals.

Peace in the Middle East is and remains a laudable goal.  However, it’s sad that Carter has in recent years given up on the means that helped him achieve the “Camp David Accords” and that was bringing about men who wished for peace with Israel; even if it meant an assassin’s bullet.

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Fire Claims Home of Suspected Launderer

I feel regret for her personal loss of property; but given this woman’s past, one doesn’t blame an investigation by either the Metro Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission (Does such an agency exist?) or the company which holds her homeowner’s policy.

Menomonee Falls firefighters battled an early morning blaze Sunday at the home of Latasha Jackson, a Milwaukee day care provider under criminal investigation after receiving millions from the state-run Wisconsin Shares program.

Fire officials said the call came in at 5:17 this morning. No one was believed to have been home at the time of the blaze and no firefighters were reported injured.

According to two neighbors, the house belonged to Jackson, 32, the Milwaukee day care operator who was the subject of a Journal Sentinel story that outlined how she reaped nearly $3 million over 10 years from the Wisconsin Shares program.

Menomonee Falls Fire Chief Jeff Hevey initially said Jackson was not the listed owner of the home, but later said it was listed under her married name. He said he had reached Jackson and her husband while they were vacationing out of state Sunday morning.

“I spoke to them on the phone and let them know their house was a total loss,” Hevey said. “They were devastated by the news.”

Jackson was trying to sell the home at the time the first Journal Sentinel story ran, in late August, but a neighbor, Tim Ripple, said he didn’t think she had been able to sell it. Her asking price at the time was $1,499,900.

According to an online real estate listing, the home is still on the market at an asking price of $1,399,900.

An online 2009 tax listing for the property, which has an effective date of Dec. 23, said the property was listed to Jackson.

Jackson had used money from the taxpayer-financed program to build the mansion in the Falls.

The 7,600-square-foot home features an indoor pool and an indoor basketball court.

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Cartoon of the Day

In case don’t know what’s being implied in the cartoon, here’s the original story.

For a priest in northern England, the commandment that dictates “thou shalt not steal” isn’t exactly written in stone.

From his pulpit at the Church of St. Lawrence in York, the Rev. Tim Jones said in his sermon Sunday that shoplifting can be justified if a person in real need does not take more than he or she really needs to get by and as long as they do it at large national chain stores, rather than small family businesses.

The remarks drew a summons from Archdeacon Richard Seed, who said on his Web site that the church rejects the view that shoplifting can be acceptable. “The Church of England does not advise anyone to shoplift or break the law in any way.”

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Quote of the Day

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Sunday that the thwarting of the attempt to blow up an Amsterdam-Detroit airline flight Christmas Day demonstrated that “the system worked.”

Asked by CNN’s Candy Crowley on “State of the Union” how that could be possible when the young Nigerian who has been charged with trying to set off the bomb was able to smuggle explosive liquid onto the jet, Napolitano responded: “We’re asking the same questions.”

There are already reports the undermanned by the Holidays White House is scrambling to ‘clarify’ the statement; but it may be too late, the meme is set and the damage is done.

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The Obligatory “Griffith Defects” Post

By now, you’ve heard all about this.  One of the few Democrats representing Alabama — a Freshman to boot — bolts the party and announces he’s going to become a Republican because of the health care bill.

Freshman Rep. Parker Griffith (D-Ala.) switched his affiliation to the Republican Party on Tuesday, saying he could “no longer align myself with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is bad for our country.”

Griffith was elected last year to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Bud Cramer. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee dropped more than $1 million in independent expenditures to keep the seat, and Griffith won with 51 percent, even though only 38 percent of voters in the north Alabama district chose Barack Obama for president.

“Democrats of every stripe and philosophy sweated and bled for this man,” said Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Joe Turnham. “He narrowly became a congressman through the hard work, votes and financial contributions of thousands of Democrats. Today, they feel betrayed.”

The DCCC’s chairman, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), took that criticism a step further, citing Griffith’s “duty and responsibility” to return all contributions made to him by Democratic members of Congress.

The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Rep. Pete Sessions (Tex.), sought to cast Griffith’s decision as symbolic of larger problems with the Democratic caucus. “His decision is emblematic of the message that millions of concerned citizens have been trying to send to a Democrat Party that has become increasingly unwilling to listen,” Sessions said.

Since Tuesday, Griffith has seen the following happen to him:

  • The majority of his staff quit.
  • The DCCC ask repeatedly for the $1.4 million it has spent on Griffith back (Yeah…best of luck there.)
  • Another Democrat declare they were now running in the seat.
  • Griffith himself enter an already loaded GOP primary with little to no support announced to be coming from any local, state, or national GOP apparatus. (The NRCC is just using him as press release fodder it seems.)
  • Another Democrat — Chris Carney of Pennsylvania — reported to be courted by Sen. John McCain to switch parties as well.  He later announced he was declining the offer (at this time).

As much as one (and I know many conservative bloggers in and around DC who are) would want to declare this as some sort of “Democratic Small Tent Thing,” it really isn’t.  If anything this guy is doing almost exactly what Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania did when he flipped from the Republican to Democratic parties early this year: Trying to save his political bacon.

Let’s look at the facts:

  1. This guy barely won a Democratic Open Seat in 2008 with a margin of 51% of the vote in a Democratic year.
  2. Barack Obama only got 38% of the vote in 2008 for this Congressional District.
  3. Up until the switch, Griffith had voted with Pelosi 85% of the time.

The Griffith switch is very much the Democratic version of the Spector switch, a he’s a politician more concerned he has a job come election time than serving any sort of constituency because he’s become too used to people calling him “State Senator,” “Congressman,” or “Senator.”

One of the last “honest” party switchers was in my opinion, former Texas Senator Phil Gramm’s when he went from being a Democrat to a Republican while serving in the House.  In that case, he simply quit the Democratic Party in after being re-elected in 1982 because he was voting like a Republican for years and appears to find a champion for his economic thinking in Reagan.  He then ran as a Republican in the 1983 Special Election of the District asking the people of his district to judge him by his actions not the letter after his name.

He was easily elected as a Republican.

If Republicans in Alabama (or Democrats in Pennsylvania in the case of Spector) want to punish Griffith for being a political opportunist, go right ahead in my book.

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Cartoon of the Day

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More Bailouts for the Democrats Favorite Charity Cases

Well, he released the news of this getting past the American public on the right day — Christmas Eve.

The Obama administration pledged Thursday to provide unlimited financial assistance to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, an eleventh-hour move that allows the government to exceed the current $400 billion cap on emergency aid without seeking permission from a bailout-weary Congress. The Christmas Eve announcement by the Treasury Department means that it can continue to run the companies, which were seized last year, as arms of the government for the rest of President Obama’s current term. But even as the administration was making this open-ended financial commitment, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac disclosed that they had received approval from their federal regulator to pay $42 million in Wall Street-style compensation packages to 12 top executives for 2009. The compensation packages, including up to $6 million each to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s chief executives, come amid an ongoing public debate about lavish payments to executives at banks and other financial firms that have received taxpayer aid. But while many firms on Wall Street have repaid the assistance, there is no prospect that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will do so.

The list of ex-executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reads like a “Who’s Who” in Democratic politics.

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Cartoon of the Day

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What Christmas is All About

The monologue of Linus, from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

(Also known as the Gospel of Luke.)

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