Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Shameful Mess

It seems as if everyone is talking about Benghazi.

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting at the kitchen table writing checks and paying bills when my brother breezed through the front door ranting and raving about Obama's seeming dereliction of duty in Benghazi.  He's not one to usually pay attention to such things.

The Benghazi story doesn't feel like Fast and Furious did; I kept thinking Fast and Furious was going to get more traction than it did.  I mean, a murdered border agent, our government walking guns into Mexico, hundreds of dead Mexicans, drug lords, the who mess.  Well, there was a little investigation, a deeply researched book, a fair amount of outrage, but it never caught on with the general public or the "low information voter" like it seems Benghazi has.

One of the most succinct summations of this mess came from Mark Steyn's weekend column:

We also learned that, in those first moments of the attack, a request for military back-up was made by U.S. staff on the ground but was denied by Washington. It had planes and special forces less than 500 miles away in southern Italy — or about the same distance as Washington to Boston. They could have been there in less than two hours. Yet the commander-in-chief declined to give the order. So Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods fought all night against overwhelming odds, and died on a rooftop in a benighted jihadist hellhole while Obama retired early to rest up before his big Vegas campaign stop. “Within minutes of the first bullet being fired the White House knew these heroes would be slaughtered if immediate air support was denied,” said Ty Woods’s father, Charles. “In less than an hour, the perimeters could have been secured and American lives could have been saved. After seven hours fighting numerically superior forces, my son’s life was sacrificed because of the White House’s decision.”

The pain of this father is unbearable.  His son signed up to serve his country, not to be abandoned by it.

Smitty, over at The Other McCain, makes a valid point, too:

This notion of “never leaving a buddy” is pounded into every military head at every rank. Should you hold the privilege of commanding a unit, I perceive it counts double: you neither want to see a buddy left dangling in the breeze, and you really don’t want the anguish of explaining to the world why there was a death within you command.
Which brings us to our current Commander-in-Chief, #OccupyResoluteDesk. I don’t believe the principle of “never leaving a buddy” eluded George W. Bush, say whatever else you will of his policies. In contrast, you have the Obama White House needing to dispute a storythat it sends form letters to families of the fallen. Wow.
This is clearly a concept Obama can't relate to; he's more accustomed to throwing people under the bus.

Then there are those who believe that the whole Benghazi fiasco was a conspiracy theory: that Obama planned for Stevens et al, to be taken hostage whereby he would negotiate some terrific hostage deal (right about the time of the foreign policy debate), the hostages would be freed, and he would waltz into re-election in November.  That might explain the lowered security, but is there enough evidence to support this theory?  I don't know.

Senator John McCain says that it's either incompetence or a cover-up, both unacceptable:
"This is either a massive cover-up or an incompetence that is not acceptable service to the American people," he said on CBS's "Face the Nation." 
McCain said that information that has surfaced since the attacks, which claimed the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, indicates the narrative provided by the White House in the days following was "patently false."
Either way, whatever it is, the responsibility of four dead Americans is Obama's.  The administration clearly does not want this uncovered before the election which is also an indication of culpability.

And what of Hillary Clinton's role?  Did she, in fact, try to get extra security for Stevens and his team?

Even so.  The buck stops with Obama.

It is a shameful mess.  And one that Obama will eventually have to answer for.

(See Doug Ross for some unraveling of this mess.)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Report from the 2012 Freedom Rally in Bossier City

The takeaway message from tonight's Freedom Rally at the Bossier Civic Center was all about restoring freedom and prosperity in America.

The event kicked off about 5:30 inside the Bossier Civic Center and the crowd quickly filled two huge meeting rooms.  As host Royal Alexander began his opening remarks, event staff was busy bringing in more chairs to accommodate the crowd which was spilling out into the hallway.

Mr. Alexander quoted Thomas Jefferson in his opening remarks, reminding us all that "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything that you have."

I was sitting next to Sharon McCullar who is a veteran, a small business owner, and a mother of two Marines; she was one of tonight's speakers.  She estimated the average age of the crowd at about 60, but I think it dropped a bit lower as people filtered in from work.  Steve estimated the crowd to be about 300 but I had it a little higher.  The enthusiasm was infectious.

One of the first speakers was U.S. Senator David Vitter who spoke about the need for a pro-growth tax rate in America to encourage business development.  He stressed the need for Republicans to take back not just the White House but also the Senate so that we can put in targeted health care reform and repeal ObamaCare.  This was met with thunderous applause.

Addressing national security and military budget cuts, Senator Vitter called for an end to "the apology tours" and quoted Reagan who said, "Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because America was too strong."  Senator Vitter says that "peace through strength" is the only way.

Another popular theme, especially here in oil rich, and Haynesville Shale country, Louisiana was Vitter's derision of "speculative green energy companies," many of which go down the tubes; we need to develop our energy resources here at home.

Senator Vitter closed his remarks by stressing that this election is "razor thin."  He said, "I DO believe the polls," rather than the conspiracy theorists who suggest that the polls are misrepresenting the actual numbers.  "Every vote counts," he said, reminding everyone of Florida.

Sharon McCullar has been a popular speaker at these events and she was warmly received.  She spoke of the socialist, entitlement mindset of this administration and encouraged everyone to engage their children in this debate because it is, after all, their future.  McCullar said we are "on the verge of a nuclear holocaust between Israel and Iran...our world in possession of 20,000 nuclear weapons!  We hope and pray humanity will have the restraint not to detonate."

She spoke of the huge debt, the Arab Spring, the Muslim Brotherhood, and of course, Benghazi.  McCullar says "these days, we are living in?  These are the days God ordered for us," because "he knew we would be willing to stand with courage."

She said that God "is not neutral in the affairs of humankind."

McCullar's remarks were filled with humor and optimism as she reached out to everyone there and of every religious persuasion, to believe and to pray for the future of our country.

Here's a segment of her speech on Benghazi and Obama's national security policy which she says, "he's gonna get us all killed!"  And, I apologize for the angle.  Sharon isn't very tall so mostly what you see is the podium.  It's the words, really, that you need to hear.  And the thumbnail is sideways but it doesn't play sideways.  Anyway, just watch it.

One of the highlights of the night was Karen Watson, author of Being Black and Republican in the Age of Obama which you can order here. What a spitfire she is!

When she finished speaking there was a dash to the back of the room to pick up her booklet.  (I got one.)

Royal Alexander said, "She tells it like it is!"  and he's right.

She said, "Do not assume when you see a black person that they are a Democrat because they are not.  Do not assume when you see a Hispanic that they are Democrat.  They are not.  Do not assume when you see a woman that she is pro-abortion because she is not."  I mean, they may be all that, but it was a gentle reminder that maybe the opposition is larger than we know.

In addition to the rousing speakers, there was also great musical entertainment.  Johnny Rowland entertained the crowd between speakers and at one point did a take-off on "Midnight Special" which got these two patriots up on their feet.  It's a blurry picture because they were dancing up a storm in the aisle:

 They were having a great time!

The evening closed with "God Bless America" and a promise of a brighter future for America.

Now is the time.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monitoring Debate Three

I'm not live-blogging but I'm watching and will weigh in.  We just returned from a retirement party for a good friend and I'm being observed tomorrow ...  so ... I'm not live blogging.

In this first segment, the moderator is letting Obama run the show and Romney is lucky to get a word in.  And Obama is misrepresenting a lot of things.  I'll have to get the transcript because I'm late getting in on this one.

I did like Romney's line:  "Attacking me is not an agenda."  Good one.

Update 1:  Hmph.  I'm interested in the time clock on this one so far.  So far this seems like The Obama Show.  Is Romney here?

America's role in the world?  Romney  - American must be strong, America must lead.  To do that you must improve the economy.  We have to strengthen our military long-term.

Tehran!  The silence of the president was a "big mistake" he says.

Obama says America is stronger now than when he came into office, but this is not true.  The low information voter will believe this.

Obama is trying to make the case that our relationship with Israel is stronger than ever but it's not working.  He says we've cut our oil imports because we're drilling so much more at home but this, too, is a lie.

Falling back on this tired and unproven rhetoric shows Obama's weakness.
That said, now Obama blaming Bush.  #Fail.

Romney pounces by lining out his plan to make America energy independent.

We can get down into the weeds but right now, Romney is very much in command of the facts and winning.

Update 2:  Obama is interrupting a lot.  Romney seems in command of the facts and not at all flustered by Obama's blustering.  

Bob Schieffer challenges Romeny:  "Where are you going to get the money," to run your agenda?

Romney:  Well, Obamacare is a good start!  Hell, yeah.  And he plugs the Tenth Amendment.  States do a much better job with this, he says.

Rick Perry is pleased.

WTF?  Obama says we "need to be thinking about space."  Didn't he cut that?

Update 3:  It seems to me that Schieffer is letting Obama run the time and the tone of this debate.  "We have these things called 'aircraft carriers,'" Obama says to Romney.  Very condescending.

Obama vows that Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.  He says he supports Israel in a conflict with Iran.

Romeny:  "We will stand with Israel."   On Iran:  a nuclear capable Iran is not acceptable. Romney vows that a military option is "a last resort" only after every other option has been exhausted.

Where are the questions on Libya?

Update 4:  WTH?  Obama says he hasn't "apologized" to other nations? Is he not aware of YouTube?

Update 5:  Romney scores on the issue of Obama's apology tour.  You skipped Israel, Romney notes, and they noticed.  Romney hit a nerve it seems.  Obama's reaction is thin skinned.

Schieffer lobs a hypothetical question at Romney who declines to play the game. He prefers to stick to the real issues.  #Score.

Still, where are the Libya quesstions?

Update 6:  As much as Obama blathers about "keeping America safe," I wonder what the family of Chris Stevens has to say about that.

Latest timekeeper has Obama up four minutes on speak time.  Shocker.

The twitter feed reports that the general public is bored with this debate and foreign policy.   Can this be true?

I'm wondering when Obama says we need "to do nation building at home," do any of these "bored" people wonder how he is going to pay for it?  Why Obama's economic policies are absolutely crippling "nation building at home"?

Ah.  Bob Schieffer just noticed that Romney is also in attendance at this debate with a question about "divorcing Pakistan."


Update 7: Romney supports drone strikes "entirely."

Libya questions, anyone?

Update 8:  Oh please, baby!  Obama says Al Qaeda is weaker and "does not have the same capacity" to attack America that they used to.  I, respectfully, disagree.

Ask, well,  almost anyone.

Obama is rambling about cheap Chinese tires and saving jobs.  Is anyone talking about Libya yet?


Update 9:  Hmm.  The look on Obama's face as Romney calls China a "currency manipulator" is almost as if he's impressed; a student in class.  It's like he's never thought of this before.

Romney is in command of this question.

Romney's business acumen is showing here.  Obama's lack thereof is also showing.

Update 10:  Obama snarks back about outsourcing "jobs overseas."  - Not the point -

Score to Romney.

...... so glad I'm not live-blogging .... :|

Romney again..."Attacking me is not plan."  Defends his position on the auto bailout and says he disagreed with Bush on the auto bailout.  Obama interrupts.  I guess it's not Romney's turn to say "get the transcript" but he doesn't, exactly.  Obama:  "Let's check the record."  If Schieffer pulls out "the record" here, I'm done.

Update 11:  Obama, "Governor Romney, you keep on trying to airbrush history."  I think he's still talking about the auto bailout but he's pivoted to education, the deficit and griping about "the debt we currently have" without, somehow, mentioning that he is the one who has expanded the debt.

Romeny applies the "food stamp president" label on top of Obama's other economic failures.  Romney is coming off as very sincere that people not being able to find jobs "in a nation as prosperous as ours" is "a tragedy."  Very sincere and empathetic.

The end.


Obama first.

Obama is pointing at the camera and says Romney wants to "take us back" to the old days where people at the top don't have to play by the same rules. He says he wants to bring jobs back to our shores (but his policies dont show that) and reiterates that the wealthy need to pay more.  His current meme is "nation building here at home" and that through tough times, "we always bounce back."


He wants "to see peace," and wants to make "the world a safer place."  He "wants to make sure we get this economy going," which includes a track to a balanced budget.  He promises 12 million new jobs and getting people off food stamps by providing new jobs.  "This nation is the hope of the earth," he says.

Hmmmm.  Who won?

I'm giving this one to Romney only because so much of what Obama said was not true.  I did not believe his rhetoric on Israel or Iran.  Obama seemed thin skinned to me and defensive.

I think Romney should have pressed more on Libya.

I don't think that this debate will tip the scales in Obama's favor given the current "Mittmentum."  Fact checkers will find much fodder in Obama's statements.  That said, I don't think there is all that much difference is some of Romney's positions and Obama's and if so, the question comes to Israel and Iran, to me.  There is difference there.  Obama has a record on both.  And it's not good.

I give this one to Romney, but barely.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Gallup Showing a Romney Trend

The latest poll from Gallup is out and for the sixth time in a row, Romney is 50% or over:

You can download the complete trend here.

That said, I'm notorious for saying that I don't pay attention to the polls.  Much.  I mean, I don't think that we can dismiss them when they don't report what we want them to, then suddenly applaud them when they do.  I think they're just a snapshot of what is happening at the moment and that is all.

Yet then there are trends.

You can play with the electoral map here.

Rasmussen has it Romney 49%, Obama 47% today.

Donald Douglas breaks down the WSJ/NBC poll here:

Mr. Romney has pulled abreast of the president for the first time all year in the Journal poll, erasing a three-point lead among likely voters that Mr. Obama had in late September and a five-point lead earlier that month. Mr. Romney's surge followed his strong debate performance in Denver early this month and a contentious second debate with Mr. Obama last week. 

Donald rightly points out that this election will probably come down to "state by state efforts to get out the vote."

Doug Ross is feeling pretty good about Ohio:

Ohio represents a make-or-break state for both campaigns. And Hamilton County is the bellwether for the state, if the experts are to be believed. Using the 2010 results, Ohio's old District 1 very well could be a lock for Mitt Romney. And if the old OH-1 results hold, Mitt Romney is going to win Ohio by a very safe margin. I'm not in the prediction business, but I'll put a guesstimate in the comments. 

And making my point that polls really can't be trusted all that much, Clifford Thies reports that Nate Silver has gone apoplectic over the Gallup poll:

Nate Silvers, the New York Times poll guru, has gone apoplectic over the Gallup Poll. It - the gold standard of polls - is an outlier poll, he says. Suddenly, the Rasmussen Poll - that tool of the Republicans - is to be preferred. Oh, wait, not really, as it also is pointed toward a Romney win, although not as strongly. No, the new standard is this: polls that show Obama to still be ahead, they are the gold standard, no, wait, can't refer to the gold standard, I mean, the "consensus," and those that show Romney to be ahead are outlier polls.
I have a friend at work who remains flabbergasted that at this point in the election, and with the economy the way it is, why Romney has not widened the gap by now.  That this race remains close is beyond comprehension to him.  I have another friend who sees conspiracy in all the polls and all the media and believes that Romney HAS in fact pulled way ahead and that these latest polls showing a Romney trend simply reflect what can no longer be hidden.

Keep this in mind, too:

The Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power rankings project that Democrats will end up with 48 Senate seats, the Republicans 47, with five remaining Toss-Ups—Massachusetts,Montana,  Ohio,  Virginia  and Wisconsin. New polling in the Florida Senate race  shows incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson with a five-point advantage. Democratic Senator Maria Cantwellremains comfortably ahead in her reelection bid in Washington. 
If Romney wins the White House he will certainly need the Senate if he intends to repeal Obamacare.

And so it goes, back and forth...until election day.

Make Plans to Attend the Freedom Rally This Thursday

The Red River Tea Party is holding a long overdue Freedom Rally this week, Thursday, October 25 at the Bossier Civic Center from 5:30 - 7:30.

We've had several Tea Party rallies in Shreveport/Bossier since the first one in 2009 and each one gets better and better.  There will be live music, as always, and in the past there have been booths with groups distributing information (Fair Tax, etc.) or selling concessions.

I can't think of a better thing to do on a beautiful fall day right before the most important national election in recent history.

Scheduled speakers are conservative radio talk show host Moon Griffon, who appeared at the 2010 God and Country Rally.

Also speaking will be veteran Sharon McCullar.  Sharon is also the proud mother of two Marines and is a small business owner.  I've heard her speak at several of these rallies and she is always a highlight.  She's brought me to tears before with her moving and powerful stories.  Her speech at the 2010 Tax Day Tea Party was epic.

Also speaking will be U. S. Senator David Vitter and almost certainly the highlight of the day will be  C. L. Bryant's speech.

I've often told this story, but C. L. showed up at the first Bossier/Shreveport Tea Party in 2009 as just a spectator.  He had his little church in DeSoto Parish and his conservative views, and he came to see the Tea Party.  Organizer Royal Alexander started talking to him in the crowd and pulled him up on stage to speak;  his spontaneous speech that day launched him onto a nationwide platform that has culminated most recently into his acclaimed documentary Runaway Slave.  That documentary is now available in a number of digital download options.

Add this event to your list of things to do this week!  The weather is supposed to be grand, so come on out!

*Date corrected - Thanks Lee Ann!*

Local Veterans Day Events to Add to Your Calendar

Time to update your calendar with some important local events for Veterans Day.

On Wednesday, November 7 there will be a Veterans Day celebration at the Northwest Louisiana Veterans home on Arthur Ray Teague Parkway, at the foot of the Shreveport-Barksdale Bridge.  It begins at 9:30 a.m.  The Parkway High School band will perform and the ROTC will be in attendance.  All veterans are invited.

On Saturday, November 10 there will be a Vets for Vets Biker Rally at the old Hamel's Park (now RiverPark Church), on E. 70th Street.  The event kicks off at 9 and runs until 4.  Admission to the park is free.  There will be food, drinks (no alcohol), live music and other events.  Here's their website and flyer:

I know that the fabulous Soulfish Blues Band will be performing in the afternoon.  It should be a great event.  We will definitely be there.

Sunday November 11 at Municipal Auditorium is the Louisiana Military Hall of Heroes Induction Ceremony at 12:30.  It should run about an hour:

The American Legion’s Post 14 Commander, Stephen J. Lavery, will speak on the history of the Municipal Auditorium and the role that the American Legion played in leading the fundraising drive to build the building. All legionnaires are encouraged to attend this ceremony. Cleauthor Sanders, a USMC veteran who fought in World War II, will be inducted into the Louisiana Military Hall of Heroes.

Sunday, November 11 at 2 is the Louisiana Veterans Honor Parade.  This is the closing day of the Louisiana State Fair; floats, bands, ROTC groups, and veterans organizations will parade down the midway beginning at Fair Grounds Field and ending at Hirsch Memorial Coliseum.  Free admission and free parking for all veterans and their families.  Veterans in attendance will have the option to ride a shuttle bus in the parade.

Following the parade will be the Louisiana Veterans Honor Ceremony at Hirsch Coliseum.

Veterans from all wars will be recognized during the Louisiana Veterans Honor Ceremony at Hirsch Memorial Coliseum. The Shreveport Metropolitan Concert Band and Airline High School Choir will perform special music. Judge Henry Brown is the featured speaker. Informational booths on veterans services will be available, and awards will be presented to local veterans for special service.

And finally, on Monday, November 12, at Parkway High School, there will be a Military Tattoo Ceremony.

Ronald M. Chatelain, Louisiana's most decorated soldier, will be the honored guest at Parkway High School's JROTC Military Tattoo Ceremony. Chatelain is the recipient of the Distinguished Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star and five Purple Hearts -- all awards given for bravery in combat. 
A retired Army General will be there to present Mr. Chatelain's Distinguished Cross. The public is invited to attend this momentous occasion and also observe the Tattoo Ceremony, a military tradition that dates back more than 300 years. 
This year's program will feature a Saber Team, Drum Corps, Drill Team, dance line performance, choral selection, service medley, a flag folding ceremony including TAPS, an enlistment ceremony of high school students and more. A short social will follow the ceremony.

You can read more about traditional tattoo ceremonies here.

Many schools in the area will be honoring veterans on Veterans Day as well.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Live Blogging Debate No. 2: UPDATED

You ready?


8:10:  First question:  Will I be able to get a job when I graduate?  It goes to Romney first.  Romney spends the first half of his time explaining how college should be affordable and the rest about how hard it is to find a job.  Concludes with "I'm going to change that."  He does not answer the question.  I hate that.

Obama's response - applauds the kid for going to college then lists things he wants to do like build manufacturing jobs (how?), improve education, and then touts energy sources of the future and with a straight face says we have to reduce the deficit and quit paying for wars.

Crowley calls Romney back for a more specific answer.  Romney is just blaming Obama for graduates not being able to find jobs but doesn't list specifically how he's going to change that.

First impression?  The tension between the two candidates is trumping the question from the audience.

Why is it so hard for a politician to just.answer.the.question.?

8:15:  Blame Bush.  #Drink.

Question 2:  An energy questions.  Lie #1:  Obama says he has increased energy production.  "Malarkey!"

Oh, he means "clean energy".  Well, last time I checked, I can't fill up my gas tank with wind.

Romney points out that oil production is down on federal lands and has instituted a moratorium offshore.  Romney is for oil, coal, gas, and renewable energy.  "What we don't need is the president keeping us from taking advantage of our coal, oil and gas."  Romney cites Obama's war on coal.

Romney promises energy independence in eight years.

"How in the world Obama said no to [the Keystone Pipeline] I'll never know."  Score.

Romney scores on this one.

Lie #2:  Obama says we're drilling more on public lands than ever before.  BULL!

Obama tries to make the case that Romney has a war on coal.  What the hellllllll?......


Romney's comeback - you've cut licenses in half, Romney says.  "Not true" Obama says. Fact checkers will have a field day with this one.

LMAO!  Obama says the price of gas was low when he came into office because we were on the verge of another depression (translate - Blame Bush #Drink).    He's not taking responsibility for where they are now, however.  In essence, he's saying gas prices are higher because the economy is better?  WTF?

8:25:  Romney is determined to answer Obama's lies; Crowley points out it's not his turn.  Romney is trying to be sort of aggressive here.  Points for that.  Holding his ground.

On this tax question, Romney is solid and specific.  After a vague start with that first question, he's settling into his game.  Obama has been thin skinned, I think, and deceptive.  If he has, in fact, been deceptive, fact checkers will get him.

Obama on taxes is interesting.  Is he going to address the 21 new taxes in Obamacare?

8:35:  I wish Romney would nail Obama on the Obamacare taxes here.

Obama pulls out Big Bird.  #Drink.

Crowley wanders into the weeds about what if Romney's numbers don't add up and he doesn't fall for that.  "Of course they add up," he says, and cites his extensive business experience.

Good response.

And for the record, I think these questions are sort of lame.  Now we have an equality in the workplace question.  Is this the biggest issue we have before us?

8:45:  Romney is making a point to tout his business experience in as many responses as he can.  Plus, I think he's doing a better job at showing pathos and compassion than he has in the past.  It's resonating.

On the pay equality question, Obama somehow leaps to health care.  And touts Planned Parenthood.  Planned Parenthood makes women better workers?  What?  What?!  WTH is he talking about?  (And despite what Obama says, Planned Parenthood does NOT do mammograms.)

Moving along.  Next question.

Romney points out to the "undecided voter" asking him how he will differ from Bush by pointing out that he and Bush are different people.  He cites specifics like clamping down on China with regard to trade, a balanced budget which Bush didn't have (and zings Obama at the same time), and on championing small businesses while Bush was a champion of big business.  Clear, specific answer.

He finishes up with a zinger on how Obamacare is killing small business.  SCORE.

Obama laughs.  Of course.

"We came in during tough times."  #drink.

Obama spends half his time hacking on Bush here.  Someone please tell him that Bush isn't running this year.

8:55:  On a softball question asking about his accomplishments, Obama starts with "Osama bin Laden is dead."  #drink.

Touts Obamacare, reigning in Wall Street, created five million jobs and saved the auto industry.  Fact checkers, please?

Obama says he wants to "control our own energy."   Well yes, he's doing that #NoKeystonePipeline

Romney tells the questioner if you re-elect Obama you'll get a repeat of the last four years, which we can't afford.  Romney is listing what Obama HAS NOT done:  immigration reform, reducing the deficit ("in fact he doubled it"), reduction of health insurance premiums ("they've gone up"), and "he created five million jobs after losing five million jobs."  And then hones in on food stamps.    SCORE.

Romney is specific, on point, and winning.

9:00:  An immigration question.  You going to send us back?

We welcome legal immigrants, he says, and need a streamlined, legal policy.  Green cards stapled to diplomas for math, science, trained people.  Stop illegal immigration.  No amnesty for illegals.  No magnets for illegals.  The kids of illegals should have a pathway such as military service to gain status.

They are both screwing up this woman's name.

Obama's response:  everybody wants to come here.  "We're a nation of laws.  We need to fix a broken immigration system."

OMG he really went there.  More agents on the border.   Someone ask him about Brian Terry, please!  Do those agents get guns with bullets or beanbags?

9:05:  Romney sits in his chair making notes on this response.

Candy Crowley asks Romney about self-deportation but Romney chooses to correct Obama's lies about him.  Candy is miffed.

Romney points out that Obama had the presidency and the Congress for two years yet did nothing with immigration reform.  SCORE.

"I'm not in favor of rounding up people and taking them out of this country," says Romney.

Romney nails Obama on the pension question and Chinese investments.  Candy tells Romney to sit down.  Obama is uneasy on the pension question and says, "I don't check it that often; mine's not as big as yours."  The audience laughs.

Next question:  A Libya question.  This should be good.  It's to Obama first.

Who denied enhanced security and why?

9:15:  Obama says as soon as he found out the embassy was being over run he told them to beef up security.  Wasn't it too late then?

Obama chooses to attack Romney's press release on Libya rather than answer the question.  "You don't turn national security into a political issue!"  

Oh god.  "When it comes to national security, I mean what I say."  Oh lord.  The places I could go.

Bin Laden is dead.  #drink.

Romney:  No demonstration involved; it WAS a terrorist attack but it took days for the American people to hear the truth.  And by the way, on that same day, Obama went to Las Vegas.  SCORE.

Romney points out that he should have been tending to national security business rather than campaigning.  Moving on to Iran, Israel and leading from behind.

Crowley asks about Hillary taking responsibility and asks if the buck doesn't stop with him.  #setup

Obama says he was in the Rose Garden the day after the attack and said it was an act of terror and that he would hunt the perpetrators down.  He's offended that anyone would play politics or mislead.  "That's not what we do."  Really?

But he did.

Romney pins him down:  On the day after the attack did you say it was an act of terror?  Not a spontaneous demonstration?

Candy backs Obama, Obama says "get the transcript," the audience applauds.  Romney presses the issue.  Cites Susan Rice going on five talk shows saying it was a spontaneous event.

Wow.  This last question about AK47s calls for a Fast and Furious answer from Romney.

Will it come?

Closing:  Obama - lets get automatic weapons out of the hands of killers and the mentally ill.  What about Mexican drug dealers?

Romney: not in favor of taking guns away.  Automatic weapons are already illegal.

Yeah!  There he goes!  Fast and furious!

Obama gave guns to drug lords who killed their own citizens.  "For what purpose this was put in place, I can't imagine!"  SCORE!!!!!

Double score:  Obama invoked executive privilege in the investigation.  Candy reroutes him back to assault weapons.

That's okay - he got it in.

Obama's comeback?  He's struggling.  He's in the weeds here about community colleges and education.  No comeback on Fast and Furious from Obama.

On the terror/Libya question - in the speech Obama referred to in the Rose Garden, he said:

"No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done."
Yet multiple times after when he was asked, he refused to call it terror.

Semantics?  Same thing?  You be the judge.

On an outsourcing question, Crowley asks who will bring Apple back from China.  Romney says we have to make America more attractive for jobs, cites regulations, lower taxes for business, etc.  Obama concedes that some jobs will never come back and blathers about tax cuts for people who don't need them.

Romney interjects:  "Government does not create jobs!"

Question:  What do you believe is the biggest misconception the American people have about you...".


Romney insists that he cares about 100% of the American people, our kids, and says his passion flows from the fact that he believes in God.  Cites his compassion for people out of work and says he saved the Olympics.  #drink.    Romney then wafts off into what we don't have to settle for, thus blowing the chance to paint himself as a human rather than the robot many undecideds think he is.

Obama:  I don't think government creates jobs!  #LIE!  He suddenly believes in self-reliance.  Lightning just struck the White House.

He said it with a straight face, too!

Obama comes out with the 47% comment.    And puts it out of context.

Hmmm.  Who won?  I'm not sure Romney won the Libya Rose Garden question.  Obama's staff (Rice) blamed the video yet Obama says he blamed terror in his speech.  Which is it?  You can't have it both ways. Does your staff not represent you?

I think when you sift through the lies Obama put out there, Romney was more accurate.  Romney was appropriately confrontational without being Joe-Biden-Rude.  Obama was more assertive, but he lied a lot.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Take a Trip to the Norton Art Gallery for the "Photographs of the Vietnam War" Exhibit

Today was the last day to catch the Photographs of the Vietnam War 1970-71 exhibit at the R.W. Norton art gallery.  The actual title of the exhibit is "In the Shadow of Danger: Photographs of the Vietnam War; 1970-71."  The exhibit will be traveling around the country though, and if you get the chance to see it, you should.

This exhibit began in conversation. In 2011, Robert Spangler of Longview, Texas, a combat correspondent with the 10th Public Information Detachment, came to the museum to participate in our Oral History Project about his memories of life and service in the Vietnam War. That day, Bob lugged in boxes filled with his archives of 500 photographs from the war.

They revealed his work from the year he spent writing and photographing for military publications stories about soldiers around him. Bob, with his M16 rifle, rucksack, notebook and camera, spent many days sharing the danger of fellow soldiers stalking the enemy in "the bush". He photographed life aboard army aircraft and duty on fire support bases. He captured images of artillerymen as they manned howitzers, medics at work on casualties, dogs of war and their handlers, and men of many ranks from generals to privates, all in documenting a year in a distant and dangerous country.

The museum has preserved his more than 500 photographs in digital form and took 80 of those images, enlarged them to 12 x 17 size, and framed them.

Robert Spangler is a native of Fort Worth, Texas and enlisted in the Army in 1969.  He went to Vietnam in 1970, assigned to the 196th Light Infantry Brigade.  He was assigned to the 10th Public Information Detachment of the American Division Public Information Office and spent the next year taking pictures and writing stories of soldiers in war.

He typed his stories on an old manual typewriter and printed his pictures in a makeshift darkroom built from a crate and a blanket.

His stories and photos appeared in Southern Cross, Army Times, and Stars and Stripes.

The exhibit is spread throughout three galleries.  In the first gallery was this wonderful shot:

I want to know what he's reading.  The accompanying text box points out that he wore his wedding ring to the war.

I liked this picture, too:

The caption is "Smoke 'em if you've got 'em."

Eating on the go:

And the dog pictures...

There was an exhibit of Spangler's uniform and his cameras as well as several of his articles:

We moved on through the exhibit and I was looking at this picture...

...which is of John McCain's father taken on Christmas Day 1970.  At the time of this photograph, his son was spending Christmas as a prisoner in Hanoi Hilton.  I was busy reading the text block when someone walked up to us and thanked us for coming to the exhibit.  It was, of course, Robert Spangler.  What an honor!

He was just mingling among the patrons visiting with anyone who had questions, comments, or stories to share.

In September of this year, the Norton brought in several of the men in the photos to see the exhibit.  It was a reunion of sorts, and was the first time they had seen each other in 40 years.  There's a framed image from the flyer hanging near the exhibit and all of the men signed the mat.

Here is dining al fresco, Vietnam style:

While visiting with Mr. Spangler, he told us that there was a catalog of the exhibit for sale which has all of the photos on display as well as their text blocks.  We rushed up to the front to get one which he graciously signed for us.

Before we left the museum we had to check out the library which has recently opened.  Library is a misnomer, really; the books do not circulate:

 One portion of this section is devoted to the James M. Owens Book Collection, a remarkable selection of early Americana, which includes such significant historical works as a 1787 copy of Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia and the 1808 Reports of the Trials of Col. Aaron Burr, for Treason, and for a Misdemeanor, in Preparing the Means of a Military Expedition against Mexico, a territory of the King of Spain, with whom the United States were at peace, among many others.
The crown jewel is the huge, rare Audubon double elephant folio of the Birds of America, weighing in at 40 pounds.

It is the most beautiful library I've ever seen:

I could totally spend every day in there, quietly reading.  The room is filled with rare and precious woods and everything was made on site and locally (except for the chairs) by craftsmen and artisans.

I love the stained glass window in the office:

We took a quick run through the rest of the museum (they've moved a lot of things) before heading out.

If you're a local and haven't been to the Norton lately, put it on your list of things to do.

The photo exhibit leaves today but the next one coming in is The Curious World of Patent Models From the Rothschild Collection.  It opens October 23, 2012.

The SIGIS Take a Trip Series:
Take a Trip to the 2012 Defenders of Liberty Air Show at BAFB
Take a Springtime Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden, LA
Take a Trip to Logansport, Louisiana
Take a Trip to the Lock and Dam on Red River
Take a Trip to the 2012 Barkus and Meoux Parade
Take a Christmas Shopping Trip to Second Hand Rose in Minden
Take a Trip to the Fourth Annual Barksdale AFB Oktoberfest
Take a Trip to Grand Cane's Fifth Annual Pioneer Trade Day
Take a Trip to the 2011 Highland Jazz & Blues Festival
Take an Autumn Trip to Jefferson, Texas
Take a Fall Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to the 8th Air Force Museum at Barksdale Air Force Base
Take a Summertime Trip to Grand Cane
Take a Trip to Desoto Parish
Take a Summer Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Melrose Plantation 
Take a Trip to Ed Lester Farms and a Random Antique Stop
Take a Trip to the Norton Art Gallery and the Masters of Cuban Art Exhibit
Take a Trip to Natchitoches to See the Christmas Lights
Take a Trip to the Third Annual BAFB Oktoberfest
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Oakland Plantation
Take a Trip to Jefferson, Texas
Oktoberfest at BAFB

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Live-Blogging the Ryan/Biden Debate - UPDATED

The VP debate begins in a couple of hours.

While we're waiting, anyone want to explain to me HOW Team Obama can blame the events in Benghazi on Romney/Ryan?

"...a cornered flack falls back on her most basic impulse in a desperate situation: She blames the other party for making a big deal out of nothing. And by “nothing,” I mean the murder of the U.S. ambassador and three American consulate personnel."

Go here for the video.

You think Libya will come up tonight?

Are we not allowed to ask questions about national security anymore?

AddedKrauthammer:  "Nobody died in Watergate." 

Wall Street Journal calls the debate for Biden and we're still thirty minutes from the start. 

Ace is lowering expectations; it's a good point.  Getting cocky is always bad. 

7:45:  I'm watching pre-game on CSPAN.  Frank Fahrenkoph is asking people in the audience not to Tweet for 90 minutes.  Fat chance. 

Hey, did you see Paul Ryan's TIME photo shoot

8:00Here we go.

8:05:   Libya right out of the gate - AND Raddatz calls it a pre-planned assault and a terrorist attack.  Biden vows to "get to the bottom of it" yet pivots to Afghanistan.  She asked about Libya.  First Osama bin Laden reference.  Let's count them!

8:10:  Ryan's first response to the question hammers on the YouTube video blame game.   "Now they're trying to blame the Romney/Ryan ticket for making this an issue!"  He's incredulous.  Biden is squinting.  

Good one:  Ryan points out that we should have spoken out sooner on the Iran Green Revolution as he defends Romney's speaking out on Libya.

"That's a bunch of malarkey," says Biden.    "Be specific," says Raddatz.   

Biden says "These guys bet against America all the time!"  WTH is he talking about?

He falls back to the "bad intelligence" excuse.

8:15:   Ryan is steady, in command of his facts and Biden is over there laughing at Ryan and smirking.  That ought to backfire on Biden.

8:20: "Bibi's been my friend for 39 years!" says Biden.  Condescending.  Biden swears Obama/Biden "will not allow" Iran to get a nuclear weapon; "Iran is more isolated today than they were when we took office!"  Talk about malarkey!

Biden's smirking, eye rolling, and outright laughing at Paul Ryan is bad form.  "Facts matter!"  Biden says.  Well yes, Joe, they do.

Switching to the economy now.

8:25:   Biden opens the economy segment by talking about the mess Bush left.  And there's the 47% comment.  Ryan ought to be on solid ground on this topic.

Biden wants to "level the playing field."  Translate:  socialism.

As Ryan points out the high unemployment rate Biden outright laughs at him. 

Biden says Republicans just need "to get out of the way."  Ryan rebounds with the reminder that they came in with one party control and passed a stimulus.

Biden continues to laugh, smirk and call Paul Ryan his "friend."

Ryan:  "Was it a good idea to borrow all this money from China?"

Ryan:  "Where are the five million green jobs?"

Moving on to Medicare.

8:40:   Ryan:  Obamacare takes $716 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare.  Obamacare's board will lead to denied care for current seniors.  Biden:  "Gawd I heard that death panel debate from Sarah Palin."

Biden talks right to the camera now, to seniors:  Do you have more benefits today than you used to?

As Ryan tries to make his case Biden interrupts him then laughs at him.  Ryan needs to get aggressive here.

8:45:   Why does Raddatz keep letting Biden interrupt Ryan and step on his time?  (Rhetorical question).

Biden's strategy seems to be interrupt everything Ryan says so that Ryan can't make a point and Raddatz lets him.  Again, Ryan needs to be more aggressive.

Moving on to taxes.  Biden gets his two minute opening.  Note:  Ryan does not interrupt.

Ryan's turn:  thirty seconds in, Biden shaking his head and smirking.  Ryan is in command of his facts and statistics as he points out the faults of taxing small businesses.  Ryan takes his turn to look into the camera:  "Look out middle class!  The tax bill is coming to YOU!"

Ryan does, however, get through his two minutes without an interruption this time.  Lots of smirking and outright laughing by Biden though.  Obnoxious.

8:50:   Raddatz is doing nothing to reign Biden in and Biden is making an ass out of himself.  As Ryan touts bipartisanship and Jack Kennedy, Biden says, "Oh NOW you're Jack Kennedy!?"

Between Raddatz and Biden, Ryan has a hard time completing a thought; that said, he's doing well just staying on his feet.

Pivoting to defense now.  Raddatz and Biden are now double teaming Ryan.  Ryan points out that a small defense invites weakness.  Biden denies cuts to defense and asserts that sequestration is what the Republicans wanted.  Ryan is getting his sea legs and getting a little more aggressive.

Raddatz cuts Ryan off yet again to move on to Afghanistan.

9:00:  Ooops - another bin Laden reference from Biden.  #DRINK

In case al Qaeda didn't know when we were pulling out of Afghanistan?  2014.  Says Joe.

Thanks Paul Ryan:  We don't want to put our draw down date on our enemies calendar.

Biden:  That's a bizarre statement.

Good grief.

Raddatz:  Do you think the Taliban is taking advantage of this timeline?  Duh!!!

Now Raddatz is schooling Biden on how the military follows orders.  Is Ryan still here?

9:05:   Ryan makes the case that our soldiers in Afghanistan are less safe because they're doing the same mission with less people; Biden says that the Afghans should step up.  Now we're arguing about fighting seasons.  "The calendar works the same every year," says Ryan.

Biden's philosophy:  It's Afghanistan's problem now.

To Syria:  Biden profoundly pronounces Syria "a different country."

9:10:   Bless his heart, Paul Ryan is trying to stay steady on on track but Biden misrepresents everything and interrupts constantly.  I think Ryan isn't aggressive enough or a big enough blow hard to keep up with Joe.  Plus, in general, Americans are tired of our presence in Afghanistan, I think, so Biden is probably winning on this one.  I think Ryan is winning on argument but Biden's personality is overshadowing the facts.

9:15:  Abortion.  And Raddatz notes they are both Catholic.  "Please talk personally about this, if you could," she says.

Ryan is pro-life but not just because of his Catholic faith.  Because of reason and science, too, he says.  "I believe life begins at conception."  Ryan tells a personal story about his first child's ultrasound where she looked like a "bean."  And then saw the heartbeat.

You can hear Biden laughing in the background.

Ryan:  Now the Democratic party supports abortion without restriction and WITH taxpayer funding.

Biden's turn:  "My religion defines who I am."  Biden says he accepts that life begins at conception but refuses to impose his faith on other people.

Ryan says the Romney administration will oppose abortion "with exceptions."

9:25:  Biden reminds us that the next president will get one or two Supreme Court nominations.  Thanks for that reminder.

Raddatz is closing with a question about the negativity and tone of the campaign.  Biden is wandering in the weeds somewhere about Romney/Ryan stepping on the middle class.  Romney has made "slipshod comments" Biden says.  He would know one.

Ryan:  Obama ran on Hope and Change and is now running on blame and defame.  Points to all the broken promises (health care:  You can keep your insurance!)  Ryan points to 21 tax increases in Obamacare, 12 of which hit the middle class.  No credible budget from Obama in four years.  We speeches from this administration, not leadership. 

Biden interrupts, of course, and asks for equal time even though his time came first.

And Raddatz gives it to him.  I'd be interested to see the talk time numbers on this one.

Raddatz attempts to cut Ryan off as he tries to defend himself.  Of course.

Closing:  Ryan point to their five point plan, proven pro growth policies, etc.  Biden gets testy with Raddatz as she tells him he has fifteen seconds.  "He gets 40 and I get 15."  Cry baby.

Biden gets first closing statement. 
Level the playing field.
Even shot.

Ryan's turn.
Big choice.
Not a real recovery.

Hmm.  Who won?  I think Ryan held his own and Biden made points, too.  I'd actually call it a draw.  Not the steamrolling that conservatives anticipated at any rate.

Biden was obnoxious and if anything, that could play against him, but I think people just expect that from him by now.  I don't think this debate will change the current Romney momentum.

We get to do this again in less than a week with the next presidential debate coming on Tuesday.
Job creator.

Tonight's Debate

I'll be live blogging the VP debate tonight. C'mon back this evening and join the fun.  Ought to be a really good show!

Pre-game starts about 7:30 CST.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"My Number One Priority is to Always Keep our Diplomats Safe..."


The fact that Obama went to Vegas the night news was breaking in America about the murder of American ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens is insane.

Even crazier than that?  Everyone involved knew that Benghazi (and Stevens) was a target and nobody did anything about it.  Oh wait, actually, what they did was stand down:

The former head of a Special Forces "Site Security Team" in Libya tells CBS News that in spite of multiple pleas from himself and other U.S. security officials on the ground for "more, not less" security personnel, the State Department removed as many as 34 people from the country in the six months before the terrorist attack in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.


For some strange reason, despite the obvious jihadist presence in eastern Libya and multiple warnings from different sources that they needed better protection, State seems to have resisted calls for a more robust security presence at every turn.  

The State Department basically says nothing was amiss, that no extra support was requested, and that there was no net loss of personnel after the initial team left in August.

Read more here and here.

Pundette asks the relevant question:

It's incredible to me that no one has been fired over this; Americans, including the US ambassador, were killed. Why the decreased security? Someone has to answer that. Was it just bureaucratic stupidity and negligence, or part of the administration's effort to minimize the threat of terrorism? 


Do we even need to ask what the media would be saying had this happened under George W. Bush's administration?

At least this debacle is distracting us from talking about the last debacle.  The just keep coming.

Let's put it in pictures: