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Political Trivia: Saved The Koran

November 24, 2015

While looking for some information in some books of mine about the years just after the Civil War I found myself thumbing through the pages of a work written by Allan Nevins and Henry Steele Commager.   While not finding what I was searching for I did come across this slice of trivia.

Many of the southern colleges had been destroyed during the war and their libraries sent up in smoke.  But at the University of Alabama the librarian was able to save exactly one book from the soldier’s fury.

That book was a copy of the Koran.

Should Suspected Terrorists Be Allowed To Buy Guns In America?

November 23, 2015


Let’s ponder that for a  mome…


Right now in this nation if your are a suspected terrorist on the no-fly list you can still legally purchase firearms.    Even if this nation was not fearful of some type of terrorist attack the very idea of a suspected terrorist having the right to head to a gun show, for instance, and pick up some weapons for a massive killing is simply absurd.    This practice must end.

There is legislation that would do that very thing.

In a bipartisan attempt to bring sanity to the issue the legislation, known as the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act, is being authored and fought for by Senator Feinstein and Congressman Peter King.    This is not the first time such a bill has been attempted–in 2007 the measure failed.

And one major reason it did fail was due to–guess who?

Yes, boy and girls, the National Rifle Association.

Yesterday on a news program New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called on Congress to “help us out with that Terrorist Watch List, those thousands of people that can purchase firearms in this country,” saying he’s “more worried about them than I am about Syrian refugees, to be quite frank with you,”

I think this nation also needs to deal with another terrorist organization called the NRA who is stopping our nation from doing all it can to be safe.  Anyone who aids the terrorists can also be called the same.

It is time for common sense and wisdom to dominate when it comes to this matter.  How can anyone in congress not see the potential threat by allowing suspected terrorists in this nation to buy guns?

Exactly how much campaign cash from the NRA does it take to make a member of congress shove his/her head up their backside?

Press Saying No To Limiting Coverage Of New York Mayor de Blasio

November 23, 2015

The first part of this story is priceless.  I loved Tim Russert and can see his eyes as the event described below played out.   But the larger story is one that must not be allowed to stand.

That is the attempt by a politician–in this case New York Mayor Bill de Blasio–to contain, limit, and thus control news coverage of his administration.

One day in the early 1980s, when Marcia Kramer was covering Albany for the New York Daily News, she was upset about a story in the New York Post.

The late Tim Russert was then a top aide to Gov. Mario Cuomo, and Ms. Kramer believed Mr. Russert had helped the Post with the story, recalled Adam Nagourney, then Ms. Kramer’s co-worker and now a New York Times NY  reporter.

“She marched down, with me in tow, to Russert’s office, walked past the secretaries, blew into his office, and sat down,” Mr. Nagourney said.

In colorful language unfit for print, Ms. Kramer told Mr. Russert, who went on to host “Meet the Press,” that if he wanted to “play hardball” she would castrate him, Mr. Nagourney said. “Tim looked like he wanted to throw up.”

Some 30 years later, Ms. Kramer is the chief political correspondent for CBS  2, and her long-standing, pull-no-punches tactics are now aimed at a new sparring partner—New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has vowed to change how City Hall interacts with the media.

Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, has sometimes barred “off-topic” questions at news conferences, scaled back the number of freewheeling question-and-answer sessions he holds, and said he would get his message out “unfiltered.”

Ms. Kramer isn’t having it.

This country is best served when the likes of Kramer make up the newsrooms of every radio and television station, and beats in the heart of every print journalist.

Campbell’s Soups Gay Dads Are ‘Sexiest Pitchmen Alive’–So Says People Magazine

November 22, 2015

Was it not great when one of America’s long-time and favorite mainstream advertisers allowed for two gay dads to star with their son in a commercial?

David Beckham may have landed on the cover of People Magazine’s annual Sexiest Man Alive issue this year but Larry Sullivan and David Monahan landed a nice spot inside.

The couple were deemed ‘Sexiest Pitchmen Alive’ by the magazine for their memorable Campbell’s Soup commercial this year which featured the dads with their son Cooper.

The charming spot for the soup giant’s Star Wars offering went viral. It features each dad doing his best to channel James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vadar as they tell Cooper: ‘I am your Father.’

‘I didn’t realize it would blow up and become the big deal it has become,’ Sullivan, 45, tells People. ‘Neither of us have been on the ‘I’m an activist’ train, and I still don’t think we really are, because all we’re doing is just living our lives. But it just so happens that our spot is entering people’s living rooms that normally probably wouldn’t let us into their homes, and they don’t really have a choice.’

Monahan, 44, adds: ‘At the end of the day all we’re trying to do is pay for preschool and our mortgage! But we’re happy to be that couple who put ourselves out there to just show that families come in all shapes and sizes.’

Praise For UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow

November 22, 2015

Once again we see how important it is to have the right person in charge.

That is the case with University of Wisconsin La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow when dealing with an image of a Confederate flag that was displayed over the entire grill of a semi parked on campus grounds.  Construction work was underway and the semi was sparked in a visible location.

It would seem to many, myself included, that in 2015 this symbol of hatred and worse would have been long ago thrown into the trash.  That it keeps appearing is troubling. It is, after all, a racist symbol.  That it was front and center for the shooter in the racially motivated slaughter of nine African-Americans at a Charleston, South Carolina church this year is just the latest argument as to why it is not something to be allowed in our society.

As such, the students who felt troubled and threatened by that image of the flag being so blatanly presented had every reason to bring it to the attention of the place they attend for higher education.

That is when Chancellor Joe Gow did the right thing.  He made sure that the safety of his students and the climate of learning at the university was front and center.

Campus officials requested that the flag be removed and the trucker did so.

The question that came to my mind was why anyone would place a huge image of the Confederate flag on a grill of a truck?  The very fact it happened underscores what many college students on campuses around the nation are making quite clear.  Racism very much still exists.

But also in the mix are those who stand up to the words or images that are only meant to harm and say NO.  That is what Gow did.  He should be applauded for the firm commitment to making sure his kids are safe, his campus a site that is aware of how those attending feel, and knowing that education is best attained in an environment free of symbols of hate.

We often find time to point out when someone does something wrong and it makes news.  Lord knows this blog is filled with such posts.  But we also need to let the light shine on those who make a positive difference.

That well-deserved light today is on UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow.

David Vitter Political Cartoons

November 22, 2015

I would never have suggested in the lead-up to the Louisiana governor’s race that Republican Senator David Vitter would lose by 12 points.   This is after all Louisiana where the sex scandal of Vitter is not even in the top tier of truly crazy and politically inept things that has taken place among their political elite.   I knew the polls were showing John Bel Edwards with strength, but to whip a dog with a such a thrashing as that given out in Saturday’s election was stunning.

Now I am pretty open-minded but there is no way to wrap my head around the idea of a U.S. Senator who championed family values in his campaigns paying for a prostitute–and then bringing diapers into the equation.     Family values must mean something different by us Yankees.  But at the end of the day it seems many voters in Louisiana saw the hypocrisy too and voted to show the door to Vitter

There is no real glee here in the fact Vitter’s Democratic opponent won the race.  Edwards had to play in Louisiana politics and therefore is a shadow when it comes to being a party leader.

So that leaves me this morning snickering over some of the best memories from the time when Vitter was a national joke.

v1 v3 v4 v5 v6


U.S. Military Intelligence Misleading Nation’s Leaders Regarding Daesh

November 22, 2015

A most troubling investigation by The New York Times makes for front-page above the fold must-reading today.  This story will be dominating the news.

In essence there seems to be a deep problem of dissenting voices being muffled by senior military commanders–voices that very well may have a more focused and clear-headed view about the nature of the threats we face and how to manage them.

This is a most disturbing read.   When our top leaders in the White House or congress can not have faith in the assessments from Centcom –assessments from which decisions are at times based–then there needs to be some medals to spin off jackets and military brass brought to their knees.  This is just unacceptable.

At the U.S. military’s Central Command (Centcom), “analysts say that supervisors revised conclusions to mask some of the American military’s failures in training Iraqi troops and beating back the Islamic State. … military officials have told Congress that some … emails and documents may have been deleted before they had to be turned over to investigators …

“Current and former officials have separately made similar claims … to The New York Times. … The insurrection inside Centcom is an important chapter in the story of how the United States responded to the growing threat from the Islamic State. This past summer, a group of Centcom analysts took concerns about their superiors to the inspector general, saying they had evidence that senior officials had changed intelligence assessments to overstate the progress of American airstrikes against … ISIS. … Centcom’s official posture remained generally upbeat. …

“Obama and senior intelligence officials have acknowledged that the Islamic State’s rapid emergence caught them by surprise. At the least, the prospect that senior officials intentionally skewed intelligence conclusions has raised questions about how much Mr. Obama, Congress and the public can believe the military’s assessments.”


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