Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Senator Warner is acting like a politician

According to the Washington Post:
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) asked Army Lt. Gen. David H . Petraeus...yesterday if Senate resolutions condemning White House Iraq policy "would give the enemy some comfort."

Petraeus agreed they would, saying, "That's correct, sir."
Senator John Warner waded in:
Warner (R-Va.), until recently chairman of the Armed Services Committee and a co-sponsor of one of those resolutions, later explained to the general that he needed to be more careful about appearing to wade into a political debate and warned Petraeus to not let himself be trapped into portraying members of Congress as unpatriotic for disagreeing with President Bush
Apparently no one on the committe objected to the question before the General answered. General Petraeus gave a straight and obvious answer to a straight question. How could anyone think that the resolutions won't give comfort to the enemy?

That doesn't necessarily mean that the resolutions were wrong, only that making them has costs, and one of those costs is encouraging the enemy. That is why politicians should think before they vote for such resolutions: they have un-wished for, but predictable, consequences.

Instead of acting seriously, Senator Warner is trying to intimidate someone for pointing out the obvious. Or is he really so foolish that he thinks resolutions have no consequences beyond the Beltway?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Free Speech Requires That I Not Be Criticized for What I Say

There is a brouhaha in Wisconsin -and apparently around the country- after a gratuitous anti-war comment from an on-line store to an American soldier in Iraq. However:
Anti-war and free speech advocates were equally offended, by the widespread criticism of the company and the individual who responded to the soldier.

"This is a matter of free speech," said Julie Enslow, an organizer with Peace Action Wisconsin in Milwaukee. "It is totally irresponsible for radio stations and bloggers to attack a person for his personal political views."
Well, Julie, that's what free speech is all about. Freedom to speak free of government sanction, and the freedom to criticize others' speech. Get used to it. And perhaps you should bone up on just what constitutes free speech and what doesn't.

The government hasn't expressed any interest in attacking him. In fact they are concerned about protecting him from any possible danger. He made a comment in a reply to a business inquiry, and now he and likely his employer will bear both criticism and applause from other people exercising their right to free speech.

It's a shame for his employer that either they had no policy on such comments, or that he didn't follow policy. Still, I am left with the impression that the employers are standing up for the comment, so whatever criticism or loss of sales they suffer will be a result of their response. If they have a problem with that, they should repudiate the original comment as not being company policy.

Annysa Johnson has the story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Senator Chuck Schumer and his Invisible Friends

New York Senator Chuck Schumer has a column in the January 29th issue of Newsweek in which he wrote:
I thought about some old friends, Joe and Eileen Bailey. Though they are imaginary, I frequently talk to them...In 2006, Democrats did much better with people like Joe and Eileen
So Senator Schumer talks with his invisible friends, his invisible friends talk with him, and they vote for Democrats. If the Democrats keep getting invisible friends to vote for them, pretty soon it will be the Democrats who are invisible.

Senator Schumer then gave his prescription for what the Democrats should offer to do for America:
Democrats should commit to increasing reading and math scores 50 percent by dramatically increasing federal involvement, and funding, in public schools. We should increase the number of college graduates by 50 percent. We should call for reducing illegal immigration by at least 50 percent and increasing legal immigration. We should cut our dependence on foreign oil by 50 percent, and reduce cancer mortality, abortions and childhood obesity each by 50 percent. We should increase our ability to fight terrorism by 50 percent.
I am curious: Just where did Senator Schumer come up with his 50% goals? I find it hard to believe that every issue he addressed needs exactly a 50% increase or decrease. Why should 50% more people go to college? Why wasn't 45% more appropriate? 55%? Maybe only 15%? Maybe the current level is about right. It looks like he just pulled the number out of his hat. Maybe the good Senator got the numbers from his invisible friends.

Isn't federal spending a serious enough responsibility for Senator Schumer to put any thought into? I thank Newsweek for publishing this column. It showed me just how seriously unserious Senator Schumer is about his job.