Stepping away (Weekend open thread)

There are some things going on in the blogosphere right now (check out Wonkette, HotAir, and Malkin’s for more) that I don’t want to be a part of, even as a blogger standing on the sidelines watching it all play out. So I am stepping away from blogging for the next couple of days until the latest blog war brouhaha (hopefully) cools down. I’m afraid I’d be too tempted to blog about it if I stick around and will end up saying things that I’d later end up regretting, so stepping away from blogging for the weekend I will.

This will be a good opportunity for me to do some research on how to vlog, how to record news clips and post them to this site, and explore some other cool features to add to the blog. I want to make this blog the best it possibly can be and to do that I need to keep up with new trends in blogging – so I’ll spend a significant amount of time on that, rather than giving in to the temptation to get involved in the ongoing sparring.

Don’t worry – I’ll check in from time to time to release any non-spam/troll comments held in moderation. In the meantime, please use this thread as the weekend open thread. I’ll be available via email, should you need to contact me.

For your listening enjoyment, this clip is from U2’s halftime performance at the 2002 SuperBowl. They are playing the best song I think they’ve ever done: “Where the Streets Have No Name” – they performed it at the bowl as a tribute to 9-11 victims, and you’ll see the names of the victims scrolling in the background. It starts off somber, but within a few seconds, the actual song starts.

REMINDER: Carolina FreedomNet 2006

Here are the details of the upcoming NC conservative blogger conference I posted about a several weeks ago.

It’s on Saturday October 7th at the Sheraton Greensboro (NC) – Koury Convention Center from 8-2.

Yours truly will be there and will also on one of the panels. Will be my first blog conference and obviously my first panel. I’m a bit nervous, but as you see from the details page I’ll be in good company, so that should help calm the jitters a bit.

As a reminder, Scott Johnson from Powerline will be the keynote speaker. So please – make your reservations now :)

(Bumped from original post date of 9/12 at 3:59 PM)

US Rep. Mark Foley: Good riddance

Here’s the scoop on US Rep. Mark Foley’s (R-FL) decision to step down from the House over rumors he was soliciting sex from an underage (16 y/o) male page.

I read the rumors about the intial charges earlier at RawStory, and like Allah, didn’t want to post about them until they could be substantiated. Looks like now they have been.

MSNBC’s a little behind on this one, and are not as yet reporting that the resignation is official, but I’m sure they’ll have updates on the story soon. They’ve also got a related “where are they now” story posted, which takes a look at those involved in the big political scandals that have rocked DC over the last 30 years.

Update I: Irony watch: Foley was part of the Missing and Exploited Childrens Caucus (hat tip: Hot Air commenter “Valiant”).

Update II: Also commenting: Gay Patriot (who beat me to it on the comparison between this scandal and the one about Rep. Barney Frank from the late 80s), La Shawn Barber, Stop The ACLU, Blog For All, Suitably Flip

Update III: Here are some snippets from AIM’s between Foley and the page.

Confronting global warming hysteria: Sen. James Inhofe takes on CNN and the rest of the MSM

We’ve all read about the hysteria surrounding claims of “global warming”, most noteably coming from Al “Inconvenient Truth” Gore (read about his latest global warming rant here).

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) is a well-known critic of the theory of global warming and its alarmists, and made a speech on Monday on the Senate floor to discuss the myths surrounding global warming. Yesterday, CNN ran a piece criticizing Inhofe’s speech and falsely claimed that Inhofe was “alone” on Capitol Hill with respect to his feelings on the hyped up claims of global warming.

Inhofe fought back yesterday at length with another speech, which took to task the claims made by CNN, while criticizing the MSM for ignoring any facts that call global warming claims into question. Here’s part of it:

I have been engaged in this debate for several years and believe there is a growing backlash of Americans rejecting what they see as climate scare tactics. And as a result, global warming alarmists are becoming increasingly desperate.

Perhaps that explains why the very next day after I spoke on the floor, ABC News’s Bill Blakemore on Good Morning America prominently featured James Hansen touting future scary climate scenarios that could / might / possibly happen. ABC’s “modest” title for the segment was “Will the Earth Become Too Hot? Are Our Children in Danger?”

The segment used all the well worn tactics from the alarmist guidebook — warning of heat waves, wildfires, droughts, melting glaciers, mass extinctions unless mankind put itself on a starvation energy diet and taxed emissions.

But that’s no surprise – Blakemore was already on the record declaring “After extensive searches, ABC News has found no such [scientific] debate” about manmade catastrophic global warming.

(LINK )

You have to be a pretty poor investigator to believe that. Why would 60 prominent scientists this last spring have written Canadian Prime Minister Harper that “If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary.” (LINK)

On Tuesday’s program, the ABC News anchor referred to Blakemore as “passionate” about global warming. “Passionate” is one word to describe that kind of reporting, but words like objectivity or balance are not.

I believe it’s these kinds of stories which explain why the American public is growing increasingly skeptical of the hype. Despite the enormous 2006 media campaign to instill fear into the public, the number of people who believe that weather naturally changes — is increasing.

A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll in August found that most Americans do not attribute the cause of recent severe weather events to global warming, and the portion of Americans who believe that climate change is due to natural variability has increased over 50% in the last five years.

Given the diminishing importance of the mainstream media, I expect that trend to continue.

Read it all.

Senator Pat Leahy: We’ll become just like the Taliban, Saddam’s Iraq if detainee bill passes (SENATE VOTE: Yeas 65, Nays 34)

This, I suppose, is Leahy’s way of trying to look tough on terror.

Greg Tinti has the video and transcript.

Sound familiar?

Here’s the latest on the Senate debate on the bill. The Republicans in the Senate displayed some backbone on this one, rejecting the moderate Republican Arlen Specter’s amendment to the bill, which, according to the NYT, would have created “a new system for interrogating and trying terror suspects that would have guaranteed such suspects access to the courts to challenge their imprisonment.”

Must-read: Bob Owens smacks down the NYT editorial page’s stance on the detainee bill.

Update I 4:51 PM: Stay tuned to Allah at Hot Air for the roll call on this vote – the Senate should be voting shortly.

Update II 6:07 PM: Leahy’s on CSPAN right now lying about the NIE report, claiming the adming “held on to it for six months” (which is a lie). Don’t these guys have any shame?

Lying Leahy
Lying Leahy

Update III 6:38 PM: They are voting now.

Update IV 7:01 PM: The usual suspects who have voted have voted so far have voted no: Levin, Leahy, Chafee, Reid. Keep it tuned to C-Span2 if you want to watch the votes as they roll in. I think I see Hillary and Leahy chatting it up. Bleh. Lieberman voted in favor.

Update V 7:05 PM: Yeas 65 – Nays 34

Update VI 7:34 PM: The roll call will be on this page. They have the link up but have not posted the votes.

Update VII 7:49 PM: The votes are posted. Here are the nays:

NAYs —34
Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Chafee (R-RI)
Clinton (D-NY)
Conrad (D-ND)
Dayton (D-MN)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Obama (D-IL)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Schumer (D-NY)
Wyden (D-OR)

Snowe didn’t vote.

Did Webb use the “n” word, too?

Yesterday, I blogged about Larry Sabato clarifying his remarks on whether or not he’d actually heard Senator George Allen use the “n” word. In that post, I also referenced an article nothing his opponent Jim Webb’s shiftiness over answering a question about whether or not he’d used the word. Well, the intrigue over that continues today. Via the WaPo:

RICHMOND, Sept. 27 — Democratic Senate candidate James Webb on Wednesday sought to explain remarks he had made a day earlier, in which he refused to say whether he had used the “N-word,” but he insisted he has never used it as a racial epithet aimed at anyone.

“I don’t think that there’s anyone who grew up around the South that hasn’t had the word pass through their lips at one time in their life,” he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Tuesday. “If you read ‘Fields of Fire,’ that word and a lot of other words are in the book.” “Fields of Fire” is a novel Webb wrote about the Vietnam War.

[…]

Webb’s comments to the Times-Dispatch prompted Allen campaign officials to direct a reporter to Dan Cragg, a former acquaintance of Webb’s, who said Webb used the word while describing his own behavior during his freshman year at the University of Southern California in the early 1960s. Webb later transferred to the U.S. Naval Academy.

Cragg, 67, who lives in Fairfax County, said on Wednesday that Webb described taking drives through the black neighborhood of Watts, where he and members of his ROTC unit used racial epithets and pointed fake guns at blacks to scare them.

“They would hop into their cars, and would go down to Watts with these buddies of his,” Cragg said Webb told him. “They would take the rifles down there. They would call then [epithets], point the rifles at them, pull the triggers and then drive off laughing. One night, some guys caught them and beat . . . them. And that was the end of that.”

[…]

Webb, who is in Texas for fundraising events, did not respond to repeated requests for comment. [Webb spokeswoman Kristian Denny] Todd said Webb denied the allegations in a conversation with her.

“He said it’s not true. It’s not even close to being true,” Todd said. She quoted Webb as saying: “In 1963, you couldn’t go to Watts and do that kind of thing. You’d get killed. So of course I didn’t do it. I would never do that. I would never want to do that.”

Todd condemned the allegations as politically motivated by the Allen campaign.

They are pathetic individuals. They are beneath it. They are slime,” she said. “Here we are trying to talk about the issues. They are completely and totally desperate.”

Um, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it Webb’s campaign that made race a major issue after the macaca incident? Yes, I do believe it was. With a little help from the Washington Post, too. Frankly, I’m surprised to see the article about Webb’s alleged use of the “n” word in the WaPo. Wonders never will cease …

In any event, as I noted yesterday, this race has boiled down to a he said/she said campaign – and it all depends on who you believe – not just about the allegations regarding Allen, but now Webb, too. Too bad actual issues aren’t getting much action in the press. Instead it’s just become a mudslinging contest. Sadly, I think what we’re seeing here is a preview of things to come in 2008.

Hat tip: John Hawkins

Senate and House race polls

Real Clear Politics has the latest. Bookmark that page (and this one, too) and check them frequently between now and November.

RCP’s got the wrong link up for the CT Senate race between Lieberman and Lamont, but the latest poll is showing the Senator ahead of Lamont by 10 points.

In other election-related news, the NYT can barely contain its excitement over the “new hope” they report Democrats have for taking over the Senate.

Inscriptions on Arizona 9-11 Memorial to be reviewed

A bit of good news this morning:

The commission that approved the location for the 9/11 Memorial at the State Capitol will look at controversial statements on the sculpture to see if they should be removed.

Tom Smith, a former Republican lawmaker and chairman of the Legislative Governmental Mall Commission, said the group never reviewed inscriptions on the monument since planning for the project four years ago.

“Never in my memory did we ever question the inscriptions. I felt it was the governor’s project and if it’s the governor’s project you’re not going to nitpick it” he said Wednesday.

It was the “governor’s project” but the governor (Napolitano) is claiming that she didn’t approve of the inscriptions:

Designers — the memorial was designed by the Arizona Sept. 11 Memorial Commission — have said they intended to capture how Arizona and the nation responded to events surrounding the attacks. At her weekly news conference, Gov. Janet Napolitano said she never approved the monument inscriptions.

Then who did?

In any event, at least a review will be taking place – my money is on these inscriptions being removed.

Prior: