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May 31, 2005

W. Mark Felt - Hero & Villain

From an article written by James Mann in The Atlantic Monthly published in May 1992, this interesting bit of insight and information about W. Mark Felt, now unmasked as 'Deep Throat':

W. Mark Felt, the FBI's deputy associate director, the No. 3 man in Hoover's hierarchy, wrote in a 1979 memoir, The FBI Pyramid:

It did not cross my mind that the President would appoint an outsider to replace Hoover. Had I known this, I would not have been hopeful about the future. There were many trained executives in the FBI who could have effectively handled the job of Director. My own record was good and I allowed myself to think I had an excellent chance.

And then this interesting turn of events in what turns out may have been Felt's involvement in a precursor to the current Patriot Act:

Irony is the lifeblood of history. And so, throughout the late 1970s L. Patrick Gray, who had been assigned by Richard Nixon to take political control of the FBI, and Mark Felt, who had fought to resist that control, found themselves joined together in a prolonged legal battle to fend off prosecution by the Justice Department for approving illegal break-ins at the homes of members of the Weathermen underground organization and their families and friends. The government eventually dropped charges against Gray. But in 1980 Felt and another of Hoover's top aides were convicted of conspiracy to violate civil rights. Soon after taking office President Ronald Reagan granted the two men a pardon, claiming that they had "acted on high principle to bring an end to the terrorism that was threatening our nation."

Here is President Reagan's statement from April 15, 1981, on the pardons of W. Mark Felt and co-defendant Edward S. Miller:

Statement on Granting Pardons to W. Mark Felt and Edward S. Miller

April 15, 1981

Pursuant to the grant of authority in article II, section 2 of the Constitution of the United States, I have granted full and unconditional pardons to W. Mark Felt and Edward S. Miller.

During their long careers, Mark Felt and Edward Miller served the Federal Bureau of Investigation and our nation with great distinction. To punish them further -- after 3 years of criminal prosecution proceedings -- would not serve the ends of justice.

Their convictions in the U.S. District Court, on appeal at the time I signed the pardons, grew out of their good-faith belief that their actions were necessary to preserve the security interests of our country. The record demonstrates that they acted not with criminal intent, but in the belief that they had grants of authority reaching to the highest levels of government.

W. Mark Felt was, at different times, both a hero and a villain to the left. While his motives were not necessarily idealogical, but were seemingly shaded because he was passed over at the FBI after Hoover's death by Nixon, he became a left-wing hero for helping destroy the Nixon Presidency, and a few years later become a became a villain to the left for going after the militant left-wing group of terrorists known as the Weather Underground using, what was to the left, some pretty heavy-handed tactics.

Posted by Rick | May 31, 2005 04:45 PM | Political Science

Everybody's Doing It

CNN/Money senior writer Jeanne Sahadi reported in November of 2004 that the latest findings of the Affluent Market Research Program, an annual survey conducted by market information company TNS, show that over 7 percent of American households now have a net worth of one million dollars or more after excluding the equity in their primary residence from their assets.

And the point is....?

Every so often you see a news article bemoaning the fact that Americans don't save enough, and I'm sure that there are those that don't, but apparently there are also a lot of people who do.

The creation of wealth for most people is something that is achieved over a lifetime, as over half of the people interviewed for the TSN study were retirees. If you don't have anything put aside for a rainy day, as the saying goes - you have to start somewhere, so if you don't have a savings account, open one today. The rates of return are pretty low right now, but once you have a little nest egg built up, you can move into areas that may provide better returns such as real estate or stocks and bonds. As an aside, in Las Vegas, the natural gas utility, Southwest Gas, offers a stock purchase plan that allows customers to purchase stock every month at no cost for as little as a $100 initial investment and a minimum of $100 per year. You won't get rich if you only save $100 per year, but if you save $600 per year ($50 per month) for 25 years at 5%, you will accumulate approximately $30,000.

Bank of America has a road map for anyone who would like some help creating wealth.

Start today!! Go to your favorite bank or stock brokerage and open an account. Millionaire status awaits!

Posted by Rick | May 31, 2005 09:10 AM | Social Studies

'Deep Throat' Revealed

Vanity Fair has reported that former FBI agent W. Mark Felt, now 91 and residing in Santa Rosa, CA, has admitted to being Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's source, known as 'Deep Throat,' for much of the inside information they received during their Watergate investigation.

Woodward and Bernstein were both reporters for the Washington Post at the time and ultimately won the Pulitzer Prize for their investigative reporting of the Watergate incident that helped bring down the Nixon administration. Woodward and Bernstein also co-authored two books, All the President's Men and The Final Days, that stemmed from their Watergate reporting.

Mr. Felt, who ultimately rose to the number two position at the FBI, reportedly gave John D. O'Connor, the author of the article which will appear in the July edition of Vanity Fair, permission to disclose his identity.

There has been speculation for many years that Felt may have been 'Deep Throat,' as evidenced by this article in The Washingtonian magazine of June 1974:

Read the February 28 and March 13 Presidential transcripts and then try someone like Mark Felt on for size. A Hoover loyalist and number-two man to Pat Gray, he had every reason and resource for leaking the Watergate story and destroying Nixon.

and again in 2002:

To help bring Watergate and Deep Throat into perspective, here are stories that appeared in The Washingtonian in June 1974 and August 1974 that show what inside Washington was saying. Twenty-eight years later, we still think it was Mark Felt.

This is the first time that it has come from the purported source himself.

Posted by Rick | May 31, 2005 08:45 AM | Political Science

May 27, 2005

Fly Old Glory Proudly!


Many people will be flying the Stars and Stripes this Memorial Day to honor those who died defending our country and way of life. If you would like to know more about the correct way to fly a flag, and flag etiquette in general, click here or here.

Flag courtesy of Jim Chou.

Posted by Rick | May 27, 2005 11:39 PM | Just A Thought

May 25, 2005

Priest Attacks Someone His Own Size And Gets What He Deserves

Chris Dettro, staff writer for the Springfield Journal-Register, reported on Tuesday, May 24, 2005, that Jamie E. Gibson, 17, and Ryan Boyle, 15, who had beaten the Reverend Eugene Costa, each plead guilty to 1 count of aggravated battery. The priest allegedly offered them $50 for sex after he rubbed up against Gibson and touched the boy's leg, not once, but twice. The state agreed to seek no more than a three-year prison sentence for each teen in return for the guilty pleas.

Dettro also reported:

Costa later resigned as chancellor of the Springfield Catholic Diocese and pastor of parishes in Sherman and Athens. He remains a priest.

The Springfield Catholic Diocese said in a written statement that Costa's resignation would allow him to deal with "previous instances of inappropriate and risky behavior that have come to light" since the beating incident. Costa now is at an out-of-state rehabilitation facility for priests, nuns and members of religious orders.

Hopefully, Circuit Judge Leo Zappa will give the boys probation when he sentences them on July 19th. Too bad he can't give them a medal!

Posted by Rick | May 25, 2005 10:58 AM | Social Studies

May 24, 2005

Lessons To Be Learned

The full text of the agreement between the 7 Democrats and the 7 Republicans to limit filibusters of judicial nominations in the Senate can be read here.

Just as President William Jefferson Clinton sought to educate us all on the meaning of the word "is" while testifying under oath during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, I am quite sure Senate Democrats will have a lesson for Senate Republicans on the meaning of the word "extraordinary" in the very near future.

It will be interesting to see if the 14 Senators who crafted this agreement in secret back-room negotiations will be able go back and work within their respective parties, or will this be the impetus to form a new moderate 3rd political party by a group of Senators with the power to control the political landscape with their fourteen votes. Six of the fourteen Senators are up for reelection in 2006, and it is highly unlikely that any of the 6 would be defeated, even if they ran in a new 'moderate' party. Perhaps they could use the snake as their party mascot, much as the Republicans use the elephant and the Democrats use the donkey.

Posted by Rick | May 24, 2005 09:25 AM | Political Science

May 23, 2005

What Will McCain Spend His 30 Pieces Of Silver On?

McCain sold out Frist and Bush's judicial nominees tonight...cheap.

My question for Bush and those who will not be confirmed - Don't you hate it when you don't even get kissed?

Posted by Rick | May 23, 2005 11:32 PM | Political Science

Islam - Religion Or Joke?

Is Islam a religion or just an excuse to behave like Neanderthals?

On May 19, 2005, Jeff Jacoby wrote in the Boston Globe:

Christians, Jews, and Buddhists don't lash out in homicidal rage when their religion is insulted. They don't call for holy war and riot in the streets. It would be unthinkable for a mainstream priest, rabbi, or lama to demand that a blasphemer be slain. But when Reuters reported what Mohammad Hanif, the imam of a Muslim seminary in Pakistan, said about the alleged Koran-flushers -- ''They should be hung. They should be killed in public so that no one can dare to insult Islam and its sacred symbols" -- was any reader surprised?

The Muslim riots should have been met by outrage and condemnation. From every part of the civilized world should have come denunciations of those who would react to the supposed destruction of a book with brutal threats and the slaughter of 17 innocent people. But the chorus of condemnation was directed not at the killers and the fanatics who incited them, but at Newsweek.

You can read the entire article here.

Posted by Rick | May 23, 2005 10:39 AM | Social Studies

May 22, 2005

Arrogance In Arizona

John McCain (R-AZ) still doesn't believe that his support of the Democratic filibuster will effect his chances if he runs for President in 2008. I can assure him that it won't help. Frankly, if he votes against ending the filibusters, he might just as well run as a Democrat. Maybe he would like to be Hillary's running mate. See my post of April 23, 2005.

Posted by Rick | May 22, 2005 03:03 PM | Political Science

May 21, 2005

Blood And Guts In Iraq

In an article written yesterday in the Los Angeles Times, staff writer James Rainey decries the lack of photos of dead and wounded Americans in Iraq.

Has the LA Times shown pictures of the mass graves filled by Saddam, or of the men, women and children blown up by suicide bombers and IED's?

I think it should be just as important to document the reasons we are fighting as it is to show the tragedy's of the fighting.

Posted by Rick | May 21, 2005 03:36 PM | Social Studies

Frosted Cookies In Arizona

This must surely frost the cookies of Arizona residents being overrun by illegal immigrants in their emergency rooms, their class rooms, and their court rooms. The New York Times ran an article by the Associated Press that began:

Arizona Governor Vetoes Two Immigration Bills

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed two proposals Friday aimed at confronting the state's immigration problems, rejecting bills that would have prohibited illegal immigrants from receiving child care assistance and given police the power to enforce federal immigration laws.

In Arizona, illegal immigrants even pay in-state tuition rates, while out-of-state students who are citizens of the United States pay much higher fees.

How much longer are the hard-working, tax-paying citizens of this country going to take this? Viva la revolución!!

Posted by Rick | May 21, 2005 07:12 AM | Political Science

May 20, 2005

Precipice Of A Constitutional Crisis

If you have not tuned in to the Senate's TV channel, C-Span 2, in the last couple days, you should. The Democrat's over-the-top language while debating President Bush's judicial nominations, and Senator Frist’s proposed Senate rule change which would eliminate filibusters that prevent votes on said nominations is something to behold. Marvelous performances full of omissions, exaggerations, half-truths, and outright lies have been given by Senators Chuckie Schumer (D-NY), Robert 'KKK' Byrd (D-WV), and Mark 'Beam Me Up' Dayton (D-MN), among others.

Yesterday, Senator Teddy 'Chappaquiddick' Kennedy (D-MA) called the Republican's refusal to allow 41 Senator's to hold up judicial confirmations an "absolute power grab." Did Kennedy think he was on stage at the Comedy Store on Sunset Strip?

If Barbara 'The Lip' Boxer (D-CA) has spoken on the matter in the last two days, I've missed it, but based on her remarks found in the Congressional Record, May 14, 1997, it is highly likely that Boxer will break ranks with the Democrats and vote to eliminate the filibusters.

According to the U.S. Constitution, the President nominates, and the Senate shall provide advice and consent. It is not the role of the Senate to obstruct the process and prevent numbers of highly qualified nominees from even being given the opportunity for a vote on the Senate floor.

Just kidding... Boxer wouldn't ever break ranks with her Democratic comrades, but her previous comments are a great example of the hypocrisy of the left.

Other examples of the left's hypocrisy found in the Congressional Record from:

Senator Teddy Kennedy, January 28, 1998:

The Constitution is clear that only individuals acceptable to both the President and the Senate should be confirmed. The President and the Senate do not always agree, but we should resolve these disagreements by voting on these nominees - yes or no. As Chief Justice Rehnquist said in his annual report, "The Senate is surely under no obligation to confirm any particular nominee, but after the necessary time it should vote" up or down.

Senator Chuckie Schumer, March 7, 2000:

I also plead with my colleagues to move judges with alacrity--vote them up or down. But this delay makes a mockery of the Constitution, makes a mockery of the fact that we are here working, and makes a mockery of the lives of very sincere people who have put themselves forward to be judges and then they hang out there in limbo.

Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) had a great speech detailing how the Senate governs itself, the rules in effect, and what procedures can be used to change the rules. Democrats should remember the rules are the rules are the rules. When they regain control of the Senate, the Democrats will be free to change the rules back if protecting the rights of the Senate minority is that important to them.

Note: Las Vegas bookmakers have Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) even money to collapse into a puddle of tears on the Senate floor by Monday at 5 P.M. boo-hoo, boo-hoo, boo-hoo

Posted by Rick | May 20, 2005 04:48 AM | Political Science

May 17, 2005

Fire!

The theory is that if someone yells "Fire!" in a crowded theater, and someone suffers an injury while exiting the theater, the person who yelled "Fire!" is responsible for said injury. But what if, on the way out of the theater, a group of people actually start a number of fires where none existed. Who is then responsible for the injuries?

Newsweek magazine, in their issue dated May 9, 2005, basically yelled "Fire!" in a crowded Muslim theater when they accused (erroneously, as it turns out) US soldiers in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, of flushing a Koran down a toilet. However, when Muslims rioted in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, after reading the report, they essentially started a fire storm during the theater exodus. Sixteen or 17 deaths ensued, while 100's of others suffered injuries. Who is really more to blame? If the fires had not been set, the resulting injuries may not have amounted to more than a stubbed toe or two. The worldwide Muslim community really needs to get a grip.

Posted by Rick | May 17, 2005 11:52 PM | Social Studies

CMA Awards

My lovely wife 'snuck' us into the Country Music Awards tonight (row V on the main floor). Every country artist that performed did a great job. Performances by Reba, the new group Big & Rich, and Toby Keith, who performed from Iraq, were perhaps three of the best. Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban had big years, and each won a couple of awards apiece. The big winners were Gretchen Wilson (Female Artist of the Year and Newcomer of the Year) and newly-wed Kenny Chesney (Entertainer of the Year). Rob Schneider, with co-presenter Neal McCoy as his straight man, was the funniest presenter, while Garth Brooks, in a touching presentation, honored Chris Ledoux, who passed away March 9 of this year, with the Pioneer Award. My lovely wife and I had a great time. Thanks Mandalay Bay!

Posted by Rick | May 17, 2005 09:08 PM | Social Studies

May 13, 2005

Robert 'KKK' Byrd At His Finest?

Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), perhaps the biggest hypocrite in the Senate, is heard in this rambling audio clip posted by Radio Blogger, in the piece entitled Now how can you top this?, explaining to Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) why the Republicans should continue to allow the Democrats to filibuster judicial nominees.

People actually vote for this guy!

Posted by Rick | May 13, 2005 03:41 PM | Political Science

Stock Tip Of The Week - Marie Callender's

Ann Coulter Prepares For Next Run-In With Girlie Men Pie Throwers Marie Callender's stock is expected to soar after yesterday's announcement of a new spokesperson.

In an effort to boost pie sales during the relatively slow summer months, Marie Callender's has hired Michael Moore as a spokesman. It is hoped that Moore will increase pie sales by encouraging radical Young Republicans to toss pies, preferably Marie Callender's pies, at him whenever he speaks on college campuses. Judging by his girth, Moore should be able to handle quite a few pies at each appearance. You can read a little more about Mikey's appetite for pie here.

Marie Callender's considered hiring a few other spokespersons, including recent pie throwing targets William Kristol, David Horowitz, and Ann Coulter, but they were rejected because of their slight builds, and in Ann's case, her ability to dodge pies even while wearing high-heels.

Finally, there is no truth to the rumor that Pat Buchanan, recently attacked with salad dressing while speaking at Western Michigan University, is in talks with Paul Newman's company, Newman's Own, to be their spokesperson.

Posted by Rick | May 13, 2005 02:36 AM | Just A Thought

May 12, 2005

Nurse Ratched, Senator Reid Is Ready For The Rubber Room

The Las Vegas Review Journal, reported that Senator Harry 'Crybaby' Reid (D-NV), while giving a presentation in Las Vegas, NV, before 60 juniors at Del Sol High School, said, among other things, that he thought President George Bush was a loser.

In the course of a discussion on filibusters and Senate rules, Washington's top Democrat gave the 60 juniors a lesson in partisan politics, particularly about the commander in chief. "The man's father is a wonderful human being," Reid said in response to a question about President Bush's policies. "I think this guy is a loser.

"I think President Bush is doing a bad job," he added to a handful of chuckles.

"He's driving this country into bankruptcy," Reid said, referring to the deficit. "He's got us in this intractable war in Iraq where we now have about 1,600 American soldiers dead and another 15,000 injured."

All this from the top Democrat in Washington. It should be noted that the tacky comments, made while Bush was overseas, also violated the practice of restraint the opposition party customarily exercises when a President is abroad.

Supposedly, the 'distinguished' Senator from Nevada later called the White House to apologize for the name-calling. He should have apologized for his lapse of memory. Need we remind Harry that it is George Bush who has been sleeping in the White House for the past 5 years, not Al Gore or John Kerry. It should also be pointed out to Harry that the Republicans control the House of Representatives, the Senate and a majority of the governorships in this great country of ours. Sounds like a big bunch of losers to me.

Then, on May 10, 2005, the 'distinguished' Senator Reid said this to reporters in the Capitol:

Maybe it was a poor choice of words, but I want every one within the sound of my voice to know how displeased I am with what this White House is doing to our country. We have a fictitious crisis on Social Security that's been created. We have deficits that are absolutely unbelievable. This man has gone from a multi-trillion dollar surplus to a 6 trillion dollar deficit. We have an intractable war in Iraq that he has no way out of this, that he has been able to share with the American people.

"Maybe...." Do you, or do you not, apologize Harry?

Then this:

I still consider this confrontation entirely unnecessary, and irresponsible. The White House manufactured this crisis. Since Bush took office, the Senate confirmed around 208 of the judicial nominations and turned back only 10. A 95% confirmation rate.

And finally:

George Bush wants to run the Senate into a second House of Representatives; a rubber stamp for his right wing agenda and radical judges. That's not how America works.

This one-sided discourse by the Senator is truly pathetic. If there has been a constructive thought uttered by the Democrats since George Bush won in 2000, I don't remember it. Wouldn't it be nice if the gentleman from Nevada would spend more time prescribing his own plan for America, and less time on all this petty obstructionism?

Posted by Rick | May 12, 2005 10:54 PM | Political Science

May 11, 2005

United Airlines Pension Fund Crashes And Burns

The airline union chickens are coming home to roost. United Airlines has agreed to turn over its obligations to its four employee pension plans to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the federal agency, created by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, that guarantees pensions. The deal will release United from $3.2 billion in pension obligations, which cover about 134,000 people, over the next five years, thus becoming the largest pension default in the thirty-one year history of the PBGC.

The employees' unions must have hired Laura Bush's joke writing team to come up with their response to the pension default. The straight line...The unions threatened to strike. What is wrong with these union people? Obviously none of them graduated with a degree in common sense. Strike United Airlines, already operating in bankruptcy protection, and all the current employees will be out of a job faster than you can say Braniff Airlines. I remember flying into Dallas Fort Worth Airport in 1982 and seeing all the Braniff jets sitting idle on the tarmac. It was quite a sight. Go ahead...STRIKE! I heard Burger King is hiring.

The punch line...The unions also cautioned that employees' attitudes would suffer. Is it possible that the 'friendly skies of United', which haven't been that friendly for years, could really become less friendly? This would only be funnier if Laura Bush delivered the joke herself.

Read more about it here.

Posted by Rick | May 11, 2005 03:40 AM | Social Studies

May 9, 2005

Would You Hire The People At Homeland Security?

Homeland security has been a joke since 9/11. Yeah, sure, the screeners at the airport have made sure all the little old ladies don't take their fingernail clippers on the airplane, and virtually everyone with a one-way ticket has had their bags torn apart. Unfortunately, anyone with half a brain can walk across the Canadian and Mexican borders into the United States undetected, and millions of people do each year.

Now it is being reported that the $4.5 billion dollars homeland security spent to help protect the airline industry was either ineffective or too costly to operate. The real problem is that Tom Ridge was too busy playing big-shot to make sure the equipment his department was purchasing worked...and the Department of Homeland Security is going to fix the problems by spending another $7.0 billion dollars in the next few years. The Department of Homeland Security claims that it will make sure the new equipment actually works before they buy it. Too bad they had to spend $4.5 billion dollars before they figured that out.

Posted by Rick | May 9, 2005 01:49 AM | Social Studies

May 6, 2005

The Military Or McDonalds?

Military recruiters are having trouble meeting their quotas and it's not surprising. With the military micro managing every combat engagement, and soldiers being charged with petty infractions every time they turn around, why would anyone want to risk their lives and reputations by joining the military for the pittance they pay the enlisted people? At least at McDonalds you don't get shot at...

Read more about the missed quotas here.

Posted by Rick | May 6, 2005 04:20 AM | Just A Thought

May 2, 2005

Bush Plays The Race Card & The Class Warfare Card

President Bush played the race card last week in an effort to promote needed Social Security reform. He pointed out that black people have a shorter life expectancy than other races and therefore collect fewer Social Security benefits. Under the proposed plan, the privatized portion of Social Security will be passed on to one's heirs. Additionally, because black people tend to be in the lower economic brackets, this inheritance will, in some small way, help lift black and other poor families out of the cycle of poverty. Why the Democratic Party is against this is beyond my comprehension...

Then Georgie Boy decided that since the Democrats don't like the partial privatization of Social Security, he would sweeten the pot by adding means testing to Social Security payouts. This sounds like we're getting closer and closer to the complete socialization of America. What could make the Democrats happier?

Are the Democrats too stupid to know when an offer is too good to be true? Will they continue to be the 'obstructionist only' party? It appears that the answers are Yes!, and Yes!.

Posted by Rick | May 2, 2005 03:52 AM | Political Science

May 1, 2005

Do Not Call Registry - Cell Phone Numbers

Cellular phone numbers are scheduled to be released to telemarketers any day. In addition to the annoyance, this could begin to be quite costly since the calls will be charged against your minutes. You can now register your cellular phone numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry. This will block calls from telemarketers for 5 years.

You can do it online at https://www.donotcall.gov/default.aspxat. Registering online allows you to register 3 phone numbers at a time.

You can also call 1-888-382-1222 to register one phone number at a time. If you call, you must use the phone with the number you are registering.

Posted by Rick | May 1, 2005 10:41 PM | Just A Thought

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