Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Yes, Please Run!

A report appeared today showed former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, is being asked by Florida Republicans to challenge Senator Bill Nelson in 2012. Four years after his last term as Governor ended, Bush is still a very popular figure within the state. As governor, he was a strong leader, kept taxes in Florida low, attracted new residents to the state, as well as new businesses, and was also the first Republican in Florida to serve two terms as Governor. His leadership further cemented Florida as being a state more friendly to Republicans. In a hypothetical matchup, Bush leads Nelson and I believe that if he runs, Bush will win in a very easy contest. Bush will win the reliably red portion of the state in the panhandle, northern Florida and Southwest Florida. He will also do much better than most Republicans in Southwest Florida, especially with his popularity among Seniors and Hispanics. And in the most important region of the state, the I-4 Corridor, a region which I covered during the Midterms, he will also win, as this region has been economically hammered and it is my belief, especially after an analysis of the 2010 Election, that the voters who went heavily for Obama in 2008 are aware of the ramifications of that vote and their current circumstances, therefore, they will not make that mistake again.

I doubt Nelson's popularity, as he won re-election in a Democrat year against a weak candidate in Katherine Harris, who many in the Republican Party, sadly, did not fully back, instead, sending her out as a sacrificial lamb. Florida is quickly becoming a stronghold for Republicans, as was proven this fall. Nelson is already starting to run a little scared, as he is coming out against the Administration on their NASA policy, as he rightly should, considering he was once an astronaut, and the fact that NASA is a major employer in Central Florida.

The next cycle will likely be a year where Republicans are favored and Jeb Bush gives Florida its best chance to make sure Senator Marco Rubio has a partner, who in their representation of Florida, will espouse and advocate for Conservative, small government solutions to the problems that Florida and the United States have endured under the Obama Administration.

Still in Christmas Mode and Still Snowed In

Roads still haven't improved and I still have Christmas and Disney on the brain, therefore, here is a clip of Epcot's nighttime spectacular, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. I had the pleasure of seeing this twice while I was in Florida earlier this month and I am embedding the show for my readers' enjoyment. I did not make this video, but it is one of the most well done currently on YouTube and includes the "Holiday Ending."

I am aware that much has gone on since my time away from "The 'Right' Solutions," but in due time, I will return to my coverage and commentary. Until then, enjoy Illuminations: Reflections of Earth!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snowed In

Just one day after Christmas, the Northeast was pounded by an enormous blizzard that has left travel delays and much snow in its wake: 20" in New York, 18" in Boston, 12" in Philadelphia, and more in some places. What made it worse was the fact that there were strong winds all day that created extremely large snowdrifts in the Mid-Atlantic region! Driving has also been downright treacherous.

If you don't have to go anywhere, I'd stay home, as side roads still need a little more work. Safe travels for anyone having to get around.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night

"The 'Right' Solutions" would like to take the time to wish its readers a Very Merry Christmas! This holiday has such special beginnings and has, over the years, grown into a whole season that captures the hearts, reunites and draws families closer together, while mesmerizing children at the thought of Santa bringing them their present of choice. Christmas traditions across the United States, both new and old have developed, grown and have become well-known. We must also take a moment out of our day to remember our servicemen and women who are sacrificing time away from their families in their service to the United States.

Whether attending mass/church services, giving presents, opening presents, getting together with family, traveling or sitting down for a great feast, we hope for an enjoyable and memorable Christmas for all!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Last month, I have been quite critical of the TSA, and rightly so, and after reading the news, I admit, I was apprehensive about flying. In the end, I must give them a tip of the cap as I saw they did a revamping of customer service since the last time I flew.

Both times, it was a pleasant experience. Departing from EWR, the only additional methods (in addition to the magnetometer and putting baggage and other materials through the x-ray machine) they used were the following: an upper body backhand patdown, and a search of my small bag as I had a myriad of chargers and portable electronics (e.g. GPS, iPod, BlackBerry, etc) in the bag. They explained in both cases what they were doing and apologized for delaying me. The female agent who searched my bag even offered to assist me in repacking it. I will make every effort to fly out of there early again (not just because of my TSA experience, but a drop in flight delays as EWR is infamous for delays due to traffic) In departing MCO, there were no additional methods used and I was able to quickly pass through before heading to the airside shuttle. Their infamous security lines were also not exceedingly long. The TSA at MCO were also rather friendly.

Both airports were using the body scanners, but in both cases, I was not required to go through them and did not have to opt-out for a public patdown, which I intended to do.

Again, this was a positive experience and I hope it continues for when I travel in 2011 and beyond.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Back to your regularly scheduled program

After a week in paradise, including a few days in one of my all-time favorite places, where I segregated myself from most news and politics, I am back and will be resuming a regular blogging schedule after catching up.

Apologies for a lack of warning of the hiatus and I look forward to welcoming you all back.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tripping and Falling

During this season, I have been becoming slowly annoyed and disenchanted with the New York Jets. While I credit Rex Ryan with improving stability and attitude with the team and in the Jets' Culture, I am very concerned by their losses, where it looked as if a different team was playing, and the attitude of some of the leaders.

Even though Rex Ryan has done a lot of good, his brashness and cockiness can have the potential blow up in his face. Confidence is good, but there are times he crosses the line into arrogance. And at this point, after getting shellacked by the Patriots and losing to a mediocre Dolphins team, there isn't much to be arrogant about. Sadly, this arrogance is imparted to the rest of the organization.

Mark Sanchez, while making gains, is not exactly Eli Manning or Phil Simms. The fact that he does not have a good backup forces a sense of entitlement on him and threatening to bench him with the 40 year old is empty. I understand Rex wants to give Sanchez confidence, but he must teach him to be a competitor, which occurs when giving him competition within the team.

Yesterday's incident with Sal Alosi tripping Nolan Carroll was absolutely uncalled for! In examining the video, it was clearly deliberate and with all the cameras at an NFL game, his getting caught was inevitable. While not as bad as Woody Hayes, it clearly provides enough evidence to question the leadership of Ryan and others on the Jets. Sanctions have come down and Alosi is suspended for the remainder of the season without pay and will be fined $25,000 by the Jets.

In the off-season, depending on what happens (I'm thinking the Jets are losing ranking on the Supe-o-meter, considering they have 2 very tough road games and they haven't scored a touchdown in 9 quarters.), Woody Johnson needs to take a close look at what the heck is going on in his organization.

Down the Appeals Path it Goes!

Big news today out of the Commonwealth of Virginia! US District Judge Henry Hudson, in a case brought forth by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (For the record, originally a Jersey guy), Virginia v. Sebelius, declared portions of the Health Care Reform Act signed by Obama and the Democrats, unconstitutional! Specifically, Hudson wrote in his decision, how the requirement for Americans to buy into the system does not comply with the Interstate Commerce Clause.

Considering the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia is home to the "Rocket Docket," it is no surprise the ruling came on this date. ObamaCare is Obama's bread and butter, so his camp must be spitting mad about the ruling, therefore, it is likely they will appeal. They will have to continue the case is the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, likely the court most known for its "Constitutional" rulings, as a result, bringing the question of the Constitutionality of ObamaCare in front of the Supreme Court once and for all.

There is still a long road, and a decision pending on the Health Care challenge in the State of Florida, but today's step was one in the right direction. The people have shown they do not want this and the court has shown it does not hold Constitutional merit.

To quote Cuccinelli,
"This is a great day for the Constitution! This case is not about health insurance. It is not about health care. It's about liberty...We've won the first round of this particular fight, but we know there are others to come."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What was He Thinking!!!

I wonder who plans events like this! Whoever did, shouldn't be working at the White House because what happened today does a president with an image problem no good, whatsoever!

Today, President Obama invited President Clinton to the White House in order to meet with him to discuss economic issues, as well as publicly endorse the tax compromise. I wouldn't doubt that a "How To" on triangulation was discussed.

The fact that this meeting took place, I found very intriguing. We have known since the 2008 Election that the Clintons and Obamas are not the biggest fans of each other. Much of this was discussed in the Halperin/Heilmann book Game Change but was also shown publicly through the Fairy Tale comments, Bill Clinton's outrage on being called a racist, a rather contentious debate and an "I'm #1 moment."

Bill Clinton has got to love this! Note that the meeting between them was private so we do not know what was discussed, but if we follow the Godfather's mantra of returning a favor, I wonder what Bill Clinton may get out of this...or Hillary. Such speculation may be abound considering that she may challenge the incumbent president in a primary in 2012.

Between his "sour grapes" press conference and hostage takers comments, Obama has not had a good week, but watching Bill Clinton take command of that presser, especially after Obama left the room, does the President no good. Obama look like a small, ineffective and aloof leader to Americans and the world, as a former president (whose wife may run in 2012) has more of a command of the room than the current president.

Could we see heads roll in the White House for this blunder? Maybe Robert Gibbs? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 7, 1941, A Day That Will Live in Infamy

Today is the 69th Anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, a day not only "lives in infamy," but that forever influenced the "Greatest Generation" in the same fashion that September 11, 2001 did on my generation. (And as I have said before, history is still being written on Gen-X/The 9-11 Generation) This generation stepped up to lead, protect America and defeat Nazism, Socialism and Fascism. Then, they peacefully returned home to build families, communities and the American economy that we have come to know.

Be sure to thank a member of that generation for their sacrifices and hard work that contributed to the United States in becoming the driving force for success and good in world during the 20th century and beyond!

Note: The picture above is of the USS Arizona Memorial, located over the sunken battleship destroyed by a Nakajima V5N on that day. To this day, oil still leaks from the hull to the water's surface.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Tax Issue...Resolved?

On this evening, 19 days before Christmas, Obama caved...sort of.

Obama and Congress came to an agreement on the tax issue which has been the cause of much of the economic uncertainty in the country. It must now pass Congress before the new year before the "compromise" can be enacted. Here are the nuts and bolts. The Bush Tax Cuts will be extended for another two years for all earners, unemployment will be extended for another 13 months, Social Security taxes will be cut for one year, and the inheritance tax, aka "death tax," did not make the cut and will return.

Let's look at the situation that led to this "compromise." The first Friday of every month, the unemployment numbers come up and on Friday December 3, they came out and U-3 is at 9.8%, up from the last report, and U-6 is at 17%! Jobs the government cites as "new jobs created" are temporary. For the United States, this is an absolute catastrophe and Washington had to have a response to stop the bleeding. The spectre of the sunset of the Bush Tax Cuts, along with the uncertainty of health care reform and its higher costs the new laws will incur on job creators have kept them on the job creating sidelines, contributing to this current report.

Here is Obama's statement on the "compromise:"

The President realized what he had to do politically and in studying his demeanor, he doesn't seem to be too happy about it, taking shots at the "rising deficit" (while conveniently leaving out how ObamaCare is contributing to the deficit) yet is still attempting to take credit for it with his consistent use of the word "I." At the same time, Obama is attempting to remind the incoming Republicans they need to work with him and cancel out what the Midterm Elections of 2010 told us: Obama needs to work with the incoming Republicans. Not a surprise considering he is always the first to remind his opponents he won, and on numerous occasions, sometimes using really bad metaphors.

Those on both sides of the aisle are asking themselves if they could have gained more out of this "compromise." Liberal Democrats seem spitting mad and some in the media are already predicting Obama will have a primary challenge. This has been said for a long time on "The 'Right' Solutions," but the tax "compromise" gives it further credence. The "Blue Dog" Democrats in Congress who survived, as well as those Democrats in the Senate who face very tough re-elections in 2012 and live in reality about it, knew this was the most politically expedient move to make and implored the ideologue president to give.

Republicans, on the other hand, could have gained more out of this. Let's not forget, Republicans won Congress back with one of the largest party net gains (one short of the prediction made here) in well over 50 years! They are in great position to have a greater impact on the decisions of this president and I believe Republicans could have successfully ridden this wave for more, be it a payroll tax holiday, capital gains tax cut, shorter extension of unemployment and/or more incentives for unemployed Americans to return to work such as an allowance of greater part time salary without UI penalty, as well as the full continuation of the inheritance tax.

The President and Congress are kicking the can down the road, this will be a 2012 Campaign issue and the "compromise," along with the Social Security tax holiday, allows the president to claim he cut taxes. (Even though we know it took a Midterm shellacking for him to get to this point.) The Republican running in 2012, whoever it is, must campaign to make the Bush Tax Cuts permanent as it will benefit that candidate and anoint them with more valid and realistic street creds of advocating for lower taxes.

Friday, December 3, 2010

On the Air

Talk about being at the right place at the right time, I was on television this Friday evening!

Sadly, it wasn't about The Calling to Lead, but yes, I met a lot of people, did a little networking and had a blast doing it!

While in New York City tonight, I was walking up Sixth Avenue and passed by the Fox News Headquarters at 1211 Avenue of the Americas. As I was walking past, Neil Cavuto was doing a live shot for his Fox Business Network show, Cavuto. Having not had to be anywhere for a while, I stood by, watched and took a few pictures. After about 5 minutes, one of his staff members approached me and asked me a question about a segment on the negative treatment of men, aka "man-bashing" in holiday commercials. After thinking for a moment, I provided a response (which I will share below and explain the context of it) that was good enough for him to ask me to be in the final segment where this material would be covered. Along with 3 other people watching (3 men (myself included), 1 woman) we were led to an area where Neil would ask us our reaction on the commercials, which were shown on the monitor in his view.

Along the way, there were a couple of surprises, namely Gene Simmons (of KISS) appearing in the crowd, in street clothes, which is pictured below.

The gathered crowd did not have an "Elvis Reaction" because Cavuto was broadcasting, but Simmons was quite dignified and very unlike his stage persona. He said hello to all who came up to him and took pictures.

Neil prepped the segment, ran the commercials and shared his outrage. The moment then came as Neil Cavuto came up to me with the microphone, asking me what I thought. I pretty much said that as a man, I was offended by the commercials, but understand why the advertisements are done the way they are, as the advertisers believe this content is appropriately marketed to women. Continuing on, I discussed how shows like Everybody Loves Raymond and The Simpsons are rough on men, and even though they are funny, it is done for a reason and that is to attract female viewers, therefore, the direction taken by these advertisements are not surprising. I then closed, somewhat in jest, telling Neil, "I feel your rage."

Over the years, I have read studies as to why television and advertising has turned to "man-bashing" and I just came across an interesting article that further discusses it and reinforces my on-air statements. The truth of the matter is that women have been making the majority of financial decisions in families, so companies think of their bottom line, as well as the trends in popular culture, and commit this practice. While I'm not going to boycott the product, I do find that line of advertising a bit annoying. With the rise of Conservative feminism, it may be interesting to see if there is an eventual change.

In the end, it was a great experience! Neil Cavuto was very complimentary about my on-air performance and ease in front of the camera and I exchanged contact info with the producers (as I did mention The Calling to Lead to them).

Here is the segment:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Maybe He Should Shut Up and Play

New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle steps in it big time with his comments this week. On his WFAN spot this week, he claimed that booing NFL players on the field is so wrong that it is comparable to booing soldiers coming home from Iraq.

Rolle's comments and comparison is disgusting and it denigrates the sacrifices our servicemen and women make while they are over there in the sandbox away from their families. Remember, Rolle is making $37 million over 5 years while members of the military are being paid significantly less. Rolle can see his family any time he wants and drive over there in his Land Rover, Cadillac or whatever he drives, while members of our military are away from their families for very long periods of time, and every day they wake up, they risk a chance that they may never see them again. In New York, the sportswriters and fans aren't shooting at Rolle or booby trapping his path with IEDs, while our troops have to deal with those chances every day they are in the sandbox.

It's comments like these that make it not surprising that athletes aren't respected as they were a few years ago. It's difficult to pin an exact date on this waining level of respect, but a great solution to stop the booing would be to shut up and play to their potential. And Rolle as a Giant has made some great plays, but he needs to be more consistent and earn his money. Rolle and the defense apparently did not do this in the two consecutive weeks they lost to the Cowboys and the Eagles. The controversy is not new to Rolle, as he previously flapped his mouth about the Giants' organization earlier this season. It is good to see that his teammates on the Giants defense did not join in agreement with his thoughts on fan booing.

If I know Tom Coughlin, Antrel Rolle will be in his office ASAP to discuss his mouth flapping and how it is detrimental to a team that needs a strong December performance. It is my hope that Coughlin fines him for his insensitive and egotistical remark and donates the fine to the Freedom Alliance or Wounded Warriors to remind him of the clear sacrifices members of our military make. In the end, I hope Antrel Rolle realizes that the job he does every Sunday is insignificant to what the American military does, and it's because of what the American military does that allows Antrel Rolle to play football on any given Sunday.

UPDATE 12/2/10: Rolle apologized, but I still think Coughlin should fine him, even though that will not be a likelihood now.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hillary, WikiLeaks and its Ramifications

For the most part, I stayed away from news coverage over the long Thanksgiving Day weekend (and apparently, so did Rush, as he told us on Monday). By now, as we've all returned, we've heard about the WikiLeaks document and cable dump, the classified information it released, the behavior of the State Department and the outrage of many in this country. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented on the outing of these communications:

Rightly so, Hillary Clinton slams the actions of Assange (who really looks like Bill Maher) and WikiLeaks, and there have been Conservatives like Christine O'Donnell have applauded her comments, likely as an instigation to challenge Obama in 2012, the first time since 1980 where a sitting president has faced a significant primary challenge. This is something I'd love to see, as I wrote earlier, she would, to quote Governor Christie, "leave nothing left unsaid."

That being said, after looking at the leaked cables, one must bring into question the behavior she allowed in the Department of State. Dick Morris recently wrote a column about Hillary as Secretary of State which brings to light how the spying and fishing expeditions at Foggy Bottom are not new as she was the one to lead these during her husband's administration.

No surprise, Assange is calling for her resignation, but the White House is sticking by her. In the end, the mantra "never count out the Clintons" prevails as Hillary Clinton survives any blowback that may come from WikiLeaks, resigns on her own, but if she does challenge Obama, there is the chance he tries to use this against her. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, but in the end, it would be a good idea to have your popcorn ready as again, it is wise to never count out the Clintons.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Don't Think About Her...Yeah Right

President Obama was recently interviewed by Barbara Walters and she asked him to respond to Sarah Palin's comments that she believes she can beat the president if she runs in 2012.

"The 'Right' Solutions" has been watching the president closely and by examining the consistency of his comments, it is clear that Sarah Palin is clearly in his head. We can track this all the way back to the election with the fact that his campaign sent opposition researchers into Alaska on a fishing expedition, as well as his speech where he called her a pig.

Obama continues to obsess over Palin in his presidency, most notably, in January 2010, responding to her comments on "Death Panels" in the health care reform act, by calling her out in the State of the Union. He didn't call her out by name, but Americans knew Obama was referring to her.

He did it again in April, 2010, responding to Sarah Palin's criticisms about Obama's soft stance on nuclear weapons, he stated in an interview, "Sarah Palin is not a nuclear expert," again, singling her out, this time, by name.

So when the president claims he doesn't think of Sarah Palin, I think otherwise. And I do not accept the premise that she will lose to the president in a hypothetical 2012 election. When Americans have a choice of four more years of a weak economy, high taxes, high unemployment and an at risk foreign policy and national security, or small government policies that encourage tax cuts, job creation, a clearer protection of the homeland and peace through strength, the choice is clear in the direction which they will go.

It remains to be seen whether or not Sarah Palin runs, but if she is the chosen one by Republican voters, I would sarcastically say to them, as well as Democrats and Independent voters who have also suffered through these past four years, just as Rush Limbaugh has, "give me four more years of Obama any day!" The choice as clear as day.

Thanks for the Laughs

News broke last night that Leslie Nielsen passed away last night from complications of pneumonia at the age of 84. He was one of Gen-X's "funny men," making not only Gen-Xers, but other Americans laugh until they cried. Many younger than me are surprised to know that he was actually a dramatic actor before his deadpan delivery made him Gen X's funny man in Airplane. He later built on that success, starring as Lt. Frank Drebin in Police Squad, which spawned three Naked Gun films. The opening scene of the first (and best) Naked Gun is below.

After the successes of the Naked Gun, he continued to work with the Zuckers (creators of Airplane and Naked Gun) on other spoof films before semi-retiring. On behalf of my fellow Gen-Xers and Americans who laughed because of his films, thanks for the memories, Leslie, and may you Rest in Peace.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A True Italian-American Role Model

When we look at Italians and Italian-Americans who are important or significant in our society, older Americans may say Marconi (radio telegraph), Enrico Fermi (the 1st nuclear reactor), Antonio Meucci (precursor to the telephone) and Fiorello LaGuardia (2nd most significant mayor of New York City). Younger Americans (millennials) may say Snooki, The Situation and Tony Soprano. As Americans, it is time we start to get our priorities straightened out and realize these Italian-Americans are either fictional characters who exhibit a negative stereotype of Italian-Americans or media characters (or just characters) who exhibit those same negative stereotypes and haven't really done anything significant for society except to financially and psychologically benefit from adulation of the millennials.

Instead, these young Americans should be admiring another Italian-American in the news, that person being Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, the first living American since the Vietnam War to earn the Medal of Honor. Back in 2007, during his service in Afghanistan, Giunta's platoon was ambushed by Taliban fighters. After taking a bullet which was stopped by his protective gear, Giunta went about saving the lives of his fellow platoon members and disrupted them taking a wounded Sergeant John Brennan as a prisoner of war. Brennan died the next day in surgery, but Giunta's actions clearly saved lives and as a result, his commanding officer nominated him for the Medal of Honor.

When defining the word hero, the following quote by Oliver North, as stated through one of the main characters in his novel, The Assassins, hits the nail on the head, so to say.
"Heroes are people who do things for others at great personal risk-and expect nothing in return. Real heroes...are selfless...(they) put themselves in danger to help others-not themselves...and whether they succeed or fail, real heroes inspire others to do better by their example...to do right...to try harder."
Giunta's actions are commendable, as through his actions, he not only saved lives, but eliminated one high valued target in Mohammad Tali. His character shines when he speaks of his reaction to earning the Medal of Honor:
"I'm not at peace with that at all," Giunta said. "In this job, I am only mediocre. I’m average....And coming and talking about it and people wanting to shake my hand because of it, it hurts me, because it's not what I want. And to be with so many people doing so much stuff and then to be singled out—and put forward. I mean, everyone did something."
Staff Sergeant Giunta may disagree with my assessment, but he is an Italian-American that America's youth should be emulating and while he may continue to dispute it, Salvatore Giunta is a true American hero!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

There are so many things to be thankful for in life: family, friends, good health, being an American, and Americans who step up to protect our freedoms as members of our military; just to name a few. On this day of thanks, Thanksgiving Day 2010, known to many as the kickoff to the American holiday season, "The 'Right' Solutions" wishes its readers a joyous and Happy Thanksgiving! Whether pigging out on turkey and all the trimmings, watching football, spending time with family, attending parades or preparing for Black Friday, enjoy the day, remember its beginnings and also thank a veteran and/or active member of our military as many of them are away from their families, keeping the United States safe from those who wish to do us harm.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Get Away Day

The day before Thanksgiving has gained notoriety as being the day to get away and on this day, citizens called for a National Opt Out Day. Apparently, things at the major airports have been running smoothly as a result of fewer opt-outs of the body scanners, as well as more TSA agents on duty. I've even been receiving reports from various sources that the scanners were not in full use last night and today.

As Americans, we still must be concerned with the searches being done, the health risks and ineffectiveness of the body scanners and the invasive nature of the pat downs. Fortunately, some in our government are beginning to appropriately respond. I still believe America would best benefit by implementing the system used in Israel as an alternative, as it has a better track record to stop terrorists in their path. Unfortunately, the government does not want to lead on this very important issue and instead, wishes to act in a politically correct manner they view as the most expedient, even though it may not provide the most protection.

"The 'Right' Solutions" wishes its readers a safe traveling and hassle-free experience as they take the roads, skies and rails to get to their destinations!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Say it Ain't So, Joe

Let's flash back to earlier this week when a clip of Sarah Palin (whose new book, America By Heart: Reflections on Faith, Family and Flag, is released next week) being interviewed by Barbara Walters for her 10 Most Fascinating People of 2010 Special, further drove the left (and some on the right) into the booby hatch. In this clip, Palin states that she believes there is a chance she can beat Obama in 2012. This tease of Walters's special is leading many to believe Sarah Palin is in.

And their biggest threat entering is scaring the heck out of those on the left. Joe Biden appeared on MSNBC and had this reaction:

We all know Joe's history of putting his foot in his mouth whether claiming he's the smartest person in the room or clearly endorsing ethnic stereotypes. He just flat out laughs at her, which is demeaning and a bit sexist. Biden likely hearkened back to how she slaughtered him in the Vice Presidential Debate, as he backed off, while at the same time, over-compensated and cast a cloud or doubt over his boss, the President.

Sarah Palin is a fighter, born competitor and no matter how much her detractors slam her, she keeps coming back, while putting forth a positive demeanor. If anything, this clip in giving more incentive and fuel to drive her to seek the nomination.

The jury is still out in my mind on if she is running, but the political followers were definitely provided with some more sound bytes and teases about 2012.

Yawning in Class

A professor at Cornell University recently became quite agitated in class the other day. With the proliferation of technology, the reaction to his interrupted lecture appears on YouTube.

This video brings up a few questions:
- Was the professor's reaction appropriate?
- Why do the student's act with a lack of decorum?
- Can something be done to "teach" decorum and manners at that age?

Coming from an educator's point of view, it needed to be said, the student was rude/classless, was likely not taught or given expectations, and manners can always be taught (even if the parents do not teach them), but they apparently weren't in this classroom. The best way to avoid this situation is to place in writing, expectations and limits within the a syllabus and consistently enforce the policy. When and if the professor eventually finds out the offender, it is safe to say the rest of the semester will not be an enjoyable one for that student.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Airport Security Continued

Last weekend, "The 'Right' Solutions" touched on the issue of Airline Security, as it is a major part of our battle in the War on Terror, then updated the entry with the "Don't Touch My Junk" guy.

Since this week began, we have been bombarded with stories about searches, lawsuits and yesterday's news that TSA Agents at San Francisco International Airport will be prosecuted for inappropriate touching. Video recently resurfaced of a TSA Agent searching A THREE YEAR OLD and the child's reaction (WARNING: This video is upsetting to view)

Mind you, this video is two years old, but it is still very unsettling.

Despite these images and complaints, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano simply responds comply or don't fly. Her unwillingness to change on this issue and endorse behavioral analysis in lieu of the body scans and invasive pat-downs could have deleterious effects on tourism, the airline industry and our freedoms, as Napolitano will view it as reason to expand the use of these machines and techniques.

In New Jersey, Newark International Airport, the first New York area airport to receive the body scanners, doesn't have the best security track record, between the goodbye kiss lockdown, in the Continental Airlines Terminal (EWR is a major Continental Hub), that delayed flights worldwide, as well as the act of missing of a hunting knife. This is probably the reason why Homeland Security decided EWR received them early. New Jerseyans have mixed reviews, but Senator Mike Doherty is leading a bi-partisan effort to ask Congress to stop the use of the body scanners. In his press conference, Republicans, Democrats, the medical community and ACLU all come together to speak against these machines and techniques. Knowing he can take an issue to the forefront of a debate, is is hopeful that Governor Christie will support this effort and speak loudly against these changes.

Having traveled to Europe and used major airports such as Fiumicino (Rome), Schiphol (Amsterdam) and Keflavik (Iceland), I have witnessed dogs used to search and many believe they are more effective. And again, it would be most effective if Homeland Security implements changes to their security process that analyze behavior, similar to what is done at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport.

Americans will be watching, and if the Federal Government ignores these complaints, we may be seeing more Opt-Out Days, as well as average American citizens speaking out in similar fashion to those in the TEA Party.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

He's Baaack

Former President George W. Bush has returned to the public eye the past two weeks with the release of his memoir, Decision Points. The book explores 14 major decisions in the president's life, many of which took place while in the presidency. He takes the reader through each, whether or not he feels he made the right moves and the ramifications of the decision.

On a personal note, I met the president twice, having a short conversation with him in the first meeting on the campaign trail (This meeting inspired his appearance in interacting with Michael Buonocore in The Calling to Lead) and just shaking his hand in an exchange of "Hello" and "God Bless You" in the second meeting at the Inaugural Ball. He connects well with people on a one-on-one basis and is a man of character. It saddens me he was not able to make and show that connection, especially during his second term. As we watch President Bush in his interviews and the softballs thrown at him to give him a chance to take a swing at Obama, he refuses, and this speaks volumes about his character.

I just finished reading the book today and walk away very impressed. The reader can observe his wit, and as one reads it and uses their imagination, it's as if George W. Bush is speaking the words on the page. Unlike other memoirs, he does not attempt to whitewash history and confronts issues where he was heavily criticized such as Iraq, TARP and Katrina. He defends the decisions he made (Iraq, Afghanistan, Wartime Decisions, The Freedom Agenda, TARP), in analysis of other decisions, he examines where he went wrong, (Katrina, campaign decisions, Social Security Reform, Immigration Reform, personnel) and he discusses disagreements between members of his staff, either with each other or with Bush himself. (Cheney v. Bush on Libby, Rumsfeld v. Powell on Iraq) His most apparent weakness in office was his inability to defend himself and/or articulate his positions. Bush, in his memoir, touches on why he didn't "fight back" (Did not want to dishonor the Institution of the President) and also explains the background further on why he made the decisions he did (Iraq, Katrina). He comes off as satisfied with the decisions he made, honored that he served, and is ready to move on to the next chapter of his life, as explained in this rather witty passage near the end of the book:

"Shortly after we moved to Dallas, I took Barney for an early morning walk around our neighborhood...Barney spotted the neighbor's lawn, where he promptly took care of his business. There I was, the former President of the United States, with a plastic bag on my hand, picking up that which I had been dodging for the past eight years."

When Bush's second term ended, I gave him the grade of B-; far from a perfect president. After reading Decision Points, that B- still stands. First and foremost, we were not attacked after September 11 during his presidency, and that significant achievement should be the first item cited when assessing his presidency. As previously stated on "The 'Right' Solutions" our security is our most important issue as one attack can make every other issue moot. Further positives that were factored in consist of his tax cuts, Supreme Court picks, as well as the honor and protection of our military men and women. He will not come close to that A grade as a result of his his refusal to defend himself/inability to further explain the issues to the people, his endorsement of high federal spending (including TARP), inconsistencies on illegal immigration, and he and his team's inability to stop the Financial Crisis of 2008 5 years earlier.

As a president, George W. Bush will be remembered for his leadership. He took in all accounts, both pro and con, and in the end, made a decision and stuck with it, as opposed to flip-flopping and leading while predicting which way the political wind will blow.

It was very smart Decision Points was released after the midterm elections, as attention was kept on the Republicans who were campaigning to serve in the House and Senate, and as we enter the cycle of the Election of 2012, we will soon hear from Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, and both can be guaranteed to shake up the political landscape!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

One and Done?

Democrats/pollsters Doug Schoen (worked for Clinton) and Pat Caddell (worked for Carter) have been quite vocal about their feelings on Obama and the Democrats leading up to the Midterm Elections of 2010 and likely won't be attending the White House Christmas Party as a result of those opinions. This week they stepped up their feelings in a co-written article in the Washington Post, recommending to the President not to seek a second term in order to achieve greatness.

It was a bit of a surprise to read the article, but I guess they were looking at the President's previous statements and made an attempt to hold him to this response to Diane Sawyer's question:

I respect Schoen and Caddell as intellectually honest Democrats and with my assessment of their opinion, and I don't mean to demean them, but Hell will freeze over before Obama decides not to run again. He is in too deep to turn back now and despite his party losing the House and much strength in the Senate, Obama still believes he can win in 2012. He has brought "change," yet this change was clearly not what Americans wanted and he has clearly misinterpreted the voters' preferences. Republicans have been left out in the cold and even though Clinton triangulated to get re-elected, I do not see Obama doing the same thing as there has been no evidence of it in these past two years. There is no reason to believe he will start now.

Despite that, there is the chance Obama still can win and that could happen two ways. First, the Republicans could throw him a line and "compromise." These new Republicans were not sent to work with the president, but to stop him while standing up for their principles. Even if they did stop him, Republicans are further protected by the Democrats running the Senate as Obama cannot run against a "Do-nothing Congress" in the same fashion Truman did in 1948. Clinton was helped by a Congress that "worked with him," as he took credit for their work, and it shouldn't be put past Obama to do the same thing. The voters will be watching and I believe these freshmen will have quite a strong resolve.

Second, the Republicans MUST make sure a Conservative runs against Obama in 2012. When we examine history since 1968, Conservative Republicans win Presidential Elections (Nixon, Reagan, George HW 1988, George W) and Moderates do not (Ford, George HW 1992, Dole, McCain)...even if they nominate Conservatives as their running mates.

In the end, Schoen and Caddell have a hidden message in this article, and that is: "Run, Hillary, RUN!" Remember, Schoen worked for Bill and Caddell is a little more friendly toward the Clintons than he is toward Barack Obama. They think Hillary's candidacy can push Obama out in the same way Robert Kennedy did to Lyndon Johnson, yet I believe he will not step away. As I said earlier, Hillary will not hold back this time if she runs, and if she resigns her post as Secretary of State by April 0f 2011, get your popcorn ready as the primary season in the Democrat Party will get very interesting!

(Note: picture comes from this speech)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sarah Palin's Alaska

This Sunday night, Sarah Palin's Alaska premieres on TLC, a travelogue and documentary featuring the Alaska Wilderness, Palin and her family; the first of eight parts.

We are already hearing those in the political world ask questions about the documentary:

- Is it a campaign kickoff?
- Will it hurt her?
- Will someone be sued?

Governor Palin continues to keep her supporters (and detractors) guessing about 2012, while also responding to Karl Rove's comments, making the statement, "Wasn't Ronald Reagan, an actor, wasn't he in Bedtime for Bonzo?"

I predict the ratings to be pretty strong for this documentary series and look forward to seeing Governor Palin in her element, in her beautiful home state, with her family.

UPDATE, 11/15/10: 5 million...A TLC Ratings Record!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Airline Security Questions

On September 11, 2001, we learned that our world was forever changed. When we woke up the next day, it was to a new, scary and unknown world. Commercial airliners were used as weapons to kill Americans and destroy our sites and symbols of commerce, military and government.

A little over nine years later, the Federal Government is still making changes to how we fly. Over time, Americans have gracefully accepted these new procedures from the TSA, to the checkpoint lines (notoriously long at Denver, Orlando and during rush hour at Newark), to the toiletry/carry-on regulations. Their latest change has people who fly very unnerved and that is the radiation body scanner, which are being used in addition to the magnetometers, which are currently used in the nation's airports, as well as at various landmarks, and in some schools.

When an individual uses these machines, they stand in the area with hands up and the X-Ray radiation beams with which you are zapped, scans the user's body and the images are shown to the TSA employee operating the machine who can determine if there are any banned substances and/or weapons on the person.

There are great reservations among people who fly in response to the increasing service of these devices. First, many are uncomfortable with their naked bodies being scanned to a computer and viewed by someone who isn't a family member or a doctor. The privacy issue is very troubling. Being zapped with radiation, raising a risk of being diagnosed with cancer, is an even larger reservation. We must ask ourselves if this use of technology is appropriate. I do not believe it is and others agree with me. Pilot unions, flight attendants, Islamic Organizations, along with tourism groups and grassroots organizations are speaking out against the scanners; some even going as far to declare a National Opt-Out Day. An option, which I will be undertaking next time I fly, will be to "Opt Out," if the airport(s) I use will have them in service. When one does, they are patted down by a TSA Employee. Unfortunately, these pat downs are not uniform, as there have been complaints, one of which, is explained by Alex Jones and a member of his staff:

The pat down is just as intrusive, but at least travelers are not risking cancer in this fashion. If going for the opt-out, it is recommended to have a woman TSA agent frisk children and other women, and to have the pat-down in public. It would be a good idea if Homeland Security develops and practices uniform methods of pat downs, so as to assuage the reservations of travelers.

Now the question many ask is what to do in lieu of the body scanners. Homeland Security must look at how security is handled at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport and should listen to the advice of former El Al Head of Security,Isaac Yeffet, who clearly explains that behavioral analysis and behavioral recognition have been integral in stopping hijackings and preventing terrorist attacks that may have roots in the airport. It is a viable option to consider and brings in the human factor, as we have seen many times that while technology can give our side an advantage, that advantage is not always a given.

Behavioral analysis will not only benefit the airline industry and travel/tourism, but it will not put civil liberties and health at risk, and will keep those who fly safe from the threat of terrorism.

UPDATE, 11/14/10: An incident occurred yesterday at San Diego International Airport where a man who was randomly selected to submit to the body scan or "more intrusive pat-down." He refused, claiming it was a violation of his rights, as well as the fact that he observed TSA employees let a traveler pass who set off the magnetometer. After a few minutes and confrontations with management and police, he was escorted from the airport and denied boarding of his flight. The incident was caught on video and posted to YouTube and the individual's blog.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day 2010

Originally called Armistice Day, a day to honor the veterans of World War I, which ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day on the 11th month of 1918, has, as of June of 1954, transitioned into Veterans Day; a day where we honor all our veterans; maybe even have a ravioli dinner to honor them.

"The 'Right' Solutions" wishes to thank our veterans, both serving and retired, for their service and their sacrifice in protecting our freedoms and keeping us save. Be sure to take a moment out of your day to thank a veteran. This can be done on any day of the year. We must always remember:
"Land of the Free BECAUSE of the Brave!"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Sad Commentary by Konstantin Ravvin

Take a look at the following video of a recent cheating scandal at the University of Central Florida, and be prepared to be sickened.

The above quote by Konstantin Ravvin, University of Central Florida senior, makes me sick to my stomach:
"This is college. Everyone cheats. Everyone cheats in life, in general...they're making a witch hunt out of absolutely nothing as if it were to teach us some kind of moral lesson."
Got a message for you, Konstantin. I have never cheated in life, lied to advance myself or hurt someone to advance myself, so with my personal experience, I strongly disagree with your contention. All with whom I interact have followed a similar path to mine. I find it very sad that this young man's teachers and parents were not a bigger influence on him and would find it an even bigger disgrace if he gets a job fresh out of college before someone else who played by the rules and didn't "cheat in life."

Let's look at this scandal at UCF in a larger context. While I am happy this professor is making all his students re-take the midterm, I disagree with his actions in regard to the cheating students. Every student who participated, confession or no confession, should face larger consequences by the UCF Administration and should not get off easy with an ethics seminar (as those who confess will). These students willingly committed an act of academic dishonesty and knew the consequences before going in, therefore, they should face the consequences. This is a slap in the face to those who don't "cheat in life" and have listened to and accepted the values lesson imparted on to them by their parents and teachers.

As a high school educator, I have always taken a hard line against cheating and/or academic dishonesty. On day one, I teach them about the definitions of the various forms of academic dishonesty, show them how I discover academic dishonesty, I discuss with them the real world consequences of academic dishonesty, and then I explain to them my policy. If I catch them participating in or acting as an accomplice in any form of academic dishonesty, not only do I enforce the school's policy, but they receive a failing grade on the particular assignment and they can never use me as a reference or recommender for participation in any honor society, admission to an institution of higher education or application for a job.

Some administrators or supervisors I have worked under or interviewed with have questioned, challenged or criticized my perspective, stating that I take a hard line. In response I tell them two things:

1) After six years, my policy must be effective because I HAVE NEVER CAUGHT A STUDENT IN MY CLASS ATTEMPTING TO COMMIT ACADEMIC DISHONESTY. This is because I hold them to a standard, tell them why I take this stand, teach them real-world consequences and teach them the proper forms of academic honesty. They know the rules, their parents know the rules, and both know that I have many higher education connections, so they do not attempt to test me.

2) Educators, whether classroom teachers or administrators, must remember they have a cooperative role in teaching tomorrow's leaders who may one day hold positions of influence. To take on this responsibility, they must be properly prepared with not only a strong values system that will facilitate success in life, but we also must realize it is our responsibility to pass these values down to the next generation so they may have the knowledge to do the same. If we, as educators, compromise our values by looking the other way when enforcing academic dishonesty, we are teaching our students that cheating is acceptable in society and thus begins a dangerous cycle detrimental to American society.

Whether educator, parent, or citizen who may interact with young people, I hope you are sickened by the UCF Cheating Scandal, as well as Konstantin Ravvin's comments, and this impacts you in some fashion to take a forceful role in positively preparing these young people to become tomorrow's leaders.

Monday, November 8, 2010

From Concern to Commendation

Now into the first week of November, things have changed among the Giants' faithful. In week three, it seemed like the world was going to end, but since then, the Giants have won 5 straight, with Sunday's thrashing of the Seattle Seahawks. As the new week begins, they are in a tie with the Atlanta Falcons for the best record in the NFC. In the time of concern in September, many were calling for Tom Coughlin's head on a platter. I defended him back then and it is because of Tom Coughlin's leadership that the Giants are where they are today!

He may be the oldest coach in the NFL, but with that age, Tom Coughlin has much experience. I will again make the 2007 comparison. That was his last year in that contract and in the end, the Giants streaked into the playoffs, while becoming the Road Warriors, and beat the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl 42! Since they were defeated by the Tennessee Titans in week 3 and even though the media was screaming pending disaster, Coughlin went about making changes that brought about this 2010 streak, while calming down players like Brandon Jacobs and Antrell Rolle so they become productive. Tom Coughlin was also wise enough to choose Perry Fewell to run the defense after Bill Sheridan's demise. Fewell has brought the D out of last season's funk, as this squad has been a powerhouse, knocking out 5 quarterbacks so far this season.

Looking ahead, the Giants still have one more game with the hapless, Romo-less Cowboys, who just fired their coach today, and still must face their other divisional opponents. They also have a home game against Jacksonville and away games at Minnesota and Green Bay. Only the away game against the Philadelphia Eagles makes me nervous, but overall, if the Giants continue with their smart and aggressive play, I believe they can win this division while going deep into the playoffs. And in the end, I hope the Tisch/Mara clan will be smart enough to give Tom Coughlin another contract extension as he has earned his place among the elite coaches of not only the New York Giants, but the NFL.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Olbermann's End?

Last Friday, Keith Olbermann, the host of MSNBC's Countdown was suspended for an indefinite amount of time as he gave donations to three Democrat candidates this fall; a move that was not allowed in his contract.

When one has a contract, it must be followed as written, or else there will be ramifications for violations. Olbermann violated his contract, therefore the MSNBC brass suspended him. Although that's not the end of the story.

I think the NBC Brass and Olbermann's agent should not have allowed that stipulation, as Olbermann is an analyst. The differenes were explained here a couple of months ago, so let's do a recap: an analyst gives opinions and commentary (think Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck) whereas a journalist delivers hard news in an unbiased fashion (think Brett Baier or Martha MacCallum). When watching his show, Olbermann gives his opinion, mostly in a bombastic fashion, and asks very leading questions, and as a result, there is not a lack of bias during that 8-9 timeslot. Knowing the background of his show, they also put him on the Election Night newsdesk, where he freely gives his opinions, especially playing and laughing along with Chris Matthews (who is also an analyst, but is called a journalist) when he mocked Michele Bachmann. MSNBC doesn't seem to understand journalism, mistaking these liberal pundits as journalists. Maybe that's a partial explanation of why their rating are so low.

If this is the last we have seen of Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, I'm disappointed that I'll never be named his "Worst Person in the World." I will also miss any future attempts by SNL to spoof his bombast, as they did with Ben Affleck. If Olbermann does come back to the MSNBC Airwaves (not sure if he will, considering that Alan Grayson is going to be looking for a job soon), his agent needs to meet with the NBC Brass to fully define his role and remind them that his client is by far not a journalist, but an analyst.

UPDATE, 11/7: It was leaned that Keith Olbermann will be returning to the airwaves on Tuesday evening. I guess their ratings were really affected...oh wait, they're still #3 in the ratings. Hope is still alive that one day, Olbermann could refer to me as the "Worst Person in the World."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Get Your Popcorn Ready, Part I

Just when we thought she was out, she pulls herself back in.

Soon to be Former Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, will seek the leadership position of Minority Leader of the Democrats. As an organization, if the leader does not succeed in the organization's mission or meeting their objectives, it's time for that leader to be replaced. We see that her insistence of staying in the game will lead to some conflict in the Democrat Party, and we already know the surviving "Blue Dogs," (who were decimated...went from 54 to 26) who were under her thumb, won't be this time as former mediocre quarterback-turned Congressman, Heath Shuler, squeaked by in his campaign by promising to run against Pelosi for the leadership position she seeks. Ms. Pelosi loves her power and her act of seeking it could be detrimental to the Democrats.

Republicans, get your popcorn ready, as this one is going to be fun to watch! If she does pull this out, I wonder what implications her leadership will have in 2012?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Keep Your Eyes on the Ball!!!

The title of this entry is my advice to the GOP Leadership in the House. Looking back at the Midterm Election of 2010, voters backed the Republicans as a repudiation of the Obama agenda; and this includes the Healthcare Reform Act. There was wide-ranging discontent, and it wasn't only among Republicans, especially when one considers how independents heavily broke for the Republicans. It makes Conservatives like myself nervous when we hear about tweaking Healthcare, as opposed to repealing. Doing the former instead of the latter will be a death knell for the Republicans as the majority of the candidates promised their constituencies they would fight for repeal. I am pleased to hear John Boeher go on record about Health Care:

As a result of his interview with Brett Baier, the presumptive speaker's plan is as clear as day:
"Trust me, I'm going to make sure this health care bill is never, ever, ever is implemented!"
Hearing this gives me more confidence in John Boehner, but he must stick by his words. The courts could help, as the cases in Florida and Virginia have been allowed to move forward. Considering that one of these cases in is the Eastern District Court of Virginia, home of the "rocket docket," this could make its way to the Supreme Court quicker than we think. Republicans, however, cannot bank on this and must take a vote on this issue and get the members of the House on record. It won't get past the Senate and the president will likely veto it, but the House vote will give their constituents evidence that they stood by principle.

Standing on principle in the Conservative Movement, is important to the voters, and therefore, should be consistently adhered to by their representatives in Congress.

Many pundits will tell you that Republicans lost the 2006 Midterm Elections as a result of Bush fatigue and Iraq. I have a secret for you: they're wrong! That Midterm was lost because the Republican Party leadership abandoned their Conservative principles of smaller government and federal spending. During the Bush years, spending was out of control! President Bush was always a big spender, but Congress should have stood on their principles and stood up to the president. Because they didn't, voters either stayed home or voted Democrat.

Since 2006, the Republicans were on life support as a result of their repudiation of Conservatism. History has shown us from Nixon, to Reagan, to George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 that when the Republican Party endorses Conservatism, they win! This is what happened in 2010, as the Tea Party voters and candidates smartly joined in with the Republican Party to bring it back from the dead.

Marco Rubio and other Republicans have said the party is on probation and the voters will be watching. The ball is in their court. Voters will be looking for their representatives to stand on principle and in this political climate, this means they must stand by their principles and do what they promised: repealing health care, lowering taxes and articulating/teaching Conservative ideals. Those battles may not be won, and the voters understand the situation, but will be happy they are fighting the war while standing by their principles.

In an examination of political history and containing a knowledge of their constituents, the path of the Congressional Republicans should be clear. As Rush stated in response to this historic and enormous victory,
"The winners state the terms, the losers compromise."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What Will Sarah Do?

That is the question everybody is asking these days: What will Sarah do? This election season, she has spent a significant amount of time and invested much political capital on the campaign trail, recruiting candidates and stumping for those candidates who aligned with her political preferences of "Common Sense Conservatism." She wasn't shy about announcing it and in the final weeks she had some great speeches and her criss-crossing the country was closely covered. Despite electoral losses with Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle, upon which the media is heavily focused, many of them won. Let's name a few: Marco Rubio, Pam Bondi, Allen West, Rick Scott, Nikki Haley, Kelly Ayotte, Kristi Noem, Rand Paul, Jan Brewer. Sarah Palin didn't have to put herself out there, but she did. And as a result of doing it, her stature and stock is continuing to rise. And she is celebrating her candidates' victories pretty visibly

What do those who fear or are threatened by a rising star do? They attack. Cher referred to Palin as a stupid woman in a Vanity Fair piece, and if you read the piece, Cher doesn't necessarily come off as intelligent, so she shouldn't be taken seriously. Politico has particularly gone after her in the past couple of weeks; first trying to create a tiff between she and Glenn Beck as a result of her scheduling, and then saying Mission #1 among "mainstream Republicans" (aka RINOs) will be to defeat Palin. What these folks haven't realized is that attacking her makes her stronger. Her supporters will rally around her and Sarah Palin will respond as she has about the phony Glenn Beck dustup. This woman is fearless and the media and her opponents, by their reaction to and treatment of her, are telling Americans exactly how they feel.

Of course, Sarah Palin is not going anywhere! Her TLC/Discovery Channel documentary/travelogue about Alaska (the media loves to classify it as a "reality show" because it is their attempt at minimizing her) premieres this month and her second book, America by Heart: My Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag; will be released later this month. Big things are happening for Sarah Palin, but the question many have been asking me is, "will she run?"

At this point, I honestly do not know. I think there is a greater chance of Palin throwing her hat in the ring as her candidates have won their respective offices this fall and she may be looking for her candidates' loyalty chits to be cashed in. Remember, many of her candidates come from the early primary states of New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida. Even though, I'm still not convinced she will run. The reason I am unsure is not following along with the conventional thinking in the media, "she's making too much money now." That's another tactic they use to attempt to minimize Sarah Palin; making those who hear it think she's not genuine, "she's in it for the money." I think the people realize, as I do, that the money may be nice, but it's not the top priority for her. Instead, her top priority is seeing that America recovers from its current economic funk and leftward lurch, continuing to be the exceptional nation that she is. Sarah Palin has shown she doesn't need a title to do so. Either way, she will continue read the tea leaves and we'll likely know by the spring if she decides to seek the presidency. Honestly, I'm rooting for her to jump in as she has proven herself to be a strong campaigner, good debater, inspiring speaker, has a loyal following and will not turn her back on her Conservative principles. Sarah Palin's entrance into the race will definitely shake up the Republican Party and if she does run, will again, give her the spotlight, and leave those who oppose her, shaking.

A Speech to Watch

On Election Night, Marco Rubio won the three-way Senate Race in Florida with over 50% of the vote. Here is his speech:

On a lighter note, Marco Rubio's son is channeling a young Andrew Giuliani with his camera antics, and it's priceless!

In this speech, Marco Rubio speaks with passion and puts a face on American exceptionalism, as he is the child of Cuban exiles who sacrificed so their children could have better lives. Furthermore, he exudes that same optimism of Ronald Reagan in articulating how that despite our current struggles and challenges, we can not only return to that prosperity, but we can continue to be the country where not pre-determination, but self-determination is the norm.

Marco Rubio is one of the current Gen-X politicians in the spotlight that I believe can one day be president in the near future, yet the Democrats are scared silly of that prospect for reasons similar to the Miguel Estrada incident, as he does not fit their caricature of Republicans. In this speech, Rubio articulates the importance of principles in his decision-making and assuming he practices what he preaches, he will be a fast rising star in American politics!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Priceless Midterm Moments

A little levity for a moment. David Letterman has a Top 10, The Right Solutions is going to have a Top 5; the Top 5 Candidates to "Remember"...:

5. Jack Conway: Nastiest ad of the campaign. He was done, losing to Rand Paul by 12%.

4. Krystall Ball: I touched on this earlier in the cycle and still laugh really hard about the story and her reaction to it. And she was defeated.

3. Alan Grayson: Soon to be former Congressman, soon to be future MSNBC Host, thoroughlly covered here and while everybody remembers the Taliban Dan ad, I found this rip-off of Eliot Spitzer rather creepy:

2. Alvin Greene: The Democrat who ran against Jim DeMint, who seemed lost and who has a criminal case pending, lost by a large margin to DeMint. There was also a lot of breathing room at his election night party. His ad looks like it was done by a high school intern, his interview was something to watch!

1. Jimmy "Papa Smurf" McMillian, candidate for Governor of New York representing "The Rent is Too Damn High" Party!

New Jersey Electoral Analysis

Let's recap my prediction in the state of New Jersey. In Congress, I predicted a GOP gain of 1 to 3 seats. I was fully in the ballpark as we gained one seat. A race I did not pay as close attention to went the Republicans' way as well; the Bergen County Executive.

That being said, the Conservative Tsunami did make its way into New Jersey, however it only made it as far north as Toms River and as far south as Lyndhurst.

Starting in North Jersey in Bergen County, Kathleen Donovan was elected County Executive, along the three Republicans candidates for Freeholder. Bergen County is New Jersey's most populous county and until 10 years ago, had a long history of being a bastion for Republican politics. Route 4 used to be considered the dividing line as north of Route 4 was considered the Republican section of the Bergen and south of Route 4 considered the Democrat portion of the Bergen. Leading up to McGreevey's victory, that line began to make its way up Route 17 into Paramus, Oradell and Ridgewood, and into some of the municipalities north and east of Hackensack. Democrats have also, in those ten years, been winning county-wide elections. With the conviction of Joe Feriero and the near victory in Bergen of Governor Christie, combined with the political climate in the nation, Republicans were successful in Bergen this year and hopefully the trend will continue.

In Congress, voters of the 3rd Congressional District sent Jon Runyan to Congress, defeating Freshman Congressman and veteran politician John Alder. I have covered the dirty tricks from sending opposition researchers to hide out in his bushes to funding a fake Tea Party candidate, Adler has stopped at nothing to hold this seat. In the end, voters were dissatisfied with the situation in Washington, along with their lack of leadership representing them in Congress. Jon Runyan united the Republican Party and won a huge plurality in Ocean County, the region which makes the 3rd a Republican leaning district.

While Jon Runyan prevailed, Republican Challengers in the 6th and the 12th did not.

In the 6th Congressional District, Anna Little was defeated by Congressman Frank Pallone. Having been covering this campaign, as well as participating in it, I was glad to see this race come alive in the closing months, as it's been common practice that Frank Pallone walks into re-election. Anna Little came out of nowhere to wrest the nomination from Diane Gooch by 83 votes with strong Tea Party support. Even though she defeated the "establishment-backed" candidate, the establishment was very smart to not treat her like the establishment treated Christine O'Donnell. Middlesex GOP Chair Sam Thompson, Monmouth GOP Chair Joe Oxley and the other Republicans accepted her candidacy and eventually Governor Christie passionately campaigned for her. As I stated in my previous post, Pallone followed Gooch's strategy and did not engage her, instead saving his $4 million campaign war chest for another campaign (And trust me, he wants to run a statewide campaign, but will he be the front runner to challenge Christie in 2013?). When he did actively campaign, he did so with a sense of entitlement. Conservative groups, along with Diane Gooch, came into the game to run ads against Pallone in support of Little's candidacy. And while Little won Monmouth, in the end, those Bayshore and coastal towns were not enough to overcome the heavy Democrat vote in New Brunswick, Edison and Plainfield. Anna Little should hold her head high that because of her ardent supporters in the 6th, she was able to make sure Frank Pallone didn't win by the enormous pluralities he has won by in the past, this time, only by a pluarality of 10%.

In the 12th Congressional District, Republican Challenger Scott Sipprelle was defeated by Congressman Rush Holt by a plurality of 7 percentage points. Also having previously covered this race, along with participating it, I was very impressed by not only Scott's knowledge of economics and ability to articulate Conservative solutions to fixing our problems, but also by his act of taking the veteran Congressman apart in their debates, one of which, I witnessed. Furthermore, I was impressed by his inclusion of Tea Party supporters whose candidate was defeated in the primary. The Congressman slammed him in many disgustingly low and dishonest ads, but Scott Sipprelle kept going. Like Anna Little, Scott Sipprelle should also hold his head high as Rush Holt had one of his lowest winning percentages in years and was not afraid to take the Congressman on. Hopefully Scott's campaign will resonate with voters who will spread the words if either Scott jumps into the fray again, or another strong Republican steps up to take a shot at defeating Rush Holt in the future.

The 6th and the 12th are drawn in such a way that they are gerrymandered to make it easier for the Democrat incumbents to win, however, last night's results show they are not lost causes. What can be done you ask? This is where Governor Christie comes in. It is time for him to show his leadership and take a bigger hand in how these districts will be redrawn. As a result of the 2010 Census, we will lose one Congressional Seat. It has not been publicly said which district, but the Governor should fight to split the 9th District (Southeast Bergen, part of Hudson) into either the 8th or the 13th. The 6th and the 12th should be redrawn to give the districts more parity and allow a true representation of the political persuasion of all those who reside in the respective district. The Governor will be in for a fight if he takes this up, but I have the confidence in him that he will take it up and he will prevail.

The next election year will be focused on Trenton as it will be time for the Legislative Midterm Elections. It will be interesting to see how much of a role Christie will take in campaigning and recruiting, as well as the role of his opposition groups such as the NJEA, AFSME and SEIU in keeping Democrat majorities in the Assembly and Senate. Considering that the New Jersey Republicans now have the fundraising advantage and a very strong chairman in Jay Webber, it may be a very active year where we need to have our popcorn ready!