Bunker Mulligan "Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." ~Mark Twain

March 26, 2005


Filed under: General — Bunker @ 6:49 am

Off to Bryan for the day. Birdie gets a week off before heading out to Afghanistan, and we are meeting there for a baby shower in honor of his lovely bride. He and I and his father-in-law will sit around and try to stay out of the women’s way for a couple of hours.

No golf today. Instead, I’m doing laundry and dishes. A man’s work is never done.

March 25, 2005


Filed under: Government — Bunker @ 7:25 pm

I just received this from one of my senators:

Thank you for contacting me about how the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-155) addresses the matter of web logs. I appreciate having the benefit of your comments on this issue.

As you may know, P.L. 107-155 amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 by increasing the limit on “hard money”—regulated donation limits on direct campaign contributions used to influence elections—and bans “soft money”—money raised outside federal election restrictions and used to indirectly influence elections. In addition, the law regulates certain political communication for a specific period preceding an election.

As a strong supporter of personal freedoms, I understand the concerns many Americans have regarding the limits on political speech mandated by P.L. 107-155. I believe in making America’s campaign process transparent while protecting the liberty from which our political freedoms stem. I do not believe it is the government’s role to restrict the free exercise of expression, and I support congressional action protecting this right.

I appreciate having the opportunity to represent the interests of Texans in the United States Senate, and you may be certain that I will continue to closely monitor this issue. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.



United States Senator

Wallace, you can return his shorts, now.

McCain-Feingold Incumbent Protection Act

Filed under: Government,Politics — Bunker @ 7:07 pm

The purported reason for BCRA (McCain-Feingold) was to get big-donor money out of election campaigns. Worked beautifully, didn’t it?

Let’s go back and ask why that law was necessary. Was it because Dubya won the election in 2000 riding a wave of huge donations? After all, the Republicans get all those rich folk to donate to them. People like George Soros? In 2000, Bush received money from donors that averaged $300. Gore’s donors gave an average of $800.

No, I guess that wasn’t the reason.

Perhaps the reason for BCRA was to prevent anyone other than politicians and their campaigns from buying air time. Well, of course all television, radio, and news media were exempt. That was the first red flag I saw. If only networks and local stations could provide campaign information, money had to be passed under the table or people like McCain had already figured they would get good press. And, of course, incumbents can always get air time.

My view of McCain-Feingold at the time was that the two major political parties and the incumbents had already figured out how to work their way around the law or none of them would have supported it. I didn’t then know about John McCain’s “non-partisan, non-profit foundation (which also happens to berate the President for not pushing ratification of the Kyoto Treaty). How many other career politicians have such a foundation?

Most politicians are honest, sincere people. But they’re politicians. They like their perks, and that means getting reelected. And they like control over that.

That is what BCRA was really all about. Control of the “election dialog.” Most of us understood that at the time. And recent events have done nothing but add emphasis to that view.

At first, McCain and others made noise about wanting to do something to do away with the freedom people have to form 527 organizations. Of course, the only one of those that had any real impact on the last election was the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. And they certainly weren’t “big money” folks. They barely scraped together enough money to put together their first television ad. So, that reason is a non-starter.

But wait. The Swifties got up a head of steam because of the blogosphere. And, by the way, bloggers were behind the downfall of Dan Rather’s fake memos.

Loss of control.

So, the FEC are convinced they must do something to rein in blogs. I wonder who convinced them.

There is a lot of information floating around on the topic. Ryan Sager has made it his mission. I hope to provide some information and analysis myself. And there is a copy of the first draft of the rules to be considered by the FEC over at Redstate.org. You might want to compare it to the one they released after the blogswarm. And Hugh Hewitt, a lawyer who has dealt with such things before, has some powerful advice for all who read and write blogs.

Right now, all I can do is point you in the right direction for keeping tabs on this issue. And if you think this is a partisan endeavor, think again. We are all in this together. People like John McCain are more concerned with their own staus and power than they are with our rights. And you can rest assured, the FEC commissioners are not making their judgements in a vacuum. They have plenty of help from Capitol Hill.

They need to hear from all of us. I will post any comments I submit to them. Feel free to post any you submit in the comments. As soon as the minutes from Thursday’s meeting and the resulting rules proposals are posted on their site, I’ll let you know. There is some concern on their part right now. The Ex parte communication from U.S. Senators John McCain and Russell Feingold and U.S. Representatives Christopher Shays and Marty Meehan linked on the site has never been available any time I’ve tried to access it.

So much for open government. As Glenn Reynolds said, “In fact, I told somebody that we should sleep soundly, because we have the word of two senators that nothing will come of this. And if you can’t rely on the word of two senators…you’re in Washington!”

Air America

Filed under: Media — Bunker @ 4:53 pm

One of my regular readers here in Corpus Christi informed me that Air America is now on our radio dial. So, I listened for a bit today. Well, when I got the chance.

For a little while at work I heard some of Al Franken’s show. He had a segment about dittoheads, which is apparently a regular feature, where he plays a clip from Rush’s show, and has a conservative friend comment. All I got to hear was Rush saying something about the Democrats being the party of slavery and segregation. Al’s co-host was quick on the draw: “That’s a snapshot in time!” I didn’t get to hear the remainder of the segment to see how it all played out.

On the way home I listened to Randi Rhodes. Well, during my twenty minute trip she gabbed and played a clip of Hannity and Colmes which she previewed with, “Listen how Hannity pauses so you can hear the protesters behind him chanting. Either they are really close or Fox News put microphones on them!” Well, they were probably close, but certainly not wired. And Hannity never paused for us to hear them during the clip she ran.

I’ll try to listen again sometime. It was all really pretty boring. Even tedious. No wonder Air America doesn’t do well. Rhodes, in particular, repeats herself, and what she says becomes a litany. Beyond that, most of what I heard today were commercials. A lot of them. New York City commercials. I certainly intend to run right down and sign up with the natural gas company in New York!

Federal Intervention

Filed under: Government — Bunker @ 8:19 am

I taught Honor and Ethics at the Air Force Academy. I was also the Professional Ethics Advisor for one of the cadet squadrons. In those roles, I was deeply involved in the Honor Code system there. And that system, run by the cadets themselves, can be brutal.

The key, as we discussed many times, was not in being able to do the right thing. That’s easy. What is often difficult is determining what the right thing is.

That’s the real issue with the Terri Schiavo case.

Neal Boortz continues with his view on the situation, this time in terms of “payback” as threatened by the Religious Right.

Have you seen today’s approval ratings for President Bush? They’re down. Way down. He’s down to 45%. He was at 52% one week ago. This is the lowest point in his presidency. These polls are not because he hasn’t done enough in the Schiavo matter. The downtrend is because he did too much.

The Far Right have fallen into the trap of believing their own press releases, and those of the Far Left. Dubya didn’t win reelection because of them. They were going to vote Republican anyway. The twenty percent at both ends of the political spectrum cancelled each other’s vote. Dubya was reelected by the majority of us in the middle sixty percent.

The fanatics are out threatening Dubya and Congressmen for doing exactly what the law allows them to do. Some are even demanding Jeb Bush do what Janet Reno did–something they blasted her for. She was wrong then, and they are wrong now.

Like my cadets, Dubya operates from a position of moral standards which he must obey, not because of simple law but due to his personal integrity. He is not applying religious belief, but making his determination based on moral values he has from his beliefs and the oath he took as President. He pushed this issue to the limits of his Constitutional mandate, and can go no further. I have no doubt the desire to do more was there, but he had to decide what was the right thing to do. That decision is the hard part. And why Presidents age at an accelerated rate during their tenure.

There may be two dozen people in this country who truly understand the facts of this case. The rest of us are operating on supposition and pieces of information, and building an argument based on emotion and opinion rather than fact. And many are using this as a political tool. It shouldn’t be.

Like Boortz, I want to see Dubya and Congress go back to doing what we pay them to do. I want the Mexican border sealed. I want to see Social Security upgraded. I want to see many things improved. Things within the bounds of what the Federal Government is allowed (that’s right, allowed) to do.

What these folks don’t grasp is that they are asking for more intrusion by the Federal Government in our lives.

That is not why I voted for Dubya.

March 24, 2005

Open Borders

Filed under: Government,International — Bunker @ 11:10 am

Mr. Fox, who has said he seeks an open border, has applied constant pressure on Mr. Bush to get the guest-worker program through Congress. Mr. Bush has pledged that he will do all he can.

Now what possible “pressure” could Fox have?

MIT Engineers

Filed under: Engineering — Bunker @ 11:06 am

You want hydrogen cars? How about this technology?

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