Sunday, November 27, 2005
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Tom Reilly has protected us.
In stern letter to WalMart, he scolded them that in the Sacred Commonwealth, WE have 'Blue Laws', which forbid stores to open on Sundays and Holidays. Except, of course, for convenience stores, and other establishments that have convinced the Legislature that they are exceptional. The sacred underpinnings of the ancient Blue Laws mean a great deal to us here, Atty. General Reilly wrote. Why, they mean so much to us that the enormous spruce tree on the Boston Common will be called a 'Holiday tree', provoking rage in the man in Nova Scotia who sent a Christmas tree here. They mean so much to us that our own Senator O'Leary has filed a An Act Relative to Archaic Crimes, Senate 938, whic among other things relaxes the penalties for bestialtiy.
But that matters little to Tom Reilly - he is an upholder of the law.
Of course, he also wants to allow in-state tuition rates at Massachusetts public colleges for illegal immigrants, as they must pay out-of-state rates now. The fact that their presence is illegal is no deterrent for him. The fact that they cannot be legally employed in Massachusetts upon graduation is of no concern. The fact that a Federal law states that if illegal immigrants are allowed to pay in-state tuition, then the state must offer that rate to all comers, effectively wiping out million of dollars in revenue to the underfunded state college system seems to mean the least of all - after all, we can blame George Bush for that!
No, we can all be thankful to know that we are protected from WalMart and Whole Foods. We can be thankful that Tom Reilly is a man of the law - at least the ones he likes.
UPDATE: Well, it appears that Reilly's actions and the expose Walmart movie are indeed having an effect - see story HERE. Did they learn nothing from the way Michael Moore's movie energized Bush's base? On the other hand, will Reilly give a 'bye' to the Chinese supermarkets who defied his order (story HERE) in the name of cultural diversity? Their excuse is they 'don't celebrate Thanksgiving'.
It has come to my attention that the day after Thanksgiving is the beginning of Christmas shopping. For those who would prefer to stay at home instead of brave the elements, I invite you to visit my new store, PORCUPINE'S GAZETTE, located at the top of the page just above my picture, where trinkets of the highest quality are obtainable. Any would make a fine gift for a devotee of my works, and I hope you will peruse my humble offerings.
Monday, November 21, 2005
East is East and West is West?
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882–1945)
The violence began with the young people, as it so often does. Out of work, affronted that after years, and indeed in some cases generations, of living in the country, they are still treated like ‘foreigners’ and misfits. Part of the problem is that the very Constitution and body of laws is rigidly secular, stemming from the time of their country’s revolution when the Church and religious leaders were thought to have too much influence on the monarch. Much is made of unemployment and economic problems as an explanation, and a claim is made that their motivation is poverty. But, in reality, it is their faith and ethnicity that prevent them from blending into the mainstream. After a minor accident, years of unofficial segregation boiled over into riots, demonstrations, and violence. Even as it eventualy subsided, the root causes remained unchanged.
A description of France? No, of China, where there have been hundeds of bombings already.
According to the Xinhua English language Chinese news service, young Muslims in China are demonstrating in a way eerily similar to the problems in Paris and environs. But, as blogger OneManBandwidth, Dr. Lonnie Hodge says, "The China news agency that you found is THE official agency...The key word is offficial...So 90% is unreliable..." Another, franker, story on the riots may be found HERE. To put this in perspective, there are more Muslims in China than in the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Libya or Syria, and indeed more Muslims in China than there are Australians at all.
According to the International Coalition for Religious Freedom:
The Chinese government expressed its attitude toward religion in its October 1997 White Paper: Religion should be adapted to the society in which it is prevalent. This is a universal law for the existence and development of religion. Now the Chinese people are building China into a modern socialist country with Chinese characteristics. The Chinese government advocates that religion
should adapt to this reality. However, this adaptation does not require citizens to give up religious belief, nor does it require any religion to change its basic doctrines. Instead, it requires religions to conduct their activities within the sphere prescribed by law to adapt to social and cultural progress.
What an oxymoronic challenge to an ancient faith – become modern, adapt to our social dictates, but believe whatever you wish. Just don’t act upon it in any way.
The report states further:
There are parallels here with the French ban on turbans and headscarves. By forbidding ancient customs, and declaring genuinely religious people who adhere to them ‘separatists’, the French and Chinese governments are bringing trouble upon themselves.
The Chinese government recognizes that there are 18 million Moslems (note - out of 1.2 billion people) in China with about 30,000 registered mosques and 40,000 imams and Akhunds. According to Amnesty International, reports indicate that the actual number of Muslims may be 30-40 million.
The authorities have been particularly vigilant, however, in trying to quash unregistered Muslim activity in Xinjiang province. Since April of 1996, only the Xinjiang People’s Publication House is allowed to publish books dealing with Islam. Use of unauthorized materials is illegal. Any religious activities in schools is banned, and communist party members are forbidden from participating in Islamic religious activities or distributing religious materials. Chinese authorities continue to dismantle and close down illegal mosques and Koranic schools and arrest unauthorized teachers and believers who are viewed as "separatist" criminals.
Ancient nations, ancient cultures, ancient clashes. The United States can be grateful that the Founders put two parts in the Establishment Clause - that there will be no state sponsored denomination, and that there shall be no laws banning the free expression of religion. We should ask those wishing to delete phrases referring to the Almighty from pledges and currency if they really think France and China have found a better way.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
IS History Still Written By The Winners?
Pres. Harry Truman, On criticism by what he called the “sabotage press,” quoted by Margaret Truman
This is another quote from 1897 in Pudd’nHead Wilson by Mark Twain, “The very ink in which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.” Both of these remarks pertain tremendously to the Monday Morning Quaterbacking efforts of the Democrat Party in the present day.
The U.S. Armed Forces have found no significant weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I say ‘significant’, as quantities of suspicious chemicals have been found, and it has become increasingly obvious that the weapons of tomorrow are made on a Bunsen burner, not a factory floor. This is not the best way to end what Eisenhower warned of as the ‘military-industrial complex’. At least then, you knew where weapons were and who made them.
Now that the backpedaling on Iraq has begun in earnest, various notables are saying that they had been against it all along. They ‘didn’t receive intelligence briefings’, or those they did receive briefings say they were 'tainted by politics', acording to former Vice Presidental Candidate John Edwards. That’s why they voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq
One of the few honest Democrat Senators, a different Vice-Presidential Candidate, Sen. Lieberman, said this, “"It is no surprise to my colleagues that I strongly supported the war in Iraq. I was privileged to be the Democratic cosponsor, with the Senator from Virginia, of the authorizing resolution which received overwhelming bipartisan support. As I look back on it and as I follow the debates about prewar intelligence, I have no regrets about having sponsored and supported that resolution because of all the other reasons we had in our national security interest to remove Saddam Hussein from power - a brutal, murdering dictator, an aggressive invader of his neighbors, a supporter of terrorism, a hater of the United States of America. He was, for us, a ticking time bomb that, if we did not remove him, I am convinced would have blown up, metaphorically speaking, in America's face."
To refresh the memories of others, I ask that you view THIS BLOGCAST, Dishonest On Iraq, which was sent to Porcupine through a friend. Juxtaposing words is one matter, but juxtaposing videotape is a much more compelling argument.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I include this one for you to think about as well.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
A week has passed since the Barnstable elections, all reports are in, and the dust has settled sufficiently to comment upon them.
The people of Barnstable wail to all and sundry how unhappy they are with their town government. Letters to the editors of all local papers, radio talk shows, and two separate blogs on Cape Cod Today Blog Chowder all detail its inadequacy. But, when the only poll that counts is held, all the incumbents were reelected.
As always, there are reasons for this. John Alden is a relatively unknown political neophyte campaigning against a town institution, the elderly and venerable Harold Tobey, a retired police officer and library guard who spent his days campaigning in a golf cart while Mr. Alden attempted to campaign after work and on weekends. There may be trouble in this Paradise if Mr. Tobey breaks his word to vote with his constituents when the Town Council holds its vote on the three ballot questions, but taking almost 75% of the vote is an indicator of satisfaction with representation, as Mr. Tobey has always opposed the split tax rate.
Joseph Pino did better against Janet Joakim, but again, he lost due to a perception that she is a dedicated and talented representative. 478 to 402 is a very close vote, however, and she has nothing like the mandate given to Mr. Tobey, and her vote on the split tax rate may well be swayed – but she has four years to recoup her reputation if she chooses not to go along with her constituents, and she is a dedicated battler in the cause of school aid.
Perhaps the most disappointing vote came in Centerville, where Fred Chirigotis won the seat of his father-in-law Roy Richardson, defeating former councilor Ted Panitz with nearly 60 percent of the votes. Mr. Chirigiotis will be influenced, at best, by this family connection, indicating that Barnstable’s term limits may turn to simple nepotism.
Yet, on the matter of creating a split tax rate which will charge more to businesses, a residential exemption, and a small business exemption, the answer from the electorate was a resounding ‘yes’, while they simultaneously voted for the foes of the split rate, the incumbents that garner so much criticism and anger. It appears that Barnstable is suffering from Legislature Syndrome, which had a wider outbreak in the 2004 elections. Polls showed that while people were unhappy with the Legislature as a body, they thought that their own Legislator was a fine fellow, and voted to return him to the sick body; he could continue working for them, as he is always saying he does. The electorate of Barnstable appears to labor under a similar delusion, and do not understand that reelecting incumbents to a body they are unhappy with is merely an endorsement of all those votes with which they claim to have taken issue.
What astonished Porcupine the most was that Town Clerk Linda Hutchenrider, whose gross negligence with ballots and polling places threw a State Representative race into the Courts and provoked a historic action by the Legislature to seat the Democrat incumbent against the advice of the Judiciary, was unopposed and reelected. What does a person have to do to lose office in Barnstable?
What was different? The charter commission movement got many signatures, and may be able to put forward its idea that Barnstable should get rid of its inefficient Council in place of a Mayor, which will likely be chosen from the same deck of 52 jokers that currently run Town Hall. To Porcupine, it is tantamount to complaining how a repertory company butchered ‘Hamlet’ on Saturday, only to flock to see the same players in ‘Macbeth’ the following week. Eliminating the Council will simply complete the divorce of the Town of Barnstable from the rest of the Cape in terms of governance, and will make them an even more unwieldy partner.
Did the blogs matter? They certainly informed debate, and in fact the Town Council deliberated about them more than once. However, the election results are certain to justify those who feel they can be disregarded, and the fact that one of the Bloggers is quitting in the wake of the election may be taken as a defeat for the medium. The author of Cape Cod Living feels his few months experience qualifies him to write a book about Barnstable politics, prompting the reaction in some that if that is the case, others could write encyclopedias. It validates the viewpoint that the Bloggers are just a flash in the pan, easily distracted, like children with a shiny toy. In view of the inept and often delayed coverage of local events by the Cape Cod Times, our paper of record and whale watching, this is unfortunate. Blogs can be a fine medium if those in it will persevere.
The perennial complaints against the Barnstable Town council and its management will surely begin again soon, if they ever ceased. The complainers need to learn that the world is run by the people who show up.
Lastly, Porcupine has a new weekly tenant, Sanity's Bluff. Maybe it's those long hours on the road, but this is some of the most compelling conservative writing that Porcupine has run across. Great sidebar and links. too! I hope you will visit by clicking the ‘Rent My Blog’ box at the top of the page.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Dulce et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori
Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman (Observation in a letter, 1864)
The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month.
Once, every schoolchild knew this story, and all society stood for a minute of silence to observe Armistice Day.
Soldiers have died to defend us all since ancient times, but most can never speak of the emotions, the horror and the rewards of their service. Poets have done that eloquently for them. The words of poets on the honour and the horror of service in a war have been excised from the curriculum of our children. Support the Troops; If You Can Read This, Thank a Veteran; Be All That You Can Be; Remember Pearl Harbor! (an the Maine, and the Holocaust, and 9-11, and on and on..) - poetry has given way to sloganeering. Our emotions are stunted by the lack of noble words.
In 'The Soldier', Rupert Brooke writes of the emotion, the noble elevation felt as a man (then) enlists in a great cause for his nation (Brooke) Yet even though he was killed in World War I, you can feel that he didn't think it would happen to him. He died of blood poisoning after a wound at the age of 28.
In the 'Charge of the Light Brigade', Tennyson tries to put a good face on a disaster in command, but still, he captures the ethic of the fighting man - "Theirs was not to question why".
In 'The Man He Killed', Thomas Hardy wrote of the senseless slaughter of war, the respect that one fighting man owed to another - 'Had he and I but met at Some old ancient inn...'.
'Woodbine Willy', actually a chaplain, Revd. Geoffrey Kenedy MC, CF, wrote in 'The Spirit' about the only thing a soldier can do when he has faced that situation - 'Carry On..'
John McCrae wrote the most famous of war poems, 'In Flanders Fields', warning 'If ye break faith with us who die, We shall not sleep'. He died of pneumonia in the field, at the age of 46.
Wilfred Owen, in his poem that the title of this post was taken from, speaks of the 'old Lie' - that the Death of a soldier, an 'ardent child', can be 'Good and Sweet to Die for your Country'. He died of machine gun fire at the age of 25.
But the poet of the survivors is Rudyard Kipling. Any VietNam vet can identify with his words about 'Tommy Atkins' (the British G.I. Joe) and the way he is treated by society, "For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"...But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot!"
It amazes Porcupine that these poems are thought to 'glorify' war. They catch it at its worst, and describe it how it is. But in all of them is an understanding of country, of service, and of sacrifice. Today, let us read the words, and honour the contibution of all our service men and women, and give them the thoughts and thanks that they deserve.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
A Prickly Retort
Robert Burns (1759–1796)
Of late, many remarks made in the Comments section of this blog on Cape Cod Today have noted my pricky and marsupial state, to wit, : "I truly don't see what useful purpose a porcupine serves. Does being covered with quills make one an eloquent word crafter?" Also, I have been warned to be careful when I step out of doors, lest fisher cats devour me.
I thought you might enjoy seeing how I was caricatured in my own time:
Great emphasis was placed on my productivity, as you can see. Spewing out my my mouth are the phrases, "No, he must be destroyed, he is too worthy", and "I hate this country, I will sow seeds of discord in it".
This cartoon appeared in a competitor’s fishwrap shortly after I published my LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT in 1797, and managed to take on Monroe, Jefferson, Noah Webster, other News Papers, and Tom Paine, all in one document. Gad! Those were the days!
The truth is, I have always found the greatest enjoyment in dipping my quill - and my barbs - in inks distilled from the grimaces and venom of my varied enemies.
So, yes - being covered with quills does indeed make a Porcupine an elegant word crafter - and my attackers of current day have far to go to match the elegant vitriol of the days of yore. En garde, mes amis!
"On November 10th, 1775, the Second Continental Congress resolved to raise two battalions of Continental Marines marking the birth of our United States Marine Corps. As Major General Lejune's message reminds us, the ensuing generations of Marines would come to signafy all that is highest in warfighting excellence and military virtue. Each November as Marines the world over celebrate the birth of our Corps, we pay tribute to that long line of "soldiers of the sea" and the illustrious legacy they have handed down to us. "
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Into Each Life Some Sun Must Fall...
François Rabelais (1494–1553)
Porcupine is nothing if not a contrarian.
While I reported on the riots in France last week, and then again on Denmark, I feel that the tone here has gotten entirely too sombre and fatalistic, and I wish to share a couple of other things of interest. You can read about France elsewhere (oh, maybe just HERE, where Le Figaro says about foreign media coverage of the weeks of destruction that,”[the riots were] ‘too good an opportunity to pass up, an opportunity to mock the country that claims to have invented human rights and that's always ready -- yes, it's true -- to lecture the rest of humanity." )
My ‘Banned in China’ banner was sent to me by my friend, One Man Bandwidth. (Link). He explains that MANY international sites are routinely blocked by authorities. The Chinese government announced revised Internet rules in September that require Internet operators to re-register their news sites and police them for content that can "endanger state security" and "social order."
Any content that "harms national security, reveals state secrets, subverts political power, (and) undermines national unity" is also banned. Since Porcupine has engaged in virtually all of these activities in his 242 year career, I am not optimistic that I would be warmly accepted any time soon. We need to make our largest trading partner aware that we will not be happy if this continues. There is a deep and abiding merchant spirit in China, and in fact, the term ‘the almighty dollar’ was coined back in my day to refer to Chinese, not American, currency and attitudes. Markets can still bring freedom, and we need to use our power for good.
Also, I want to share this cartoon from a friend; unkind, even as he is, but funny:
Porcupine promises to return to the usual suspects and skullduggery soon – from what he has heard about the Barnstable elections, there will be ample targets available.
Lastly, Porcupine has a new weekly tenant, Guppyman’s Rant Zone. This is a Texan, a funny conservative –I told you I wanted a change of pace! His visuals, his love of country fried steak and his funniness leave Porcupine with a deep admiration, and I hope you will visit by clicking the ‘Rent My Blog’ box at the top of the page.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
The Last Time I Saw Paris....
Herbert Ward, Episcopal priest, Annual Report on St. Jude's Ranch, 1988
Since writing about the Paris riots (HERE) , Porcupine has received several other reports.
First, a link to similar incidents in Denmark, of all places (HERE). Yet another in Birmingham, England.
Porcupine's original correspondent, Paul Cruce a.k.a. Louis LaVache, has decided to return to the U.S. for his own safety.
"I was going to stick it out over here. The Ècole Boulangerie et Pâtisserie de Paris had a concern that my French isn't good enough to keep up with the pace of the class, and I would have been the only English-speaker in the group. To a degree they are right. I've still got a long way to go before mastering the language. But they also discount just how much I really comprehend and how determined I am. What frustrates me is that I comprehend most of what I hear, but I'm not quick on the response. My brain isn't yet thinking fully in French. But I know that and that's one reason I came over in September - so that by January, I would have been using the language on a daily basis for several months. And, this is something I've wanted to do for a long time.
But these riots have changed things. As I wrote you on Friday and again Saturday, I feel as if I'm a target. My friends here feel this way, too, so it's not my paranoia. Saturday when the rioters attacked the 3 ème in Paris, that was a little too much. The government is failing to secure the R.E.R. as it should, and that's my primary means of getting around. (I don't have a car here.) As a Conservative, I'm certainly not a "big government" person. But also, I recognize that when the state fails to properly use the way it is organised to the benefit of its citizens, it is very broken. France does not have a Federal System. The levers of power are all in Paris. But Chirac and de Villepin are not using the levers at their command to protect the people.
Hardest to watch is a captured video of Saturday monring cartoons from Iran (HERE). While this is difficult to watch, imagine a society where this is shown to children instead of Teletubbies or Barbie movies. Learn how to get your very own machine gun by terrifying Jews, or why a young boy would choose to become a martyr.
It's time to pack up and come back to the U.S. and put "Plan B" into action.
Porcupine has no answers for this, but is certain that the solution does not lie in pulling the blanket of the oceans over our shoulders, and huddling underneath.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Is Paris Burning?
The Revolt of Islam, Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)
Today is a significant anniversary in world history, in many ways more important than Dec. 7th or August 6th. On November 4, 1979, Iranian militants stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran and took approximately seventy Americans captive. This terrorist act triggered the most profound crisis of the Carter presidency and began a personal ordeal for Jimmy Carter and the American people that lasted 444 days. This was the beginning of the intifada, the War of Terror on the part of the Muslim world. For us, it seemed an incident. In the eyes of Muslims worldwide, it progressed through embassy bombings, ship bombings, building bombings, suicide bombings, until finally our attention was captured on Sept.1, 2001. It is sobering to think that the young soldiers in Iraq, and indeed most young adults in their 20's and 30's, have never known a world without this threat.
While the United States is a primary locus of the intifada, Europe is not immune. There were the bombings in Madrid, and the attack in London this year. Now, Paris is becomeing engulfed in terror and conflict.
Recently, Roger L. Simon featured an email on his blog from an American, Paul Cruce, who writes The Frog Blog of Louis Lavache (in happier times, featuring explanations of French culture, photos of Paris and recipes) Cruce wrote about his experiences with the French, and the turning tide back to America HERE. Porcupine was interested in his point of view, and wrote to him as he is an ordinary person in an extraordinary place. From what he had heard, what triggered these riots? To be sure, the Muslim ghettos circling Paris have been festering and growing worse for years, but what was the trigger? Was it France’s recent legislation against headscarves? Was there a Rodney King, as it were? Cruce was kind enough to reply in detail, and this is his answer to that question.
Cruce spoke to the long festering problem, "A significant part of the current problems may be laid at the feet of Socialist former Prime Minister Jospin. When he initiated the 35 hour work week, French businesses took advantage of the new law and "broomed" their least productive workers - who were, you guessed it - largely Black, Muslim and/or black Muslim. So just as in the U.S. where every raise in the minimum wage creates more unemployment, the 35 hour work week had the same result here....The "official" unemployment rate is 9.8%, but what I am hearing here (and I have two friends who work in the government) is that the real number is 12.5%. The 23% figure for the young in the former "red belt" (the suburbs of Paris which had Socialist and Communist officials, now turned into slums) is more truly 25% or higher."
As to the immediate cause of the violence, “What isn't being reported is that the two kids who were electrocuted were on railway tracks "tagging." Graffiti is out of control here. In my post on my blog about the Gare de Lyon, I had to change the position of the shot I took of the three TGVs because they had been so horribly tagged. (See here). The trains here are all electric, so if you are going to be tagging trains or train stations, a favorite pastime of the unemployed black, Muslim, and black Muslim kids here, you are going to be walking and crawling around the power sources for the trains. Despite the denials that the police were chasing them, it seems likely that the police caught them and gave chase. They tried to hide in a transformer box and got fried.” So this was the spark that set off 9 days of violent rioting, to date.
“There is a rising tide of anger by the native French population against Muslim lawlessness, and ‘Sarko,’(Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkosky, who is the head of police in the same way the Home Office is in Britain) whether he is being opportunistic or acting out of principal, is generally showing the spine needed to address this growing threat. Tuesday night in Clichy-sous-Bois a white family, a man, his wife and daughter were out for an evening stroll. (I won't speculate on why, giving the riots over the previous five nights, they thought they could do this.) The white trio was attacked by a group of black Muslims - apparently the white family's only sin was their color - and the man was beaten to death. Last weekend, a man carrying a digital camera in Epinay-sous-Sènart on the south-east near where I am staying in Mandres-les-Roses, was set upon by a trio of black Muslims who demanded his camera. He wasn't quick enough and was also beaten and stomped to death. Paris is abuzz with these outrages, and I think the criminals are creating a huge backlash for themselves. I am hearing a lot of talk this morning about forcing the government to deport the illegal Muslims, black or otherwise. The French are beginning to want them OUT. People in Paris are PO'd today. I usually avoid even abbreviations like that, but it is really descriptive of the mood.”Now, reports are that the rioting has spread beyond Paris, HERE, although the main official response seems to be that tourists are safe, and move along, there’s nothing to see here (There wasn’t in Watts in 1965, either).
Today, November 4th, marks the beginning of the War on Terror against the west. France, which worked harder to be conciliatory with Islam than any other European nation, is paying the price for trying appeasement in place of self-defense. Today, three men were arrested in London with plans to blow up the White House and U.S. Congress. Amreican media noted this by doing stories on a missing girl in Aruba, the Libby indictment, and vulgar tee-shirts.
We need to recognize that this war is only partly on Iraqi soil, and pay our opponents the respect of taking them seriously. Even as the intelligentsia sneers at Homeland Security and terror alerts, the Paris that is burning is in France, not Kentucky or Maine or Texas.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Last Week in Republican Boston....
Ancient Zen Koan
What have we here? A United States Ambassador, Two Cabinet Secretaries, Three Governors, Three Lieutenant Governors, Two State Senators, and Two Congressional candidates (Porcupine will allot extra points to anyone able to sort the positions with the persons!). Also in the audience at this reception were Senators Brian Lees and Michael Knapik, Mass. Turnpike Chairman Matt Amorello, Log Cabin Republican National Chair Patrick Guerrirero, Cape Cod's Gloria Larson, several State Committee members, and oddly enough, former Rep. John Stefanini who quit his seat to be Chief of Staff for Mr. Speaker, whose law firm was hosting the event (Porcupine asked John if he were indeed coming over to the Dark Side now that his mentor, Mr. Finneran, is stashed in Eastham, but he said not just yet).
There was rejoicing about the victory Gov. Romney had about the revamping of Melanie's Bill and some words of support for former Gov. Swift for her portrait dedication, but the primary purpose of the event was to launch a new PAC called It's My Party, Too!' named after Sec. Christine Todd Whitman's new book (link HERE). Christine Whitman is always an excellent speaker, and her words to the group were compelling:
"I'm the daughter of the former Chair of the New Jersey Republican State Committee and a National State Committee Woman, I served in two different Republican Administrations, and I was elected Governor of New Jersey as a Republican, and I'm tired of being told I'm not 'Republican' enough. That's why I wrote this book. When I was coming up in the Party, I was always told that the GOP was an umbrella, with a strong core - a stick - of vaues, with spokes going in every direction at the top, which was what covered us all. That is what we need to get back to in order to win elections."
Immediately, a voice (Chairman Amorello, actually) challenged her, "What ARE those core values?"
Without hesitation, she answered, "Fiscal Responsibility. Small Government. Less Intrusive Government. National Defense. A strong belief in the Rule of Law."
If that platform appeals to you, visit the PAC's web site, It's My Party, Too and get more information.
Later in the week, Congressman Roy Blunt, Jr. was at the Parker House for a reception with Gov. Romney and other party leaders. Rep. Blunt (R-MO) is the elected Majority Whip of the House, and Acting Majority Leader. He gave a brief speech about current affairs in the House, and the most intereting fact to catch Porcupine's ear was when he was speaking about the successful vote to ratify the Iraqui Constitution (see Porcupine's take on that matter HERE). Rep. Blunt told us that of the 125,000 troops guarding the polling places across Iraq, over 100,000 of them were Iraqi troopw we had trained. "They're eager to take on the job of security, and will make Iraq a safer country when they do". He said that the GDP improvement and the stock market's strong positive reaction to President Bush's nomination of Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve Chairman was a positive sign for the domestic economy. Social Security reform was not a dead issue, that the new Medicare benefits are working out well for millions of seniors across he country, and that more localized homeland security training was a top priority (the last was in response to a question by Val D'Ambrosio, Nantucket Town Committee Chair, about the Steamship Authority and its security).
Somehow, none of this was reported by any Boston papers, so Porcupine will do is best to fill you in on doings in the Alternative Universe.