Archive for April, 2009

Chrysler Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

April 30, 2009

Earlier today Chrysler decided to filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  This wasn’t the government’s desired or planned move when they originally bailed out the auto company, but the move isn’t exactly a surprise after recent events.

Earlier today President Obama told reporters, “The necessary steps have been taken to give one of America’s most storied automakers, Chrysler, a new lease on life. … “This is not a sign of weakness.”

Meanwhile, and Obama Administration official told reporters, “Their failure to act in either their own economic interest or the national interest does not diminish the accomplishments made by Chrysler, Fiat and its stakeholders, nor will it impede the new opportunity Chrysler now has to restructure and emerge stronger going forward.”

Chrysler will be eligible for up to $8 billion in federal aid. The bankruptcy will only last 60 days, which will allow Chrysler finalize a merger Fiat, an Italian auto company.  Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli also said that he will resign after Chrysler emerges from bankruptcy.

I believe that part of that federal aid is guarantees of Chrysler’s warranties, so that people aren’t worried about buying cars from Chrysler and then not having a warranty.

Personally, I think this is a good move.  I think this should’ve been done in the first place.  I don’t really agree with the billions of dollars in federal aid, but at least we won’t be continuing to just bail them out time after time.

I hope Chrysler recovers, but if not, that’s life.  Companies succeed and companies fail.  If Chrysler fails, I think GM and Ford will rebound.  And other auto companies would pick up some of Chrysler’s divisions like Dodge.  If Chrysler goes completely under, there’s no auto company out there who would have enough cars to sell to make up for it, in my opinion, and I think a company like Fiat, Ford, Toyota, etc. could benefit from picking up a division of Chrysler or some of Chrysler’s models.  And that would ensure that not all of the jobs that Chrysler is providing now would be lost.

I wish everybody at Chrysler the best, and I hope they emerge out of bankruptcy soon.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Live Analysis of Senator Arlen Specter’s Party Switching Announcement

April 28, 2009

Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) is about to announce that he will be switching to the Democratic Party.

I brought you this story earlier today, and since then, Senator Specter released the following statement on his campaign website:

Statement by Senator Arlen Specter

April 28, 2009

I have been a Republican since 1966. I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view. While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation.

Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.

When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.

Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.

I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.

I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.

I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters. I can understand their disappointment. I am also disappointed that so many in the Party I have worked for for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate. It is very painful on both sides. I thank especially Senators McConnell and Cornyn for their forbearance.

I am not making this decision because there are no important and interesting opportunities outside the Senate. I take on this complicated run for re-election because I am deeply concerned about the future of our country and I believe I have a significant contribution to make on many of the key issues of the day, especially medical research. NIH funding has saved or lengthened thousands of lives, including mine, and much more needs to be done. And my seniority is very important to continue to bring important projects vital to Pennsylvania’s economy.

I am taking this action now because there are fewer than thirteen months to the 2010 Pennsylvania Primary and there is much to be done in preparation for that election. Upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle.

While each member of the Senate caucuses with his Party, what each of us hopes to accomplish is distinct from his party affiliation. The American people do not care which Party solves the problems confronting our nation. And no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his Party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation.

My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords’ switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.

Whatever my party affiliation, I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy’s statement that sometimes Party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America.

Senator Specter is about to give his speech, and I will be analyzing that live.

Alright, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) is now speaking, saying that this was simply a move on Specter’s behalf to try to remain in the Senate self-preservation – even his own pollster said that he couldn’t win the primary.  Cornyn had previously backed Specter, and had endorsed him in the primary, but according to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), now that Specter has “defected,” Cornyn is no longer backing Specter now that he’s switched parties.

Now waiting for Senator Specter to come out for his speech.

Hehe – there’s a typo on FOX News – they spelled “plane” as “plan”.

And now Senator Specter is coming out – he’s about to start his speech here.

“As the Republican Party has moved farther and farther to the right, I have found myself increasingly at odds with the Republican philosophy and more in-line with the philosophy of the Democratic Party.”

Now talking about why he voted AYE on the stimulus plan, in order to avoid a depression reminiscent of the 1929 depression.

He’s saying that he’s travelled across Pennsylvania and looked at Republican opinion polls and “have found that the prospects for winning a Republican primary are bleak.”

He’s saying that he’s not prepared to have his 29 year record in the Senate decided by the Republican Primary electorate, but he wants the general election participants to decide.

“This is a painful decision.  I know that I’m disappointing many of my friends and colleagues.  Frankly, I’ve been disappointed by some of the responses.”

He’s saying that he’s doing this because he wants to finish things for Pennsylvania in the Senate, and that his seniority helps get things done.  He’s talking about medical research and funding for the National Institutes of Health.

He’s saying that he won’t be changing his “own personal independence or my own approach to individual issues.  I will not be an automatic 60th vote.”  I think we all saw that coming – Specter has never been a party-line follower, and I didn’t think that’d change.

He’s saying that he is still opposed to Card Check.

He’s saying that he agrees with Kennedy in that “my party asks to much.”  He said he’d vote his conscience.

Reporter: Are you putting your [unintelligible] ahead of your principles? (basically a question of whether he’s just doing this to get himself reelected)

Specter: No, I’m putting my principles as number 1.  He’s talking about issues that he’s worked for – health care, immigration, foreign issues.

Reporter: How did the Republicans react in caucus and have you talked to President Obama?

Specter: I’ve talked to Obama, and everybody was friendly and shook my hand.  Jokes were made between me and other members.

Reporter: Do you expect to chair a committee?

Specter: I discussed this with Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) – and we’ll act like I’ve been a Democrat since 1980, so wherever that puts me in seniority.

Reporter: [unintelligible]

Specter: The decision was reached gradually as I travelled the state in recent months.  I got campaign poll results and discussed them with my campaign managers, “and I came to a decision this past weekend.”

Reporter: “Have the Democratic leaders been lobbying you?”

Specter: Yes, “for the last 5 years.”  “When they saw my voting record and they saw the approach I was taking to government.”  He’s saying that it’s important to have a 2-party system and a moderate wing to that 2-party system.  He’s saying that the Pennsylvania Republican electorate has shifted to the Democrats and “we do not have a dominant voice there.”  He’s talking about Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) not being able to win in his primary.

Reporter: [unintelligible]

Specter: I would be behind Senator [Patrick] Leahy [D-VT] – for some committee.  Now talking about committees and subcommittees that he could be chairing.

Reporter: Something about the role of health care.

Specter: Talking about important issues he’s been involved in: Supreme Court nominations, interrogation techniques, health care, the stimulus plan.

Reporter: “How are you going to vote on the Don Johnson nomination?”

Specter: I am opposed to the  nomination of Don Johnson.

Reporter: [unintelligible]

Specter: The party has shifted to the right – it was pretty far to the right in 2004.  Talking about Republicans who switched parties in 2008, plus the stimulus vote, and that’s why he’s saying the prospects are bleak.

Reporter: [unintelligible]

Specter: “Because most people do not participate in the political process. … If the electorate as a whole participated in the political process and the primary process” both Joe Lieberman and I would win our primaries.

Reporter: When did you talk to the Democrats’ leaders?

Specter: Last night.

Reporter: Did the leaders say they’d support you in a primary?

Specter: Yes, Obama did, and Senator Reid, and Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA).

Reporter: [unintelligible]

Specter: Talking about Republicans not rallying behind moderates and Club for Growth backing hard core conservatives and then the right wing conservatives losing the general election.

Reporter: Something about reconciliation for the health care bill.

Specter: I’m opposed to reconciliation being used on any major bill.  The 60 vote threshold should remain for the health care bill as well.

Reporter: [unintelligible]

Specter: Talking about his views on Pell Grants, stem cells, health care – saying he has to look at if it’s realistic to fight for the moderate wing of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania.

Reporter: [unintelligible]

Specter: Not everybody will agree with all of my votes.  “I don’t agree with all of them myself at this point.”  You can pick out thousands of votes where people disagreed with me.  He’s saying that he alienated Republicans with the stimulus and Democrats by opposing the Employee Free Choice  Act, which then alienated union supporters.

Had to switch TV stations here – my station cut to the CDC coverage of swine flu.

Specter: I’ll still be opposed to too much executive power.

Reporter: Have you changed your party registration?

Specter: I can’t do that until May.  It’s closed in Pennsylvania right now, but I will do it in May.

And the Senator is now leaving the press conference.

Alright, so what’s my opinion on Senator Specter’s switch?  On the one hand, I can definitely understand why Senator Specter did this; however, I think he could have done this better.  I think a lot of people are going to view him as simply switching to preserve his position in the Senate.  I think a better way for him to stay in the Senate would be to lose his Republican primary, and do like Joe Lieberman and run as an Independent.  I think this is going to really anger a LOT of Democrats who opposed Specter in the past (especially the union wing of the party), and I wouldn’t be surprised if a 3rd party liberal candidate pops up and gathers a decent amount of support.  Ultimately I think that Specter will keep his seat, and this may be the easiest way for him to do that, but the election is still a year and a half away, and a lot of wacky things could happen between now and then.

I will say that this move really helps the Republican cause.  On the one hand, if he loses to the Republican in 2010 (probably Pat Toomey), we have a strong conservative representing Pennsylvania in the Senate.  On the other hand, if Senator Specter is reelected as a Democrat, we still have a decent ally in the Senate.  I’d rather have Specter in the Senate voting with the Republican Party 30% of the time than a hard core liberal in the Senate who only votes with the Republican party <10% of the time.

While I think that this was a  poor way to preserve his Senate seat, I have a heck of a lot of respect for Senator Specter and some of the great things he’s done for America and Pennsylvania.  He genuinely cares about America, and while I disagree with some of his views, I respect him as a person, and I wish him the best.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican

Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) to Switch to Democratic Party

April 28, 2009

This is breaking news that just came in – Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) is expected to announce that he will run in the Democratic primary in 2010.  Specter had expected to face a tough primary if he stayed in the Republican Party.

This could be a good move for him, but if the Republicans get a strong candidate out, he’ll probably lose that seat.  I’ll post again as soon as Specter releases a statement or has a press conference.  Right now, I don’t have many details, but it appears as if he will stay in the Republican caucus until 2010.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: Add to diigo :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! ::

We Should Be Proud of Miss California, and Perez Hilton Should Be Ashamed

April 22, 2009

gallery_photo1239121941swim_californiaAlright, I’m sure many of you have heard the recent controversies surrounding the recent Miss USA pageant and Miss California’s (Carrie Prejean) answer to a question on gay marriage.  Here’s a video of that question, asked by judge Perez Hilton (video courtesy of NBC):

Alright, now, that answer was criticized by many, including Perez Hilton.  Here’s the video that he posted later that night:

I have a few problems with Perez Hilton (other than the fact that he’s obnoxious and I can’t stand him):

  1. He complains that she wasn’t politically correct, and that Miss USA needs to be politically correct.  Well, I’m glad that Perez Hilton believes in being politically correct.  That must be why he called her “a dumb bitch,” and that must be why he went on MSNBC and say that he “was thinking the ‘c’-word, and I didn’t say it.”  Well, Perez, we’re glad that you’re defending political correctness, except when it comes to women.  Had she have called you a “fag,” you’d have been up in arms (and rightfully so).  Show her some respect even if you disagree with her.
  2. He said that she should have said, “I think that that is a question that each state should decide for themselves, because that’s how our forefathers designed our government.”  Well, that would’ve been a nice politically correct answer, but Perez’s question was, “Vermont recently became the 4th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit.  Why or why not?”  Saying that it should be up to the states to decide would not have been answering the question.

Perez has since come out and apologized, and then on MSNBC, he took back his apology (and indirectly called her “the ‘c’-word”).

Personally, I agree with Carrie Prejean.  I am glad that states have the right to decide; however, I personally think that marriage should be between a man and a woman.  She didn’t answer the question poorly, she just answered it honestly.  She said that she was glad that Americans have the option to choose, but when she goes to the voting booth, she’ll chose to not allow it.

Perez Hilton shouldn’t have even been a judge in my opinion.  His video saying that if she’d have won, he’d have run on stage and snatched the crown from her shows me that he shouldn’t be judging the contest.  If he can’t live with the result of the contest if it doesn’t go how he wants, he should not be a judge.

I’ll conclude this by saying that I think this may have cost Prejean the crown (Perez Hilton himself told ABC, “She lost it because of that question.  She was definitely the front-runner before that.”); however, she may have ended as runner up anyway, so congratulations to Miss North Carolina, Kristen Dalton.

Carrie, you’re a true American hero.  Thank you for standing up for what you believe in.  You’re an amazing icon to young women all over the country, and I respect you.  God bless you, and I wish you the best of luck in life.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

The Prosecution of Bush Lawyers Who Devised Legal Authority for “Advanced Interrogation Techniques” Would Be Irresponsible

April 22, 2009

Yesterday, President Obama said the following to reporters:

For those who carried out some of these operations within the four corners of legal opinions or guidance that had been provided from the White House, I do not think it’s appropriate for them to be prosecuted.

With respect to those who formulated those legal decisions, I would say that that is going to be more of a decision for the Attorney General within the parameters of various laws, and I don’t want to prejudge that. I think that there are a host of very complicated issues involved there.

As a general deal, I think that we should be looking forward and not backwards. I do worry about this getting so politicized that we cannot function effectively, and it hampers our ability to carry out critical national security operations.

And so if and when there needs to be a further accounting of what took place during this period, I think for Congress to examine ways that it can be done in a bipartisan fashion, outside of the typical hearing process that can sometimes break down and break it entirely along party lines, to the extent that there are independent participants who are above reproach and have credibility, that would probably be a more sensible approach to take.

Now, this blog post is NOT going to be about whether or not Bush officials tortured suspected terrorists.  Whether or not waterboarding is torture is a whole separate debate.

The question that needs to be debated is, can legal advisersbe prosecuted for giving legal advice that a later administration disagrees with.  Some have said that the Bush lawyers clearly just tried to twist the law to fit what President Bush wanted to do.  Personally, I give them the benefit of the doubt – I think that America was going through a tough time, right after September 11th, and I think that they really gave their professional opinions.

Personally, I’m going to side with Constitutional lawyer (and one of my legal icons) Bruce Fein, who said, “It would really be a very, very difficult case to make.  You would have to show that the legal arguments were just totally concocted.  It’s a very, very narrow path.”

Right now, I haven’t seen the evidence that they “totally concocted” the legal arguments, so I would say that the prosecutors shouldn’t be prosecuted; however, if they did twist the law intentionally to their side, I will lead the charge for prosecution.

The precedent that this sets if they didn’t intentionally twist the law is a dangerous one.  Government lawyers who give “incorrect” legal interpretations could then be prosecuted, and that’s not a road we want to go down.  That would be like charging Al Gore’s lawyers with election fraud for offering their opinion on why certain ballots in Florida should or should not have been counted.

Unless there’s proof that these  lawyers deliberately lied, I really don’t think there’s a case here, and I think it’s good that President Obama has left the decision up to Attorney General Eric Holder.  Eric Holder knows more about the law than President Obama (as he should – it’s his job), and I think that Holder knows that there’s really not a case here.

I honestly think that this was President Obama’s way of appeasing the more hard-core liberals who wanted to see prosecutions happen while still giving him a way to not actually prosecute anybody.  Over the weekend, Rahm Emanuel and Robert Gibbs had indicated that Bush officials wouldn’t be prosecuted over the torture issue, but then a lot of the more liberal Senators and got upset, and the administration changed its views.  I wouldn’t call it a flip-flop, since Obama had never said there wouldn’t be prosecutions, but generally, Emanuel and Gibbs speak on behalf of Obama.

I’ll keep updating this if anything changes.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

CNN and MSNBC’s Coverage of the Tea Party Protests Was Immature and Unprofessional

April 16, 2009

Alright, I kinda wanted to do a follow-up post on the tea parties that took place all over America yesterday.

I was watching the news yesterday (flipping through the stations at times, but staying on FOX for a large portion of it), and the stuff I heard on CNN and MSNBC appalled me:

This first clip is a CNN reporter talking to some of the protesters.  In it, she cuts off one of the protesters and when he argues back with her, she says, “I think you get the tenor of this.  It’s anti-government, anti-CNN, since this is highly promoted by the right-wing, conservative network FOX, and since I can’t really hear much more, and I think–uh–this is not really family viewing, I’ll toss it back to you Kiera.”

I will say that the first guy she interviews bothered me – he has no clue what “fascism” means, and misuse of the word “fascism” has always bothered me.

But the main point I want to make with that video is the unprofessionalism of that reporter.  Even if you disagree with the protest, you don’t go around saying it’s anti-CNN and it’s promoted by FOX.  Even if that’s true (which I wouldn’t agree with – I don’t think the protests are anti-CNN), that just sounded unprofessional to say.

But at least CNN stands for “family viewing,” right?  Well, maybe not – take a look at this clip of Anderson Cooper:

“It’s hard to talk while you’re teabagging.”  I don’t care how much you disagree with these tea party protests – for a news anchor on a network concerned with “family viewing,” that was way out of line.  There’s just no reason that a credible news anchor should be going around making jokes like that.

But that’s nothing compared to MSNBC.  Here’s the video of Countdown with Keith Olbermann from yesterday (just a note – the host isn’t Keith Olbmermann, and I’m not exactly sure who it is) (video courtesy of MSNBC):

And this is supposed to be a news show?  I’m sorry, but that’s just immature and inappropriate.

Now, I will say that any protesters who used phrases such as “Teabag Congress” were out of line too; however, the majority of the people weren’t doing that.  I didn’t find phrasing like that anywhere on the Tax Day Tea Party website.

And those few people who did use that wording doesn’t excuse the CNN and MSNBC’s actions.  They’re supposed to be a credible source for news, and making jokes like that was uncalled for.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Tea Party Protests Bringing in Thousands of People to Protest Taxes

April 15, 2009

I’ve been watching the news all day (at least since I got out of class), and they’ve been covering some of the larger tea parties across the nation.  The one in Sacramento has a few thousand people gathered there, and one taking place in New York later tonight is expected to bring in over 5,000 people.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it down to my Lansing for the protest at the Capitol, but I wanted to show my support for the tax-hike protests.

I will say that I’m not a huge fan of dumping the tea into bodies of water – I think it’s too much of a visual stunt that doesn’t have much meaning to it; however, I absolutely support the gathering of everyday citizens coming out to tell the government that they are opposed to the government taking so much money in taxes.

We need to stop these bailouts, whether that’s the Big 3, Wall Street, Freddie and Fannie, or whatever.  We need to cut wasteful spending.  Government spending IS necessary, but we should be spending our money on productive things, not pork projects.

While I’m on the subject of pork, I’ll give a shout out to the Citizens Against Government Waste’s 2009 Pig Book, which you can find on CAGW’s website.

It’s nice to see a good grassroots movement sweeping through the country.  And it’s not about Republicans or Democrats.  Republicans have lost their way too – we’ve overspent as a party – the Republican Party needs to return to its principles of fiscal responsibility and small government, instead of having officials like former Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) taking millions of dollars of taxpayer money back to his home state.

It’s time to rein in spending and cut taxes for all Americans (except those who aren’t paying any taxes, and are basically getting a welfare check from the government in a form of a tax refund).

I’ll try to do a recap of the tea parties with some numbers of how many people showed up over the nation.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

David Buckner Passes Out Live on FOX News’s Glenn Beck

April 13, 2009

This just happened about 30 minutes ago – David Buckner was a guest on FOX New’s Glenn Beck show.  He was talking about the treasury when he began feeling ill.  He tried to whisper to Beck that he was going to pass out, but Beck didn’t understand him.  He told him again, and Beck asked if he wanted to sit down, but Buckner told him, “Go on.”  Beck was about to continue, but offered his hand to Buckner for support.  Buckner grabbed it and started to collapse.  Beck stopped and tried to help him as he collapsed.

According to Beck, “Everyone thought it was part of the show.”  Beck then told the managers to go to a commercial break.  Buckner was taken away on a stretcher, but was reportedly talking.  Beck later said on his show that he had been feeling ill earlier today.  So far, initial reports indicate that Buckner is fine.

Here’s a preliminary video clip of what happened:

This actually reminds me of the time that I almost passed out.  I was at an evening youth group service up here at Central Michigan, and I had given blood about an hour before.  I had class all day, so I wasn’t able to get food at all and by the time I got to the blood drive, I was one of the last people, so they were out of pizza.  So I made sure that I had about a dozen cookies and a bunch of fruit and a bunch of juice.  I walked back to my dorm and drank half of a big bottle of Gatorade, hoping that’d be enough.  I felt fine, so I headed to youth group.  About halfway through the singing portion, I began to feel tired, and my vision began to get all fuzzy, and I began losing pereferal vision.  I then got so tired I couldn’t stand, so I decided to just lean over the chair in front of me and rest (it seemed logical at the time).  My roommate next to me asked if I was ok, and we managed to walk out to the lobby where I laid down.  After that we walked back to the room, stopping to pick up some more gatorade and pizza so I could eat.

I’ll update this later today when I have more details.  Until then, my thoughts and prayers will be with Mr. Buckner

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican

American Captain Rescued from Somali Pirates

April 12, 2009

This is breaking news coming in now, the captain of the Maersk Alabama, Captain Richard Phillips has been rescued from the Somali pirates and is now aboard a U.s. Navy warship.  A firefight broke out between U.S. forces and the pirates, killing 3 pirates.  A 4th pirate was taken into custody.  Phillips is unharmed.

Praise God – this is a great Easter for the Phillips family now.

I’m glad that this is over, and at least those pirates will never harm another human being.  Congratulations to the U.S. Navy for a job well done here.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican

Happy Easter!

April 12, 2009

Hey everybody, I just wanted to take some time really quick to wish you all a happy Easter!  I’ve gotta tell you – today really is the best holiday for me.  It’s a reminder of what Jesus did for me and the entire world.  He died and took on the sins of the world on Good Friday, and 3 days later, He rose from the dead through the power of God.

Boy, if that isn’t just awesome to think about for a while, I don’t know what is.  I am forever grateful to Jesus for what He did that day.

Again, happy Easter everybody – if you’re travelling to see family, stay safe on the roads – you know those Sunday drivers!

Done Celebrating,

Ranting Republican

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