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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Denial is a Bathroom in Idaho


What a shocker – Sen. Larry Craig vehemently denied the allegations surrounding Bathroom-Gate today at a presser in Boise:

“I did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis airport. I regret my decision to plead guilty… Let me be clear: I am not gay and never have been.”


Standing with his wife, Suzanne, by his side, Sen. Craig also said that he felt he was the subject of a “witch hunt” by the local paper, the Idaho Statesman. (The Statesman today published a story with details of allegations by a man who claimed to have had sex with Craig in a bathroom at Washington’s Union Station in 2004.)

So… We’re OFF TO THE RACES, folks!

Craig is up for re-election next year. He maintained that he would continue with plans to announce whether he’ll pursue a fourth term next month. But rumors of same-sex allegations have surrounded Craig for more than 2 decades – the first being a pre-emptive denial in 1980s.

Already today, Senate Republican leaders have called for an ethics committee review into the airport incident. Left-leaning bloggers and interest groups have begun beating the war drums. And Sen. Craig has apparently retained legal counsel – something he said he regretted not doing in the first place when the police sting occurred in June.

Idaho is as Red as a fire engine truck. I don’t see how Sen. Craig survives this politically – even if the mounting allegations fail to be substantiated. And on the heels of the lurid details of the Mark Foley and David Vitter scandals, it comes as no surprise that Gov Mitt Romney is calling the incident “disgusting” to distance him from the Republican broken moral compass.

Expect more to jump on the bandwagon…

Monday, August 27, 2007

America is a nation of great forgiveness… so I guess I too can find it in my patriotic heart to forgive the perpetrators of the THREE MOST RIDICULOUS STATEMENTS of the day…

Numero Uno – Gonzo is Vaya Con Dios. Never mind that the writing was on the wall for months and all but forgotten by friends and foes that begged him to take the hint for the good of the country, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales finally decided to step aside. Here’s the line that caught my attention in his 90-second resignation:

“Even my worst days as Attorney General have been better than my father’s best days.”


Okay… I get it that he is grateful for the opportunity, as a minority, from a humble upbringing… but this is an odd statement. What the heck did his father do for a living? Or do any of us really want to know?

Second, the Beauty Pageant Blonde Moment…

When asked “Why 1/5 of Americans cannot find America on a map?” Miss South Carolina offered this synapse-firingly-challenged answer at Saturday night’s Miss Teen USA Pageant:

“I personally believe that US Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some… people out there in our nation don’t have maps and uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as in South Africa, and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as…”


(That’s not the full answer – it goes on and it does get even worse… I just had to stop there because, it’s like, uh, such as when they show baby seals being clubbed to death, like, such as, in the Alaska and everywhere and you can’t watch it anymore.)

And lastly, the Dogkiller Mea Culpa from Richmond.

“Dogfighting is a terrible thing and I reject it… I’m upset with myself and through this situation, I found Jesus and asked Him for forgiveness and turned my life over to God. I think that is the right thing to do as of right now.”


Now technically, I am not going to go so far as to challenge Vick’s sincerity. If he has indeed made a spiritual break through during this time of trial and tribulation, then we should support him while still condemning the actions. But lying to the NFL Commissioner and Atlanta Falcons owner pales in comparison to lying to the American people and especially the Man upstairs…

Friday, August 24, 2007

T.G.I.F

A busy day in America?

Dogkiller Michael Vick plead guilty to bankrolling a dogfighting ring and participating in the killing of some of his dogs by hanging or drowning them... Lindsay Lohan got sentenced to ONE whopping day in jail after being charged with a DUI and cocaine possesion... Her gal pal, Nicole Richie, served a total of 82 minutes in jail for her DUI... A Federal Judge has decided to let France extradite Manuel Noriega who has spent the last 18 years as a guest of our Federal Penitentiary System... And Fidel Castro may or may not be dead AGAIN!

I don't know about you, but I think it's time to go do something of real importance in the world... like going home and having an early dinner with my family.

Thank God It's Friday!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

In Defense of Meatballs


I’ve heard a lot of good excuses in my life – some of the most creative being drummed up by yours truly in younger days – but none that can compare to this one: the Meatball Defense.

The NYPD fired a veteran counter-terrorism Detective, Anthony Chiofalo, for violating the Department’s drug policy by testing positive for marijuana in 2005. Chiofalo claimed that he had not used any drugs, but rather his wife had spiked the meatballs with marijuana against his knowledge so he would lose his job.

But the department wasn’t buying it, and Commissioner Raymond Kelly upheld the dismissal.

Now, technically, I don’t know what really happened in this case. And perhaps we’ll never know the truth. But this story is just wrong on some many levels.

On the one hand, spiking home-cooked Italian meatballs would be a very cold thing to do to your husband after 22 years. On the other hand, if it was fabricated, then it’s an insult to his wife’s Italian cooking as well as a terribly foolish alibi for a guy who was serving on the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Either way, I feel really bad for the meatballs. They are the centerpiece of classic Italian food – the Lion King of the Pasta World – as far as this non-Italian is concerned and they have no place being dragged into a shameful situation like this one.

Capiche?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Help Is Just A Phone Call Away


A funny thing happened to me on the way to my fantasy football draft on-line last night… my laptop would not connect to my wireless router at home.

Within minutes of this important event’s beginning, I was panic-stricken, as I apparently did not know my “WEP Key” password that I was being asked for in order to connect the laptop to the DSL service. (Have I lost you yet?)

Ideally, I would have simply conducted the two-hour on-line mock NFL bidding war on our desktop computer at home BUT a window-in-window pop-up blocker had been unknowingly installed on that computer – for which I was unable to disable.

So being a loyal customer to the company that provides the wireless service, I thought perhaps a call today might help me resolve this technological glitch in the future?

But after more than 2 hours on calls that spanned FOUR continents, I am no further along in the quest for that golden grail WEP password. I spoke to a nice Canadian, a fine Northern Ireland man, someone in India who dropped the call – and finally a pleasant fellow named “Felix” in Tijuana.

Now, I have set up national radio broadcasts in at least twenty different states. I have set up satellite uplinks from the desolate deserts of Iraq – while being shot at.

But when comes to determining what my missing password is in the 21st century – I find myself in the jaws of defeat.

Companies declare state of the art 24-hour customer assistance and tech support. But I’d say it’s more like guaranteed torture and endless frustration. And they had better hope Crazy Pants Judge Roy Pearson never has to seek computer help from them too.

I think my favorite part of the charade is that prior to each and every call, a voice alerts you that “THIS CALL MAYBE MONITORED FOR QUALITY ASSURANCE PURPOSES.”

What is that? It’s like a personal insult before getting shipped off into the abyss of your technological black hole.

Humorously too, at the end of my last call with Felix in Tijuana, he had the gall to ask me how I would characterize the helpfulness of his assistance on the scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the highest. And I actually gave him a “4” out of sheer pity. (Despite the fact that he called me the wrong name three times before we sorted out the language barrier.)

Therefore, there must be a lesson in all this, right?

I tell you what I think it is – TEACH YOUR KIDS TO BECOME COMPUTER GENIUSES. Because I seriously doubt age and worldly experience is going to assist you with this problem down the road.

Want to know how the draft went? Great – thanks to my ingenuity in sitting along the northeastern front wall of our house which enabled me just enough reception strength to steal the wireless signal from the guy across the street… He apparently doesn’t have WEP Key Password Nightmares… YET!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Surfing for Peace


I read an AP story today about 86-year-old Hawaiian Surfing Legend Dorian Paskowitz.

It’s the story of a Jewish retired doctor who has written books about surfing and health issues, who returned to Israel today to hand out some boards to Palestinian kids who could not surf because they didn’t have any surfboards. He gave 15 boards in all to the kids at the Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza in what he called his “mission” to bring Israelis and Palestinians together.

According to the story, Dr. Paskowitz’s project was part of a larger effort known as “Surfing for Peace” and was rumored to be bringing the world’s greatest surfer 8-time world champ Kelly Slater to Israel in October this year.

Paskowitz is a WWII Navy veteran who had first gone surfing in Israel in 1956 when he had unsuccessfully attempted to join the Israeli Military during the Israel-Egypt war. It was here that he first witnessed the magic of surfing in the war-torn region.

And maybe, just maybe, an entire generation in that troubled land will catch Dr. Paskowitz’s wave and the world will be a better place for it… thanks to surfing.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dog Bites Man... Hopefully

I am a football fan. But more than that, I am a dog lover. Thus, I have refrained from commenting on this issue until we knew the full extent of NFL QB Michael Vick’s involvement in the dog-fighting case.

But this afternoon we learned that the once-considered best QBs in NFL history, will enter a plea of “Guilty” in the case, accepting “full responsibility” for his actions in charges that included bankrolling a dog-fighting ring on his property as well as the killing of dogs who underperformed.

Good-Bye, Michael Vick. Anyone who would participate in and actively support “barbaric” (Sen. Robert C. Byrd’s word) cruelty to animals does not deserve to play football in the NFL. And I would argue that what will likely be a short prison term isn’t good enough for him, but it appears that’s what is being plea-bargained.

Now the onus falls on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who will decide Vick’s future in the sport. Ironically too, it could be the actual act of gambling that brings a lifetime ban rather than the inhumane treatment of the dogs.

Either way, I hope Mr. Goodell will do the right thing here. I am saddened that the most dynamic QB in history – with an impressive 7 seasons of almost 4000 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns – would waste that talent on one of the most reprehensible, illegal sports in America.

But actions have consequences in life and the end result should be a biting one for Vick’s career.

Friday, August 17, 2007

When Words Hurt Me

I read with interest the wire stories this afternoon regarding Tony Snow's comments on Hugh Hewitt's radio show that "he won't be staying" until the end of President Bush's term in 2009. As many of you know, in full disclosure, I worked with Tony and consider him one the finest people - and friends - that I have ever known. And while most people in Washington would agree across partisan lines that Tony has done a remarkable job as press secretary and perhaps even revolutionized the job for future presidents, I would also suggest that he has grown into the country's most significant cancer surviving inspirations since Lance Armstrong.

In an interview with CSPAN's Brian Lamb this week, Tony talked about his post-White House ambitions - and continuing to connect with people to make positive differences in their lives was high on the list. So good on Snowman for taking the blessings of success and learning the lesson of giving more back than given.

But as I was cruising blogs this afternoon (since that's part of my job to know these things), I came across some absolutely disgusting and inappropriate comments about Tony that I cannot sit quiet without registering my outrage.

It was a left-leaning website called Think Progress and of several bitter comments, one stood out as the epitome of cynicism and hatred and everything that's wrong with our current state of political discourse in America.

The comment was this:

"Tony deserves every cancerous cells he’s got."


No one deserves to suffer the horrors of a battle with cancer. That is an inexcusable, horrendous statement. When I think of Tony's wife and his great kids, I am sickened that someone can bring him or herself to utter such hurtful, hateful words.

It wasn't my intention to bring everyone down on a mid-August summer Friday afternoon. But seriously, this kind of vitriol should be rejected and condemned on either side of the aisle whenever it occurs. Think Progress should pull the comments immediately.

And when I say a prayer for Tony tonight for his continued and swift recovery, I think I'll say one too for the guy for whose Bush hatred has apparently no bounds.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Thanks, China. You just turned me into the Grinch at home.

Seriously, as the father of two small girls, I have been getting phone calls all day from my wife as she has been identifying toy after toy that is on the recall lists – toys that now have to be KILLED as far as small children are concerned because of lead content and loose magnets.

What kind of world are we living in where the TOYS threaten the lives of our kids?

It might not seem like that big of deal to those without children, but we have a little Elmo Saxophone that goes into my youngest daughter’s mouth about 100 times a day – and you don’t think she’s gonna figure out that thing’s missing after we toss it in the trash tonight? And I just spent a week at the beach where the most important accessories my eldest daughter brought on vacation were her Polly Pockets and Barbies!

And while I lay a lot of blame at the feet of Mattel, for what can only be described in the best of terms as “lax inspection,” I place even MORE at the hands of the Chinese. From dog food to toothpaste, to the foods we eat to the growing millions of toys that our children cherish, “Made in China” is fast becoming the most dangerous label since the Surgeon General’s warning went on packs of cigarettes.

I’m all for free trade, but this is ridiculous. Maybe it’s time to cease all imports from China until they are inspected properly? I know that seems unrealistic, but the alternative is much worse until we know the full extent of the risk.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pearson Pressing On

Nevermind the kind gesture - the "olive branch" - that the Chungs offered Judge Roy L. Pearson, Jr. when they dropped their pursuit of recovering legal fees to the tune of $82,000... Pants Nightmare Pearson has officially appealed his DC Superior Court ruling to the DC Court of Appeals.

I was notified this afternoon of the decision by the Superior Court and confirmed it with the Chungs' Defense Attorney Chris Manning, who was outraged, but not the least bit surprised.

Earlier today in anticipation of Pearson's decision to appeal or not appeal(he had until 11:59pm Weds), Manning issued me this quote:

“The Chungs have done everything possible to put this nightmare behind them and return to their normal lives: they have won resoundingly at trial, raised donations from very gracious private donors to pay for their litigation costs, let Mr. Pearson off the hook for personally paying their expenses and extended an olive branch to Mr. Pearson in hopes that he will end this matter and not appeal. Mr. Pearson has a choice today – to acknowledge the Chungs’ amazing generosity and make peace or to continue with this ridiculous case and hopelessly appeal.”


Not surprisingly, Pearson prefers frivolity to civility.

Also hanging in the balance is Pearson's job - the DC Commission on Selection and Tenure has not officially decided whether or not Pearson will keep his job as an Administrative Law Judge, but they did send him a letter indicating that they had "doubts" about granting him a 10-year term appointment.

So it would appear he prefers unemployment to tenure as well.

Of note, the only court that hears appeals from the DC Court of Appeals (should Pearson lose again) is the Supreme Court, but it is unlikely that they would decide to hear the case.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Rove Departure

I'm back to work and the big news of the day was: Karl Rove is leaving the White House.

Here was the guy credited with being the chief strategist behind two successful elections for his boss as well as unprecedented congressional gains in 2002, now choking back tears alongside his President saying "good-bye."

I inquired with some sources and found that the timing of the departure, while not sudden, appears to be legit in that Rove simple felt this was the time to go.

But I have to question the timing of his farewell today after reading a front page article in USA Today, "Major Attacks Decline in Iraq."

The number of truck bombs and other large al Qaeda-style attacks in Iraq have declined nearly 50% since the United States started increasing troop levels in Iraq about six months ago, according to the U.S. Military command in Iraq.


The article also quotes Jack Keane, a retired General and mentor to Gen. Petraeus, as saying, "The enemy had the initiative and momentum in '06... We've got it now."

Clearly, Rove was not giving into the pressures of Democrat inquiries - some of which are still on-going. Rather, I think he simply chose the slow news cycle of August to make a natural exit. But in doing so today - a day in which there was significant news out of Iraq - did he realize that he would trump the story?

Every major evening newscast will lead with Rove tonight - and rightfully so because it IS the big news of the day. But didn't the White House know that would be the result?

I have to wonder: Was this a case of bad timing and a missed opportunity OR was it inneffective communication in knowing that the visit President Bush should have been making today, was perhaps a surprise visit to Baghdad before heading to Crawford.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Vacation Day Five - Last Day Blues


I can't believe the last day is already here... none of us can because it went by so fast. Why does it always seem like the vacation week was about three times shorter than a work week?

So what better way to cure the last day blues... than to start the day with "Birthday Cake" Ice Cream for breakfast. I kid you not - at the Outer Banks Coffee Company where I go for my morning cup of Joe, they also have ice cream and one of the flavors is birthday cake. I realize I may have set a precedent here that I may regret allowing the kids to eat ice cream this early... but what is vacation anyway?

It's surfing at the beach, long walks for Elvis, kids covered in sand and sun tan lotion, Harry Potter for my wife... and birthday cake ice cream for breakfast.

So when the sun sets tonite and we pack our stuff for an early morning departure, we'll always remember the footprints we left in the sand... and look foward to returning for many years to come.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Vacation Day Three


Oh the dog days of summer... Wondering where Day Two went? Well, time flies when you're having fun being a beach bum... and the surf is good!

Today was one of those moments that will be forever remembered. The owners of the house that we are renting have some bikes for our use. And one of those bikes just happens to be a perfect kids bike - without training wheels like the one my daughter has at home.

What better place to learn to ride a bike than at the beach? And while we still have a lot more practicing to do, she seemed thrilled at the feeling of freedom one gets from riding a bike for the first time (although I'll confess to holding onto the seat chasing behind her most of the time).

A colleague emailed me today wondering why in the world would I blog on my vacation?

The answer: remind everyone how important taking time to do the little things in life that matter most - like learning to ride a bike at the beach.

There was another bike thing today too. I was getting coffee and bagels earlier this morning when a determined, yet older, gentleman rode up to the shop, got off his bike, surveyed the line as being to long and quickly departed again on two wheels... It was Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

I wonder when and where he learned to ride a bike?

Oh well, the toddler is waking up soon and it's time to make the afternoon beach trip. I'll drink a cold Corona with my toes dug in the sand for all of you.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Vacation Day One

So I'm on vacation this week... Packed the girls (5 and 2 yrs olds), the wife, surfboards and dog in the car and headed to the beach - the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We actually drove down on Saturday, and for any American family that has driven any length of road with small children knows, that after getting to the rental house, the grocery store run done and the beach supplies secured - the first cocktail is a rewarding affirmation of vacation survival. You've done all the hard word and now there's a slight chance of dividend!

Elvis, our Jack Russell Terrier, seems to be the hit of the beach. Nevermind that I am a hotshot surfer on the beach or that my nearly six-year old daughter wants to learn to surf like "Lilo" of the Lilo and Stitch movie... when we take Elvis to the water's edge, he draws a friendly crowd. Everyone wants to hang out with Elvis. He runs through the sand like a tornado, stopping at the surf with caution, thens runs back in huried circles along the incoming tide. He is most fascinated with chasing the seagulls which almost invariably deceive him with little precision. But every kid on the beach wants to fawn over Elvis, so his failed seagull attempts are soon forgotten.

It was my idea to bring the dog, even paying an extra premium to cover his rental fee. But after spending just a few days down here with him, I'm thinking maybe I should get him a weekend place.

After all, as we walked back to the beach house today, a group of unkown folks sitting on their deck enjoying late-afternoon cocktails, shouted in unision: HEY ELVIS!!

The dog is a superstar. We all should wish to be so... So if you're sitting at work and wishing you were on vacation... take solace in that Elvis is keeping it kool for you!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Paradise Lost


Thanks, Steve. You really know how to ruin a guy’s day. More specifically, you know how to ruin a Surfer’s paradise.

The Washington Post Business section reports today that AOL’s founder Steve Case is opening up an $800-million, 650-acre luxury resort in the middle of the northwest Pacific corner of Costa Rica. Case, who grew up in Hawaii, says he’s committed to ensuring the “environmental preservation” and “cultural authenticity” of the predominantly rainforest and rugged coastline area and won’t allow it to become a tourist disaster like Waikiki.

But one can take little comfort that Steve’s got those of us who have spent years seeking refuge and rejuvenation in this beautiful destination at heart – he’s brought on Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf to do the tennis and fitness center, Tom Doak to build the golf course and Phillipe Cousteau to serve as a special adviser on environmental issues and “develop activities.”


[Note to Phil: Every inch of Costa Rican coastline is considered National Park property which may not go over well if the ultra-rich have to share a beach with the local population who cannot afford one of the resort’s 300 private homes.]

I have been going to Costa Rica for years, every year on my birthday in December, to surf the day and reflect on the things that matter most in my life. And in full disclosure, I have taken my wife and stayed at the Four Season’s resort that currently sits on the Papagayo peninsula where Mr. Case seeks to create a massive building boom. I have not found that the Four Season’s resort detracts from the entire region. So perhaps there is hope that Mr. Case’s intentions are genuine and he too will not ruin one of the greatest places on Earth.

But if he does, I will never forgive him for it.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Spicoli and Sulfur!


According to the Associated Press, Actor/Writer/Anti-War Activist Sean Penn is hanging out with Venezuela’s Socialist Dictator Hugo Chavez this week in Caracas. In fact, Chavez heaped praise on Penn for his opposition to the war in Iraq saying, “He’s one the greatest opponents of the Iraq invasion.”

And considering Hugo’s memorable performance at the United Nations last year when he suggested President Bush had passed gas at the podium before him (“Sulfur!”), Penn also got a compliment on his own acting abilities, saying “He’s made great films.”

Perhaps this is a new Hollywood “Cause Celeb” considering actors Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte have already come to the dictator’s side?

Either way, it’s just sad to see the guy that I loved growing up in movies like “Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Surfer Jeff Spicoli)” doing something so na├»ve and stupid. Supporting outspoken critics of our nation’s government would be considered somewhat treasonous if it weren’t for the fact that no one takes Hollywood Elites seriously… unless you’re Angelina Jolie.

Maybe there’ll be a remake of Fast Times with the signature Penn line: “All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz… and a Latin American Nutjob named Hugo, and I’m fine!”

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Political Peace Mom

Has Cindy Sheehan become as much of a burden on Democrats as she is for George W. Bush?

After all, she has folded up tent, sold her land in Crawford, Texas and announced that she intends to move to San Fran to run against Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her seat in California’s 8th District.

The un-retired Peace Mom-turned-Politician was expected to land in San Fran late today and I am in contact with the growing campaign for the latest horserace details. (Look for more coverage on The Big Story with John Gibson tomorrow)

It occurs to me that at the very least, Sheehan was a constant reminder of the costs of the war in Iraq and likely contributed to the waning polls numbers for President Bush. Now if she is able to actually get her bid underway, she will be a constant reminder to the far left that Pelosi has not delivered on her party’s promise to end the war in Iraq.

What’s Cindy’s campaign theme so far? Impeach Bush and Cheney; Bring the troops home.

Only time will tell if San Franciscans will pay attention.