Wednesday, May 17, 2006


The Washington Post reports

The Senate endorsed a chance at citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants Wednesday but also voted to build 370 miles of triple-layered fencing along the Mexican border in increasingly emotional debate over election-year immigration legislation.
A few minutes earlier, the Senate had voted 83-16 in favor of construction of the fence and 500 miles of vehicle barriers, the first significant victory in two days for conservatives seeking to place their stamp on the measure.

U.S. Senate Roll Call: To increase the amount of fencing and improve vehicle barriers installed along the southwest border of the United States.

Here are the 16 Democratic Senators who voted against the fence...

Akaka, HI; Bingaman, NM; Cantwell, WA; Dodd, CT; Durbin, IL; Feingold, WI; Inouye, HI; Jeffords, VT; Kennedy, MA; Lautenberg, NJ; Lieberman, CT; Menendez, DJ; Murray, WA; Obama, IL; Reed, RI; and Sarbanes, MD

The "rock star" Barack Obama can kiss his (vice)presidential aspirations goodbye.

See: California Conservative and Michelle Malkin

Senate OKs Border Fence, Backs Citizenship

Meanwhile... France has passed a tough immigration law.

France's lower house of parliament approved a tough new immigration bill Wednesday that would allow the country to selectively chose which foreigners can live and work here and require that they learn the French language.

The The French law would abolish the right of illegal immigrants to receive residency papers after living in France for 10 years which is unlike the American proposal to reward people who have been violating immigration law for the longest amount of time.

France will choose its immigrants; picking out highly skilled workers while excluding low-income poorly educated immigrants.



All the polls are a self-fulfilling prophecy to make Americans think the country is in terrible shape even though most (emphasis: most) things are going well.

Unbiased Poll Question: How bad of a president is George W. Bush? a) Really Bad? b) Truly Bad? c) Agonizingly Bad?

Let me begin by saying that concerns about the war in Iraq are understandable. Voter discontent about illegal immigration and runaway federal spending are justified. However, when one considers all that America has dealt with since 9/11 the country is in terrific shape.

We are at near full employment, the economy is humming along. The Dow Jones is flirting with an all-time high. The United States has toppled two brutal regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. Thousands of terrorists have been killed or captured. Many Americans are first-time home owners and many more have made handsome profits on home sales. Americans are more real estate savvy than at any time in our history. Taxes were cut several years ago and now the federal government is raking in unprecedented revenue.

Yet, the picture painted is that America is teetering on the brink of chaos, the country is in a tailspin, the nation is doomed. What gives? Well, if everything you learned about America was by watching television, you would think the country was in bad shape, too.

Turn on the news and watch what CBS, ABC and NBC have to say. If you are to believe their assessment, there are bread lines on every street corner, Chinese style military snoops peering over your shoulder, millions of busy bodies listening in on our phone calls and fantastic conspiracies concocted by the government in order to wipe away cities via hurricanes, floods and earthquakes.

Be under no illusion, despite missteps and mistakes, President Bush's presidency has been paralyzed by a national media hellbent on destroying him since his second inauguration. Take a look at President Bush's approval ratings. Since the 2005 Inauguration Day his approval rating has been driven downward by a formidable foe: the mainstream media. They control the news, they don't report it. They can fashion it to appear any way that they want.

There has been an unrelenting avalanche of negative coverage of the White House since January 20, 2005. Can you think of one positive story about President Bush since that day? Every negative story has been attached to doom, gloom. Americans have been demoralized into thinking they while they are doing okay ("there but for the Grace of God, go I")

The media was shocked when the nation announced that it wanted President Bush for four more years. Since then, the media has exacted revenge by returning the favor.

Is America really in such bad shape? The most common rejoinder is when people answer, "look at the right track/wrong track answers, they're terrible!" Indeed, they don't look good.

Do you think things in this country (are generally going in the right direction) or do you feel things (have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track)?

May 15, 2006
Right track: 29
Wrong track: 69

But wait a minute, President Clinton's tenure saw similar numbers, even in the very year that he defeated Bob Dole by a 8 percent margin

June 30, 1996
Right track: 26
Wrong track: 70

October 17, 1996 (eve of the election)
Right track: 40
Wrong track: 55

Amazingly, the best thing that happened to Bill Clinton's presidency was the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Americans had thought America was on the wrong track every day of Clinton's presidency until the scandal story broke.

January 19, 1998
Right track: 44
Wrong track: 50

January 30, 1998 (just eleven days later!)
Right track: 61
Wrong track: 34

Why the turnaround? Because the spin machine that the Clinton administration unleashed in 1998 was the most effective one ever in American politics. Bill Clinton and his aides were able to turn a horriblly embarrassing story into a platform to repeat over and over that America was in great shape no matter what he did in his bedroom (or the Oval Office). By the summer of 1998, the Monica Lewinsky affair had become a Republican scandal!

If President Bush wants to salvage his presidency he MUST take his message directly to the people. He can't lie and obfuscate like his predecessor did but he has to tell us that the economy is doing well, that Americans have acted couragously in the last five years of war and he shares their enthusiasm and optimisim for the future.

Would you say that you are optimistic or pessimistic about the future of this country?
Optimistic: 65
Pessimistic: 34

Would you say you are optimistic or pessimistic about your own personal future?
Optimistic: 89
Pessimistic: 10

Forget President Bush's skewed approval rating. Check out these numbers from the Washington Post poll that was released today.

12. (HALF SAMPLE) Do you think things in your state (are generally going in the right direction) or do you feel things (have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track)?

Right track: 45 (not great but much better than national assessment)
Wrong track: 52

13. (HALF SAMPLE) Do you think things in your local community (are generally going in the right direction) or do you feel things (have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track)?

Right track: 58 (interesting! A better snapshot of the state of the nation)
Wrong track: 41

President Bush's approval ratings has been artifically suppressed by an unrelenting and hostile media. Things in Iraq should have gone much better but the situation is not as dire as the television networks would have you believer. Remember that, as of this date, the number of troop deaths in Iraq is two-thirds of the total number of American civilians killed in one hour on 9/11. The economy is not in bad shape. Thanks to Ronald Reagan's policies (upheld on the most part by his three successors, even Clinton), the nation has enjoyed unparalleled economic success. National crime levels are at an all time low. As for illegal immigration, it is a vexing problem but Americans must be reminded that it is the world's greatest economy that is so attractive for millions of people to want to come here to better their lives.

Don't believe the hype. President Bush is not perfect but he's not dangerously incompetent either. The people who enjoy shouting that the country is in terrible shape are the same ones driven by hatred for President Bush and consumed by their own politics. It is unfortunate that many of those wracked with intellectual dishonesty are members of the mainstream media.

See: National Review's Hans Moleman: George W. Truman

See more on national politics: The Anchoress on Bush's base, Captains Quarters on how a compliant media, bent on destroying this administration, bought Truthout's lies hook line and sinker, Prof Bainbridge on the GOP's chances, QandO on Dick Morris' political insight, my vast rwc posts an open letter to Murtha, Blackfive is trying to do what it takes to oust Murtha, Blogsforbush on the media, Right Wing News on political correctness, LaShawn Barber, Michael Barone and Wizbang.



David Germain, AP Movie Writer: 'Da Vinci Code' Misses the Mark

"The Da Vinci Code" drew lukewarm praise, shrugs of indifference, some jeering laughter and a few derisive jabs Tuesday
the movie dragged on to two and a half hours and spun a long sequence of anticlimactic revelations.
One especially melodramatic line uttered by Hanks drew prolonged laughter and some catcalls, and the audience continued to titter for much of the film's remainder.

Todd McCarthy, Variety: The Da Vinci Code

director Ron Howard and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman have conspired to drain any sense of fun out of the melodrama, leaving expectant audiences with an oppressively talky film

Peter Brunette, Boston Globe: Critics crucify 'Da Vinci Code'

"I didn't like it very much. I thought it was almost as bad as the book. Tom Hanks was a zombie, thank goodness for Ian McKellen. It was overplayed, there was too much music and it was much too grandiose,"

Kirk Honeycutt: Hollywood Reporter

Yet "Da Vinci" never rises to the level of a guilty pleasure. Too much guilt. Not enough pleasure.

A.O. Scott A Code That Takes Longer to Watch Than Read

So I certainly can't support any calls for boycotting or protesting this busy, trivial, inoffensive film. Which is not to say I'm recommending you go see it.

Caroline Briggs, BBC: Review

Ron Howard's adaptation of The Da Vinci Code, which debuts at Cannes Film Festival, fails to live up to the hype that surrounded Dan Brown's novel.


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