What We Need – A Q Mini-Rant

This morning, my firm had our annual health insurance meeting.  As always, we were informed that our costs would again be increasing.  After which, I tweeted the following:

“Yay! $300 per year more for health insurance + $1000 higher deductible.”

Ken Gardner (@KesGardner) retweeted me, and in response, @OrwellForce made a comment that launched a mini-rant from me:

SmoosieQ@SmoosieQ

To which I say: Bull. & Shit. RT @OrwellForce: @SmoosieQ @kesgardner And Obama will use that as evidence of why we need Obamacare.

  • What we need is to remove the layer of artificiality which employer-offered group plans inject into the process.
  • What we need is for health care consumers to not be so divorced from the process that they have no way to assess their costs & risks.
  • What we need is for people to have the option of purchasing catastrophic coverage & paying for routine medical care out of pocket.
  • What we need is for insurance to be offered in a la carte fashion so that each person can choose the coverage that works best for them.  (Please note, the tweet said “do,” rather than “so” — stupid Auto-Correct!)
  • What we need is for Big Daddy Government to butt the hell out of the process.
  • And what we need is for the SCOTUS to smack down the individual mandate for the blatantly unconstitutional piece of crap that it is.

That is by no means a comprehensive list of necessary reforms.  Others, in response, added some great suggestions, including dissociating health insurance from employment altogether, making it available across state lines and tort reform. 

As @AIPolitics rightly pointed out, even if Obamacare is repealed, we need to not lose focus.  My fervent hope is that the Supreme Court does the right thing tomorrow and, at a minimum, strikes down the Individual Mandate for the unconstitutional abomination that it is.  (And while they’re at it, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to put a stake in the heart of Wickard v. Filburn and restore the scope of the Commerce Clause to its rightful boundaries.)  

But that is not — and should not be — the end of our interest in the matter.  Some significant changes do need to be made to the way health care is delivered — and paid for — in this country.  One of the the concerns I see raised frequently, in addition to the astronomical costs, is the obstacles to obtaining health insurance for those with pre-existing conditions.  That is a serious issue and one that deserves some significant scrutiny.  I may try to address that in a follow-up to this.  For now, just wanted to share this mini-rant. 

Furiouser and Furiouser

I’m a bit ashamed to admit that, like many, I’ve been following the Fast and Furious story only as a casual observer. I was generally familiar with the concerns raised about it, and I knew that Brian Terry was thought to have been murdered as a result of it. I knew that Congressman Darrell Issa was spearheading a Congressional investigation into the fiasco, and that Attorney General Eric Holder appeared to be stonewalling.  When Katie Pavlich’s book came out, I purchased a copy for my Kindle, but had only made it through the first chapter.  

Last week, when the White House announced that President Obama would be invoking Executive Privilege to shield some of the documents requested on the eve of the vote by Committee to hold Eric Holder in contempt, my interest was officially piqued.  I was invited by @BakedFlounder at Radio214.com to be on her show and discuss this sudden invocation of privilege and the ramifications of it. You can find that interview here.  

Since then, I’ve finished Pavlich’s book, and I keep finding myself digging further and further into the story — not just the operation, but the apparent cover-up which has followed.  And, in turn, I keep finding myself getting more and more furious about it.  I woke up an hour early this morning, mind racing, thinking primarily about this story.  And I felt compelled to post this and use it as a repository for pertinent information I come across as this story continues to unfold.  I won’t even begin to be able to scratch the surface of it here, I realize.  But at least I won’t just be a casual observer anymore. 

Anyway, for starters, my friend Jimmie Bise, Jr., authored an excellent piece on the scandal last week: Brian Williams and the Fast and Furious Shame Brigade.

I have some interesting articles bookmarked at work discussing Executive Privilege, and I’ll be adding those later, along with my thoughts on them as they relate to the current situation.  I don’t think this story is going to go away.  And it shouldn’t. As I said after finishing Pavlich’s book:  Heads need to roll.  

********

Update: And already, a need to update — read this great piece by Matthew Boyle at the Daily Caller for the latest from Issa.  

Update 2:  Two more great discussions of Executive Privilege by Mark Levin and Ken Klukowski . 

Also, this CRS Report contains a very thorough discussion of the privilege and pertinent case law. 

Two key cases on Executive Privilege:  U.S. v. Nixon  and In re: Sealed Case (a/k/a “Espy”)

I’m still working through a lot of this in my head, and there are legal scholars with considerably more expertise than me on this issue who have already weighed in – so I don’t want to belabor the point.  But as it stands now, I do not see this as a winning stance for the Administration.  Bargaining chip?  Possibly. Delay tactic?  Yes. 

I certainly hope Issa and Grassley and the others bull-dogging this keep at it. 

Right. On. Part II.

I’ve been procrastinating about this since Tuesday. I know I promised to finish up my RightOnline Recap, but in the back of my mind sits this notion that doing so will place it irretrievably in the past.  I think I need to work a bit on my overly sentimental streak….

At the Kruiser, Kruiser Kabana

After Friday night’s Breitbart Tribute, the plan was to eventually make our way to the infamous #KruiserKabana – a party tradition started several years ago by the incomparable @StephenKruiser. I’d not yet had the pleasure of attending the Kabana, so was rather looking forward to it. Somehow, I managed to copy the suite number down wrong, and had it pegged for the 32nd Floor.  As Hammy (@e2pilot) and I wandered 32, looking for a suite that didn’t exist, I had visions of a night wasted wandering the many corridors of The Venetian.  Fortunately, after a text and a quick scan of the #RO12 timeline, I was able to confirm it was actually on the 36th Floor, and we soon managed to locate the fun.  

I had promised myself I would make a point at this gathering to snag pictures of/with as many of my friends as I could. So, after a warm welcome from Kruiser and Emily Zanotti (@emzanotti) 

a fair amount of the rest of my evening consisted of doing just that. First, there was my “Twitter-daughter,” Hannah Drazich (@HDrazich). No, of course, she’s not actually my daughter, but after learning that I’m the same age as her mother, she adopted me and vice-versa.  (I am not going to whine here about being old. I am not gonna do it.  No siree.)  Familial Twitter ties notwithstanding, I was so looking forward to meeting Hannah, and was so happy to finally do so. She is lovely, whip-smart, and an absolute sweetheart, and I am quite certain her real mother is exceedingly proud of her!

Next, there was my good friend, Duke (@IrishDuke2).  Though my eyes are closed in this one, I can’t help but love it for the expression on his face.

And it was my pleasure to pose with two of my favorite folk from Indy, Josh “Silk” Gillespie (@JoshGillespie) and  Lauren Fakes (@LaurenFakes). This was Josh’s first venture to Vegas, and we had such grand plans to make it memorable for him. I’m not entirely certain we succeeded in that. Although, the Mermaid tattoo, really is a sight to behold….

I was also pleased to snap this pic of three of my favorite Tweeps:  Sarah Rumpf (@rumpfshaker), Sean Hackbarth (@SeanHackbarth) and Kemberlee Kaye (@red_red_head).  If you are reading this and, for some bizarre reason do not follow these fine folk on Twitter, you’re doing it wrong!

I absolutely love this one of my roommates!  Here’s Gwen (@scvbuckeye), Jack (@Mr_Fastbucks) and Jen (@Somethingabtjen). Alright, Jack wasn’t really one of our roomies, but I’m sure he’d make a fine one nonetheless. 

I had a very nice time meeting and chatting with Duane Patterson (@RadioBlogger), Hugh Hewitt’s producer and host of Duane FM.  He’s well on his way to achieving his million-follower quest!

I also enjoyed shooting the breeze with @TookieW – who was surprised to learn I’m a St. Louisan and that I’m older than him. (That second bit was pure flattery, but I’ll take it.)   Speaking of St. Louis, I was pleased to finally meet  Jim Hoft (@GatewayPundit), too!  Somewhere, in the midst of all this, I had a chance to speak briefly with John Grant (@JohnG405), who was gracious enough to have me on his radio show a couple weeks back.  Was nice to meet him in person, as well!

Then there was my favorite cupcake, Ms. April Gregory (@AprilDGregory).

A bonus of having RightOnline in Vegas was that I knew it meant @hipstervative would be in attendance.  Here he is with his lovely wife @Brit_Cain.  They are truly one of the cutest couples I’ve ever seen.

And…our gracious host once again — here with @EyeOnPolitics:

Two of my most fun Vegas buddies, Greg (@CajunConservatv) and Katrina Rice (@Veribatim), were also on hand and looking sharp Friday evening!

First time  I met this guy, we took a pic with @Mamaswati (who was sorely missed at RightOnline!) which she hashtagged as #FriendsForever. It seemed fitting then, and still does. Here I am with my good friend @FingersMalloy:

While enjoying the Kabana, we got word that Glen Asbury (@GlenAsbury) was having travel issues, and was apparently stuck at LAX.  I was relieved to see that he finally made it and was able to come join the fun for a bit.  Here he is with Sean and April.

Saturday Sessions

Knowing that we had a long day ahead of us on Saturday, I imposed a 2:00 a.m. curfew on myself for Friday — and kept it! Still, Saturday morning came all too quickly.  (As I got ready, I noticed my Twitter timeline was suspiciously quiet, so I suspect I wasn’t alone in feeling that way.)  I managed to make it downstairs in time to catch the tail-end of the complimentary Continental Breakfast and share a bagel with Hammy (@e2pilot) and fellow St. Louisan Doug Welch (@Styx1972).   

Properly fortified, it was time to enjoy the morning speeches in the main conference room.  @MichelleMalkin spoke again — using hashtag props to illustrate the power of Twitter and the voice of JustABloggers.  Hugh Hewitt, Guy Benson and Rodger Hedgecock also addressed the crowd. Then it was time for the Breakout Sessions to begin.  Hammy and I opted for the one titled “Social Media, Smarter: How to Rule Facebook and Twitter,” presented by @NickSchaper, @MichelleMalkin, @KatieHarbath and @LachlanMarkay, and moderated by Nansen Malin (@nansen). True to the title, the panel offered up some great tips on how to make the most of…Facebook and Twitter. Meanwhile, @DemonSheep heartily encouraged me to hurl a pen cap at the back of Kevin McKeever’s (@bankofkev’s) head, but I refrained.

After, I made my way up to Michelle and asked if we could take a picture together.  Hammy was gracious enough to serve as photographer.

Unfortunately, when I attempted to return the favor with his camera, I botched the auto-focus feature, and I’m afraid I left him with only a very fuzzy shot of the two of them.  I owe him a drink! 

I also made a point to grab a pic with another fellow St. Louisan, Stacy Washington.  I knew her “He Said/She Said” co-host Demetrius Minor (@dminor85) would be happy!

I’ll confess, I missed out on the second breakout session.  My stomach was rumbling and lunch was needed.  I caught up with Fingers and Melanie Hall (@MelanieAnn79) and headed to the food court for some grub.  It occurred to me I really had not eaten much since I’d gotten to Vegas, so I thought a cheeseburger was in order.  I’ve had Johnny Rocket’s before and assumed it would hit the spot, but I’m sad to report, the burger was not worth the wait.  Still, the company was good!  

Back to the conference, I joined Hammy for the Lunch Session in the main conference room.  U.S. Representative Joe Heck (R-NV) spoke.  He was followed by a Townhall Q&A with Tracy Henke, Lars Larson, Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) and S.E. Cupp (@SECupp).  Audience members were encouraged to tweet their questions via the #ROTownhall hashtag.  My favorite had to be (@MissRuth1021’s) 

My friends are expecting me to come back from Vegas hitched or at least engaged. What should I do to make this happen? #ROTownhall #RO12
(I understand she did receive an offer on that!)
The next breakout session featured “Mastering Multimedia: Optimizing your Blog with Videos and Podcasting,” presented by Ben Howe (@BenHowe), Thomas LaDuke (@IrishDuke2) and @FingersMalloy.  I understand some of The Snark Factor audience regulars were a wee bit disappointed to learn there would be no Chat Room to accompany the presentation, but the guys did a nice job sharing the tricks of the trade, including some good software recommendations. (#PowerGrandma, anyone?)
 
 
Ben also showed his fantastic “Two Paths” video  as an example of the power of video and new media.  
 
The final panel of the day was “Digital Activism: How your Mobile Phone is Changing the Face of Grassroots,” presented by Javier Manjarres (@THESHARKTANK1), Steven Green (@VodkaPundit) and Stephen Kruiser (@StephenKruiser).  True to form, Kruiser was sporting the #NoPants look.  He also shared these wise words to the activist audience: “You should be pimping the crap out of yourself.” 
 
 
I was very pleased that afternoon when I had an opportunity to pose for a pic with S.E. Cupp.  A friend of mine had offered to donate $100 to my favorite charity if I managed to get a picture of her.  I did him one better and got one with her, thanks to Fingers.  And the best part? $100 was donated to The American Cancer Society.  Can’t beat that!
 
 
Last Night in Vegas 
The breakout sessions complete, it was time to get ready for that evening’s festivities, which included a Cocktail Reception, followed by the Closing Dinner.  I made a point to grab some more pics while at the reception.   Here I am with two of the loveliest ladies on Twitter, Amelia Hamilton (@AmeliaHammy) and Kemberlee Kaye (@red_red_head).
I love this one of two more of the Twitterati, Jim J (@anthropocon) and Teri Christoph (@TeriChristoph).
I was happy when Evan Pokroy (@EvanPokroy) managed to join us via Skype, compliments of Ben Howe.  It was almost like he was there.  Almost! And I was happy to finally meet @JeromeHudson, as well.  I also enjoyed spending a bit of time with the wonderful Chastains (@ZacChastain & @MaryChastain), even if Mary couldn’t decide whether to keep her shoes on or off!
Also loved this pic of @LarryOConnor and me.  No, I was not goosing him!
And was happy to see another favorite, Jon David Kahn (@MrJonDavid)
Dinner was held in the main ballroom, and featured some phenomenal speeches.  I especially liked Dana Loesch’s comment regarding the “legacy media” – “They’re competing against you for eyeballs.”  Jon David gave a fantastic rendition of “American Heart” with Breitbart up on the screen behind him.  
A brief stop by The Bourbon Room afforded me the chance to finally meet Mandy Nagy (@LibertyChick) and @AblativMeatshld, and to do some nefarious plotting with @TookieW.  
As mentioned earlier, we had promised Josh Gillespie a big night out on the town.  It didn’t quite work out the way we had originally envisioned.  Still, he and Mark Warner (@MWarner95), Hannah Drazich (@HDrazich), Lauren Fakes (@LaurenFakes), Hammy (@e2pilot) and I made our way out of The Venetian and down the Strip a ways.  If nothing else, the Carnaval Court Bar afforded us some interesting people-watching opportunities.  There were ladies dancing high above the crowd in cages, but the most impressive sight was the gentleman on the ground who apparently subscribed heartily to the “communication via dance” method of impressing said ladies.
 
About an hour of that was all we could take, so we made our way back to The Venetian.  The Bourbon Room was packed by this point, and I ventured in, only to be called out as “Badge Lady” repeatedly by the green haired, hair-band wannabe DJ.  (Yes, I was still sporting my conference badge at this point.)  Rather than endure much of that, I opted to head back up to the Kruiser Kabana with the gang.
 
And another fine evening in the Kabana, it was.  I especially enjoyed the collaborative love note sent to the sorely-missed John Brodigan (@Brodigan) by @Somethingabtjen, @LaurenFakes, @AmeliaHammy, @MWarner95, @Veribatim and myself.  We put our new media skillz to good use!  Though our chat time was brief, I enjoyed seeing @Rachelveronica and @Chris_Mayer.  Also, I took a fuller tour of the Kabana this time, and was mightily impressed by the separate work out room, sauna and bathroom-the-size-of-my-house it featured.  I hated to see it all end but, though I had no self-imposed curfew that night, I sent myself back to my room at an arguably reasonable hour — for Vegas, anyway.
 
Time to Say Goodbye Again
Always, my least favorite part of events such as this is the fact that they must end, and the friends who have gathered from far and wide have to say their goodbyes.  I was happy to share lunch with April Gregory, Alex Nelson (@awnelson17), Duane Lester (@bodhi1), Fingers Malloy, @MissRuth1021, Teri Christoph and Duke (@IrishDuke2).  The burger was actually pretty good at I ❤ Burgers (once it was cooked all the way, that is, and once it finally arrived  45 minutes later).  The tater tots were good, too.  The whole splitting-of-the-bill and taking-half-an-hour-to-cash-people-out bit left everyone a tad disgruntled, though, I’m afraid.  There’s a word that would fit the situation perfectly, but I’ll not employ it here.
 
The highlight of the meal may have been this pose by Duke:
I am not entirely certain of the message he was attempting to convey, but as Duane rightly noted at the time, “If we ever start losing to liberals online, I will blame @IrishDuke2.”
 
After that, there were quick hugs goodbye for Duane, Fingers and Teri.  Then another quick goodbye to April and MissRuth.  Duke, Alex and I wandered around a bit.  We ventured out into the heat…103, was it?  And I snapped this pic from the walkway.
We mosied back into the casino and took up residence at the center bar, where the next several hours were spent playing Black Jack and Video Poker.  At one point, I was up $160 (having invested $80).  To make Duke feel better, I made sure to give $80 of it back and break even.  Kemberlee came and joined us for awhile, as did Hannah and Lauren.  We covered such an interesting array of conversation topics that afternoon — it really was rather fun and relaxing.  And I was reminded, once again, that I am pretty well blessed in the Friend Department.  Now, if only we could figure out the whole Transporter thing.  (That has to be better than flying!)
Disclaimer: There were a number of people I saw or met briefly during the conference (in addition to those I’ve included) but did not get to spend near enough time chatting with.  I started trying to list them, but then realized what an exercise in futility that would be.  Inevitably, I would forget to include someone.  As it is, I fear I  haven’t done the event, or the people justice.
Which brings me to this:  Where possible, I have included Twitter handles.  This is not purely for identification. More importantly, it is to encourage anyone who might be reading this to make a point to follow those mentioned.  Yes, much of my recap has been about the social aspects of the event, rather than the substantive programs.  But many — most — of the people I have mentioned form the heart and soul of the conservative movement, at least in the “new media” realm.  These are the JustABloggers.  These are the Breitbart Army.  These are people who are working hard and making a difference.  And if the conservative cause matters to you, then you will want to follow them.  That is the beauty of the Online Age.
 
Special thanks to AFPF for hosting a fantastic event.  So glad I was able to be a part of it!

Right. On.

This past weekend, I got to go to one of my favorite places and spend time with some of my favorite people. How in the world does one begin to sum up such a happy occasion?  I’m not sure I can do it justice, but I’ll try.

I Love to Fly and It Shows

As some of you know, I am not a good flyer. That became exponentially worse after a horrid flight involving gawdawful turbulence and two aborted landings in March. When I found out Right Online was being held in Vegas this year, I knew I had to go, but I gave some serious thought to finding another means of transportation out there.  It didn’t take long to realize, however, that you really can’t get there from here.  Unless, that is, you relish the thought of a 25 hour drive or 27 hour train ride, both of which would actually have been more expensive than my plane ticket was. I booked the flight and told myself that, with the help of a Xanax, and the excitement about the event itself, I could handle it.  I checked ahead of time, and was relieved to see there was no bad weather predicted between here and there.  That didn’t cut out about 30-45 minutes of more-than-moderate turbulence, however.  To put it mildly, I was a wreck. I am not proud of it, but there were tears involved. And as close as one can come to curling into the fetal position whilst seated in a plane seat.  The flight attendant had pity on me and brought me two beers (when he wasn’t required to be seat-belted in, that is.)  I don’t know that they really helped all that much, but I appreciated his concern.  

I’m Snarky and I Know It

The good news is – we did make it in one piece.  And on time, which made me very happy, as I had plans to sit in with my friends @FingersMalloy and @IrishDuke2 while they broadcast a special two-hour episode of FTR Radio’s The Snark Factor from Vegas.  Anyone who follows my Twitter feed knows that I am a devoted follower of the show, so I was excited at the prospect of getting to watch them on the air.  Also, I had a bit of a practical joke up my sleeve which required me to be present during the show:  In the weeks preceding the trip, Duke had frequently joked that those listeners who showed up Thursday night during the show would be treated to a free drink by Fingers (who steadfastly denied he would be accommodating this.)  Fingers, in turn, put out the word that their good friend @TeriChristoph (Co-founder of Smart Girl Politics and Co-Chair of She-PAC) would be doling out special wristbands that would entitle folks to a free drink, and encouraged people to contact her about this.  I enlisted the help of friend and fellow Snarkster @e2pilot (a/k/a “Hammy”) and came up with a special wristband for the occasion, ordered 30 or so of them, and contacted Teri to see if she’d like to be in on the joke.  She graciously agreed, so as the show began airing, she tweeted:

Teri Christoph ‏@TeriChristoph
Not at #RO12 for the live Snark Factor show, but the drink bracelets did make it! See @SmoosieQ for yours. Drinks are on @FingersMalloy!

The two hours of show time went by quickly.  I was honored to be included as one of the guests, but could not, for the life of me, tell you what we talked about.  I blame Residual Plane Effect.  (I hear Fingers saw them open for Air Supply in 1978).  I’ll link to the podcast once it’s posted.

I was happy to see and catch up a bit with my friend (and travel companion extraordinaire) @rjhornsby of “Flyover Country”, and the ever-ebullient @LaurenFakes, along with “blonde momshell”  @KristinaRibali, Director of New Media for FreedomWorks and one of the hardest working people I know.  Also enjoyed meeting friend and fellow #Snarkster @Mr_Fastbucks and the RAWR-licious @bankofkev, as well as FTR Radio host ThayroneX and his lovely wife, Linda. Then there was the indefatigable @emzanotti — so glad to finally meet her, as well. Several of the AFP crew were there for the show, too, including @stephfont, whom I know worked her tail off to help put together a great event!

Out on the Town

After the show was over, the delightful Elizabeth Crum (@ElizCrum – Publisher/Editor of http://www.NevadaNewsBureau.com, Co-Host of “The Agenda” on NBC Affiliate KSNV-TV, and Co-Founder of RFCRadio.com, which later became FTRRadio.com), took Fingers and me to the best part of Vegas – Downtown! We enjoyed our time at the El Cortez, then eventually headed back to The Venetian where we discovered that The Bourbon Room not only plays fantastic 80’s music (has a great beat, you can dance to it), but also charges roughly $15 for a RedBull and Vodka.  While there, we were joined by several more friends:  The aforementioned Hammy — handsome, charming and a fantastic companion for the majority of the conference events.  (He also lent me his Wi-Fi, saved a seat for me more than once, and put up with my endlessly chattering teeth in the main conference room without giving me too much grief.)

Then @SeanHackbarth (a/k/a “The Sean” — in fact, my favorite The Sean ever), @LunaticLair (sweetheart and fellow Virgo), @CajunConservatv (a favorite new friend), and the stunning and marvelous @Veribatim joined us. Caveat: It’s possible I’ve omitted someone from this list.  If I have, please feel free to smack me upside the head and I will happily correct my oversight.  

When we tired of the 80’s, we headed to the center bar of the casino, and some folks tried their hand at the slots and/or video poker. I, recognizing my limitations, trundled off to bed, and I believe managed to sneak in 4 hours of sleep, or so.

Sun, Fun and…More Sun

After waking Friday morning, I decided there was no better way to start the day than by lounging at the pool.  Which, by the way, happens to be a very nice pool.

No one joined me, though, and I quickly grew bored, so headed back inside to grab a bit of lunch at The Grand Lux Cafe with Teri, Fingers and the ever-charming @TonyKatz (Host of the Tony Katz show, and new regular on 97.1 FM Talk, here in St. Louis).  After that, it was back outside for more pool time.  I was happy when my birthday-girl, roomie @Somethingabtjen joined me, along with @LunaticLair and @CajunConservatv.  Later, we were also joined by @Veribatim and @Mushkat.  Also, Ted Kennedy’s twin was there.  #TrueStory – Jen, Ree and Greg can vouch for that.  By 4:30 or so, I’d soaked up all the sun I could handle, so I headed back up to the room to shower and change for the kick off of the conference events.  I met my other roomie, the sweet and lovely @scvbuckeye, and got ready for the evening.

#BreitbartIsHere

Started it off right by picking up a copy of @MichelleMalkin ‘s “Culture of Corruption” and receiving a big hug and very sweet inscription from her. I love that lady — love her energy and her fearlessness!  (Again, a big thank you to Hammy for saving my place in line.)  

After, that, we wandered into the Andrew Breitbart Tribute Reception, where several of the Breitbart crew, including his life-long friend, Larry Solov, and Breitbart editors @dloesch and @LarryOConnor, paid fitting tribute to him.  I really cannot emphasize enough how much his presence was palpable throughout the weekend’s events.  I’ve seen him described many times as “larger than life.”  After seeing the ripple effects of his legacy in action, I would submit he is also larger than death.  As AFPF President Tim Phillips put it later that night, in response to his last words to Breitbart, “I love you, man,” Breitbart responded with, “You —-ing well should.”  We —ing well all should. 

The Welcome Event that night featured greetings by Phillips, and other AFP folk, including Tracy Henke and Adam Stryker.  These were followed by a phenomenal speech by Sarah Palin.  I’ve now seen her speak in person three times.  She never disappoints.  She was followed by my aforementioned hero, Michelle Malkin, who proudly claimed her #JustABlogger title.  (As an aside, I have to wonder how many times Juan Williams has replayed their appearance on Hannity last week in his mind, “real reporter” that he is?)

Fitting that the movies screened that night were so closely tied to one of the craftiest critics of the “dead tree media” Palin referenced and a stalwart champion of the New Media JustABloggers:  Breitbart himself.  @HatingBreitbart filmmaker Andrew Marcus previewed a 15 or 20 minute clip of his upcoming documentary on the man, and left us all wanting much, much more.  This was followed by the debut of Stephen K. Bannon’s “Occupy Unmasked,” which, as with his other films, peeled back the layers and thoroughly delivered on its title.  

As I sat there that night, a realization hit me:  

SmoosieQ ‏@SmoosieQ
Occurs to me I’m in a room with some of the most amazing people on the planet.

Some may pooh pooh that as schmaltzy.  But I’d challenge you to sit in a room with hundreds of motivated, focused and dedicated people and realize you’re aligned with some wondrously talented and courageous patriots and not have it move you.  Since his passing, Breitbart has inspired a number of Twitter hashtags: #War, #IAmAndrewBreitbart, #BreitbartIsHere.  As to the latter, I can attest to it — he most certainly is.  And to that, I say, “A. Men.”  

….To be continued…

Recent Podcasts/Interviews

It’s probably obvious to anyone who regularly reads my blog, but I consider myself a writer first and foremost (in the conserva-blogosphere, that is — in life, I am first and foremost a mom — followed by a few other odd assortments.)  A fledgling writer/blogger, no doubt.  But it is something I love — and often feel compelled — to do. 

Recently, I was invited to be a guest on Radio214.com.  @BakedFlounder was gracious enough to invite me on to talk with her about an assortment of topics:  Cory Booker’s walkback of his defense of private equity and Bain Capital, Marco Rubio’s prospects at the VP nod (and why some claim he may not be eligible), Hustler’s nasty knock on SE Cupp and her classy response thereto, and the one year anniversary of Weinergate.  Wanted to be sure to include a link to that here:  Radio214 Podcast

Not long after that, @JohnG405 of The 405 Live — a Saturday morning internet radio program — invited me on as his guest to talk a little about my background, my encounter with Mitt Romney last week, and my thoughts in general about how things are shaping up in this more-important-than-ever election year.  Here’s a link to that, as well: SmoosieQ on The 405 Live – 6-9

My thanks again to Baked Flounder and John Grant for having me on their shows.  I still think of myself as a writer/blogger, but very much appreciate the opportunity to add my voice (literally) to the fray, as well!

My Lunch Date with Mitt

Okay – calling it a “lunch date” might be stretching it a bit, but since I’ve previously employed the dating metaphor for the nominee selection process, I figured I’d have a little fun with it.  The other night, I received an e-mail invite to “Join Mitt in St. Louis” this afternoon.  The event was held at Production Products, a local military contractor, on one of its factory floors. 

I thought, “Why not?” and RSVP’d to attend.  I also invited a co-worker to join me, as she’d never been to a political event before.  We arrived around 11:15 and, after waiting outside the facility for about an hour (thankfully, though sunny, it wasn’t outrageously hot), we were ushered in through a metal detector and brief security check.  Inside, several rows of folding chairs surrounded a small stage on three sides.  All told, I’d say there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 attendees.  My co-worker and I selected seats in the third row, off to the right side, which wasn’t bad, except that one of the spotlights across the stage was directly in my line of sight, so it made snagging decent photos a bit dicey. 

The backdrop was this banner:

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Along with, of course, the American flag:

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The wait, once seated, was another 30 minutes, while set up was completed.  At least the music they were playing was palatable — a little country, some Van Halen, some Elvis.  Finally, we were treated to a lovely rendition of the National Anthem, followed by an introduction from Barry Corona, President of Production Products.  Mr. Corona gave some background regarding his company, spoke of the struggles small business owners like him contend with in the face of over-regulation, and then ushered in Governor Romney.

Romney looked sharp in his standard shirt-sleeves-and-tie.  His speech was relatively short — maybe 15 or 20 minutes — and about what you’d expect of a Romney stump speech.  Focusing on jobs and the economy and leadership; contrasting Obama’s style and vision with his own.  Exactly what he needs to be doing. 

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Every time I see or hear Romney speak lately, the phrase, “Slow and steady wins the race,” is called to mind.  For the most part, he tucked his head down and stayed doggedly on course through the primary, only allowing himself to get sidetracked a few times.  And, in the end, it paid off.  You get the sense that Romney knows this is what he needs to do through the general if he is to be successful.  And, to his credit, he does know a thing or two about success. 

I can quibble here or there with his policy positions.  I can take issue with past decisions he’s made.  And I’m sure I’ll take issue with future decisions he makes, as well.  But when I look at him, I see a guy who knows what the hell he’s doing.  Which is a helluva lot more than I can say about Obama.  Romney, at least, inspires a smidge of confidence — that he’s capable and that, at heart, he does want what’s best for this country.  And damned if we don’t need that right about now. 

So…I’m glad I got to spend my lunch hour(s) with Mitt today.  It helped cement, for me, the belief that he’s a guy who can stay the course. 

Selective Indifference

Yesterday morning, I read an Op-Ed by the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank: Republican’s Abortion Bill Risks Alienating Asian Americans , after The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis tweeted a link to it.  My initial reaction to it was that it was “quite possibly one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen.”  I followed that observation up with this tweet: “Dear Dana Milbank: for those who value life & oppose abortion, sex-selective or otherwise, the Asian vote really isn’t the point. Dimwit.” 

Ironic that his piece clucked its tongue at Arizona Congressman Trent Franks for his “paternalism toward minority groups,” all the while concern trolling the GOP for the potential loss of the Asian-American vote. I’m sure the thought of it has kept him up at night.  

Normally, I don’t react quite so viscerally to such blather. But his entire premise was so skewed I couldn’t help myself. First, let’s follow his “logic” through: He asserts that, “just about everybody agrees…that a woman shouldn’t abort a fetus simply because she wants to have a boy rather than a girl.” (But it’s okay if she aborts said fetus simply because it’s inconvenient — we’ll revisit that notion in a bit.)  

He then asserts that “it’s not entirely clear there’s a problem,” because even though it’s a “huge tragedy in parts of Asia…to the extent it’s happening in this country, it’s mostly among Asian immigrants.”  Oh, well, okay then, Mr. Milbank. If it’s mostly just those Asian female babies being aborted, you’re right – really not a big deal. (I don’t have to include a sarc tag there, do I?)  Also, I’m wondering how it morphs from “huge tragedy” to a “not entirely clear…problem”?  What’s so tragic about it there, but not here?  

Further, he opines, if Republicans push a bill which bans the practice of sex-selective (and race-selective) abortions, this will alienate Asian-American voters who apparently would otherwise support a party which traditionally opposes the practice of abortion in general. (Perhaps I’m silly for thinking so, but I’d be willing to bet my eye teeth someone who opposes a ban on sex-selective abortions isn’t likely to be a GOP voter in the first place.)

Scratching your head yet? Let’s see if I can nutshell it: Most everyone agrees sex-selective abortion is bad, but it’s not a big deal because it’s only really taking place in the Asian community, which apparently supports both abortion and the GOP, but won’t support the latter anymore if they move to ban a practice which most everyone agrees is bad….Now, instead of scratching your head, shake it sympathetically as you worry about the poor GOP hemorrhaging voters. It makes the premise ever-so-much-more convincing.  

Okay, now that we have the pretzel twists out of the way, let’s get to the heart of the matter: Milbank’s thesis completely dismisses any possibility that the motivation for such a ban is something like, oh, you know, placing actual value on human life. (And, in particular, abhorrence of the notion of snuffing out — oh, I’m sorry, selecting out — such non-desirable traits as having girl parts and/or possessing a bit more pigmentation.)  Instead, in his world, it’s purely a political calculation and one that in Milbankian Mathematics lands Franks — and the GOP with him — in the loss column.  Any lengthy study of politics necessarily breeds a certain level of cynicism.  And yes, abortion has long been a “wedge issue” for both parties. But Milbank appears to be utterly oblivious to the legitimate moral objection to the practice, despite his lame attempt at lip-service to it in his second paragraph.  No, no — to his way of thinking, the primary (if not sole) reason for introducing such a bill could only be vote-getting.  Any inherent value in life itself be damned.  

Further, in all his faux concern over the GOP being relegated “to irrelevance,” Milbank completely glosses over the actual elephant in the room: even though “just about everybody agrees” sex-selective abortions are wrong, no one on the left appears willing to stick their wobbly (read “spineless”) necks on the line to say so.  (Heaven knows the current occupant of the White House doesn’t. Guess he hasn’t done all that much evolving when it comes to respecting life.)  Because if we outlaw this practice because it is wrong — and it is so very wrong — then we might be forced to acknowledge the wrongness of abortion in general.  And we simply cannot have that.  

So, instead, it is better to stick our heads in the sand.  Overlook the fact that a child developed enough that his or her gender can be identified cannot still be considered a mere “clump of cells.” Ignore the moral implications of taking an innocent life due solely to its gender or race because it happens to still rest in its mother’s womb, when at any point post-birth, this would be considered a hate-crime of the highest order.  Dismiss what one deems a “huge tragedy” elsewhere as no real problem here. And take comfort in the thought that such a principled stand as Franks’ might cost the opposition votes.   Because, in the end, that’s what really matters, right?   “Dimwit” was clearly too kind.