Saturday, May 19, 2007

Liberals Are Worried That Leadership Will Cave On Iraq

TPMCafe blogged Today the White House said No to all of Dems' offered concessions on Iraq, effectively telling the Dem Congressional leadership to take its "surrender date" and shove it deep into its posterior. So now what?
It will slide in easier if they drop their drawers first.
.... Here's the situation in a nutshell, as best as we understand it. The White House says it simply won't accept any sort of timetable, even a waivable one. It says it won't accept any kind of benchmarks for progress in Iraq if there are any consequences for not meeting them. So aside from sending the bill back there are only two apparent possibilities left: Either the White House gives on one of these points.
Which is not going to happen.
Or the Dem Congressional leadership caves and produces a bill funding the war until, say, September, with some sort of benchmarks but no accountability -- in other words, something that's effectively meaningless.
They can always cut off funding totally, but then they will be responsible for the result.
According to our Hill staffer, some liberals are beginning to fear that it will ultimately be the latter. They are persuaded that the Dem leadership will ultimately back down in hopes that other future legislative routes will prove more fertile. "If this is what they go with, it begs the question, Why did we go through this whole exercise with the first supplemental and everything else?" our staffer asks. "What did we really accomplish?"
Nothing. What did you think you were going to accomplish.


Israel launches new airstrikes on Hamas

Yahoo! News reported Israeli airstrikes targeted Hamas for a fifth straight day Saturday, hitting a rocket squad and two workshops in Gaza, and the defense minister warned militants who attack Israel they should be "very afraid."
But if they would stop firing rockets into Israel they could proceed with killing their fellow Palestinians without worrying about Israel.
But Defense Minister Amir Peretz also said now is not the time for a major Israeli ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.... Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said he expected the latest truce to stick because of Israel's military strikes. "No one would accept to fight one another while the Israelis are shelling Gaza," he said.
He does not want to worry about two enemies at the same time. But his rocket fire is what is causing the Israelis to attack.
Israel launched its latest round of airstrikes on Tuesday to counter a stepped-up barrage of Hamas rockets on Israeli border towns. The militant group, which refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist, has fired nearly 120 rockets at southern Israel since Tuesday, the military said. On Saturday, Israel missiles slammed into a rocket squad near the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, the army said. Earlier in the day, missile strikes demolished two suspected Hamas metal workshops.
Does this cause him to think maybe they don't like the rockets?


Asks no questions

iBostonHerald. reported Justice Clarence Thomas sat through 68 hours of oral arguments in the Supreme Court’s current term without uttering a word.
Maybe he reads the pleadings from the two sides, and can understand what they are saying, and does not need them to explain it to him
... Thomas has said in the past that he will ask a pertinent question if his colleagues don’t but sees no need to engage in the back-and-forth just to hear his own voice. A recent tally by McClatchy Newspapers underscored this point: Thomas has spoken 281 words since court transcripts began identifying justices by name in October 2004. By contrast, Thomas’ neighbor on the bench, Justice Stephen Breyer, has uttered nearly 35,000 words since January.
He must like to hear himself talk. Either that or he does not understand what the lawyers write in their briefs.


What is going on in China

NYT reported Diethylene glycol, a poisonous ingredient in some antifreeze, has been found in 6,000 tubes of toothpaste in Panama, and customs officials there said yesterday that the product appeared to have originated in China.
What is going on in China. First poisoned pet food, and now poisened toothpaste?
“Our preliminary information is that it came from China, but we don’t know that with certainty yet,” said Daniel Delgado Diamante, Panama’s director of customs. “We are still checking all the possible imports to see if there could be other shipments.”


Debate Rises On World Bank Succession

WaPo reported The departure of Paul D. Wolfowitz as World Bank president is prompting calls around the world to revoke the traditional right of the United States to select the institution's leader. As the White House asserted its claim on picking Wolfowitz's successor, aid groups and former bank officials demanded that the next president be selected not in deference to the Bush administration, but on professional merits. Advocacy groups and development experts took aim at an unwritten rule that has for six decades governed the financial institutions created in the aftermath of World War II: The U.S. president picks the World Bank chief, and Europe selects the head of its affiliate institution, the International Monetary Fund.
The World Bank is corrupt and needs cleaning up. That is what Wolfowitz was trying to do, and is the real reason he was framed. Bosh should name someone even more interested in cleaning the bank up, and if they will not accept that, the US should stop contributing major amounts of money to the bank.
Betsy Newmark blogged Why we should be pouring so much money into a corrupted institution should be a question for America's politicians. Just because it has a feel-good sounding mission doesn't mean that it is accomplishing that mission. If it can't be cleaned up, then what good is it?


Friday, May 18, 2007

Gonzales faces Senate no-confidence vote

Washington Times reported The U.S. Senate will take a "no-confidence" vote in Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales next week, Democrats said yesterday, as calls for Mr. Gonzales to resign intensified among lawmakers in his own party.
The Democrats have been spending too much time looking at European Governments. We don't have a parliamentary form of government, and the Executive branch is separate from the Legislative branch in the US.
"It seems the only person who has confidence in the attorney general is President Bush,"
And that is all that is important.
said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, who announced the measure and will sponsor it along with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat.


Do Dems really support the troops?

Iowa Voice blogged Democrats keep saying how they support the troops, but not the war, right? If that’s true, then how do they explain this?

Susan Jaenke traveled to Washington last month to ask lawmakers for help after her daughter was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Before her death, Navy reservist Jaime Jaenke wrote a letter to her mother, telling her she wanted the military’s $100,000 “death gratuity” to be given to her parents to help raise her daughter, Kayla. But the law requires money to go first to a spouse or child. Kayla - not her grandparents - collected the $100,000, which goes into a trust until she’s 18. Jaime Jaenke’s military paychecks had been helping the family make ends meet. When she died, the money stopped coming. Now the grandparents can’t use the death benefit to cover expenses for Kayla, who is 10. It’s an obvious case of the law not working for families - families whose loved ones died in the line of duty. It an obvious problem Congress needs to fix. But it’s also painfully obvious there is something wrong in Washington. Partisan politics have prevented this Iowa family and others like it from getting help. Lawmakers should put aside politics and help the people they were elected to serve.
The problem is that if they do anything to help the military, the ravid anti-war netroots will go crazy. Tey firgue they are taking a chance by even saying they support the troops; they certainly can't do it.
In February, Iowa Republican Rep. Tom Latham introduced a bill to allow service members to designate a parent, brother or sister who has custody of a service member’s minor child as the recipient of the death benefit. Passing it is a no-brainer. Like the Jaenkes, more than 140 families around the country have had trouble collecting benefits to help care for the children of fallen soldiers, Latham says. Lawmakers even apologized to Susan Jaenke after she testified. But apparently being sorry doesn’t trump partisan bickering in Congress.
If Democrats support the troops so much, then why, may I ask, did they block this bill? Simple. It’s not about their so-called support, and it never was. It never will be, either. It’s about one thing: power. The power to control everything. Most importantly, it’s about “getting even” for every perceived injustice they had to face over the last twelve years (of course to them, the mere fact that they were in the minority was an injustice). They had their little attempt to turn this country into a socialist state interrupted, and now it’s payback time.

Nope, they could have helped people like this family, but instead they told them, in so many words, to piss off. “Sorry, but we’re too busy trying to surrender to al Qaeda at the moment. Now if you’ll excuse us, we have some lobbyists to cozy up to. Campaign promises? What are those? Never heard of ‘em.”

In other words, it’s that typical Democrat display of “compassion” you hear so much about, but almost NEVER see. But don’t question whether or not they truly “care”, because…well, they SAY they care…isn’t that enough??


Thursday, May 17, 2007

After Blair

Christopher Chantrill wrote on American Thinker On the day after British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced his retirement, they retired the "new" in "New Labour." The British Labour Party removed the logo "New Labour, New Britain" from its web site and substituted just plain "Labour."

So the Third Way era is over. It was, after all, nothing more than a makeover to restyle the progressive parties of Britain and the US and make them electorally viable. It didn't change the nature of the parties. Even Clinton and Blair, with all their talent, failed to talk the progressives out of their progressive faith. The Democrats have gone back to tax increases and more spending, and the Labour Party doesn't think it needs to be "new" any more.
There is apparently not a market for a centrist party. Both countries will continue to see-saw between the extreme left and the extreme right.
The promise of Third Way politics to conservatives was that maybe the left would work with us in reforming the welfare state. Now we know that they won't.


The speech George W. Bush SHOULD give

Kesher Talk posted a very funny piece I just had to pass on to my readers:

A bit of wishful thinking that got sent around on email . . . .

The speech George W. Bush SHOULD give:

Normally, I start these things out by saying "My Fellow Americans." Not doing it this time. If the polls are any indication, I don't know who more than half of you are anymore. I do know something terrible has happened, and that you're really not fellow Americans any longer.

I'll cut right to the chase here: I quit. Now before anyone gets all in a lather about me quitting to avoid impeachment, or to avoid prosecution or something, let me assure you: there's been no breaking of laws or impeachable offenses in this office.

The reason I'm quitting is simple. I'm fed up with you people.

I'm fed up because you have no understanding of what's really going on in the world. Or of what's going on in this once-great nation of ours. And the majority of you are too damned lazy to do your homework and figure it out.

Let's start local. You've been sold a bill of goods by politicians and the news media. Polls show that the majority of you think the economy is in the tank. And that's despite record numbers of homeowners including record numbers of MINORITY homeowners. And while we're mentioning minorities, I'll point out that minority business ownership is at an all-time high. Our unemployment rate is as low as it ever was during the Clinton Administration. I've mentioned all those things before, but it doesn't seem to have sunk in.

Despite the shock to our economy of 9/11, the stock market has rebounded to record levels and more Americans than ever are participating in these markets. Meanwhile, all you can do is whine about gas prices, and most of you are too damn stupid to realize that gas prices are high because there's increased demand in other parts of the world, and because a small handful of noisy idiots are more worried about polar bears and beachfront property than your economicsecurity.

We face real threats in the world. Don't give me this "blood for oil" thing. If I was trading blood for oil I would've already seized Iraq's oil fields and let the rest of the country go to hell. And don't give me this 'Bush Lied People Died' crap either. If I was the liar you morons take me for, I could've easily had chemical weapons planted in Iraq so they could be 'discovered.' Instead, I owned up to the fact that the intelligence was faulty. Let me remind you that the rest of the world thought Saddam had the goods, same as me. Let me also remind you that regime change in Iraq was official US policy before I came into office. Some guy named 'Clinton' established that policy. Bet you didn't know that, did you?

You idiots need to understand that we face a unique enemy. Back during the cold war, there were two major competing political and economic models squaring off. We won that war, but we did so because fundamentally, the Communists wanted to survive, just as we do. We were simply able to outspend and out-tech them.

That's not the case this time. The soldiers of our new enemy don't care if they survive. In fact, they want to die. That'd be fine, as long as they weren't also committed to taking as many of you with them as they can. But they are. They want to kill you. And the bastards are all over the globe.

You should be grateful that they haven't gotten any more of us here in the United States since September 11. But you're not. That's because you've got no idea how hard a small number of intelligence, military, law enforcement and homeland security people have worked to make sure of that.

When this whole mess started, I warned you that this would be a long and difficult fight. I'm disappointed how many of you people think a long and difficult fight amounts to a single season of 'Survivor'.

Instead, you've grown impatient. You're incapable of seeing things through the long lens of history, the way our enemies do. You think that wars should last a f months, a few years, tops.

Making matters worse, you actively support those who help the enemy. Every time you buy the New York Times, every time you send a donation to a cut-and-run Democrat's political campaign, well, dammit, you might just as well Fedex a grenade launcher to a Jihadist. It amounts to the same thing.

In this day and age, it's easy enough to find the truth. It's all over the Internet. It just isn't on the pages of the New York Times or on NBC News. But even if it were, I doubt you'd be any smarter. Most of you would rather watch American Idol.

I could say more about your expectations that the government will always be there to bail you out, even if you're too stupid to leave a city that's below sea level and has a hurricane approaching. I could say more about your insane belief that government, not your own wallet, is where the money comes from. But I've come to the conclusion that were I to do so, it would sail right over your heads.

So I quit. I'm going back to Crawford. I've got an energy-efficient house down there (Al Gore could only dream of one) and the capability to be fully self-sufficient. No one ever heard of Crawford before I got elected, and as soon as I'm done here pretty much no one will ever hear of it again. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to die of old age before the last pillars of America fall.

Oh, and by the way, Cheney's quitting too. That means Pelosi is your new President. You asked for it. Watch what she does carefully, because I still have a glimmer of hope that there're just enough of you remaining who are smart enough to turn this thing around in 2008.

So that's it. God bless what's left of America. Some of you know what I mean.

The rest of you, **** off.



British scientists to experiment with part human part animal cells

Telegraph reported Scientists will be allowed to create hybrid animal-human embryos for stem cell research after the Government dropped its opposition to the procedure. In what is seen by many as a U-turn, the Government published a draft bill that effectively sweeps away last year's ban, which was widely criticised by scientists, who warned that it would hinder medical breakthroughs.
Scientists get to do anything they want by saying that not allowing them that freedom will hinder medical breakthroughs.
Under the Human Tissue and Embryos Bill, scientists will be allowed to produce "cybrid" embryos that are 99.9 per cent human and 0.1 per cent animal and they will be permitted to alter human embryos by the introduction of animal DNA.
If one of these human/cow or human/rabbit embryos is brought to term, will it's vote count like everyone else's or will it just count for 99.9%


Muslim Author Finds the True God

Chick Publications said There are an estimated 6 million Muslims in the U.S. They are here for a variety of reasons but they have one thing in common. They are all deceived by their religion. Mohammad Al Ghazoli, in his newly released book, Christ, Muhammad and I, writes: “I am someone at whose door a brother knocked and said, ‘have you read the Qur’an and Muhammad’s sayings (Al Hadith) in depth? After reading, I was stricken with a severe intellectual headache…” For ten years he wandered, giving up on the religion of his family. But he still felt that there had to be a God somewhere.
There is. A true God who wants people to be kind to all of his creations, not kill them if they have a slightly different opinion of religion.
“While I was lost as far as the Islamic religion is concerned,” he says, “a born-again Christian put a Bible in my hands, and said ‘Read.’” He opened the Bible haphazardly and his eyes fell on Matt 11:28: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” This teaching was so different from what he had been taught in Islam. Captivated, he read more. “Love your enemies…bless them that despitefully use you…do good to them that hate you.”
Isn't that better than Translation of Sahih Muslim, Book 19: The Book of Jihad and Expedition (Kitab Al-Jihad wa'l-Siyar) 19:4294 which says Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war .... If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. [A special tax that Jews and Christians must pay to live in a Muslim country. Followers of other religions are just killed outright if they refuse to convert to Islam.] If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them. [i.e. they must convert to Islam, pay a special very high tax so they can live as second class citizens, or die.]
All of his life he had prayed the standard Muslim prayer to be led in the right path—the right way. When Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth and the life,” Ghazoli responded: “Yes, He is the way, and I surrendered my soul to the Lord Jesus Christ, and, behold, everything changed. It seemed as though I entered a different valley—a green, wonderful valley. How beautiful it is for the soul to surrender to its God and Lord, Jesus Christ.”


Islamophobia Worst Form of Terrorism

Arab News reported Foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) yesterday expressed grave concern at the rising tide of discrimination and intolerance against Muslims, especially in Europe and North America. “It is something that has assumed xenophobic proportions,” they said in unison. Speaking at a special brainstorming session on the sidelines of the 34th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM), the foreign ministers termed Islamophobia the worst form of terrorism and called for practical steps to counter it.
The worst form of terrorism? Worse that flying a plane into a building? Worse than blowing yourself up in a pizza shop just to kill others? Worse than killing children in a Russian school? Worse than beheading christian girls?
The ministers described Islamophobia as a deliberate defamation of Islam and discrimination and intolerance against Muslims. “This campaign of calumny against Muslims resulted in the publication of the blasphemous cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a Danish newspaper and the issuance of the inflammatory statement by Pope Benedict XVI,” they said.
Something printed or something said is worse than killing innocent people?
During a speech in Germany last year, the Pope quoted a 14th Century Christian emperor who said the Prophet had brought the world only “evil and inhuman” things. The Pope’s remarks aroused the anger of the whole Islamic world.
They anger very easily. They must really be unsure of their faith if a few negative words can cause them to riot, burn buildings, and kill people.
“The increasingly negative political and media discourse targeting Muslims and Islam in the United States and Europe has made things all the more difficult,” the foreign ministers said. “Islamophobia became a source of concern, especially after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, but the phenomenon was already there in Western societies in one form or the other,” they pointed out. “It gained further momentum after the Madrid and London bombings.
Isn't that strange. I wonder why a few bombings would upset people/ And just because the people doing it said they were doing it because their religion called for it, why would people worry about that religion?
The killing of Dutch film director Theo van Gogh in 2004 was used in a wicked manner
Was the killing wicked, or just what people said about it?
by certain quarters to stir up a frenzy against Muslims,” the ministers pointed out. Van Gogh had made a controversial film about Muslim culture.

The OIC foreign ministers deplored the misrepresentation in the Western media of Islam and Muslims in the context of terrorism. “The linkage of terrorists and extremists with Islam in a generalized manner is unacceptable,” they said.
Tell the terrorists that Islam does not call for them to do what they are doing.
“This is further inciting negative sentiments and hatred in the West against Muslims,” they said. The ministers also pointed out that whenever the issue of Islamophobia was discussed in international forums, the Western bloc, particularly some members of the European Union, tried to avoid discussing the core issue and instead diverted the attention from their region to the situation of non-Muslims and human rights in the OIC member states.
Why should Christians and Jews in Europe worry about how Christians and Jews are being treated in OIC member states? And why should they fear that Muslims in their countries sought to make their countries Islamic countries where they would be subjected to the same mistreatment the Christians and Jews in OIC member states are receiving.


Gaza lurches towards civil war

TimesOnline reported Gaza was on the brink of civil war last night as violent clashes between Palestinian factions spiralled out of control.
I wonder if the Democrats will insist we pull all of our troops out of Gaza. Oh, wait a minute. We don't have any troops in Gaza. Maybe they will insist we put some in so they can pull them out.
Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, threatened to declare a state of emergency today, as fierce fighting raged on the streets. But as the death toll climbed to more than 40 in four days of the worst fighting since Mr Abbas forged a coalition Government with Fatah’s rival Hamas two months ago, he appeared powerless to stop it.
This may be the best thing we could hope for. Let the violent ones kill each other off, and then move in with a peace plan to help the non violent ones. Maybe we should help arm both sides so that they can completely destroy each other.
Neither faction has been able to enforce three separate ceasefires declared in as many days. Rare, high-level talks between Mr Abbas and Khaled Meshaal, Hamas’s exiled leader, failed to produce any results beyond a loose agreement that the violence should end.


So What?

WaPo reported The Justice Department considered dismissing many more U.S. attorneys than officials have previously acknowledged, with at least 26 prosecutors suggested for termination between February 2005 and December 2006, according to sources familiar with documents withheld from the public.
So what? Clinton fired all of them. This just shows that the Bush Administration was more careful about it.
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales testified last week that the effort was limited to eight U.S. attorneys fired since last June, and other administration officials have said that only a few others were suggested for removal. In fact, D. Kyle Sampson, then Gonzales's chief of staff, considered more than two dozen U.S. attorneys for termination, according to lists compiled by him and his colleagues, the sources said.
And maybe he only recommended eight to Gonzales.


Dems bend rules, break pledge reported Democrats are wielding a heavy hand on the House Rules Committee, committing many of the procedural sins for which they condemned Republicans during their 12 years in power. So far this year, Democrats have frequently prevented Republicans from offering amendments, limited debate in the committee and, just last week, maneuvered around chamber rules to protect a $23 million project for Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.).
Anythong for a little more pork.
On Wednesday, Democrats suggested changing the House rules to limit the minority's right to offer motions to recommit bills back to committee -- violating a protection that has been in place since 1822.
Power corrupts.Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Much of this heavy-handedness is standard procedure in the House, where the majority has every right to dominate, but it contradicts the many campaign promises Democratic leaders made last year to run a cleaner, more open Congress.
They will say anything to get in power, and do anything to take advantage of it when they get there.
Just last December, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) declared that Democrats "intend to have a Rules Committee ... that gives opposition voices and alternative proposals the ability to be heard and considered on the floor of the House."


Hamas blames world

Jerusalem Post The international community, Israel and Arab countries are to blame for the current inter-Palestinian fighting in the Gaza Strip for failing to lift an economic siege on the Palestinians, a senior Hamas official said Wednesday.
Why should other countries support a government with a dominant Hamas that refuses to do anything toward making peace with Israel, and that continues to try to destroy its neighbor?
The remarks by Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, came as fighting renewed between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza early Wednesday when Hamas gunmen stormed the home of a top Fatah official in Gaza City, killing five bodyguards inside, Palestinian security officials said.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming - Now Skeptics

U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works - Minority Page reported Following the U.S. Senate's vote today on a global warming measure (see today's AP article: Senate Defeats Climate Change Measure,) it is an opportune time to examine the recent and quite remarkable momentum shift taking place in climate science. Many former believers in catastrophic man-made global warming have recently reversed themselves and are now climate skeptics.

And I suspect more will join them, and the MSM will fail to report it.
The names included below are just a sampling of the prominent scientists who have spoken out recently to oppose former Vice President Al Gore, the United Nations, and the media driven “consensus” on man-made global warming.

The list below is just the tip of the iceberg. A more detailed and comprehensive sampling of scientists who have only recently spoken out against climate hysteria will be forthcoming in a soon to be released U.S. Senate report. Please stay tuned to this website, as this new government report is set to redefine the current climate debate.

In the meantime, please review the list of scientists below and ask yourself why the media is missing one of the biggest stories in climate of 2007. Feel free to distribute the partial list of scientists who recently converted to skeptics to your local schools and universities. The voices of rank and file scientists opposing climate doomsayers can serve as a counter to the alarmism that children are being exposed to on a daily basis. (See Washington Post April 16, 2007 article about kids fearing of a “climactic Armageddon” )
  • Geophysicist Dr. Claude Allegre, a top geophysicist and French Socialist who has authored more than 100 scientific articles
  • Geologist Bruno Wiskel of the University of Alberta
  • Astrophysicist Dr. Nir Shaviv, one of Israel's top young award winning scientists
  • Mathematician & engineer Dr. David Evans, who did carbon accounting for the Australian Government
  • Climate researcher Dr. Tad Murty, former Senior Research Scientist for Fisheries and Oceans in Canada
  • Botanist Dr. David Bellamy, a famed UK environmental campaigner
  • Climate scientist Dr. Chris de Freitas of The University of Auckland, N.Z.,
  • Meteorologist Dr. Reid Bryson, the founding chairman of the Department of Meteorology at University of Wisconsin
  • Global warming author and economist Hans H.J. Labohm
  • Paleoclimatologist Tim Patterson, of Carlton University in Ottawa
  • Physicist Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski, chairman of the Central Laboratory for the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Radiological Protection in Warsaw
  • Paleoclimatologist Dr. Ian D. Clark, professor of the Department of Earth Sciences at University of Ottawa
  • Environmental geochemist Dr. Jan Veizer, professor emeritus of University of Ottawa
Kate blogged Since IPCC climate modellers possess the super-computing power to use data collected from both past and present to predict sea levels, weather patterns, planetary temperature, and polar bear populations 50 years into the future... what are they waiting for? Surely they can set an afternoon aside to tell us who's going to win the 2007 World Series.

Steven Milloy wrote A pre-debate poll indicated that, by 2-to-1 (57 percent to 29 percent, with 14 percent undecided), the audience believed that manmade global warming was a crisis. But in the post-debate poll, the audience reversed its pre-debate views -- the ranks of the skeptics swelled to 46 percent, the believers plummeted to 42 percent and the undecided declined slightly to 12 percent. That's the power of debate. It follows that schools, if they choose to teach the global warming controversy at all, ought to be teaching both sides of the controversy, not just Al Gore's alarmism.

Iowa Voice blogged think I was right…the global warming crowd is facing a number of defections from the scientific community.


Lawmakers Find $21 a Week Doesn't Buy a Lot of Groceries

WaPo reported Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) stood before the refrigerated section of the Safeway on Capitol Hill yesterday and looked longingly at the eggs. At $1.29 for a half-dozen, he couldn't afford them. Ryan and three other members of Congress have pledged to live for one week on $21 worth of food, the amount the average food stamp recipient receives in federal assistance. That's $3 a day or $1 a meal.
They are idiots. the food stamp program is not supposed to pay for all of their food. It provides assistance to help low-income people be able to afford more nutritious food. It is not supposed to provide all of the food they need to eat.
They started yesterday. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), co-chairmen of the House Hunger Caucus, called on lawmakers to take the "Food Stamp Challenge" to raise awareness of hunger and what they say are inadequate benefits for food stamp recipients. Only two others, Ryan and Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), took them up on it.


Comparing the debates

Stephen Spruiell blogged So how do the questions from the first GOP debate, moderated by MSNBC and the, match up to the questions posed by the FOX News panel in the second debate? It's not even close. Opening up the Media Blog vault and reviewing the first GOP debate after having just watched the second was a revealing exercise. I think the MSNBC/Politico questions actually got stupider with age. By contrast, the FOX News questions were serious and the questioners tenacious in pursuing answers. Even the questions that viewers submitted to FOX via e-mail were far better than "What do you dislike most about America?" and the other nonsense that got past the Politico's electronic gatekeepers.
Now er really know why the dems were so afraid of a debate on Fox. The only wanted softball questions.
Watch the video. I created a montage of MSNBC questions first, followed by a montage of FOX questions. The increase in the seriousness and difficulty of the questions is comparable to that between high school and college:

David Frum got it right. FOX News distinguished itself tonight, and made the Democratic activists who are trying to deny that it has any journalistic integrity look foolish.


Was Osama Right?

Bernard Lewis wrote in OpinionJournal During the Cold War, two things came to be known and generally recognized in the Middle East concerning the two rival superpowers. If you did anything to annoy the Russians, punishment would be swift and dire. If you said or did anything against the Americans,
Before George W Bush.
not only would there be no punishment; there might even be some possibility of reward, as the usual anxious procession of diplomats and politicians, journalists and scholars and miscellaneous others came with their usual pleading inquiries: "What have we done to offend you? What can we do to put it right?".... We in the Western world see the defeat and collapse of the Soviet Union as a Western, more specifically an American, victory in the Cold War. For Osama bin Laden and his followers, it was a Muslim victory in a jihad, and, given the circumstances, this perception does not lack plausibility.

From the writings and the speeches of Osama bin Laden and his colleagues, it is clear that they expected this second task, dealing with America, would be comparatively simple and easy. This perception was certainly encouraged and so it seemed, confirmed by the American response to a whole series of attacks--on the World Trade Center in New York and on U.S. troops in Mogadishu in 1993, on the U.S. military office in Riyadh in 1995, on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000--all of which evoked only angry words, sometimes accompanied by the dispatch of expensive missiles to remote and uninhabited places.

Stage One of the jihad was to drive the infidels from the lands of Islam; Stage Two--to bring the war into the enemy camp, and the attacks of 9/11 were clearly intended to be the opening salvo of this stage. The response to 9/11, so completely out of accord with previous American practice, came as a shock, and it is noteworthy that there has been no successful attack on American soil since then.
And any major attack in the US is not likely until a Democrat is back in the White House.
The U.S. actions in Afghanistan and in Iraq indicated that there had been a major change in the U.S., and that some revision of their assessment, and of the policies based on that assessment, was necessary.

More recent developments, and notably the public discourse inside the U.S., are persuading increasing numbers of Islamist radicals that their first assessment was correct after all, and that they need only to press a little harder to achieve final victory. It is not yet clear whether they are right or wrong in this view. If they are right, the consequences--both for Islam and for America--will be deep, wide and lasting.
I feel sure there will be a major attack, possibly several, as soon as a Democrat is back in the White House. The question is what that Democrat will be prepared to do. Will he/she risk the ire of the pacifist netroonts and respond as Bush did. Realize that Conservative Christians, a major base of the Republican party, would be able to live under Muslim rule. We would have to pay the Jizya (a tax taken from the non-Muslims, who are in the protection, of the Muslim government), but we would also have to pay high taxes under a Democrat as well. And some of the major support bases of the Democratic party would fare much worse. Gays would not need to worry about marriage. They would wonder whether they would be killed by hanging, being thrown off buildings, or being beheaded (the way they are treated in Muslim countries), and the pro-abortion crowd would find abortions unnecessary. Premarital sex or sex outside of marriage would be handled by stoning to death.
Gaius blogged Read the whole thing, it's important. I wrote about the "last helicopter" strategy that is driving most of the terrorist's agenda and efforts. They expect us to leave. They expect us to abandon our allies and our principles. Because politicians in this country are increasingly unable to think beyond the next election. There is absolutely no thought being given to what the long-term consequences of the current Democratic leadership's agenda. The bloodbath that will ensue - not even discussed by Pelosi. The terrorist Disneyland that will result? Nothing Reid is interested in. The effective undermining of the constitution of Congress attempting to usurp the power to conduct war? Never mind. The long-term cost to this country? Not even one synapse firing over that for the Democratic leadership. Lewis is trying to sound the alarm here.

Is anyone else listening?

Publius Pundit blogged Click through the link to read the whole article, well worth your time, and offer your thoughts in the comments section: How is America to deal with the anti-democratic forces in the Middle East? The carrot or the stick? It's a vital question.

Betsy Newmark blogged Our response to 9/11 by attacking Afghanistan and then going into Iraq was a change from that past. But now, as politics threatens to show that Americans will pull out when the going gets tough, we are in danger of once more being termed, as Osama bin Laden did, the "weak horse."


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell

It is interesting how memeorandum works. This item was titled "Falwell reportedly found unconscious, hospitalized ", but when you go to the actual article, you see it is now titled " Falwell dies at age 73".This item was titled "Falwell in 'gravely serious' condition", but when you go to the actual article, you see it is now titled "Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell dies". The nutroots were overjoyed. Lane Hudson on Huffington Post opined
He was a hateful person who did not serve to inspire the better nature of America. Instead, he used religion to propagate hate and discrimination for as long we anyone can remember. Forgive me if I don't cry.
and DownWithTyranny was even less kind
If Charon can ferry his bloated carcass across the Styx, I'm sure there'll be a huge party in Hell tonight to welcome one of Satan's most effective servants on earth. Jerry Falwell was found dead in his office after a gigantic breakfast featuring all sorts of preparation of pig flesh. I doubt though that the Third Circle of Hell-- Cererus' sweet little eternity where gluttons like Falwell are condemned to live in mud, cold rain and hail falling on them while they eat their own excrement-- will be where he'll wind up. Nor will the Fourth circle-- the materialism circle-- be his final resting place. Nah, the welcome mat is out for ole Jerry at the Eighth Circle (for those guilty of deliberate Evil), either in Bolgia 4 (false prophets, tailormade for him) or Bolgia 5 (corrupt politicians). The false prophets wind up with their heads twisted around facing backwards and the rotten pols spend eternity in a lake of boiling tar. Of course Bolgia 9 would be no stretch either-- an unpleasant little eternity for the sowers of discord. Dante has assigned Muhammad there.
I was not a major Falwell fan, but I feel sure he is in Heaven, not Hell (although I agree with DownWithTyranny that is where Muhammad is.) I do pray for his family and the people at Liberty University.

I also notice the Muslims thought it appropriate to take a shot at Falwell after he died. inshallahshaheed blogged
So this ugly Kaafir, Jelly Falwell (may he be tortured in the grave and roasted in the Hellfire), just recently died. I hope his death was horrible and painful when the Angel of Death ripped out his soul. In fact, that’s what is expected for all non-Muslims that die as non-Muslims. They rebelled with their Shirk and Kufr, so the Angels of Death will give them a taste of that rebellion. But Jerry Falwell is different. He deserves it more than most Christians.
Like any other Christian he will receive eternal life in Heaven, and he did not have blow himself up to get it.
So at the sight of his death, we say, “Alhamdullilah, that Allah ‘Azza wa Jall purified the earth from one impure (najas) Kaafir.” His death should also be a reminder to all non-Muslims. That reminder is: Everyone will taste death. That is the practice of Allah and nobody can escape it. So ponder about becoming Muslim.
So you can blow yourself up trying to get into Heaven.


An Amputee Sprinter: Is He Disabled or Too-Abled?

NYT reported As Oscar Pistorius of South Africa crouched in the starting blocks for the 200 meters on Sunday, the small crowd turned its attention to the sprinter who calls himself the fastest man on no legs. Pistorius wants to be the first amputee runner to compete in the Olympics. But despite his ascendance, he is facing resistance from track and field’s world governing body, which is seeking to bar him on the grounds that the technology of his prosthetics may give him an unfair advantage over sprinters using their natural legs.
Let him compete. And then see how many able bodied athletes ask to have their legs cut off so that they can be like him.
... “The rule book says a foot has to be in contact with the starting block,” Leon Fleiser, a general manager of the South African Olympic Committee, said. “What is the definition of a foot? Is a prosthetic device a foot, or is it an actual foot?”
And do the current athletes have contact between their foot and the starting block, or is there a shoe between the two?
I.A.A.F. officials have also expressed concern that Pistorius could topple over, obstructing others or injuring himself and fellow competitors. Some also fear that, without limits on technological aids, able-bodied runners could begin wearing carbon-fiber plates or other unsuitably springy devices in their shoes.
They can avoid that by defining how the devices have to be attached.
... Historically, the I.A.A.F. has placed limits on devices that assist athletes. It prohibits an array of performance-enhancing drugs. And it does not allow wheelchair athletes into the Olympic marathon, given that wheels provide a clear advantage in speed.
I can see how a marathoner can be tired, and having a chair to sit in is good, but the legs are more powerful than the arms, so I don't see why a wheelchair athlete should not be able to compete. If it is such an advantage, let everyone compete in wheelchairs if they want.
But the governing body has also embraced technological advances. For instance, it permits athletes to sleep in tent-like devices designed to simulate high altitude and increase oxygen-carrying capacity.... “You have two competing issues — fair competition and basic human rights to compete,” said Angela Schneider, a sports ethicist at the University of Western Ontario and a 1984 Olympic silver medalist in rowing. The I.A.A.F. must objectively define when prosthetic devices “go from therapy to enhancement,” Schneider said. The danger of acting hastily, she said, is “you deny a guy’s struggle against all odds — one of the fundamental principles of the Olympics.”


Monday, May 14, 2007

Teachers stage fake gunman attack on sixth-graders

CNN reported Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables. The mock attack Thursday night was intended as a learning experience
Any teacher or other educator that thinks that that was a "learning experience" should be fired, and very possibly should go to prison.
and lasted five minutes during the weeklong trip to a state park, said Scales Elementary School Assistant Principal Don Bartch, who led the trip. "We got together and discussed what we would have done in a real situation," he said. But parents of the sixth-grade students were outraged.
I can imagine that they would be. I hope that they talk to the school board and see that all of these educators are fired, and if the school board backs the educators, then they need a new school board.
"The children were in that room in the dark, begging for their lives, because they thought there was someone with a gun after them," said Brandy Cole, whose son went on the trip.

Joanne Jacobs blogged What can we learn from this? That Scales Elementary administrators have a tendency to confuse stupidity with learning.

Craig commented No doubt these are the same people who won’t allow prayer or patriotism in class because some students might be traumatized by feeling excluded.

Paulie blogged It is a sad but true fact that schools must now drill on such situations, however use your fucking heads “Educators.” When you have a fire drill, do you tell 10-year-olds “this is not a drill the school is on fire and you may die?” What in the hell makes these idiots think having a shooting scenario drill should be any different. I continue to weep for those saddled by the monopoly that government has on education.

Rick Moore blogged With the Virginia Tech shootings still fresh in our memory, what in the world were these people thinking pulling a drill like this without telling the parents and the kids? Somebody needs to lose their job over this one, and I'm pretty sure there will be suits to follow.

Democratic Daily blogged What the hell is wrong with those people? Have we not seen enough fear mongering to last for a long time to come? It’s fine to teach the kids a lesson and make them safer if something was to happen, but this is plain stupid and insane. What happens to those kids now? What will this do to them now that those teachers chose to use tactics that are not only “poor judgment”, but criminal?

Joe Gandelman blogged Question: isn’t joking about terrorism and/or impending terrorist attacks something adults know they can’t do (just try fooling around with it on a plane or with a TSA inspector)?What made these folks think that telling elementary school kids they were really under attack by terrorists would be taken by all the kids (and seen by their parents) as a harmless “prank?”

Brian blogged It’s all well and good that these teachers want to prepare for a worst-case scenario, but I think they could have handled it a LOT better than this. If it were my kids in that school, I’d be one pissed-off parent, too. Think of the trauma, the nightmares, etc., that these kids are going to be dealing with. Not as much as if it were the real thing, of course, but still, it’ll be bad enough.

Armed Liberal blogged A tactical trainer who did something like that would be justifiably put out of business. May I suggest that other assistant principals who think that training is a good idea - which is the one thing Mr. Bartch ought to get credit for as he faces his well-deserved discipline and firing - go out and talk to people who teach this stuff for a living. IMPACT, and of the major shooting schools, or even local police (although they will by policy have to be very restrained in hat they suggest).

Stupid, stupid, stupid. No excuse imaginable.

John Hawkins blogged What these teachers did was absolutely unconscionable and not only should all of them be fire, none of them should never be allowed around children again.

James Joyner blogged Your mission, should you chose to accept it: Write a compelling explanation as to why the teachers in question are not frothing idiots.

Waveflux blogged Welcome to Scales Elementary School in Murfreesboro, TN, where the teachers are not only stupid, they’re cruel

Diane blogged They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, or so I'm told.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

EU proposes monitoring radical mosques

Yahoo! News reported Security officials from Europe's largest countries backed a plan Saturday to profile mosques on the continent and identify radical Islamic clerics who raise the threat of homegrown terrorism.
Will wonders never cease. They woke up.
The project, to be finished by the fall, will focus on the roles of imams, their training, their ability to speak in the local language and their sources of funding, EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini told a news conference after a meeting on terrorism.... Adel Smith, a well-known Muslim activist in Italy, said mosques in Italy are already extensively monitored and called the EU plan discriminatory. "I think this is nonsense, I think mosques have been well monitored for some years,"
I hope so.
he said in a telephone interview. "It is a form of religious discrimination."
That is easy to remedy. Also monitor churches and synagogues, and go after go after leaders that preach violence in any of the three.


Islam will modernize???

Washington Times editorialized In the last two decades, the violence perpetrated by the proponents of Islamism -- an ideology distinct from Islam as a religion -- has created serious doubts about the potential of Islam to live in harmony with others.
This is true. I certainly hope that it can modernize, but I do not see any evidence that it is trying to do so.
The doubts are well justified, but it would be wrong to extrapolate the current "crisis of Islamdom" to a general negative view about Islam as a religion. One should recall that Islamdom was probably the most advanced and enlightened part of the world 1,000 years ago. Perhaps, we are just living in a bad episode in its extremely diverse history.
The reason the rest of the world has progressed, and Islam has not, is due to the way they treat their women. They remove half of their population from being able to contribute anything: in science, in education, in economics, in religion, etc.
Consider, for example, the issue of religious freedom. It is undeniable that the current Islamic world has a bad record in that regard: Christians are persecuted and Jews are vilified in many parts of the Islamic world. The crucial question is whether the current intolerant attitude is an integral component of Islam as a religion or a historical attitude retained from premodern times. Many think intolerance is built into Islam, but actually the Koran decrees no sanction for apostasy
Surah 16:106 says Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters Unbelief,- except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith - but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty. and the Hadith is even more specific: "Whoever changes his religion, kill him" which is called for in Bukhari, Abu Dawud, and many other Haddith that are not online, including Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, An-Nasai, the Muwatta of Imam Malik, Tayalisi, Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Hibban, the Sunan al-Kubraa, Bayhaqi, Abu Ya'laa, Humaidi, Abd al-Razzaq, and Ibn Abi Shaybah.
and recognizes the rights of Christians and Jews to worship according to their own traditions.
As long as they pay the Jizya tax: Translation of Sahih Muslim, Book 19: The Book of Jihad and Expedition (Kitab Al-Jihad wa'l-Siyar) 19:4294 says Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war .... If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. [A special tax that Jews and Christians must pay to live in a Muslim country. Followers of other religions are just killed outright if they refuse to convert to Islam.] If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them. [i.e. they must convert to Islam, pay a special very high tax so they can live as second class citizens, or die.]
There are "verses of the sword," to be sure, but it is possible to argue these verses refer only to those non-Muslims who have been belligerent toward Muslims in the first place.
What did the 3,000 people in the World Trade Center do to Muslims?
The Koran, in other words, makes a doctrine of just war and a live-and-let-live approach possible.The more established interpretation, however, has not been so generous. The infusion of politics into religion since the early decades of Islam has skewed the tradition. Islamic jurists, the creators of Shariah, not only introduced non-Koranic concepts such as the ban on apostasy but also developed the "method of abrogation" to bypass the peaceful verses and uphold the verses of the sword.
Sura 2:106 says None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things?
They also adopted several laws from Sassanid Persia, which included the specifications for the second-class status of conquered Jews and Christians as dhimmis.
As indicated above, the Jizra the dhimmis must pay is in the Koran.
In premodern times, this was not shocking, and many Jews found it preferable to the attitude of medieval Christendom. The emergence in the West of such ideas as equal citizenship and religious freedom, however, changed the balance, making the Islamic world look backward. But it did take measures to improve itself. The Ottoman Turks, ruling much of the Islamic world, saw the need to reform the Shariah according to modern political concepts. In two substantive reform edicts, first in 1839 and then in 1856, the dhimmi status was abolished, and Jews and Christians gained equal citizenship rights.
Is that true in Islamic countries today?
Religious freedom was also guaranteed. The Ottomans accepted a Constitution in 1876, and set up a parliament that included members from all faiths. The crucial point is that the Ottoman Empire wasn't abandoning Islam by reforming its laws, but it was modernizing from within the tradition. The Koranic verse "There is no compulsion in religion" was stressed by the Ottoman religious elite to justify the reforms.
Good luck doing that today.
But unfortunately the Ottoman Islamic modernization ended with the demise of the empire in the First World War. From its ruins, what we now call the Middle East arose -- with a doomed legacy: All post-Ottoman states, except Turkey and Saudi Arabia, were colonized by European powers, a phenomenon that would soon breed anti-colonialism and anti-Westernism throughout the entire region.
Islam accepts the idea of taking over other countries by the sword. Why does it not accept the idea that it can be taken over when it loses a war?
And the two exceptions went in totally opposite directions: The fanatic Wahhabi sect -- which had been the bete noire of the Ottomans and their reforms -- dominated Saudi Arabia, and Turkey became a secular republic.
And today Turkey is threating to become an Islamic theoacracy.
The early Turkish Republic was influenced not only by the legacy of Ottoman reforms but more so by the French Enlightenment and its radically secularist worldview. Early Republican elites asserted that religion is an "obstacle to progress." To deal with it, they incorporated laicite, the French notion of radical secularism, which allowed no role whatever for faith in public life. Therefore throughout the Republican period, Turkey's observant Muslims felt themselves suppressed and humiliated. That's why, despite the customary rhetoric, Turkey actually never served as an example of the compatibility of Islam and modernity to other Muslim nations. It represented, instead, the abandonment and even suppression of the former for the sake of the latter. But that's a bad message for the Islamic world: When a devout believer is forced to choose between God and modernity, he will opt and even fight for the former. The solution is not a strict separation but a synthesis between Islamic and modern values.
In which the Islamic side will prevail. Like is happening in Pakistan today.
That should help us understand why the current tension in Turkey between the moderate Muslim government (led by Tayyip Erdogan, leader of the AK Party) and the radical secular establishment is all too crucial. The government might have policies that deserve criticism, but its strong support for the European Union process, free markets, and liberal reforms is an invaluable experience showing the possibility of a Western-friendly and still genuinely Muslim popular movement. This should not be sacrificed to the paranoid fears and the authoritarian ambitions of Turkey's secular fundamentalists. The United States should vigorously support Turkey's democracy,
And allow it to become an Islamic Theoacracy by a one time election.
which is the only thing the county needs to further cultivate its "moderate Islam." If Turkey keeps walking on that path, it may well be a light unto many other Muslim nations.