Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The first amendment and hallowed ground

We learned last weekend that whether activity is thought to be protected by the first amendment, and whether the site of any activity is considered hallowed ground, depends upon whose activity and whose ground is involved.
Two large, competing rallies — one mostly white and the other mostly black — will converge on Washington this weekend, each laying claim to the legacy of Martin Luther King on the 47th anniversary of his "I have a dream" speech.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend a rally Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial organized by Fox News TV and radio personality Glenn Beck, who will be joined by 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

For many civil rights leaders, the time and place of the event, titled "Restoring Honor," is an affront.

Notice how the same folks who see nothing wrong with a Ground Zero mosque think that speeches by Beck or Palin on the spot where King spoke is "an affront".

Who owns the Katrina recovery?

Five years after Katrina, the area's recovery has been spotty and apparently discriminatory.

The massive government effort to repair the damage from Hurricane Katrina is fostering a stark divide as the state governments in Louisiana and Mississippi structured the rebuilding programs in ways that often offered the most help to the most affluent residents.

The result, advocates say, has been an uneven recovery, with whites and middle-class people more likely than blacks and low-income people to have rebuilt their lives in the five years after the horrific storm.

Reid and Pelosi have controlled the federal legislative branch since January, '07.

Obama has controlled the federal executive branch since January, '09.

At this point in time, Obama, Reid and Pelosi are responsible for any continuing Katrina recovery shortcomings.

'Canadian Idol' involved in terror plot

The profiles of three alleged Islamist extremists whom police say posed “a real and serious threat” to Ottawa and national security are at odds with the notion that terrorists exist on the margins of society. Two of the accused men are professionals — a doctor (and father of three) and an x-ray technician.

The third studied to be an electrical engineer. All are apparently intellectually mature individuals rooted in Canadian life. One even appeared on the reality program Canadian Idol. While much is still to be learned about them, poverty, deprivation and social alienation do not appear to have been part their alleged descent to homicidal hatred.

These were ordinary, upper middle class men living normal, upper middle class lives.

There's no way they could have been spotted in advance as potential terrorists . . . unless law enforcement engaged in prohibited profiling.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Progressive bloggers fear Marco Rubio

Online progressive bloggers are unintentionally giving their highest compliments to Florida Republican senate candidate Marco Rubio.

Read this from Charles Lemos:
If Rubio is elected to the Senate from Florida this November . . . Rubio will be on everybody's shortlist come 2012 for the VP slot on the GOP ticket.

Unlike the other first-time GOP candidates running for the Senate, Rubio is infinitely more polished but every bit as dangerous. . . .

Marco Rubio is a unique blend that combines red-meat starve the beast fiscal conservatism with dashes of let's bomb Iran neo-conservatism and flavored just enough with the religious-based bigotry to appeal to social conservatives. Not only can he appeal to Hispanics but he can appeal to independents because he sounds sane even though he is a Jim DeMint clone. Defeating Marco Rubio is priority one. [emphasis added]


This "attack" can only help Rubio raise funds among Republicans and conservatives.

By the way, they're calling Marco Rubio a dangerous, militaristic, insane bigot who's defeat is "priority one". I thought these progressives were opposed to over the top hyperbole and hate-filled rhetoric.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, Part II

And another reason why one party should never be in charge of everything:
Longtime Dallas congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson has awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to four relatives and a top aide's two children since 2005, using foundation funds set aside for black lawmakers' causes.

The recipients were ineligible under anti-nepotism rules of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which provided the money. And all of the awards violated a foundation requirement that scholarship winners live or study in a caucus member's district.

Johnson, a Democrat, denied any favoritism when asked about the scholarships last week. Two days later, she acknowledged in a statement released by her office that she had violated the rules but said she had done so "unknowingly" and would work with the foundation to "rectify the financial situation."

Initially, she said, "I recognized the names when I saw them. And I knew that they had a need just like any other kid that would apply for one." Had there been more "very worthy applicants in my district," she added, "then I probably wouldn't have given it" to the relatives.


Johnson is a wealthy woman who represents the worst inner city ghettos of Dallas. Nonetheless, she awarded college scholarships to friends and relatives living outside her district. Johnson claims her relatives "had a need just like any other kid", and she couldn't find enough "worthy applicants in [her] district".

In fact, she ripped off the poorest of the poor in her own community for the benefit of her wealthy family and friends.

Unfortunately, judging by the handling of such charges by fellow caucus members Rangel and Waters, we can expect charges of racism, as her victims rally to her defense and prosecutors are intimidated.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Absolute power corrupts absolutely

Another reason why one party should never be in charge of everything:
A special investigation has concluded that Gov. David Paterson’s testimony about his plans to pay for World Series tickets last year was “inaccurate and misleading” and warrants consideration of criminal charges by a prosecutor.

In a report Thursday, former state Chief Judge Judith Kaye noted four of five tickets to the World Series opening game between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies were paid for shortly afterward, following a press inquiry from the New York Post newspaper. She said there’s a question whether Paterson gave “intentionally false testimony” to the state Commission on Public Integrity about having written an $850 check in advance for two tickets.

I don't want any one party holding all levers of power. I want them all watching each other, with the power to investigate and prosecute each other.

U.S. moving to ease deportation policy?

Stupid me. I thought this was the job of Congress, not some nameless, faceless bureaucrat.
In a new and more lenient policy, the head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has instructed the agency's legal office to stop the deportation proceedings of foreign nationals who may now be eligible for a green card.

In other words, the Obama administration is refusing to enforce our duly adopted, legitimate, valid, Constitutionally approved federal immigration laws. Simultaneously, the Obama administration is suing to enjoin the states from enforcing our immigration laws.

This is the kind of thing you get impeached for doing.

Florida governor: Obviously, the wimp lost the Republican primary

Bill McCollum doesn't forget easily.

Two days after he lost the Republican nomination for governor, McCollum still refuses to support winner Rick Scott, and continues to raise questions about his former rival's character.

In his first public appearance since conceding the race, McCollum said Thursday that he called Scott to ``congratulate him and wish him well.'' But he didn't bury the hatchet in one of the nastiest primary's in state history.

"I still have serious questions about issues of his character, his integrity, his honestly -- things that go back to Columbia/HCA," McCollum said, referring to Scott's former hospital chain, which paid a $1.7 billion fine after a federal criminal investigation. "As other voters will do, I will judge him throughout this campaign."


Of course, this is par for the course for career politician, perennial candidate and serial loser Bill McCollum. "The last time he lost a bruising campaign - - the 2004 U.S. Senate Republican primary against Mel Martinez - - it took McCollum two weeks before he tepidly endorsed his opponent. And it came only after Martinez apologized."


Obviously, he's a sore loser, which is surprising. He's an experienced loser. You'd think he'd be better at it by now.

The headline says it all: "Recovery signals pointing in wrong direction"

Democrats, when the front page headlines read like the opposition's campaign ads, we're in trouble.
The widening consensus that the U.S. economy has slowed to a crawl will be hammered home Friday with the government's expected announcement that the nation's second-quarter growth was far more anemic than previously estimated.

Many economists believe the Commerce Department will revise its estimate of growth in gross domestic product to 1.3 percent or lower, down from 2.4 percent -- a dismal performance, especially as the country struggles to rebound from recession.

A bad GDP number would cap a week's worth of troubling developments in the housing and financial markets, and ratchet up the pressure on President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats heading into November's midterm elections.

But just as there is widespread agreement that the economy is faltering, there is also a sense that the federal government is running out of options to rebuild momentum.

"Housing is in the tank. Confidence is going down. The stock market is going down."


The Democratic Party's counter arguments: "Glenn Beck is a racist", "Sarah Palin is stupid" and "They have the right to build the mosque".

Sorry, but that's not an effective campaign strategy.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The latest spin - - fewer U.S. mortgages 'underwater'

Time to pop open the champagne bottles?

Fewer U.S. Mortgages 'Underwater' in Second Quarter . . . The report showed that the percentage of single-family homes with negative equity Mortgages fell to 21.5% in the second quarter, from 23.3% in the first quarter, according to the Zillow Real Estate Market Reports.

Not so fast.

There's a catch.

The reduction in "underwater" mortgages was less than the 2%, and almost exclusively "driven by a greater number of foreclosures."

So, the good news is that less people own homes worth less than their mortgages. The bad news is that they're now homeless.

An emergency email from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Received this morning via email, over the signature of James Carville:

You can bet Beck and Palin'll claim tomorrow's freak show means that their wingnut movement has all the momentum going into election season. We can't let these wackjobs win.

. . . while Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are spewing hate and paranoia to their Tea Party followers, grassroots Democrats will be talking to their friends and neighbors about working together for America's future by making sure Democrats still control the House of Representatives after Election Day.
The official campaign organ of Congressional Democrats (not some crazy lone blogger, but via a television talking head / strategist / official spokesman) describes their opposition with words such as "freak show", "wingnut", "wackjobs" and "spewing hate and paranoia".

The Congressional Democrats just don't get it. People are upset about record "structural" (i.e., permanent) unemployment, huge deficits, ineffective "stimulus" plans and counterproductive "health insurance reform", coupled with broken promises to end foreign wars. Branding voters with legitimate concerns as freaks and nuts and haters doesn't change that dynamic, it just angers them more.

You would think that Obama, Pelosi, Reid, et al. would have learned by now that mocking the tea party activists (i.e., calling them tea baggers) doesn't negate the seductiveness of their argument.

The Democratic Party's problems are not Beck and Palin. They're Obama and real unemployment approaching 20%.

South of the border, down Mejico way

A wounded migrant stumbled into a military checkpoint and led marines to a gruesome scene, what may be the biggest massacre so far in Mexico's bloody drug war: a room strewn with the bodies of 72 fellow travelers, some piled on top of each other, just 100 miles from their goal, the U.S. border.

The 58 men and 14 women were killed, the migrant told investigators Wednesday, by the Zetas cartel, a group of former Mexican army special forces known to extort migrants who pass through its territory.

If authorities corroborate his story, it would be the most horrifying example yet of the plight of migrants trying to cross a country where drug cartels are increasingly scouting shelters and highways, hoping to extort or even recruit vulnerable immigrants.

. . . Many residents in the state tell of loved ones or friends who have disappeared traveling from one town to the next. Many of these kidnappings are never reported for fear that police are in league with the criminals.

Again, this massacre occurred 100 miles south of the unguarded, unprotected U.S. border.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Obama appointee responsible for BP oil spill?

The head of the agency overseeing offshore drilling at the time of the BP oil spill says she deeply regrets that the accident occurred when she was in charge.

The comments Wednesday at a hearing of the presidential commission investigating the spill are the first from Elizabeth Birnbaum since she resigned under pressure from her position in May. She headed the Minerals Management Service for 10 months, and was replaced by a former federal prosecutor, Michael R. Brownwich, in June.

Birnbaum also told the panel that she supported the Obama administration's decision to expand offshore drilling. But when asked if the idea for a moratorium on deepwater drilling originated with her agency, she said that decision was not hers.

Birnbaum headed the Minerals Management Service for 10 months.

That means she was appointed by Obama.

Not by Bush. By Obama.

For some reason, the media never says that. Instead, they simply note her length of service.

If she had been appointed by Clinton or Bush, you would have heard about it.

Marines likely to stay in Afghanistan for years

It will likely be a few years before Afghanistan is secure enough for the U.S. Marines to leave, Commandant Gen. James Conway said Tuesday, adding his voice to a growing chorus of military leaders warning of a long fight ahead.

Afghan war commander Gen. David Petraeus and other senior officers have recently said that considerable time will be needed before Afghan troops can take over the fight.

But Conway's blunt assessment was the first of its kind to come from a service chief since President Barack Obama announced that U.S. troops will begin leaving Afghanistan in July 2011. Last fall, Obama said that security conditions will determine how many forces can leave and how fast.

The commanders say we will be in Afghanistan for years.

Obama says we will "begin leaving" (not leave) Afghanistan in July 2011, but "security conditions" will determine how many forces leave and how fast.

Obviously, we're not leaving Afghanistan for years and years and years.

Nonetheless, you can be sure Obama will withdraw a token force before the 2012 election, in order to claim we've "begun leaving".

If you like your health care plan . . . too bad, you're losing it!

At a town hall meeting in New Hampshire on Aug. 11, 2009, President Barack Obama repeated a line he's used many times in describing his health care proposal: "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."

That was then, this is now:

More than 3 million seniors may have to switch their Medicare prescription plan next year, even if they’re perfectly happy with it, thanks to an attempt by the government to simplify their lives.

The policy change could turn into a hassle for seniors who hadn’t intended to switch plans during Medicare’s open enrollment season this fall.


The number of drug plans offered to seniors in each state will be reduced by federal government fiat from more than 40 to approximately 30.

Notwithstanding Obama's campaign-style promises during the healthcare debate, if you're one of the 3 million seniors in an eliminated plan, and you like your plan . . . too bad, you're losing it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Withdrawal = Troop levels below 50K?

The number of U.S. troops in Iraq has fallen below 50,000 for the first time since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and ahead of the end-of-the-month deadline mandated by President Barack Obama, the American military said in a statement Tuesday.

The number is a watershed in the more than seven years that the United States has been at war in Iraq. Under Obama's plan, American forces will no longer conduct combat operations but are instead to focus on training Iraqi troops.

"We've met our goal," Gen. Ray Odierno, the commanding general in Iraq, told reporters Tuesday. "But the story is not about 50,000. The story is that we are continuing to be committed to Iraq. But our commitment is going to change."


50,000 troops remain in Iraq in permanent bases, and we have a "continuing commitment to Iraq"?

That was the Bush / Cheney / McCain / Palin plan!

I thought the "anti-war" candidate won in 2008.

Ongoing Muslim on Muslim violence

Lebanese Shiite and Sunni groups fought street battles using machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades for more than four hours Tuesday, killing three people and wounding several others just blocks from a busy downtown packed with summer tourists.

The dead included a Hezbollah official and his aide, security officials said.

Lebanese soldiers cordoned off the area during the worst of the fighting, but the crackle of sniper fire and blasts from rocket-propelled grenades were audible for hours.

Gunmen stood on corners and peering down alleyways while families ran for cover during lulls in the fighting. Ambulances rushed to the scene; an elderly man was loaded into a stretcher clutching his neck, while another man was covered in blood and not moving.

It was the worst clash in Beirut since May 2008, when Hezbollah gunmen swept through Sunni neighborhoods after the pro-Western government tried to dismantle the group's telecommunications network.

With all due respect to Time magazine and the rest of the mainstream media, American "Islamophobia" and Israeli imperialism are not the causes of strife in the Muslim world.

The cause of most strife in the Muslim world is ongoing violent religious argument between the various Islamic sects and apostate groups.

Sherrod rejects government job - - why is she suing?

Shirley Sherrod, ousted from the Agriculture Department during a racial firestorm that embarrassed the Obama administration, rejected an offer to return to the USDA on Tuesday. But at a cordial news conference with the man who asked her to leave _ Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack _ she said she may do consulting work for him on racial issues.

. . . Sherrod, who said she has gotten thousands of pieces of mail supporting her, repeated Tuesday that she plans to sue Breitbart. But she declined further questions on the subject.

If Sherrod rejected re-employment for the same or more money, she can't sue anyone for lost income. As a matter of law, from the moment she rejected that job, her unemployment and any lost income is no longer any blogger's fault.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Obama screws up on stem cell research, too

A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked Obama administration regulations expanding stem cell research.

The nonprofit group Nightlight Christian Adoptions contends that the government's new guidelines will decrease the number of human embryos available for adoption.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that the plaintiffs are entitled to bring their lawsuit in the courts.

A federal appeals court had ruled that two doctors who were among those bringing the lawsuit, adult stem cell researchers James Sherley of the Boston Biomedical Research Institute and Theresa Deisher of AVM Biotechnology, had the authority to do so, prompting Lamberth to reverse a decision he made last October.

. . . Lamberth concluded that those filing the lawsuit have demonstrated a strong likelihood of success in arguing that the new government guidelines violate a law that prohibits the use of federal funds for research in which human embryos are destroyed.

Obama had overwhelming public support and overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress behind the Democratic Party's position in favor of embryonic stem cell research.

Nonetheless, rather than change the law, Obama chose to take administrative and regulatory action via executive order in violation of existing law.

The result - - Bush policy remains in place, and one of the Democratic Party's most popular promises remains unfilled.

I guess Obama would rather focus on no-win arguments over local zoning issues and silly racial side issues.

Orca? Killer whale!

SeaWorld fined in orca tragedy, will fight

SeaWorld intentionally disregarded dangers to an animal trainer by allowing her to lie at the edge of a pool to interact with a particularly aggressive killer whale, federal investigators said Monday.

Tilikum, a 6-ton orca, or killer whale, grabbed trainer Dawn Brancheau from a pool deck and fatally dragged her underwater after the Dine With Shamu show at the Orlando amusement park Feb. 24. Tilikum repeatedly thrashed Brancheau as she tried to escape, police reports say.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited SeaWorld of Florida for three safety violations, including one classified as “willful,” the most serious category. OSHA said SeaWorld acted “with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee health and safety.” That citation carries a maximum penalty of $70,000. OSHA also fined SeaWorld $5,000 for failing to install handrails on two stairways.

SeaWorld will fight the charges, said Fred Jacobs, SeaWorld’s communications vice president.

“We made a number of changes to our killer whale program after Feb. 24, including restricting the level of contact with Tilikum and suspending in-water interaction with all of the whales,” Jacobs wrote in an e-mail to USA TODAY. An internal investigation is continuing, he said.

Before Brancheau’s death, SeaWorld did not allow trainers to swim with Tilikum.

SeaWorld officials knew interacting with orcas is potentially deadly and had recorded “an extensive history of unexpected and potentially dangerous incidents involving killer whales at its various facilities,” OSHA said. “Despite this record, management failed to make meaningful changes to improve the safety of the work environment.”


When you hire people to jump in a fish tank with animals called "killer whales", you're not maintaining a safe work place. You deserve to be fined and sued and, if you do it again, shut down.

On the other hand, don't take a job interacting with animals named "killer"!

Republican billionaire beats Republican serial loser in Florida

Rick Scott is a health care billionaire, one of the new class of plutocrats who make their money off of government contracts and government programs, and then spend their unlimited wealth on runs for high political office, on platforms opposed to government spending.

Bill McCollum is a boring, time serving, career politician, who has lost as many races as he's won, and whose chief concern is neither policy nor ideology but his next election.

If that's the choice, it doesn't matter who wins the Republican primary.

If that's the best the Republicans can offer, they will squander any political advantages.

The Republican Party remains the Democratic Party's best hope for the future.

Rick Scott pulled off his one-man political revolution Tuesday night, narrowly defeating Attorney General Bill McCollum in the Republican primary for governor.

With most precincts counted, it became clear that Scott had overcome the might of the Republican establishment, the special interests who dominate the Capitol and a longtime politician determined to tar his character.

Scott's win bears witness to his personal wealth -- he spent at least $50 million of it on the campaign -- as well as the thirst for political change in the Republican Party of Florida, which has been rocked by scandal and whose leaders worked to stop him cold.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Obama's latest Gulf oil spill mistake

The Obama administration messed up during the BP oil well permitting stage. Then, they messed up during the BP oil well inspection stage. Next, they messed up during the BP oil well disaster response stage.

So, it's no surprise that the Obama administration is messing up the administration of the BP oil spill compensation fund.

The new administrator for damage claims from Gulf oil spill victims said Sunday it was his idea, not BP's, to require that anyone who receives a final settlement from the $20 billion compensation fund give up the right to sue the oil giant.

This Obama administration appointee is strong arming desperate needy people into waiving their right to full compensation in a court of law in exchange for reduced but immediate assistance.

The government should help the victims of this disaster get immediate partial relief without making them waive any right to sue for complete restitution.

There's no excuse for Obama's appointment of this pro industry bully.

Monday, August 23, 2010

'Nothing but awful' economic news

"Nothing but awful" is the way Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics summed up reports that:

•The number of people filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits rose by 12,000 last week to 500,000 — highest since mid-November. Economists had expected first-time claims to come in at 480,000. . . .

•The Philadelphia Fed's broadest index of manufacturing activity in the Mid-Atlantic region plunged from +5.1 in July to -7.7 in August, signaling that factory output is shrinking. . . .

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 144 points to close at 10,271.

Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial, puts the odds of a double-dip recession at 15% to 20% — a risk that's "really not acceptable."

This is completely unacceptable. The incumbents - - regardless of party - - deserve to lose.

I'm so glad the government has time to deal with Roger Clemens

The economy? Fixed. Foreign affairs? Done. All problems? Solved.

Finally, Congress and the Justice Department can deal with what they obviously feel is one of the most pressing issue.

Roger Clemens was vehement: "Let me be clear. I have never taken steroids or HGH," he told a House committee in 2008. Now, instead of the Hall of Fame, baseball's seven-time Cy Young winner could go to prison after being indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday for allegedly lying to Congress.

The case writes a new chapter in one of baseball's worst scandals, the rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs in the 1990s and early 2000s, and leaves Clemens' legacy in jeopardy.

The six-count indictment alleges that Clemens obstructed a congressional inquiry with 15 different statements made under oath, including denials that he had ever used steroids or human growth hormone. The New York Times first reported the indictment.

I'm no fan of Roger Clemens. But, doesn't the government have more important things on its plate?

While we discuss the Ground Zero mosque . . .

A Saudi judge has asked several hospitals in the country whether they could damage a man's spinal cord as punishment after he was convicted of attacking another man with a cleaver and paralyzing him, the brother of the victim said Thursday.

Abdul-Aziz al-Mutairi, 22, was left paralyzed and subsequently lost a foot after a fight more than two years ago. He asked a judge in northwestern Tabuk province to impose an equivalent punishment on his attacker under Islamic law, his brother Khaled al-Mutairi said in a telephone interview.

It would probably help their cause if the development group behind the Ground Zero mosque were to come out and condemn this type of fundamentalist radicalism.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Everything that happens in Pakistan strengthens the insurgency

Islamic militants are exploiting the strain this summer's monsoon floods placed on the military and government by regrouping their forces in northwest Pakistan, provincial officials warned Thursday.

Good weather. Bad weather. U.S. withdrawal. U.S. engagement. Democracy. Autocracy. The insurgents take advantage of every development and every disaster, whether good or bad.

That's because the Taliban militants and other Islamic extremist groups are winning.

Our side won't start winning until we start acknowledging reality.

Obama appoints Cuban spy's girlfriend

President Barack Obama on Thursday appointed as ambassador to El Salvador a lawyer whose nomination to the post had been blocked in the Senate because of questions about her links to Cuban diplomats.

Obama used a congressional recess appointment, which allows him to sidestep the Senate confirmation process, to make Mari Carmen Aponte ambassador to the Central American nation.

. . . The Puerto Rico-born Aponte, 63, has acknowledged that she and a former boyfriend, Cuban-born Roberto Tamayo, attended some events with Cuban diplomats in the early 1990s but said they were purely social occasions. Florentino Aspillaga, a Havana intelligence defector, alleged in 1993 that Cuba's intelligence services were trying to use Tamayo to recruit Aponte. FBI agents have publicly confirmed Tamayo was passing them information on his contacts with the Cuban diplomats.

The U.S.A. has a population of over 300 million.

It would seem that Obama could have found one of those 300 million Americans without any connection whatsoever to Cuban spies and hostile Cuban diplomats for this job.

But, Obama didn't.

Next, Obama and his supporters will wonder why the unfounded "foreign born", "Muslim" and "un-American" rumors persist.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Why can't we deport undocumented European workers?

France began the controversial expulsion of Roma [Gypsies] on Thursday, putting 79 of them on a charter flight out of the country, the spokesman for the French minister of immigration said.

The government did not confirm the destination of the flight, but the head of a Roma support group, French media, and the Romanian Foreign Ministry said the plane was heading for Bucharest, Romania.

Some Roma already flew out of France in the morning on a commercial flight to Bucharest, according to a spokesman for ROMEUROPE, a support group for Roma in Europe. The Romanian Foreign Ministry said there were 14 people on the earlier flight, for a total of 93 being expelled Thursday.

The deportation is part of what the French government says is a crackdown on illegal immigration, and it follows the government's dismantling in the past three weeks of 51 Roma camps that it called illegal.

The government is offering 300 euros ($384) to each Roma adult and 100 euros ($128) to each Roma child who accepts the offer for a "voluntary return."

Roma are a group of people marked by poverty who live mainly in southern and eastern Europe. Often referred to as Gypsies, they tend to live in camps or caravans and have been persecuted throughout history.

Evidently, the European Union allows member states to hand illegal immigrants a $384 check and put them on a plane home.

Good idea. Let's start with undocumented Europeans.

"Only" 50,000 American troops to remain in Iraq

There were only 75,000 troops in Iraq when the anti war protests began, before the surge. That's why no one's celebrating.
The last U.S. combat troops crossed the border into Kuwait on Thursday morning, bringing to a close the active combat phase of a 7½-year war that overthrew the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein, forever defined the presidency of George W. Bush and left more than 4,400 American service members and tens of thousands of Iraqis dead.

The final convoy of the Army’s 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, based at Fort Lewis, Wash., began entering Kuwait about 1:30 a.m. (6:30 p.m. Wednesday ET), carrying the last of the 14,000 U.S. combat forces in Iraq, said NBC’s Richard Engel, who has been traveling with the brigade as it moved out this week.

NBC News video showed the last Stryker vehicles rolling up to the gate. A guard pulled it back, and the vehicles drove through. The gate closed behind them.

P.J. Crowley, a spokesman for the State Department, told msnbc TV that while the departure is “an historic moment,” he said, it is not the end of the U.S. mission in Iraq.

“We are ending the war ... but we are not ending our work in Iraq,” he said. “We have a long-term commitment to Iraq.”

Obama promised to withdraw all U.S. troops within 6 months. He didn't.

And, he said he'd bring them home, not transfer them to other Middle East countries.

He certainly never revealed any plan for "a long-term commitment to Iraq."

South of the border, down Mejico way

Spiraling drug-war violence in Mexico's wealthiest region has claimed the life of a prominent mayor — kidnapped Sunday and found dead Wednesday — and prompted demands from panicked residents for army protection.

Edelmiro Cavazos was mayor of Santiago, a picturesque tourist town near Monterrey, Mexico's third-largest city and an industrial hub. He was grabbed from his gated home late Sunday by at least 15 gunmen wearing uniforms of a defunct police agency who arrived in a convoy of sport-utility vehicles, with patrol lights flashing.

Santiago and Monterrey are in the border state of Nuevo Leon. Both cities are a leisurely drive from U.S. territory.

I wonder what those opposed to sealing our border against incursion by undocumented workers will say when narco terrorists start slipping through.

Hopefully, by then, it won't be too late.

Friday, August 20, 2010

More Medicare lies from Washington

U.S. health officials said on Wednesday they expect Medicare patients enrolled in the federal health insurance program's prescription drug benefit to see their premium costs remain flat next year.

The voluntary benefit, know as Part D, pays for medicines for seniors and disabled Medicare patients who have signed up for separate drug insurance plans. The plans cover medicines until they hit the so-called "doughnut hole," a temporary gap in which patients must assume all costs.

In 2011, Medicare Part D beneficiaries will pay $30 a month in premiums on average compared with $29 on average in 2010, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said after weighing company's bids.

If you live on a fixed (and in this economy, shrinking) income, paying $30 a month in 2011 compared with $29 on average in 2010 is an increase. Actually, to anyone familiar with simple math, it's an increase. In fact, it's a 3.5% increase. Only liars, politicians and bureaucrats would describe these as "steady rates" (unless they mean "steadily increasing").

Exiling dissidents after jailing and torturing them unjustly is not "reform"

Three more Cuban political prisoners arrived in Madrid on Tuesday, bringing to 23 the number who have been released into exile under Cuba's pledge to free dissidents jailed there since 2003.

The three were among six dissidents Cuba's Roman Catholic Church said last week would be freed. The other three are due to arrive in Spain in the coming days.

The trio arrived by plane accompanied by some 15 family members and were taken to a hotel on Madrid's outskirts, where they were helped by Spanish Red Cross workers.

Twenty other dissidents were flown to Spain in separate groups last month.

The men are among 75 dissidents arrested in a March 2003 crackdown and sentenced to lengthy prison terms on charges that included treason.


And, jailing five more after you release three really isn't progress:

Five Cuban dissidents remained in custody 36 hours after a rare protest at the University of Havana, an iconic spot for airing grievances before the Castro revolution, activists said Tuesday.

"We are peaceful youths and defenders of human rights, demanding freedom and democracy for our country," Sara Martha Fonseca Quevedo is heard saying in a recording of the protest Monday morning before the group broke into chants of "Down with the Castros" and "Freedom."

The anti-Castro protest on the broad stone steps that lead up to the university campus were the first he could remember since the early 1960s, said human-rights activist Elizardo Sanchez Santacruz.

Before 1959, many anti-government protesters -- including Fidel Castro, then a law student -- gathered on the steps because police were legally barred from the campus. Castro ended the university's autonomy after he seized power.

Dissident Jorge Luis García Pérez "Antúnez" identified those arrested as Fonseca, Luis Enrique Labrador, Eduardo Pérez Flores, Yordanis Martinez Carvajal, and Michel Rodríguez Luis.


The Castros haven't changed. Cuba hasn't changed. No one should be fooled.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

While we're talking about the Ground Zero mosque . . .

Taliban militants stoned a young couple to death for adultery after they ran away from their families in northern Afghanistan, officials said Monday.

Amnesty International said it was the first confirming stoning in Afghanistan since the fall of Taliban rule in the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.

The Taliban-ordered killing comes at a time when international rights groups have raised worries that attempts to negotiate with the Taliban to bring peace to Afghanistan could mean a step backward for human rights in the country. When the Islamist extremists ruled Afghanistan, women were not allowed to leave their houses without a male guardian, and public killings for violations of their harsh interpretation of the Qur'an were common.

This weekend's stoning appeared to arise from an affair between a married man and a single woman in Kunduz province's Dasht-e-Archi district.

The woman, Sadiqa, was 20 years old and engaged to another man, said the Kunduz provincial police chief, Gen. Abdul Raza Yaqoubi. Her lover, 28-year-old Qayum, left his wife to run away with her, and the two had holed up in a friend's house five days ago, said district government head, Mohammad Ayub Aqyar.

They were discovered by Taliban operatives Sunday and stoned to death in front a crowd of about 150 men, Aqyar said.

First the woman was brought out and stoned, then the man a half an hour later, Aqyar said. He decried the punishment, which he said was ordered by two local Taliban commanders.


Free advice to the folks behind the group building the "community center" - - how about showing some good faith by issuing a statement in opposition to Taliban barbarism?

Bahamas to resume deportations of undocumented Haitian migrants

So why can't we?
The government of the Bahamas says undocumented Haitian immigrants no longer have a free pass to stay in the country.

The Immigration Department is advising anyone in the island chain illegally to go home or be subject to arrest and deportation.

The government temporarily halted roundups of mainly Haitian immigrants following the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000 people in and around Port-au-Prince.

But the department said Monday in a statement that the government is compelled to resume immigration enforcement.

It said the number of Haitians trying to enter illegally has been increasing over the last six months and in particular during the last two weeks.

Will someone explain to me why the Bahamas can deport undocumented Haitians, but we're not allowed to deport undocumented Bahamians?

What happened to the "science-based" administration?

It appears they prefer BP's election year spin to inconvenient scientific truth.

A team of University of Georgia scientists on Tuesday disputed the Obama administration's claim, made two weeks ago, that most of the oil spewed from BP's Deepwater Horizon well is either gone or widely dispersed.

Far from gone or dispersed, the scientists said, 70 to 79 percent of the more than 4 million barrels of oil that escaped into the Gulf of Mexico remains in the water, posing real but still undetermined risks.

"The idea that 75 percent of the oil is gone and of no concern for the environment is just absolutely incorrect," said Charles Hopkinson, a director of Georgia Sea Grant and marine science professor at the University of Georgia, who co-authored the report.

The Georgia report blamed the media for "inaccurate and misleading'' interpretation of a federal analysis released Aug. 2, but its authors, in a teleconference, declined to address questions about whether an upbeat spin by the Obama administration had shaped coverage.

Remember, these are the guys who criticised the Bush administration's "politicisation of science".

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lori Berenson "Sorry" for Aiding Rebels in Peru

American activist Lori Berenson apologized Monday for aiding leftist rebels and asked a Peruvian court to let her remain free on parole after serving 15 years of her 20-year sentence behind bars.

The 40-year-old New Yorker acknowledged collaborating with the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, but said she was never a member of the group or involved in violent acts.

"If my coming to Peru has meant harm to the country, I am sorry and I regret it," she told the criminal appeals court in Lima.

For the past few decades, Berenson and her family and their New York left / liberal / progressive friends insisted she was innocent and had been framed by a neo fascist Peruvian government. I guess they were telling us lies for 20+ years.

Pelosi calls for investigation of WTC mosque opposition

Just when you thought the Obama / Pelosi / Reid troika couldn't do a worse job of handling this issue:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, called for an investigation of those who are protesting the building of the Ground Zero Mosque on Tuesday. She told San Francisco's KCBS radio:

"There is no question there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some. And I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded," she said. "How is this being ginned up that here we are talking about Treasure Island, something we've been working on for decades, something of great interest to our community as we go forward to an election about the future of our country and two of the first three questions are about a zoning issue in New York City." (h/t Kristinn)

Calls to investigate the funding for those proposing the $100 million "Cordoba House" have fallen on deaf ears, though, as New York's Mayor Mike Bloomberg has described such an investigation as "un-American."

Does Pelosi really mean to suggest that the 70% of Americans opposed to the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero are somehow all taking bribes from some nefarious conspiracy?

Bomb threat at Lourdes‎?

Thousands of pilgrims, including the sick and handicapped, were evacuated from the shrine of Lourdes yesterday during a bomb scare.

Police received a warning that four devices were about to go off among some 30,000 worshippers, priests and nuns congregating for midday mass.

Army bomb disposal experts and sniffer dogs spent three hours searching the grotto in the foothills of the Pyrenees, in south-west France, but nothing was found.

‘It was a cruel hoax,’ said a police spokesman. ‘Somebody wanted to cause as much disruption as possible to people already suffering illness and handicaps.’


Further proof that, in our politically correct progressive world, all religions must be respected . . . except the Christian and Jewish religions.

Why do we put up with it?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ted Kennedy's widow for senate? That's crazy.

Prominent Democrats in Washington and Massachusetts are promoting Edward M. Kennedy’s widow as the best shot for winning back his Senate seat.

She passed up the chance to run for the seat last year. Now, nearly a year after her husband’s death, Victoria Reggie Kennedy has been, in many ways, already acting the part of a candidate by campaigning for other politicians and appearing at events nationwide, despite her playing down the idea of her challenging Sen. Scott Brown (R) for the seat in 2012. She passed up the chance to run for the seat last year.

Some party leaders have been quietly promoting her candidacy, including Sen. Charles E. Schumer(D-N.Y.), according to some sources.

Vicki Kennedy, who comes from a powerful political family in Louisiana, is a lawyer who married into the Kennedy dynasty in 1992. According to some close to the Kennedy clan, the prospect of her candidacy is becoming a source of family tension to relatives who fear her campaign would distract from her late husband’s legacy.

Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), the youngest of Edward Kennedy’s children, said in an interview he wished his stepmother would focus on raising money to build the endowment of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate, a nonprofit organization that aims to inspire future leaders.

It's not only Ted Kennedy's children or extended family who would oppose the idea.

Ted Kennedy's notorious infidelities drove his first wife to drink, insanity and a mental institution. Voters in Massachusetts remember the gossip surrounding that tragic marriage. Do the second Mrs. Kennedy's promoters really expect Massachusetts voters to support the trophy wife for whom Kennedy dumped the mother of his children?

While Cameron celebrated V-J Day, Obama apologized for Hiroshima

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and the country's military chief on Sunday hailed the bravery of World War II veterans as they commemorated the anniversary of the surrender of Japan.

Cameron and Gen. David Richards will attend a service with veterans in central London to mark V-J Day alongside Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.

Europe celebrates V-J Day - the date when Japan announced its intention to surrender - on Aug. 15, though it is observed on Aug. 14 in the United States. Japan's formal surrender to Allied forces came on Sept. 2, 1945.


While the British government was celebrating our victory over Japan, Obama's representatives were attending a memorial service for the victims of the U.S. atomic bombing that ended the war, implicitly apologizing for the instruments of our victory.


Then, he started lecturing on the need for a mosque near Ground Zero.

Obama really doesn't get us.

Leading candidates in Florida oppose Obama on Ground Zero mosque

As President Barack Obama sought to clarify his support of a mosque near ground zero in New York City, the political storm swept through Florida with two top Democratic candidates criticizing the plans as insensitive.

. . . "President Obama has this all wrong," said Jeff Greene, who is running for U.S. Senate. "Freedom of religion might provide the right to build the mosque in the shadow of ground zero, but common sense and respect for those who lost their lives and loved ones gives sensible reason to build the mosque someplace else."

. . . Alex Sink, Florida's CFO and Democratic candidate for governor: "It is my personal opinion that the wishes of the 9/11 victims' families and friends must be respected. They are opposed to this project and I share their view."

The leading Democratic candidates for governor and senate slammed President Obama's view on plans for a mosque near Ground Zero. Expect hundreds of Democratic candidates to follow.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Another new "ally" reverts to form

Russia said Friday that it will soon begin loading fuel into Iran's first nuclear power plant, the initial step toward bringing the long-delayed project on line at a time when the United States is attempting to weaken Tehran's atomic program with new international sanctions. Russia's state atomic agency, which is overseeing the plant near Bushehr, said low-enriched uranium will be added Aug. 21 . . .

Obama started his term of office by deciding to "hit the reset button" with our traditional enemies, and distance himself from our friends.

There were hugs and gifts for the leaders of Venezuela and Russia and Iran, and insults for England and Israel.

Not surprisingly, it isn't working.

And yet another gift to Republicans

Long-shot Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene was indicted Friday on two charges, including a felony charge of showing pornography to a teenage student in a South Carolina college computer lab.

Greene surprised the party establishment with his primary victory in June. His arrest in November was first reported by the Associated Press the day after he won the nomination.

Authorities said he approached a student in a University of South Carolina computer lab, showed her obscene photos online, then talked about going to her dorm room.

A Richland County grand jury indicted Greene, 32, for disseminating, procuring or promoting obscenity -- a felony -- as well as a misdemeanor charge of communicating obscene materials to a person without consent.

If convicted, Greene could face up to three years in prison for the misdemeanor or up to five years for the felony.


Remember, the first reaction by the Democratic establishment to Greene's primary victory was to blame it on a nefarious Republican plot.

Upon investigation by the Democratic party, there was no evidence of such a plot.

In fact, Greene was awarded the Democratic nomination by uninformed Democratic primary voters because he was listed first on the ballot, because of his race and because the voters liked his common sounding all American name.

Greene's continual display of his various "eccentricities" makes the Democrats look like dopes.

Another gift to Republicans from corrupt Democrats

"I won't cut a deal," said Rep. Maxine Waters.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., today adamantly refuted charges brought against her by the House Ethics Committee. . . . Waters was charged by the ethics panel with violating House rules in 2008. The charges stem from a meeting that Waters requested at the onset of the financial crisis in September 2008 . . . "I won't go behind closed doors," she said. "I won't cut a deal."

Waters used her influence to bail out a bank with federal money, which saved her husband's $300,000 investment in the bank's stock.

Every day this is in the news, it helps the Republican ticket (particularly the Republican candidates for governor and U.S. senate in California). News coverage of these Democratic scandals are free commercials for the opposition.

If Waters really cared about the people and issues she supposedly works for, she'd step aside.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Obama in Florida for 27 hours: Thanks for nothing!

President Barack Obama declared Gulf Coast beaches clean, safe and open for business Saturday as he brought his family to the Florida Panhandle and promised residents that the government wouldn't forget them once efforts to stop the leak are finished. . . .

Obama is in the region for a brief weekend trip with first lady Michelle Obama, daughter Sasha (her sister Malia is at summer camp) and the family dog, Bo. Their 27-hour stop in the Sunshine State is as much a family vacation as it is an attempt by the president to convince Americans that this region, so dependent on tourism revenue, is safe for travel — and that its surf is clean. . . .

The White House scheduled the trip after facing criticism that the president wasn't heeding his own advice that Americans vacation in the Gulf. Obama has vacationed in North Carolina and Maine this year and is heading to Martha's Vineyard, off the Massachusetts coast, later in August. Mrs. Obama also traveled to Spain this month with Sasha.


People aren't stupid - - the unspoken message is that Spain and Hawaii and North Carolina and Maine and Martha's Vineyard are for vacations, but Florida is unsafe and an obligatory photo op for political purposes only.

A 27-hour stop (which included campaign style appearances)? Don't do us any favors. This was worse than not showing up.

President Barack Hussein bin Flipflopping strikes again!

Thursday: Regarding the Ground Zero mosque, "the White House had said that it did not want to get involved in local decision-making."


Friday: "President Barack Obama, marking the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, for the first time voiced support for the mosque near Ground Zero, in a White House speech Friday appealing for religious tolerance and respect. . . 'Let me be clear,' Obama said, 'As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.'"


Saturday: "Obama expanded on a Friday night White House speech that asserted that Muslims have the same right to freedom of religion as everyone else in America. 'I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there,' he said. 'I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding.'"


Obama has figured out a way to anger all sides on this issue, first promising to support the Ground Zero mosque, and then walking back from those who applauded his initial decision.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Rangel's birthday gift to the Republican Party

News coverage of Charlie Rangel's birthday party fundraiser, attended by all the New York Democratic party big shots and elected officials, was the equivalent of a multi million dollar national political advertising buy for the Republican party.

It was a dramatic but fitting start to an evening that brimmed with political defiance. About 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, as guests began strolling into the Plaza Hotel to celebrate Representative Charles B. Rangel’s 80th birthday, former Mayor David N. Dinkins turned to confront a heckler.

“You know you are attending a party for a crook,” the man yelled.

At that, Mr. Dinkins, a paragon of statesmanship and dignity, raised his middle finger at the man, displaying it for all to see, according to witnesses, whose accounts were confirmed by the former mayor.

. . . And a raucous, at times celebratory, mood prevailed as Dionne Warwick belted out her famous pop ballad “That’s What Friends Are For” and Harry Belafonte rubbed elbows with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

. . . The state’s senior senator, Charles E. Schumer, and the state attorney general and Democratic nominee for governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, who had relentlessly dodged questions about their attendance, showed up and spoke warmly about Mr. Rangel, steering clear of the ethics charges against him.

Mayor Dinkins' act was appropriate. The night was a raised middle finger at the voters.

It depends upon how you define "withdraw from Iraq"

Remember candidate Obama promising to "withdraw from Iraq by June '09"?

There are now 64,000 American soldiers in Iraq, but this number is due to fall to 50,000 by the end of the month when the United States is set to declare an end to combat operations and switch to a training and advisory mission.

I truly don't recall him defining "withdraw from Iraq by June '09" as "reduce forces in Iraq to 50,000 troops by the end of August, 2010, and keep 50,000 troops in Iraq on 'a training and advisory mission'".

Good news - - no more government stimulus action!

Typically, the Fed can lower interest rates to encourage Americans to borrow money and spend it, invigorating the economy. But the benchmark interest rate controlled by the Fed has been almost zero for more than a year. . . . Congress has the power to regulate the economy by adjusting tax rates and passing stimulus programs - - the side of the equation known as fiscal policy, as opposed to the Fed's monetary policy. But there is little interest on Capitol Hill to undertake a major new stimulus effort. The midterm elections are less than three months away, and Republicans and Democrats alike fear voters are worried about the federal budget's $1.4 trillion deficit.

With paralyzed government getting out of the way, the economy will eventually experience real growth, thanks to the efforts of everyday Americans and businesses (as long as no one in government monkeys around with tax and interest rates or further increases the deficit).

Friday, August 13, 2010

Jewish serial killer stalking black men? No.

That was the rumor when the suspect was caught with an Israeli passport.
Wednesday, a man who police suspect may be the serial killer that has moved from Flint, Michigan to Ohio and Virginia has been caught in Atlanta; 20 people have been stabbed since May and 5 of the victims have died. The man was taken into custody on an unrelated charge at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as he attempted to board a flight out of the country. Officials said that the man had an expired Israeli passport. His name has not been released.

Sorry to disappoint the anti-semites, but his name is Elias Abuelazam.


Elias Abuelazam is a Christian Arab.
In the hardscrabble Israeli town of Ramle southeast of Tel Aviv that has a mixed Jewish-Arab population, residents in the Arab neighborhood where Abuelazam grew up expressed shock that the shy son of a respected family could be a suspect in such a gruesome crime spree.

. . . Ramle’s 3,000-member Arab Christian community is extremely tight knit, and residents were extremely cautious about discussing Abuelazam’s past.

No agreement on direct Israel-Palestinian talks

After months of hearing that Israel is the obstacle to peace, reality is setting in.

The Palestinians refuse to participate in peace talks with Israel.

There is still no decision to resume direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, President Barack Obama's envoy acknowledged Wednesday, despite optimism in Washington that agreement was close.

Officials in Washington had hoped that envoy George Mitchell's current two-day round of separate talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders would be the last before peace talks are restarted.

Mitchell met Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who repeated his call for direct negotiations.

Mitchell said, "Well, we share your objective, as you know, and we are continuing our efforts."

Netanyahu replied, "So let's get on with it."

U.S. troops in Afghanistan reach 240,000

Can anyone honestly say Obama would have received the Democratic nomination, or been elected president, had he honestly stated his troop strength goal for Afghanistan?


Remember - - this was the "anti war" candidate.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Funding delay for "beefed up" border security

No one should be surprised that the promise was empty.
A $600 million bill to beef up border security should have been on its way to President Barack Obama for signature after the House approved it Tuesday, but instead it was derailed by a procedural glitch that requires a do-over by the Senate - which has adjourned until September.

The technical misstep embarrassed congressional leaders and put the brakes on quick approval of funding for Obama's plan to deploy another 1,500 Border Patrol and other law enforcement personnel along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Of course, this now non existent and unfunded program was the political justification for federal efforts to delay implementation of Arizona's state immigration law.

An injunction was entered against the Arizona law, the promised increase in border security never appeared, and our border is still wide open.

Another argument for term limits

In a defiant, dramatic and highly unusual speech, Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) defended himself Tuesday against ethics charges by lashing out at the committee holding his trial, poking fun at President Obama, ridiculing conservative House Democrats and refusing to go away quietly.

It should be no surprise that "member of Congress for 20 terms" eventually becomes synonymous with "corrupt self-serving embarrassment".

Nun’s death fuels immigration furor?

In Arizona, the shooting death of a rancher blew the lid off simmering anger over border security and helped solidify support for a tough new immigration law. A similar eruption threatens in Virginia following the death of a Catholic nun in a car accident involving a man in the country illegally and accused of drunken driving.


I'm tired of immigration policy being determined by anecdotes and random events.

It's as silly as determining climate policy based upon whether we had a snowy winter or a hot summer.

Why can't we determine policy based upon facts, figures and societal needs?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pres. G. W. Bush greeting returning troops at DFW airport

Isn't this something the current president should be doing . . . for both troop morale and political reasons?

Economic growth estimates lowered . . . again

The government’s preliminary estimate for economic growth in the second quarter is likely to be revised substantially lower.

This preliminary estimate of gross domestic product growth, which was released on July 30, reported that the nation’s output grew at an annual rate of 2.4 percent in the spring. This tepid growth was nothing to write home about, since it was a big step downward from growth rates in the previous two quarters. (The economy grew at an annual rate of 3.7 percent in the first quarter of the year, and 5 percent in the last quarter of 2009.)

But even that 2.4 percent annual rate is now looking too rosy.

. . . Right now it’s looking like second quarter G.D.P. growth was only half as big as initially estimated.

Growth was only half as big as initially estimated - - only 1.2% rather than 2.4%.

I guess this means that on even numbered days, we'll be told the awesome stimulus plan worked awesomely, and, on odd numbered days, we'll be told we're in the worst crisis since the Great Depression and we need even more corporate bailouts and federal deficit spending. And then, Obama will give another juvenile talk about pulling the truck out of the ditch by shifting into D instead of R and some other ridiculous nonsense.

News from "pacified" Iraq

Explosions killed at least 20 people and wounded as many as 100 Saturday night at a downtown market in Iraq's second-largest city, a senior official said, coming at the end of a violent day that also saw the slaying of seven policemen around the country.
For some reason, people in Washington expect the Iraqis to appreciate that we invaded, took over, declared mission accomplished, and are now leaving them worse off than we found them.

US-Vietnam Nuke Deal Will Allow Enrichment

The Obama administration has told U.S. lawmakers that a nuclear cooperation deal with Vietnam is unlikely to include a coveted promise by the Hanoi government not to enrich uranium, congressional aides say.

The administration wanted to model the agreement with Vietnam on last year's deal with the United Arab Emirates, in which the U.S. conditioned the sale of nuclear equipment and reactors upon a pledge not to create material that could be used in a nuclear weapon.

If we can't get that pledge from Vietnam, why would we proceed with this deal?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

There are now 3.4 million fewer private-sector jobs in the U.S. than there were a decade ago

The employment situation in the United States is much worse than even the dismal numbers from last week’s jobless report would indicate . . . private employers added just 71,000 jobs during the month and that the unemployment rate remained flat at 9.5 percent . . . the reason the unemployment rate was not higher was because 181,000 workers left the labor force . . . . Over the past three months . . . 1,155,000 unemployed people dropped out of the active labor force and were not counted as unemployed. Even ignoring population growth, if these unemployed had not dropped out of the labor force, simple arithmetic shows that the official unemployment rate would have risen from 9.9 percent in April to 10.2 percent in July, rather than — as it has — fallen to 9.5 percent. Because of normal growth in the working-age population, the labor force increases by roughly 150,000 to 200,000 people per month. If those folks were factored in . . . unemployment now would be even higher than 10.2 percent.

That's according to liberal New York Times opinion writer Bob Herbert, which means that's the "progressive" Democratic consensus opinion on the issue.

If self styled "progressives" believe that we're short 3.4 million jobs, and that real unemployment continues to get worse, why do they continue to oppose efforts to secure our borders against the continued invasion by millions of illegal immigrants looking for work?

It's not the recession, it's waste and corruption

The renovation of Miami International Airport is almost complete, after "more than a decade of delays, cost overruns and, at times, corruption [which] have boosted the tab for the expansion that includes the North and South terminals to $6.3 billion, a mountain of debt that will trail the county-owned airport for 30 years. . . . the airport said its annual costs to operate and pay debt will nearly double to an estimated $1 billion in the next five years. . . . [the] construction tab . . . won't be paid off until 2041 . . . The expansion was envisioned in the mid-1990s as a $3.9 billion undertaking to spruce up the dingy facility . . ."


A $3.9 billion "spruce up" turned into a $6.3 billion boondoggle with a final price tag of public debt in the amount of $1 billion per year for 30 years due to criminal delay, waste and corruption.

Unfortunately, this is typical.

Don't let any politician blame their budget woes on the recession. Instead, find out which politicians received donations from the government contractors in your area, and vote against them.

Defiant Brit struts through Dubai mall in a bikini

I don't know which is worse - - banning bikinis in accord with medieval religious beliefs, or purposely wearing a bikini simply to stir up trouble.

A British woman stripped down to her bikini and strutted defiantly through a swanky Dubai mall after an Emirati woman covered head-to-toe in black confronted her for wearing a low-cut shirt, police said Thursday.

Mall security detained both women and took them to a police station for questioning Wednesday. They were released later in the day after the Emirati woman lodged a complaint for public indecency against the Briton, said a police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Police said the British woman, whose name was not released, was shopping in the five-star Dubai Mall when the Emirati woman approached her and criticized her for wearing a shirt she felt violated the conservative dress code followed by most women in this Muslim country.

The two argued, then the Briton stripped down to her bikini and walked through the mall filled with luxury shops and near hotels with swimming pools.

The mall, one of the world's largest, has signs asking shoppers to dress modestly, although Westerners routinely ignore the advisories.

I will never understand why anyone takes romantic trips to a country in which couples have been jailed for kissing in public, exchanging sexy texts, and having sex on the beach. Go to South Beach or Jamaica.

Monday, August 9, 2010

More Afghan civilians killed in U.S. raid

As many as “a dozen or more” Afghan civilians died during a nighttime raid by U.S. troops hunting for Taliban commanders in eastern Afghanistan, military officials acknowledged Thursday.

The episode, which took place Wednesday in Nangarhar province, comes amid escalating tensions between the Western military and the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai over civilian casualties.

In Wednesday night’s raid, a fierce firefight broke out after American and Afghan forces swooped down on a compound in Sherzad district, according to local officials and the NATO force. Fifteen to 20 insurgents were killed, including two wanted Taliban commanders, the officials said.

The raiding troops came under fire from rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles and called in air cover as they withdrew, the military said.

One day, we negligently kill civilians.

The next day, we're falsely accused of killing civilians.

Every day, there's no winning in Afghanistan.

Obama helps our enemies, again

The Obama administration will soon ease some restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba and other sanctions following Havana's promise to free political prisoners, according to people close to the administration.

Two people told El Nuevo Herald on Friday the decision has been made and will be announced in the next two weeks. Another said he has heard the reports but cautioned they could be "trial balloons."

The key change will be an expansion of educational and cultural travel, which accounted for about 2,000 visits in 2009, said two of the sources. Many academics have urged President Barack Obama to expand those visits, drastically trimmed by the George W. Bush administration.

Obama attacks our friends and rewards our enemies, this time on the mere "promise" to free political prisoners.

It makes no sense.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The price of helping the Afghans

Six Americans, a Briton and a German all working for a Christian medical charity in Afghanistan have been ambushed and killed by militants, their group said today.

Two Afghan translators were also killed with the eight foreign aid workers -- three women and five men -- whom they'd been helping. Their bodies were found riddled with bullets next to their abandoned vehicles in a mountainous area of Badakhshan province, the provincial police chief told The New York Times.

The victims were a group of foreign medical personnel who'd been working at an eye care center in remote Nuristan, and were returning to the Afghan capital when they were ambushed, the International Assistance Mission said in a statement on its website. The charity lost contact with the group on Wednesday evening, and a local shepherd later found their bodies and alerted Afghan police, CNN reported.


These people were doing nothing but serving the poor. Some of them were in Afghanistan for decades. According to a survivor, the group was surrounded by armed men on the road, attacked and the doctors were then shot to death one by one.

Why are we there?

Desperate to be loved

The Obama administration is stepping up emergency relief for victims of Pakistan's devastating floods, hoping a highly visible dose of goodwill will soften anti-American attitudes in a country seen as vital to defeating al-Qaida.

This comes at the same time a congressman who played a key role in revising the war strategy in Iraq in 2006 on Wednesday proposed an independent review of U.S. strategy and goals in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

These separate efforts reflect growing concern about the lack of apparent progress in the nearly nine-year conflict in Afghanistan, which has cost more than $297 billion and the lives of more than 1,100 U.S. troops.

They hate us. They hated us yesterday, they hate us today, and they will hate us tomorrow.

We can give them humanitarian assistance, because it's the right thing to do. But, don't expect them to ever stop hating us. Given a choice, they will always support our enemies, because they believe our religious, sexual, social, political and economic freedoms of choice are sinful.

Our friends the Afghans

Last week, an American sport-utility vehicle carrying embassy contractors was in a fatal collision with a car carrying Afghans in Kabul. The Afghan driver of the second vehicle caused the accident, and one Afghan died in the wreck.

How did our Afghan friends and allies react to this mundane event after almost a decade of U.S. sacrifice for their freedom?

The Kabul police have cleared a United States Embassy vehicle of fault for a deadly collision on Friday that set off anti-American rioting near the embassy, a senior police official said Sunday.

After the crash, hundreds of enraged onlookers threw rocks, chanted “Death to America” and set ablaze two American vehicles.

The intensity of the response revealed the deep-seated hostility toward Americans and raised fears of a repeat of the pandemonium that swept the city and left 14 people dead after a fatal crash in May 2006. In that case, a truck in an American convoy plowed into a dozen Afghan cars and killed at least five people.


Why do we continue to send our children off to die for people who neither want us there nor appreciate our efforts? Let them rot.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

When can we admit we're losing in Af/Pak/Iraq?

You can reach no other conclusion if you simply follow the news.

42 killed in Iraq attacks as Qaeda plants flag

45 killed in Pakistan street violence after official is assassinated

Insurgent squad attacks NATO base in Afghanistan

Ignoring good news

The Galapagos Islands have been removed from the UNESCO list of sites endangered by environmental threats or overuse.

The island chain, about 620 miles (1,000 kms) off Ecuador's coast, is home to unique animal species that inspired Charles Darwin's ideas on evolution.

In 2007, the United Nations body included the World Heritage site on its endangered list because of damage from tourism, immigration and invasive species.

A UNESCO committee meeting in Brazil Wednesday said strong action by Ecuador's government to battle these problems means the Galapagos Islands are now safer.

Being on the danger list "allows UNESCO to allocate immediate assistance from the World Heritage Fund to the endangered property," UNESCO's website said.

It seems that pressure groups, regardless of the issues they focus on, ignore all good news which might interfere with their crisis-driven fundraising appeals. Don't expect any environmental group to celebrate successful conservation in the Galapagos.

Sean Penn questions Wyclef Jean's Haiti presidential aspirations?

Exactly what Haiti doesn't need - - two undereducated spoiled rich kid celebrities stroking their own egos with the needs and sufferings of others.

Hip-hop artist Jean flew into Haiti to announce his bid for presidency in front of a crowd of young supporters.

Encouraging the youths around him to get voting cards, he later told CNN: "I represent the voice of the youth, which over 50 per cent of the population".

But Penn, who has spent an extended amount of time in Haiti since the January 12 earthquake, accused Jean of being a "non-presence" during relief efforts to rebuild the country since the disaster, while he also accused him of displaying an unnecessary amount of wealth.

"I want to see someone who is really, really willing to sacrifice for their country and not just someone who I personally saw with a vulgar entourage of vehicles that demonstrated a wealth in Haiti that – in context, I felt a very obscene demonstration," he said.

Responding to the Oscar-winning actor, Jean said: "I just want Sean Penn to fully understand I am a Haitian, born in Haiti and I've been coming to my country ever since (I was) a child," he said.

If he wins the presidency, the ex-Fugee frontman said he would encourage donors to invest heavily in education.

It's kind of funny to read about the Jewish / Irish actor son of show business parents raised in opulent splendor in a Malibu beach house questioning whether someone else is "Haitian enough" to be president. Does spoiled millionaire-from-birth Penn (best known for acting talent and abusive relationships) think 7 or 8 months of on and off charity work between other gigs makes him the spokesman for the Haitian underclass?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Mohammad Najibullah Ahmadzai

He was the Communist president of Afghanistan installed up by the Soviets, propped up by the Soviet military, and left in charge when the Soviets withdrew.
Najibullah was forced to seek shelter at the UN compound in the capital [Kabul], remaining there for four years. In 1996 . . . [forces] surrendered the city to the Taliban. Najibullah was tortured, castrated, and killed in September 1996 by the Taliban.

Like the Soviets before us, we are trying to establish an Afghan government that can insure order after we leave.

In fact, if and when U.S. forces ever withdraw from Afghanistan, the Afghan government officials we intend to leave behind to run the place will either leave with us or be killed.

Ultimately, we will accomplish nothing in Afghanistan.

Unemployment flat at 9.5% . . .

but only because discouraged workers who stopped looking are not counted!

If you include those "not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey", you're talking of a real unemployment rate between 16 and 20%.


If you wanted to purge your top military staff . . .

you could embed reporters until they said something insubordinate.

The U.S. Army inspector general is investigating whether aides to former Afghanistan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal were insubordinate when they made a series of derogatory comments about top civilian leaders to a Rolling Stone reporter, McClatchy has learned.

The investigation comes as the Pentagon grapples with how much access the reporter who wrote the piece, Michael Hastings, should have to troops. Hastings was banned from a scheduled embed this September in Afghanistan for being untrustworthy, Col. David Lapan, the director of the Pentagon press office, said Tuesday.

The Obama administration gave an anti military reporter from an anti military publication unlimited unconditional 24/7 access over an extended period of time to the top general and his staff in the Afghan military theatre.

The more you read about this, the clearer it is that Gen. Stanley McChrystal and staff were set up by people without the guts to fire them outright. Notice how this reporter is not getting access to the military staff currently in favor.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Another white guy upset about healthcare reform

After the attempted Times Square attack, that was the mayor of New York City's initial description of the terror threat. Still not so much.

Two men were convicted Monday of plotting explosions at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Russell Defreitas and Abdul Kadir were accused of conspiring to blow up JFK's jet-fuel supply tanks and pipeline in 2007.

. . . DeFreitas is a United States citizen and former JFK cargo worker. Kadir is a citizen of Guyana who has served as a member of parliament there.

A third defendant, Abdul Nur, pleaded guilty in June to providing material support to terrorists. Nur is also from Guyana.

Prosecutors have said the men tapped into an international network of Muslim extremists to develop the plot and start work toward carrying it out.

Not party or race, but long term incumbency

Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, will face charges of misusing her office and is expected to contest the claims in a House trial, the second powerful House Democrat to opt for such a public airing in recent days, Congressional officials said Friday.

A House ethics subcommittee has charged Ms. Waters, 71, a 10-term congresswoman, in a case involving communications that she had with the top executive of a bank that her husband owned stock in while it was applying for a federal bailout in 2008, two House officials said.

Republicans say these corruption trials are about Democrats.

Democrats say these corruption trials are about Republicans.

Racists on both sides try to make these corruption cases about racism, as either a reason to prosecute or a reason to defend.

In fact, these corruption cases are all about long term incumbency, and once more demonstrate the need for strict term limits.

Gulf oil-spill debris heading to common landfills

At a sprawling landfill some 50 miles from the oil-spotted coastline, trash bags brimming with tar balls, oil-soaked boom, sand and tangles of seagrass are dumped.

Though workers in the largest environmental disaster in the U.S. wear protective gloves and coveralls as they labor across the Gulf Coast clearing beaches of oil, the mounds of debris they amass meet a pedestrian fate: burial in the same landfills that take in diapers, coffee grounds, burnt toast, yogurt containers, grass clippings and demolition debris.

Since the first trucks began rolling in June, nearly 40,000 tons of "oily solids" and related debris have been sent to municipal landfills from Louisiana to Florida, sparking enough consternation that BP agreed late last week to stop dumping in one Mississippi landfill.

How can this not be bad for the soil and the ground water? That stuff does give you cancer.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Why is it okay to hate Christians?

I don't believe in Jesus, and I believe in reproductive choice, but this I don't understand:
Tebow's devotion to faith divides Broncos fans

Michelle Olson calls herself the anti-Tebow.

She is a diehard Broncos fan but has no love in her heart for its limelight-stealing sensation, rookie quarterback and evangelical everyman Tim Tebow.

"He's a big distraction and has done nothing to prove he's NFL material," the 25-year-old Fort Collins woman said Tuesday morning at Broncos training camp in Dove Valley.

It's Tebow's eagerness to share his Christian values and beliefs that really irks her.

"That's why I hate him," she said.

If she thought, "He's Muslim (or Jewish or Hindu or Mormon or whatever), that's why I hate him", this woman would probably be embarrassed to say it, and if she said it, she'd be drummed out of polite society.

But, for some reason, it's permissible to say, "He's Christian, that's why I hate him."

Our society is going insane.

Haiti is doomed

Speculation mounted Tuesday that Haitian singer Wyclef Jean will officially announce his candidacy Thursday for president of the Western Hemisphere's most embattled country.

CNN announced that Jean, who was born in Haiti but has lived much of his life in the United States, will appear Thursday night on Larry King Live to discuss his plans. The Associated Press quoted former legislator Pierre Eric Jean-Jacques as saying that the hip-hop superstar will run as part of Jean-Jacques' ``together we are strong'' coalition.

The reports are the latest to point toward a run for the former Fugees star. The Miami Herald reported Friday that Jean officially announced his intentions in a series of meetings, and that his lawyers were working on his paperwork.

We in America have learned from experience that a professional wrestler who leaves "sports entertainment" for politics makes a bad chief executive officer. We learned that a body builder turned action movie star married to a Kennedy cousin makes an even worse executive.

The poorest country in the hemisphere, facing constant socio economic, environmental and weather disasters, does not need to put a " hip-hop superstar" in charge, regardless of who he's related to.