Tuesday, May 31, 2011

'One of the Finest'

Obama on Memorial Day: "It's one of my highest honors. It is my most solemn responsibility as president to serve as commander-in-chief of one of the finest fighting forces the world has ever known."


Only "one of my highest honors"?  Only "one of the finest fighting forces the world has ever known"?

It's as if he's ashamed to be proud of his country.

Patriot Act flip flop

Congress, racing the clock and rejecting demands for additional safeguards of civil liberties, passed a bill Thursday to renew three expiring provisions of the anti-terrorism Patriot Act.

With the provisions set to expire at midnight Thursday (0400 GMT on Friday), the Republican-led House of Representatives approved the measure, 250-153, just hours after it cleared the Democratic-led Senate, 72-23.

President Barack Obama is traveling in Europe. White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said that he was prepared to use "the auto pen to sign" the bill quickly into law.

Democrats and some Republicans favored more protections of civil liberties in the legislation for law-abiding citizens. . .

"Although the Patriot Act is not a perfect law, it provides our intelligence and law enforcement communities with crucial tools to keep America safe," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat.

"Democrats and some Republicans favored more protections of civil liberties in the legislation for law-abiding citizens"?

"Although the Patriot Act is not a perfect law, it provides our intelligence and law enforcement communities with crucial tools to keep America safe"?

Actually, it was candidate Obama, posing as a con law professor, who called the bill excessive and unconstitutional and urged repeal of large portions of it.

War criminal arrested

After 16 years on the run, a frail and haggard Ratko Mladic was hauled before a judge Thursday — the first step in facing charges for international war crimes, including the slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in 1995.

No longer the fearsome, bull-necked military commander, Mladic was arrested by intelligence agents in a raid before dawn at a relative's house in a village in northern Serbia. The act was trumpeted by the government as a victory for a country worthy of European Union membership and Western embrace.

Mladic, 69, was one of the world's most-wanted fugitives. He was the top commander of the Bosnian Serb army during Bosnia's 1992-95 war, which killed more than 100,000 people and drove another 1.8 million from their homes. Thousands of Muslims and Croats were killed, tortured or driven out in a campaign to purge the region of non-Serbs.

Unfortunately, he's still one of the most popular political figures in Serbia.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Just plain stupid

Ridiculous or ultra-enlightened? A Toronto couple's decision to keep the gender of their 4-month-old baby a secret has touched off a sometimes nasty debate over how far parents should go in protecting young ones from society's boy-girl biases.

Kathy Witterick and David Stocker recently landed on the front page of the Toronto Star, explaining that they hope their third child, Storm, can remain untouched by the connotations of pink versus blue, male versus female, long enough to make up his or her own mind.


Why does our society insist on showering people who do these type of things with attention?

The media should ignore them until they go away.

Where is the Democrats' budget?

Members of Congress headed home this weekend for a holiday recess without any Democratic plan for reducing trillions of dollars in federal budget deficits over the next decade, and Republicans won't let them forget it.

President Barack Obama's fiscal 2012 budget plan doesn't seriously attack the deficit; it would add $7.1 trillion to the national debt over 10 years. The budget by Democrats in the House of Representatives would add $7.5 trillion over 10 years. And Senate Democrats haven't produced any budget at all.

At some point, Obama and the Democrats will have to say something more than "we oppose the Republican plan to cut Medicare".

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Gingrich, Tiffany's and hypocrisy

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says he and his wife are "very frugal," live within their budget and have no debts.

But the former House speaker is keeping to himself about how they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at Tiffany's jewelry store.

A financial disclosure form filed by Callista Gingrich in 2006 and 2007 showed the couple owed from $250,000 to $500,000 to Tiffany & Co.

Appearing Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation," Gingrich refused to say what they'd bought at Tiffany's, noting that "it is my private life."


"Gingrich refused to say what they'd bought at Tiffany's, noting that 'it is my private life'"?

Sort of like a president having consensual sex outside marriage, for which Gingrich tried to remove Bill Clinton from office?

What hypocrisy!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Terrorist punished with . . . deportation?

A Pakistani man arrested in Massachusetts during the investigation of the failed New York Times Square car bombing was deported to Pakistan on Sunday, federal authorities said.

Aftab Ali Khan, 28, was accompanied by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers on a flight from Logan International Airport to Islamabad, the agency said in a statement. Khan, his uncle and a man in Maine were arrested on immigration violations nearly two weeks after the failed bombing attempt on May 1, 2010.

Khan pleaded guilty last month to immigration and illegal money-transfer charges and was sentenced to time served. He did not face terrorism-related charges.

He was an accessory before the fact to a terror plot.

Deportation? They should lock him up and throw away the key.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Obama breaks the law

Top Senate Democrats and Republicans have agreed on a resolution backing limited U.S. involvement in the NATO-led military campaign against Libya.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry of Massachusetts and John McCain, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, introduced the resolution Monday just days after the expiration of the legal deadline for President Barack Obama to seek congressional authorization of the military action. The non-binding measure calls on Obama to submit to Congress a description of U.S. policy objectives before and after Moammar Gadhafi. The resolution also asks Obama to regularly consult with Congress.
Under the War Powers Resolution of 1973 a president can only send troops into combat for 60 days without congressional approval. That deadline passed on Friday, with little pressure from Congress.

In other words, the progressive community organizer / constitutional law professor we elected president (who was going to end cowboy diplomacy and unilateral military action) broke the law governing foreign combat deployments of U.S. military forces.

But, he's Obama, not Bush, so that makes it okay with the so called "anti war" movement.

Be thankful for lawyers

Isabel Allende long ago accepted that her father, former President Salvador Allende, took his own life with an assault rifle just minutes before troops stormed the presidential palace in a coup on Sept. 11, 1973.

Even as leftist supporters like Fidel Castro declared that Mr. Allende had died in a gun battle, his suicide became a source of pride, rather than shame, for the surviving family members, she said.

“It was an extremely courageous act for someone who loved life as he did,” Ms. Allende said.

But doubts have lingered, and while witnesses from that day have long supported the suicide conclusion, after nearly 38 years Mr. Allende’s death remains, for some, Chile’s greatest unsolved mystery.

Early Monday, at the behest of the Allende family and a judge investigating 726 unresolved human rights cases related to Chile’s 17-year dictatorship, Mr. Allende’s remains were exhumed. Forensic experts will perform a second autopsy to try to determine once and for all how the Socialist leader died.

We have talk radio and protests and marches, followed by lawsuits.

Other countries have juntas and revolutions and dead people in the streets.

The next time you're annoyed about all the lawyers in government, remember that lawyers don't carry guns, and our battles are settled by a judge.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

An example of progressive respect for women on MSNBC

MSNBC's Ed Schultz is off the air for more than a week after calling a fellow talk-show host a vulgar term.

On his radio show, the liberal commentator referred to conservative host Laura Ingraham as a "right-wing slut." He was apparently upset over her criticism of President Barack Obama's overseas trip.

Schultz apologized on MSNBC on Wednesday to Ingraham, his family, MSNBC and viewers for the remark. He said it was wrong and uncalled for, and he recognized the severity of what he said.

MSNBC said the network and Schultz mutually agreed on a suspension that will take him off the air until June 6.

Hillary was called a bitch, and Ingraham a slut.

Not wrong, not inaccurate, not ill informed, but bitch and slut.

It's good to occasionally hear what some self styled "progressives" really think.

The Supreme Court upholds Arizona immigration law!

The Supreme Court has sustained Arizona's law that penalizes businesses for hiring workers who are in the United States illegally, rejecting arguments that states have no role in immigration matters.

By a 5-3 vote, the court said Thursday that federal immigration law gives states the authority to impose sanctions on employers who hire unauthorized workers.

The decision upholding the validity of the 2007 law comes as the state is appealing a ruling that blocked key components of a second, more controversial Arizona immigration enforcement law. Thursday's decision applies only to business licenses and does not signal how the high court might rule if the other law comes before it.

The Supreme Court hasn't ruled yet on the more controversial provisions of Arizona's immigration law.

But, it looks like those who were quick to label Arizona's actions unconstitutional ought to read the Constitution.

Arnold's not the only one

Six senior politicans in Turkey's opposition Nationalist Action Party (MHP) have resigned amid a sex scandal, shortly before national elections.

Turkish media say the six, including four vice-presidents, quit following threats to publish compromising videos.

Four other senior MHP leaders resigned earlier this month after secretly filmed images were posted online.

. . . An obscure group calling itself "Different Nationalists" has demanded that the entire MHP leadership step down, and earlier this month published the sex videos on the internet.

"The dark forces behind this ugly political plot, both at home and abroad, will come to light as part of the ongoing investigation," Mr Bolukbasi told AFP news agency.

Last year Deniz Baykal, the head of the main opposition party, the secularist Republican People's Party, resigned over a similar scandal after bedroom images of him and a female MP were posted on the internet.

If you have sex where you shouldn't with someone you shouldn't, don't blame your opponents when you get in trouble!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Personal responsibility in Japan

The president of troubled Tokyo Electric Power Co. is stepping down and taking responsibility for the handling of Japan's nuclear power plant crisis, Japanese media reported Friday.

Masataka Shimizu will be replaced by senior executive Katsutoshi Chikudate as the company prepares to report huge losses, the Yomiuri newspaper said.

TEPCO has been struggling since March 11, when the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant was heavily damaged by an earthquake and tsunami and began leaking radiation. Some 80,000 people living within a 12-mile radius of the plant were evacuated from their homes afterward and many are living in gymnasiums.

The disaster is the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986, analysts say.

In the U.S., rather than retiring to a life of obscurity, the responsible parties would write a book, go on reality TV and end up with their own show, richer and more famous than ever.

No wonder Israel doesn't trust them

Thousands of Syrians flooded the streets across the country Friday, defying an unrelenting government crackdown that has failed to crush a two-month uprising against the country's authoritarian regime. Human rights activists said security forces opened fire, killing at least 27 people, including a 10-year-old boy.

Friday's turnout — and the now-familiar, deadly response by the regime — was the latest sign the conflict could be moving toward a dangerous stalemate with neither side able to tip the scales. President Bashar Assad's forces have unleashed tanks and snipers and made thousands of arrests to break the revolt, but protesters continue to face down security forces.

The Syrian government - - the one which opened fire on its own citizens, killing at least 27 people, including a 10-year-old boy - - is one of those "Muslim communities" which Obama thinks Israel and her supporters should trust with its future.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It's not Islamophobia, it's democracy

After 16 months of rallies and court hearings, construction will soon begin on a Tennessee mosque that sparked a fierce debate over religious beliefs.

Leaders of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro obtained a building permit Friday to start the first construction phase and released renderings of the new building.

Imam Ossama Bahloul, the religious leader of the congregation, told The Daily News Journal the mosque will be a place for everyone, even those who opposed its construction.

Earlier in the week, a Rutherford County judge ruled that the mosque construction does not harm the residents who sued the county over it. But the judge allowed them to move forward on claims the county violated an open meetings law in approving it.

Critics of the protesters called them Islamophobes and racists.

But, they were simply Americans exercising their right to protest, their freedom of speech, and their access to the courts.

Unlike in certain Muslim lands, the protesters killed no one, beat no one, raped no one and didn't burnt down one building.

In the end, after peaceful protest and dignified judicial procedures, the court ruled in favor of the construction of the mosque, after everyone spoke their piece and had their day in court.

What's wrong with that?

Today's crack babies

In the warm glow of the setting sun, two mothers walk side-by-side from counseling sessions at the Susan B. Anthony Recovery Center, past the stucco day-care building, past rows of shaded picnic tables and a playground full of giggles and pigtails and untied sneakers.

The women — one pushing her 2-month-old daughter in a stroller, the other six months pregnant — came to this addiction treatment center in suburban Broward County in April to beat the prescription drug habits that threaten their lives and endanger their children. Their biggest fear is that their children will pay the price for their weakness. At Susan B. Anthony, the victories are counted in babies born clean and families reunited.

Nicole Montes and Jennifer Clingan grapple with savage addictions to the prescription painkiller oxycodone, a synthetic version of heroin that has emerged as part of the nation’s fast-growing drug problem. The newest victims: babies born hooked on the highly addictive prescription narcotic.

I taught in a public school when all the crack babies hit middle school.

These oxycodone babies will be more of the same.

They will be a drain on the public all their lives, spending their lives in jail or on public assistance.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Two men who will never be president

Former Sen. Rick Santorum said Tuesday that Sen. John McCain, who spent 5 1/2 years enduring brutal treatment at the hands of his North Vietnamese captors, doesn't know how effective waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques can be. The Republican presidential contender insisted the tactics led the United States to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Accusing a man who was tortured by our enemies of not understanding how torture works should disqualify you from office.

Open borders with Haiti?

In a move that affects thousands of lives across two nations, the Department of Homeland Security will extend and expand Temporary Protected Status for Haitians living in the United States.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on Tuesday announced an 18-month extension of the protected status, which had been set to expire in July, allowing 48,000 Haitian nationals to remain in the U.S. until Jan. 22, 2013.

Thousands of other Haitians who fled to the United States in the 12 months following the devastating January 2010 earthquake will now be eligible for TPS, which had previously been granted only to Haitians who were already living in the U.S. at the time of the quake.

In other words, we now have an open border with Haiti.

If any Haitians get here, legally or illegally, they can legally stay here for good.

Our friends the Pakistanis

The Pakistani Taliban added its voice to those of several terror groups who have vowed to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden, telling two news organizations separately it would continue the mission of the al Qaeda leader.

Waliur Rehman, the organization's deputy commander, told The Associated Press Monday his men would fight "with new zeal" against the West.

"We have the same target, program and mission," he said, according to the AP report published today. "Our enemies are NATO, Jews and Christians."


There is no reason to continue treating Pakistan as an ally for as long as the Pakistanis consider "NATO, Jews and Christians" to be their enemies.

By the way - - it's not American imperialism or American militarism or American economics that they want to kill.   It's "NATO, Jews and Christians".

Another day in Afghanistan

At least 28 people died in Afghanistan on Wednesday in three explosions of violence that illustrate the wide array of mayhem that racks this country and the anger that surrounds U.S. actions here.

The first four died during a disputed night raid by U.S.-led troops who stormed a house shortly after midnight in the city of Taloqan, the capital of Takhar province, in Afghanistan's northwest.

The next 11 died in the riot that followed when 2,000 demonstrators gathered to protest that those killed, including two women, had been civilians.

The last 13 died when a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden car into a bus that was carrying police academy trainers in the eastern province of Nangarhar, one of the most violent regions of the country. It was the latest in a series of suspected Taliban attacks on Afghan security forces.

Our efforts in Afghanistan are just not working.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Doing nothing about oil in D.C.

[T]he U.S. Senate has blocked a Republican effort to pass a law that would expand offshore drilling in the country. The bill would have required that the Obama administration to quicken the process for approving offshore oil drilling permits but instead failed this Wednesday in a 57-42 vote.

. . . The failure of the bill came just one day after the Senate rejected a bill, Senate Bill 940: Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, proposed by Senate Democrats that would end tax incentives for Big Oil companies drilling domestically. Currently the tax subsidies total about $21 billion for the top five oil companies alone.

Obviously, we should expand drilling and close big oil tax loopholes.

Unfortunately, everyone in Washington is too pig headed to compromise.

So, they'll do nothing.

Another reason why we can't cut government spending . . .

Gregory Campbell, the son of Democratic state Rep. Daphne Campbell, has been snared in a $299,000 Medicaid scheme in which he is accused of fraudulently billing the agency for clients he didn’t provide any services for.

The charges include grand theft, organized fraud, and Medicaid fraud, all first-degree felonies.

Campbell, 28, allegedly billed Medicaid for the same recipients at two separate adult family care homes in Miami-Dade, and also billed for clients who never lived at either facility, according to the arrest affidavit filed in Miami-Dade court by the Florida Attorney General’s office.

He split part of his take with Percival Wignall, the owner of Sunnyman Retirement Home, 61 NE 211 Street, Miami. The other home, Denian Adult Home, was located at 1835 NW 185th Street, Miami Gardens. It was owned by Cebert George Williams, who shut it down in 2005 and moved to Port St. Lucie but kept the nursing home license.

The two-year investigation by the state Medicaid Fraud Control unit uncovered $299,000 in fraudulent claims paid by the state Agency for Health Care Administration. Medicaid, jointly funded by the state and federal government, is a $20 billion program serving more than 3 million low-income adults and children in Florida.

Campbell was arrested May 12 and is being held in the Miami-Dade County jail.

When reached by telephone about her son’s arrest, Daphne Campbell declined comment.

This is why we can't cut government spending - - the families of too many government officials make their livings as contractors or employees of government programs!

Obama screws Israel, again

In one of the longest sections of his speech, Obama urged Israel, in unusually frank terms, to negotiate a final peace agreement with the Palestinians.

For the first time, Obama cited Israel's boundaries on the eve of the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war as the basis for negotiation over final borders, saying that a "full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces" from the West Bank should be carried out in coordination with Palestinian security forces.

The formulation goes beyond principles outlined by President George W. Bush, who stated during his term that "it is unrealistic to expect" Israel to pull back to the 1967 lines. Obama said the negotiations over final borders, which he indicated may include land swaps to accommodate Israel's large settlement blocs, should result in "a viable Palestine, a secure Israel."

Obama's opening bid is to keep pre 1967 Israel in one piece.

Obviously, in negotiations, Israel will be required to give away even more.

Clearly, Obama's goal is a weak rump Israel with indefensible borders.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our effort in Afghanistan makes no sense

Four American soldiers serving with NATO forces in Afghanistan died Monday in an explosion in the country's south, NATO and a defense department official said.

The soldiers were hit by an improvised explosive device, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The latest deaths make a total of 16 NATO service members killed so far this month, and 167 so far this year.

Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, who is in charge of NATO's joint command, predicted Monday that violence would increase this summer as the Taliban try to retake territory they lost in southern Kandahar and southwestern Helmand provinces in the past year.

The Taliban recently launched a long-promised spring offensive and have carried out attacks in the southern and eastern parts of Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan. The Taliban and other insurgent groups retain bases in safe havens across the border in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas.

After the Taliban is done killing American soldiers from its safe havens in the territory of our supposed friend and ally Pakistan, we will reach a settlement with the Taliban and turn Afghanistan over to them.

Obama's post-Bin Laden numbers fading

That was fast!

The rosy glow that helped boost President Obama's approval ratings after terrorist leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. raid in Pakistan has already faded, according to the Gallup Daily tracking poll.

As of May 13, Obama's approval rating was at 46%, the same number he had in the three days before the raid on Bin Laden's hideaway at the beginning of the month. The president had received a six-point bump as measured in the Gallup poll after the death of Bin Laden.

. . . In the current tracking poll numbers, his disapproval numbers were at 44%, almost the same as before the raid.

It's all about jobs, the economy and gas prices.

We started bombing Libya to protect civilian protesters . . .

and now we're bombing civilians in the capital.
NATO airstrikes struck Moammar Gadhafi's sprawling compound in Tripoli and three other sites early Thursday, hours after the Libyan leader was shown on state TV in his first appearance since his son was killed nearly two weeks ago.

Explosions thundered across the Libyan capital and wailing ambulances raced through the city as the last missile exploded.

We're killing people in order to save them.

Remember the Japanese nuclear disaster?

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said one of the reactor cores at its stricken Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant is more seriously damaged than previously thought, setting back the utility’s plan to resolve the crisis.

Fuel rods in the core of the No. 1 reactor are fully exposed, with the water level 1 meter (3.3 feet) below the base of the fuel assembly, Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager at the utility known as Tepco, told reporters at a briefing in Tokyo. Melted fuel has dropped to the bottom of the pressure vessel and is still being cooled, Matsumoto said.

Japan is trying to contain the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl after a quake and tsunami two months ago knocked out power and cooling systems at the Fukushima station. While authorities have previously suspected a partial meltdown at unit 1, high radiation levels had prevented workers from entering the building to check the damage until last week.

No one is paying attention anymore, but deadly radiation is still spewing into the world's environment, atmosphere and food chain.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

More Islamophobia

Remember, according to the media, the problem is Judeo-Christian Islamophobia.
A converted Muslim is being questioned by detectives over alleged threats to kill US President Barack Obama during his trip to Ireland.
Khalid Kelly, who is in his 40s, was detained over claims made in a newspaper article.

A Garda spokesman said officers from the Special Detective Unit investigating threats to kill or cause harm searched a home in Dublin's north inner city on Thursday morning.

Mr Obama is due to visit Dublin and his ancestral home Moneygall, Co Offaly, later this month.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Democracy in Egypt

Egyptian authorities on Friday announced that they have ordered the detention of Suzanne Mubarak, the wife of former President Hosni Mubarak.

State-run MENA news service reported that the former first lady would be detained, although it was not clear whether she would be held at the women's prison in Cairo.

The new "democratic" government of Egypt is going after all the members of the former president's immediate family.  That is not a sign of democracy.

Schwarzenegger and Shriver and karma

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has acknowledged that he fathered a child with a member of his household staff, a revelation that apparently prompted wife Maria Shriver to leave the couple's home before they announced their separation last week.

Schwarzenegger and Shriver jointly announced May 9 that they were splitting up after 25 years of marriage. Yet, Shriver moved out of the family's Brentwood mansion earlier in the year after Schwarzenegger acknowledged the child is his, The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

I guess Arnold will stop telling Lewinsky jokes, and Shriver can stop vouching for his fidelity and lecturing about female empowerment.

P.S. - "I ask that the media respect my wife and children through this extremely difficult time." Hey, Arnold - you didn't, why should they?

Do they really want to control oil company excess profits and environmental crimes?

Amid rising public anger over high gasoline prices, top executives of major oil companies on Thursday defended their actions at a Capitol Hill hearing and fought to block a Democratic effort to scale back their tax breaks.

The Senate Finance Committee asked the heads of the five largest oil companies to testify about proposals to repeal tax breaks. The executives of Exxon Mobil, Shell, ConocoPhillips, BP America and Chevron appeared and immediately found themselves in the expected hot seats.


All they have to do is figure out a way to bar campaign contributions from oil companies.

Without so many members of congress - - Democratic and Republican, male and female, liberal and conservative - - on the oil companies' payroll, oil companies would start obeying, and stop writing, our nation's laws.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Didn't we start bombing Libya to protect civilians from slaughter?

NATO aircraft blasted an oil terminal in a key eastern city at nightfall Sunday, Libyan TV reported, after Britain urged the alliance to widen its assault on areas controlled by ruler Moammar Gadhafi.

Libya's deputy foreign minister Khaled Kaim sharply condemned that call, describing it as a "provocation."

The Libya TV report said the bombs hit methanol tanks at the oil port of Ras Lanouf, causing leaks. NATO officials had no immediate comment.

The reported attack came as the Libyan conflict appeared largely stalemated, with each side claiming gains one day, only to be turned back the next.

How does bombing oil terminals help protect the innocent?

Wasn't it just a few months ago . . .

when that New York congressman was dismissed as a racist for raising the question of connections between terrorism and the American Muslim religious establishment?

The trilling chant of the adhan, the Muslim call to prayer, rang out Sunday afternoon at the humble little white house behind a green fence that is South Florida’s oldest mosque. Inside, a dozen men and one boy — shoes left outside as a cleansing gesture — quietly recited prayers and bowed to Mecca.
There was a single stark change in the ancient ritual this time — the longtime spiritual leader of Miami’s Flagler Mosque was not there to lead it.

Dozens of federal agents appeared at early Saturday morning prayer to arrest Hafiz Muhammad Sher Ali Khan, the frail 76-year-old imam, and two of his sons, one who led the Masjid Jamaat Al-Mumineen Mosque in Margate, on charges of funneling money to the Pakistani Taliban to buy weapons and support militant training.

It turns out that the "racist" congressman was correct, and some of the alleged victims of discrimination were "funneling money to the Pakistani Taliban to buy weapons and support militant training", i.e., to kill American soldiers.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The search for bin Laden

From the stone-age caves of Tora Bora to a luxury apartment in Tehran, the CIA chased endless shadows and false leads in a hunt that seemed destined to fail. Many analysts came to believe that bin Laden was already dead, having succumbed, supposedly, to typhoid.

In the end, America’s unending obsession with Osama bin Laden led them to a hideout that could hardly have been further removed from the mountains and tunnels where most people pictured him being holed up: a million-dollar purpose-built compound within walking distance of Pakistan’s main military academy.

Bin Laden avoided capture for 10 years because we had no idea what we were doing.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dumb and dumber and dumberer

First lady Michelle Obama's poetry and prose event Wednesday evening at the White House was intended to "showcase the impact of poetry on American culture."

The organizers got more than they bargained for, however, when one invited guest, hip-hop artist Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., aka Common, came under fire this week from conservatives, including Sarah Palin and Karl Rove, for lyrics alluding to violent acts against police and former President George W. Bush.

The controversy was fanned by the conservative website The Daily Caller, which published some of his lyrics, and by Fox News, which used the phrase "vile rapper" in characterizing the performer.

In one rhyme, Common says to "tell the law my Uzi weighs a ton." He also characterizes the Iraq War as being about oil rather than weapons of mass destruction: "Burn a Bush 'cos for peace he push no button."

It's dumb to invite a rapper to a poetry evening and not expect controversy.

It's dumber to go over every word in every song looking to be offended by something you hadn't previously noticed.

And, it's dumberer to respond by blaming the criticism on racism.

Another war in the Middle East?

Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and John McCain, R-Ariz., unveiled on Wednesday a 10-page, nonbinding resolution "expressing support for peaceful demonstrations and universal freedoms in Syria and condemning the human rights violations by the Assad Regime."

The bipartisan measure calls for the Obama Administration to do more to oppose the brutal crackdown on political protestors in the Middle Eastern nation.

"I know that there are some who are concerned about what will happen if (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad fails, but there simply cannot be a successor to Bashar al-Assad that is anywhere near as bad as he is," said Lieberman, calling anything to the contrary "strategic and moral nonsense."

These people are crazy.  We are not the cops of the Middle East.

What's wrong with asking the public?

The just-finished legislative session will be remembered for more than the $3.8 billion deficit or the political meltdown that marred its finish. It will also be known for packing the November 2012 election ballot with seven constitutional amendments — including abortion, religion and property taxes.

The amendments are straight out of the Republican Party playbook: Overturn abortion rulings, cap state revenue, lower property taxes, restrict court power, loosen the separation between church and state, and prevent President Barack Obama’s healthcare law from taking hold in Florida.

Democrats say the amendments are politically motivated and designed to attract conservatives to the polls in November 2012, when Obama faces reelection. Republicans say they are pursuing what they have been attempting for years and what voters elected them to do.

No one should object to letting the public decide these controversial issues.

Are opponents of these referenda concerned about the process, or simply afraid that they'll lose?

Out of control rhetoric

Republican Newt Gingrich told a Georgia audience on Friday evening that the 2012 presidential election is the most consequential since the 1860 race that elected Abraham Lincoln to the White House and was soon followed by the Civil War.

Addressing the Georgia Republican Party's convention, Gingrich said the nation is at a crossroads and that the re-election of Democratic President Barack Obama would lead to four more years of "radical left-wing values" that would drive the nation to ruin.

We are not in a situation analogous to the eve of the civil war.

Anyone who says that is irresponsible, and should never be entrusted with high office.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Liberal democratic governor lays off 10% of state employees

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy began issuing pink slips to a tenth of the state's employees Tuesday after the administration and labor leaders failed to reach a deal to wrest $2 billion in concessions from state workers.

After months of closed-door talks with state employee unions aimed at closing a $3.5 billion budget gap stalled after midnight Tuesday, Gov. Dannel Malloy issued layoff notices to what he called "the first 4,742 state employees."

"State employee representatives have thus far not offered enough," Mr. Malloy said in a statement.

"I want to be clear that this is not the road I wanted . . .

Got that? When a conservative Republican tries to cut spending and save civil service jobs by curtailing government employees' union rights to avoid layoffs, 24/7 news coverage tells us that he's evil and cruel and fascist.

But, when a liberal democrat lays off 10% of the state workforce (because he's afraid to make the tough decisions) we're told . . . nothing. It's not news.  Even when it's the governor of the state where most New York based media people seem to live.

Note to freedom seeking Arabs:

If you want the international community to make your dictator stop slaughtering civilians, make sure your dictator:  (1) is an enemy of the U.S.A.; and, (2) has vast oil reserves.

Syrian armed forces intensified the campaign against a two-month uprising on Wednesday, shelling the country’s third-largest city with tanks and detaining hundreds more across the country. Activists said the number of those killed since demonstrations began reached 757, with more than 10,000 still in custody.

Libya has oil. Syria does not.

We're bombing Libya in support of rebels. We're doing nothing in Syria.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Asking for trouble

As the nation observes the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, a Confederate heritage group is fighting for the right to place the Confederate flag on license plates in three new states — Florida, Kentucky and Texas.

Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), based in Columbia, Tenn., already offers the Confederate-inspired tags in nine southern states: Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, says Ben Sewell, the group's executive director.

Putting aside any issue of right or wrong, isn't placing a confederate heritage license plate on your car an invitation to vandalism?

Another Kennedy phony

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver announce separation

The former California first lady has moved out after 25 years of marriage. Maria Shriver helped bolster Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign against charges that he groped women during his movie career.

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, have separated, with Shriver moving out of their Brentwood mansion while the two determine the next step in their 25-year marriage.

Shriver has been residing apart from the actor-turned-politician for the last few weeks. The former first couple confirmed the separation in a joint statement released Monday after questions from The Times.

Less than a year after leaving office?

Another marriage of convenience.

Remember Iraq?

A car bomb tore through a cafe packed with young men watching a football match Tuesday in Baghdad, killing at least 16 people, officials said. It was the first major attack since U.S. commandos killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

Nobody claimed responsibility for the attack, which struck a Shiite enclave in a mainly Sunni neighborhood, but it bore the hallmarks of the terror network's chapter in Iraq. Al-Qaida operatives have vowed revenge for bin Laden's death on Monday.

It's still a mess of violence and sectarian strife and al Qaida terror.

Obama and immigration

Having met with business leaders and entertainment stars on stalled immigration reform, President Barack Obama on Tuesday heard from Hispanic lawmakers who have been pressuring him to help certain immigrants stay in the U.S. while they wait for congressional action.

The meeting with members of the all-Democratic Congressional Hispanic Caucus was the president's third on immigration in as many weeks. But none has led to a major breakthrough.

. . . There has been widespread disappointment among many immigrants and their supporters that Obama has been unable to persuade Congress to pass an immigration bill, particularly early in his term when Democrats held majorities in the House and Senate.

It's actually kind of scary to consider the promises Obama is prepared to make in order to firm up Hispanic support for his reelection effort.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Alabama tornado damage could approach record $2 billion

Damage from Alabama's deadly tornadoes could approach the state's record of $2 billion from Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Alabama's insurance commissioner said Wednesday.

Insurance commissioner Jim Ridling said early insurance industry estimates put the damage across the South at $2 billion to $5 billion. He said Alabama's numbers won't be available for a few days, but he expects the numbers to exceed the $1 billion in damage to insured property during Hurricane Katrina in 2004 and approach the $2 billion in damage to insured property during Ivan a year earlier.

"I've never seen anything this violent and this widespread," he said during a news conference with the governor and executives from five large insurance companies.

Of course, our government will give $2 billion to Pakistan, but not to Alabama.

Putting aside sheltering Osama bin Laden . . .

In March, the Obama administration certified to Congress that Pakistan had shown a "sustained commitment" to ending its support for Islamic militants. Two days later, the top U.S. military officer accused Pakistan's premier spy agency of supporting Afghanistan's deadliest insurgent group.

At the same time, U.S. officials were in the final stages of planning the raid that killed Osama bin Laden on Monday, didn't know if Pakistani officials were helping to hide the al-Qaida leader in a military town near their capital.

Despite the contradictions, the certification was granted, removing a key hurdle for Congress to approve $1.5 billion in new U.S. military aid to Islamabad and showing yet again the lengths to which the Obama administration has bent over backward to keep its policy toward Pakistan on track.

Putting aside sheltering Osama bin Laden, "Pakistan had shown a 'sustained commitment' to ending its support for Islamic militants".

That makes no sense.

And, it certainly doesn't justify $1.5 billion in new U.S. military aid.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

What is wrong with our "leaders"?

The Obama administration was investigating whether Pakistan knew Osama bin Laden was hiding deep inside the country as House Speaker John Boehner and top lawmakers insisted the U.S. maintain close ties with the sometimes reluctant ally in the war on terror.

The killing of Osama bin Laden at a compound just miles from Islamabad prompted furious questions about whether Pakistan was complicit in protecting the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. Several Republicans and Democrats in Congress have raised the possibility of cutting off U.S. aid to Pakistan.

John Brennan, White House counterterrorism adviser, said the administration is "not accusing anybody at this point, but we want to make sure we get to the bottom of this." He said they were looking at whether bin Laden had a support system in Pakistan that allowed him to remain in the country.


The Democratic president and the Republican speaker of the house both agree that we should let Pakistan get away with sheltering Osama bin Laden.


Adnan El Shukrijumah

He was not a member of the South Florida “sleeper” cell that plotted the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but former Broward County Community College student Adnan El Shukrijumah has risen to the top ranks of al Qaeda’s global operations, according to the Justice Department.

The Saudi-born El Shukrijumah, who studied computer science and chemistry at BCC, left his family’s home in Miramar for Trinidad the week before the Sept. 11, 2001, assaults. His whereabouts were a mystery for years.

But last July, the 35-year-old was charged along with four others in an alleged al Qaeda plot to attack New York’s subway system and targets in England.

El Shukrijumah, a one-time legal U.S. resident and citizen of Guyana, is now a fugitive believed to be in Pakistan, according to the FBI.

El Shukrijumah “served as one of the leaders of al Qaeda’s external operations program,” federal authorities said in 2010. He was accused in an indictment of recruiting three other defendants to return to the United States to carry out terrorist attacks in New York.

During a break in my usual employment, I taught middle school in Miramar, Florida for 3 years. El Shukrijumah's two sisters and / or cousins were both in my classes. Thet were two sweet smart little girls in long jeans, long sleeve shirts and complete head coverings regardless of the weather. Neither ever did any work or made any effort. I once asked the younger one why, because she was obviously very capable. Her answer: "It doesn't matter what I do in school, I'm getting married at 16, and I'll never go to college or work." That was before El Shukrijumah was supposedly radicalised.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A question for opponents of waterboarding . . .

The possibility that U.S. spies located Osama bin Laden with help from detainees who'd been subjected to "enhanced interrogation" techniques seems certain to reopen the debate over practices that many have equated with torture, security experts said on Monday.

One of the key sources for initial information about an al Qaeda "courier" who led U.S. authorities to bin Laden's Pakistani hide-out was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the al Qaeda operative said to have masterminded the September 11, 2001 attacks, a former U.S. national security official said.

KSM, as he was known to U.S. officials, was subjected to "waterboarding" 183 times, the U.S. government has acknowledged.

If waterboarding got us Osama, was it worth it?

Radioactive cars from Japan?

Customs agents in Chile have detected low levels of radioactivity in cars shipped from the Japanese port of Yokohama.

Chile says the radioactivity was found in 21 of nearly 2,500 cars that arrived in Iquique aboard the Hyundai 106 cargo ship.

About a hundred port workers have protested, saying their health was at risk.

But Chilean deputy treasury secretary Miguel Angel Quesada said Monday that the Chilean nuclear commission has confirmed that the radioactivity is too low to cause damage to humans. He says the cars will be hosed down on board and any radioactivity will be contained inside inside the ship.

This is the first Japanese shipment to Chile to show radioactivity since Japan's massive earthquake and nuclear disaster.

Everything imported from Japan should be screened for radioactivity, and labelled with the tests results.

I don't want some bureaucrat deciding for me that the level of radioactivity is safe - - tell me the level, and I'll decide if I want that product in my home.

Drug testing welfare recipients

Applying for welfare benefits in Florida? Soon you’ll need to get drug tested.

A measure requiring the tests passed the Senate on Thursday and is headed to Gov. Rick Scott, who called it one of his legislative priorities.

“It’s fair to taxpayers,” Scott said after the vote. “They’re paying the bill. And they’re often drug screened for their jobs. On top of that, it’s good for families. It creates another reason why people will think again before using drugs, which as you know is just a significant issue in our state.”

Scott already signed an executive order requiring random drug testing of state workers.

HB 353 requires all adult recipients of federal cash benefits — the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program — to pay for the tests, which are typically around $35. The screen would be for all controlled substances and applicants would have to disclose any legal prescriptions.

Recipients who test positive for drugs would lose their benefits for a year. If they fail a second time, they lose the benefits for three years. Parents who test positive must designate another adult to receive benefits on behalf of their children.

There is nothing wrong with insisting that people getting government support are not sitting around getting high all day.

You want to get high?  Great, do it.  But, not on my dime.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Violence in Southern Sudan

The persistent violence in southern Sudan has killed more than 150 people in the last week alone, the regional government said on Monday as it continued to struggle to control its own territory less than three months before independence.

. . . But the closer southern Sudan gets to becoming the world’s newest country, the less stable it appears. Numerous southern Sudanese rebellions have broken out since voters overwhelmingly approved a January referendum on independence from the north, not including the unrelenting tensions between northern and southern Sudan in the contested region of Abyei.

Where are all those who insisted on Southern Sudanese independence?

They bear some responsibility for the violence and instability unleashed by independence.

Kill instead of capture

As details surface about the mission earlier this week to find Osama bin Laden, one thing is clear: Capturing the long-sought terrorist mastermind alive might have been an option, but it wasn't a top priority.

The Navy SEAL team that slipped into Pakistan and entered bin Laden's walled hideout put a bullet in his head and helicoptered away with his corpse. He was buried at sea.

Experts were divided on whether that was the wiser course. The risks were high either way.

Osama bin Laden, captured alive and in U.S. custody, would have unleashed a nightmare of constant litigation, world wide protests and increased security concerns.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pakistan hid Osama

The U.S. military's successful takeout of Osama bin Laden raised big questions - and a chorus of skepticism - about whether Pakistan's military and intelligence services knew all along that the global terrorist leader was hiding in their backyard.

Pakistan knew, Pakistan was hiding him and Pakistan is neither our friend nor our ally.

We should cut off all aid to Pakistan immediately.

Leave Afghanistan NOW

Osama bin Laden's death could force President Barack Obama to change his strategy for ending the nearly decade-long Afghan war, including keeping tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan at least until 2014, according to some Western experts and officials.

The key rationale underpinning Obama's strategy — repeated in every major statement that the president or his lieutenants make on the war — is that the massive U.S. troop presence is required to stop the Taliban from retaking power in Afghanistan, which could allow al Qaida to use the country again as a sanctuary from which to attack the United States.

We went into Afghanistan to get Osama. (It turns out we didn't have to, because he was living among out Pakistani "allies".)

But, we got him. It's time to declare victory and go home.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

We caught Osama . . .

because we didn't follow the prescriptions of Obama.

We found the necessary trail doing everything Obama opposed, everywhere Obama wanted us to shut down.

If there was no Guantanamo, Osama would still be luxuriating in a mansion 60 miles outside the capital city of our "ally".

Iraqi violence continues

A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a Shiite mosque in central Iraq on Thursday, killing 10 people, amid nationwide violence that left 16 dead, including senior police and army officers.

The violence comes with just months to go before US troops must withdraw completely from the country, and as a series of American officials have passed through Baghdad this month to press Iraq to decide on whether it wants an extended US military presence.

In other words, Iraqi violence continues unabated while we beg for permission to stay.

Monday, May 2, 2011

In Bahrain, not Libya

Four anti-government protesters in Bahrain were sentenced to death on Thursday by a military court over the killing of two policemen when violence erupted in the capital last month.

The ruling means the four men could be the first to face a firing squad in Bahrain since 2007. It has dismayed human rights activists who claim the men did not receive a fair trial, and the British Foreign Office urged Bahrain "to ensure that due process is carefully and transparently followed in all cases, particularly where severe penalties are proposed".

The defendants' lawyer, Mohammed al-Tajer, was arrested in the runup to the hearing, and Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, said his replacement may not have had enough time to prepare for such a serious case. He added the decision to try the civilians in a military court which is ultimately controlled by Bahrain's ruling family breached norms of international human rights.


Bahrain, our ally, continues to do what we invaded Libya for not yet starting to do.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Morocco falling apart

Trouble in yet another Muslim country.

A series of explosions that killed 15 people when they erupted Thursday morning in a cafe in the city of Marrakech was an act of terrorism, Morocco's interior minister said.

"We will investigate this act of terrorism and find those responsible ... and their nationality," Taib Cherqaoui told reporters about the attack, in which at least 22 others were wounded. "We condemn it as a criminal act."

In an address on state-run television, Cherqaoui and King Mohamed VI said the fatalities included six French nationals, five Moroccans, and four others whose nationalities were not divulged. CNN has learned that, of the four remaining fatalities, two were Russian and one was British.

The incident occurred around 11 a.m. at Cafe Argana in Marrakech's old city, which is designated by the United Nation's cultural arm as a World Heritage Site. Tourists flock to it in high numbers this time of the year and it is usually packed with stalls, story-tellers and snake-charmers.

Afghanistan falling apart

Afghan authorities have arrested the warden and other officials at the Kandahar prison where nearly 500 insurgents managed to escape this week through a tunnel built by the Taliban, officials said Thursday.

Ghulam Dastagher Mayar was among 10 officials arrested at Sarposa prison, about half of those on duty at the time of the prison break that began late Sunday, according to Gen. Amir Mohammad Jamshidi, the country's chief director of prisons.

Jamshidi and other Afghan officials declined to identify the other arrested officials or detail the charges against those held.

Our allies in the Afghan government, including the military and security forces, have been infiltrated and compromised by the Taliban.

We cannot win.

Pakistan falling apart

Taliban militants in Pakistan extended their campaign of violence Thursday against the country’s security forces, targeting the navy for the third time this week with a bombing that killed five in the southern city of Karachi.

A roadside bomb blasted a bus that was carrying naval personnel, killing four people in the vehicle, along with a passing motorcyclist, officials said; at least five people were wounded. On Tuesday two naval buses in different parts of the city were bombed in almost identical attacks, killing four people and wounding 56. The Pakistani Taliban, which are closely allied with al Qaida, claimed responsibility for all the blasts.

It's just a matter of time before conservative neocons and liberal dreamers, both seeking to spread "democracy", once again join forces to urge intervention by U.S. ground troops in yet another Muslim country.