Sunday, June 20, 2010

Political Digest June 20, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Nor that I disagree with them, of course.
Obama and the vision thing
Excerpt: Barack Obama doesn't do the mundane. He was sent to us to do larger things. You could see that plainly in his Oval Office address on the gulf oil spill. He could barely get himself through the pedestrian first half: a bit of BP-bashing, a bit of faux-Clintonian "I feel your pain," a bit of recovery and economic mitigation accounting. It wasn't until the end of the speech -- the let-no-crisis-go-to-waste part that tried to leverage the Gulf Coast devastation to advance his cap-and-trade climate-change agenda -- that Obama warmed to his task. Pedestrian is beneath Obama. Mr. Fix-It he is not. He is world-historical, the visionary, come to make the oceans recede and the planet heal. How? By creating a glorious, new, clean green economy. And how exactly to do that? From Washington, by presidential command and with tens of billions of dollars thrown around. With the liberal (and professorial) conceit that scientific breakthroughs can be legislated into existence, Obama proposes to give us a new industrial economy.

A Telling Detail: The Turkish Leader's Personal Quarrel with Barack Obama
Excerpt: I've written a lot about the motives for Turkey's regime in turning toward the Iranian bloc and away from the West, as well as picking a bitter quarrel with Israel (here and here). But there's a detail that's extraordinarily important that must be added. This is something that one hears from many Turks, both regime supporters and oppositionists, but hasn't surfaced in the Western media. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is very angry at President Barack Obama and feels that the U.S. president has personally insulted him. And accepting this story, many pro-regime Turks think that Obama has thus insulted Turkey itself. [Why, might you ask, do many opposition Turks feel angry at the United States? A big step in that was the quarrel in 2003 over whether U.S. troops could go through Turkey to get into Iraq. So, yes, this is one case where the Bush Administration does deserve a lot of the blame. But one more recently constantly hears Turks opposed to the Islamist regime who are mad because they feel that Obama is supporting the Islamization of their country by being so soft on the current regime.] For months and up to the very last minute, Obama privately encouraged Erdogan to negotiate with Iran for some kind of deal. This was a terribly stupid thing to do since Obama should have understood that Erdogan is now very close to Tehran. But the Turkish prime minister was eager to play an important international role and to help his friends in Tehran, as well as scoring points with the United States. In another bad mistake, Obama thought that coddling the Turkish regime would lead to gaining its vote in the UN Security Council on sanctions against Iran. The result was the exact opposite.

How to completely Boycott Israel

FCC Moves to Regulate Internet--Even Though the Law Calls for Internet to be 'Unfettered by Federal or State Regulation'
Excerpt: Robert McDowell, the commission’s longest-serving Republican member, said the commission should preserve the free Internet of today, adding that more Internet freedom would be in the public interest. “An open and freedom-enhancing Internet is what we have today,” McDowell said. McDowell also said that reclassifying the Internet was “unnecessary” and that the FCC should wait for Congress to grant it explicit authority over the Web, saying, “We are not Congress.” In fact, the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which gave the government no explicit authority to regulate Internet service, states: “It is the policy of the United States … to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet and other interactive computer services, unfettered by Federal or State regulation.”

Border shooters continue to elude law enforcement
I understand people are angry and frustrated at our government’s failure to secure the border. But this will make things worse. Excerpt: Shooters who have been targeting undocumented migrants continue to elude law-enforcement officers in Santa Cruz County, with recent incidents clustering around the Peck Canyon area in Rio Rico. According to records kept by the Nogales International, over 50 incidents of borderland robberies and/or assaults have been reported to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office since April 10, 2008. During these incidents, nearly a dozen people have been shot and at least three have been killed. Their assailants have been described as men carrying semi-automatic weapons and wearing black and/or camouflage who lie in ambush on the U.S. side of the border. The most recent incident was June 11 when five illegal border-crossers were ambushed by two camouflage-clad gunmen near the dead end of Peck Canyon Drive in Rio Rico. One of the men, Manuel Esquer Gomez, 45, was shot in the arm as the group fled. Sheriff’s deputies also located the remains of a Mexican man near the site of the shooting, and those remains are now being examined for signs of foul play. Santa Cruz County Sheriff Antonio Estrada said deputies had no leads on the shooters. “Five hours lead way is a lot of time,” said Estrada, referring to the amount of time that elapsed before the incident was reported. Investigators faced the same obstacle nearly six months ago when, on Nov. 27, a hunter discovered a man 5-6 miles west of Peck Canyon who had been fatally shot in the leg. Nearly a week earlier, on Nov. 21, county dispatch received a report of yet another shooting in the Peck Canyon area.

Son kills father who translated for US in Iraq
An “Appointment in Samarra.” Along with the Birds and the Bees, Dad should have explained that “Islam is a Religion of Peace.” Excerpt: An al-Qaida-linked insurgent shot and killed his own father as he slept in his bed Friday for refusing to quit his job as an Iraqi interpreter for the U.S. military, police said, a rare deadly attack on a close family member over allegations of collaborating with the enemy. The attack happened on a particularly bloody day in Iraq, with at least 27 people killed nationwide in bombings and ambushes largely targeting the houses of government officials, Iraqi security forces and those seen as allied with them. Hameed al-Daraji, 50, worked as a contractor and translator for the U.S. military for seven years since shortly after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003. He was shot in the chest about 3 a.m. while sleeping in his house in Samarra, a former insurgent stronghold 60 miles (95 kilometers) north of Baghdad, police Lt. Emad Muhsin said. Authorities arrested the son and his cousin, saying the young men apparently were trying to prove their loyalty after rejoining the insurgency. Police were also looking for another son who allegedly took part in the attack. Citing confessions, police said the son whom they arrested, Abdul-Halim Hameed, 30, was a former member of al-Qaida in Iraq who quit the terror network in mid-2007 under pressure from U.S.-Iraqi security operations that have led to a sharp drop in violence in the area.

Not First Legal Run-In For Video Teens
Excerpt: Cop assault, robbery, auto theft on rap sheets of viral "victims.” One of the teenage girls seen tussling with a Seattle cop on a recent viral video was arrested last year for assaulting a sheriff's deputy, records show. Marilyn Levias, 19, was busted last February after cops were called to a residential treatment center where the young woman had been abusive to staff (Levias was scheduled to be transported to a foster home).

Obama to be given the right to shut down the internet with 'kill switch'
Without e-mail, businesses, organizations and agencies would collapse. Excerpt: President Obama will be given the power to shut down the Internet with a 'kill switch' in a new law being proposed in the US. He would be able to order popular search engines such a Google and Yahoo to suspend access their websites in times of national emergency. Other US based Internet service providers as well as broadband providers would also come under his control in times of a 'cybersecurity emergency.' Any company that failed to comply would be subject to huge fines. Critics of the new law, which has been proposed by former presidential candidate Joe Liebermann, said it would be an abuse of power to let the White House control the internet. TechAmerica, one of the largest U.S. technology lobby groups, said the new law had the 'potential for absolute power.'. The proposed legislation, introduced into the US Senate by Lieberman who is chairman of the US Homeland Security committee, seeks to grant the President broad emergency powers over the internet in times of national emergency.

House Republicans told Barton to apologize or lose his committee seat
Excerpt: Members of the Texas Congressional delegation, including Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, right, Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, left, and Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, center, address reporters on legal challenge to the health care reform bill, Thursday, March 25, 2010, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke) House Republican leaders told Rep. Joe Barton that he would be stripped of his ranking member status on a key committee Thursday if he did not immediately apologize for comments earlier in the day accusing President Obama of a “shakedown” of oil giant BP, sources told the Daily Caller. “He was told, ‘Apologize, immediately. Or you will lose your position, immediately,” a House GOP leadership aide said, describing a meeting between Barton and House Minority Leader John Boehner and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor.

Another Catholic University Fails a Litmus Test: What was Marquette's mistake?
I’m just really annoyed that I never knew one could make a living as a “sexuality scholar,” and I frittered my life away on politics and management jobs. I would have been great. Probably many students would have had to be kept after for extra help. Excerpt: Marquette University's decision to withdraw an offer to Jodi O'Brien, a self-described "sexuality scholar" to become Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the Jesuit-led institution continues to divide the faculty. Although Ms. O'Brien reached a settlement with the University last week, her supporters maintain that she is the victim of homophobia. Teachers who criticized the initial job offer say that Ms. O'Brien's sexual orientation is not what disqualifies her, but rather the fact that her publications disparage Catholic moral teachings on marriage, sexuality and the family.
In a post-settlement letter sent June 9th to the Marquette community, University President Father Robert A. Wild wrote, "[W]e have apologized to Dr. O'Brien for the way in which this was handled and for the upset and unwanted attention that we have caused to this outstanding teacher and scholar." Yet Fr. Wild also added that he stands by his decision to rescind the employment offer, a decision "made in the context of Marquette's commitment to its mission and identity."

World Sees Obama as Incompetent and Amateur
Excerpt: President Obama came into office as the heir to a great foreign policy legacy enjoyed by every recent U.S. president. Why? Because the United States stands on top of the power ladder, not necessarily as the dominant power, but certainly as the leading one. As such we are the sole nation capable of exercising global leadership on a whole range of international issues from security, trade, and climate to counterterrorism. We also benefit from the fact that most countries distrust the United States far less than they distrust one another, so we uniquely have the power to build coalitions. As a result, most of the world still looks to Washington for help in their region and protection against potential regional threats. Yet, the Iraq war lingers; Afghanistan continues to be immersed in an endless cycle of tribalism, corruption, and Islamist resurgence; Guantánamo remains open; Iran sees how North Korea toys with Obama and continues its programs to develop nuclear weapons and missiles; Cuba spurns America's offers of a greater opening; and the Palestinians and Israelis find that it is U.S. policy positions that defer serious negotiations, the direct opposite of what the Obama administration hoped for. The reviews of Obama's performance have been disappointing. He has seemed uncomfortable in the role of leading other nations, and often seems to suggest there is nothing special about America's role in the world. The global community was puzzled over the pictures of Obama bowing to some of the world's leaders and surprised by his gratuitous criticisms of and apologies for America's foreign policy under the previous administration of George W. Bush. One Middle East authority, Fouad Ajami, pointed out that Obama seems unaware that it is bad form and even a great moral lapse to speak ill of one's own tribe while in the lands of others.

Opinion: Australia: Revolt against Rudd will be ugly
Excerpt: The image of Australia as a nice place for relaxed politicians is going to be on hold for a while. PM Rudd is in big trouble, and the sound of knives is being heard throughout the land. A leadership revolt is in the air, and whatever happens, it’s not going to be pretty. Elected in 2007 with a huge win, Rudd is nobody’s idea of a fool. He survived the murderous Labor competition to become leader, too, which is about as much fun as swimming the Pacific inside a shark. With great energy, he swung into major reforms, and got a reputation for being a hard boss. So far, so good. Then, this year, the wheels fell off, all of them. In the greatest reversal of political profile and positions since Ben Chifley sent in troops against the miner’s strike, everything collapsed.

Scientists & Science Journalists - Please Grow Up
The "screaming death spiral" scientist now admits he might have overstated the matter. I'm fascinated by the way people talk about climate change - what words they choose, what they don't say, and whether their arguments are intellectually rigorous or emotionally manipulative. In this regard, the manner in which Arctic ice melt is presented by activist scientists and activist journalists would make a great case study. Below are a few quick observations. In December 2007, Mark Serreze, described as a "senior scientist at the U.S. government's National Snow and Ice Data Center," gave the Associated Press an emotionally-charged quote: The Arctic is screaming. Yep, that's what this man who has been trained in the cautious, tentative, rigorous approach known as the scientific method told the media. The quote appeared in an article that began with this paragraph: An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this summer, a warning sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed an ominous tipping point. One even speculated that summer sea ice would be gone in five years. The journalist, science writer Seth Borenstein, deliberately chose to use the words "relentless" and "ominous" in his first sentence. He chose to say that melting had not merely accelerated but had done so "greatly" - and to add in the "tipping point" jargon for good measure. He then made another deliberate choice when he devoted the very next sentence to rank speculation. A few paragraphs down we're introduced to activist scientist Jay Zwally. In point of fact, he says he thinks the Arctic Ocean "could be nearly ice-free" in five years. (....) The Associated Press article is a long one - more than 1,200 words - and readers must wade through all sorts of emotionally-laden verbiage before they arrive at the final paragraph and the observation of a more cautious scientist, Cecilia Bitz, who thinks that although ice melt is trending in one direction, what's occurring at that moment should probably be characterized as a blip.

Cuccinelli tells court former U-Va. professor's academic freedom not threatened
Excerpt: Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has told a judge that his request for documents related to the work of former University of Virginia climate scientist Michael Mann should be granted because neither academic freedom nor the First Amendment "immunizes" a person from a fraud investigation. The university has petitioned a judge to set aside Cuccinelli's "civil investigative demand," essentially a subpoena, in which he sought seeking emails sent to and from Mann before he left the university in 2005, as well as information about five public grants Mann received while at the school.

A Fundamental Scientific Error in “global warming” Book for Children
(Comment from on a 4-page PDF from SPPI) reports on the school board that made this decision here. This book has been around since 2007. Since she’s married to Seinfeld producer Larry David, so it fits right in with the rest of the Seinfeld saga. (For example, did you know NASA GISS is over “Monks restaurant” from the show? No, really.) An SPPI report on David’s book in 2007 said on page 18 of Laurie David’s new children’s global warming book, there is a glaring scientific error: "Deep down in the Antarctic ice are atmosphere samples from the past, trapped in tiny air bubbles. These bubbles, formed when snowflakes fell on the ice, are the key to figuring out two things about climate history: what temperatures were in the past and which greenhouse gases were present in the atmosphere at that time. The more the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the higher the temperature climbed. The less carbon dioxide, the more the temperature fell. You can see this relationship for yourself by looking at the graph...." David adds: "What makes this graph so amazing is that by connecting rising CO2 to rising temperature scientists have discovered the link between greenhouse-gas pollution and global warming." What really makes their graph “amazing” is that it’s dead wrong.

More Junk Science Out of NASA?
I had the original story in the blog. A response. Excerpt: You’ll recall that WUWT reported here a couple days ago on NASA’s warnings of “huge space storms” causing devastation in 2013 or so. Well, one leading Russian scientist has something to say about it. The German edition of the online Russian RIA Novosti has a report today called: World Catastrophe in 2013? Russian Solar Scientist Is Sceptical. Astrophysicist Sergei Bogatchov told RIA Novosti yesterday: "Today there exists no scientific basis that allows the condition of the earth and the sun to be predicted over such a time period."

Obama's Cavalier Indifference To Britain Is Shameful...
Excerpt: British public opinion was wildly in favor of candidate Obama. President Obama is proving to be something else again. Various irate British observers — from columnists like Peter Hitchens and Geoffrey Wheatcroft to parliamentarians and former cabinet officials — have recently declared the “special relationship” with America to be over. The Anglo animus, perhaps brought to a boil by the World Cup soccer match and by President Obama’s handling of the BP spill, has now reached comical levels. Everything from the War of 1812 to American neutrality in 1939 is evoked to prove that the present estrangement is more typical than aberrant in our post-1776 relations. To be fair, the miffed British are reacting to two years of both perceived and real slights from the Obama administration. Who does not know the familiar litany? There was the rude return of the magnificent Churchill bust. The asymmetrical gift exchange with Gordon Brown — at the end of a visit in which the president repeatedly snubbed the prime minister — and the banal choice of gift for the queen the following month revealed a certain symbolic spite on the administration’s part. The State Department’s suggestion that there was nothing particularly special about American-British relations did not help, especially given the feeling that America does not fully appreciate the singular British military contribution in Afghanistan — to be seen in the light of the meager European commitment. Then there was Secretary Clinton’s unnecessary preemptory announcement of American neutrality in the next round of disputes over the Falklands. All this is topped off by the constant presidential trashing of “British Petroleum” and its mess in the Gulf, with the implication that a foreign interest perhaps does not care too much for a former colony’s ecology.

Pentagon Rebuffs Leaker's Lawyers
Excerpt: The secretive whisteblowing website WikiLeaks said Friday night that its founder, Julian Assange, had hired private criminal defense lawyers to represent the 22-year-old Army intelligence specialist accused of providing WikiLeaks with highly classified combat videos from Iraq and Afghanistan. But Birgitta Jonsdottir, a parliamentarian in Iceland who acts as a spokeswoman for the website, said in a telephone interview from Reykjavik that the Pentagon had refused this week to allow the lawyers to meet the Army intel analyst, Bradley Manning. Jonsdottir said Assange had hired private lawyers several days ago because of growing alarm that the accused whistleblower is being mistreated by the Defense Department. Manning is reported to be in military custody in Kuwait and has not been heard from publicly since he was arrested three weeks ago.

The Future's Not Bright For This Alabama Democrat
Excerpt: In Alabama’s second district, local tea party activists held a “no-show townhall” with a mannequin of their Democratic Representative, Bobby Bright, because Bright refused to hold a town hall meeting himself. Then, the activists took a microphone and spoke to the mannequin. That’s not the kind of thing you want going into a vulnerable re-election cycle, as Bright is this November. “He’s a nice person. He has a wonderful staff. But I don’t think he is a good leader, at all,” said Becky Gerritson, a local tea party activist, who was present at the event. Gerritson complained that Bright, a Democrat who is representing a +16 Republican district, has ridden the fence on every vote he has taken. Bright voted against the health care bill, but in statements afterward, refused to advocate repeal, saying there were "some good parts, many of which will go into effect soon." Bright voted against the stimulus packages, because there was no way he could vote for them in such a fiscally conservative area. “He has never stood up and spoke out against cap-and-trade. or health care. Yes, he voted no on health care, but he never took a position. And he never met with us. He wouldn’t hold any town hall meetings,” said Gerritson.

What took so long?
Oil Spill political hit.

Family of 17-Year-Old Somali Girl Abuses Her for Leaving Islam
Didn’t get the memo. Excerpt: The Muslim parents of a 17-year-old Somali girl who converted to Christianity severely beat her for leaving Islam and have regularly shackled her to a tree at their home for more than a month, Christian sources said. Nurta Mohamed Farah of Bardher, Gedo Region in southern Somalia, has been confined to her home since May 10, when her family found out that she had embraced Christianity, said a Christian leader who visited the area. “When the woman’s family found out that she converted to Christianity, she was beaten badly but insisted on her new-found religion,” said the source on condition of anonymity.

Muslims in Pakistan Kidnap, Rape Christian Girl
Didn’t get the memo. Excerpt: Five Muslims here kidnapped and raped a Christian girl after threatening to kill her unless her father allowed one of them to marry her. Lazarus Masih said one of his three daughters, 14, was kidnapped on May 29 by five men identified only as Guddu, Kamran, Waqas, Adil and Ali. Police recovered her on June 6 in a raid on the home where she was being held, though the suspects escaped. “They threatened that if I don’t get her married to Guddu, they would kill her,” Masih said. “One of them said, ‘We attended an Islamic religious convention, and the speaker said if you marry a non-Muslim or rape a non-Muslim girl, you will get 70 virgins in heaven.”

Coventry farmer defends bacon substitute for Muslims
Excerpt: A Coventry farmer has insisted he is reacting to demand from traders in trying to give Muslims a taste of pork by producing bacon-style rashers from halal-slaughtered turkeys.
Rod Adlington's attempts to imitate the meat, which Muslims cannot eat because of their religion, has seen a Muslim scholar voice concerns that it could lead to people eating real bacon from pork.

Moroccan Islamists Use Facebook to Target Christians
Excerpt: Moroccan Christians say Muslim extremists in the country are aiding and encouraging the government to pursue them by exposing and vilifying them on social networking site Facebook. Facebook user Gardes Maroc Maroc has posted 32 image collages featuring dozens of Christian converts, calling them “hyena evangelists” or “wolves in lamb’s skins” who are trying to “shake the faith of Muslims.” That terminology on the website, which is in Arabic, matches that of Morocco’s anti-proselytizing law, which outlaws efforts to “shake the faith of Muslims.” The online images depict Christian converts and their families from across the country and include details about their roles and activities in churches, their personal addresses and anecdotal stories attempting to malign them. “These are some pics of Moroccan convert hyenas,” reads one image.

High Spirited Fans Celebrate Lakers Win in the Sanctuary City of LA
Attacking the cop car and blowing up another car were really cool.

Pictures as well

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