Sunday, August 29, 2010

Political Digest August 30, 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.
How 'Brilliant' Can President Obama Be?
Excerpt: Every person, newscaster and commentator always prefaces any, even the mildest criticism, of President Obama's policies with some statement about how dazzlingly brilliant the man is. Liberals, conservatives, independents — it never changes. Why is this? And most important of all, is it true? What and where is the proof that Obama is such a sharp fellow? The recorded evidence is unavailable since his academic records, and test scores from three universities are sealed at his demand. Sure, he graduated from Harvard, but so did George Bush, who earned an MBA but is still pilloried by some as dumber than dirt. We shall have to examine Obama's performance and make our own assumptions based on observations. Obama selected advisers and Cabinet heads who have basically no experience in the private sector. He relies heavily on them to tell him what to do about the sick economy. Their knee-jerk responses are Keynesian (borrow and spend), based on a dubious theory popular 70 years ago, and proved unworkable in the past. They sold us the stimulus ("porkulus") package of spending. The result? Rising unemployment and falling home sales prove that "recovery summer" is going down the tube without touching the sides. The president retains his economic Rasputins. Is loyalty to failure a sign of a great mind?

Arson Suspected in Tennessee Islamic Center Fire
Not only wrong, if arson, but aids the left in portraying them as victims of America. Excerpt: A fire early Saturday morning at the construction site of a new Islamic Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Officials have said that the incident is not yet being ruled arson. Investigators are "in the process of an arson investigation," according to Eric Kehn of Nashville ATF.

Islam outlaws all the things that allow Bloomberg to tolerate it
Excerpt: "We are Americans, each with an equal right to worship and pray where we choose," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said this week. "There is nowhere in the five boroughs that is off limits to any religion." Our founding documents guarantee that - and not just in the five boroughs. But the unprecedented furor over plans for a mosque complex at ground zero tells us there is a coalescing sense that Islam is more than a "mere" religion as non-Muslims conceive of "religion." It is becoming clear to people, despite the gag of political correctness, that there's a reason "Islam" means "submission." Islam not only seeks to order the spiritual realm inhabited by a Muslim and Allah, it lays out a doctrine to control every believer's behavior (down to the most intimate bodily functions) as well as the public life of the collective. Doctrinally, Islam is thus "doubly totalitarian," in the words of G.H. Bousquet, a leading scholar of Islamic law, in accordance with the body of law known as Shariah. Under Shariah, freedom of conscience and freedom of speech are outlawed with extreme sanction (those who leave Islam fear death to this day), while non-Muslims and women exist as legal inferiors to the Muslim man. Meanwhile, jihad -- holy war to extend Islamic rule -- is a sacred command. And I have the books that prove it. In other words, this isn't Islam because I say so, but because its sacred, authoritative, mainstream, non-hijacked, untwisted texts say so. It is the religious and political and legal ideology that inspired the al Qaeda killers on 9/11, and it is the religious and political and legal ideology that inspires the mosque complex at ground zero.

El-Gamal Owes NYC $224K in Back Taxes
Well, no wonder the Obama administration loves them! Birds of a feather. ~Bob. Excerpt: The mosque developers are tax deadbeats. Sharif El-Gamal, the leading organizer behind the mosque and community center near Ground Zero, owes $224,270.77 in back property tax on the site, city records show. El-Gamal’s company, 45 Park Place Partners, failed to pay its half-yearly bills in January and July, according to the city Finance Department. Imagine being able to skip paying tax for a year. And then having the city try to help you finance your next purchase.

Mosques being funded by the US Taxpayers?
See, it’s separation of CHUCH and state. Nothing said about mosques.

Ground Zero Mosque Opposition: 'You Might Be a Bigot If…'
Excerpt: Just before London morphed into Londonistan and became the hotbed for international terrorism, the Muslims in the UK cowed the Brits into submission by calling them “bigots” who were being “intolerant” of their “Religion of Peace.” If you don’t believe me, check out Melanie Phillips’ heavily footnoted book, Londonistan, which spells out with Windex-like clarity how our cousins across the pond fell under the PC spell, got neutered and now have a Muslim mess on their hands. This book will wake you the heck up regarding what’s going on right now in NYC … I ga-ron-tee! Allow me to continue. Islam, surfing pluralism’s chipper wave of “tolerance” in the former Great Britain, effectively bullied the Brits into submission simply by calling them names. Unbelievable.

Carla Bruni branded 'prostitute' by Iran after she campaigns for woman threatened with stoning
Excerpt: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has been branded a ‘prostitute’ by Iran after she publicly attacked the country for threatening to stone a woman to death. France’s First Lady is part of a campaign to save the life of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two. She is accused of cheating on her husband and then helping to kill him, and is now facing capital punishment for her crimes.

Europe’s Mosque wars
Excerpt: As Americans debate the appropriateness of building a Muslim mosque near Ground Zero in New York City, similar discussions have been taking place in towns and cities across Europe, where the spread of Islam is far more advanced than it is in the United States. Although Muslims and their supporters in Europe usually frame the issue of mosque construction within the context of granting religious freedom to minorities, most, if not all, of the more controversial European mosque projects are motivated by politics at least as much as by religion.
There currently are an estimated 6,000 mosques in Europe. Many of them are housed in makeshift structures such as small shops, basements, offices, garages and rented rooms. But as the Muslim population in Europe increases by more than one million people per year, Muslims across the continent are becoming increasingly more assertive in their demands to build high-profile mosques that clearly are meant to challenge the European status quo.
Critics say the construction of mosques is part of a strategy for the Islamization of Europe. They point to comments by Muslim leaders like Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has bragged: "The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers." Erdogan has also told Turkish immigrants in Germany that "assimilation is a crime against humanity."

Pakistani Taliban hint at attacks on aid workers
Allah (the compassionate, the merciful) willing. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Taliban hinted Thursday they may launch attacks against foreigners helping Pakistan respond to the worst floods in the country's history, saying their presence was "unacceptable." The U.N. said it would not be deterred by violent threats. The militant group has attacked aid workers in the country before, and an outbreak of violence could complicate a relief effort that has already struggled to reach the 8 million people who are in need of emergency assistance. Pakistani Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq claimed the U.S. and other countries that have pledged support are not really focused on providing aid to flood victims but had other motives he did not specify.

Britain faces new terror wave
Excerpt: Michael Clarke, a former government adviser and the head of the Royal United Services Institute, says he believes the security services could struggle to cope with a new generation of extremists seeking to carry out "lone wolf" attacks. In a report published today, Prof Clarke says that, over the next five to 10 years, about 800 prisoners – in jail for non-terrorism offences – are due to be released on to the streets having been radicalised in jail. They will be joined by convicted terrorists serving short sentences who, once freed, are likely to be just as committed to the cause of jihad as before they were jailed, the report claims. Prof Clarke, who advised Gordon Brown as a member of the National Security Forum and is a visiting professor at King's College London, warns that this "new wave" will pose a significant challenge to the security services responsible for identifying and monitoring them. While previous al-Qaeda tactics involved so-called "spectacular" attacks, the report warns that the terrorist group's leaders, such as Yemeni preacher and US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, are encouraging individuals to launch less sophisticated but equally deadly attacks on crowded places. Their targets have also changed from concentrating on aircraft to including attacks on trains, hotels and sporting events. The report will serve as a stark reminder to the Government and public that the threat from Islamist terrorism remains severe, even though there has not been a fatal attack on British soil since 2005.

Why can't Barack Obama tell the world about American tolerance?
Good commentary from Britain. ~Bob. Excerpt: It took a Manhattan taxi driver called Ahmed Sharif to speak out for America, which is being vilified as bigoted and Islamophobic because of the controversy generated by opposition to the so-called "Ground Zero mosque". The United States was his dream country, he enthused, and he loved New York City. "I feel like I belong here. This is the city actually [for] all colours, races, religion, everyone. We live here side by side peacefully." Which was a pretty noble sentiment coming from a man whose throat had been slashed by a drunken, deranged passenger who had inquired whether he was a Muslim before pulling out a knife and shouting "Peace be upon you" in Arabic. As the whole world knows, there is a furore raging over the proposed building of a 15-storey Islamic community centre, containing a mosque, two blocks from Ground Zero, site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda. America's liberal elites have been falling over themselves to denounce their country and fellow citizens as anti-Muslim xenophobes who don't understand that it was not all followers of Islam who were responsible for the atrocities of 2001. Certainly, some Americans opposed to what is now known as the Park51centre (its previous name of Cordoba centre, a reference to a mosque built in Spain on the site of a Christian church to symbolise a Muslim victory, did not quite strike the right public relations note) are motivated by bigotry. But it was the centre's Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf himself who linked its purpose to its proximity to the Ground Zero site. It is entirely valid to question whether this is the right approach to building interfaith bridges. Rauf, who once described the US policies as "an accessory to the crime" of 9/11, stated in Bahrain last week that all the "attention is a sign of the success of our efforts" – an utterance that shows he is stupid, mischievous or worse. Even if the aim of building the centre there was to encourage religious understanding, that is clearly no longer a possible outcome. So what kind of success was Rauf referring to? To want to debate such matters, however, is judged as beyond the pale. Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York tried to shut down discussion by saying that opponents of Rauf's initiative "ought to be ashamed of themselves". Presumably, that includes Bangladeshi-born Sharif, who doesn't support the Park51 centre.

Administration halts prosecution of alleged USS Cole bomber
Excerpt: In a filing this week in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the Justice Department said that "no charges are either pending or contemplated with respect to al-Nashiri in the near future." The statement, tucked into a motion to dismiss a petition by Nashiri's attorneys, suggests that the prospect of further military trials for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has all but ground to a halt, much as the administration's plan to try the accused plotters of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in federal court has stalled. Only two cases are moving forward at Guantanamo Bay, and both were sworn and referred for trial by the time Obama took office. In January 2009, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates directed the Convening Authority for Military Commissions to stop referring cases for trial, an order that 20 months later has not been rescinded. Military officials said a team of prosecutors in the Nashiri case has been ready go to trial for some time. And several months ago, military officials seemed confident that Nashiri would be arraigned this summer. "It's politics at this point," said one military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss policy. He said he thinks the administration does not want to proceed against a high-value detainee without some prospect of civilian trials for other major figures at Guantanamo Bay. A White House official disputed that. "We are confident that the reformed military commissions are a lawful, fair and effective prosecutorial forum and that the Department of Defense will handle the referrals in an appropriate manner consistent with the interests of justice," said the official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity. (The Administration can't have it both ways on Gitmo detainee legal issues. Either this turkey has the same legal rights as we do or he doesn't. Pick your laws, pick your place, and get it done. He's been "in custody" since November, 2002. If he's found guilty in a civilian court at this point, a good lawyer will get him off for lack of a speedy trial. A cynic might say perhaps that's the point. Ron P. Anyone who isn’t a cynic isn’t paying attention. ~Bob)

Norway ‘bomb plot’ underscores al-Qaida pitfalls
Intercepted their e-mail? What about their civil liberties to plot to kill infidels? An outrage! ~Bob. Excerpt: When police arrested a suspected al-Qaida cell in Norway last month they turned up the makings of a bomb lab tucked away in a nondescript Oslo apartment building. An Associated Press investigation shows that authorities learned early on about the alleged cell by intercepting e-mails from an al-Qaida operative in Pakistan and — thanks to those early warnings — were able to secretly replace a key bomb-making ingredient with a harmless liquid when one of the suspects ordered it at an Oslo pharmacy. Officials say the suspected plot against this quiet Nordic country was one of three planned attacks on the West hatched in the rugged mountains of northwest Pakistan by some of al-Qaida’s most senior leaders. The other plots targeted the bustling New York subway and a shopping mall in Manchester, England.

Using our brains on the refugee problem
The immigration problem….in Canada. ~Bob. Excerpt: When it comes to the recent controversy of the 492 Tamil migrants who arrived by ship in Canada with the hopes of claiming political asylum here, opinion is very divided. According to a new survey released by Angus Reid, 63% of Canadians feel the ship should have been prevented from landing in British Columbia, and a great deal of those polled expressed skepticism that the Tamils aboard were fleeing any danger at all. Even more respondents, 83%, said they felt that the Tamils are jumping the proper immigration queue, and that they should be forced to apply through the same channels as any other immigrant. Perhaps most frustrating has been the legal explanations of how Canada is obligated under international treaties to accept refugees who arrive from conflict zones, as well as the application of the Canadian Charter of Rights to non-Canadians once they step on our soil. Frustrating, because it would appear that our best intentions have paved a very expensive road to a very hot place. On the one side you have people expressing skepticism that these Tamils are fleeing immediate strife, or that there weren’t other countries to which they could have gone. Canada is a mighty long way from Sri Lanka, and there is a large expatriate Tamil community located in nearby India. But it must be acknowledged at some point that precedent has precipitated this latest perforation of our border. Toronto has the largest expatriate Tamil community in the world, while Canada has the highest acceptance rate of asylum claims from Tamils as well — about 75%, according to former High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Martin Collacott. If we look at the relative ease with which refugees have already navigated their way into political asylum, we should not be blaming the Tamil people for the assumption that Canada is an open-border country. If they paid their way to come to Canada in good faith, we should be directing our anger at the smugglers. It doesn’t seem perspicuous to castigate the refugees themselves, though our patience may have been worn thin by such a voluminous arrival of needy people.

Think the economy is bad? Worse is coming
Economic prospects continue to grow gloomier as the Commerce Department on Friday revised the second-quarter growth rate substantially downward from the initial estimate of 2.4 percent to a mere 1.6 percent. Just to stay on an even keel in terms of job creation, the growth rate needs to be at least 3 percent. It has averaged only 2.9 percent for the past four quarters. Virtually every key economic indicator is pointing in either the wrong direction or is barely leaning to the positive side. Unemployment remains officially at 9.5 percent and is likely to head upward in the near future. If you are counting people who are either underemployed or have given up looking, the unemployment number nears a Great Depression level of 20 percent. The really bad news, however, is that things are going to get worse before they get better unless President Obama and the Democratic Congress reverse course and abandon their plan to impose a huge tax increase on Jan. 1, 2011. That's the day the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire. Tax rates on all five income brackets, not just those paid by "the rich," will increase by 2 to 4 percentage points, thereby blowing a $921 billion hole in the nation's ailing economy. Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have sent federal spending skyrocketing, from 20 percent of the gross domestic product to 25 percent. The coming tax increase will drive the cost of government even further into the stratosphere, which will deprive the private sector of nearly a trillion dollars that could have gone to job creation.

Obama, Democrats got 88 percent of 2008 contributions by TV network execs, writers, reporters
Excerpt: Senior executives, on-air personalities, producers, reporters, editors, writers and other self-identifying employees of ABC, CBS and NBC contributed more than $1 million to Democratic candidates and campaign committees in 2008, according to an analysis by The Examiner of data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. The Democratic total of $1,020,816 was given by 1,160 employees of the three major broadcast television networks, with an average contribution of $880. By contrast, only 193 of the employees contributed to Republican candidates and campaign committees, for a total of $142,863. The average Republican contribution was $744. (I would have guessed 95%. The amazing thing is that despite almost unitary control of the mainstream media and the universities, where opposing thought is ignored or disparaged, 40% of Americans say they are conservative, only 20% say liberal. Imagine what it would be if 50% of reporters and professors were conservative and things were “fair and balanced”? ~Bob).

Debt, Depression, Default. America is in Deep Trouble
Excerpt: Consumers are spending less. Small retailers are closing shop -- even cable television subscriptions are seeing a loss in revenue. Mike Shedlock of cites reports by Jacqui Cheng of Ars Technica, Mercedes Cardon of Finance Daily, and Jon Chavez of the Toledo Blade, highlighting America's economic woes with the following:

Fix the IPCC process
Excerpt: After the Climategate emails scandal of last winter, and discoveries of some embarrassing errors in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), its chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, asked the Inter-Academy Council (IAC) to review IPCC procedures. The IAC is a little-known branch of the Inter-Academy Panel, itself a little-known committee that connects national academic societies. It was a safe choice for Pachauri. The last IAC report was a glowing tribute to alternative energy schemes, coauthored by Pachauri himself, along with current Obama administration appointee Stephen Chu and a group of others. So I do not expect much independence of mind or hard-headed objectivity from the IAC. But with the report due out on Aug. 30, I guess we shall soon see. I was one of hundreds of people asked to respond to a set of inquiry questions. The questions, and my replies, are available on my Web page ( Here is a summary of some of my input. IPCC policies, such as the requirement for an “objective, open and transparent” review process, sound impressive, but my experience is that the written policies are not always followed, and there do not appear to be any consequences when they are breached. For example, one rule states: “Review Editors will need to ensure that where significant differences of opinion on scientific issues remain, such differences are described in an annex to the Report.” Yet no such annexes have been produced. I was involved in numerous areas where there were significant differences of opinion on scientific issues, such as flaws in surface temperature data, improper estimation of trend uncertainties and methodological flaws in paleoclimate research. None of these differences were resolved during the review process, yet no annexes were ever published, creating a false impression of consensus. (In the climategate emails, there are two persons referred to as "M & M." Steve MacIntire of British Columbia was mentioned in TOJ when readers of his blog voluntarily put up enough money (in about 2 hours) for him to attend a debate hosted by The Guardian newspaper in the UK a few months ago. The other "M" is Ross McKitrick, a professor at Guelf University in Ontario, Canada. Between the two Ms, they have been major players in upsetting the Anthropogenic Global Warming parade because of its poor science. In this piece, McKitrick gives specific advice on how to fix the problems with the IPCC process. Ron P.)

The Fragility of Statist Societies
Excerpt: A variety of progressives claim that utilitarian arguments show it’s practical to have the state control large swaths of citizens’ lives. Ethical arguments aside, that view is belied by a large body of evidence. The recent Russian drought and fires required them to slash exports by 30 percent. China’s widely admired infrastructure push has produced widespread dislocations from floods and man-made landslides. Haiti’s earthquake that killed over 200,000 will have them reeling for years, even with billions in international aid. The point here is not simply that natural disasters cause major damage. It’s that the recovery time and effort in statist societies is typically longer, more painful, and causes major unnecessary social disruptions. When there’s little freedom or incentive for private individuals to profit from cleaning up a mess, it has to be organized and paid for by the state. But the state always has lots of other financial commitments and priorities, and few reserves. With so many hungering to get a sliver of the spoils and so many expansionist plans always on tap, statist regimes are perpetually short of resources. By contrast, countries with a much larger ratio of private enterprise to government are better equipped to endure economic shocks without producing national crises. (And this is just one of many pleasant unintended consequences of capitalism. Ron P.)

Suspect arrested in officer's shooting
Excerpt: As a Fremont police officer clung to life Saturday, the suspect in his shooting was captured in San Diego just one block away from the U.S.-Mexico border by a sharp-eyed police officer. Andrew Barrientos shot at two Fremont officers as they tried to arrest him Friday at his east Oakland home on domestic violence charges, police said. Barrientos then shot at the driver of a vehicle he unsuccessfully tried to carjack before fleeing in another vehicle taken at gunpoint, police added. Despite the barrage, the bullets struck only one man, Officer Todd Young, 39, a married father of two who remained in critical but stable condition Saturday following surgery at Highland Hospital in Oakland.

EPA Surrenders to NRA on Gun Control Issue
Some good news. Excerpt: In a swift and unexpected decision, the Environmental Protection Agency today rejected a petition from environmental groups to ban the use of lead in bullets and shotgun shells, claiming it doesn't have jurisdiction to weigh on the controversial Second Amendment issue. The decision came just hours after the Drudge Report posted stories from Washington Whispers and the Weekly Standard about how gun groups were fighting the lead bullet ban. The EPA had planned to solicit public responses to the petition for two months, but this afternoon issued a statement rejecting a 100-page request from the Center for Biological Diversity, the American Bird Conservancy, and three other groups for a ban on lead bullets, shot, and fishing sinkers. The agency is still considering what to do about sinkers. (The innocent optimist would say "They must have gotten enough negative comments to discourage them." The hardened cynic would reply "They know they'll have their hands full to overflowing with the battle over CO2; wait 5 years, because this issue won't go away for the animal-rights groups." Ron P.)

Court rejects Swedish orgasm church
Excerpt: A congregation in southern Sweden that worships the sexual orgasm has lost its legal fight to become an officially registered faith community. Sweden's Supreme Administrative Court (Regeringsratten) said it would not hear the appeal by the Madonna of the Orgasm church in Lovestad, ruling there were no errors in the Court of Appeals decision rejecting the church's application, The Local reported. (Remember back in 1975 or 6 when "someone" got me ordained and I tried to start the First Church of Inside Straights? Nancy had a fit and the tax office said "no" very firmly. Maybe if I had tried this instead.... Ron P. I can think of worse “religious” organizations to live close to. ~Bob)

Sources of American Anger
Excerpt: A culpable America? Finally, the public has added up the apology tours, the bowing, and the constant emphasis on race, class, and gender crimes, and concluded that this administration sees America, past and present, as the story of a culpable majority denying noble minorities their rights — period. In addition, Obama and his crew see America in isolation, without comparison to the wretchedness that exists in so much of the world outside our borders. So a logical disconnect is never quite explained. If America is so xenophobic and culpable, why would millions of Mexicans or Middle Eastern Muslims wish to immigrate here — and what exactly is America doing to attract them that their own countries are not? If Michelle Obama felt that she could not be proud of America before Barack Obama’s accession, was it the free-market system that both provoked her ire and created the capital for her to jet to Marbella. In other words, with the race/class/gender critique of the Obamians comes very little appreciation of the bounty, freedom, and affluence that they so eagerly embrace. Surely someone in the past — perhaps even white males — must have been doing something right for America to evolve into a place that our present-day critics apparently enjoy.

Urine-powered fuel cells to offer pee power to people
Excerpt: This could literally be called pee power to the people-researchers have figured out a way to make the world's first urine-powered fuel cells. Chemistry postdocs Shanwen Tao and Rong Lan at Heriot-Watt University's School of Engineering and Physical Sciences in Edinburgh are turning pee into electricity and clean water with a prototype fuel cell system. I had heard about pee-power for robots, but not pee-power for everyone. While fuel cells usually rely on flammable hydrogen gas or toxic methanol to generate electricity, Tao and Lan's cheaper prototype relies instead on urea, an organic chemical compound produced as waste when the body metabolizes protein. Urea, also called "carbamide," has several advantages as a potential fuel source-it's abundant, non-toxic, relatively straightforward to transport and rich in nitrogen, reports Discovery News. (More odd science news. At first, I thought this was a joke, but not even Discovery Magazine would sink that low. Maybe this is the power supply to start a few-weeks-ago's methane (from feces) powered car. All those jokes about people peeing in the gas-tank and praying for a miracle might now come true. Ron P.)

A half-dozen Florida congressional races could hold the key to control of Congress,0,3502312.story?page=2
Excerpt: Florida's party primaries last week set the stage for a half-dozen closely contested congressional elections this fall that could help resurgent Republicans regain majority control of Congress. National political analysts foresee a Republican gain of two or three U.S. House seats in Florida. Four Democratic incumbents appear vulnerable: Alan Grayson of Orlando, Suzanne Kosmas of New Smyrna Beach, Allen Boyd of Monticello and Ron Klein of Boca Raton. On the other hand, two open seats vacated by Republicans in South and Central Florida offer opportunities for Democrats. "I expect Republicans to pick up three seats in Florida on their way to the 40 they hope to get nationally," said David Wasserman, who tracks House campaigns for The Cook Political Report, which analyzes elections across the country. "The primaries demonstrated that there is more enthusiasm on the Republican side this year."

Who Owns 8/28?
Excerpt: "Whites don't own Abraham Lincoln and blacks don't own Martin Luther King," says Glenn Beck as he defends his right to rally and restore honor at the same place and on the same date as Martin Luther King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech. That Beck has to say this seems ridiculous in itself, for most of us know that Martin Luther King is an American legend, with cherished monuments and a nationally celebrated holiday honoring his birthday each year. But Beck has to say this because he is white. And sadly, he is addressing the same critics: certain black reverends who never miss an opportunity to exploit race and black history. The Reverend Al Sharpton, the Reverend Walter Fauntroy, and the Reverend Timothy McDonald have been recently quoted in an uproar over Beck's 828 rally this weekend. They are suggesting that Beck is "hijacking" Dr. King's dream. (Only fair. Generally accepted by scholars that “Doctor” King hijacked (plagiarized) his doctoral thesis. ~Bob)

The Myth of Equality
Excerpt: In 21st century America, institutional racism and sexism remain great twin evils to be eradicated on our long journey to the wonderful world where, at last, all are equal.
What are we to make, then, of a profession that rewards workers with fame and fortune, yet discriminates ruthlessly against women; an institution where Hispanics and Asians, 20 percent of the U.S. population, are neither sought after nor widely seen. In this profession, white males, a third of the population, retain a third of the jobs. But black males, 6.5 percent of the U.S. population, have 67 percent of the coveted positions -- 10 times their fair share. We are talking of the NFL.

Polling on the Spill
Excerpt: The oil spill in the Gulf may be mostly out of the headlines now but Louisiana voters aren't getting any less mad at Barack Obama about his handling of it. Only 32% give Obama good marks for his actions in the aftermath of the spill, while 61% disapprove. Louisianans are feeling more and more that George W. Bush's leadership on Katrina was better than Obama's on the spill. 54% think Bush did the superior job of helping the state through a crisis to 33% who pick Obama. That 21 point margin represents a widening since PPP asked the same question in June and found Bush ahead by a 15 point margin. Bush beats Obama 87-2 on that score with Republicans and 42-30 with independents, while Obama has just a 65-24 advantage with Democrats. Louisianans are generally softening with time in their feelings about how Bush handled Katrina. Almost as many, 44%, now approve of his actions on it as the 47% who disapprove. Of course it should be noted that many of the people most negatively impacted by the federal government's handling of Katrina aren't in Louisiana to answer polls about it now. (These numbers should frighten anyone even remotely connected to the White House response to the Oil Spill. Ron P. Like Obama? ~Bob)

Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup
Excerpt: For those concerned about the environmental impact of oil exploration and development, perhaps the biggest news are studies of the impact of the BP spill on the Gulf of Mexico. On August 19, the New York Times reported that a new study by the venerable Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, being published in Science, indicates that the earlier NOAA studies of the disappearance of the oil plume were far too optimistic. According to the Woods Hole study, the oil plume was not breaking down quickly and effects will remain indefinitely. This confirmed suspicions by other groups. On August 24, the New York Times reported a new study by the Energy Biosciences Institute, a partnership led by the University of California Berkeley and the University of Illinois, stated that the oil plume is being depleted quickly by a previously undiscovered microorganism that appears closely related to Oceanospirillales. Readers may recall that TWTW previously reported that the Gulf of Mexico is home to a great number of microorganisms that thrive in cold water (about 5°C) at oil seeps and that these microbes depend upon chemosynthesis rather than photosynthesis. The newly discovered microbe appears to be one such creature. Very importantly, it appears that the microbe is anaerobic – it does not consume oxygen. The oxygen levels are remaining high (59% inside the plume as compared with 67% outside the plume). Thus the feared dead zone from oxygen depletion is not occurring. It should be noted that the Energy Biosciences Institute was created by a $500 Million, 10 year grant from BP for which Stephen Chu, now Secretary of Energy, was a grateful recipient. If the research holds, then this is another example that in science, it is the quality of the work, not the [source of the] funding, that is important. (This is from a mildly warmist site, the Science and Environmental Policy Project. 18 months ago, they were far more committed to the warmist cause; now, they have moved toward more objective journalism. Good data is where you find it; you can even get a good idea from a fool IF you can recognize it as a good idea (the fool may not). Ron P.)

72 Massacred Illegals Didn’t Pay Ransom
Excerpt: Their families pleaded with them not to leave, fearful of the growing danger that faces migrants trekking through Mexican territory where brutal drug gangs hold sway.
But the young migrants from across Latin America insisted on going. They met their ends together, among 72 migrants massacred just 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the U.S. border…
The survivor, 18-year-old Luis Freddy Lala Pomavilla of Ecuador, said the killers identified themselves as Zetas, a group begun by former Mexican army special forces soldiers and now a lethal drug gang that has taken to extorting migrants…Lala, who is recovering from a gunshot wound to the neck and is under heavy guard, told investigators the migrants were intercepted on a highway by five cars, according to his statement that The Associated Press had access to Friday. More than 10 gunmen jumped out and identified themselves as Zetas, Lala said. They tied up the migrants and took them to the ranch, where they demanded the migrants work for the gang. When most refused, they were blindfolded, ordered to lie down and shot… (We can’t have people not paying ransom to drug gangs. It would break down the basis of Mexican Society. ~Bob)

3 Iranian Jews killed in West Hollywood,7340,L-3944882,00.html
Excerpt: Authorities searched Friday for clues in the killing of three Iranian-born Jewish men who were shot in a West Hollywood apartment. The victims, including two brothers, were killed shortly after 9 pm Thursday, and their killer or killers got away without anyone seeing them, sheriff's Detective Bill Marsh said. The coroner's office identified the victims as Pirooz Moussazadeh, 27, his brother, Shahriar Moussazadeh, 38, and Bernard Khalili, 27. Residents of the Kings Road Arms apartments building heard what they thought were firecrackers going off. They called the apartment manager, who went to investigate and found the door open and a body inside. Deputies found two more bodies in the apartment. All three men were in different places in the open-plan unit. No weapons were found, and there were no immediate clues as to why the men were targeted, authorities said. At least two of the men lived in the apartment. Marsh said the men likely knew whoever killed them. There was no sign of a struggle, and the door had not been forced open. All three victims were members of the Iranian Jewish community and moved to the US as young children, said Pooya Dayanim, president of the Iranian Jewish Public Affairs Committee. "These are three guys who happen to be Persian Jews who happen to have been murdered," Marsh said. The victims were not wealthy, and family members told him they had no criminal pasts, Dayanim said. "The only thing that sticks out is there was nothing significant about them," he said. The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that the killings were the second tragedy to hit the Khalili family in less than two years. In 2008, Bernard Khalili's sister, Bianca Khalili, fell to her death from a Century City high-rise. Authorities ruled it a suicide.

Stunning Revelations from Obama, the Lightworker
Excerpt: How long has it been since you’ve heard some starry-eyed Obama worshiper gush on and on about the Lightworker? Or heard suspicious accounts of “leg-tingling” from media folks? Or heard a supposedly intelligent American drone on about Obama as hovering above the rest of us as “sort of God”? Yes, it’s been quite a while since the throngs fainted, fawned, and followed The One. But let’s cut Obama, our benevolent leader, a little slack. (...) Yes, they really are this aloof. Democrats care nothing for the rights of individual citizens, and simply do not grasp how such rights can be respected only by a limited government. They couldn’t care less whether a program will actually work, or if it’s simply an experiment. Heck, they don’t even read the bills they pass. Clearly, the only question liberal Democrats ask is: “can we get away with it?” And for the past 18 months under the Lightworker’s care, the only answer — in complete disregard of public opinion — is a hearty, in-your-face: “yes, we can.”

Michael Berry of Texas Radio
Wow. No slack!

Obama’s Shipwreck
Excerpt: You've got to wonder when White House political guru David Axelrod will look at the churning pools of poll data and, like Chief Brody in "Jaws," say: "We're gonna need a bigger boat." The analogy isn't quite right, because in the movie, the shark ultimately loses. It's hard to imagine a scenario where Barack Obama and Axelrod victoriously paddle away on the flotsam of their own political wreckage. But in one sense, the analogy works just fine: This White House is rudderlessly lost at sea and inadequate to the challenges it faces. At the beginning of the year, retiring seven-term Rep. Marion Berry (D-Ark.), recounted a conversation he had with the president. Obama's unrelenting push for health-care reform in the face of public opposition reminded Berry of the Clinton-era missteps that led to the Republican rout of the Democrats in 1994. "I began to preach last January that we had already seen this movie and we didn't want to see it again because we know how it comes out," Berry told a newspaper. Or, to quote Brody in "Jaws 2": "But I'm telling you, and I'm telling everybody at this table that that's a shark! And I know what a shark looks like, because I've seen one up close. And you'd better do something about this one, because I don't intend to go through that hell again!" Convinced that his popularity was eternal, Obama responded by saying, yes, but there's a "big difference" between 1994 and 2010, and that big difference is "you've got me." The funny thing is, Obama might have been right. Because things might be much worse for Democrats in 2010 than they were in 1994 -- and the big difference might well be Barack Obama. In fairness, the biggest difference is probably the economy, which in political terms should be fitted for a pine box. Of course, Mr. Credibility, Joe Biden, says it's doing great, sounding a bit like the shopkeeper in the Monty Python Dead Parrot sketch who insists the bird's "just resting."

From the Killing Fields to the Tea Party
Excerpt: A Cambodian refugee and self-described Reagan Republican runs for Congress in the Bay State.. Sam Meas isn't your typical congressional candidate. For one thing, the Cambodian refugee doesn't know his birthday. "I tell people I am 38 years old— plus or minus two years." In 1973, Mr. Meas's father was sent to be "re-educated" by the Khmer Rouge and was never heard from again. During the chaos following the regime's collapse in 1979, Mr. Meas was separated from his mother. He never saw her again. Marching night and day toward the Thai border with a cousin, Mr. Meas recalls stepping over corpses and watching bloated bodies float down jungle waterways. After years in a Thai refugee camp, in 1986 Mr. Meas was brought to the United States by the aid organization Catholic Charities. He spent months watching "General Hospital" and "All My Children" to improve his vocabulary. Twenty-five years later—after stints as a shoe-shine boy, a grocery-bagger, and a financial adviser—Mr. Meas is learning the craft of politics. "Health care should not be in the realm of government," he tells me in carefully accented English at a Cambodian restaurant where he is something of a celebrity. America is "on a slow path towards socialism." And "we need to get government out of managing people's lives." Mr. Meas, who describes this country as "heaven on Earth," is running in Massachusetts' fifth district, currently represented by Democrat Niki Tsongas. Of the four Republicans competing to run against her, only Mr. Meas and Jon Golnik have garnered significant media attention. Mr. Golnik, a moderate Republican from Carlisle whose media team includes veterans of Sen. Scott Brown's campaign, is widely expected to prevail in the Sept. 14 primary. Mr. Meas is hobbled by an almost total absence of campaign money, an inexperienced campaign staff, and the difficulty of being a self-described "social conservative" in a liberal state.

A Senator and His 'Disciples'
Excerpt: 'I'd rather lose with Pat Toomey than win with Arlen Specter any day." That's South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint defending his Senate Conservatives Fund, a new PAC that has taken Washington by storm. The fund-raising group has already helped eight underdog Reaganite candidates win Republican Senate primaries this year. In two years, the fund has raised and spent nearly $2 million from nearly 50,000 individual contributors. Mr. DeMint's mission is to bring more Jim DeMints to the Senate—that is, people with an unfailing antagonism to big government. But his string of victories, often against establishment candidates, has many of his Republican colleagues grumbling. They say Mr. DeMint is pushing candidates through the primaries who are too far to the right to take back vulnerable seats from Democrats in November. Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott recently spoke for many in the party when he said it didn't need anymore "Jim DeMint disciples." Over the past five years, Mr. DeMint has established himself as the pre-eminent conservative in Congress—he has a near perfect National Taxpayer Union rating—with Tom Coburn of Oklahoma a close second. As we eat lunch at Mr. DeMint's favorite restaurant in his hometown of Greenville, our conversation is often interrupted by well-wishers thrilled to see their senator in person and all with pretty much the same message: "Keep fighting those big spenders."

Good article on IPF, my particular challenge

Moose arthritis leads to new medical insights
Excerpt: What do the elderly and moose have in common? According to experts, the same possible reason for their aches and pains. A new study shows that moose arthritis is linked with early malnutrition. The New York Times reports that an exceptional 50-year study of moose in Michigan shows that their osteoarthritis is linked to poor nutrition in the womb and beyond. And more importantly, the same seems to be true for people. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and it affects more than 27 million people. It is a degenerative condition which involves the breakdown of cartilage between bones. It is primarily related to aging, which causes the water content of cartilage to increase while the protein makeup of cartilage degenerates. Generally, most cases of osteoarthritis have no known causes. But new information out of Michigan may change that.

1 comment:

  1. Robert:
    If people only KNEW how much the "Middle East" has invested in this nation...and especially in our would boggle the mind.
    And this goes way back to the 1970s! ivy-league schools.

    Great group of articles.

    Carry On.